Monday, May 30, 2011

Japan - Week 1

こんにちわみなさん、(konnichiwa minasan - hello everyone)
This week has been long and short at the same time!! So, on Tuesday we flew to Oregon. Sorry everyone I didn't get to call you. My companion had a prepaid cell phone his parents sent him and he said I could use that after him. And normally he doesn't like to talk much but when he called his brother they talked for a really long time. Plus, our first flight was delayed a little bit and they started loading the plane to our next flight super early!! So I only had a chance to call mom before I had to go.  SO SORRY:'(  Maybe it happened for a reason so I wouldn't get too homesick when we left for Japan. I think God was watching out for me so it wouldn't be so hard. Anyways, we had about a 10 hour flight from Oregon to Japan and couldn't watch any of the movies cause they were bad and we didn't really know what to do. Some people slept, or studied, or even tried finding people next to us to talk to about the gospel and such. We even met a guy from BYU going to China for study aboard program there. He was really nice and offered to buy some food for us but we graciously declined. Anyway, we gave some pass along cards to people and stuff, it was super fun!! :D

So we get to Japan and get our luggage and go through customs and such and see Pres. Albrecht  who is kinda short and stumpy but a nice guy. Loves to just always be doing something, he can't ever just relax and not do anything. So we take a bus with all our stuff to the mission home and on the hour and half trip he tells us we have the opportunity to go up into Sendai area and do some service and cleaning. All the missionaries in Tokyo Mission are going, there's about 160 of us. Super awesome to get to see what happened for ourselves. We also found out that all the missionaries are coming back in to the Tokyo area. So everyone who was moved to other missions from Tokyo are all coming back. So we get to the mission home and eat some delicious food and go to bed at like 8 from traveling for 24 hours. We wake up to the sun at 4AM. The sun is up so early here, it's ridiculous. We all thought it was 7am because of how much sun light there was. So we go to get breakfast and go to some orientation meetings and such. And at about 3pm all the missionaries start arriving at the mission home. Slowly and slowly they arrive more and more to the church next to the mission home. We have a huge dinner for everyone as a welcome back party and afterwards we watch a video of what happened during the earthquake. It was insane to see all the destruction from so much water. And to hear not a single missionary or member was killed or lost is amazing!! After that we had a massive slumber party with all the Elders on futons in the culture hall. All the Sisters were in the mission home. We got up the next morning and had a few more meetings about training and such. And find out who my trainer will be!! It's. . .  are you ready . . . Elder Shitami!! He is full Japanese from Hokkaido, Sapporo area, and doesn't speak very much English at all, so it is kinda hard to communicate but luckily in our area we have a lot of people who know English in the ward. Ohh, and I am in the Sagamihara area, it's kind of southwest of the Tokyo City. Super cool but we both have never been here before so we don't know the area very well yet. So we kinda just stay on the main streets. There are about 145 members in the ward of the area we're in and there are two other missionaries here with us. One of them is my Senpai, or group that was in the MTC before I arrived, so I know him which is cool. They had two baptisms on Saturday and they have only been here for three weeks. So its sounds like a good area and hopefully we can have some of that success too. We  have done some knocking on doors and nothing yet, but they will come. Should be fun. Well got to go do some shopping, grocery shopping that is. Send emails, dearelders, or letters they all get here!! Keep in touch!! 

Love you all!! ai shitte imasu!! <3<3<3<3<3
Elder McKinney (マッキーニ長老)

Friday, May 20, 2011

MTC - Final Week

Konnichiwa, :D
Things were busy here this last week at the MTC.  We had a lot of things to keep us busy and to distract us from getting too excited about going for JAPAN!! Ohh MOM I tried calling you this morning but you probably saw that it was a random number or something and didn't answer.  But I was trying to surprise you! Unfortunately we are only allowed one call though. We found out yesterday that our flight plan was going to be moved to TUESDAY the 24 of MAY because our Mission President couldn't make it to pick us up. It will still be the same times and everything as before, it's just moved to the next day which is kind of helpful because we've been stressed about getting everything packed and now we have one more day to do it.  It's only the Tokyo Mission that is staying behind for a day.

We have been super busy this week. Monday was pretty normal but from Tuesday on it has been kinda busy with stuff. Tuesday we got to usher for the Fireside so we had to be super early for that. We didn't do much but just stand there and direct people down to the seats towards the front. We had Richard G. Hinckley come talk to us, the prophet's son who is a member of the Seventy. He was really good. He was a great guy to have as our last devotional speaker. He really told us to be focused and be bold with the gospel and share it with everyone. It was pretty good.

Then on Wednesday we had hosting again but this time it was raining. It has rained like the whole week just at least part of each day. So we had umbrellas(kasa) to have for the families as they got out of the car so they wouldn't get too wet. I helped one guy who was going to Roseburry, CA or something up by Sacramento and then the other one was going to the Netherlands and he was super excited to be here on his mission. He even gave me a hug when we dropped him off to his class. It was funny.

Yesterday, on Thursday, me and my companion had a very interesting day. As we were going down the stairs he rolled his ankle at the bottom. So I gave him an ace bandage to wrap it cause we had gym next and he didn't want to spend the whole time doing rehab on it for our last gym here at the MTC. So, after gym we went to the trainer to get some ice for it cause I knew it was going to swell. As we did, we explained it was our last gym and couldn't come back for a check up. So the trainer sent us to the health clinic, they looked at his ankle and said he need to go see a doctor and get x-rays just to make sure before he left. So in our sweaty gym clothes we got a shuttle from the MTC down the street to BYU urgent care center and got some x-rays. Then went back and I sat there in the lobby for about 3 hours at the MTC health center while they looked at his ankle and the results of the x-rays. And since I didn't have any of my stuff I was just sitting there in silence and felt so unproductive. I couldn't study or read Book of Mormon or anything. Finally they get done and give him some crutches to walk with and ankle brace much like the one I had for volleyball. So he has been wearing that since yesterday. Then we get ready and eat lunch and finally head to class like an hour late or so. But 15 minutes later I had to go get my shot before I leave. After that we had a meeting with Bro Mills who is the Mission Director of  all the International MTC. He went to Japan and so he speaks to all the missionaries going to Japan every time and really gets us pumped for going. Then we had have language study, dinner and class. Then about 30 minutes into class we get called to the International office and found out that our plans got changed to a day later and finally the day was over.

Then today we have an in-field orientation all day, tomorrow is our P-day, Sunday we have church, and Monday is a normal day of class again and then Tuesday we are leaving!!!  It has been a very long week but we've been very busy which has made it go by super super fast. I can't wait for Japan!  I will call Mom, Carissa, Brianne, and Dad on Tuesday during travel, I just need all your cell phone numbers by Monday at the latest so I can call everyone personally.  Remember that I LOVE YOU, GOD LOVES YOU!! And I know this church is true. If you aren't sure, I ask you to pray about it to God and ask him to know that it is true. 
Elder McKinney

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

MTC - Week 9

Konnichiwa!! :D
How is everyone doing? Things here at the MTC are doing good. Me and my companion are doing much better. We hit a little rut, just getting annoyed with each other from being with together all day everyday, but we are doing better now! 

We had a district party/potluck thing and ate some of everyones' food. We will probably do that again today because everyone is getting packages with food. Last week we had homemade salsa and chips plus all of my Japanese food. Everyone really enjoyed the food from you and they say "Arigato Gozaimasu". They really loved having different food to try!! 
We got to teach with a Japanese Elder this week for practice and it was super hard to follow what he was saying because he spoke so fast and used different grammar that we don't know yet. But it was good practice to listen and try to understand what they saying. We had a lot of fun with them, they are so funny!! :)
Last Sunday was fast Sunday but it wasn't too hard to do because we fast for a reason which is usually to learn/understand the language. 
Oh, we also heard from ANOTHER APOSTLE!! Three of them in the last 4 weeks!! It was Neil Andersen this time. He mostly spoke on The Atonement and Repentance and how we need to use it for ourselves and repent of our sins now before we go out. It was pretty powerful!! Maybe we will get the PROPHET next week!! HAHA JK We probably won't but I wish we could.
Oh and I haven't told you yet we got our TRAVEL PLANS!!! We will be flying out of SLC at 839am on May 23 and landing in Portland, Oregon at about 940am. We have a long layover there. Our flight to Japan is at 205pm and land in Tokyo 505pm May 24. So I will skip a whole day while flying which will be weird. I will still be with my same companion until the day after we land and then we get our trainer companion. Our whole district will be on the same plane all the way to Tokyo. But then three of them are flying to Sapporo the very north side of Japan. But it is still cool that we will all be together for the whole flight there and say goodbye in Japan.
Well I'm out of time now so I LOVE EVERYONE!! Keep letters coming before I go so that you don't have to pay for it! =)

Hope everyone is well. Stay healthy
Elder McKinney

Friday, May 6, 2011

MTC - Week 8


This week has been pretty good!! :) Except the food of course, but nothing new there!! 

Anyways, we had fast Sunday and had mission conference instead of the Priesthood meeting which was really good. We have all the missionaries here for a conference and the MTC Presidency give a talk to us. It was really good and lasted about two hours. We also had our Nihonjin come here!!! :D There are 12 elders and 16 sisters who came, they are all super fun and know a lot of english. On Wednesday, I got the chance to be a host, where we are the ones who take the new missionaries arriving to the MTC and get them around on their first day. We got a better chance to take one Nihonjin from their temporary housing to their permanent housing on our floor. It was awesome. I got an elder named YAMADA!! His name means mountain rice field! He is super excited to be here!! He wanted me to teach him English and I was telling him to teach me Japanese. So as we walked around the MTC campus he would point stuff out and I would say it in English and he would say it in Japanese. It was way awesome!!! We had so much fun together!! I can't wait to get to know them better! He was so surprised at how good my Japanese was but I don't think it's that good. He kept calling me a genius!! It was super funny.

Thats nice of my mission president to send you a letter to reassure you of me going there. Oh, and I found out that we can't Call on Mother's Day :"(  I'm Sorry! ~ But I will get to call you when we get travel plans in the next week or so!!  Only 5 minutes are allowed just to give you the travel plans and such. So that you can know when I will have my layover which will hopefully be in LAX so its not that far from you.

Sorry again for such late notice on the Mother's Day call. Also they ran out of Mother day's cards here :'( I would have gotten you one mom but just realized how soon it was coming up till it was too late.
There's a card for you mom!! You are the best. I love everyone!! <3 Please keep the letters coming especially before I head out to Japan and the letters get a little more expensive.
Just to sum up, I'm doing great, All is well here in the MTC, I can't wait to go to Japan and serve the lord!! I will talk you all next week.
Love ,