Monday, September 28, 2015


 Jake making his chocolate cake.
 Elder Santos Melo, Elder Hull, and Jake
 A perfect chocolate cake.
 Holy Pizza.  That is huge.  Jake wrote:
"During ward council yesterday, our lunch schedule came up and they asked why we don't have it scheduled for tomorrow. Santos Melo explained that it's because of transfers, but since were both staying we just have to make our own lunch. then one of them said, "Ah the American will just buy pizza" (pizza is expensive, like 50-60 reais.). and every just nodded and went on with the meeting. haha

 Stuff he doesn't know if he'll use his whole mission.
 Picture Jake drew.  This one is with his camera on a 'enhanced' setting.
 Normal picture, no camera settings.  

Spiders and Investigators

SEGUNDA (Monday):  The last week of my first transfer.  That’s what this is.  WOOT WOOT!  Man I’ve come a long way.  As these 50 pages show.  I love writing in a journal.  Whoever invented journaling was brilliant!
            So today, day 5 without sunshine, I walked out of the place where we email, and my eyes hurt because it was so sunny!  It was a good feeling.  Also, sorry if my emails seemed short.  I sacrificed 10 minutes of my Internet to buy a new bible and priapos do Evangelho.  My biblia is very big and heavy and not as good.
            Then after emails we went and toured the National Guard Museum!  So cool!  But no pictures were allowed.  I hardly understood anything, but it was way cool.  Lots of old guns and sweet pictures.  So there’s that.  Then we retuned home and we played chess.  And I read the Book of Mormon while I wasn’t playing.  Every American I’ve talked to say they felt comfortable with the language about the time they finished it completely in Portuguese.  So I’m working on that.  Language study, individual study, and at night.  I read in Portuguese.  I packed my English Book of Mormon away.  I have my little English Book of Mormon if I need it, but I’ve found that if I read with the two side by side, I rely on the English and don’t try as hard to understand the Portuguese.  So, I just use Portuguese and use my dictionary.
            Another thing I realized…I seriously have my dictionary and verb card with me more than a Book of Mormon.  Not much to write about today.  Good lessons.  No letters came today for me.  Don’t worry I’ll try not to let one page a day become a habit.  Another thing that would be great to have just for my benefit is a book with a bunch of movie quotes.  I think I’ll make one.
TERCA (Tuesday):  Buckle up, because today was awesome and I want to remember it all.
            First off, lunch was good as always.  When the members can’t make us lunch, they give us 20 reais and we go to a place that has ready made food, which they put in these plastic containers and you take home and eat.  Well, the container leaked bean juices all over my pants, so there’s that.  Didn’t even upset me though.  Ain’t no way I’m going to let bean juices on my pants ruin my day.  THEN!  We got a call from a member who leaves for her mission in 20 days.  Went something like this… “Hello?”  “Oi Elders, it’s Jessica.  I want to go with you guys to teach today.  Also I made you guys a cake.  How does 3:00 sound?”  haha.  She really is awesome.  I think she wants practice before her mission.
            So, first lesson with Albertinha.  We talked a lot about families and temples and the temple work for the dead.  It was such a good lesson, and I felt the spirit so strong.  Her husband passed away some time ago, so this lesson was really specific to her.  I think what made it so special was she was talking just as much as us.  It was a conversation rather then a lecture.  I don’t think I’ve had a more spiritual lesson yet, nor a louder lesson.  Two 6-year-old kids were in the middle of us, playing with toy tractors with no wheels on an old wood floor, screaming and throwing stuff.  But it was an incredible lesson.  When you put forth the effort you can always feel the spirit.  We talked about family history and I pulled out my family chart back to 4 great grandparents (thanks mom) and we talked about it.  Then I pulled out my paper with 6/7 temples in Brazil! (Thanks mom) and talked about it.  I love these 2 papers, because they’re laminated and I use them quite a bit.  Then we asked Albertinha if she has ever wondered why Jesus Christo, a man who no sins to be forgiven of, was baptized.  She said, “Yes, I’ve wondered about that a lot.”  We told her to get her Book of Mormon.  She went into her room and from under her pillow she pulled out a Bible, a Book of Mormon, and 3 pamphlets we’ve given her.  Man she’s awesome.  We marked 2 Nephi 31 for her to read. (A great chapter to study, BTW)
            Next lesson qui foi Oltimo!  With Evaresto and the wife of him, Vanji, and their daughter who lives in a different house in our area.  We taught the restoration again because the daughter, Tatiome, had never had a lesson and she asked about why there are so many churches today.  It was a great lesson because it wasn’t like most other lessons on the restoration where you kind of mentally go through the points of the lesson.  It was just another conversation, and all her comments or questions just led into the different topics of the restoration.
            Then we went to the house of Enio.  We had a good first lesson with him.  Remember the guy who called his son and then Elder Santos Melo talked to his son on the phone?  Enio is that guy.  We clapped at his gate, and he looked at us through the window, and came out with his Book of Mormon we gave him, and held it out to us and said, “I want nothing to do with you guys.  Here is your book back.”  Then he walked back inside and shut the door.  So I threw rocks at his dog.  Haha, no, just kidding.  I didn’t do that.  We just left.  It was hard, yes, but I didn’t let it get me down.  People have agency, even if sometimes I wish they didn’t.  
            FINALLY, we went to the house of the family of Sandra e Carlinhos.  They were baptized in 2013.  When the missionaries found them, they were already married and had 10 kids.  Now they have 11.  Do you know how rare that is here?  Married AND lots of kids, or just MARRIED!  We need a family like that.  Anyways, they were all baptized, went to the temple, where sealed, and now totally inactive.  But last Sunday they went to church again.  Not all of them, but the parents because they are good friends with Albertinha.  That was good!  We had a Noite Familiar (FHE) with their family and they cooked Churrasco again!  Remember the people that cooked 400 chicken hearts?  Same people.  The pig they cooked was alive this morning.  SO GOOD!  But not as good as the lesson!  They have an 8-year-old daughter who isn’t baptized, and we want Carlinhos to baptize her.  So we are helping him quit smoking.  Last Noite Familiar I was with Elder Hull, and we talked about repentance and the importance of having a priesthood holder in the house.  All centered on family.  Great lesson.  This time we talked about temples, and while Santos Melo was talking about the temple being the house of God, Sandra started crying.  It was a powerful lesson.  Then at the end I had a thought and I think it was the first time I could really feel the spirit working through me.  I said, and I’ll write in Portuguese, “Eu tenho um desafio para você . Hoje à noite, eu quero que todos vocês a se ajoelhar e orar a Deus sobre o que você lembra sobre sua experiência no templo. A , quero que você a refletir sobre o que você se lembra, e refletir sobre o espírito que você sentiu , eo espírito você vai se sentir quando você orar. E, o mais improtant , eu quero que você anote tudo que você lembre-se, sentir , eo que você vai fazer para ter esses sentimentos em sua vida novamente.”    I have a challenge for you.  Tonight, I want you all to kneel and pray to God about what you remember about your experience in the temple.  Then, I want you to ponder about what you remember, and ponder about the spirit you felt, and the spirit you will feel when you pray.  And, most important I want you to write down everything you remember, feel, and what you will do to have these feelings in your life again.”
Then I said, “and every time you feel temptations, or have a moment of weakness or a difficult time, I want you to pull out that piece of paper and read it.  You can spend 5 minutes on this, or 1 hour, but I know that if you do this with real intent, it will help you resist temptation and have that spirit in your life again.”  Then everyone in the family and us missionaries knelt in a circle and had prayer and Camila, 16-year-old daughter, started crying during the prayer.  I was glad I knew they were feeling the same spirit I was.  Talking with Sandra earlier, she told us that she wants change somethings, and I think she wants to start coming to church again.  Which is awesome.  Elder Santos Melo said, “I think you and Carlinhos could talk to Bishop about some stuff to get Lawda baptized.”  And Sandra said, “I think you’re right.”  THIS IS GREAT!  Especially since she’s such a good friend with Albertinha.  We’re going to start asking Sandra to go with us to the lessons with her.  Two birds with one stone!  Because Sandra will feel the responsibility for help her friend, and so she’ll be strengthened.  And she’ll hear the lessons again, and have a chance to bear testimony of the things being taught.  This is good because I’ve learned that you can only find your testimony through bearing it.  Nothing feels better then when you say you know this gospel is true and that you love Jesus Christo, and you know that when you say that its 100% true.  The other bird being killed with this stone is it will help Albertinha feel more welcome and have a friend to talk about these things with after we leave. 
            All in all today was awesome.  I also bought more bananas, oranges, mangos, chocolate mix, and condensed milk.  So lets just cap it off as a win.
QUARTA (Wednesday):  WHOO!  Another day that was great.  They all are great days.  I’ve already decided that they all will be great days for me because everyday there is new stuff to learn!
            First off, we skipped language study today to go teach a new investigator we have named Rylander.  He’s 18 and was very interested in the lesson.  When we invited him to be baptized, he said yes that he had never been baptized and it’s something he’s thought a lot about.  Super Cool!
            Then to lunch at Irmao Fort’s house.  He’s a cool guy, about a head shorter than me.  He owns a bicycle shop, so he can have biking jersey’s made so today I ordered one with my name, the shoulder has the Brazil flag and state flag.  Other shoulder has the crest of the ward that’s cool. The front has the slogan picture thing of the mission with dates of mission service.  Back has a big 97 for my year of birth.  Way cool.  Later I’ll buy a knife with my name, mission, and dates on it.  A big Ol’ meat cleaver knife. They use them for cutting up the huge chunks of churrasco meat.  Pretty cool.
            After that we had a cool lesson with Santiago.  He’s a good guy.  We talked about the scriptures and stuff.  At one point he said he doesn’t really like the Book of Mormon, but he like D&C because it talks about the commandments, and priesthood.  I instantly took the front before Santos Melo could say anything and said, “Do you know or remember which section talks about the priesthood?  Section 20.  Let’s turn there.”  So, we got out our scriptures and read together.  I had everyone take turns and we read verses 7-11 in section 20.  (Go read it).  Then I said I know the Book of Mormon is harder to read because of the older language, but it contains the fullness of the gospel.  I said that nowhere in the book does it have a list format of things of the gospel, but the principles are in the stories.  I think he prefers the D&C because it says the doctrine right out, where the Book of Mormon is more often deeper and you have to ponder.  Then I committed him to read one page a day, starting with the testimony of Joseph Smith.  I told him that I had never read the testimonies either, but if he would study one page a day I would too, and in 4 days, Saturday, we would come back and talk about it.  I hope it helps him strengthen his testimony of the Book of Mormon.  He really is great.
Lesson with Moneco.  He’s a hard one.  He recognizes that he’s feeling the spirit, and he says he knows these things are true, but every time we mention anything about baptism he gets defensive, and makes tons of excuses and refuses to listen to anything.  And he won’t even try to read or pray or quit smoking.  AHHH!  It kills me.  He’s an amazing guy with an amazing story and now he has this opportunity to learn the fullness of the gospel and he’s watching it pass.  He has on his table a book that will literally change his life and bring him and his wife true joy, and he won’t even touch it.  It’s always in the same spot that we left it the time before.  Same stupid excuses every time.  But we’ll keep trying, as always.  Don’t worry I’m staying positive.
Nino and Eliane.  Investigators that are interesting.  I won’t go into details.  Nino has 3 teeth.  Very poor.  He goes to church every week, which is good, but that’s their only progression.  We went to teach them today, and he was VERY drunk.  It was so sad. He wasn’t even the same person.  I don’t, and I never will, understand why people do that to themselves sometimes.  He was totally out of control of himself.  We stayed for a few minutes then left with a promise to return later.  Then he gave us both a huge hug and said he loves us and he loves that we always come to talk with him and Eliane.
Now I need to write about a good experience so I can go to sleep thinking about something good.  Besides the fact that today is the start of week 12 in my mission.  Almost 1/8 of the way done already.  SLOW DOWN!  Lesson today with Bruno, a 16 year old less active, and his mom, a non-member.  Super awesome.  We read the first page of the Book of Mormon, before the introduction and talked about it.  Foi Oltino.  Then we talked about families and I showed them my foto album I always have with me, and explained every picture.  Way cool lesson.
Writing like this really helps me stay happy and positive.  I know I need details to please the mama-bear back in Utah, so I always take a few minutes before and think through the day.  Everything I did, and what is worth recording.  When I think back on stuff like that, and especially when I write about it, it’s very easy to see all the good that happened even on the days I felt frustrated and lost.  And when I write about it I think of more.  Then I realize what a good day we had.  Man, bringing souls unto Christ is the life.
QUINTA (Thursday):  So, before I write about today, something really funny that happened yesterday that I forgot to write about.  In a lesson with Moneco, I think we are going to have to cut him, because he isn’t’ progressing and another reason I’ll write about at the end.  Every time in this lesson that we would say anything, he would go off on a tangent, making excuses, and talking about stuff of NO importance.  During one of these rants, I’ll admit I lost focus.  It was the 4th time he was telling us about his two TV’s and it’s a lot of work to understand people, so when it’s worthless information I zone out sometimes.  It’s a weakness of mine that I’m working on.  But I started to nod off because I was pretty tied.  My head nodded once, and Moneco clapped his hands REALLY loud and yelled “To pescondo meu filho!?”  Then him and Santos Melo started laughing really hard, because it scared the tar out of me and I jumped a mile.
            So today!  Let me tell you about today.  Today was a good day.  2 lessons today that was good that I’ll share.  Number 1:  Edi and netas, Fran is really starting to open up and make progress!  YES!  We were reading together 2 Nephi 31, and we read one verse about baptism, explained that Jesus had no sins but he was still baptized, then she asked what sin was.  So we explained sin is intentionally breaking the commandments of God.  She thought for a second then said, “and what are commandments?”  haha, so our lesson took a sharp turn and we turned to Mosiah, and went over all the 10 commandments and she had questions for each one, and she shared a lot of personal stuff I won’t write here, but she really wanted to know and understand the commandments.  That was very cool.  When we go there now, and she is back in her room, Edi just says to us, “go get her” and we go clap and dance in her door, then say, “You have 5 minutes until the lesson starts!”  The first time, after 15 minutes of waiting for her we made another trip and waited another 10 minutes.  2nd lesson we did this, we waited about 10 minutes.  Today we did it again, and 4 minutes later she walked in and she had brought her mom!  Haha  WOOT WOOT!
            2nd bem legal lesson was noite familiar with Irma Albertina, Derrizi, and less active Sandra and families.  Super good.  We taught the doctrine of Christ, 3rd lesson, which wasn’t our original plan but we rolled with it.  During the middle of Elder Santos Melo’s part, I heard one of the kids say, “Mckee, tem uma aranha na perna dele.” (Mckee, there is a spider on your leg)  and I flipped, jumped and spun and smacked my legs all at the same time.  And everyone lost it laughing.  Took a solid 5 minutes to get everyone calmed down, all the while I sat there while they would almost get control of themselves, then look at me then loose it again.  And at random times after that one of them would laugh, then everyone would loose it AGAIN.  Haha, but it was all good, and at the end we played a game and it was way fun and everyone was having a good time.
            So, today was the day we found out about transfers.  Santos Melo and I will stay in our area.  Elder Hull is returning home, Elder Pampeu got transferred and their area is being closed, and adopted into our area.  The area of Santos Melo and I is HUGE already, and now we will inherit a ton more area, full of progressing investigators and others and recent converts and less actives that we know nothing about.  The area we have now, there’s one whole half I’ve only been in 2 times.  I was afraid that we will be spread so thin that some of their investigators will be forgotten, and some of ours, too.  It’s stressful to think about, but I need to trust in the leaders of the mission and the inspiration they receive from the Lord.  I’m not nervous about the extra work it will bring; I’m excited about that.  Work is great.  I’m just nervous about being able to fill the shoes we’ve been given.  We’re already started talking about investigators that will probably have to be cut, and planning stuff out.  One good thing about it though that makes me happy…we both get our own bathroom now!  Woot Woot!  That’s exciting.  But, you pray for me please that we’ll be able to fill the needs of all the new investigators we’ll get along with the needs of the ones we already have.  I know it will all work out. 
            Also, I finished the Book of Mormon today.  That’s a great book, ya know?
SEXTA (Friday):  I can sum up what we did today in one word.  WALKED.  Around the world.  And back.  NOBODY was in casa.  2 lessons total today.  But it was still a good day.  One lesson was with Moneco, who yesterday got a prosthetic leg!  For 5 years he’s been going around on crutches and he was so excited about this new leg!  Like a little kid with a cool toy.  He showed us everything about it and explained everything to us.  It’s just a socket for his stump, then a hinge that locks when straightened and has a button he can push to bend it when he sits and then a bar down to a shoe.  He told us not to get a car for him this Sunday because he wants to practice walking to church.  Haha It was awesome.
            So today I saw a tree of those classic Hawaiian flowers, bright pink and perfect.  So I picked one and I was going to press it in a book.  But then further down the road, 2 little kids came up to us, so I knelt down and started talking to them, and the little girl asked for the flower, so I gave it to her.  But I’ll get another some other time.
            The other elders had an investigator get interviewed for baptism today!  Santos Melo, being district leader, did the interview.  That was cool!  She’ll be baptized tomorrow on Elder Hull’s last real day in the field.  So Cool!
            So, this part about today is a little more personal but I want to write it here instead of my other journal.  When we do our planning every night and I decide what I want to study the next day, I make it a question that I want answered.  Last night my question was how could I have more faith in the Lord and His plan for me?  I’ll be honest.  The idea of 9 new progressing investigators terrifies me.  We don’t even know these people and now we are in charge of teaching them.  I know everything is in the Lords hands, and it will all work out.  So personal study this morning I was feeling very over whelmed so I opened another one of the letters in mom’s box, the one from Temet, Toomawut, and axillax.  Ha-ha.  That was a good choice.  Their letters and pictures made me very happy, and I knew everything would be fine.  Hours later in the road, after much walking and no lessons I was feeling like a failure and like we were wasting time.  I was thinking ‘we can’t even manage our own area, how can we take on theirs too?”  Then these words came to my mind, “what right do you have to claim suffering?”  I was confused for a second, and then I remembered a lesson at one of our district meetings about the suffering of our Savior for us.  “What right do you have to claim suffering, “ was like the catch phrase the missionary teaching used.  I realized I was being a girl (No Offense to all girls reading this) and I needed to man up, stop thinking of home, stop worrying about what’s out of my control, and trust in the Lord.  No matter what I go through I will never be able to comprehend what Jesus Christo suffered for us.  So what right do I have to claim the pathetic inconveniences in my life as sufferings?  It’s time to forget myself, and get lost in the service of others.  Because that’s what Christo did for me.  I love my older brother.  Now that I understand the atonement better, and I study it more and more, I often feel ashamed for the suffering I personally caused Him because of my sins.  But He paid the price for me anyways.  And when I pray for help with my ‘sufferings’  He is always there.  I’ve come a long way these last 3 months, but I still have a LONG way to go.
            I’m excited for this new challenge that I’ve been given, and I’ll jump into it head first.  We talked with the other elders for a good while about everything we need to know about each investigator.  Life’s good.
SABADO (Saturday):  GOOD DAY!  Lesson with Santiago went very well.  He read the reading we left him and will continue reading.  I totally took the front in that lesson, which was cool.  The, here’s the adventure we had at lunch.  So, everyday except for SEGUNDA(Monday) we have lunch at a members house.  We always call the night before to confirm.  Well last night, the member for today didn’t answer, not this morning.  Then we called Marco, her husband and said, “Oi!  Your wife is Lucianne, right?  We have lunch scheduled for today there, is that all right?  And, he said no, they had something today.  So, we called Sandra, less active that we had a service project planned for after lunch.  We asked if we could come a little early and eat lunch with them.  They obliged.  We went, and were waiting, talking for about 45 minutes while Sandra was working a feast for us.  SO GOOD!  Then we got a call just before the food at Sandra’s was done, from Lucianne.  She asked if we were coming to lunch.  We explained that we had made other plans because her husband had said they were busy.  She said, “No, your lunch has been sitting here waiting for 45 minutes.”  So, against my wishes, we left Sandra’s with many apologies, and went to the other house.  Sandra lives at the TOP of a HUGE hill.  Other house is near ours at the bottom and out a ways.  Lots of walking.  We went and ate, and learned that Elder Santos Melo had called the wrong Marco with a wife named Lucianne.  So there’s that.
            Service project was pouring a concrete floor in a house.  They asked me if I had ever masoned (like bricks) before, and I said no, and EVERYONE was shocked.  All the houses here are made out of bricks.  I explained that where I live most houses are more wood, and I’ve done that.  They said, “Oh, like that house.”   The ‘house’ was a shack of old wood.  I just said yes.
            Lesson with Albertinha was about obedience and following the prophets.  I’m certain she will be baptized.  She read what we left her several times, and then continued reading.  Some with her daughter, Denisi.
            Today, the other elders had a baptism!  So exciting!  Haha also, I have this fear of using the bathroom anywhere except my house.  Always have.  Especially other people’s houses.  So I hold it.  But today, in a lesson with Irma Tereziinha, I needed to pee like never before in my life.  Then, I cut her off midsentence and said, “Irma, Posso usar seu banheiro por favor?”  And she and Santos Melo started laughing so hard, yelling that they knew it.  Apparently I have been dancing without realizing it.  But that’s fine.  Haha
            I’ve also been working on a picture for the past few days, with pencil, that I finished tonight. I included 2 pictures of it.  One is normal, and it’s decent.  The other is a setting on the camera called, “dramatic light” and it makes it look SO much better.  I’m not sure what I’ll do with the drawing, but I want to make copies for some investigators here.
            Also is included with the photos is one of my 2 suitcases, seriously FULL of stuff I don’t’ know if I’ll ever use, but its good to have.  Better to over pack for 2 years in Brazil, then under pack.
            I’ve used Grandma’s sewing kit so much!  Seams, ties, buttons, and other Elders have borrowed it.  Also one thing I got that I love is the coin Brother Olsen gave me, the Shield of Faith.  The last 3 months I’ve had it in my right pocket every day.  It helps remind me why I’m here sometimes.
DOMINGO (Sunday):  Last day of my first transfer.  That means a new planner!  Woot Woot!  It’s a good day.
            Church was great!  I stole a gospel principles book to study while I wait for the one I ordered online to come.  Promise I’ll return it.  And one our investigators showed up, with his friend!  New investigator!  Today was also the first time I actually talked with someone without realizing it was a different language.  It was a very simple, short conversation about the mission and how I felt about new area, but I was very encouraged. 
            At lunch today they were looking at my photo album and the mom saw the picture of Josh, asked how old he is, and then yelled for her daughter.  She showed her the picture, then said to me, “does your brother like Brazilians?”  ha-ha  Her daughter she called for is also 13.  It was so funny.  Then she saw a picture of Zac, and called for all the women in the house.  Ha-ha. It was so funny.
            Today was also discouraging because we went to the houses of 3 of our investigators and found them drunk.  And one of them has everything lined up for baptism, is just waiting for marriage papers.  And he wants to be baptized.  It made me very sad.  But what do you do except love them?
            This week was a good one.  I still have a LONG ways to go, but I’ve learned a lot.  Thanks everyone for your prayers.  I honestly can feel them helping me.  I go to bed every night exhausted with sore legs, and wake up the next morning excited, brand new, and ready to go.  I’m pretty sure I’ll be in this area for the next 12 weeks at least.  But it’s a great area, and that gives me time to baptize everyone.
Love you guys!  Over and Out,

Elder McKee

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


Groceries for a week
 Speaker to listen to his Portuguese Church Opera
 The rain brings out the frogs
 Elder Santos Melo and Jake
 Rain Rain, Go Away!
 The Elder's house
 Loving the colors of the houses
 Jake's bed and desk
 It's rained non stop for the last 2 weeks.  

Rain! Rain! Rain!

SEGUNDA (Monday):  P-Day! J  Always a good time.  Even better when you get THREE letters from your family!  So, some things I forgot to put in the email…the first is a thought I had during a lesson that makes me laugh EVERY time I think about it.  Haha…So, yesterday we’re in a lesson with Moneco right?  He’s the man with no left leg.  And very limited use of his left arm.  I  was thinking about how prepared he is and that we are really only guides for him to the truth he already knows, which is true for most investigators.  Anyways, I was thinking about how amazing he is with his difficulties and such.  I seriously thought to myself, “He lost almost all use of his left half, but he’s alright now”.  Haha, now read that again, but instead of  ‘alright’ put ‘all right’.  Hahahha.  I know, I’m terrible, but it made me laugh so hard.  He really is an awesome investigator.
            So, we stopped by the house of Paulo and Suede.  Suede is a less active, Paulo is an investigator.  They have 2 daughters, one with 4 year, I think, and the other with 4 days.  Really cool.  Anyways, Paulo wants to be baptized, but he can’t because he and Suele aren’t married.  (This, sadly, isn’t a rare thing).  When we were talking to them today, they said that they have something set up to get the paperwork and everything they need to be married!  And baptized!!  AHHH I flipped.  SO awesome.
            So, I took a picture of what I bought today for this week’s food.  3 mangos, 5 oranges, bananas, chocolate (for frosting on cake), condensed milk (for frosting also), chocolate cake mix, eggs, milk. J  Glad to know I’m eating healthy?  I also eat a lot of honey and a lot of rice.  I bought rice Tambem.  I also bought a small box of sound (speaker) for my thumb drive and it’s awesome.  I blast church Portuguese opera while in the shower.
            So, today I was feeling slightly annoyed and frustrated with some people….yea….so I decided to do something about it.  When we went to the bank I told the other 3 elders that my family had given me $50.00 to buy pizzas for dinner one night.  $50.00 is like 160 reais mas or menos, which is a lot of money.  I pulled it out, and we stopped by a bakery too, and this week sometime I’m buying pizza, (on the family, so thanks guys!)  haha.  Anyways, that really helped things go smoother today, and I also made Elder Santos Melo eggs for dinner.  If you want to love somebody, serve them.  Truth!
            Haha.  Another funny story.  Helping Elder Santos Melo with English.  Elder Hull asked, “what is your favorite color?”  Santos Melo thinks for a little, then says, “I am black.”  Haha.  Elder Hull and I started laughing so hard.  Then he realized his mistake and fixed it, but it was so funny. 
            Also, in your letter, mom you asked if I use my blanket you gave me that says “Be a good boy.”  YES!!  Every night.  1) Because I love it and 2) because I hate the other crappy blankets.  And everyone is jealous.  I have the best bed because of that blanket!  Great Idea, mom! 
TERCA (Tuesday):  Today was awesome!  We had a district meeting, which went great.  Then, while we were walking home we saw a guy crawling across the street.  VERY drunk.  So, we spent an hour, the 4 of us, helping him get home.  We’d walk him a few steps, then stop to let him pull up his pants, and repeat.  It was actually really sad just how out of control of his own body this guy was.  We talked to him, and asked him, “are you happy right now?”  He said no.  Then we tried to help him, but really what do you do?  We got him to his house.  It looked like the clubhouse from little rascals, but about the size of our laundry room.  He had a pile of blankets at one side.
            Today we also did splits again.  I was with Elder Hull in my area.  We only have 4 lessons today, because the drunken guy set us back an hour-ish and lunch.  BUT, every lesson was AWESOME!
            First lesson, with Everton, a recent convert and less active.  With his sisters.  It was good to be With Elder Hull because he asked questions and got to know then, so I got to learn a lot about them.  Then we talked about the Book of Mormon, and enduring to the end.  The spirit was so strong!  We committed them to go to church this Sunday, and I’ll pass by with Santos Melo tomorrow to recommit them and make sure they read.
            Second lesson, with Albertinha and the daughter of hers, Denisi.  AWESOME AS WELL!  Albertinha is 57 and when we started talking she went inside and grabbed the two pamphlets we had already given her.  She had read them, and looked up all the bible scriptures in the back.  We taught the restoration and it was amazing.  Then we gave her a Book of Mormon, and she got so excited because now she could look up the other scriptures as well in the back.  She is the golden investigator.  She asks questions that are so cool.  Today I felt more comfortable with the language then I ever have. 
            Lesson 3, with Edi, the 75-year-old lady.  We focused it more on her 14 year old granddaughter who has some problems.  We talked about the holy ghosts, why we need it, how we can get it, and what it feels like.  Super good.  She pretended to hate it all, but I hope she learned some good stuff, and remembers a few things.
            Lesson 4, with a less active family.  We talked about repentance, and how ANY change for the better is a form of repentance, and a part of enduring to the end.  The Spirit was awesome.
            Everything was awesome today.  Then at the end of the day Elder Hull and I talked about a bunch of stuff, like a heart to heart, in Portuguese/English.  I thought it would be nice to speak English, take a break from Portuguese in the night, but I just spoke Portuguese more then English.  It was easier to struggle through Portuguese then English.  This made me happy.
QUARTA (Wednesday):  Another great day!  Also, today marks exactly 10 weeks in the mission!  2 and ½ months.  Man that is crazy.  So one thing I tried to work on today was asking people we are teaching the right questions.  With the right questions the person can sometimes teach themselves.  I’ll keep working on that.  So, the lesson today was with Irmao Moneco.  He told us that he loves our church.  Then he asked, “Do I have to be baptized to go to your church on Sundays?”  We told him that no, it is not a requirement.  Then he said this, “Then here’s the deal.  I will keep going to your church every Sunday, so long as I have a ride, (he only has one leg) and if you guys keep coming I will love to talk to you guys, but I will not be baptized into this church. I’ve already been baptized twice, and I don’t see how a third time will benefit me”  AHHH!  We have failed.  We have literally taught him 3 times about baptism by the proper authority, yet he still doesn’t understand.  He has troubles reading because of his accident, so he doesn’t even try to read the Book of Mormon, even though I promised him that if he would try and read it he would understand.  He’s a stubborn man.  We will continue to stop by, but with a renewed effort to go when his wife is there, too.  She works ALL day, every day, so it’s hard to catch her.  The lesson we did have with her, she seemed to understand and wanted to know more.  And if we can get her to read and pray with Moneco, then yes please.
            In a lesson with an old man who never remembers what we taught him the time before, but he lives alone, and sits in his chair on the side walk all day, every day.  So we stop by sometimes and talk with him and teach him.  BUT, in this lesson a fly lands on my leg.  I swipe my hand down all nonchalantly and catch it between my thumb and pointer finger.  Call me karate kid.  Anyways, this old man looks at me, and without a word or smile, gives me a thumbs up.  Then I released the fly and it flew away.  Nobody else notices and it’s the old man and my secret. But I’m sure he’s forgotten, so it’s my secret.  Which isn’t so secret anymore.
            Looked out my window and what did I see?  A dog, starting at the blank wall.  Then I got to thinking…What do dogs think about?  Funny thought.
            A bunch of the young men in the ward came up to us in the street with treats and asked if we wanted to buy some.  Of course, because  Brazilian candy is superb, especially homemade.  So, I bought 3 for myself and one for Elder Santos Melo because I owed him money.  Then all the boys gave me a hug and ran off to sell more.  They were like 15-17 year old boys.  I asked Santos Melo what they had been talking about, and he said they were trying to earn money to go to young men’s camp.  And they had been so happy with my 4 reais.  Tomorrow if they do it again, I’m buying 20 reais worth of stuff.  Because these are awesome kids and I think they ought to have a camp.
            A kid bowed to us today and said, “Ola pastor” “Hello shepherd/priest) thought that was funny.
QUINTA (Thursday):  RAIN!  So much rain.  I didn’t know the sky could hold that much water to be honest.  It was like swimming rather then walking.  If I had a baptism for every puddle I stepped in, I would need a new mission because there would be no non-members here.  I loved it except for the fact that it meant every house was closed, and nobody wanted us in with our wetness and muddiness.  No pictures.  Sorry, didn’t have my camera.
            Really cool lesson today, with Edi, and more specifically her 14 year old granddaughter Fran.  She is the one we did the family night for 2 days ago.  Elder Hull made her a present thing (Because we promised her one if she would participate in family night).   It was a poster thing with cool messages, candy, and a picture of Christ.  Really simple, but super effective.  Haha we gave it to her and I think she felt awkward but that’s fine, it made her happy.  Then we taught the restoration to Fran, and it was Edi’s 3rd time hearing it.  Fran was really closed off at first, like normal, but this was the first lesson she didn’t just leave a few minutes in.  As it went on, we slowly involved her more and more.  Then we asked her, “Fran, do you believe that because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we can be saved from our sins?”  She thought for about a minute and said, “no, I don’t.”  Then I said, “Do you have a desire to believe that we can?  And that these things we’ve talked about are true?”  She said yes.  Then I shared the scripture Alma 32:27 with her and bore testimony, then gave her her own Book of Mormon, with Moroni 10:3-5 marked, and she said that she would read and pray about it!  That is HUGE for her!!  WOO!  Then after the prayer, her phone had been broken for a few days, and the memo to fix it was in English, so we fixed her phone, and she was even happier.  I really hope she continues to progress, because I think that could really help Edi be baptized.  Tambiem.  Awesome.
            Haha.  During lunch today in a member’s house with the other Elders, at the end, Elder Hull, who is also American, and returns home on the 29th, accidently burped really loud.  Haha and immediately he said, “Oh, I’m sorry!  Where I’m from that’s a sign of respect” then he whispered to me, “if you ever do anything like that, just act like it’s American culture” ha-ha so funny.  I can literally get away with any socially weird or awkward thing.  I’m the weird foreigner and people expect me to be odd, so I roll with it.
            Another pretty cool thing.  In a lesson with a contact at the door, and I presented the Book of Mormon to him.  I get about half way through explaining it as another testament of Jesus Christ and he jumps up and pulls out his phone and calls someone.  So I stop and wait.  The convo was something like this, “Hey, have you ever heard of the Book of Mormon?  I have 2 of them here right now.  They said it goes with the bible to testify of Christ. “  Then I lost tract of it, but Santos Melo asked if he could talk to the guy on the other side of the phone.  While he was I gave the guy the Book of Mormon and asked about the phone.  It was his son and they both like to study the bible and then call each other and talk about what they had studied.  Kinda cool.  The son had heard of the Book of Mormon before.  At this time, Elder Santos Melo says “I have a challenge for you my friend.  The next time you see these two guys walking down the street in white shirts and ties, walk up to them and tell them you want to learn more about their church and that you want a Book of Mormon.”  Haha.  The guy was very well prepared for the message we shared with him, and I really hope he read and wants to know more.
            We also had a lesson today with Claudio, who is not keeping commitments, not progressing, and we have to cut him as an investigator.  That was hard.  I told him that we are literally representatives of Jesus Christ and that we have the authority to use the power of God to teach, and baptize, in the name of Christ.  I said that we love him, but we have many other people who are trying really hard to keep these commitments and learn more and come unto Christ, and this is why we have to pass by Claudio’s house less.  It was hard, but he really isn’t wanting to progress. 
            When I said these words “somos literalueate respresentatas de nosso Salvador Jesus Christo, e temos a autoridade para usar o pade de deus para ensinar e batizar pessoas que querem estas coisas”  I realized just how much responsibility I hold.  And how much power I have to change peoples lives.  When I teach by the spirit and when I honestly declare that I know these things to be true, who can argue with me?  Also I made a huge chocolate cake today.
SEXTA (Friday):  Today was a good day.  I have quite the streak of good days going.  It rained all day, but it was like a light mist that you can’t even feel until your hair is dripping.  We also had another divisao, so I was in lead again.  Lots of people not letting us in because Elder Hayes is also American.  But we had some good lessons, and we taught 2 old people who literally asked if they could be baptized on the 26th.  Haha.  Foi engrossado.  And a very good lesson.  But they still have stuff to do, so I committed them to the 10th of October. 
            The most spiritual experience for me was in a lesson with Albertinha when we talked about the atonement and I explained why I love our Savior Jesus Christ.  Because of Him I can return to my Father in Heaven where before hand I had no chance to.  It’s hard to understand exactly how amazing this atonement is, but I’m trying to learn about it and understand more every day.  He paid the debt I will never be able to pay myself.  I can’t even explain how much this means to me, but I felt the spirit so strong when I was explaining it to Albertinha.
            So, right now for dinner, I am eating Kraft mac and cheese  (courtesy of Elder Hayes, who received 4 boxes for his birthday), Fresh Mangos (seriously my favorite thing here), and nigrinhos (literally “little blacks”)  Nigrinhos are a type of thick chocolate candy I learned how to make form a member one day, and I’ve made them twice.  It takes like 6 minutes!  And if you cook it too long it turns into chocolate caramel instead!  I can’t mess up!   I love them.  The Kraft mac and cheese is amazing as well.
            Elder Hayes just said to me “You’re almost done!  Only 4 more sessions of general conference!”  haha.      Language update.  It’s good.  J  I was in-charge of the phone today, and I was able to talk to other Elders and investigators on it without problems.  I was able to talk to the Bishop about our investigator, and I had almost no trouble with talking to people before the lessons and starting the lessons.  I still don’t understand everything, and my speaking is FAR from perfect, but I’m improving every day and I have no worries about it. I know that God won’t base someone’s salvation on the fact that I can’t answer a question.  So, I get called Elder Rapaz a lot.  Rapaz means like young man, like lad.  I think it’s because I’m small and young.  Makes sense.
SABADO (Saturday):  I’ve gone through 2 pens completely.  Used all the ink.  Do you have any idea how satisfying that is?  Anyways, today…More rain.  Which means more people not letting the wet muddy missionaries in.  But it was still a good day.  I love the rain.  I also shined my shoes just barely, so tomorrow will be a good day too.
            So at lunch today, after we had eaten, Elder Santos Melo and the sister member were talking for about 30 minutes about something, but I couldn’t follow.  Our lunch was in the area of the other Elders.  I asked Santos Melo about it after.  I guess before either of us were in this area, the other Elders would go to her house, an active member, every day and be there for 2-3 hours.  And this house isn’t in their area.  This goes against quite a few things a missionary shouldn’t do.  When Elder Santos Melo came, he slowed way down the visits, because 1) it’s breaking rules, and  2) it’s a waste of the Lord’s time.  Then after the Elder left the area the member gets no bvisits anymore.  Well, the Elder that used to visit her was in the area on splits, and he talked to her and told her that Elder Santos Melo doesn’t like her and that is why the visits stopped.  She got super mad and FLIPPED on Santos Melo.  So today, he explained everything and how it’s not because he doesn’t like her, it’s because it’s a rule of the mission.  But yea, it was interesting.
            I used the rest of the $50.00 I took out today to buy another pizza.
            Also!  In the house of Mirian and Rafael who are members and best friends with the investigator family we have, Mirian was going through her music on the computer.  She has TONS and its just as much American as Brazilian.  Plus some classic Gaucho style music, which I like.  So I handed her my pen drive and asked her to put every song she has on it.  Haha.  She said, “you have to be home by 9.  I don’t have time to copy it all tonight.  I’ll bring it to you at church tomorrow.”  It was 7:00.  Haha.  So much music.  But I have to wait until after the mission to listen to it.
            With Moneco today we watched the Restoration video, the longer version.  Then after we talked about it.  He said he believes that this is the true church. That was a very special and spiritual moment.  We talked a little, then Elder Santos Melo asked “Irmao Moneco, do you believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Letter Day Saints is the only true church on the earth?”  And the silence, silence.  Like a solid 40 seconds.  And Moneco said, hardly loud enough to hear, “yes, I do.”’ Then I thought Elder Santos Melo was going to stat talking about baptism again with Moneco, which now isn’t a good time for him.  Instead, Santos Melo said after a pause, “Moneco, we want to help you quit smoking.”  He’s already tried 3 times.  Haha, then Santos Melo said, “The only time that really matters is the last time you quit.”  So we made a small plan and we told him that every time he feels the urge to smoke to read the Book of Mormon, any place, it doesn’t matter where, until the desire to smoke leaves.  It was cool.  And I really hope he can do it!
            So I’ve decided to make a map of our investigators on the next page, so ya’ll can kinda keep them straight when I talk about them.
            --Moneco:  Real name is Everton.  Baptized twice.  Had a motorcycle accident and is missing his left leg.  Has very limited use of his left arm, and head problems.  45 years old.
            --Edi and Grand-daughters Duda and  Fran:  Edi has  75 years, and Duda has 10 I think.  Fran has 14.  Edi is the golden investigator, but doesn’t want to upset her 94 year old mother so she is waiting to be baptized.  We need to talk about hat with her.  Fran is just starting to open up to us and actualy sits throught lessons.
            --Albertinha and daughter Denizi:  has about 55 years, Denizi has 30.  She reads and studies and prays about the pamphlets, and looks up the scriptures in the back.  Another golden investigator.  We found her by asking directions to the house of Mateus (an investigator we had to cut today).  She loves the Bible and now the Book of Mormon.
            --Evaresto and wife Vanji:  old enough that I can’t hardly understand them.  They can’t read so their daughter reads to them, and then they pray together.  They said they received an answer and want to be baptized. 
            --Daiana and Rodrigo and their daughters Taliane and Thamirdes:  In their 40’s, Taliane is 16, Thamirdes turns 14 on the 24th.  Danian and Rodrigo need to be married.  Rodrigo works a lot, so it’s hard to catch him at home.  Very cool family.  We are working more with Taliane and Thamirdes, who read and pray.  Their family really likes the lessons on baptisms for their ancestors.  Good friends with Mirian and Rafael, members with 8 anos un Igreja.
            --Paulo e Suele:  Needs to be married!  But they have 2 daughters; one that is 4 and the other is almost 2 weeks.
            This isn’t them all of course, but they are the ones that are progressing the most and the ones I tend to talk about the most.  Hopefully that helps you keep them clear. 
            My breakfast every morning is either an orange, a mango, or a bunch of bananas.  Then lunch is however much food I can hold at a member’s house, always beans and rice and a type of meat.  SO GOOD!  Then dinner is usually another orange, or more bananas.  Today was pizza, yes.    Every morning I do an ab workout and a flippen ton of pushups.  It’s the life.  I’m healthy.  I’m happy.
            Also, Please send me Peanut butter. 
DOMINGO (Sunday):  I haven’t seen the sun or a blue sky in 4 days.  Nor have I been completely dry.  But I’m loving the rain just not loving that the correlation between the amount of rain and number of lessons we have is almost exactly -1.  (I miss math, too)
            But today was a good day.  Before sacrament, Bishop signaled to me to come up on the stand and asked me to share an experience and testimony of the mission.  Before I could say anything, they started sacrament, and I was already in the program.  Haha.  He said to talk for about 5 minutes.  I was sitting on the stand next to Bishop, everyone in the congregation smiling and giving me thumbs up.  I stated thinking and planning what I was going to say, then the words, “take no thought before hand as to what you’ll say.”  So I just prayed for help and then continued praying until the counselor announced “We will first hear from Elder Macky.”  (Only American missionaries say my name right).  Then I got up and I wasn’t even nervous.  I said I couldn’t decide on one experience to share, but one of the most common experiences is teaching people who have no idea they have a loving Heavenly Father who loves them and has provided a way back to Him.  Then about how these moments are why I love being a missionary.  And then about how everyone can be a missionary.  You don’t need a black name tag. I never once felt nervous or like I didn’t know what to say.  THE GIFT OF TONGUES BABY!  Everyone seemed to be paying attention really well, which made me more confident while speaking and afterwards I figured they were all listening so hard because they understand my Portuguese as well as I understand theirs.   But that is fine.  It went well.
            Another thing pretty cool is Moneco, during sacrament, starting reading the Book of Mormon, and read the first pages, like the intro and the testimonies.  This is cool because he never reads!  We are maybe going to have to kind a cut him.  Stop by less often, which makes me sad.
            Haha, so lunch today was with 3 older ladies.  It was really good, as lunch always is, but that’s not why I am bringing it up.  There are 3 old black ladies, and look like your stereotypical down south voodoo magic old black ladies, and their house did a little bit too.  Elder Santos Melo was in the bathroom, and they were all drinking cha de maca (apple tea, totally legal).  Then one of them started talking into her cup, and the other two started snickering.  Then she said one more line, and all three of them spit their drinks everywhere laughing.  Like your stereotypical old black voodoo lady laughs.  Haha…so funny.
             After lunch, on our way to a lesson (which fell though), we saw a car that had slid off the road into the mud and was very stuck.  So we went to help.  We put bricks under the tires, and after 15 minutes of pushing and sliding the car came out, but with spinning tires and mud everywhere, all over me.  Mas faz parte.  Then the 2 guys turned down our contact we tried to make.  Slightly messed up.
            I also had cake 4 times today.  It’s the holiday of the south, which I know nothing about except that everyone made churrasco, and I got none.  At a house later in the evening with a huge family, like extended family and stuff, they just kept throwing food at me.  Then she asked, “Do you guys want cake?”  We replied, “No thanks.”  “Ok, I’ll just get you small pieces.”   Yep.  Welcome to Brazil.  And by small pieces, she went half the cake for the both of us.  But it was SO good, so I ate it not to be rude.
            This week was a hard week for lessons because of the rain.  Nobody wants to open their doors when it is raining.  But I’m staying positive.  We had 5 investigators at sacrament today!  THAT IS AWESOME!
            So, I made a mistake today I think.  At the house of a member to wish him happy birthday.  The kids were playing on the computer.  Then, one of them went onto google and without thinking I said, “Hey!  Do you guys want to see my house?”  So, we looked it up.  They just kind of looked at it.  Then the oldest kid, about 14 years old, said “That’s really your house?”  I realized that I was in their house which is the size of my room.  I’m never looking up my house for people here again.  It’s hard to explain how spoiled I felt at that moment.  So I quickly changed it to looking at the temples.
            I’ve almost finished my first transfer!  My odds of a new companion and a new area are about 2% I think.  Which is fine.  I love this area and I’m just starting to get to know the people.  They might close the area of the other Elders, so we would get their area along with ours, which is HUGE!  And also means I get my own bathroom.   haha.  But nothing is know for sure!  More details to come, stay tuned.
Over and Out.
I’m glad everyone is doing good.  I love you all!
Elder McKee