Monday, November 30, 2015

Elder, Comb Your Hair!

SEGUNDA (Monday):  Today was fantastic and much needed.  I got the letter dad sent me last p-day I had missed, and it changed the way I was looking at everything.  The spirit was working in me while I was reading it, and I was crying right there in the computer place (nobody saw).  I printed his letter, and I’ve read it about 7 times since this morning, and tears threaten to come every time I read it, and when I think about it, too.  Thank you, dad, for being aware of the promptings of the spirit to send me that letter and share that part of your mission with me.  I learned that I am called of God to a certain area.  After some time, I am called to a new area, and am replaced by others called by the same power in the former area.  It is not my job to worry about the work in my old area, because that could hinder my focus in my new area.  My job is to, in every area I am called, do my best everyday, leave the area better then I found it.  What the elders do with my work after I leave is beyond my power to control.  What IS in my power to control is my work in the NEW area.  If the new elders tear down what I built, maybe that’s just because future missionaries need to build it up a little different.  Like dad said, “Your work may not go as you expect, but it is always going forward.”  This isn’t my mission.  These aren’t my 2 years.  They belong to the Lord, and I am here to work hard in what I am given.
            I promise I would write more this week, so let me tell you about Israel a little.  He’s a new investigator we met in a lesson with Valdenir, who is a Pastor.  Israel is old, like 70, and he has a wife who was baptized 15 years ago.  It’s his granddaughter I accidently called beautiful.  Today in a short lesson with him and his wife Vela, I asked Vela if she remembered how the classes work and the different meetings at church.  She said, yes, and Israel said she had told him about them.  We invited them to go with us this Sunday, and they both happily and readily accepted!  Then Israel said, “and what if I go and I like it so much that I want to stay?”  Ha-ha.  I almost said that that is our goal!  He’s a cool guy.  And he has a big family that lives there close to him.  So, we tried to set up a family home evening.  It’s rough as Israel put it, “A family that doesn’t want God”.  But we’re going to work hard with them. 
            Also, remember how I told you about how President Parrela came to our church yesterday?  Well, today he called Elder Donoso and had him put him on speaker, and talked to us all.  He talked about exact obedience.  He called each by name about something, indirectly saying, “I know you have a problem with this.  Stop.”  It was actually kinda funny. He had talked to everyone about something, except me.  Then he said, “And Elder McKee,”  “Yes, President?”  “Comb your hair.  Don’t just push it with your hand.”  “Yes, President.”  Ha-ha, but he talked about certain music, when we wake up, condition of the house, use of time and of members.  It made me think I’m not the only one who told him about how something’s are here, because he talked about what I had said, and other things I had left out.
            I took a picture of everything I received today.  Candy and peanut butter and CARMEL!  YES!  And Grandma’s handkerchiefs turned out AWESOME!  I’m so excited to give one to Albertinha.  I didn’t eat any of the candy, except for a few starbursts.  I gave the rest of the starbursts to the house, and I’m saving the candy for the members.  I’m so excited to give it to them.

            So, also, I’m fat.  Chubby!  Yep, at lunch yesterday Fort told me he could tell I’m eating well because of my cheeks (the ones on my face, calm down!)  So, tomorrow I’m going to start running around the house!
            So, we had a recent convert, Santiago, in the other area.  He’s the 14 year old that was talking with Malena.  But his dad died a while back so I told him to get the name and go to the temple.  He showed desire to go but he didn’t have the money.  I told him about 3 weeks ago that if he gets the name I’ll pay for it for him. Yesterday I reminded him of our deal, and he talked with Bishop and Bishop is going to help him get it all printed.  WOOT WOOT!  Santiago also asked if he could do his grandparents.  I said, OF COURSE!  Today was day 139 of my mission.
TERCA (Tuesday):  Yes!  Such a good day today!  We had our district meeting, and it went very good.  Then, we went to a road, and all our plans fell through, so I said, “Elder, we will not leave this road until we have 6 new addresses.”  So, we started walking,.  We made contacts with some people who seemed very good, and marked for other days.  Then, we knocked at one house, and a guy came out, saw us, and said, “Wait a second, I’ll go get him.”  Ha-ha.  I had never even seen this house before.   Another man came out and said, “Are you guys from Salgado Filho?”  “Yes”  “Me too.  I’m a member.  The missionaries were helping my wife prepare for baptism.  But they mentioned a transfer and now it’s been about 2 months without anyone coming.”  His name is Odair, wife is Vanessa.  The teaching referral doesn’t have their address, and the others never talked with Elder Santos Melo and I about them!  But I marked a day to return there and talk with them.  Ha-ha.
            Then we went to a women named Eva. She’s about 2 years inactive, and is actually not all there in the head.  She is crazy.  She has a house of wood that is falling over.  Behind it is the wall of bricks for a house, which was never finished.  It’s been that way for 10 years at least.  The house she’s living in was quickly put together years ago while she waited for the real house to be finished.  Then, for some reason, they stopped, and for a long time she’s been in the shack. The real house has no floor, just dirt and grass and trash, and no roof.  The shack has wires tied to the walls that are of a 60* angle to keep them from falling.  It’s so sad.  Elder Felipe and I looked at the house today and there is one part that has 2 rooms and a bathroom that works.  We are going to talk to Bishop, go with a member of the ward, and put in a cement floor and ceiling for her.  I swear that wood house will cave in on her one day if we don’t.  We won’t finish the whole house right now, but just the part.  It will be much better.  When we tried explaining to her what we wanted to do, she didn’t understand anything.  Just talked about random stuff.  But if we wrote it down, she would read it and understand and have ideas.  It’s interesting.  She’s excited to return to church.  She did her hair red to be all pretty


            Today, I also wrote letters for you guys that I’ll send this Monday!  Today was day 140 of my mission.  5 MONTHS!!
QUARTA (Wednesday): So yep, I liked today a lot.  It was a good day.  Remember that family I told you guys about?  Parents and a son.  We passed by again today.  Excited because they showed tons of potential, and he come out and said they want nothing to do with our church. They’re happy with the church they have, and they don’t want to change.  We talked for a little and he let us in.  We watched the 20-minute restoration video with them.  They were still nice, and participated, and they liked the movie.  We talked about it after, and they spirit was there and I could tell they were thinking about the message a lot.  We are going to keep passing.  Just change our approach a little.
            The members in this ward are awesome.  We had a teacher come up to us and tell us he wants to start preparing for his mission, so what day can he go do lessons with us?  Today Antao, one of the ward missionaries I’ll take a picture with and send, went with us today to introduce us to an inactive, yet very receptive old woman and her granddaughter.  They want to start going to church again.  WOOT WOOT!  Then, when we were returning, Antao said, “We don’t’ have time right now, but Ragelhio and Serlei live down there.  They’re old investigators I don’t think got passed to you guys that are really good.  Pass by my house again Friday at 7:30 and we’ll go there.”  Ha-ha.  Whatever you say, Antao.
            Ha-ha, so this morning 2 women clapped at our gate.  They saw me through the window, and said, “We’re passing from house to house leaving these pamphlets about prayer and talking about the importance of prayer.  Can we please enter and do a prayer with you?”  Ha-ha.  We accepted their pamphlets, but not their offer of a prayer.  I was in the process of grabbing a pamphlet about the gospel for them, when Elder Felipe told them goodbye and they left.  Ha-ha, But it was pretty funny.
QUINTA (Thursday):  Today was slow, but god.  I’m exiting it right now with writing in my journal and my apple tea.  I don’t know why but today it was very hard for me to concentrate, but today was a struggle.
            We went with Sergio, a construction worker, to look at the house of Eva that we are going to redo. Within the next few weeks we are going to start on it.  I took a few pictures of what it is now.  There is one where you can see the wire that is holding the house wall up.  It makes me mad that her kids leave her living like she is.  But we’re going to fix her up a good little house.
            We stopped by the Priest again, and he let us in out of the rain.  We talked for a while about the Book of Mormon.  Then somehow we were studying and talking about the genealogy of Genesis.  We mentioned the name Laban and he said, “the same Laban in Genesis 24?  The father in law of Jordan?”  We looked it all up and yep alright, he was right.  The Jacob who had Joseph who was sold into Egypt married the 2 daughter of Laban.  Laban was also the uncle of Jacob.  My name is also Jacob.  Just saying.  We explained that no, not the same Laban (well, I’m 96% sure it’s not the same.)  I don’t think he has any intent in anything other then a friendship with young men who also study and know the scriptures he can talk and debate with.  We don’t pass very often, but he’s good to talk to.
            ALSO!  I’ll have a division tomorrow and I’ll return to my area!!  Ha-ha, I’m so excited.  Don’t know who we will visit, but I’m excited.  Today was day 142 of my mission.
SEXTA (Friday):  So today we did a division, and I was with Elder Donoso, in his area, which is my old area.  So, I was excited.  Today was a good day. Even though we spent the whole day going to different dentists to get his teeth looked at.  Remember how he was staying home because he wasn’t feeling good?  Well, all of his wisdom teeth are pushing out the other teeth. They’ve already left the gums, and he can hardly do anything.  So he needs to get them taken out fast.  So yes, I repented today for judging him.
            We had our lesson today with Daniel and Dida.  Daniel has 11 years and Dido has 12.  They were my investigators and they are awesome.  They really, really want to be baptized, and they were really happy to see me again.  Man, I miss them.  I took them skittles and they LOVED them!  Their baptism date is next Saturday.  It’ll be awesome.
            Really not much to write about today, just the one lesson.  But today was good.  Today was day 143 of my mission.
SABADO (Saturday):  Well today was a good day even if it was the saddest Thanksgiving dinner I’ve ever had.  The food I made was fine, but the other American in my house, Elder Jawwad, didn’t’ eat with me.  I’ll explain why in a bit.
            So, we started an English and Spanish class today in the church.  40 minutes after it started, the first who people walked in.  Ha-ha, 2 children, investigators that are awesome.  Daniel and Dido.  After that we cleaned the church.
            Then we were at the house of some members who helped us a lot.  We got to their house a little late because we were buying food so my comp could make them some food from Natal.  So, we stayed a little longer.  It was like a nice dinner family home evening, thanks to them.  Well, we got home back to the house 15 minutes late, which for some reason ticked off Elder Donoso, who today was the first time he WAS on time.  So, he shut himself and Elder Jawwad in the room.  I think they were in an argument over something, too.  Elder Jawwad and I have been looking forward to our little Thanksgiving dinner since I got the food in the mail.  There was no way I was going to let anyone keep me from eating my turkey, potatoes and gravy, but I saved some for Elder Jawwad for tomorrow.  Pies, too.  THE PIES ARE SO GOOD!!  I LOVE YOU MOM!!
            Top 10 things I’m grateful for:
1) The atonement and gospel of Jesus Christ       2) My family and all their support
3) My mission            4) Scriptures             5) My friends who write me
6) My other friends              7) My education        8) The priesthood I hold
9) THE GIFT OF TONGUES               10). Sunsets.
Today was day 144 of my mission.

DOMINGO (Sunday):  WOOT WOOT for church.  Today was a good day.  I took all of the candy I had and passed it out to people.  Let’s just say I’m loved.  Ha-ha.  Sandra came up to me at church and said I need to talk to Camile, because she hasn’t been reading the Book of Mormon in 2 weeks.  I just sat and talked to her a little, and it seemed to help her.  So, that made me feel good, knowing I had been able to help her stay on the path again.  And I sat next to Albertihna in sacrament.  Ha-ha, she had so many questions, and it felt like I was talking to Grandma, “How are you?  Are the people accepting you?   Are you eating good?” 
            So, also, last night while I was making a video on my camera, the screen went black, and now it won’t light up at all.  The camera part still works, I just can’t see anything. The screen monitor is totally black.
            So, we got back into the house tonight and everyone was short tempered and I could tell everyone was tense waiting for an excuse to snap and argue.  So, being the patient, intelligent person I am, I gave everyone a glow stick, turned off all the lights, then showed them how to light them.  The Brazilian and Chilean FLIPPED!! Elder Jawwad had already seen them, of course.  But, then I took a shower and ate while they had Jedi wars and laughed.  Today was day 145 of my mission!

Extra from an email to Mom and Dad:  So, this week in my studies I am reading in Mathew. I read about the part when Judas betrayed Jesus, for 30 pieces of silver. Then I got to thinking, everyone always hates on Judas because it’s like ´really Judas? The Savior of the world for 30 pieces of silver? ´ But then I thought, how often do we betray our Savior? And for what? Jesus suffered for all of our sins. So, when we sin, aren’t we making him suffer more. This was part of the plan of course, but how often do we think to ourselves ´oh this isn’t a big deal? I’ll just do it real fast. ´ Is that not a form of betrayal when we deliberately sin and ignore the atonement of Christ. I got to thinking about the moments of pride, a flash of pleasure, things of the world that we sometimes trade for righteousness. Of course, we can always return to the path. We can always repent and change our ways. But I don’t think Judas is the only one to turn his back to Christ. I think we all have done so at one time or another. But we can always return, because as Alma says, the arms of mercy are extended, and all who repent will be received. 
My time is up!! I love you guys!! Stay strong!! Thanks you so much for all the support!! And prepare yourselves for my terrible English on Christmas. If I start just ramble in Portuguese, just nod like you understand. :) Love you all!! Until next week!
Elder McKee

 Elder Donoso must have stole Jake's camera for a minute...
 Elder Felipe and Donoso

Monday, November 23, 2015

Best Hamburgers Ever!

SEGUNDA (Monday):  P-day again!  Today was good.  We 4 elders all put in about 30 reais and bought a ton of food for the house, which was cool.  I found real M&M’s and milky ways, which was cool.  We actually have a good solid plan for tomorrow, which is cool.  Good day.  I love talking with my family.  I think the 3 of us being able to speak English bothers my companion.  I try and stick to Portuguese when he’s around and even when he’s not.  I like speaking Portuguese.  But I’m working on that.  Today was a good day.  I’m excited for a new week of new investigators.  So, that site I told you about of my videos I’m going to give you guys, it’s got about 25 videos on it right now.  Ha-ha.  And I’m going to make more.  Merry Christmas, ya’ll.  Today was day 132 of my mission.
TERCA (Tuesday):  Today was a good day.  We had a very good lesson, with Vanessa.  Talked about the Book of Mormon.  Her stepdaughter is living with them, who is 6 years inactive, but showed a lot of interest.  We marked a family night with them Saturday, and I invited some members because they need friends in the ward.
            Then, we had a lesson with Sergio, who is smoking and drinking a LOT.  But we’re going to continue working with him.  We really need new investigators and today I don’t feel like we put forth our best effort to get them.  We had good lessons, but we slacked on knocking doors and contacting addresses. Tomorrow will be better.
            Today I did stay more positive.  And at the zone meeting, President Parella showed up and asked to talk to me.  He showed me the pictures of him with Roy and had me help him text them to you.  I don’t know if you got them or not.  Then he talked to me about how much trust he put in me to organize the work in this area.  He said it’s obvious in my posture and the way I hold myself that I am a leader, but that for right now he’s put me in a spot to learn to lead from the background, and help others learn to lead.  He said my time to lead will come, but for now I need to take it easy and learn to obey.  He said to help Elder Felipe feel like he’s leading the companionship.  Ha-ha.  President really knows how to put your mind at ease and make you feel good.  Today is day 133 of my mission.
QUARTA (Wednesday):  YES!!  TODAY WAS AWESOME!!  We found 4 new investigators that are GREAT!  And Felipe accepted the baptism day of the 5th of December.  One of the new people we found we actually met when we were in a lesson with Valdenir, the Pastor.  His name is Israel.  His wife is already a member, inactive for years.  Then after the lesson about the plan of Salvation, he walked us around to introduce us to some family that lives there close.  His granddaughter, who appeared to be about 16-17, has one dark brown eye, and the other is like a bright, bright sky blue.  And they’re all black.  It was actually really pretty and I tried to say so, but I said, “You’re beautiful” woops.  Ha-ha.
            The other 3 are a family that older.  Parents and their 25+-year-old son.  It went very good, but we need to go back because they had a lot of questions about a lot of different things, so we kinda taught 5 different lessons, ha-ha.
            Also, the other elders are telling me about my old investigators, that are progressing.  Denise and Mauricio started the marriage process when I was there with Santos Melo and didn’t say anything!  Daiana and Rodrigo received answers and want to be baptized, but they have a ways to go.
            I’ll elaborate on the 16-17 year old I called beautiful.  Israel said, “Ela’ e linda Nao e?”  And I thought he was talking about the eyes, and I said, ‘Yes, Fo mal” ha-ha.  But today was a very good day and I am very happy.  WOOT WOOT!  Today was day 134 of my mission.
QUINTA (Thursday):  Woot Woot!  Good day, and we have a great day planned for tomorrow!  We found one new investigator named Lenir.  We taught her the restoration and it was awesome.  She understood everything, and accepted it all very easily.  Elder Felipe and I were trading off very well.  The spirit was there.  So flippen cool!  And she had a lot of sweet old bibles she showed us.  When she wasn’t looking, I took a pass along card and circled the churches website and slipped it in a random page.  Am I smart or what?
            Also, I think one of these days, P-day, I am going to go to an eye clinic and get some glasses.  I’m fine without them, but then I remember how much better I can see with them.  And my glasses at home are the wrong prescription.  They didn’t help much.
            So, today at the house of Neli, an investigator who is pretty old, she has a handicap daughter who is also oldish.  She wanted to go outside, and Neli wouldn’t let her.  She got very mad and grabbed the gospel of Jesus Christ pamphlet out of her hand and ran out of the room.  So, I gave Neli a new one and we continued.  Then she came back, and saw the new pamphlet and got even madder.  She grabbed a sandal and tried to smack my head, but I blocked it with my arm.  Then she started smacking Neli.  It was awful, but Neli got her more or less under control.  I was more scared of the chimarrao she had in her hand.  It’s very hot water, and I was afraid she was going to throw it on Neli or one of us.  But she didn’t.  Then she left, and we hurried and left the house, because she was angry with us.  We told Neli we’d come back another day.
            One thing about when President told me to relax and let others lead, primarily Elder Felipe, my senior Comp.  I think that it was really good he told me that.  Today, I stopped assuming the front, and let Felipe lead.  I didn’t agree with everything he did, and I feel like we could have had a more productive day.  I wasn’t passive, don’t think that, I just did what I was told.  I voiced my opinion when needed.  Things seemed smoother that way, but less productive. Parella said, right now, I need to learn to obey before I can lead.  So that’s what I’m doing.
            I also have learned it’s better to square your shoulders and look people in the eye in the street, even if you trip over the occasional rock, then to stare at your feet and miss the people.  Present yourself in a way that shows the importance of the message you carry.  Today was day 135 of my mission.

SEXTA (Friday):  Today was a one of those days when literally everything flaked, and we walked and walked.  One good thing thought, and that’s that the church is true.  So, that being said, today was a good day.  I also bought burgers for the 4 of us, just to top it all off. These hamburgers were hamburger, chicken, bacon, sausage, egg, tomato, peas, corn, lettuce, and mayo.  So good.

I really don’t have much to write about today.  I’ll share something I’ve been working on.  About a week ago at the zone meeting we had a training about having courage to do what’s needed.  I’ve kept that in mind, to have courage and faith.  Courage doesn’t always mean overcoming things that are scary, sometimes things you don’t want to do.  Some times when you know a person won’t accept you, it takes courage to still talk to them.  When you don’t want to slap at yet another door, it takes faith to keep going with the hope that one of them will be the one you’re searching for.  I’ve been trying to apply this, and I’ve seen a big difference.  Not yet in results and numbers necessarily, but in my attitude.  It was a lot better and I felt more confidence in speaking and making contacts.  So that’s good.  Today was day 136 of my mission.
SABADO (Saturday):  We had a family night with the family of Vanessa today and it went great!  We took 2 young adults from the ward with us, because they need friends in the ward.  They ARE going to go to church tomorrow.  The stepdaughter of Vansessa, who’s 23 and now lives with them and is 6 years inactive showed huge desire to go tomorrow.  It’ll be good.
            Really if I’m going to be honest, I’m ready for a new area.  I love the people here, and it’ll be sad for me when I leave, but I want a new start.  I think I’ll be here until February.  Of course I’ll happily serve where I’m told to, but a change of scenery would be nice.  I don’t have much to write about again, because we are cleaned the church, for a long time.  Today was day 137 of my mission.
DOMINGO (Sunday):  Woot Woot!  Good Day!  Going to church always makes me feel better.  We had a meeting as well with the ward mission leader and a missionary of the ward, and came up with a lot of good ideas.  Then, in ward council, they helped us a lot.  Bishop said, “alright, these two are opening a new area and have very little to work with.  Everyone think about any less actives in their area, or old investigators.”  We have a lot of references and marked days to go with the members to their houses.  So good.  It’s going to be a great week.  This ward is awesome.  Also, we walked out of Elders Quorum, and in the hallway were President and sister Parrela!  Ha-ha.  They spoke in sacrament, and President said something I really liked. 
            “A saint is just a sinner who keeps trying.”  All of us know that everyone sins.  But what makes a saint is the person who let’s their sins and trials be a lesson to them, then use the atonement of Christ to be clean again and try again.  Mosiah 26:30.  This is the purpose of the sacrament, to renew our baptismal covenant and try again.  It really shows how much we need this.  That God made it so we start anew every 7 days. 
            All in all this week was a good one, and I’m ready for this week that’s coming, because it’s going to be a week of new investigators!! Woot Woot. Today was day 138 of my mission.
I love you all, Elder McKee
Elder Jawwad, Elder Donoso, Elder Felipe, and Jake

Monday, November 16, 2015

It's all Grand and in the Lord's Hand

November 3, 2015
TERCA (Tuesday):  AHHH  P-Day!  Man, I love p-days.  The only that would make it better is if I could have p-days and teach all day at the same time.  I love teaching.  Today was really good.  I’ll tell you what, it’s a good feeling when you’re describing to a person the type of envelope you want to buy and it’s no problem!
            Elder Santos Melo received a call today.  He’s going to be a zone leader, which means he has a 99.99% chance of leaving this area.  Which means I’m for sure staying here!  WOOT WOOT!!  I love this place.  And I might be training which makes me nervous.  But I don’t think I will train and here’s why.  Last week when I sent a letter to President about braking down the door, I made it sound like the key broke, and I right away smashed down the door.  His reply, that I got today, he was NOT happy with me.  He said the door would be replaced at my expense.  Which is fine.  But the fact that he thinks I just smashed it in on an act of rebellion, I don’t like that.  But Elder Santos Melo sent a letter today explaining it all to him.  I’m not too worried.  It’s chill.
            So, I’m really working on focusing on the work.  It’s so easy to think about family or friends, or imagine life after the mission, but that’s not my focus right now.  3 Nephi 5:13, “I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  I was called by Him to announce his word to the people, so that they can have eternal life” (not exact, I’m reading it in Portuguese and translating.)  I like to compare that verse with Corinthians 13:11.  I’m here to do the will of Him that send me. (John 6:38, and so that’s what I’ll do with all my heart, might, mind, and strength (D&C 4:2) because the Kingdom of God is near (Mark 1:15).  Today is day 119 of my mission.
QUARTA (Wednesday):  Today was good, even if mostly all of our plans fell through.  We still had a good lesson.  We also got our zone t-shirts which Elder Muniz designed.  He drew out all the missionaries.  Let me explain my photo.  ONE time, during a division, Elder Muniz asked me if he could look at my photos.  He saw the one of me with the sister wives holding the picture of Joci.  He didn’t comment or anything, but when we saw the picture, he said, “And Elder McKee trunky”.  Haha, it’s me crying, holding a picture of Joci.

          Also, Today, Albertina called Irma Zeni, the sister in our ward in charge of our lunches, and said she wanted us to come to her house for churrasco on Saturday, so she switched the lunches.  Ha-ha.  That’s what I’m talking about!!
            Today we found the missionary bus!  Ha-ha.  Pictures included.  “Os missionaries de Cristo”  WOOT WOOT! 

I’m super excited for this next transfer, and I’m sure excited to see who my next companion will be.  Today is day 120 of my mission.  Read Song of Soloman 1:5.  I think it describes me good, and I wish I had found it sooner in life.
QUINTA (Thursday): Transfers!!  But first, before I tell you about what’s going down, lets talk about what a good day today was. Lesson with Sergio and his 76-year-old mom was there too.  She appears 50 though.  But she’s not a member, but a lot of their family is.  Her grandson leaves on a mission Wednesday, so she already knew a lot.  But we talked about the interview questions for baptism with Sergio, and as he was answering the questions she started crying.  Then at the end, when he gave a VERY beautiful prayer, she started crying again.  And she had such a proud look on her face.  This gospel really does make people happy even if they don’t fully accept it.
            Albertina!  We talked about the Book of Mormon.  It was very good.  I always feel the spirit in our lessons with her.  Denise and Maurico are still progressing and will marry and will be baptized!  Woot Woot!
            Soooo… Transfers.  Dear Elder McKee, you are called to serve in the… Salgado Filho B area!  Here’s the deal.  My first area= Salgado Filho A. Then they closed B, which made my area Salgado Filho. Now, it will reopen, and I’m in Salgado Filho B.  No more Albertina, no more Sandra and Carlinhos, Eliandro, Angela and Serenir.  It’s kind of sad, because when we got area B with ours a lot of the investigators in B were lost, like the ones that aren’t the focus.  Now, with A being opened with 2 elders that don’t know the area at all, a lot of our “not focus” investigators will be lost, too.  But hey, it’s all-good in the hood.  I’m super excited.  We haven’t told Albertiana yet because she will cry a lot.  Today is day 121 of my mission.
SEXTA (Friday):  Woot Woot!  Today was great.  Great lesson with Segio!  He’s basically blind, so we’re waiting for a BIG book of Mormon to come in the mail, and until then we are reading the Book of Mormon with him after every lesson.  He understands very well and is able to talk about it with us.
            Daniel and Duda, 11 and 12 years old, and their grandma are doing awesome as well.  They pay attention VERY well.  Today, we committed the kids to baptism on the 21st.  And they were very excited.  Grandma also but she will need more work.  But we read 2Nephi 31:19 with them, and Daniel said, “I already read this,” Duda ran and grabbed her Book of Mormon and it had a bookmark. They had read what we left them!  All three of them!  So cool!!  Ha-ha.  They are awesome family.  They heard that we wouldn’t be their missionaries anymore, so the kids prepared a present for us.  It was a container of yeast.  Ha-ha.  You know how yeast makes bread rise?  The note said, “To help you grow to the same size as Elder Santos Melo” ha-ha.  I died laughing.
            We also stopped by the house of Irma Mirian.  Her whole family is members.  The entire time I’ve been here, while we are in their house I try and catch the flies.  Never succeeded in their house.  TODAY there was a fly on the table while we were talking, and I swiped at it, AND CAUGHT IT!!  Mirian’s jaw dropped, and she whispered, “He did it.”  I said, “I did it.”  Elder Santos Melo said, “He did it!!”  Ha-ha it was like a scene in Mega-mind when he finally ‘kills’ Metroman.  THEN!  Another fly landed on my arm.  I swiped at it, AND CAUGHT IT IN THE OTHER HAND!!  I now have a live fly in each hand.  Mirian is cheering and calling all her kids into the room, they’re cheering, and I stand, bow, and let the flies go.  Nedir, 6 year old said, “Congratulations Elder”.  They’re shaking my hands, high fives.  Probably one of the proudest moments of my life.
            Also at Mirian’s house, talking about how we won’t be passing anymore, I say, “I want to pass again at the end of my mission, just to prove I actually learned Portuguese.”  Mirian says, “You’re already proved that!  No offense Elder, but when you first came, you didn’t speak or understand ANYTHING!”  Ha-ha, but she said I speak very well now.
            It’s going to be hard to leave this area to the other elders and stay in area B.  They won’t know the less actives and recent converts, or any of the investigators or key members.  But, Faz Porte.  Really, I’m not too worried.  They have the area book, and I can point them in the right direction.  It’ll be nice to focus in one area, give these people the attention they need.  And I’ll stay with Sergio.  That’s good.  I’m doing a lot better about focusing during the day.  Today is day 122 of the mission.
SABADO (Saturday):  Today was hard, but it was still good.  Albertina was our lunch today, and we told her about the transfers and how we’ll both be leaving.  She started crying, and said, “It’s hard, but it’s good you two are going to change people lives like you’ve changed mine.”  I’ll still see them at church while I’m here, so that’s good.  They are an incredible family and I’m excited to see them baptized. 
            We had another good lesson with Vanessa today.  PMG says you can know you’re teaching by the spirit if you learn from your own words, and that happened during this lesson to me.  We read parts of 2Nephi 31, and talked about baptism, why it is important, what we promise, what God promises us, why Christ was baptized.  I asked Vanessa, “Why do you think Christ was baptized?”  She thought for a moment then I asked, “What happens when we are baptized?”  “We get the Holy Ghost and a remission of our sins…but Christ already had the Holy Ghost, and he had no sins…I don’t know why he was baptized.”  John 3:5.  then, we talked about how it is a commandment, and even the only perfect man to walk the earth followed it.  So, how much more need have we to follow.  Then, we talked about the sacrament, and how it renews our covenant we make at baptism.  I said, “when we made the covenant at baptism, what happened to our sins?”  “They are forgiven”.  “Yes, so what happens every week to them when we renew that covenant?”  “Forgiven Again?”  It really was an amazing lesson.  I could tell things were clicking in her head, and she was starting to understand the WHY.  She’ll be baptized.  She just lacks marriage, and right now Paulo, her ‘husband’ has a problem with his eye and is 100% blind.  But only in one eye, so really he can still sign a paper.
            I’m worn out right now, like I am every day, but I’m excited for tomorrow.  CHURCH BABY!!  WOOT WOOT!  That’s what I’m talking about!
            Oh!  So, today at the house of an inactive who’s inactive because she can’t walk to church, she was describing this machine she saw somewhere.  Her and Elder Santos Melo were AMAZED and fascinated.  I’ll describe it how she described it.  It has two shelf things that pull out of the big box like drawers individually.  It has a big door on the front.  You pull out the drawers, and they’ll hold plates, cups, anything really except a big pan.  You put some soap in, shut the door, and it shoots hot water on the tableware, and when it’s done, it’s all-clean. Ha-ha.  You guessed it.  A dishwasher.  Neither of them has EVER seen one before.  They were amazed.  Ha-ha, it was so funny.  Today is day 123 of my mission.         
DOMINGO (Sunday):  Another week came and gone faster then I would like.  Today was a good day, full of good byes.  Not for me, because I’ll be staying here, but for Elder Santos Melo.  And some good byes for me to the people I won’t be visiting nay more.  That part was sad.  
            Today was a good day, a good end to the week.  One thing I forgot to mention, PMG says that if your investigator has committed a serious crime, or killed someone, his or her interview must be with the mission president.  Many years ago, Sergio was in an accident, which was 100% his fault in which someone died, maybe 2.  He’s done all the punishment and stuff he needs to do legally, but his interview will probably need to be with President Parrela.  So, I don’t’ know if his baptism will be this week or not.  Hopefully yes.  This next week will be a week of new investigators.  We’ll be building our group of teaching this week and the next.  It’ll be great.  Today is day 124 of my mission. 
November 9, 2015
SEGUNDA (Monday):  P-Day!  Today was great!  Then after a family home evening with the family of Albertina and the family of Sandra and Carlinhos, it was awesome.  And the last time, but it’s fine.  I’ll return.  Also I said goodbye to Elder Santos Melo today.  Tonight, I’m sleeping on the floor at the house of the other elders.  Tomorrow I’ll spend the whole day at the bus station waiting for the 3 new elders in my area.  The first comes at 12:30, his companion comes at 3:30, and then my comp comes at 7:30.  Should be a fun day.   Today is day 125 of my mission.  I’ll write more tomorrow then half a page, I promise.
TERCA (Tuesday):   So, here’s what went down today.  My area got 3 new elders  who are awesome.  My companion is Elder Felipe.  He’s from NATAL.  That’s cool.  He has 9 months in the mission.  Elder Donoso who is from Chile, speaks English and Spanish.  Elder Jawwad, American with citizenship also in Panama and Brazilian parents.  Before my companion came, the three of us were in the house, and Elder Donoso is explaining something, and I didn’t understand a word.  I asked, he started to explain, then said, “What am I doing?”  And continued talking in English.  Ha-ha.  So funny.  Before this I had no idea he spoke English.
            Here’s a review of my day.  Elder Donoso came at 12:30.  I’m with Elder Bispo dos Santos for the time being in the morning.  We go to lunch, and are about to get on a bus to go to the bus station to pick up Donoso.  We get a call that he is already in a taxi on his way to the house of Bispo dos Santos.  So, we speed walk to his house, get in the taxi with him, drive to my house, drop off his stuff, and return to center to go to the bank for him.  Then, we go to the chapel to wait until 3:30 to go pick up Elder Jawwad, companion of Donoso.  We get to the bus stop at 3:40 and get a call that Jawwad is in a taxi heading for my house.  But he knows nothing about anything so he gets dropped of at a chapel.  Donoso hops in a taxi alone to go get him and I stay with Bispo dos Santos to wait for his companion at 4:30.  He comes, then taxi to their house, and I continue alone to my house and stay with Donoso and Jawwad until about 8 when my companion came in a taxi.  WOOT WOOT!  Everyone made it!  Then I realize just how terrible our house was.  Dirty!  So while they were unpacking, I cleaned EVERYTHING!  It’s so good now, and I’m still working.  Today is day 126 of my mission.
QUARTA (Wednesday):  Today was a good day.  We’re going to work to get a lot of new investigators.  So, Sergio, My baptism this Saturday, his wife who technically owns the house, and who he’s separated from wants to move back in and is kicking him out, so he’s moving to PORTO ALEGRE!  It’s not even our mission.  It’s sad, but I gave him a number to call when he gets there.  He’s leaving Saturday.  MAN!  That’s hard.
            Elder Felipe is really good.  Love the guy.  All the elders here are awesome now!  The other elders did great in my other area too.  Met a lot of people.  They’ll do great.  I’m excited.
            We had a good lesson today with some recent converts about the temple.  They’re preparing to go.  They had some questions and it went very good.  Everyone likes Elder Felipe.  It’s all good.
            He doesn’t know anything about here, so I’m taking lead 100% in everything.  That’s cool.  Ha-ha.  I actually really like it.  He said we’re going to be a companionship of 2 senior comps, not junior and senior.  Today is day 127 of my mission.                                                                                       
QUINTA (Thursday):  I can sum up today in two words.  Knocking Doors. B ut I’ll elaborate a little more then 2 words.  We knocked or clapped doors forever!  I got a bunch of addresses from the area book, and we went to all of them.  Now, I have 25 others to contact tomorrow.  It was raining, so nobody was answering, and those that did, didn’t want us in their houses soaking wet.  But, today was a good day.  Elder Felipe is very good.  He has a very good attitude.  I think he could tell I was starting to feel down, so he said let’s just sit for a little.  For like 5 minutes we sat and talked, then went back to work. After 4 hours of knocking doors, tracking down addresses, we returned to our house for a little to eat dinner, and grab a few more contacts.  It’s much better when we are teaching but we got a lot of new addresses today to return to one day.  Sorry my writing quality has dropped a little.  Today we had a few lessons, so I don’t have much to write about.  Today is day 128 of my mission.
SEXTA (Friday):  More knocking addresses. But today was good.  We’re just in the stage of proving our faith before the blessings come.  I’m happy.  It’s fine.  The other elders are all excited about the baptism dates they have set up with my old investigators.  So, I find strength and inspiration that my old investigators are making such good progress.  We just need to find more here in this other side.  The members are helping a lot.  I’m still practicing my door contacts.
            So today we went to meet with the ward mission leader, but it was an hour later then we thought, and the other elders wouldn’t have time to return to their area, do a lesson, and come back, so they went with us to that Pastor I’ve told you about who knows the bible insane good and is all but blind.  It was funny because he, right away, pegged me as the leader and so I took the front in all of everything, with the other 3 backing me up and elaborating here and there.  It was a powerful lesson.  We taught the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Very cool.  He has so many questions that are very interesting and make you thing, but really have no value to our salvation. 
            I’m happy.  Everything is good.  I miss teaching, but we are still teaching, just less.  Hunting new investigators.  It’s all grand and in the Lord’s hand.  Yes, that rhymed and I just made it up on the spot.  Today is day 129 of my mission.
SABADO (Saturday):  Not going to lie, today was a hard one for me.  It didn’t help that we stopped by the house for a second at 4:00 and the other Elders were leaving.  They had done nothing thus far except lunch, at a member’s house. Then, tonight talking with them, they had fewer lessons then we did.  They almost have a progressing investigator on every street, no joke, and they’re accepted almost everywhere.  They were throwing knives in our backyard.  They talk and talk about how great this area is.  It’s an amazing area.  They’ve been handed paradise.  They don’t’ realize it’s such because Elder Santos Melo and I worked our tails off.  They’re good guys, but I just wish they would take the responsibility of the investigators I left them, more serious.  They say their area is easy.  Of course it is, right now, I left them a detailed list of a complete group of investigators.  Now, Elder Felipe and I are walking all day making contacts and trying to find new investigators.  Fighting for lessons.  Before, my group of teaching was 31 good investigators.  Now, I have 7, 2 of which we found this week.  The 26 I left are in the hands of knife throwers.
            But, today was good.  The lessons we had were good, and we really helped people feel the spirit today.  That’s good.  Yes, I’m upset about the other elders and the other area, but I know the transfer was how the Lord wants it because President Parrela is called of God.  I’ll do my part in the area I am called and my conscience will be clear, and I won’t be found guilty.  End each day knowing that despite the results I did my best, and my Lord accepts my work.
            We received a all from President Parrela today.  He talked with Elder Felipe for a while, and then talked to me.  He told me about how he met Roy and Cathy at a conference for Mission Presidents.  He passed a message from them to me, about how proud they are of me and the love they feel for me.  He said he told them about he type of missionary I am.  He said he told them I’m doing well.  He had a lot to share with me, and it’s a good thing I left the room because I almost started crying. Then he told me about the responsibility he’s trusted to me.  Yes, I’m the junior comp, but he said I’m here to organize the area.  I’m here to help the others with their investigators, and open this new area. 
            Today had it’s ups and downs but so long as the average rate of change is positive, I’m doing well.  I don’t’ care what the other missionaries do, or how much members want missionaries that stay in their house for 3 hours, my goal is to end everyday with a clear conscience knowing I gave that days due of my best to the Lord.  So long as I do that, everything will work out.  And today, I feel I did that.  Today is day 130 of my mission.
DOMINGO (Sunday):  Today was the first Sunday I didn’t have investigators come to church.  I don’t want to repeat that.  Lunch went well, Churrasco.  Then after we went to our area, Passed by 3 houses who didn’t answer, failed commitments, then Elder Felipe said he had a big head ache and he wanted to go back to the house.  That ticked me off, but I didn’t let it show.  We had just finished a fast together to find new investigators, and now we’re going to go sit in the house.  Everyone has a headache. But then I realized I was being insensitive, so I repented and we went back to the house.  And found the other elders there.  Here’s their day: church, until 12, then went to lunch, and came back to the house at 4, which was the same time they left lunch, and had been there until we came at 6.  Because Elder ate too much churrasco and was feeling sick. That also ticked me off.  All my investigators and people I’ve been helping, neglected, because this elder can’t get over a little stomachache.  But again, I didn’t let it show.  I’m working on compassion for others; which is something I’ve lacked all my life, I think.  I need to work on sympathizing with people, even when their excuses are pathetic.  So, the other healthy elder and I did a division, and left the two others in the house.  I showed him some more of his area, and took him to new houses he hadn’t met yet.  It was nice to be invited into houses again. 

            Really working on staying positive.  I know these missionaries were sent here for a reason, and so I’ll continue.  I’ll do what’s expected of me, and then a little more, and what the other’s do, or don’t do, will be on them.  But today was good.  I got to see Sandra and Carlinhos and Albertina at church.  That was good.  Really good.  I’m really starting to make good friendships in the ward.  This week has been a week of many prayers and even more disappointments.  But I’ll continue until I find the next success.  Today is day 131 of my mission.
Love, Elder Mckee
Elder Hawk, Jake
Elder Santos Melo and Jake
Jake, Mauricio
Sergio, Elder Santos Melo, Jake

 Elder Jawwad and Elder Donoso
 Elder Jawwad, Felipe, Donoso, and Jake....New housemates.