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