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.

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