Monday, December 21, 2015

Mission Christmas Party

Mom found these pictures on a mission fb page.  Jake is on the far right!
Jake is right in the middle next to the red present.  
 Merry Christmas from Santa Maria, Brazil!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Family Home Evening

Jake was at the Silva Family's house for Family Home Evening tonight.  It's his last night in the area, he will be transferred tomorrow about 60 miles north/west.  
They were so nice to feed him and send me pictures.  
Jake eating little negrinho's.  We've heard these are delicious!
 They gave Jake this mug as a going away gift.  It has a picture of a group on it with the name of the area. How great is that.  What a keepsake.
 Elder Felipe and Jake eating dinner.
 The family and the elders.  
 This family has been so great to Jake.  And it makes this mom happy
 that someone was taking care of him.

I got these pictures from Sister Prado on Facebook.
Jake finally gets to play with a dog.
 Elder Felipe and Jake
 He looks happy!
Thank you, Sister Prado!

Elder Yoda

Segunda (Monday):  BEST P-Day YET!  So we left the other elders to go back to the house.  We get a call from Elder Donoso, “Hey tche, so, there’s 8 packages here, 5 of which are for you.”  Ha-ha, and I also got 3 letters.  The other 3 packages were the three for them.  They got SO excited when Elder Donoso entered the house; he was carrying them all yelling, “HO, HO, HO”!  We started ripping them open, except for the 24 of Dezembro one!  (MOM:  I sent one for Christmas Eve, and wrote on the back of it not to open until then.)  Elder Donoso recognized the shape of the Toblerone, and flipped and started ripping off the paper just as Elder Jawwad read, “DO NOT OPEN UNTIL CHRISTMAS DAY!”  Donoso froze and slowly started putting the paper back.  Ha-ha.  But we all opened the Toblerones and we are saving the rest. THANK YOU SO MUCH!  Also Elder Felipe got that letter from Malena. I made a video talking about it, but I think he was really touched by that. He walked in the room while Donoso, Jawwad, and I were setting up the tree and said, “My sister also has 15 years, and she also loves purple.  Then he left again.  He doesn’t have much family support and it was good for him to get a letter, showing that someone was thinking about him.  They all FLIPPED over the pixi stixs and pop rocks, (Right now as I’m writing Elder Felipe is eating pop rocks and giggling and looking in the mirror) and the skittles…. we set a majority of them to the side to give to the families we will visit on Natal.  We are going to go in our Santa hats and beards.  We all are also wearing our Santa Hats at all moments in the house.  Elder Donoso used 2 beards as hair and a beard, and I sat on his lap just so I could send you a picture mom.  You’re welcome.  The tree is awesome. The message of MERRY CHRISTMAS is taped up on the wall.  All in All, Thank you!
 Also, how do you like my new journal?  Ha-ha, it’s a little bigger then my last one.  So we’ll be reading with Snoopy for the next while. It also has stickers!  So, the really good moments will get a sticker.
            Today was a great day.  A few things I forgot to email about.  For Christmas, I want one gift.  I want EVERYONE!  Family, friends, associates, and Josh, too, to find their favorite talk.  Some church talk.  Could be some devotional, general conference, or whatever.  Find it, if you can find it in Portuguese but if not it’s all good, print it, and on the last page write your testimony.  Then send them to my mom and she’ll send them to me.  Or just send them directly to me.  This way I have lots of study material, and the testimonies of family, friends, associates, and Josh.  Haha.  Seria O’timo!  Today was day 153 of my mission!
TERCA (Tuesday):  So here’s how today started.  Studies as normal, personal studies, then before we stared on comp study we left to ask a sister in the ward if we had lunch today or had to buy.  Just as we left the house, we get a call.  President.  Now, it’s been made very clear to everyone many times that you CANNOT leave your house before your hour of personal, and hour of companion study.  But with our district meeting today, making us already need to leave early, and our phone out of credit (The reason President was calling), we were going to run to her house, about a block away, grab the money for lunch, then return and do our studies.  The conversation with Elder Felipe and President went like this: Felipe, “Oi Presidente…Sim…No, we are not in the house…because…. yes, President.”  Then he hung up, and started walking back for home.  We got in the room, and President called again, had Felipe put him on speaker, and stared DRILLING us on about 5 things, one being  my hair and shoes.  ONE zone meeting where it wasn’t up to par.  Seriously all the other days they are perfect, but I think he needed something to point to me.  He kept saying he had expected more of us, that we are not taking our responsibilities as representative of Christ seriously.  That we are treating the mission like it is a joke.  I can bear most anything that people say, but when people honestly think I did something I didn’t do, I can’t stand it.  He talked and talked about obedience, diligence, and obedience again.  I am trying constantly to be a good missionary.  I follow every rule I know, (except this time of leaving the house), I talk to President about everything, and I’m honestly trying my best to magnify my calling.  Of course, I have a lot to improve and of course I mess up, but I honestly am trying my best.  The call lasted about 40 minutes.  After, Elder Felipe said, "I’m sorry companion, my fault.”
            THEN, we went to the district meeting and the rest of the day was pure gold.  
We found 2 new investigators today, met with a bunch of less actives, and recent converts, and had a good number of lessons with investigators.  It was a really good way to start off the week.  We were able to really help people feel the spirit today, and there wasn’t a moment of “what do we do now?”
            Then when we got home, Elder Jawwad told us about his day.  Donoso had stayed in the house, and Jawwad had left with members.  He had an AWESOME day also and told me al about it.  Then I got the idea, while listening to him talk, about how much he thought it helped the young member.  I talked to Donoso about it and when he heard it he said, “Elder McKee, this is the mind set of a missionary.”  My idea:  One day a week, we plan it with the young men of 17-19 years of age and we split into 4 companionships.  2 in each area.  We get twice as much work done, and we are using the members, especially the young men.  We are going to talk to bishop about it tomorrow. I think it would be awesome, and it would be a huge hit with the young men.
            Also, Elder Donoso said his stitches in his mouth were bothering him.  He was suppose to get them taken out yesterday, but the place was closed.  I included pictures of me using my headlamp, small scissors, and some tweezers to take them out for him. Ha-ha, and we will NOT be telling President about that.  I can just see the email being sent out:  “Missionaries are NOT to perform DO-IT-YOURSELF surgeries in the mission houses.”  I only took out 2, the other two were still pretty tight and I didn’t want to cut anything that shouldn’t’ be cut.  Today was a great day.  Today was day 154 of my mission.  22 Weeks.
QUARTA (Wednesday):  Today was a great day even if we split areas with Elder Jawwad because Elder Donoso was feeling bad again.  We had a good lesson with Israel, and I got to meet a new investigator from the other area.  She was awesome and I think that she will progress a lot. 
            Then we all bought cheeseburgers.  It rained a LOT today.  So nobody let us in, even the people we had planned with.  That’s hard.  But I’m ending today happy, and excited for tomorrow.  I might learn where I’ll be next transferred tomorrow!  Really not much to write about today.  Today was day 155 of my mission.
QUINTA (Thursday):  I’m BEING TRANSFERRED!  I’m going to Sao Luiz Gonzaga, a little tiny area and my companion will be ELDER POMPEU!  If you don’t remember him, go back to the very first journal page I sent home.  He has the same time as me, more or less.   He did his 12 days in the MTC, then came to the field the same day I entered the MTC.  His first area was the one I am in now.  We were in the same house, and very good friends.  I AM SO EXCITED!  But I’m also sad, I really wanted to pass Christmas here in Salgado Filho, but I’m ready and happy for a new area.  I’ll probably spend the next 6 months there, which means when I leave there I’ll have ONE YEAR!  Awww.   Man, that’s crazy.  I’m packing all my stuff already.  Just to give you an idea of how much we over packed.  I have 3 suitcases.  2, the bigger two, are full of stuff I haven’t even touched yet.  Ha-ha, I have about 10 shirts and only 2 are outside of the cases.  But now I have a lot of stuff to give companions because everyone wants a souvenir of their time with me. HAHA.
            Elder Felipe will stay here, and he’s going to be a trainer!  Ha-ha, that will be awesome.  Elder Jawwad will also stay here, but Elder Donoso will be leaving.  It’s crazy I’m already finishing my 3rd transfer in Brazil. 
            Today, in the house of an investigator, a person that was there visiting asked us what we thought ‘bad’ was.  Like what defines ‘good’ and ‘bad’.  If you think about it, it’s a really deep question.  We told him about the commandments, but he cut us off and said, “not sin, just good and bad.”  We thought for a minutes, then I said, “I don’t’ know any doctrine or scripture about this, but I think that bad is more then just breaking rules.  ‘Bad’ is when a person feels that something is wrong, but does it anyways.  It’s something personal, because a lot of times people doing something ‘bad’ in the moment they think they are in the right.  I think God will judge us, and especially those who never heard the gospel, but the times they went against what they thought to be right.”  That’s the abbreviated version of what I said, but he paused for a second and then thanked me for my answer.  But I kept thinking about that during the day. Really who establishes what is right and wrong?  Don’t the standards seem to change with each culture, and even with each person?  It’s very interesting.  Then he asked if we believe everything in the future is already written and we’re following a predetermined path.  We thought for a moment, and I said, “I believe God is writing in the book of life everything we do, as the scriptures say.  I also believe he knows everything before it happens, as the scriptures also say.  So, I believe it makes sense that it’s all already written.  But I do not believe that limits us nor diminishes the significance of choice.  I believe the book is already written because God knows the choices we’ll make.  Thus, I believe that the life we will live is not because of the book that’s written, but the book is written because of the life we will live.  BOOM.  WOOT WOOT.  Call me Elder Yoda because these are some wise words.
            Also, I introduced Elder Felipe to Orbit gum today, and gave him 3 packs.  We’re walking in the street later, and he’s trying to blow a bubble.  I said, “It’s hard with this type of gum.  You’d have to have 6 or 7 pieces.  He said how many do you think I have?  He had never seen gum like this in his life, and he had 7 in his mouth.  He ate a pack and a half today.  Getting a new piece before getting into bed.  Ha-ha.  Yep, today was a good day.  Today was day 156 on my mission.
SEXTA (Friday):  I do not want to ever remember a thing from today.  Except the lesson I learned.  I don’t know if it’s a blessing or a curse that my conscience is so sensitive, and I’m terrible at going against the rules.  Everyone says every missionary has a lazy stage, where they don’t follow the rules.  Mine started today, and ended today.  It wasn’t anything bad, just wasting the Lord’s time and I honestly felt lower then low.  But I think it was a good experience for me, because I have absolutely no desire to ever go against the mission rules again.  Really, it wasn’t 100% me, but the fact that I didn’t speak up and say, “no, lets go to work and save this for p-day,” bothered me all day.  (The fact that it’s fine to do on p-day should put you at ease a little).  3 hours of our day gone on nothing productive.  I’ve never felt so guilty as I did.  Maybe I’m just soft, but I have a huge desire to be the best missionary I can be, and today I threw that away.  Also, today we met and taught a “prophet” who tried to teach me by quoting Elvis.  Today was day 157 of my mission.
SABADO (Saturday):  Today was a good day. Saying good-bye to people is hard, but I think telling them this is my last Sunday here will help them come to church.  But, today was HOT!  Yesterday and today I was sweating tears, out of my eyes.  Everyone we talked to called us crazy for being out in the sun.  And Sao Luiz, everyone says is even hotter.  Ha-ha, I’m going to be BLACK!  WOOT WOOT.  Hot and humid.
            Today Daniel, an 11 year old recent convert of the other elders that I’m good friends with because it was Elder Santos Melo and I that started teaching them, today he said the prayer, and it was awesome.  I’ll share some parts with you:  Dear God, thank you for this wonderful day.  It was hot, but I still liked it.  Thank you for these elders that are my friends, (Elder Donoso and I).  They’re cool and I hope the new guys will be good too because if not I won’t be their friend.  Please bless that they can baptize grandma (She was sitting right there) and my brother, even though he doesn’t believe in you and has problems, you know.”

            It was very serious prayer, and he was really talking with God.  It made me very happy.  We also had a good lesson with Terrainha and Luis Carlos was actually home, too.  They are both going to come to church tomorrow.  Today was day 158 of my mission. 
DOMINGO (Sunday):  So, I got my suitcases all packed, full and heavy, and then I saw my blanket and sheets still on my bed.  But I still got them in.  Lesson for next time, blankets first, and don’t put all your books in the same suitcase.  It has to be 80-90 pounds!
            Today was very good.  Said goodbye to everyone.  Albertina cried.  Also, at lunch, Andressa, the lady that was talking with mom, for the past 4 and half months, every time I went there she’d try and find me on Facebook.  Finally today her husband said, “give him the phone, let him search for himself.”  I found myself in seconds.  Ha-ha, then she went exploring and found mom, and Malena.  She doesn’t speak any English, she was having me translate.  (MOM:  She friended me on facebook and was sending me pictures while Jake was at her house.  I thought her English was very good.  At the end of our conversation, I figured out it was Jake the whole time. Ha-ha I so appreciate that she fed him and sent pictures of him.  What a great Missionary Brazilian Mom!) 
            We taught Israel today then after, we asked if his granddaughter was home (She lives next door.)  He ran and grabbed her, and then we taught her.  She was awesome and has a lot of potential.  She’s black, and has one eye that’s dark brown, normal for black people, and the other is bright electric blue.  So cool!
            I passed out all the candy I had left after church. I opened my bag and one kid yelled, “He has candy!”  And about 20 hands were instantly extended waiting for a pixi stick, ha-ha, and just as many were adults as kids.  I passed everything out, and gave out a bunch of Christ drawings. 
            All in all, it was a very good day.  This week was harder and this transfer in all was difficult.  I’m leaving this area, and honestly I feel like I could have done more. I don’t thin I gave my all, and I don’t’ like that feeling.  But in this ward I did many things I am very proud of.  For example, Albertina and the family of her, who are all close to baptism.  If I go the rest of my mission without a good day, at the end I will think of them and walk onto the plane proud.  But I still have a lot to do.  I’m excited to go work with Elder Pompeu.  I really hope my new house will have air conditioning. And that he has something in line to talk with our families for Christmas.  Today was day 159 of my mission.
             Oh!  One very cool thing about today, So this morning it was raining and VERY windy. The wind made it impossible to use an umbrella. But it was incredible to stand outside the church, and watch these members, very few of which own cars, battling against the wind to walk to church.  Some of them live very far away, too.  It was an actual sacrifice for them to come to church today.  An old man, who has trouble walking and his blind wife, they walk to church every day, him guiding her by the hand, everywhere.  And today was no different.  When they got to the door, I said good morning, and the blind lady happily said, “Morning and night are the same for me Elder, but yes, it is a good morning.”  Ha-ha.  These people are so strong in their faith and testimonies.  Just think about that next time you don’t’ want to go to 9:00 church because it’s early and you’re tired.

Thank you for all the support!! I love you guys!

Elder McKee
Elder Felipe and Jake
Elder Felipe, Jake and The Prado family.  
Elder Donoso, Elder Jawwad, Elder Felipe, Jake

 Elder Jawwad, Elder Donoso, Jake, Elder Felipe

Sunday, December 13, 2015

I love Brazilian Moms

This morning Mom woke up to a few messages on Facebook from Brazil.  Two sisters in Jake's ward sent me pictures of him.  He was at Sister Silva's for lunch.  She was messaging me back and forth in English, but I didn't know that it was Jake typing for her until the end of the conversation.  haha.
She said this was Elder McKee after eating 10 lbs of BBQ.  haha.
 Elder Felipe and Jake at her house.
 Elder Felipe, Her son Dele, and Jake
 Jake learning to make Chimarrao.  We've heard it's delicious!
Sister Prado, who gave him the hug for me last week, sent these pictures of Jake cleaning the church. He has said they do this every week for a couple of hours.  
I love the connection I feel to Brazilian members, through Jake.  They take care of him, and feed him, and send on pictures.  It is a wonderful feeling to wake up to news of him.  They both said he is getting transferred on Tuesday.  He'll probably tell us tomorrow in his email.  Thank you to those wonderful members who think to share.  Mom McKee

A letter in the mail!

A letter that came in the mail, sent on November 16, 2015

Dear Family                                                              November 16, 2015
I want you all to know that I love you more than any thing.  We really honestly have been blessed with the best family.  I've met many missionaries here with families who don't write AT ALL.  Almost a year without a single word form their moms.  Others who get letters every week with their families asking them to come home, offering new motorcycles or money.  Others who received packages or letters.  I'm so blessed to have the strong supportive family I do.  Thank you for that.

I know that our Savior Jesus Christ payed the price for our sins. just ponder on that for a moment, and just how grand that is.  If we went our whole life, and only sinned one time, some unworthy thought, we wouldn't be worthy to enter Gods kingdom.  His justice wouldn't allow it, it would demand a payment.  now thing about how many of these little sins we have everyday.  It's my opinion that in the state we are, we wouldn't even WANT to enter into God's rest, knowing we are unworthy.  but, this was part of Gods plan, and he provided a way for justice to be satisfied, and for us to receive mercy.  This is the Atonement.  All of these sins we have, the which demand payment in full, are covered int eh atonement.  Christ payed the price 100% for everything.  Now our responsibility is if we will follow the requirements to use that payment, or turn it down for temporary worldly pleasure and pay the price ourselves at the last day.  if we keep the commandments, if we strive to be like Jesus, then at the last day we will stand before the judgement seat of God with Christ as our advocate.  I imagine it like this.  We're standing before God in his glory and perfection, and Christ puts his arm around us, and says to God, "Yes, in life this man sinned.  he fell off the path a few times.  But he always returned, and I find him worthy to use my atonement.  He is clean in your sight."  And God will smile, and say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant.  Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things.  Enter though into the joy of the Lord."  (Matthew 25:21).

The commandments we keep here on earth are not to pay the price of our sins.  They're to qualify for the payment already made.  If we fail to qualify for this payment, it must still be payed, and that will fall to us.

Really when you thing about it, the Atonement is absolutely beautiful, and is proof of the love God and Christ have for us.  I can't even imagine the suffering He suffered for me alone, let alone all people to ever exist.  This Atonement is one of the reasons I'm here on a mission.  he did the HUGE favor for me, I can dedicate 2 years of my life back to Him.  Who cares how hot it is, how much I don't like some days.  I'm not here to be comfortable, I'm here to do what I'm told, and fulfill the will of Him that sent me.

I love you guys so much.  I miss you everyday.  but know that I am working hard, and I'm being a good boy.  I'll start sending letters like this regularly.

Love, Elder Mckee

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Extra Pictures

A friend of Jake's in his ward sent mom this picture on FB.  Her name is Elisiane. In Jake's last letter he talks about her giving him a hug from mom.  Makes mom happy to get random pictures.
 And Mom also got these random pictures on a text.  This is President and Sister Parrela and Uncle Roy and Aunt Cathy Silcox.  They are also MP's in Brazil.  There was a MP's conference and they were able to meet.  Roy text mom and said Pres and Sister Parrela said Jake is a great missionary and they expect great things from him.  What a fun surprise!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Wisdom Teeth, Service, Baptism

SEGUNDA (Monday):  So, let me tell you about today.  Elder Donoso got his wisdom teeth taken out.  Because of this, no mail, so that will wait until next week.  I mailed a bunch of letters, so that’s cool.
            Right after the surgery, Donoso called me, and he was a happy guy.  When I saw him, he had a big old bloodstain on his shirt, and a mouthful of it too.  I took a video, saying he wasn’t going to be that happy in a few hours.  I had already frozen yogurt and had cold things to put on his face when he came in the door (He decided in his numbed state to still go do lessons.)  I took one pictures while he was drugged, of when he, in his own blood, wrote on the wall.  No idea why, but I made him clean that up.
       Also mom, I searched and asked and searched today for a nativity scene to send you.  Nobody knew where to find one.  The closest thing I found was the cheap plastic kind you would buy at Wal-Mart, but I’ll keep looking.
            Also, I found a SWEET present I’ll send home, one for dad, Josh, and Andy.  Don’t worry Mom and Malena, your times will come, but these things are SO COOL!!  I’ll send them home next P-Day if I can, but if I can’t, it’s only a year and a half of waiting!  Today was a good day.  Today was day 146 of my mission.
TERCA (Tuesday):  Happy December!!  Man today was great!! With Elder Donoso on bed rest for a week, Elder Jawwad is with us.  (Donoso has permission to stay in the house alone), so we had to pass by a few commitments they had.  The first was Sandra and Carlinhos!  Ha-ha.  Elder Jawwad knocked, and I hid at the side of the door.  They opened the door, and nothing really happened.  They said hi to Elder Jawwad, hi to Elder Felipe.  Then I walked into view and they all flipped!  Laura jumped off the couch and ran to shake my hand.  Sandra yelled form her bedroom.  Carlinhos got up from the couch too.  Then, they sent Camila, in the rain, to by Guarana, because they always gave me Guarana after I had climbed the huge hill to their house.  They were literally so excited and I was too.  I gave Laura a hankie that grandma made, and she loved it.  She showed everyone, was very excited.  Then I shared a message about the danger in thinking we’ll do today’s duties tomorrow.  The first time you tell yourself you’re too tired to read the scriptures/pray, and that you’ll do twice as much the next day, you are starting down a dangerous path.  The next time you’re tired, it’s that much easier to leave it for later, and before long your habit of reading has become a habit of adding it onto tomorrows reading.
            The next commitment they had, ALBERTINHA!  WOOT WOOT!  Man, I was so excited about hat.  Denise and Mauricio are SO CLOSE to being married.  They only lack money, which is coming here shortly.  We taught the two of them the plan of salvation, and when Albertinha bore testimony I wanted to cry.  Elder Jawwad asked her how the knowledge of this gospel has changed her life, and she cried as she talked about the differences she feels, and the new happiness and peace she has.  She said that she spent years searching for the word of God, and had finally found it.  She’s working to have the baptism of her husband done and then in a year be sealed to him.  There is no greater feeling that I have ever felt then when I heard her bearing testimony, knowing I was the tool used to guide her to the truth, and that now her family will follow.  Denise and Mauricio are close to baptism.  Luana, the other daughter of Albertinha, who never really showed much interest, told me today that her and Luca’s want to start going to our church to see how it is.  That’s how Denise and Mauricio started, too.  Ha-ha.  I am so happy!
            So, today Elder Jawwad and Elder Felipe were arguing and Elder Jawwad said that Felipe’s ego is way too big.  Then Felipe said something like, “Yours isn’t much better.”  Then Jawwad said, “I think we can all agree that the only humble person in this house is Elder McKee.”  Felipe said, “Yes, that’s true.”  Then there was a pause in the argument long enough for me to say, “Dang right I’m the most humble!”  Then they started yelling at me and teasing me.  But the argument stopped.  So it was all good.
            Also, I gave one of Grandma’s hankies to Albertinha also, and she held it and looked at it like it was gold.  When she looked back at me, she had tears in her eyes, and she thanked me very profoundly.  Then sent blessings to me, and my family, and my mission.  Really I can’t even put in words how truly grateful she was for the gift.  She was crying and trying to talk.  Thank you, Grandma!
            We also did a service project for Eva, in the house we are going to fix.  We went to cut her grass.  She pulled out a weed eater, and handed it to me.  I wasn’t sure if we are aloud to use those or not, so I’ll ask President this p-day and if we cant, I won’t do it again.  I won’t pretend it wasn’t fun going to town on that grass.  But I had to be careful, because Eva is old and crazy.  If she saw a stick or rock, she would just go for it to move it, even if the weed whacker is there.  We made it through without a problem, but I had to tell her many times to stay back.
            Today was day 147 of my mission.  21 weeks.  Man, it’s passing fast!
QUARTA (Wednesday):  So I want for today’s journal entry a few tender mercies that have happened to me recently.  Honestly, they are more of miracles.  Also, today was a good day.
            First, in the MTC, we receive a paper, small enough to fit in your wallet.  It has the Prophets signature on it, and certifies you as a missionary of the church.  Most missionaries will never have to use it, but if you need to get into a hospital to give a blessing, to prove to some police that you really are what you say you are, it is crucial.  Well, about 2 weeks ago, I lost mine in the street.  I talked to the assistant to President about getting anew one, and he said he would see what he could do, but nobody thought I would be able to get a new one.  He said, “Really, all you can do is pray.”  SO that’s what I did.  After some time, I forgot about it a little.  Then, yesterday at our District meeting in a chapel about 30 minutes walking from our chapel, a member came in and asked if one of us was “Jacobe, March, Mickey” (My name pronounced Brazilian) I saw that she was holding my license!  Everyone was laughing because I FLIPPED!!  I got so excited!! She said she had found it in a street.  Just think, my area is for only our ward, a ways away from the other chapel.  But when it fell out of my book, the person to find it, and think to pick it up, was a member!!  AHHH!!  I take this as a sign that one day I am going to need it. 
            Second, So, there was a HUGE storm here a month and a half or so ago, and it ruined a lot of houses, knocked over trees and telephone poles.  Well, one of our investigators has a son, Daniel.  Daniel, who is in his 30’s, I’d say, was sleeping in his bed when the storm knocked over a tree onto his house.  It smashed EVERYTHING!!  This tree is HUGE!  About 3+ feet in diameter. So, now he’s cleaning everything out to rebuild his house from scratch.  Today, we marked a time to go help him clean it up.  So we went and I’m hauling a bunch of bricks, and after I drop them in the pile, as I take a step I feel something in my shoe.  Thinking it’s mud, I kick/stomp the ground, but it doesn’t come off.  Here’s the miracle, I look down, and it’s a small piece of wood, with a big ol’ rusty nail, which stuck into my shoe.  Now, the wood was flat against my shoe, and the nail was completely in, without any sticking out of my shoe.  I reached down and pulled it out, and the nail in my shoe kept coming and coming.  When I finally got it all out about 2 inches of nail had been stuck directly into the bottom of my shoe.  I looked at my shoe, and the sole is NOT that thick.  I don’t know how it didn’t stab my foot.  It should have been a great deal into my foot, especially when I tried to stomp it off.  Elder Jawwad was watching me the whole time, and he just said, “Elder, now you know you are a missionary of God.”
            These are the 2 I wanted to share with you.  Also, Elder Jawwad found out my fear of spiders.  Now the whole ward knows.  There’s a young woman who now carries a big plastic spider with her everywhere, just in case she runs into me.  Everyone teases me about it.  Time to be transferred.  Today was day 148 of my mission. 
QUINTA (Thursday):  Today was a good day.  Elder Jawwad got sick and stayed in the house and slept.  So, Elder Felipe and I got to focus on our area.  One of the lessons that we had was with Neli.  She’s the mother of that one woman who smacked me with a sandal.  We entered and she said, “I want to tell you both something.  I won’t be baptized by you guys.”  She said she was already baptized, and that she is too old to be baptized again.  We had a good lesson, and explained baptism to her a little better, but I don’t know.  She seemed to feel better at the end, but really I don’t know how she’ll progress.  I always find it hard to cut the investigators.  I have this fear that in the spirit world they’ll come up to me and say, “Elder Mckee!  Why didn’t you just come one more time!?  I actually read what you left that last time!”  Or something like that and I’ll be like “Tche!  And the other 17 times?  Just one of the new fears I’ve developed.
            I am not proud about anything of our numbers this week.  We haven’t’ met a single goal. Yes, numbers aren’t important, but these show an absolute lack of diligence and effort.  Numbers for this week so far that are the same as my numbers for the day before.  If the numbers are low, but we gave our best, tudo bem.  The servant that doubled his lot of 2 talents got the same reward as the servant who doubled his 10 talents.  A good missionary is judged by his efforts, and our efforts are sad, this week.  President Parrela told me to let Elder Felipe lead, and so I’m trying to do that, and still do things right.  AHHHH, it’s frustrating, but I have the patience of a mountain and the Lord to strengthen me.  So, all is well.  Today was day 149 of my mission.
SEXTA (Friday):  So, let me tell you a story all about how, today got flipped, turned upside down.  But it ended up great, so let’s all stay calm.  I’ll only mention the good so we don’t upset mom.  (Put the above to the tune of Fresh Prince) ha-ha.
            Today was a good day.  Elder Donoso stayed in house again, so Elder Jawwad and I went to his area and Elder Felipe left with a member preparing for a mission to our area.  It was awesome.  We had the baptism interviews of Duda and Daniel.  Their baptism will be tomorrow.  I will baptize Daniel, and Elder Jawwad will baptize Duda.  Man, I am so excited, and they both are, too.  And, it will be the first baptism of Elder Jawwad.  He’s excited too.  Also, today, we managed to get 4 references!  All on the same street, IN MY AREA!!  WOOT WOOT!  Man, Am I excited!  Let’s baptize some people!!
            Also, we stopped by the house of Eliziane, the woman that mom talks with.  She came home from work while we were there, and when she shook my hand, she pulled me into a hug.  Ha-ha, then she said she had been commanded to do it, and showed me the text from mom.   (MOM NOTE:  Eliziane friended me on fb and last week sent me a cute little message about how wonderful Jake is and that they love him in their family.  I wrote back to thank her, because it’s so nice to get random messages about my boy.  And asked her when she saw him to give him a big hug and tell him his mama loves him.  This is what she was doing.  I love the kind people in Brazil.)
            Also, Mom, I met another person with 2 tribes in their patriarchal blessing!  Ephriam and Manassa.  Cool, huh!  Today was day 150 of my mission
SABADO (Saturday):  BAPTISM!! I baptized Daniel like I mentioned.  I was talking to the Bishopric about getting gas for the church.  We didn’t succeed.  They were baptized in cold water, which with 2 kids didn’t invite the spirit much.  But it was still amazing.  But, the baptism was awesome.  The first one of Elder Jawwad, and it was much needed form him.  Me, him, and Daniel took selfies in the bathroom.  Ha-ha


            Also, something I learned today.  When ironing baptism pants, use heat setting 1 not 4.  I melted a hole in my pants.  Literally as soon as the iron touched them, ja era tche. But nobody noticed, because it’s on the inside of the leg, and they still work the same.  Rita and some others did a special music number that was very good.  Also, Terein, the grandmother of Duda and Daniel, and also their guardian, came!  It was her first time entering the church, so Jennifer, a member grabbed her and showed her everything.  Very cool.  I think she will come to church tomorrow, which is awesome.         
            We didn’t manage anything in our area today, because with Elder Donoso on bed rest I was doing all the last touches on planning and preparing the baptism.  And we did our mandatory 2 hours per week of cleaning the chapel.  But today was still a good day.  And tomorrow is SUNDAY!  Today was day 151 of my mission.
DOMINGO (Sunday):  Today was very good.  We didn’t have any investigators in sacrament, but we confirmed Duda and Daniel so that was awesome!  It’s amazing to see the end results of what you started and that everything worked out.  Now, their grandmother is showing interest in the church.  Today was her first itme coming to church!  WOOT WOOT!
            We had a good lesson with Israel today and his daughter was there, too.  We had a very good conversation/discussion about Corinthians 10:13.  There was a good spirit there, and we also met more of his family.  Let’s baptize them all!
            In 5-ish days we’ll get calls about transfers.  I hope I stay, but I’m also ready for a new area. 
            Well, this week all in all was a good week.  Elder Felipe and I talked and some things will change, and so this next week should be better.  I sure hope so at least.  Today was day 152 of my mission.
So, in honor of finishing 100% of this notebook, I will use the last 2 pages to share my testimony:
            As a representative of our Savior Jesus Christ, I can say that I know HE lives, I know I represent His church, and that I know He loves us.  I know that our Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers.  I know that when things get hard, they’re hard from one of two reasons.  1) Either we’ve forgotten to pray, or 2) we prayed, and are being strengthened.  I know that God strengthens us through the trials that we have, and that he’ll help us through these trials.
            I know that this gospel blesses families.  I have been blessed with the greatest family possible: Parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins who know the gospel, and always set a high standard through example.  My family is very unified and I know that this is because of the church in our lives.  I was raised with the expectation to always help others and work hard.
            I know that God calls prophets and apostles in these times.  I know they receive revelation directly from Him, and pass it to us.
            I know that Jesus Christ established his church, and after his death and the death of his apostles, after some time, He restored that same church to the earth through Joseph Smith.  I know that Joseph Smith received the priesthood keys that I now hold, and that it is the same authority that Christ gave to his apostles.
            I know that the plan of salvation is real, and is proof of God’s love for us.  We could have all stayed with Him, as spirits.  But knowing that we could never have the happiness that He has, knowing that he would lose some of His children forever, he made the plan for those of His children who would remain faithful and true.  I know that through this plan, we received the atonement of Jesus Christ.  I know that no matter the sin, nothing can drag us into the darkness so far that Christ’s light can’t reach us.  I know that we will all be judged of God, and those who chose to use the atonement will enter into His rest, will enter into His kingdom.  We will have the happiness He, as a parent, wants for us.
            I know that faith is the first principle of the gospel.  This is because faith is where it all starts.  Just a small desire to believe and you’ve created generations of converts, who will in turn generate generations more.
            I know that our faith requires work (James 2) and only through baptism, because we will sin again after baptism, but daily repentance.  Daily striving to stay worthy of the Holy Ghost we received at baptism.  I know that the sacrament is a crucial and important ordinance.  It is how we complete our repentance cycle and start over each week, through the renewal of our baptismal covenants.  It’s through this that we endure to the end.  Endure to the end does not mean do your part, and then wait until the end.  It means we are, until the end, working to better ourselves.  Through study, prayer, and repentance, we can little by little turn more Christ like.
            I know that my mission is EXACTLY where I need to be.  I know I am here to be a leader and a tool in God’s hand.  This is my testimony that I leave with you, the few things I know to be true.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

A few extra’s from Email:
I don’t know if I will be transferred. I hope not. And two of these elders, Jawwad and Donoso, said that its kinda sad that they’re getting a package from my mom before they get a package or letter from their own moms. Jawwad has the same time as I do in the mission, and Donoso has a year and 3 months. Really mom, you are the best, and I don’t think you realize how much these little things you send the other missionaries help them. :) I really love you!!
I’m so glad you guys found the letters!! I was worried they would still be there when I got home. :) I hope you all liked them. (Jake hid letters for each of us in our Christmas tree decorations.  We found them when we pulled the Christmas stuff out.  It was an AWESOME surprise.) The Jake head on the tree is HILARIOUS! I just called Elder Jawwad over to look at it. He said he adores our family.
I love you guys, until next week!  Elder McKee
 Elder Felipe eating dinner.