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.