Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Lots of Responsibility

January 2016
(25) SEGUNDA (Monday):  I got the pictures to work!  That means the family got my journal pages!  WOOT WOOT!  Today I realized how weak I’ve gotten.  In the MTC we had a pull up bar, and I got 23 pull-ups in a row.  Today I struggled for 10.  But, I still kick butt at pushups, so it’s not too bad.  Today we met a woman named Maria.  When we asked her if she’s met the missionaries before, she said yes she used to go out and work with them, and clean their house and cook for them.  20 years ago.  She hasn’t gone to church in 20 years.  But she was very good, and invited us back.  So, we are going to help her.  We should get the call about transfers tomorrow or Quarta (sorry, I use the days in Portuguese.  I forgot which is which in English).  That’s exciting.  I think we will both stay here.  Which is fine.  I’m getting the hang of things.  Today was a good p-day.  2 packages from Grandma and one from Mama Baker, too!  YES!  So much candy, including Cadbury eggs!  Nerf guns, and a monte de Kit Kats.  Yes, today I was a happy man.  Today was day 202 of my mission.
(26) TERCA (Tuesday): Today was a great day for me.  It was raining hard when we left the house, and we walked on mud roads until the city ended to find the house of a drunk inactive member we met last night.  He wasn’t home.
            I felt the spirit very strong in 3 lessons today and I will share one of them with you.  So, our commitment at 8:00 fell through, and it was close to the house of a member who had asked us to pass by one day.  So we passed.  He is awesome.  He told us about how he met the church.  In 1983, a friend said, “Hey, this Thursday the Mormons will be at the beach passing out free films and books.  Let’s go check it out.”  He didn’t know at the time that his friend was already a member.  They went, and his friend gave his address to the sisters.  They passed and started teaching him.  1984 he was baptized.  Very cool story showing how effective it is when the members work with the missionaries.  But when I felt the spirit was when this man was talking about how GOD knows each of us individually.  He said it’s incredible how of all the 7 billion people on the world now, with all that have already passed, those to be born, and not even getting into the other planets, God knows us individually.  Our worries are His worries.  Our Joys are His joys.  He listens to us and answers.  Of all his children, he gives each of us specific attention.  The spirit hit me so strong, that truly I am a son of God, with everything he has as my inheritance.  He knows me and worries about me.  I was filled with such a good, happy feeling; I couldn’t not believe God loves me.  Then I thought of all the people who DON”T know this.  I am so blessed to know what I know, and to have this blessing to share it.  Today was very good.  Today was day 203 of my mission.
(27) QUARTA (Wednesday):  I got cold last night!!  WOOT WOOT!  Ha-ha, that was something I haven’t felt for awhile. 
            So, something I’m working on is challenging people to baptism with the spirit, not just throwing the challenge out there.  I try and create the right setting, and then ask them to be baptized while they are feeling the spirit.  In a lesson today with Elaine, we’ve had a few lessons with her.  We met her knocking doors.  She has a cousin who served a mission.  She lost a son who was months old, and it was a hard time for her and her husband.  This was a while ago.  In the lesson today we talked about temples and how families can be sealed together.  It was a great lesson. She really liked it.  At the end we talked about temples and how families can be sealed together.  It was a great lesson.  She really liked it.  At the end we talked a little bit about covenants.  What they are and how God uses them to bless his children. I kept trying to find the right moment to ask her to be baptized, but I didn’t want to mess up and give her a scare or something.  I said a little prayer, “Pai, I’m feeling like I should challenge her to be baptized, is now the right moment?”  One thought came to my mind, and I don’t know if it was my own thought or the spirit.  It was “What are you called to do?”  The fact that I didn’t know the thoughts origin isn’t important.  I invited her to be baptized by someone holding the priesthood, making the same covenant that Christ established in his church.  (We had read 3 Nephi 11 with her).  She accepted!!  Her and her husband, if he’s not working, will go to church this Sunday.  For me personally, my testimony was strengthened.  When we give our best, the Lord multiples it to work miracles.  If a thought to do good comes to mind don’t worry if it’s you or the spirit talking.  Be where you’re supposed to be, when you’re supposed to be there, doing what you’re supposed to be doing and every good thing that comes is from God.  When we are being a good boy (or girl), the Lord will use us without us even knowing it.  I’m super excited to help Elaine progress.  She has SO much potential.  Today was day 204 of my mission.
(28) QUINTA (Thursday):  So, today while we were walking, a car came FLYING right at us!  It almost hit us!  Then it stopped, and it was just a joke.  But, when I saw the car coming at me, want to know the only thought I had?  It wasn’t “jump to the side” or scream.  Very calm and without fear, my thought was “my time has come.”  After I thought to myself, “Self, what is wrong with you?  Next time, JUMP!”  But then I thought about the parable about the Lord leaving his servants, and how he returns to find some working and others not.  Who knows when our time will be, but we need to always be prepared.  Leave no business of today for tomorrow, because then you have to leave tomorrows work for the next day.
            But, today was good.  We went to a new family that a ward missionary brought to church last Sunday. They’d already started reading the Book of Mormon, and they are GREAT!  Woot Woot!  More of them to come.  Today was day 205 of my mission.
(29) SEXTA (Friday):  Today was very good.  We got transfers, but I’ll wait until the end to tell about them because I’m dying to write about this awesome lesson we had with Janete and her whole family, even her husband was there.  We brought a box of little candy bars.  Pompeu said, “now, I’m going to offer each of you one, and you can accept or not.   But, there will be a consequence for either choice.”  Then he went around the circle of 6 people (we took 2 members).  4 out of 6 accepted.  Then he went  to the first and said, “Wesley, you accepted.  Elder McKee, can you do 5 pushups to pay for his candy?”  So, I did.  Next, “Eduarda, you accepted.  Elder Mckee, can you do 5 pushups?”  Next “Janete, you didn’t accept.  McKee, can you do 5 pushups to pay for the candy she didn’t take?”  And on and on.  5 pushups for everyone, regardless of if they accepted.  Then, he went around again.  3 of the 6 accepted.  (The members already knew the lesson.)  And we did it again.  I did 5 pushups for everyone who accepted, and those that didn’t.  The 3rd time, I’m a little flustered because I’m doing slow perfect pushups.  This time I’m telling them all, “don’t worry about it.  Take the candy.” This time they all accepted.  And I did pushups again.  Then we likened it to Jesus Christ, how my pushups represent his sacrifice and the candy represents repentance.  He suffered to offer us the chance to repent, and regardless if we accept it or no, He still paid the price.  There’s nothing we can do to lessen His burden of suffering, but when we accept His atonement then his suffering wasn’t in vain, like when I did pushups for the people who didn’t accepted the chocolate.  Man, it was a powerful spirit. 
            But it made me a little sad, because it was my last lesson with them.
            TRANSFERS:  So, until this point I have been Junior companion. Now, they will reopen the other side of Sao Luiz, just like they did in Salgado Filho.  Elder Pompeu is leaving, so 3 new missionaries will come here, and I’m responsible for teaching everyone the area, again.  Also, I will be district leader.  Also, my new companion will be fresh out of the MTC.  So, I’m going from junior comp to senior comp, trainer, district leader, opening an area, kind-of.  The other missionaries coming will be one missionary with about a year and half-ish, and He will train as well.  I’m nervous and excited at the same time.  Ha-ha, we’ll see.
            So, I’ll lose Janete, Eduarda, Wesley, Eder, Juraci, and some others that I will miss.  But I’m happy to stay with Elaine and Marcos, and the others on this side.  Today was day 206 of my mission.
(30)SABADO (Saturday):  Remember those scriptures stickers I asked to be sent to me?  Today in the church there was a devotional broadcast, and I saw the man who had asked me for them.  I had originally thought I would save them, but I felt like I should give them to him.  So, I went up to him and told him I had the stickers, that I would bring them to church the next day for him.  His 9-year-old daughter FLIPPED. She was so excited.  He asked me how much he owed me, and I didn’t feel right saying R$200.00 That’s a LOT of money for these people.  I said not to worry about it, no problem.  The look on his face and the excitement of his daughter who will use them was well worth it.
            The Devotional was the area presidency talking about preparation for a mission.  I LOVED IT!  I learned so much!  Then after, I asked Elder Pompeu what he liked, and He said it was annoying and he didn’t learn anything new.  I seriously became sad.  Sad that he missed all that spiritual enlightenment because of his attitude. 
            Elder Hawk, my American best friend in the mission, just called me to congratulate me.  He called me Moses McKee, going DL and trainer.  He said he knew it would happen because I went fluent in Portuguese in a few months.  Ha-ha.  Today was day 207 of my mission.
(31) DOMINGO (Sunday):  Today was a VERY good day for me.  But, stuff personal and spiritual, and other stuff not to spread.  I wrote about today in my other journal. 
            Sufficeth it to say we have a baptism this Saturday!  Marcos.  I’ll explain more about him in the email tomorrow.
His Email to Mom/Dad:  ALSO I HAVE A BAPTISM THIS SATURDAY!! His name is Marcos. He met the church about 4 years ago, and his wife and stepsons got baptized, but not him. They’ve been half active sometimes, other times inactive all together. We got a list of inactive people, and past by their house near the end of December. These are the people who said God doesn’t exist and Jesus was just another Jew. Their sons are still the same way, but Claudia, the mom, said she wanted to return. So she started going again, and she would bring her husband Marcos. He’s the coolest guy ever. He’s really quiet, but super smart. Humble. He’s already read ‘Nosso Legado’, watched all ‘The Work and the Glory’, lots of other church stuff. He knows it all. But, he started reading the Book of Mormon again. He’s been reading for about 2 weeks straight now about 4 chapters a day. Until yesterday, he was really soft and wishy washy. Yesterday, we went into his house, and his sons were watching, in the other room, people play video games on TV. Elder Pompeu went straight for there, while Marcos passed to come sit with us. So, it was just me and Marcos in the room. We talked a little. I asked him how he understood.  It was kind-a slow at first, but then he started to open up, asked questions about what he was reading in 2nefi. I answered them all, and it was amazing. Other scriptures were coming to my mind, explanations, all the Portuguese I needed. We talked about his daughter who lives with his x wife who he wants to baptize. Then there was a pause, and he said ´I think I want to be baptized here soon, but I still want some more time.´ I asked why he wanted to wait, what his doubts were, and he said he´s just still waiting for the answer that this is what he should do. Then I shared an experience with him that is very personal to me, and was the answer and reason why I’m serving a mission. Then I shared the part in D&C 6 about remembering our first testimony. Then he shared an experience of his he had, where he was reading the Book of Mormon and felt something so strong he had to put the book down for the day. And how he felt the same thing again a few weeks later when he was reading again. I asked why he didn’t want to be baptized então. He said he didn’t feel worthy, so I read the baptism interview questions for him. We talked about each one, and at the end, he paused, thought for a minute. I let the silence ride, then said I believed him to be ready, but in his time we´re here to help. He asked what the process is to be baptized, so I explained. Then I said we can do the service on Saturday, interview on Thursday. You can choose any member to baptize you who is above 16 and has the priesthood (they already have a lot of friends in the church). He said ´yes, lets do it.´ WOOT WOOT!!! So my new companion (WHO I WILL BE TRAINING!!) will come and in the first week of his mission have a baptism. After 4 years of searching the church, Marcos will be baptized.. AHHHH I’m so happy!!!!!! 
            The church is true, and the spirit is real and powerful.  Today was day 208 of my mission. 
            Oh!  Also, I took the scripture stickers to church and gave them to that 9 year old girl, and she got super excited!  Then she gave me a hug…. and her grandma came over and said, “Elder, I’m going to have to call President and tell him you hugged my granddaughter.”  Then she saw the stickers and she got excited, too.
 It was funny, this morning I was watching a film from the church, and they talked about the church in Brazil. It was all in English. then, they were interviewing a woman, and I thought to myself she had a cool accent. Then I looked at the screen and there were words in English, and I realized she had the accent because she was speaking Portuguese!! Ha-ha imagine, I didn’t even realize the language had switched, I just noticed the accent. I even rewinded a little to see if she had been speaking English at the beginning. Nope!! ha-ha so cool!!
            I’ll talk to ya next week!! :) Love you!!! I'm praying for you guys!! and I'm feeling all of your prayers! Thank you so much for everything.

Love, Elder McKee

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