Tuesday, March 29, 2016

He Lives! Happy Easter

Week of March 21-27, 2016
(21) SEGUNDA (Monday):  So today was a very good P-day.  We ate at a Churrascaria (steak house), so lunch was very good, and then emails which is always a good time.  Then everyone slept and I wrote a few letters.

Elder Alveranga, Elder Martins, Elder Passao de Silva, Jake 

            Then, the lesson with Daley.  He loves Gaucho music, and he wanted to show us.  His house is FULL of giant sound boxes.  (I can’t believe I wrote sound boxes in place of speakers).  Anyways, he put in a CD and turned the music to the MAX!  Then tried to talk to us.  We acted like we couldn’t hear anything so he would get the hint and turn down the music.  He didn’t get the hint.  Finally, in between one of the songs there was a slight pause, and we said, “Can we share a message with you?”  He said, “After these few songs.”  And then that 78-year-old man started dancing.  But the message was good.  He accepted the baptism date of the 9th, so we are going to help him with that, through a lot of prayer and trying to get him to focus on the scriptures just as much as he does the music.  Today was day 258 of my mission.
(22) TERCA (Tuesday):  Today I ate all three meals for the first time in a LONG time.  Everyone in the house was making fun of me because I was making eggs for breakfast.  I guess that’s not normal here.
            Today we met a lot of new people.  One in particular that was very good is a young man of 16 years named Diego.  He held onto every word of the message of the restoration.  When we told him about the Book of Mormon, he went to write it down so he could order one online, because he didn’t realize we were giving him one.  When we marked a passage form him, he wrote the page number on his hand in case it came unmarked.  He was baptized in the Assembly TWO WEEKS AGO.  His dad is preparing to be baptized. That means his parents are married!  Woot Woot!  We only met Diego and his 3 brothers today, but we marked Saturday to return and talk with the whole family.  A family of married parents with 4 kids.  I believe they are the people I’ve been praying for God to guide me to.  We’ll see Saturday.
            We also had a young man in the ward today tell us that when he was 14 (2 years ago) he always went with the missionaries to knock doors and loved it.  He wants to start doing it again to prepare for his mission.  So, we marked Quinta when we have a commitment with Daley, and then will knock some doors, which is the solution to our lesson with a member we’ve been praying for.  Today was very good.  Today was day 259 of my mission.
(23) QUARTA (Wednesday):  Here’s what I learned today, drunk people never spill their drink.  Here’s how I learned it.  We passed by a less active named Setembrino, which is a very strange name, yes?  2 of his friends came over, with beer.  They started asking us for a part of God’s word.  So, we shared a quick scripture to get out of there, and one of the drunks started telling a very elaborate story about he moon blessing his 6 month old daughter.  I don’t have Joseph’s gift, or David’s.  But, he was using a lot of hand motions to show his story, and his arms were dancing in every place, with a full cup of beer in his hand.  I was sure I was in the splash zone, and I was ready to jump to either side.  But with all his dancing, not a drop was spilt.  While he was talking, the other guy said he had 10 kids.  A few minutes later the dancer said, “Hey Prophet, tell me how many kids he has.”  I said, “I’m not a prophet, just a missionary, but he has 10.”  Ha-ha, his mouth dropped open!  He hadn’t heard the guy talk about his kids a few minutes ago.  He grabbed the guys arm and said, “Hey!  Listen to God’s word!”
            Anyways, we soon left, because I don’t like those kinds of situations.  We found a new family today that met with the missionaries 4 years ago, but when one of them returned home they stopped passing by their house.  They aren’t baptized in any church, but are searching for one.  It seemed like she had a lot more interest then him.
            We also passed by Juliano and Stefani’s.  Juliano had some guy over who was helping him with his car, so he didn’t join us.  We read the Book of Mormon with her and gave her our copy of how to do a free marriage and the papers they need to fill out.  She said they were already saving up the money, but now they’ll go to the place tomorrow and talk to them.  Saturday when we pass by again we are going to fill out baptism records.  Woot Woot!
            Here’s a thought that came to mind today.  Why do ants travel so far from their little ant hill to get grass to haul it back, when there is grass right next to their hill?  I don’t know.  Also, what part do the dinosaurs play in God’s plan?  I don’t know.  Today was day 260 of my mission.
(24) QUINTA (Thursday):  Today was a great day,  a very good day.  We found 2 new families and the two of them have a lot of potential. The first family that we found is Jefferson and Angelica, who have 3 kids under the age of 8.  The lesson with them was awesome.  They both understood very well, and at the end Jefferson said, “If I get an answer that this message really is true, then yes, with all my faith, I’ll be baptized.”  Then he offered to make us dinner.
            The other family is very rich, I think.  About 2 weeks ago we were walking, and I looked at their really nice house, and felt like I should knock.  Anytime I feel any hint of an urge to knock a house, I always do.  So, we knocked the rich house.  The man came out, looked at us, said, “wait a second”, returned to the house and opened the gate for us.  We entered, and he said, “I'm leaving right now, but I would really like to hear you guys.  Can you return Friday at 7?”  So we returned Friday at 7, but he was leaving again.  He works driving a taxi, so it’s when he’s called he has to go, (but I’m 88% sure he owns the taxi company.)  They, the man and his wife, came out, talked with us for a while about when they would maybe both be in the house.  We went back today.  He wasn’t home, but his wife and 17-year-old daughter were.  They let us in and we talked with them.  They understood the restoration very well, and I could tell that a lot of the things we said made them think.  The mother told us about how she baptized her children when they were babies in her house.  Put water on their foreheads and crossed them, or something.  Ha-ha, I’d never heard of people doing that.  We explained baptism and read Hebrews 5:4.  They also accepted baptism, if they receive an answer.  Ha-ha, and at the end we asked for their phone number so we could call ahead of time to mark another visit, and the mother turned to her 17 year old daughter and said, “don’t you want to give your number to them?”  She got embarrassed, so the mom just gave us hers.
            We also passed by Delay, and taught the plan of salvation.  He said, at one point, that he remembers when he was born.  He remembers the room, bed, house, and people.  
            Today I had several moments when I felt the Spirit very strong and I just hope the people with which I was talking felt it, too.  (13th pen just ran out!)
            Then a drunk stopped us in the street, hugged us, and told us about how he’s a member but fell to drinking and drugs.  He doesn’t live in Sao Luiz, but is just passing.  When he noticed that I’m American, he said, “What is the capital of Nebraska?”  My mind went blank and I couldn’t remember.  I still can’t.  He got upset, looked at me with a look of disgust, and left.  Ha-ha, then Elder Martins said, “The American doesn’t even know his own country.”  I said, “The US has 50 states, at one point I had all the capital’s memorized.  How many states does Brazil have?”  He didn’t know.  Ha.
            But, I think the capital is Connecticut?  Or New Hampshire?  I really don’t remember anything!  Today was day 261 of my mission.
(25) SEXTA (Friday):  Today was a day of walking, failing commitments, and rain.  Rain that didn’t stop all day long.  So, because nobody wanted to let us in and out of the rain, we visited more less actives and recent converts, people who know the missionaries well. 
            Also, we went to Welerson’s house and his cousin was over, so we got his address and marked a day to visit.  

            All in all, with everyone on his or her holiday from work, Easter weekend, and rain, it was a slower day. But, I still felt super happy all day long.  I love the rain; I just don’t like the rate of the missionary work in it.  Today was day 262 of my mission.
(26) SABADO (Saturday):  I think we’re losing Juliano and I'm super, super sad about it.  He doesn’t want to study with us anymore.  Today Stefani showed us why.  He found the part of Revelations where John says not to add to these things.  Many people understand this to mean the whole bible, but if you actually read the whole chapter it clear he’s talking about the Book of Revelations only.  We showed her this because she had some doubts, too.  The last verse in the Book of John also, with Eziquele 37.  We wrote it all down also, and left it for Juliano because he likes to study.  We filled out the baptism record with Stefani.  They went to the place, and they’ll return Monday to finish.  Woot Woot!  I’m really praying super hard for them.
            Then, with Daley.  He doesn’t have a single problem with the Word of Wisdom, the 10 commandments, and law of tithing.  All went smooth with him and he wants to go tomorrow.  I think that for him the 9th will stay firm.
            Remember that rapaz (boy) I mentioned, who baptized 2 weeks ago?  We passed by today at the hour we had marked, and his parents came out, holding the Book of Mormon we’d given him.  They handed it to us, and said they had talked with him. He’s 16 and they said he had to choose one religion and not just jump around.  He’d chosen to stay in the one he’s in.  They said that they admire our work but asked us not to come back.  They seemed like really good people.  We handed them the Book of Mormon back and said they could keep it, then we put their names and address in the area book for future missionaries, because they seem VERY good. 
            Then we hid the Easter eggs.   I made the most perfect rice I’ve ever seen, and beautiful fried eggs.  And now I’m in bed, about to sleep. Today was harder, because of Juliano and that family.  I can’t help but think of my own imperfections that may be the reason they don’t recognize the truth or how important what we have is.  I realized more of the scope of the atonement, because nothing imperfect can be in God’s Kingdom.  I believe this doesn’t just include sin, but any fault we have or anything we don’t do perfect.  It’s hard to imagine what Christ had to go through so we would all become perfect.  I’m reading ‘Jesus the Christ’, almost finished, and it really opened my eyes to things I’d never thought about before.  Today was day 263 of my mission.
(27) DOMINGO (Sunday):  Today, nobody wanted to go to church with us Daley was feeling sick, Welerson was too tired, Stefani and Juliano had some other commitment, Vinicius didn’t answer his phone nor his door.  We left at 8 to wake people up and came to church alone.  BUT!!  TODAY IS EASTER!  JESUS LIVES AND ONE DAY I”LL TOO, RESURRECT, SO IT’S ALL GOOD!! 
            We did the egg hunt, which was awesome.  I realized after, that I had hid the eggs for Elder Martins TOO well, so during the hunt I switched them, when no one was looking. They don’t do egg hunts here, so when I tell people about the Salem egg hunt, or how our families do it, they all get confused and think its super funny. We had our egg hunt, which was good, then opened our presents.

            Church today went very well. Man, I love Easter.  Everything is focused on the atonement and resurrection of Christ, the two most important and significant events in all of history.  One, the victory over spiritual death, the other, physical death.
            This week, all in all, went very good.  I’m learning a little bit more very day.  Today, at the end of the lesson when I said I was American, the guy said, “What?!  I thought you were from Sao Paulo!”  That’s a good feeling.  I’m coming to know my Savior more and more.  I sometimes feel like He is walking by my side or sitting with me in the lesson, helping me to do His work.  That’s also a good feeling.  Today was day 264 of my mission.
            I love you mom!!! I’m doing great! And I can feel my testimony and my knowledge of the gospel increasing every day. I know that He lives and that He loves us. Sometimes I get frustrated with all the things I do wrong. I leave an unsuccessful street or door contact thinking of what I said wrong or didn’t say that could have helped them understand better the importance of our message. But then I stop thinking that, because I know I’m doing my best. I’m not perfect, but Christ will accept my best, and then fill in for the rest that my best didn’t cover. My best is my best, even if it’s little. I love my mission and I’m working my hardest, trying every day to better what I’m doing. I love my friends and family and all the prayers that help push me on everyday. Thanks for everything!!
Today i got a package from Emily! I am so rottenly spoiled!

I love you all!  Elder McKee
See the resemblance?
 Our Handsome Missionary!
 Pizza, again!
 Sao Luiz Gonzaga
 Elder Martins needed a hair cut!
 Remembering how to do the Rubix Cube

Monday, March 21, 2016

I love my Mission!

Week of  March 14-20th, 2016

(14) SEGUNDA (Monday): Today we had some great lessons.  The church released a new video for Easter, and so we are passing out little cards with the site for the video, and sharing a message of the resurrection with people.  I also studied some of the talks I got today, which is also good.  I now have a good collection of conference talks. 
            This Thursday we’ll leave for Alegrete for the zone conference and we’ll spend some the whole day there. 
            I read today in Mormon about that final big battle between the Lamanites and the Nephites.  I counted what he recorded had been killed.  There were 220,000 Nephites killed, and 24 survived.  Of those 24, 2 were he and Mormoni.  This stood out to me a lot, because it really shows that the Lord protects his followers, where as Satan finds joy in watching his followers fall.  I remembered Alma 30:60.  It makes me very happy to know I’m on the right side.  After, all the Nephites gone, the Lamanites started warring amongst themselves!  Satan cannot bring us real happiness; it’s against his nature. (2 Nephi 2:27).  But he is the master of the illusion of happiness.  I read a Liahona talk the other day about an ant venom that to them appears good, so they excitedly bring it to their queen who eats it and dies and the whole colony dies.  How often can watching TV appear more attractive then the scriptures, or sleep more attractive then mission prep (That one’s from personal experience).  Satan has a lot of practice in making good things appear bad and bad things appear good.  Moroni 7:5-15 (16-19 are good, too).  We need to learn to distinguish what is really worth our precious time here on earth and then cling to it.  A talk from President Eyering came to mind where he said that everyone has something in his or her life that upsets the spirit.  (I think it was Eyering), My personal goal is to always identify what that point is, change it, and then find the next one.  Through this I know the Lord will protect me when the other 220,000 are falling.  Through this I know I will find true happiness, and I won’t be chasing Satan’s illusion.  I’ll become the man the Lord sees me as, and hopefully be a tool in His hand. 
            Today was day 251 of my mission.  (Also, I slept talked in Portuguese last night.  Sleep talked, slept talk, slept talked?)
(15) TERCA (Tuesday):  Today before lunch we went to Fabiane, who is a recent convert who went less active because of her work, but now she stopped working at the pharmacy so it’s all good.  She’s super cool, and today talked about how she wants to serve a mission.  She’s 25 and with 7 months as a member.  We’re working with her now to go to the temple to do baptisms.
            Then we had a GREAT lesson with Vinicius.  First off, today was his birthday, so I took some skittles to share with him.  Then, his brother Wilker, who is a member, came with his wife.  We had cake, and then a very spiritual lesson about baptism and confirmation.  Wilker and Rosangello, his wife, bore testimony and shared experiences.  It was a great lesson.
            Haha, then Wilker shared an experience from the temple, how the only time he’s ever fainted in his life was in the middle of a sealing.  He fell backwards in the middle and they had to do it all over again.  He said he thinks it was the spirit of the man he was proxying, trying to stop the ordinance because he didn’t want to be sealed to the woman.
            One thing that I don’t understand is the people who agree with everything we say, teach, and explain with the bible, and then say, “no, even if I get an answer from God, I’ll stick with my religion.”  What!?!  I said, “But Irma, this is God telling you that this is His true church.  Even if He gave you an answer, you won’t follow it?”  “No, my parents were Catholic, I was born Catholic.  I’ll stick with it.”  The types of people who want to follow God with out commitment, I’ll never understand!
            But we found a woman with a lot of Potential named Debra.  She really liked the message.  I’m excited about her.  Today was day 252 of my mission.  Also, I’m on my 12th pen.
(16) QUARTA (Wednesday):  Today we started off the day with Juliano and Stefani.  They are INCREDIBLE!  It’s insane how much the Lord prepared them, waited until the right moment, and then used the members to bring them to us.  Here’s my favorite quote from today.
            “Elder, I want to be baptized  in the church of Jesus Christ.  What’s the first step I need to do?”  Juliano
            They need to be married, but they are working on that.  At one point he asked if there was some sort of a problem where he is already baptized in another church.  We asked him if he believed that in order to baptize the baptizer he’s to have the authority of  God.  He said of course.  Then we said, “Do you believe that the man who baptized you had this same authority that Jesus gave to his apostles, which was then restored to Joseph Smith?”  He thought for a moment, smiled really big, and said, “No.”  We paused a moment and said, “your first baptism was a great experience for you.  It showed your willingness to follow Christ. But now the Lord has His gospel in your life, along with the correct baptism.”  Oh man, that made him happy.  Then we explained how all the little ‘coincidences’ that happen to led him to the church was the Lord slightly, patiently leading him to the truth.    He started in one church, rushed to be baptized. After a little, noticed a lot of things out of line from the Bible.  Switched churches again, a lot of stuff he didn’t think should be in Christ’s church, Etc., etc.  Finally he said he prayed and told God, “I’m trying to find your church, God.  All these churches seem wrong, and if they’re right then I don’t want them.  Show me what I need to do.”  The next day, his shift at work over lapped with that of Fabio, 2nd counselor in the ward and ward missionary. Juliano mentioned a few of his religious doubts.  Fabio said, “so, you’re looking for Christ’s true church?”  “Yes”  “Have you found it?  What do you think it would have?”  Juliano expressed a few of his thoughts.  Fabio said, “Juliano, Christ’s true church exists.  It’s the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I have the keys, I’ll show you the building tonight if you want.”  So that night, he took Juliano and some other people from work, and gave them a tour of the church.  Juliano said that the moment he entered it felt different.  The next day Juliano and Stefani went to church for the first time, and Fabio presented them to us missionaries.  It wasn’t until a while after, the 11th of this month that we managed to get them both for a lesson.  Now they’ve both prayed, both received an answer, both want to be baptized. They already follow the Word of Wisdom, they don’t like parties with beer and stuff like that.  Juliano said he much rather stay home and read the scriptures.  He’s read 14 chapters of the Book of Mormon, all the pamphlets, the Family Proclamation to the World, and is studying the Gospel Principles book all in the last week.    
            It’s incredible to see the power a true witness fro the Holy Ghost brings.  He believes it all, and all he already feels is right or wrong he finds confirmed by our doctrine.  There’s a fire in his eyes and he absorbs every word we say or reading we have.  When I told him Fabio knows how to cut the price of the marriage in half by using bishop as a judge, I told him, “So, you could talk to him Sunday at church and get the marriage faster.”  Without hesitation he said, “No, I’ll call him today.”
            I have no doubt this church is true, and that this is the only true church.  Everything about it makes sense and is so simple.  That fact, along with the confirmation the spirit brings, there’s no way to deny it’s true.  That’s when you get people like Juliano, doing all he can to follow his Savior.  We had other good lessons today, too.  Today was day 253 of my mission.
(17) QUINTA (Thursday):  Today we had a conference 4 hours away.  We had some awesome training, and I finally really got to meet Sister Cornick, the sister who said, “Holy Crap!”.  Also my son met his grandpa, and we took a picture.
Sister, Sister Cornick, and Jake
 Family Tree:  Elder Martins, Jake, Elder Santos Melo
Elder Martins Jake's son, Jake is Elder Santos Melo's son.  

 Jake and Elder Martins

 Sister and President Parrela 

            Studying today, I read a lot in the book of Ether.  Abinadi is my favorite man from the Book of Mormon, but the story of the Brother of Jared is my favorite part.  The whole book of Ether.  Every little part has a new lesson for me.  I LOVE reading it.  I think when I finish it; I’ll read it again before going on to Moroni.
            Today was day 254 of my mission.  Quote of the day:  “Life is hard for those that are soft.”  President Parrela
(18) SEXTA (Friday):  Well today was another good day.  My favorite lesson of the day was when we passed by Welerson’s house.  He wasn’t home, but his mom and cousin were, who we’ve already given Book of Mormons to.  We sat and talked with them for a few minutes, then came a woman named Camilia, whom I’ve never met.  We started talking with her and she talked about how she doesn’t have a church because all the churches that she visits don’t feel right and just ask for tithing.   We taught the restoration to her and the mom of Welerson, and I have never seen someone understand the message so good.  We taught about prophets and their importance and she said, “Of course, we need a prophet in these times.  Where is he?”  Then we explained Jesus and his apostles with the priesthood and she understood perfectly how the church that Christ established had a prophet, 12 apostles, with this priesthood. Then she asked, “But where is this authority to baptize today?”  We explained the apostasy, and Joseph Smith.  She loved it.  We explained how the authority, which was lost, was restored through Joseph Smith along with the church of Jesus Christ.  She said, “I was baptized by the priest/father in the Catholic church.  Are you saying I wasn’t really baptized?”  We asked, “do you believe that to baptize someone, you need to have the authority?”  “Yes”  “Do you believe Jesus Christ had this authority and the man who baptized you had this same authority?”  “But I don’t know, I never even met him!”  We explained the purpose of baptism is for a remission of sins.  She said, “But I had 5 days of age!  I didn’t have any sin!”  We just sat there for a second and let her think, and then she said, “now I'm sad!  I wasn’t baptized!  Is there someone today that has the authority to baptize?”  Ha-ha, as we explained, she got more and more sad!  THEN SHE GOT UP AND LEFT!  She was so upset she just left!  Ha-ha.  So we knocked on her door and gave her the Book of Mormon.  She loved it and said she would read the part we marked, pray, read other parts, read some more, then pray about hem, too.  THEN LEFT AGAIN!  But, it’s all-good.
            We also learned that the cousin of Welerson had been reading the Book of Mormon.  She started from the beginning and is on chapter 13 of 1 Nephi!  Woot Woot!
            We had another lesson with a crazy.  When we asked her to pray about our message, she got mad at us, “Are you accusing me of having doubts of God?  I don’t need to pray if what you’ve said is true, God will show me you both in a vision, and when you guys pass by my house I’ll be about to tell you what clothes you are using.”  I resisted the urge to say anyone can look at us and list our clothing, and probably even without looking at us.  We use the same clothes every day.  Ha-ha.  But today was great.  Today was day 255 of my mission.
(19) SABADO (Saturday):  Today was a very good day.  We finally managed a lesson with Welerson.  Then he went to the talent show of the ward with us.
            THE TALENT SHOW!  Our other investigator Daley also went and played music on his accordion.  HOLY COW!  It was so awesome!  He loved it!  The ward was cheering for more music.  He plays very, very well.  Now he will go to church tomorrow also.  Another person, who has 18 years, showed his talent of solving a rubix cube in 18 seconds.  It was insane.  Others sang, danced, and played the harmonica.  It was very cool. 
            We also met an inactive today who hasn’t gone to church in 20 years.  He said he was active for a year, then when he wanted to go to the temple, the Elder told him the bus was full.  After, he learned that there were 3 benches empty.  He got mad at the Elder, and never went again.  Some people seem to expect that in the true church everyone should be perfect.  Well, they’re not!  They will mess up, people will unintentially offend others.  But to go inactive for 20 years about it is ridiculous.  Our baptism conversion is with God, not with the missionaries.  I’m sure there’s more to the story, so I won’t judge.  We’re going to try to help this man to gain a real testimony this time.  D&C says how great will be your joy with that soul that you brought unto Christ.  I believe this includes the souls we bring to salvation through baptism, but also the lost souls we bring back to the church.  It’s a soul brought unto Christ, and I believe the joy to be the same.  Today was day 256 of my mission.
(20) DOMINGO (Sunday):  HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOSH!!  Daley, the guy who plays the accordion, went to church!  He really liked it!  But Juliano and Stefani didn’t go, they went to travel somewhere, but they asked for us to pass Wednesday. Church was very good today.
            During church, Elder Martins got real sick.  He threw up like 4-5 times today.  So, we called Sister Parrela.  She gave some instructions to him and told him to rest.  So, I got some good study while he was sleeping.  Then a meeting at 5, then after we tried a few houses, but nobody was home, or they couldn’t today, then it started to rain, and as much as it killed me to let today pass without a single lesson, we went back to the house and studied a little more from 8:20-9.  He was still feeling sick, and we didn’t think that knocking doors in the rain would help him.  Today was the first day of my mission with out a lesson.  Elder Martins’ all good now. Ha-ha I made him some juice with lime, with is the cure all that Sister Parrela always has us drink, and he didn’t like it because I just threw the whole lime in with all the peel. 
Elder Martins not happy with his juice.

Then I made some really good rice.  But this week all in all went good.  It was a little slower because of the conference and today, but we had some very good lessons.  I’m learning a lot, and helping others, too.  So, all is well.  Today was day 257 of my mission.

Until next week.  Love you all, Elder Mckee
Elder Martins, Elder Passao De Silva, Elder Alvaranga, Jake

 Pizza for dinner, and a cream on Elder Martins face that they all tease him about.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Zone Conference

Mom: I love scrolling through the mission Facebook page and finding pictures of Jake!  
It's always a treat and I get so excited!
Jake is 7th from the left.  Next to his old comp, Elder Pompeu
 Jake is on the 3rd row down, 4th from the left.  In a black tie and black suit.  

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Sleep Talking In Portuguese!

Week of March 7-13, 2016
(7)SEGUNDA (Monday):  Today was a good day.  5 boxes and 4 letters.  Ha-ha, Man I am spoiled! All the elders here mandam um abra├žo and te agradecem pelo chocolate. (send a hug and thank you for the chocolate). I’m still not managing to send many pictures, but I’ll find a way.  Elder Martins showed me some pictures he got from his girlfriend, who is visiting Moab.  I miss that place.
            So, one lesson today, this woman kept trying to bible bash. She would argue with everything.  Then she asked us if we believe in reincarnation.  I said, “No, we believe in what the bible says that we will resurrect.”  Her: “Where does it say that in the bible?”  Me: “ Corinthians 15” Her: “Let’s go, show me.”  Then I read Corinthians 15:12-22, then said, “We believe and know that Christ resurrected, and that because of this we will also resurrect.”  She looked at me, and then said, “Oh, here’s my dog.  Lots of people have allergies around him.  Are you guys feeling anything?”  Ha-ha-ha, immediately changed the topic.  After the lesson, my comp said, “Elder McKee, you DESTROYED that bible bash!”  Me: “really?  Did I burn her too much?”  Him: “Read the passage again.”  So, I did and now I saw the parts of, “If you don’t believe your faith is vain.”  And “Ye are yet in your sins.’  Maybe it was a little strong, but I don’t like to bible bash.  Today was day 244 of my mission.
(8) TERCA (Tuesday):  Today I did my first baptism interview, with Rodrigo.  He is a great example of how the Lord prepares people before they even meet the missionaries.  The interview was very spiritual and he really opened up to me.
            Then we found a new investigator named Maria, and it was a very good lesson. I’m trying to better my love and compassion for people.  That’s the Christ like characteristic that I’m working on.  In this lesson I focused on that a lot.  The lesson on the restoration went very well.  Right at the beginning she asked, “Why are there so many different churches when there is only one God?”  Ha-ha, which is exactly what we talk about!   She liked the message and the church a lot.  She became very impressed that nobody in the church is paid.  Also, I got my glasses today.  It’s like a whole new world!!  Today is day 245 of my mission.
(9) QUARTA (Wednesday):  An entire day of rain…with a lesson with Stefani.  She didn’t go to church Sunday because she was sleeping…But Fabio the member who invited them the first time, stopped by and talked with them and gave them 2 movies, ‘The Mountain of the Lord’ and ‘Joy to the World’.  Why can’t all members do this!?  He is so involved and helpful in the missionary world.  But she already went to the place, I don’t know how to say in English, to do the marriage papers, and is trying to figure it out.  They’re humble, marriage is expensive, and unfortunately, Missionaries can’t help them pay.  But it’s good that she’s giving her effort, the Lord will recognize that and give her many blessings.  We explained temples to her, because she had watched the ‘Mountain of the Lord’ that Fabio left her.  She LOVED the idea of baptisms for the dead, then asked about the temple marriage.  She is very good. I’m praying a lot for her.
            Also, something that just came to mind today was Joci’s last day in the mission.  She flies home tomorrow.  Man, that’s INSANE!  I wish I could see how much she’s changed.  For sure, she’s not the same girl who left Utah, but I’m sure she’s still Joci.  Man, it’s so exciting.  Now, she’ll start real life, the next mission.  School, work, money, rent, homework, and I’ll bet she’s married in a year.  Ha-ha, man I’m excited for her.  Today was day 246 of my mission.

(10) QUINTA (Thursday):  Transfers came today.  Us 4 will be staying.  WOOT WOOT!  My son won’t have a stepfather!

            Today we went to the neighborhood called Floresta, which means what it sounds like. I t’s the more humble part of the city, but we don’t go there much because of a few things.  1) The streets have no patterns so it’s easy to get lost.  2) It’s where all the drug problems originate.  3) I won’t share because mom reads this.  But we don’t ever go at night.  But today we went exploring and found a ton of lessons.  The missionaries have never, or rarely gone there, so it’s all un-minded gold.  I want to do more hunting there, but it’s best to leave and go back to the other neighborhoods before 6-7 pm.
            Ha-ha, here’s a funny conversation from today:
Us:  “Hello, we are missionaries from the Church of Jesus Cristo”
Her: “Hello”
Us: “Do you frequent a church?”  (That sounds strange in English, the way I wrote it.)
Her: “No, I’m just Catholic.  Want to enter?”
Ha-ha, I don’t have a church, I’m just catholic.  I thought it was funny.  But today went very good.  I’m super happy and excited for tomorrow, also, the baptism on Saturday.  WOOT WOOT!  Today was day 247 of my mission.
(11) SEXTA (Friday):  Today was a good day,  a really good day.  I was happy all day.  Until I looked in the mirror at night, and realized I have love handles now.  That’s not ok.  Ha-ha, I’ll be upping my exercises.  Then we bought pizza and I realized my problem.  Ha-ha
  One old man today, we knocked, he came and he had a watermelon in his hand, a big ol’ knife, and was cutting pieces and eating.  All he said,  “Enter”, then left.  So, we went in and sat with him.  Talked with him a little.  It was obvious he has no interest in religion, so I went to just share a scripture with him.  I said, “Irmao, can we share a scripture with you?”  “No” “Sir, you don’t want to hear a word from God’s book?”  “No, I’m a nervous person.”  Still eating his watermelon with juice everywhere.  Ha-ha, so we thanked him for his time and left.
            Today we walked in heavy rain, then after in heavy sun.  But I was feeling very happy.  I’ve come to love walking.  Also, my glasses go darker in the sun, which is cool, and also something that makes me happy.

Jake and Elder Martins 


            Today Elder Santos Melo called me, and said, “Tche!  You have 9 months in the mission!!  Ahhh, wow it’s passed superfast.  I think he had grabbed a paper and counted it all out for me, because he said, “Look, by weeks or transfers, you have 9 months.  By month, you have 8 months.”  He’s going to another area, so I’ll see him at the zone conference.  Today was day 248 of my mission.
(12) SABADO (Saturday):  WOOT WOOT!  Rodrigo is baptized!  And we had an incredible lesson with Juliano and Stefani.  It was the first time we’ve managed to get them both in house.  Juliano had a lot of questions, and we were able to guide him to all the answers.  He’s gone to church just one time.  He asked me at one point, “Stefani and I aren’t married.  Does this please God?”  I thought for a second of how to answer and I just said, “No, he wants that you both be married.”  Juliano said, “I know.  The other preacher that baptized me said to just be baptized and the rest will follow. “  He kept talking about his baptism in that church, and with time he seemed to come to learn it wasn’t valid.  He had so many questions!  And they were questions inspired!  He opened to 2 Corinthians 12:2 and asked “What is this third heaven?”  So we explained, using many other scriptures, the plan of salvation. He marked every Quarta and Sebado for us to return to study with him.  He said, “I want that you guys create a plan for me and leave stuff with me to read for the next lesson.”  He said he wants to learn more about the Book of Mormon. It was a very good lesson.
            And the baptism!  Rodrigo came in church clothes!  He was so excited!  Then, during the beginning meeting, the LMA from the front signaled that he forgot to turn off the water filling the font.  We went running down, the water in the hallway.  So, we had to pull the plug, then clean the hall, then figure out a way to get the plug back in.  We managed to get it in with a broomstick.  And Stefani went to the baptism, too.  She loved it. She really wants to be baptized, and now Juliano is showing real interest.  AHHH!  I want to baptize them!  They have a little daughter with 4 years.  Her name is Thifany.  We are super excited about them.  Today was day 249 of my mission.
Elder Martins, Elder Pessoa De Silva, Rodrigo, Elder Alvarenga, Jake

 'Our convert teaching our investigator how to tie a tie.'

(13) DOMINGO (Sunday):  Juiano and Stefani went to church!  And they loved it!!  WOOT WOOT!  Everything we covered today in the classes were the same discussions we have in our lessons with him yesterday, so it helped him clarify that more.  Welerson didn’t go and neither did Vinicius.  We aren’t sure what happened with Welerson.  This week was harder for Welerson, I think. I don’t really know, because we didn’t talk to him once. He isn’t answering his phone and the 5 times we passed by his house had nobody home. I talked to the ward mission leader, and he´ll find someone to talk to him through Facebook or something to invite him to soccer. I’m really praying hard for him. 
            This week was a slower one, but we had good lessons.  Juliano and Stefani show a lot of potential.  They are talking of marriage, and Stefani really wants to be baptized. 
            One of those points is to better is my exercises.  Man, I’m getting fat.  Ha-ha, not good.  Today was day 250 of my mission.

OH! So listen to this. My comp said that last night I was talking in my sleep, about baptisms. In PORTUGUESE!!! I’ve already dreamed in Portuguese, but now I’m sleep talking in Portuguese!  Woot Woot!!!!

I love you guys!!! Today I tried to pray in English, and the two Brazilians here that kind of speak English were laughing at my English.... Mother’s day will be an adventure!         

Elder McKee
Our house
 Cool church