Monday, May 23, 2016

"You left me for dead!"

Week of May 16-May 22, 2016
(16) SEGUNDA (Monday):  Today I bought tapioca, which is a food from the North.  It’s not as good as the homemade I ate one time, but it’s still delicious.  We cleaned the house, I watched a movie, Elder Bezerra was washing clothes, and I didn’t notice, so I got shocked when I was cleaning the bathroom.
            We had a family home evening with the family of Irene.  We talked about covenants, and why they are important.  It was very good and spiritual.
            One thing I’ve been trying to work on is being happy in the moment.  A while back I realized that people are always saying, “I can’t wait until…”  We always expect to be happy in the next phase of life.  I thought about all these stages.  As a child, we can’t wait to start school.  Then we can’t wait for summer break.  Then remember how Andy always wanted to cut the grass, until it became his job?  Then we can’t wait for Jr. High, then high school.  We can’t wait to drive, and then we become mom’s errand boy.  Can’t wait to graduate.  Can’t wait for the mission.  Can’t wait to get home.  Can’t wait to start college, and then you can’t wait to finish.  Can’t wait to start the new job, and then you can’t wait to retire.  Maybe we just need to learn to stop and wait a little.  I think everyone is in at least one of these phases, or some other “can’t wait” phase.  Why do we always have to wait until the next step in life to be happy?  Learn to wait and be happy now.  You look back on the ‘can’t wait’ stages you’ve already passed and wish you had taken advantage more of them.  At leave I’ve noticed this in myself.  I look at my mission alone.  I couldn’t wait to leave, then to leave the MTC.  Then to meet my trainer, then to end my training, then to be fluent in Portuguese, then to get a new comp, then to be transferred, then go senior, then to be a trainer, and on and on.  So, now I’m working on being happy now, and not thinking I’ll only be happy or satisfied in the next ‘can’t wait’ phase.  I’m done ‘can’t wait’ing.   Today was day 314 of my mission.
(17) TERCA (Tuesday):  Marcos, the husband of Simara, called us today and said he was upset he missed the last dinner, so they wanted to do another today.  When we got there, Simara said, “Thank you for your prayers for us.  We managed to get enough money to pay the electric bill, so tomorrow we’ll have lights.  There’s a little left over, so we bought hot dogs.”  They are the sweetest people!  Simara, in her prayers, promised to the Lord that she will start immediately, even though she isn’t’ yet baptized, to pay her tithing.  We taught the plan of salvation to Marcos, and it was a very spiritual and good lesson.  Then, Simara told us about some dreams and feelings she’s been having, then said, “But I know these things are the devil trying to take me from the path.  I don’t care what happens, I’ll be baptized because I know that is what God wants me to do.”  Really I just want to baptize them already.  She calls me Jacob, not Elder Mckee, because I think she gets embarrassed that she can’t manage to say McKee correctly.  Today was day 315 of my mission.
(18) QUARTA (Wednesday):  So, this morning we went to the house of Vera Lucia, an older lady we are teaching.  Her daughter, Cinthia, was visiting and as we entered I could see that she was about to leave the room.  I wanted her to stay, so I started talking to her and she sat back down. I asked her how many children she has, and she said one 13-year-old daughter, and she had discovered today that she would be having another child.  Vera Lucia was about to leave to go somewhere so she asked if we could just share a small message.  We said the prayer, and I went to share a scripture, and Cinthia started asking questions, “Who wrote the Bible? How can we know it’s true?  What happens when we die?  Why are we here?”  We answered them all using the Book of Mormon.  We were there for about 20 minutes just answering questions.  Then, Vera Lucia really needed to go, so we gave Cinthia a Book of Mormon with the pamphlet of the Plan of Salvation.  We told her to read it and next Wednesday (That was the only day we could and they could) we would come back.  When she got the Book of Mormon, we had explained that it was scripture inspired by God just like the Bible.  We said ‘whenever you’re feeling upset or sad, just open it and start to read.”  She opened the book right to Alma talking about the preparations for war.  Ha-ha.  But that lesson was great, and she showed so much interest.
            Then we helped, after lunch, a young family move to another house.  They had a lot of very heavy stuff.  The big wardrobe wouldn’t fit in the new house.  To get in, you have to climb stairs, and then it’s a hard right turn into the door.  The wardrobe wouldn’t fit through the door, barely.  I said, “Look, its super close, lets just pull the pins on the door, remove the door, and it will fit.”  The man said, “No, this is easier.”   He then grabbed a big knife, and went to town on the wardrobe, cutting the side to make it smaller.  Then, it still didn’t fit.  I gave the idea again to take off the door.  Nope, we descended the stairs again, and he broke off half the wardrobe and put it in the trash.  Even with half, it was a pain to get into the house.  Today went good.  Today was day 316 of my mission.
(19) QUINTA (Thursday): Yesterday while we were walking in the road, a youth from the church said his dad wanted to pass us a family to teach.  He asked us to pass by the next day.  So, we went today in the morning.  The man, Carlos, showed us the house, and introduced us to the people, then had to leave.  We sat and talked with them for a while and taught the restoration.  Fabricio, Rachael, and their neighbor Raquiele.  Fabricio said that he’s been searching for a church and on Sunday Carlos went walking past, returning from church, and he told him he would visit his church one day.  Carlos said, “Alright, let me call the missionaries, they can teach you a little more.”  As we were talking, he asked the name of the church again, we told him, then said, “But we’re more commonly known as the Mormons” and then he said, “You guys are the Mormons!?  10 years ago I was baptized in the Mormon church when I was 16."  Ha-ha, he’s already a member!  The lesson was a great one, and at the end we challenged his wife to baptism, and she said, “For a long time now, I’ve been asking God to show me the way.  If I pray and feel that yours is the way for me, then yes, I’ll be baptized.”  AHHH and it was SUCH A GOOD LESSON!
            And Simara, remember how she was so excited that they were going to be able to pay the electric bill?  Well, they went to center, paid it, and came back and had a notice.  Their electric box is on their house.  It’s now the law that it has to be in the road on a post.  That post costs $2000 reais.  Simara and Marcos were devastated.  They struggled to pay the 200 reais for electricity, 2000 is almost impossible.  But we, after, talked to Bishop, and we’ll see if they church can help.  Simara and Marcos, when we got the their house, were sitting in the front reading over little pamphlets.  Simara’s faith is amazing to me.  And yesterday they got all the stuff ready for their marriage.  It’ll take a little longer then expected, but all is well.  Today was day 317 of my mission.
(20) SEXTA (Friday):  I think this whole thing of not having electricity for Simara and Marcos is more of a blessing then anything else.  They’re reading together, praying together.  They aren’t letting their faith fall.  And today Bishop told us to pass by their house to tell them the church will help them pay for the post and everything.  Simara hugged us.  She was so happy and so that was a good point from today. It was great news and an answer to their prayers, and Simara, who was lighting a candle next to me for light, accidently knocked over the candle onto my lap, and I yelled and jumped, spilling all my rice and chicken all over my lap and the couch. Marcos said “dear, he brings us this great news and you try to set him on fire!?” then I said “don’t even worry about it. I’m a ninja and I put it out with my rice.”  Ha-ha, so now the joke is that. ALSO!! Simara will kill me if I don’t bring the recipe to her of the chicken in the sprite, can you send it to me. She said if I don't get it she will find you on Facebook and get it herself and tell you that I have the memory of a fish.  ha-ha.  Also, the recipe to an apple pie, and your cookies? Thanks.
            A not so good point is that a dog almost ate me.  We were walking in the street, and a big dog and his other dog friend started barking.  I look at them and they’re behind a closed gate, so we just keep walking.  Then, Elder Bezerra yells and pushes me backwards and takes off running.  I look and the gate wasn’t closed, and the dogs were running at us.  If you just stand still they usually leave you along, but Bezerra had already started running, so now they’re in attack mode.  I don’t think I’ve ever run so fast in my life.  And the 2 dogs chasing me, we get to the top of the hill, and Bezerra says, “Holy crap.  That was crazy!  Did you see them?!”  I said, “Of course I saw them, it’s hard to miss.  I also saw how you pushed me back and left me for dead!” 
            But I became super happy that the church could help them.  It’s now cold winter, it’ll get colder, and they’ve gone a long while without a hot shower, nor a machine to wash clothes, nor lights in the house.  Today was day 318 of my mission.
Elder Bezerra and Jake and the post!

(21) SABADO (Saturday):  Today we challenged Eduardo to be baptized on the 18th of June, because with what he still needs to learn and the days he has work off this is the only day that would work out.  And he accepted!  He’s the husband of Camila, who was born in the church and always active.  He’s gone to church a whole lot, just never was baptized.  They have a little daughter who is adorable.  Eduardo is really quiet, doesn’t really talk very much, but he’s super cool, and I think that he really wants to be baptized. 
            The rest of the day went great also, that was just a highlight.  Things are going great here in this area.  We have a lot of people progressing, which probably means I’ll be transferred.  Usually it works like that.  But I don’t think I will be.  For sure we’ll know by Friday.
            Also, please send more of that Hershey’s chocolate spread you sent me, or anything else like it.  Nutella also.  It’s SUPER good with Tapioca, and I’m running out now.  Also, just in case I forget to ask will you send a raincoat like I have for Elder Bezerra, please?  Also maybe 2-3 cool ties to me.  There are a few young men in the ward I want to give them to.  Today was day 319 of my mission.
(22) DOMINGO (Sunday):  Today was stake conference, and it was awesome!  A man from the 70's came and talked.  President was here, too.  He told me about how he was with Uncle Roy a little bit ago.
            Simara went, along with 5 other investigators.  It was a very good day.  Simara is reading the gospel principals book, and has read 200 pages in the last 2 days.  She loves it and keeps talking of all the new stuff she is learning.
            We also went to the house of Fabricio and his wife Rachael today.  They were very excited to go to church with us next Sunday, and said they would give us a ride.  Rachael read the Book of Mormon, which is encouraging.  We marked another part for her to read, and taught the plan of Salvation.  This week went very well.  We made a lot of progress.  Today was day 320 of my mission.
Yes, I’ve been great!! This week went incredibly well!! We don’t have lights in our room because a wire snapped or something, so we go by candle which is awesome.

I think that they will cut the time any minute now, so I love you!! I’m praying for you! Thanks for all the help with everything! I’m going to buy a bigger coat today.  I love everyone! And I’m praying for all of you! 

Love, Elder McKee
More ninja fly catching skills!

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