Tuesday, June 7, 2016

"I'm Training Jesus....Elder Jesus Santos, that is!"

Week of May 23-29, 2016
(23) SEGUNDA (Monday):  Today was a P-day, very good.  I bought a bigger jacket, talked to my family, and watched my church movies…again.  I’ve watched them all so many times I have them memorized in English, Portuguese, and now I just watch it in Spanish.
            We had a Family Home Evening that went very well, with Irene and her family.  Today was good.  30 happy birthday emails.    Today was day 321 of my mission.
(24) TERCA (Tuesday):  Today at 6:30 the alarm goes off.  I get out of bed, turn it off and then the phone rings.  The elders form my district.  Every Terca they grab the bus at 6 to get to where we have our meeting at 7 to wait until 10 for it to start.  They had missed the bus and at 6:30 exactly called to let me know.  So, now it’s my job to organize everything to get everyone to a different area for the meeting.  The sisters didn’t have any money.  I don’t even know how because they literally receive DOUBLE what we receive, so I had to buy it for them, and I get the refund later.   Then we had to call our lunch to cancel. T he man told us to pass by then we got home and he would heat up the food for us.  We got there at 2:40.  Flippen’ elders.
            But the rest of the day went very good.  We’re working hard and definitely seeing results.  The Lord is blessing every part of what we are doing.  Today was day 322 of my mission.
(25) QUARTA (Wednesday): Everything is going great.  Today we knocked a lot of doors, but there’s a huge game going on and NOBODY wanted to talk to us.  A few commitments fell through, but all is well.  Today was day 323 of my mission.
(26) QUINTA (Thursday): I think that today all the crazy people who think they know the bible decided to unite against us.  One guy came out and said, “Are you the Mormons who believe in the Book of Mormon?  We said yes, and then he left…. didn’t want any more.
            The next house was a Jehovah Witness, who said we don’t know anything.  Then he said, “For example, what does it say in Psalms 84?  Ha-ha,  I didn’t know!  Then he said, “And John 17:3?” which I do have memorized, but I just stayed quiet.  Same with Elder Bezerra.  We managed to leave as he kept trying to show his deep biblical knowledge.  The next house the man didn’t even leave.  Just looked at us and said, “I feel bad for you both, so young and full of desire to do right, yet lead astray by leaders and parents.  I invite you both to go to your knees for once and actually ask God His path for you, and you’ll see the light.”  I thought it funny that I actually follow his council everyday.  The guy talked a good 15 minutes from his door about everything our church does wrong.  He said, “Your church is a branch off from the original church, so it isn’t true.”  I asked which was the original church and he said “Evangelhico”, which isn’t even a specific church, it’s a type.  I asked which, and he said, “Whichever, they all have the same roots.”  So, what he said about our church being a branch off was false, and even if it was true, by his logic our church would still be true. 
            The next house was a 17 year old who his religion is black magic…like voodoo.  We found out his whole family is already baptized but they left the church to follow family tradition.  Yep.
            We finished the day on a good note.  We found a woman named Ava.  She was baptized and active for 18 years, then went inactive and has been for 13 years.  She was Primary President, young women’s president, RS president, worked in the temple with her husband, studied and worked with missionaries.  Literally everything.  But then, one day her husband told her “I’m done” and packed his things and moved to a hotel, leaving her with the kids.  She still reads the scriptures and prays, just that after she loved a few times, she slowly started going inactive.  She’s a lovely lady, just that her and her children lost the way.  But, we’ll bring her back.  She knew all the stuff on the church because her sister is active and she also follows the church site.  But, yea, we’ll bring her back, then her kids too, who are all moved out now.  Today was day 324 of my mission.
(27) SEXTA (Friday):  I loved all the cards!! I laughed and laughed and laughed at all the photos!! Glad you guys celebrated big for my birthday. ;) I loved the picture of dad with all the pigeons. SO cool that he´s trained them so well that they all stood still with a paper face on theirs. Elder Bezerra sat looking at them all, laughing. Ha-ha he loved them!!  (For Jake’s Birthday, everyone in his family wrote him a card and we included a picture of them doing something they like, with the Fake a Jake.  There were some hilarious ones. About 25 cards.) 
 Jake's birthday package.

 Making his cake with frosting we sent to him.

 Happy Birthday Balloons!
So, let me tell you about my birthday lunch first…it fell through.  So, we were left to make our own food.  Usually we just go to the restaurant and eat, but I was feeling creative. So, we bought shrimp, that one type of noodle that has cheese inside, and then I wanted to make alfredo sauce that I made one time with another Elder.  As you can see from the picture, it didn’t turn out…. seriously it was the grossest thing I’ve ever eaten since I left for the mission.  I ate a few bites, threw it out, and Elder Bezerra did, too.  It was just the Alfredo sauce.  I bought the wrong type of cheese, and it didn’t melt right in the milk, and everything went down hill from there.  It was actually pretty sad, but we were excited.  This p-day I’ll look up an Alfredo recipe.  The Shrimp and noodles weren’t good either, but al least they were bearable.  But yea.
            We met a new woman today named Princila.  She was very good and flat out said that if she gets an answer she’d have to follow it.  I love it when people have that attitude.
            A member made me a cake, which was very nice of them.  They added mom on Facebook to send her a picture. 
Pamela Koepp is the 16 year old girl who made Jake the cake for his birthday.  She was so nice to send mom the pictures.  Mom loves the Brazilian members who take care of the missionaries!

            Today went very well.  I’m happy.  Transfers came, and Bezerra will leave and I’ll train again.  Hopefully he knows how to cook.  Ha-ha.  Today was day 325 of my mission.
(28) SABODO (Saturday):  We have an investigator names Nathanael, who we’ve only taught 2 times since I’ve been here.  He’s 16, and his mom is in the hospital.  She has cancer, and Wednesday she had her second surgery where they took out an orange sized tumor from her brain.  Nathanael is always at the hospital with her.  He’s an amazing young man, staying very positive and optimistic.  He goes to seminary and has a lot of friends in the church.  But it’s harder for him to go on Sundays.  But, tomorrow he’ll go.  He wants to be baptized, but right now it’s complicated for him, because his mom is the only immediate family he has, and she’s going to start chemo next week.  So, we’re going to pray a lot for him, and her.  Her name is Eliana.
            The activity we had planned for today fell through because of the rain, and was moved to next Saturday.  We have a lot of people planning on going to church tomorrow.  I just hope the rain doesn’t mess things up.  Today was day 326 of my mission.
(29) DOMIGO (Sunday):  So, we have this investigator named Vilmar.  His wife, to which he isn’t actually married, is a strong and faithful member named Claudia.  He’s already gone to church a whole lot, and now we are passing by.  The last time we went, Claudia was feeling very sick, and we gave her a blessing.  Today we had an incredible lesson with the two of them.  We watched the video “expressions of love.” A Mormon message.  And talked about it.  Claudia said that she wants to get married, then right after the marriage, which would be in the church, they go to the font and Vilmar gets baptized.  She wants a picture where she’s in the white wedding dress and he’s in the white baptism clothes.  Kind of cool.    But Claudia shared her testimony, and the spirit was there so strong.  Vilmar shared his feelings, and that he will be baptized, he just wants to prepare a little more.  But he said it wouldn’t take long.  Claudia get so happy,  And us of course.  We talked a lot about faith and a desire to know the truth and seeking an answer.
            Then we went to a member’s house so Bezerra could say goodbye and there were a ton of people from the ward there.  We walked in, and they said, “Bezerra!  We noticed that the only winter clothes you have is that thin sweater.  So tomorrow, stop by the store where I work and we will get you a real coat.”  I had been telling him all week that I was going to get him a real coat and some more sweaters, and I thought it was so cool how the members also realized and were going to help.  Today was day 327 of my mission.

 Simara and Marcos came to church!

 Staying warm!

Week of May 30- June 5, 2016
(30) SEGUNDA (Monday):  Today was great.  We got  a good coat for Bezerra, then talked to our families, then went to eat lunch and hang out with Marcos and Simara.  She prepared a little goodbye speech for Bezerra and I, and started crying as she was reading it to us.  They’re incredible people that the Lord prepared perfectly.  They almost have the lights back in their house, too!
            I also got a great package from grandma Munoa with more handkerchiefs and dried apples, which I ate, all of.  We visited a few other people too, but yea, that was my day.  Today was day 328 of my mission.
(31) TERCA (Tuesday):  I’m training Jesus.  Elder Jesus Santos, that is.  He was baptized a year and 4 months ago!  He’s 25 years old, from Sao Paulo.  He’s a very cool guy, and we’ll see how he works.  He’s humble with a desire to learn.
            I spent the first half of the day in the bus, and the other half waiting in the chapel for 5 hours for the meeting to start.  Yep.  But today was good.  And Simara called to tell me that they have electricity again!  WOOT WOOT! 
            I’m excited to train again, and I think we’ll do a great work together in Cruz Alta.  Today was day 329 of my mission.
(1) QUARTA (Wednesday):  The zone conference today was awesome!  I’m starting to feel older and older in the mission.  It was very good and I learned a lot.  Took a lot of pictures as well. 

Jake is right behind the Elder that is forward.
 Jake is on the left end of front row.

In 29 days President Parrela will go and president Lauza will come.  Only 6 new missionaries were in this coming group, and of all the missionaries in the mission I was chosen to be one of the 6 trainers.  I feel good about that, it shows the Lord has confidence in me.
Yea, I got my certificate and my cool rock for memorizing 25 scripture masteries, then i forgot them on the bus.... haha so yea ill never see them again. but its alright, I got a picture. 

            I was going through Elder Jesus Santos’ pictures on his camera, and I found a picture of him with Dallin Ward!  He said, Dallin destroyed everyone in volleyball and basketball!  Ahha. REPRESENT!  But, yea, that was cool. (Dallin is a young man in Jake’s home ward who is also going to different Brazil mission.)
            We got home at 7:15 and then left at 7:30 for a commitment, with that Ana who is an inactive who worked in the temple.  Fell thought, and so did plan b and c.  so, we were heading home to let him organize his stuff, and I felt like I should knock on a door.  They let us in.  We talked to an old man named Aristelo, and his son in law, Wellington, whose 19 years old.  We tried to teach the restoration. T he first time Elder Jesus Santos has ever taught, and we hadn’t had time for me to prepare him.  Yea, it was a crazy lesson, but there was a good spirit.  Then Aristelo kept asking a bunch of questions with nothing to do with anything.  He mentioned a few times a daughter who had died young.  It wasn’t until I promised him that he would see her again and that his family could be eternal that he really started to pay attention to the lesson.  He sat there with tears in his eyes, and then said, “I like you both a lot. Please come back and tell me more about this plan of salvation.”  It was a good first lesson, and very good for Elder Jesus Santos, too.  After the lesson, Elder Jesus Santos said, “I think you’re going to teach me a lot.  You dominated the conversation and talked with power and your testimony blew me away.  I think I got a very good trainer.”  I said, “Yea, you did.”  Ha-ha.  Just kidding, I didn’t say that, but it was neat to see how far I’ve really come in just 11 months.
            I really learned a lot today about how I can better my studies and my prayers.  That’s something I really need to work on.  Today was day 330 of my mission.
(2) QUINTA (Thursday):  I love training.  Ha-ha, man, the questions he asks and some of the things he says make me remember when I first started and how lost I felt.
            We had a very good lesson with Eduardo today, who has his baptism date marked for the 18th.  I am SUPER excited for that.
            We’re going to have the activity this Saturday, and it should be very good.  I’m hoping a lot of people go. 
            Eduardo drinks sometimes and has a habit to drink coffee, but he is going to leave them both.  We talked a lot about the blessings of the word of wisdom, and also the blessings of baptism.
            We also sat in a bus for 4 hours because I have to do a baptism interview.  Today was day 331 of my mission.
(3) SEXTA (Friday):  We talked to a lot of people today.  A whole lot.  We met a German family, but only the mom was home.  She was super nice.
            My comp is super funny.  Sometimes in the lesson he gets excited and teaches the whole thing with out passing to me to talk, but he does it really fast and the people don’t understand, so after he talks of everything, I go back and explain. He tells me that I’m very good at teaching, because I perfect what he forgets to say, which is almost everything.  For example, the lesson of the restoration has about 7 parts, and usually we start and each one takes alternating parts.  Then it isn’t just one person talking, and we can testify.  Today in a lesson, I started with the first part, then Elder Jesus Santos taught the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th.  But nothing really make sense, so I went back and taught it all again. 
            I always ask him what I can do better to help him, and today he said, “Be more loving.”  I thought I have been doing pretty good. So I asked him to explain.  He said, “You don’t hug me, and when we sit on a couch if our legs are touching, you scoot over to not be touching me.”  Ha-ha.  I said, “Yeah, and that won’t change.  Maybe I’m just a cold American, but I don’t like people touching me.  I love all my comps and everyone, but I don’t like to hug them”.  And then he said, “Well, I can’t wait to see you with your wife.  If you don’t hug your companion, how will you hug your wife?”  Then he asked me if I’d ever even dated, or hung out with girls.  Ha-ha-ha.  I said, “Yeah, a few times.”  Then I said, “I have no problem hugging girls, especially very cute ones.  And that my wife will be a very cute girl, so it will be easy to give her a hug.”  Ha-ha.  It’s really a culture thing, and I have not been able to really get in the habit of hugging everyone yet.  I like my space, and if that makes me a cold American, tudo bem.  Ha-ha.
(4) SABADO (Saturday):  WOOT WOOT!  Today went great!  We had a great lesson with a man named Jerson.  We were walking, and just started talking to him in front of his house.  He invited us in and we taught the restoration.  In the middle of explaining Joseph Smith,   He said it’s a beautiful message and he really wants to go visit.  We told him, and he asked us to come pick him up and go there with him.  He was very excited.
            AND THE ACTIVITY!  So, before we went to the house of Taina, who is a 16 year old less active.  Her brother too, and he’s starting to go to seminary.  We went way before the activity because I wanted to take them both.  Taina went to get ready and it took FOREVER.  Fabio, her brother didn’t end up going.  Then her dad gave us a ride, but picture this…her cousin, also a girl, wanted to go.  All right.  So the car is small. Us two elders in the back with the cousin, Taina, in the front.  And we start going in the wrong direction, and I find out it’s to pick up another friend who wanted to go, also a girl.  The car has place for 3 small people in the back, and it had 2 missionaries and 2 teenage girls.  I spent the whole ride praying and citing scriptures in my mind.  But they loved the activity, so it’s all good.  There were a lot of members, a car pulls up and out came 3 pretty girls, and then the missionaries…NOT what I had in mind, but all right. 
            Tomorrow should have a lot of people at church.  I hope so, at least because very few went last week.  Today was day 333 of my mission.
(5) DOMINGO (Sunday):  So today we left early to pick up a bunch of people who said they would go to church with us.  Not a single one came with us.  Ha-ha, it was normal to me, but Elder Jesus Santos didn’t understand.  He said, “Why aren’t they coming.”  I said, “It happens, it’s early and cold.  But we always show our faith by coming to try and pick them up.  We do our part to give them the chance to do theirs.”  Ha-ha, then he said, “You mean this has happened before?  Where you went to get people for church and they didn’t go?”  ha-ha!  EVERY SUNDAY!  But I didn’t tell him that, because I don’t want to destroy his cute lil expectations.  I just said, “Yes, it’s happened before.”  He really has a lot of faith and hope for everyone, and I remember back to when I was starting and I always got mad because my comp wouldn’t visit 2 times the guy who didn’t show any interest and smokes so much his fingers were black.  Now I can see the same thing in my comp.  he always gets so happy when he challenges the people to baptism, which makes sense.  I don’t’ want to tell him how many hundreds of accepted baptism invites I’ve done to get a few baptisms.
            Today was very good day with very good lessons.  And he asked if every day is so slow.  I said, “You still don’t ever realize how good this area is.”  He said, “You mean there is worse?!”  He’s 25 years old, but very innocent, it seems.
            This week went very well.  I didn’t get to visit all the people I wanted to, but we got a lot of good stuff done.  I’m happy and trying my best to do the Lords will.  I’m learning to be more humble and patient, which really isn’t as easy as it sounds.  Today was day 334 of my mission.

Give everyone a hug.  Love, Elder McKee
Jake and Elder Jesus Santos

 Maybe the pole needed for Marcos' and Simara's electricity?
 So, President took all the foreigners to a place to do something, but didn't have enough seats, so Elder Hyland and i went in the back, where there were seat belts and no seats. So, we wrapped them around our legs. Not sure if it helped, but I sure felt better because President drives like a mad man. 
 Sis. Cornick with the wild hair, photo bombing their picture.

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