Monday, September 26, 2016


Jake and Mom talked back and forth today.  There is an app through email that we are able to talk like texting.  This is some of our conversation:
J:  I’m good this week.  I won’t be able to send the journal pages this week, because this computer doesn’t’ accept my memory card. 
M:  Are you at a different place?
J:  Yes, because we are going to do a big churrasco today with all the missionaries in Cruz Alta, and so we switched up the schedule. 
M:  Did you like the Spider video Dad sent.  You haven’t mentioned it.
J:  I’m crying.  My mind doesn’t process those types of images.
M:  So, do you have an interview date for Simara and Marcos?  Are they close?
J:  YES!! It’s on Friday!!!  Their marriage and their baptism!! And you better believe I’m going!  Ahhhh, I’m so excited.  Hopefully my camera comes before Friday.
M:  If not, you need to borrow your comps camera and get some pics.  We are all so happy they are getting baptized.  We get so excited for the people you teach because we feel like we know them!  We definitely need a picture.    Thiago  (her son) must be so excited!  
J:  Yes, He is very excited!  He’ll baptize Simara, and their friend will baptize Marcos.
M: How was teaching this week?  When are transfers? 
J:  Teaching was very slow.  Everything was slow, but it’s all good because I’m happy.  Transfers are this week.  I think I’ll stay, maybe my comp goes.  I’m good with whatever.  I get along good with my comp.  I’ve gotten to the point that what happens, happens.  And I’ll just go with it.  Elder Levita will go home.  When we ask him to do something, he says, “I’ve only got 8 more days, I don’t even care.”  Ha-ha. 
M:  He’s ready to go home. Tell him if he gets to Utah before you to look us up and we’ll take him to dinner.
J:  Mom!  I think he’s planning on staying in our house.  Ha-ha-ha.  He told me, “McKee, I don’t know why I was transferred to come to a new area for my last transfer, but I think it was because I needed to meet you because I will need help in Utah when I go.
M:  Oh, ha-ha.  Ok.  We better learn more Portuguese because all we know is Obrigado.  When is he planning on coming?
J:  I think about the same time that I get home.  But he really doesn’t want to be a burden.  He said that he’d try and find his own place and work, but that if he needs it he wants to maybe stay in our house.  Then he said that he’d ask you and dad for a list of all the rules he needs to follow, to be there.  But he does have an aunt that told him she would help him with school and travel.  But we still lack a lot of time.  (still have a lot of time).
M:  We will help him get settled.  And he can stay with us until he does.  We are a little crazy, but I think we are fun!  Tell him he is welcome.  We can’t wait for you to come home, so if he gets here before you we’ll just pretend he is you and make him wear the Jake head. 
J:  ha-ha-ha, and he totally would, but I think it will be sometime after. 
M:  Do you get to watch conference this weekend?
J:  Everything but the Priesthood session.  With the time difference, it starts at 9 and doesn’t get over until 11.  We’ll watch it at a later date.

 One thing I noticed this week; my area has a lot, and I mean a LOT, of mud. Roads of dirt. And when it rains, forget about it. And everyday, I leave with my clean shined shoes, and everyday I return with my shoes filthy. It goes something like this:

We leave the house, all clean. We start walking, and then there it is. The road of mud. You walk and walk, on tiptoes, jumping and dodging trying to stay clean. But it’s in vain. There’s no avoiding it. You get a spot of mud on the shoes, and give up. Just walking to avoid the worst of it. Then, after a while you don’t even try to do that, walking through puddles of mud to the ankle. 

Sometimes, what we have done is we take a detour. We walk around the block, which is longer, but it’s a stone road, so no mud. Doing this we don’t get muddy at all.

In my studies the other day, I noticed that our life and temptations are a lot similar. Sometimes we think we can walk the path of temptation and not fall, or walk the muddy road and not get muddy. We start walking on tiptoes and very carefully. Maybe with friends, just not doing what they are doing. Then you get a spot of mud on your shoes, and think it’s all over. You stop walking as carefully, slowly getting more and more muddy. Before long your just walking without a care, knowing you’re all muddy already. 

Or, you can take the detour. Choose another route, and avoid the mud all together. The best way to avoid getting muddy is to avoid the mud in the first place. The best way to avoid sin is avoid the temptation in the first place. 

My time is up!  I love you mom!!  I hope everyone is good. I’m praying for you all.
I love you all!

Elder McKee

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Facebook Pictures

Pamela sent mom these pictures on FB.  We are so glad that members in Brazil take the time to send on pictures.  It's a treasure!
Pamela, Elder Bezerra, Jake, and _______.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Trains and Football

Week of October 12-18, 2016
(12) SEGUNDA (Monday):  Normal day, except we played egg Russian roulette.  9 people, 12 eggs, 6 of those eggs raw and the others boiled.  You had to just grab a random egg and smash it on your head.  Let’s just say I took a BATH in egg.  I also bought a butterfly knife for 9.00 about.  Today was day 432 of my mission.
(13) TERCA (Tuesday):  So, there’s a really long story that happened today that would take a long time to write.  Monday I’ll type it out for you guys.  (Jake didn’t email us this story on p-day).
            It was a division today.  I went with Elder Levita.  I told him, “Hey man, I’m trying to resurrect this area, so we’ll be doing a bunch of contacts today.”  He said, “A year ago I came here in a division, and I remember a young man we visited who I don’t think is going to church.”  So, we went and Levita remembered how to get there.  The young man’s name is Taylor.  We talked with him, he is firm in the church, but he told us about a friend who lives on the corner who isn’t.  So, we went there, us three.  This young man’s name is John.  It was a very good lesson.  We talked about the Book of Mormon and challenged them to start reading it, even if it’s just 2 verses.  The spirit starts small when he works with us.
            There’s another young man called Cristofer, or Cris.  He’s preparing to go on a mission, and in his house it’s only him and his mother.  His mother is not a member, and bishop told me Sunday that it’s time to baptize her.  I had talked to Cris earlier and asked how we could best help her.  He said to wait a little before talking about baptism, because that’s the only thing the elders ever talk about.  So, we dug a little more and planned a good message.  His mothers’ name is Angela.  We talked about the family, and the importance of the church.  We didn’t say a thing about baptism but after talking about Cris’ mission, how he’ll be gone for 2 years, and the members will want to help Angela, it would be good to meet the members.  She said she would go to church with us this Sunday.  After the message, Cris thanked us and told us it was perfect.  Today was day 433 of my mission.
(14) QUARTA (Wednesday):  I was with Elder Levita again because our comps are super sick, not a lot happened today because Levita also had a super sore throat, and I had a pounding headache, but we still went.
            In this city, there are a lot of trains.  We’re always on the tracks.  I had told Levita yesterday about if you put a coin on the track the train smashes it.  Last night we were walking, heard the train, and I asked, “Do you have a coin?”  And then we sprinted, literally sprinted, for 4 blocks to get to the track.  This was yesterday. Just the coins fell when the train passed, so it wasn’t as cool.  Today we brought a bunch of coins and TAPE!  Just in case we found another train, which we did. It was way in the distance coming, and we taped 8 coins to the track.  It was SO COOL!  Ha-ha, after the train started passing, we could see the coins still there, so we started cheering and dancing.  Today was day 434 of my mission.
(15) QUINTA (Thursday):  Today was a very good day.  Remember last week the family we went to on Quinta, we went again.  We hadn’t been able to find them home.  Keli is the mother’s name and check out this lesson.  We talked a little, then we asked if she’d read the Book of Mormon.  She said she felt good reading. Then we asked if she’d prayed.  She paused, then said, “Yes, I prayed.”  E asked how it went, and she paused again for about 20 seconds, and said, “I cried. And every time since then that I’ve prayed I’ve cried.”  We asked what had changed, and she said she doesn’t know how to explain, but she feels different. I read Galatians 5:22 and asked if that helped put her feelings into words.  She smiled and said yes.  Then we talked about prayer and the Holy Ghost. It was super, super spiritual, this lesson.  She’s going to go to church this Sunday, if she can.  She might be in the hospital.
            The rest of the day went very good as well.  But this lesson was the highlight.  Today was day 435 of my mission.
(16) SEXTA (Friday):  Today a sister in our district did 1 year in the mission, and she always talks about how much she wants to try apple pie.  So, this morning we made one and took it to her.
            That young man who on Domingo brought his mother and sister to church, his name is Alexander, his mom, Marines, and sister, Thyssa.  We had a very good lesson with them today. She’s going to go to church again this Sunday. We’re super excited about her.  We also invited them to a FHE tomorrow, with Cris.  Today was day 436 of my mission.
(17) SABADO (Saturday):  Today I bought a flippen FOOTBALL!  We found a place that sells them. I’m going to stat some games with the young men.  We’re starting to gain the youth’s confidence.  I told 3 young men that if they can beat me at fusball.  I’ll buy a hamburger the size of a tire rim for us to eat.  It’s called the Xis Colata.  “Colata” means ‘rim’ of that part inside the tire.  We eat a lot of them.  They also got excited to play football.
            The FHE had us, and 3 other people.  Ha-ha-ha, Alexander and his family didn’t go.  But it was still very good, more food for us.  I had brought cookies.  Cris is preparing for the mission, Leo as well, who was also there.  We talked afterwards about the mission, and they asked a lot about BYU Provo.  They both want to go there after the mission.  Today was day 437 of my mission.
(18) DOMINGO (Sunday):  WOOT WOOT!  Tons of investigators in church today! And by tons, I mean 5.  But it was a good day today.  It’s a work in progress. 
            This week went well.  We made a lot of progress, and our investigators are progressing.  Today was day 438 of my mission.

I love you all!  Elder McKee

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Day of Service

Week of September 5-11th, 2016
(5) SEGUNDA (Monday):  I really do have the best friends and family ever.  Today I had a ton of emails to help me out and make me laugh. Everyone helps me so much, especially mom. J
            I made 2 apple pies today, which were good, but the crust came out weird.  I also traded some dollars for a new watch, a really nice watch that I’ll only use on Sundays and in meetings.  We ate apple pie, watched 17 miracles, while playing a card game.  Then we left to walk a ton to go to a meeting with the ward mission leader to return and that was our day.
            In my personal study I study the Book of Mormon in Spanish, with a little dictionary.  It’s super cool.
            To be honest, Things are pretty hard for me right now.  There is NOTHING here as far as investigators.  But, today we got some good referrals to go to, families, and I have high hopes for them.  I had some time today and I sat thinking.  One thing that I felt I was beginning to lack was the quality of my prayers.  I made some plans and goals to improve my proximity to God through my prayers.  From that, I know that everything else will improve.  One of my biggest desires is to have the surety of testimony I see that other missionaries have. Where they speak and you feel the spirit testifying.  I realized that to have that spirit more in my testimony, I need that spirit more in my life and it come through prayers and study.
            I am happy to be there and to be a missionary.  I’m happy to have this new challenge.  Sometimes Elder Marcelino says, “Elder McKee, I’m sorry about the state of our area.  It must be hard for you to watch others baptizing the people you taught.”  But I tell him really it isn’t a big deal. We’ll just work hard to get other people in the church. 
            But I need the prayers of everyone!  Today was day 425 of my mission.
(6) TERCA (Tuesday):  I spent all day sneezing so hard tears were coming out of my eyes.  My companion passed me the cold he had.  After lunch we returned home because I was in no condition to teach.  I drank 3 cups of tea with honey and took some medicine.  Then we left to work because I refuse to sit in the house all day.
            At the house of one of our investigators, we found an inactive woman who lives in my old area.  I know her and her family well.  Our investigator is her sister.  That was cool.
            One cool thing today…a few days ago I read a talk “ What do I lack” or something like that in English. A rich Jovem (youth) who asked Christ what more he could do.  The answer wasn’t simple, ‘see everything he had’.  I began to think about the courage it takes to ask the lord that question, what else do I lack. Today in my prayer, I made this question. Before I asked, I began to think of all my faults and imperfections and things I do wrong that He could answer to me.  I asked anyways, and a thought I hadn’t even thought about came to my mind.  “Smile More”.  Everything that I lack, and the Lord gave me the council to smile.  I’ve been working hard, but forgetting to do so with Joy.  That is the point the Lord told me to improve in.  
Today was day 426 of my mission.
(7)QUARTA (Wednesday): Today was great! There’s this thing in the Church called “Maos Que Ajudam” or Hands that Help.  They do a bunch of service projects. Today was a holiday in all of Brazil, and we here in Cruz Alta did two service projects, and our pictures came out on the facebook page for all of Brazil to see!

            The first was that we went in the morning to paint a school.  I was painting a wall when someone said “Someone here knows how to use a brush?”  At least I thought he said brush.  What he really said paintgun.  I said “I know” and he handed me the gun and told me to paint the doors, haha.  I said that I know how with such confidence that he wanted to watch me set it up to learn.  I’VE NEVER USED ONE OF THESE IN MY LIFE!” So I said, “just let me see how much I have to thin this type of paint for the gun” and I pulled out the manual , read it all quickly, looking at the pictures and then just went for it.  HaHa, all came out very well and now everyone thinks I’m a professional painters.

 Elder Levita must have borrowed Jake's shirt.

            The next is we went to an old people place where a ton of oldies live.  We sang hymns, played guitar,  Elder Levita and I cut their hair and the sisters did women’s nails.  It was these pictures that got on the page.  The olds loved it.  HaHa, super cool.  We talked about the church and their families, which was interesting because it was a catholic retirement home and we were surrounded by saints and stuff.  One woman was blind but knew all the catholic hymns which we have a lot in our book so 3 of us sat with her singing very loud.  It was so much fun.  

After my comp and I and the 2 other Elders in our house were super hungry and it was too late for it to be worth it to walk to our area which takes about an hour, teach someone, and come back.  So we went home, ordered a huge hamburger and closed the day.
            Today was day 427 of my mission.
(8) QUINTA (Thursday): Today everything went so well, except for I got stabbed, in the thumb, with a metal spike thing, and I did it to myself.  I was adjusting Marcelinos watch trying to take out the pin.  I didn’t see that the pin was fixed and doesn’t come out.  I was pushing super hard and the spike slipped, passing through the pad of my thumb and then entering my pointer finger, that hurt!
            A member had given us a referral and today we went to talk to her.  It’s a family, mom, dad, 10 year od son and 5 year old daughter.  It was a super good lesson and they practically live next to the church so they will go this Sunday. 
            I made a very good trade with Elder Rapuzzi.  I traded my watch which actually is a nice watch, and a perfume that I don’t like very much for a coat.  A super warm coat which I’ve been wanting for a ling time.
            Today we worked hard and today was very good.  Today was day 428 of my mission.
(9) SEXTA (Friday): All of the whole mission went to Santa Maria today.  Neil L Anderson will come tomorrow to give us a training.  Everyone is super excited.  I realized just how old I am in the mission because I knew very few people.  It seems like everyone is new and just getting started.  A lot of missionaries that I’ve never seen nor even heard of came up to me and “Elder McKee how’s it going?” Like we’ve been BFFs for years.  Andressa came to the chapel to visit me and to take a picture.  It was cool.
Jake looking like he needs some sleep, and Elder Santos Melo.

            I’m excited for tomorrow.  I’ve been praying for the last 2 weeks for answers and to be prepared for when he comes. 
            Today was day 429 of my mission.
(10) Sabado (Saturday): I received every answer I was looking for.  Sometimes Elder Anderson would speak Portuguese and other times English with his translator.  Elder Costa from the area presidency was also there. We were able to shake their hands.  I felt a very strong good feeling as he seemed to answer each of my doubts and each of my questions.  Today was day 430 of my mission.

Sister and Elder Anderson, President and Sister Louza, and ____________.
Picture of Elder Anderson with missionaries and the youth.

(11) Domingo (Sunday): Lunch today was a huge churrasco WOOT WOOT!  A young man who is the only active member in his family brought his mom and sister to church today.  He was so excited and happy.  We marked a day to go and speak with them in their house.
            The family of Giovanna also came to visit me. HaHa.  This week was difficult but its getting better, I’m ready to work and we are making some serious progress.
            Today was day 431 of my mission.

I love you all!
Elder McKee