Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Galaxy Party

Week of October 17-23, 2016

(17) SEGUNDA (Monday):  Today rained a TON.  And we made churrasco.  We played UNO, and all in all today was a really good day.  Today was day 467 of my mission.
 Elder Bispo dos Santos, Elder Nascimento, Elder Munns, Elder----, Elder Rapuzzi, Jake

(18) TERCA (Tuesday):  Today was a division with the assistant Elder Smith.  He’s super, super cool.  The dividion actually went very well.  But here’s one thing that happened:
So, we only had one umbrella, so we were both sharing.  At one point, there were a ton of huge puddles, so I left him with the umbrella and jumped the first one.  He said something, so I turned to look at him, turning my back to the road.  When I turned back, a car passed by, going very fast, and hit the huge puddle right in front of me.  Freaken tidal wave, right into my face and my chest.  Elder Smith started laughing, and there was this hobo there as well who started laughing super hard.  I know the driver was going along, saw the puddle, saw the Mormon, and didn’t think twice.
            We also had a super good lesson with a woman named Jaqueline.  When we knocked at her door, she already came out saying she doesn’t want to quit smoking and that she is happy as she is.  I think it’s interesting the lies we sometimes tell ourselves.  We feel guilty for a certain thing, so we convince ourselves we’re happy.  IT’S NOT TRUE!  It’s against our divine nature to be happy while practicing sin.  I don’t know why we create this habit to justify and rationalize.  We’re basically saying that we are the exception to God’s commandments or that we know what is better for us more than God does.  Anyways, she was a sweet lady, and after talking a bit with her she opened up a bit.  It was a very good lesson.  Today was day 468 of my mission.
(19)QUARTA (Wednesday):  Today rained for a long time, and was raining SUPER hard.  So, we got nothing done.  We had a FHE with the bishops family because they wanted apple pie.  I told them we could do it, but they needed to find a family of less actives and a family on non members to invite.   They did, but at the last minute the family of investigators couldn’t come.  But, let me just say, this was the BEST apple pie I’ve made yet.  And it helped the family of less acives a lot, so I’m content.
            The cashier at the market tried to Bible burn me today while I was buying the apples.  He said, “You’re a Mormon?”  I happily replied, “Yes sir, I am.”  He nodded, then said, “Have you ever read Galates?” I said yes, then he asked if I remember what it says in Galates 1:8.  
Then he told me to go read it. 
            It’s weird, at the beginning of the mission, I always got frustrated when stuff like this happened, people using badly interprepeted scruptures to talk bad about the churhc.  Now, it really doesn’t bother me.  One thing that Elder Anderson said when he came here was “You all have the Book of Mormon and the restored gospel in your lives.  You know more about Christ and His atonement and the church then ANYONE! “  That gave me a lot of hope and confidence.
            Today was day 469 of my mission.
(20)  QUINTA (Thursday):  One more day of division.  This time I went back to first ward.  I was there with Elder Munns, an American with 2 weeks in the field.  Haha, it was a cool division, watching this new missionary full of desire and wanting to work and watching him struggle with the language reminded me of my first days.  I knew exactly what he was feeling. 
            He also had no idea where anyting was but he knew the houses.  So, he would tell me the road, I would get us there, then we would walk  until we found the house.  We walked a lot.  It’s been almost a year that I haven’t had with an American.  It’s going to my head.  
Today was day 470 of my misison.
Giovanna from the 1st ward.  She sent these to mom on FB.  


(21) SEXTA (Friday):  One more divison.  This time with an Elder from another city.  It was cool.  We called Cris, a young man from the ward, to do visits with us.  And everything fell through.  Holy cow we walked so much.  We got a lot of sun today.
            Then the other 3 elders grabbed and broke my glow sticks.  One asked what happens if you break one open.  I put a little hole in one, turned around, and whipped a line of the glowing liquid on his shirt.  THEY FLIPPED OUT!  Soon, everyone was throwing light everywhere.  I took a few pictures.   Today was day 471 of my mission. 

(22) SABADO (Saturday):  We called all the youth again, and we played water balloon capture the flag.  Well, we didn’t play with them, but I wanted to!  We set them going, put a young man in charge, and we left to go to a meeting with the bishop. In the meeting we made a ton of new plans for the ward.  We have a lot of work to do.  Today was day 472 of my mission. 
(23) DOMINGO (Sunday):  Church today was great.  After, I think I ate so much at lunch that I broke the word of wisdom about 6 times.  Churrasco, and then I ate 3 helping of the pineapple dessert.  Then we went back to the chaple with the sisters, and we did a meeting to plan all our our activities.  It was a good meeting. 
            This week was a very good week.  We had progress, and I’m starting to get excited again for the work.  We have 3 investigators with a lot of potential:  Isabel, Keli, and John.  Today was day 473 of my misison.

Thanks for everything.  I love you all!!

Elder McKee

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Little Brazilian

Week of October 3-9, 2016
(3) SEGUNDA (Monday):  P-day, then we went to Santa Maria for the mission council tomorrow.  Today was day 453 of my mission.
(4) TERCA (Tuesday):  All day in meetings, or in a bus. Elder Nascimento is a cool guy and we are going to work a lot to resurrect this area. He’s part of the group that came into the mission with me. Today was day 454 of my mission.

(5) QUARTA (Wednesday):  Today we walked a TON!!  I showed a lot of the area to him.  Honestly I am super tired and without much excitement to write.  Today was day 455 of my mission.
(6) QUINTA (Thursday):  Today we started a little church.  We knocked on a door and an old man without teeth came out and told us to come in.  So we go in and in the back there are 5 people, all sitting in the shade. We're talking to them, and in come 2 more.  Ha-ha, so we start teaching them all.  When we said the prayer, they all stood up, and stayed standing for the whole lesson.  Ok, that’s fine.  Then we grabbed the addresses off all we could.  It was super funny.  Today was day 456 of my mission.
(7) SEXTA (Friday):  Today Thiago and Graciele got married.  We went for a little bit.  It was very rewarding to se them finally married.  Then we had to go, and they LOADED a box with food and sent it with us.  Pictures of that wedding included.  Today was day 457 of my mission.
Giovanna, Graciele, Thiago, Jake
Elder Munns, Elder, Graciele, Thiago, Jake, Elder Nascimento
Pamela, Wesley, and Jake at the wedding.
 Elder Nascimento, Wesley, and Jake 

(8) SABADO (Saturday):  Today Graciele was baptized!  WOOT WOOT.  And it was incredible to see her and Thiago in the water. I was super happy.  I love the mission. 
 Jake, Thaigo, Graciele, Elder Nascimento
 After the baptism
 This is a bag that holds a termic of hot water and chimarrao, and the green stuff.  Just picked it up for the picture.  

            We’re making a lot of progress in our area, getting a teaching group and planning a lot of activities with bishop for the ward.  It’s going to be good.  Today was day 458 of my mission.
(9) DOMINGO (Sunday):  This week was a slow week for journal entries.  But today we made some HUGE progress with Joca, an investigator who hated the missionaries because they would stay hours in his house when it was just his wife at home.  Now he’s starting to open up again.  Today, out of nowhere, he came to church!  The wife and daughter of him are members.  We’re excited for him.  Today was day 459 of my mission.

Week of October 10-16, 2016
(10) SEGUNDA (Monday):  P-Day!  Some other elders came to sleep in our apartment for the conference tomorrow. Nothing really exciting today, aside from emailing family and friends.
(11) TERCA (Tuesday):  Today was incredible.  President Louza gave training on the atonement of Christ, and the spirit was so strong. There are also a lot of new Americans in the mission, and seriously, this is the conversation I had in English:
The new American:  “Hey”
Me:  “Hey, how’s it going?”
Him:  “It’s going good, just a little hard to speak and understand.”
Me:  “Yea, but that comes with time.  Don’t worry about it.”  (I don’t know if I was speaking with an accent.)
Him:  “Are you Brazilian?”
Me: “A little.”
Him:  “Wow, but you speak English very well.  Congrats.”
HAHAHAHA!!  I thought it was sooo funny.  Today was day 461 of my mission.
Jake is in the middle row behind the sister in the white sweater.

 Sis. Moss, Elder, Elder Nascimento, Jake
 Sis. Moss, Elder, Jake

(12) QUARTA (Wednesday):  Today was a good day.  All rain and everything fell through.  But it’s ok.  I’m still happy.  Today was day 462 of my mission.
(13) QUINTA (Thursday):  In the last 2 weeks I’ve lost 6 pounds.  Today was interesting.  I’ll tell one thing that happened today. 
            So, we were walking in the street, after it had turned dark, and this guy come running, “Wait Friends” he yells.  He comes up and says, “What do I need to do to enter your church?”  Elder Nascimento and I are a little taken back, because this never happens.   We say he just needs to come and he can enter.  He says that for months now he’s been having dreams, and all of them say, “Go to the Mormon church.”  He gave us his address and phone number and grabbed our number.  So we’ll see what will happen.  But it was super interesting.  His name is Rapi.  Today was day 463 of my mission.
(14) SEXTA (Friday):  Today we did a big family home evening with the ward.  It was the first one, and it went super well, lots of people.  Everyone received a balloon and we showed them a paper that said, “DO NOT POP THE BALLOON!”  Everyone understood, then I whispered something in my comps ear and he said, “No, we wont’ do this then.  We’ll play follow the leader.”  He offered a chocolate reward to who could follow I'm the best.  We danced with the balloons, did all sorts of stuff.  Then very quickly, he popped.  ALL BUT 5 POPPED THE BALLOONS!  I picked up the paper and showed it again, and everyone started yelling. Then we gave chocolate to those who didn’t pop the balloon.  It was super good about keeping the commandments.  Today was day 464 of my mission.
(15) SABADO (Saturday):  Today we stayed in the church all day.  The youth in this ward right now are super weak, so we did an activity.  We planned it today and sent out the notice today, and in the rain, came 25 youth, almost all less actives.  We played volleyball in the rain and made cookies and played foosball.  They loved it. So we are going to start doing this more, and they’ll start bringing their friends, and we’ll start baptizing.  Today was day 465 of my mission.
(16) DOMINGO (Sunday):  Today was a lot of rain.  But we got a lot of cake, and we had an awesome FHE. 
            One miracle that happened! Yesterday, we where close to our house because of our lunch, and we had a lesson planned WAY far away, about an hour and 20 minutes walking. My comp was all chaffed. So, being Sunday, we were wondering if it’s allowed to grab taxi, because it’s permitted to grab bus. It was 3, and our commitment was at 3. So, we´re walking to the taxi spot, and I’m feeling guilty, because I’m about to pay for a taxi on Sunday. So I say a prayer, asking God to give us a bus or something to get on. I finish the prayer, and the bishop’s car stops in front of us. That’s already weird, because he was working, and usually he just honks at us. But he stopped this time, and said “Elders!! I was just thinking about you guys! I was about to call and see how you were,” which also never happens. But he had been thinking about us, then he saw us so he decided to stop and talk. He asked us where we were going. We said to grab a bus to get to the house at the end of the city. He paused, looked around, and then said ´get in the back´ WHICH HE ISN’T EVEN ALLOWED TO DO DURING WORK HOURS!! He gave us a ride, and then we learned that he was going to a work appointment on the OTHER SIDE OF THE CITY. Maybe it seems small to all of you, but this really made me feel good.

            Also, I gave a talk yesterday. When he told me Friday night I would give, it was three of the 4 missionaries to give talks that day. I was second. And the first was literally the same talk I had. The same scriptures and everything! Bishop hadn’t given us topics, just told us to pray to know that topic. So while Sister was talking, I sat thinking of a new talk. I wrote down three scriptures that I wanted to use. I talked about the importance of choices. I told some stories. It went super, super well. Everyone was laughing super hard at my stories (I told the one about my choice to watch Josh bungee jump from the bunk bed that one time and the bungee cord shot back into my forehead when it broke.) and after wards a bunch of people sought me out just to tell me they loved my talk and they learned a lot. :) It was super good. 

            This week was very slow as far as work goes, but we made a lot of progress.  Today was day 466 of my mission.
I love you all, Elder McKee
Playing the guitar at Marcos, Simara, and Thaigo's house
 Elder Hawk and Jake
 Fun with the Sisters and Elders

Monday, October 3, 2016

Dance Battle

Jake and his companions entered our dance off competition.
The cast includes Elder Marcelino, Elder Rapuzzi, Jake, Elder Levita.

Marriage and Baptism!

Week of September 19-25, 2016
(19) SEGUNDA (Monday):  Today was your normal average P-day.  I sent a package. 
(20) TERCA (Tuesday):  Today was a division, with Elder Bezerra!  Ha-ha, and while I was waiting for him to come, I was in first ward with the elders there, which was my last area.  We went to get Bezerra from the bus stop, and returned to first ward.  Everyone flipped and started taking pictures with us. 
            Today was a big holiday, so there were a lot of activities in the church.  That’s why we saw everyone, we passed by the church.  Then we went to our ward to help with a few things.  I showed some of the young men how to play football.  Today was day 440 of my mission.
(21) QUARTA (Wednesday):  We walked SO much today. But it was all-good because today went very well.  We helped clean up the church from the party last night. Today was day 441 of my mission.
(22) QUINTA (Thursday):  Today was a division, and I was back in 1st ward with Elder Jesus Santos.  We visited some people, but it wasn’t really anything special because I see these people all the time still.
            But!  I know a super funny card trick that I always win and I do bets with people on it.  I’ve already won 13 reais from people.  I bet 3 young men 25 push-ups and when they lost, they said, “I bet you can’t do it again!”  So, I did, and they had another 25.  So they’re doing the 50, and one of them stops, and says, “No.  One more time another 30 push ups.  And the other 2 say, “SHUT UP!  I’M NOT BETTING ANYMORE!  MORMONS DON’T BET!”  Ha-ha.  So, he did it again alone, and lost again.  So he owes me 80 push-ups.  There’s a lot of progress in that area.  Today was day 442 of my mission.
(23) SEXTA (FRIDAY):  Not a very action filled day.  We’re trying to build up this area, but knocking doors is the worst way to find new people to teach.  We’re going to start doing stuff with the youth.  So they can bring their friends and we can baptize them.  Today was day 443 of my mission.
(24) SABADO (Saturday):  Today was productive.  I got a lot of exercise.  I think I’m getting skinnier. 
            The Elder that’s going home, Elder Levita,  got a letter from his girlfriend who is in the mission.  He let us read it.  So, I was reading out loud, and when it got to the gushy part, Eder Rapuzzi started yelling as if it were a soccer game.  Something like this:
--“My love, I miss you so much.”
--“I think of you everyday”
--“I miss the sound of your voice”
--“But for now, we need ot focus on the mission.”
--“Yours is coming to an end”
--“And I can’t help but think of what we will be”
--“I don’t want you to be the hummingbird that kissed me and then flew away.”  (It’s a line to a love song here.)

And Rapuzzi goes running, grabs the guitar, and starts playing the love song of the humming bird, meanwhile I’m doing the famous dance that Ronaldinho Gaucho always did when he made a goal, and Marcelino is singing with Rapuzzi.  I’ve never laughed so hard in my life.
            I’m sure none of this made any sense, but I recorded it more for me to remember when I read my journal.  It’s crazy how fast this transfer passed. This is the best house I’ve lived in.  Today was day 444 of my mission.
(25) DOMINGO (Sunday):  Today was the first time in months that we didn’t have any visitors in church.  Today was day 445 of my mission.

Week of September 26-October 2, 2016
(26) SEGUNDA (Monday):  Today we did a huge churrascho with all the missionaries in Cruz Alta.  It was SUPER cool.  So much meat.  We got a gas fire thing we borrowed form a member and played cards while the meat cooked.  There’s a super fun card game from Argentina that I flippen love!  The other elders popped my football that I bought last week.  It fell on a pile of broken glass.  Today was day 446 of my mission.
(27) TERCA (Tuesday):  Today an Elder called to tell me there were 2 packages for me in the post office.  He pulled them out for me, and THERE WAS NO TAX!  WOOT WOOT!  And I love the iPod, and the camera.  And my companions love the candy.  Thanks mom.  Love you.
            AND!  Today we went to first ward.  WHY??  BECAUSE IT WAS BAPTISM INTERVIEW FOR SIMARA AND MARCOS!  AHHHH!!  Finally!  Friday is the day.  I didn’t do the interview, which I thought better because I know them better then almost anyone.  Months we patiently worked with them and FINALLY they will be baptized!  And they only speak of the temple and being sealed.  I can’t even explain how happy I am.    Today was day 447 of my mission.
(28) QUARTA (Wednesday):  I'm staying in Cruz Alta 4, and Marcelino is going to be transferred.  My new companion is Elder Nacimento, who came to the mission together with me.  He’s good.  Also cool is that Sister Moss, from the MTC, is coming to Cruz Alta to work in the same ward as I.
            Today was a good day with lots of visits, but I still feel like it’s very little. I want people to teach who want to learn and go to church. 
            Also that post card that dad sent came.  Pretty sweet bows, boys.  Today was day 448 of my mission.
(29) QUINTA (Thursday):  Today the transfer came, and here’s what happens.  I’m staying; Elder Nacimento will take my current cops place.  That’s about all the excitement for today.
(30) SEXTA (Friday):  Today was the happiest day of my life.  I felt the spirit stronger then ever, and I thought I would explode with Joy.  Simara and Marcos were married and baptized!  AHHH!  I got a bunch of pictures.  All the elders in Cruz Alta went.  For 6 month now, I have been praying for this day.  I’ve never felt anything so rewarding.
            The 3 Elders who live with me and I sang, “When I am baptized.”  We sang the first verse, Levita and I, in English. The second verse, Rapuzzi and Marcelino, in Spanish, and then the 3rd verse in Portuguese.  The spirit was so strong.
            There were 93 people at the baptism.  Marcos grabbed me, and introduced me to all of his family saying, “This is Elder McKee, who brought us to the church.”  Then did the same with all of Simara’s family.
            I don’t even know what to write really.  I wish everyone could feel the excitement I have right now.  After we played the hymn we were standing in the back to listen to the last speaker.  I felt the spirit stronger then I ever have, and I felt the Lord was satisfied with my work.  I had been an effective tool in his hands. 
            If I go the rest of my mission without a single day of success, I’ll still be able to return with my head high, proud of my mission, All because of today.  Today was day 450 of my mission.
Elder Levita, Elder Rapuzzi, Jake, Elder Marcelino, Elder ?, Elder Jesus Santos
 Marcos and Simara getting married.
Elder Levita, Jake, Marcos, Simara, Elder Rapuzzi, Elder Marcelino
Marcos and Jake
And then the baptism....Simara was baptized by her son, Thiago
Marcos was baptized by a friend.
All the missionaries in Cruz Alta and ___________.
Jake told the missionaries to pose like the girls pose when they take pictures. 
Jake, Marcelino, Rapuzzi, and Levita
Thiago, Simara and Marcos son, and Jake.  They are great friends.

(1) SABADO (Saturday):  General Conference!  I think one of the things most targeted at me was the J. Devin Cornish.  I watched in Portuguese, so if I mess up on the quotes, forgive me.  But, I loved how he talked about there is  no ‘good enough’ for the celestial kingdom.  Left to our own merits, we all fail.  One of my faults is that I am very critical of others and myself.  I realize nobody is perfect, but I get real down on myself thinking of all my flaws.  This talk, along with a letter I got from a friend, really helped me.  A quote from the letter I got, “Even if you aren’t doing as good as you think you could be, you’re doing better then you think.”  Today was day 451 of my mission.
(2) DOMINGO (Sunday):  General Conference again!!  WOOT WOOT!!  Man after today, I feel very inadequate and unworthy. But its ok, because we have the atonement!!  So, I’ll be working hard to better myself little by little.  Today was day 452 of my mission.

Thanks for everything. I love you all,

Elder McKee
Simara, Thiago, Jake, and Marcos
 Elder Levita was going home and the district make these for "Team Levita" to say goodbye!
 Thiago and Jake
 Jake and Elder Marcelino
 Elder Rapuzzi, Elder Marcelino, Elder Levita, and Jake.  They made a video for us and wore these hats. 
 This is an older picture that was sent to mom today...
Elder Jesus Santos, Elder Bezzera, Simara, Marcos, Jake, and Elder ______.
 Elder Jesus Santos, Jake, Thiago
 Thiago, Jake, and Elder Bezzera
 Thiago, Jake, and Elder Jesus Santos