June 17, 2017
Today is Sunday. We had a great day. We went to church. After church my companion was almost dying because he has allergies really, really bad, and sneezing a lot. But regardless of that and his huge headache that he has and he looks like he is drugged out and dying, we went to a family that we were teaching. The dads name is Paulo. He’s super, super good to us. This is the second time we went. And it was super cool because while we were there he got a call from his brother, who lives in a different state. And I thought it was really interesting to hear what he was talking about. He told his brother, “No, I’m here with the Mormons. They are teaching me about their doctrine.” We couldn’t hear what his brother was saying, but I think he asked about what it was. And then he said, “ They told me a few days ago that they have a prophet, a living prophet, that talks to God, and passes to us what God wants us to do. So, I thought well hey, I’ve never heard about that and I wanted to know if it’s true. So, I’m going to talk with them a little more and see if I can get some details about the doubts that I have.” But what I thought was really cool, was that we were able to see he says when we’re not there because he was just talking to his brother all normal and was like, “no they told me there is a living prophet and I want to know if that is true or not. “ So, we told him how we can pray about it and receive an answer and we talked to him a little more about the prophet and the restoration. But it was super cool to see what part of the message we had taught stuck with him because he understood about what we said, that there was a living prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and how he talks with God and how if we follow him we can return back to God. So, that was a really cool experience. I learned a lot about what sticks with the people after we leave their house, after the lesson.
I wanted to tell you about my day yesterday. Yesterday we went and did a big meeting in the street. We went to the center, where they have all the stores and everything, and yesterday was a big holiday, so there was a lot of youth there. And we walked around with these big old signs talking about our English classes and our free piano classes we are doing. So, I was walking around with the sign and I would start yelling stuff in Portuguese, then I would start yelling in English, and everyone would look at me. Then I would ask them all if they could understand me. And nobody could understand, then I would tell them “You guys need our classes.” And we were giving out a bunch of little papers and it was super, super cool. And there were a bunch of young women there who were dressed very inappropriate, and I started yelling in English how I thought I was in the middle of Babylon, and how I thought it was really weird how 12 year old girls had belly button piercings and they just walk around showing it to everyone. And there is another sister who is from the United States, Sister Gibson, and she started laughing and telling me to stop, and it was fun.
I was with Elder Swartz, because we were in an exchange, a division. We switched companions for a day. It was pretty cool. And we met this new kid. His name was Willio. We had a really good lesson. Then we heard from Brother Flabio, from the ward. He said he met a young boy who wanted to learn about the gospel, so we went and taught him. He’s 12 years old and lives about a block from the church. Today I'm going to go to Santa Marta, and Elder Pereria Santos is going to stay here. It’s going to be good. We’re happy, we’re healthy. We ate a bunch of pizza last night. Actually we bought it last night and it came here late, so we put it all in the fridge. And we ate all of it today and drank all of the coke today. Yesterday was a really good day. I’m happy. It was really cool, I was walking around and there was a bunch, a big bunch of kids, the youth of Santa Maria…(in the video he gets distracted by others in the room, then starts the talking to the video again)… And Elder Swartz showed me a really good place to buy churros. They were good. And I bought a spider from a hippie for $6.00. That was my day.
I’m going to make a quick video journal of this week. Yesterday we were in a division. I was in Santa Marta. We visited a family that was one of the poorest families in my mission. They live in like a box. It’s the size of my room. And, it’s looks more like a hut you would make with your friends. They didn’t have anywhere to go, or anything to do. It was super sad because she grabbed some money and gave it to her daughter to go get some milk for them to drink, to have their dinner. And they didn’t even have enough money to buy a milk. It’s like 3 reais. When she came back the mom was like mad because they didn’t have enough money to buy milk. But she said, “ok, go buy all the bread you can with these 2 reais and the little bit that we have.” As she was leaving I pulled out my wallet and gave her another 4 reais, that I had in my pocket and said to grab some milk too. It was pretty cool to see they how grateful they were because I gave them just 4 reais. And we sat talking to them and they have a lot of problems and a lot of difficulties. They don’t really have any sight of the light at the end of the tunnel. And her little son, who is 4 years old, started crying because he wanted some candy. He wanted a chocolate or something like that. And he went to their secret stash and pulled out all the money that they had in the house, which was 4 reais. And his mom started yelling at him that he couldn’t grab it. It was the money that they were saving to pay for his sister’s school materials. Like the notebook and pencils, and things she needed because they had finally managed to find a school that would accept her. And that 4 reais is what she needed, but it’s not even close to the money that she needed to actually buy school materials. So, as we were leaving I gave her the other 20 reais that I had in my pocket, and I told her it was for the school material. I don’t know… it really opened my eyes a lot. I’ve never really seen people who were actually poor and all the difficulties that they are passing, but they are still trying and they have a huge desire to learn about the gospel. The neighbors all talk bad about us to them, and say that all their problems are because they are accepting the Mormons. And that they are just wasting their time with us. But they keep accepting us and then some members of the church went there 2 days ago and gave them a bunch of clothes that they are needing. And they are just like investigators. The mom went to church one time and then there is a young woman that is 19 who has a kid and adopted her cousin whose about 9 or 10. It was a really good experience for me.
I don’t have much more to say. My week was really good. Next week I’m in divisions and it’s going to pass by really quickly. The next week I’m traveling and doing divisions. Then the next week I’m traveling all week again, then the next week is a transfer, then the next week I don’t know what I’m going to do because then that is when my mom starts planning my life.
I’m here in the supermarket, like a big grocery store. Here are all the fruits. That is one thing that Brazil has that we don’t have is a bazillion fruits, and the store is full of brown people. They have a lot of fruits here. They like to eat a lot of pumpkin and a lot of corn, which we have. What just happened was in the center, where all the stores are, there were a bunch of hippies, and they were selling rocks and stuff and they make necklaces. It’s super, super cool and super pretty. And I bartered with them for a little bit and bought a necklace for Malena for 15 reais that was super pretty. Then what happened was we met a family of members that I met in my first area. And the young girl turns 11 tomorrow. And she said, “Hey! How are you doing Elder McKee?” and we talked to them for a little bit, and she said, “hey, tomorrow is my birthday.” And I wasn’t even thinking and I said, “Oh, here is a present for you.” And I gave her the necklace that I bought for Malena. And now I don’t have any more money with me. There is a big guy right here looking at me weird because I’m speaking in English. So, sorry Malena but I gave your necklace to a little girl without really meaning to. Well I meant to, but I didn’t really mean to mean to. But, that’s our day. It’s pretty good. I’m happy. I’m shopping with my companion. There’s a blond girl. (Gives her a BIG GOOFY smile.)
I’m super happy, I’m super determined. I have about a month left on my mission. I love you guys.Elder McKee