Dear family and friends,
Our children informed me that it has been way to long since we shared our gratitude with you again for your constant love and prayers. Thank you. We are continually feeling your prayers and your support everywhere we go. We cannot even begin to express how much we appreciate all of you. The healing journey for RaNae still continues. She was able to have surgery at the Moran eye center in Salt Lake City in December. At first she wondered about the choice she had made as she described her after surgery days as feeling though salt was being poured into her eyes but after several days the pain lessened and her double blurry vision changed to single vision. Another tender mercy and miracle. No more patches on eyes while she reads or plays the piano and organ. It has been so fun for all of us to see her enjoy her music so much again and to not have to patch every time she really needs to see something. We visit often about the blessings of those who have trained themselves so well to do such intricate and successful surgeries so that others might enjoy more of life. She still suffers with dizziness but is walking down to the mailbox and back most days with a walking stick (one of her favorite Christmas presents). She attends physical therapy and balance therapy three times a week and works so hard to rebuild her heart although it is apparent that much of her weakness is from the heart not pumping enough blood. She will save up energy and come with me to speak at firesides, sacrament meetings, stake conferences and is assisting me teaching a missionary prep class at Idaho State University LDS Institute. That's like giving candy to a baby to ask a past mission president to teach that class. We love it so much and have around 50 attending each Thursday.
Our 16 year old daughter Aubrey is running for Pocatello Jr. Miss at present and is busy teaching piano lessons. Kiara 15 up every morning at 5am to prepare for colorguard which she faithfully practices and performs every morning at 6am. Destin 11 is traveling to Idaho Falls each week to work with Seattle Talent. they selected 25 children from 350 to try out for TV commercials which has always been her dream so now we will see if she can make enough to pay for college. I am working part time in my counseling office again as we now have two missionaries to support. Kylie is loving every minute of her time in San Diego at the Mormon Battalion Visitors Center. She serves part time there and in a missionary area part time. Angie will leave in three weeks to go to the MTC in Mexico and then on to Ecquador. She is the 6th child to leave as a full time missionary from our family if you do not count our Mission President experience. We are so humbled that they have chosen to go out and serve especially after just returning from a mission. This era of missionary service is so remarkable on the earth today. There is nothing on this earth that can compare to it. Where would you find over 80,000 young men and women volunteering their time and money to go out and share a message about our Savior Jesus Christ. They truly are the miracle happening on the earth today. They go because they love the Lord and are immediately put into a schedule that would rival anyone's work day. They are put with companions from around the world that they do not know, sent to areas that they are totally unfamiliar with and taught to follow the spirit in order to accomplish the Lord's work. Where on earth would you see such a miracle! This gospel is such a blessing to so many and teaches us so much as we testify and witness of a 2nd witness of Jesus Christ and of the atonement. As we all use the atonement each day we will find that through the grace of God we will be able to become more like Him. This is a gospel of 2nd chances and a wonderful opportunity for all to return to Him no matter where we have been. As the world changes rapidly it is even more imperative that we follow the Savior and live His commandments. Our united faith will be the answer that will anchor the world back to the Lord. We are continuing to learn so much about the Lord's will versus our will and acknowledge Him every day for the bounteous growth and experiences that we are receiving. We did not get many Christmas greetings out this year but do want you to know that we love you all and thank you again for your love, kindness and support.
William and RaNae McKee
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
We had the mother of a sister who served in our mission in Nashville attend our homecoming back in August. She wrote a beautiful article: mormonsoprano.com/2013/08/21/mckee-homecoming-tennessee-nashville-mission/
And made this beautiful video of such a memorable day. Thank you for this sweet homecoming gift. We loved getting to see all of our friends, family, and especially our TNM missionaries!
We also took Kylie to the MTC today. She will be a wonderful missionary! We love you Kylie!
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Dear Friends and family,
“A marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men. Oh ye that embark in the service of God , see that you serve Him with all of your heart, might mind and strength”. D &C 4
The Lord knew what would happen in this dispensation as the gospel was restored to this earth. He talked to us in the 180’s about how a marvelous work would come forth but little did we know what He has in mind and little do we know what will happen in the future. It is so imperative that we listen to a modern day prophet and be guided by his counsel. When I served as a missionary ( several years ago) there were around 25,000 missionaries and the church had around 3 million members. Today that marvelous work is taking place and there are more than 80,000 missionaries and over 15 million members of the church. The Lord is witnessing to many of the truthfulness of this work. What a blessing to be part of this wonderful teaching moment and to work together to give our ALL as we prepare for His return.
Our daughter Kylie spoke in sacrament meeting today in preparation for her departure to join this 80,000 rank as she prepares to go to the San Diego ( Mormon Battalion ) Mission. She will leave on November 6th. We thank so many of you who came today and so many who support us spiritually, in words, deeds, finances and other personal support. What a gift each of you have been to us . We thank the Lord every day for relationships that we have with you. We were so blessed to see so many of our missionaries today and to feel of your love and commitment to this gospel. We were also blessed to have you come to our home and visit and eat dinner with us. Our home is your home and we hope that you always feel at home there. Kylie, Angie and Aubrey sang today in sacrament meeting and certainly brought the spirit into that meeting. We love our family and love serving with them.
Angie flew in from Hawaii to open her missionary call and attend sacrament meeting as she tells Kylie goodbye before flying back to Hawaii for school. Angie will be going to Ecquador Guayaquil mission in February. It will be such a blessing to have them both be out serving at the same time. They are becoming a part of that “marvelous work” in these latter days.
There is simply nothing on the earth today like the missionary program in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. While serving in Tennessee , there were several leaders from many faiths that requested to duplicate this missionary program. One in particular asked me, “ I think I have this program down now, but how do you motivate your young people to actually leave for two years?” My answer was simple, “They are called by a living prophet and would do anything to support him and the Lord and that’s really hard to duplicate.” He smiled and said, “You have a good point there.”
This missionary program in a miracle on the earth today and it is rare to find anyone who has served a full time mission , that regrets any time that they spent there.. The missionaries all pay their own way, work at a vigorous schedule with little or no free time, and study and learn constantly, testify of Christ all day long with many rejections and still come out smiling. It is by far the “hardest thing that you will ever love”. Most walk away with a stronger commitment to serve and wonderful memories of those special experiences with a testimony that blesses not only their lives but future generations. Our missionary experience in Tennessee certainly was one of our greatest and humbling experiences. I’ll never forget Sister McKee saying to me a few weeks before we left, “ Bill, Do you really think we can do this?”. My response was, “ Of course we cant but He can and He will use common ordinary people like us to assist Him in accomplishing His purpose. We sure love all of you.
Sister McKee continues to progress but now without complications. We discovered this week that two of her stents are not working and are not repairable. She will be going through further testing this week to find out if she could be a candidate for open heart surgery which will include bypass surgery. There is a possibility that her heart would not be functioning enough to do this but we will not know for a few weeks. We are going to hold a family and friend prayerto pray for healing for her. We so appreciate all of your prayers and faith in the past and would invite you to join in with us if the spirit directs. We sure love and appreciate all of you.
William and RaNae McKee
Friday, September 20, 2013
Dear friends and family,
After being home from the mission field, you would think that my schedule would be a bit more free or maybe I have just relaxed a bit too much but my children reminded me that I have not put an update on facebook for far too long. We have been thinking about all of you and the precious way that you continue to support and show love to so many. We are grateful to be recipients of your prayers and your love. (Sister McKee) RaNae is still progressing and was doing so well until this week. We were actually walking a half mile everyday until this week. We have seen a bit of a set back as we have changed to Idaho/Utah doctors and experienced a few med changes so she has been blacking out often and does not walk as well. They tell us that this will hopefully pass as we adjust medications but it has been almost a week with little progress. There is no doubt that we miss our wonderful medical support in Nashville and those medical professionals who may be reading this, please know how much you are loved an appreciated. We will adjust though. RaNae still has her double vision. We are going down to the Moran eye center in October where they tell us that she may possibly be a candidate for surgery that may correct this. With medicine changes, her severe headaches are back and so life has slowed down quite a bit for her. She is a woman of faith though and continues to trust in the Lord and “His will”. In the midst of challenges we watch for the blessings. Our daughter Kylie surprised us with sending her missionary papers while we were preparing to leave Nashville. She received her call and will be leaving November 6th for San Diego , California, serving in the Mormon Battalion Visitors Center as well as proselyting. She is so excited. Angie, who is now attending BYU Hawaii will be sending her missionary papers in October, so both will be serving at the same time. Aubrey 16 and Kiara 14 are both attending Highland High School. Aubrey is very involved with choir, powder puff football, and possibly basketball. Kiara made the flag team and gets up every morning atto practice with the band. It is very familiar to those early morning seminary classes that we loved in Nashville. Destini is attending Franklin middle school and just got a part in the “Wizard of OZ” at the Mystique Theater. Scott and Seren just bought a house and moved to Boise on our return. Scott is teaching seminary there. Steven and Rachel are buying a home in Chubbuck and tell us that they will soon be moving. We will miss them as Rachel is a nurse and very convenient for RaNae in taking that blood pressure on a regular basis.
Before leaving Tennessee I had a wonderful opportunity to speak with Elder Widman and Elder Meredith at a multi-stake Boy Scout camp outside of Nashville. The setting was amazing and the spirit there was remarkable. These were young men preparing for missions with such a strong desire to serve. We miss the mission field and all of our missionaries. We love and miss our Kentucky /Tennessee/Illinois friends and hope that you’ll know how grateful that we are for your influence on us.
|Welcome Home! (Photo: Kirsten McKee|
After returning home we found another wonderful blessing. Our ward members got together with our children and planted a lawn and garden around our home. We have enjoyed garden produce from their hands which reminded me of how many early pioneers planted gardens and crops for others coming after them. What a Christ like gesture. We took a large bag of corn to the ward party last week and said, “This is the Lord’s corn and the ward’s corn. We hope you enjoy.”
We reported our mission this month which was another wonderful day for us. We spoke in the Chubbuck 1st ward atmorning with around 400 in attendance. The spirit brought there by the members was so very special. How we enjoyed seeing our good friends there again as well as many of our missionaries. At we spoke at our Highland 2ndward with around 700 in attendance. We were overwhelmed with the love of great people. The Lord blessed the room with the spirit as we witnessed over 70 missionaries in attendance. I just had to have them stand and repeat “our purpose”. Inviting all to “come unto Christ” is the most important thing that we can do. We so enjoyed all of the friends and our missionaries coming up to the house afterward. There must have been 3 or 4 hundred people there that night. The house was overflowing with love.
|The TNM Missionaries that attended our homecoming|
It reminds me so much of the scripture in 1 Corinthians chapter 12 that says, “ For the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body , being many are one body; so also is Christ……For the body is not one member , but many, IF the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? IF the whole body were an eye where were the hearing? IF the whole were hearing , where were the smelling?....And now are they many members, yet but one body. The eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee; nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you…………………..Now ye are the body of Christ , members in particular.
This passage is such a gentle reminder that everyone of us are important and that it takes each of us to build His kingdom and each of us to do our part. We cannot define that one part is more important than another part and we cannot say that our part is not that important. All parts function to assist the whole body and all are one , just as all parts in a family , ward family or community are important. We have need of each individual and together we produce and function as the “body of Christ”. How essential that we see our own personal value in every situation and what a gift each individual is as we strive to be “more like Him”.
This passage in fact helps so many to understand the Godhead as they are all separate but one in purpose. God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are one and are also separate beings creating a single purpose. What a gift to the world this is as each carries their individual responsibility. We in turn get the opportunity to carry our own responsibility as we strive to become more like them.
Thanks to each of you again for doing your individual part and blessing our lives. It is not the big things that we do but those “little things” every day. Each of you play such an important part in our lives and in the lives of so many that you touch every day. That part is essential no matter how small. We love you and pray for your happiness as well.
Happy Birthday Grandpa McKee ---He will be turning 85!!!
Love and prayers
William and RaNae McKee, Steven and Rachel, Kylie, Angie, Aubrey, Kiara, Destini...
Friday, July 12, 2013
Dear family and friends,
The last two weeks of the mission field moved so quickly that I do not think that any of us had time for the sadness that we were feeling. We held specialized trainings throughout the mission so that we could do one last training and also take the afternoon to have a testimony meeting and hear from each of our missionaries. This gave us an opportunity to see them all again as we told them good bye. We have been blessed with such remarkable missionaries. They are filled with the spirit and a love for the Savior. Their determination and dedication far surpasses any expectation that we could have. We put together a video about the missionaries and miracles that were happening in the mission and also showed a portion of Sister McKee and her healing. We wanted them to know that each had been a part of her miraculous healing. Most had never seen her in the hospital and were quite surprised to see the pictures of her in a comatose state and then see her teaching today. I encouraged them again to record in their journals that they had experienced a miracle. We traveled throughout the mission every day and ended each meeting with a sad farewell and a strong determination to keep our mission pure and to keep the successes coming. Each committed to serve the Lord with the knowledge that He is in charge and that Mission Presidents come and go. They know who they serve. The feelings were strong each day and the knowledge of knowing that there are many who we may never see again in this lifetime was overwhelming at times. Their eyes ranged from Samoa to Mexico, Canada, India to Australia. Our hearts are full. There is no plan on earth like this missionary plan where people come from all over the world, pay their own way, volunteer their time, commit to a high obedience standard, and serve with total strangers, receiving so much rejection all day long and keeping big happy smiles on their faces. I am so grateful for this precious missionary program and the miracles that we see in it every day.
We were able to visit with Jackie Steubbel again over in Blackman. She is the Episcopol Priest that was baptized several weeks ago. I had her address the missionaries at the conference. She boldly talked to them about how important it is to be bold and loving. She said, “ Lord protect us from timid members”. I followed up with “Lord protect us from timid missionaries”. Jackie talked about her 25 year search for truth and how she had spent a life time trying to save Mormon missionaries only to be gaining her own testimony through their testimonies. She has a strong and precious testimony. We have all bonded to her very quick.
Each night we would attend correlation council with Stake Presidents in the area. How we love them as well and their vision for the church here. The Lord is blessing this area so much. We have 59 people meeting in Family Home Evening in Polaski and 85 that are meeting in Springfield. The Family Home Evening groups are so successful and there are 12 throughout the whole mission that are preparing to become Branches. This will happen very quickly as they continue to gather the returning members together. Winchester is still going strong, meeting in their mortuary and setting so many dates there. They are a tiny town of 7000 people and missionary work is going so well there that they still have 5 sets of missionaries in one Branch. They will baptize 20 people in one month. Livingston is still boasting 45-50 people meeting for sacrament meeting in their small two car garage. We will miss this excitement.
|Dr. Austin and Liz Rich with Sister and President McKee|
|with Dr. Jeff and Paula Webber|
|with Nurse Carolynn|
|Elder Andrew's (belated) Birthday! (3-days till we all went home...)|
|Elders Horner, Monson, and Andrew with their mission sisters!|
|A family we will never forget.|
Greater love hath no man than he give up his life for a friend. These two young men had truly given all to support the Lord , this mission and our family. These two sweet couples have done so much for the Lord, our family and this mission. How we love them. “As I have love you. Love one another. This new commandment, love one another, by this shall men know, ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another”. We have taught our missionaries to love and to be motivated by love. This level of love also can bring heartache when you say goodbye. We are certainly feeling that heartache. We know that we will keep doing missionary work all of our lives but it will be different as we take these missionary tags off. I am convinced that there is no greater feeling than being a full time missionary and wearing this missionary tag that states that you represent the Savior Jesus Christ. How thankful we are to Him. Our lives will never be the same aswe work to be the greatest member missionaries. We tell our returning missionaries that they can now become the member missionary that they have daily prayed for. Thank you all so much for your support for our experience here in the Tennessee Nashville Mission. It has changed our lives. We will be staying for the month of July in Nashville to follow up with Sister McKee’s medical appointments and to keep consistent with her therapy. She is progressing so well and hopes to be able to be fitted with glasses this month that will help her not see double. She is my hero . We love you and will continue to serve the Lord in every way possible. He is our salvation.
Many have emailed to ask when we will be speaking on our return. Our home ward Bishop emailed us and asked us to speak on August 18th at 1:30 in the Highland 2nd ward. We will be gathering at our home at 8621 Buckskin, Pocatello, Idaho that evening and all are welcome to attend. We love you all and look forward to seeing you again. Our hearts feel so close to all of our friends in Tennessee, Kentucky and Illinois as well and we hope that you know that you have impacted our lives in ways that we cannot begin to describe. We feel like we have two homes now and look forward for the opportunity to return here in the future. We know that you will continue on this great missionary effort here.
Love, William and RaNae McKee, Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa.... Kylie, Angie, Aubrey, Kiara, and Destini.
Monday, June 17, 2013
Dear Friends and Family,
“For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam , and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticing of the Holy Spirit and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient , full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.” Mosiah
I have decided that the Lord is still working to get some of that natural man out of me by challenging us to use the atonement once more and to remember that He is in charge. Sister McKee has been doing so well. She has been out teaching and training at some of our recent meetings and has recently gotten prism glasses that help her not see double or triple when walking. She tells me that it feels like she is seeing all things underwater so nothing is real clear but it really helped to stop her bumping into walls. we were meeting with our missionary from India ,Sister Thulasidas as she was preparing to return to Temple Square for the remainder of her mission. Sister McKee was standing in the entry way and suddenly collapsed with no warning, falling forward and striking her head on a granite counter. I rushed to hold her and she told me that she was nauseated and wanted to go to a different room. I assisted her to a nearby room and then she immediately quit breathing and it looked like she was passing on, while in my arms. I yelled for the children to call 911 and within three minutes she began to respond again and soon was talking to us.(another miracle). We cancelled 911 and I drove her to the hospital to get an MRI to make sure that the brain was not bleeding after such a hard fall. The cut on her head was minimal but of course head wounds bleed a bit more. The MRI checked out fine which was another blessing.(miracle) but the doctors told her that she was in a category of “sudden death” syndrome with her heart as a result of her previous heart attack and that she had 45% chance of passing away immediately if she experienced another heart attack and they recommended that a defibrillator be put in her heart. Sister McKee was in the hospital for four days with this heart surgery. She has been in a fair amount of pain over the weekend healing from a sizable incision in her left clavicle. We were scheduled to travel to Winchester, Tn morning to speak at their sacrament meeting but she was unable to travel so Aubrey traveled with me while Kylie stayed with Sister McKee. This wonderful branch has grown to 140 active members from 20 in just 6 short months. They had 13 investigators in their sacrament meeting and plan on baptizing 20 new members in the month of June. Their energy was amazing and their enthusiasm for the gospel spread quickly. They have no chapel and found a local mortuary to meet in. The owner(who is not a member of the church) is so kind and lets them meet there for free in a beautiful chapel. Aubrey smiled as she said that she attended Young Womens in the casket room. After the meetings we were invited to attend a beautiful dinner put together by Grace and Malcom Engineer. Grace is from the Phillipines and Malcom is from India. Malcom just joined the church and has such a strong testimony of Jesus Christ.
Later that night we drove to Springfield, Tn which is two hours north of Winchester. We met with a group there who are meeting each night to see if they can gather enough people to build a Branch. There were over 60 people there meeting in a member’s home. A beautiful lesson was given on the atonement. Kaylee Allen was there with a beautiful baby boy. Kaylee is the granddaughter of President and Sister Allen of the Chubbuck Stake. What a blessing to be there with our Chubbuck friends. there were 14 people in the mission that were baptized new members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. there are 30 people scheduled to be baptized. The miracles are happening throughout the mission. there is another Minister that is being baptized. These spiritual leaders will get answers as they read and study the Book of Mormon (a second witness of Jesus Christ).
We of course have such mixed feelings as we begin packing and prepare the Mission Home for a new Mission President. We will need to stay close to Nashville for the month of July as we do follow up with medical professionals. We are so anxious to do more treatments for Sister McKee’s eye. We love our missionaries. They are all like sons and daughters and we will be meeting with each of our zones next week as we travel through the mission for specialized trainings and to tell them all goodbye. This is probably one of the hardest things that we have ever been called to do but like Nephi, “We will go and do” because we know the this gospel is led by a living prophet and we know that the Lord is in charge. Our faith is in Him and we trust those leaders whom He has called. We are so grateful for this wonderful opportunity and thank you all again for your faith , love and prayers. While in the hospital last week we had several visits from nurses that cared for Sister McKee last December. They all love her so much. She smiled because she has no memory of them but they certainly remember everything about her. Relationships in this life and the life to come are so meaningful and important. We pray that each of you will strengthen family and friendship relationships as we progress toward our Heavenly home.
With love and appreciation for y’all,
President and Sister McKee, Mom, Dad, Grandma and Grandpa
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
We met with all of our missionaries on Monday. What a glorious sight. Over 220 missionaries here in our mission now. The spirit was strong as we expressed our desire to follow the Savior and follow a living Prophet no matter where the call. We are so grateful to each of you for your love, prayers and pleading to the Lord on our behalf. We will always be missionaries and will always be serving together as we do everything in our power to "invite all to come unto Christ" We testify that He is our Savior, He is our redeemer and His atonement heals all. HE is the Light of the world and we are so blessed to have His gospel on the earth today. We love each of you and pray for your happiness and eternal joy.
President and Sister McKee