August 26, 2012Dear Family and Friends,
We hope you all have had a great week! Thank you so much for the emails—we love hearing from home! We hope all of our kids and their families are doing well. I know school is starting this week for Travis and Michelle’s family in Wyoming—which means the sports marathons begin again for them! What great young men they have! Mike and Kirsten’s Charlie is starting the 1st grade. Seems impossible. And the last time we talked to Jared and Brittany’s Ethan, he was talking up a storm…..so cute. They only have a few months left before they have their second boy! Steven and Rachel have moved back in our home in Pocatello with Scott and Seren. Scott is teaching seminary again this year, and Seren has a job with her speech pathology. Steven is going to school in Twin Falls, getting his masters in Social Work, and Rachel just graduated with her nursing degree and I believe will be furthering her schooling as well there in Pocatello. How we miss all of you!!!
It has been a busy week again here in the mission. We just got back from speaking at a fireside for the Murfreesboro YSA. Some of you may know Elder and Sister Rhoades from Chubbuck, who are spearheading the Singles Program there. There were only about 5 YSA members when they started out with the program and tonight there were over 30 at the fireside! They are doing a tremendous job and making things happen overnight! It is an exciting process to witness!
This morning we spoke in sacrament meeting and did a presentation in their combined RS/Priesthood in Hartford, KY. We had to leave by 7:00 am this morning to get there, but it was such a beautiful drive! It was fun to take all 5 girls with us for musical numbers. They sang in sacrament meeting and again in the combined meeting. When President was speaking, he mentioned that he was from Inkom, Idaho. Afterwards a man named Blane Pieper came up and said that his niece married a man from Inkom, Idaho. I knew we would HAVE to know who it was. He said his niece, Jill married Matt Palmer and they are now living in Wisconsin. I, excitedly told him that we were related to Matt and that I even remember when they got married and going to their wedding reception there in Inkom! I told them about Carolyn and Clair Davis and how they had come to stay with us in the mission home on their way home from their mission. Then as we got talking further, he said that his father had been a stake president in Rigby, Idaho. My parents lived in Rigby for several years but it was before I was born, so I didn’t figure I would know of any connection. But then when he told me his father’s name was Henry Pieper, I vaguely remember my Mom and Dad talking about a President Pieper. Then I told him my dad’s name was Lyle Petersen. His face lit up and he said, “I knew Lyle Petersen”. The interesting thing was, that my dad and another Lyle Petersen lived on the same street. It was the other Lyle Petersen that he knew and he knew their children really well. Small world! His son had served in the Pocatello Idaho mission (they said he had served in Chubbuck) and was the AP for President Colton and the previous mission president as well. What a small world!!!
We had a “Train theTrainers” meeting on Wednesday, where we brought in all of the missionaries who are new to the mission in the past 3 months and their trainers and have a full day training. It was a large group—almost 60 missionaries. (It feels like WAY more than that when you prepare food for that many!) As a whole group, we talked about the difference between DOCTRINE, PRINCIPLES AND APPLICATION. How the Doctrine answers the “why”, the principles answer the “what” and the application answers the “how” of the gospel. We refer often to Pres. Packer’s quote on pg. 19 of PMG, “True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior”. I talked to them about 1st impressions and learning how to visit with people!” I told them that they had a disadvantage in that their generation learned to visit with people through the use of their thumbs instead of their mouths, and that it is SO important to learn to talk to people.
After that, we divided the group up with the trainers in one room and the new missionaries in another. They listed on the board the things they love about their trainers / trainees and critique that would help their companions be better. Then we bring them back together and talk about the issues. It is really helpful, because no one really knows who brought up what, but it is a safe enough place that things can be talked about. We also did some other experiential activities with them that , hopefully, bonded the group. It was a great day.
Yesterday there were 9 baptisms in the mission. We had the opportunity to go to Shelbyville, about 1 ½ hours to the south of us to a baptism of a family. The Elders asked if our girls would sing the musical number, so it was a great opportunity to attend! A couple and their teenage daughter were baptized. What a choice experience that was!!! The 16 year old daughter had been invited to church by her friends. She said that “she just really liked how she felt and how she was treated while she was there”. That was all it took. As she continued coming to church, the missionaries began teaching her and then the mom and dad listened in to the lessons. They loved what they heard and were “hungry “ for the gospel from the beginning. We had some incredible elders who taught them and made it all so special for them! That is what it is all about! It was just awesome! We got a report that they got confirmed today and he received the priesthood. Pres. Crawford, the McMinnville Stake President spoke and said, “Do you realize that there are probably 1.000 people getting baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints today, and you make up 3 of that number?” They just glowed!!!!!
We are preparing for zone conferences starting next week. We are still basking on the words of Elder Kopischke who was here a few weeks ago. It was such a remarkable training he gave. I think he touched many of our missionaries by his message.
Kylie will be here for only another week, then it will be back to BYU-Idaho. We have so enjoyed having her here. They have done a lot of singing while she has been here and we have loved every minute of it. Angie is still doing her online school. She works everyday nannying a little girl after school into the evening. She goes out with the missionaries every chance she gets. Aubrey is into her sophomore year this year and I think school is going much smoother this year for her and for all of them. She loves to go out with the missionaries as well. Kiara is really growing up. What’s worse is that she has started mentioning boys much more than she ever has before and worrying about what she looks like! She went to her first football game the other night---I’m pretty sure to watch a boy! And Destini is really loving school this year. This is her last year at Scales so they are the top-dogs at school!!!
Here are ourTNM Missionary Miracles:1) This past week has been great. Yesterday when we set dates with that family I was so excited and filled with gratitude. My heart has become alot bigger and there is alot more room for gratitude and I am definitely feeling it. But we were teaching them the cups lesson and the spirit was super strong. We committed them to be baptized and the kids jumped up and said "YES! I want to get baptized!" it was impossible for their mom to resist saying yes to after her kids were so enthused about it. Saturday we went to the temple with the Adams family who was recently baptized and they had a great experience. They were so fascinated with the process of someone who had passed away receiving the saving ordinances. I am grateful to have been able to experience that with them. I got to do some confirmations and it was the first time I had done that and that was a super cool experience too. Things are going great here and the work is moving forward.
2 Elder Kopischke's visit was amazing wasn't it? Just what I needed. We were so happy Tuesday night, after being extremely discouraged that our progressing investigators wouldn't commit to baptism, we were able to meet with 2 of them in 1 day and we set a date with both of them! The most amazing experience happened with one of them as we were sitting and talking with her about the Word of Wisdom, and we asked her if she knew the vision that Joseph Smith had was true (she had been taught a year before and struggled with Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon) and she sat there and smiled and said "Yes, I finally got my answer that it's true." It was the greatest feeling my companion and I.
He is a wonderful companion and I am enjoying serving with him a ton! We are definitely working hard and really seeing the fruits of our labors FINALLY! It's been great.
Have a great week y’all and remember the great blessings that come from living the gospel of Jesus Christ. We testify of the truthfulness of the message that the missionaries take into the lives of the people here in Tennessee. It is true!!! Jesus IS the Christ and He lives!!! How grateful we are for a living prophet who guides and directs us daily! How grateful we are for the Book of Mormon—truly my favorite book of all times!!! Pray about someone whose lives would be enriched if you were to give them a copy---and then do it!!! We love you all!
President & Sister McKee, Dad & Mom, Grandpa & Grandma, Bill & RaNae……
Kylie, Angie, Aubrey, Kiara and Destini