Monday, September 24, 2012

Elder Adams Birthday Party

Sunday, Sept. 23, we drove to Tompkinsville, KY to speak for their meetings there.  We love going to different places in the mission and seeing the amazing sights there.  The girls are getting used to the road trips.  They have been so great to sing everywhere we go.  Their songs really bring the Spirit to our meetings.  
Our Road Trip to Tompkinsville KY  9/23/12
I know some people who should move here!!!
"Hello......President McKee!"

Awwww...cute sisters!

A Flag Pole in the yard of a Kentucky home. 

A home in Kentucky.

Fields of tobacco....better known as "backer"

Crossing the line into Kentucky!

A trailer home in Kentucky.

Fields in Kentucky.

More fields in Kentucky...

The trees in the south border the roads for as long as you can see!

Someone likes tractors!

Going home again.....

More trees......beautiful!
Here we are celebrating  a birthday for Elder Adams, our AP from Sacramento California .

The birthday dinner......

Elder and Sister Packer from Kaysville UT.  "Our office Angels"

Elder & Sister Hunt from Portland, Oregon  "more office Angels"

September 23, 2012
Dear Family and Friends,
These weeks fly by so quickly it’s hard to remember what happened from the beginning of the week until today!  The weather here in Brentwood has been just perfect.  It did rain---and I mean it RAINED HARD on Monday and Tuesday of this week but the rest of the week it has been just perfect  It is getting cool enough that there is a hint of the leaves turning color here.  I’m excited for fall because the trees begin to look like fireworks throughout the hills!

To our wonderful children, we love and miss you.  We hope Grandpa McKee had a great birthday, yesterday.  We love getting emails of what is happening in your individual families.  We know you are all busy, AND we miss you terribly!! Thank you to those of you who have written—it means the world to us!

Last Monday we had transfers again.  We welcomed in 10 new missionaries 9 elders and 1 sister  and they are a very sharp group!  We got an elder and a sister from Idaho,  5 elders from Utah, 1 from Colorado, 1 from Nevada, and 1 from California.  Tonight we got our second “scream” from one of our new elders  that has called his 2nd baptismal date this very week.   These missionaries are going to do great here.  They arrived at about 2:30 pm and things just don’t even slow down at all until we take the missionaries out to the airport on Wednesday.

We had our usual dinner, testimony, and welcoming slide show on Monday night.  These missionaries usually get up between 2-3AM in order to catch their early morning flight, so we don’t have any trouble getting them to go to bed.  Bright and early the next morning, the assistants prepare them breakfast before we go out to Franklin for our transfer meeting.  It was a very big transfer meeting as there were many changes made in the mission.  I suppose change is always good, but it really messes me up.  I have to start memorizing new companionships and new areas all over again!!! 

After the trainings, the transfer meetings and a light luncheon there at the church for all of the departing missionaries as well as all of the senior couples who come to the temple session, President  interviews the departing missionaries,  Elder & Sister Sassers (our employment missionaries) do a short training for them on how to get a job, and the AP’s talk to them about using their missionary skills to become effective home teachers when they arrive home.  We then do an endowment session at the temple for all the departing missionaries.  We had 4 elders and 1 sister going home.  Then we brought them to the mission home for a dinner, testimony meeting  and an all night “ pachanga”. We basically end up singing around the piano for several hours and then WE call it a night.  Many of them still play games longer, but this is where I can tell I am getting old!  Morning comes all to early as we feed them, weigh their luggage and make it out to the airport generally before 6:00 am.   

About three or four times during the year, we are able to take all of our missionaries to do endowment sessions at the temple.  We started doing that this week where we have about 20 missionaries at the 9:00am session and then another at the 11:00 session. We do this on 4 different days so that we are able to take all 170 missionaries.  I, unfortunately was not able to go because Destini signed me up for a service project they were having at their school.  I have to say I was a little disappointed at not being able to go to the temple, but I was so impressed with this project.

You have to know that the area in which we live, Brentwood, is ranked as one of the top 10 cities in the nation for its wealth.  If you could see the homes here, you would know what I mean, they are mansions built on acres of manicured land!  But the people here may be wealthy, but they are very giving as well.  Every year, Scales Elementary School does a “CLOSET DRIVE”, where they ask all of the families that attend the school to donate clothes that are no longer needed.  For one week, people bring in garbage sacks of clothing to be donated to this project.  Children who attend Scales Elementary and their parents take the time to sort the clothing into sizes and articles.  Then the big project happened on Friday.

We all went to a school right in downtown Nashville that would be considered the “slums” of the city.  It was a very old school and most of the children there were African American and very, very poor.  We, Destini and I, signed up for a time to help out there.  I went in on Thursday and we organized tables with the clothing set on it.  There was a big gym that was just filled with tables, boy clothing on one side and girl clothing on the other. I have never seen so much clothing stacked high on each table in my life.   Each table had the clothing size marked and had items such as pants, play shirts, dress shirts, shorts, pj’s, ets.   And the same on the other side for the girls.  At the back of the gym were shoes, hats, costumes, winter gloves and hats, etc.

Friday was the big day!  Every classroom was given a specific time and one by one, every child in that entire school was introduced to a mom and their child from Scales, was given a great big sack, and then was able to go “shopping” for anything they wanted or needed.  We were instructed to put 10-15 items of clothing in the bags for each child.
You would have thought it was Christmas Day  for these children.  And in a way it truly was Christmas,  because the clothing that was donated was very nice clothing  (some even had the price tags still on them!)  Watching the look on these beautiful children’s faces as they were able to pick out anything they wanted just made me want to cry.  It was a most touching experience for both Destini AND myself.  

On Friday night, our good friends, the Tolks, invited us to the symphony at Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville.  We don’t  get out much, so we pre-arranged  to take our P day for this a couple of months ago.    We went with some other couples, a member of the Nashville Stake Presidency and his wife, and the relief society president of our ward and her husband.  It was just incredible!  There was a Russian Pianist, a beautiful 37 year old woman named Olga Kearn who was the most accomplished pianist I think I have ever heard.  It really was incredible! 

On Saturday morning, President drove to Madison with the AP’s and did a MTC Training with all of the young men in a ward there.  It was pretty impressive as well. They had organized the young men to all come in ready to serve a two day mission. We did trainings all morning and then in the afternoon they went out with 8 of our missionaries and visited less actives and non members in the area. Some of them taught as many as 11 lessons in one day. The youth will never forget the experience of going out with our missionaries and actually teaching and finding new people. On Sunday they spoke in church about their experience and then held a fireside with their parents.  

Saturday afternoon, we attended a baptism in Franklin of an African American woman who has been studying about the church for a few years.  It was a great baptism and it we had to chuckle  , the woman who spoke on the Holy Ghost was giving the most spiritual talk. She just kept explaining the importance of Baptism and the Holy Ghost going together and how important that was. The spirit was in the room so strong and then all of the sudden she said, “Well I guess the very best way to describe it is when you eat beans you just have to have cornbread, Baptism and the Holy Ghost are like beans and cornbread. You just cant have one without the other”. I leaned over to President and said, “We are truly in Tennessee. I don’t think I have ever heard that comparison before.” PresidentI interviewed this Sister earlier in the week and she has such faith. She had four of her unbaptized Sisters with her and a brother in law as well. I know that they felt the spirit.

Just as a side note, the member of the bishopric who conducted this meeting was Shane Troseth.  He reminded me so much of my Aunt Eva and Uncle Arnold Troseth’s family I had to ask him where he was from. (He actually looked very much like Roger Bliss!)   He smiled and said that originally his family was from Cornish, Utah.  He told me that there were originally two brothers that came from Norway and ended up going all the way to Utah and Idaho.  I told him about my uncle Arnold and he had no doubt that he was probably his grandfather’s brother.  Small world again!!!

Our  family had to leave the house at 6:00 AM Sunday morning to drive to Tomkinsville, Kentucky,  a 2 ½ hour drive to the north east of Nashville  to speak in a ward up there.  Such wonderful people we meet everywhere we go.
Well, here are some Missionary Miracles:
“The biggest miracle happened on Friday though while we were doing our "Weekly Planning session" My Companion  was texting Barbie seeing if we could meet up with her and her family sometime in the coming week. she said that we could. and we set a time to meet with her this week. at the conclusion of the conversation we always ask "is there anything that we can do for you" usually they say no but this was the response we received...  would it be possible for y'all to baptize my daughter as well? and could we do it on a sooner date" So now they will be baptized at the end of this week!!! We met with them yesterday and they said that they know Joseph Smith was a prophet and that Christ church has been restored. she said she didn't have to pray when she watched the restoration at the first visit we had with them a week ago she had a feeling inside of her that she could not explain. She knows that this is what she needs to do. The Lord is producing miracles here!”

“Yesterday after branch FHE we went with President and Sister Miller to visit (our investigator). They downloaded translating apps on their phones so we could talk to (her). But when we got there, we had the greatest miracle ever happen! She had a friend there from Nashville, named…., that she used to live there with and she speaks perfect English. She also speaks perfect Karen [the language (our investigator) speaks]. So we were able to teach her and 3 other people she lives with the Restoration with the help of her friend translating the whole thing for us. It was a miracle!!
Also, we gave her friend a Book of Mormon and she wants the missionaries in Nashville to come and teach her more!”

“We are having a baptism on Saturday!!!!!!!! A mother and her daughter want to and are getting baptized! My companion and I are so excited! It  has been a miracle with this family and the Lord is blessing us with success. The ward is doing fantastic with missionary work. They are catching that missionary fire and its amazing. We are getting 7 new ward missionaries! Its going to be an awesome transfer!”

Please know of our testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that is here on the earth today.  We know it is true, or we wouldn’t be doing what we are doing.  We are so grateful to have this experience of working with the missionaries in the Greatest Mission in the World, the Tennessee Nashville Mission.  How we love these Elders and Sisters with whom we work!!!   We are seeing miracles on a daily basis and the Lord’s hand is truly in this work.  We love the Book of Mormon and know that it was written to help us with life’s questions---today!!! 
WE love all y’all!!
President & Sister McKee, Dad & Mom, Grandpa & Grandma, Bill & RaNae and…
Angie, Aubrey, Kiara and Destini

Monday, September 17, 2012

Senior Couples Conference at the Upper Room, Nashville, TN

Sept 16, 2012
Hello to our dear family and friends,
All is well here in Tennessee!  The work is truly rolling forth and we are seeing miracles happen every day here!  What a blessing it is to be able to work with the INCREDIBLE missionaries here in this  mission! Happy Birthday to Grandpa McKee this coming Saturday!  We hope everyone back home spoils him for us!!!  We still think he needs to bring his banjo and fiddle and come out to see us!

This week one of our wonderful couples from Burley, Idaho, Elder and Sister Brent and Vicki Peterson finished their mission and we received another couple from Fruit Heights, UT,  Elder & Sister Tommie and Jan Matthews.  The Petersons served a 6 month mission, and even in that short time, they were instrumental  in changing so many lives.  The Matthews are serving their 5th mission here in Tennessee. They will be with us for one year. We also received another Senior couple the Wrigleys from Las Vegas who will be serving for two years.   What great sacrifice every one of  these couples make.  They are SUCH a blessing to the mission!!!  We have outstanding senior missionaries. 

This past Friday, we had another senior couple day, where we took 15 couples to the “Upper Room” in Nashville.  Reverend Tom Albin, an international  trainer  of Ministers in the Methodist Church cordially invited us to tour this very sacred  non-denominational edifice once  again. Last spring, he hosted our zone leaders at a conference  and spoke to them.  He was the one who told us that at one of his trainings in Kansas for the Methodist ministers there, he told them that if they wanted to develop a great website, to go to and try to duplicate that.  The first time we met him, he asked us about the LDS Church’s missionary program.  He said he would love to learn to duplicate the MTC in the Methodist Church.  It’s pretty obvious that he is impressed with the Mormon Church!   When he asked President what motivates our missionaries to come out in the first place, President said, “They are called from a prophet of God.  That may be a bit difficult to duplicate!”  He smiled and said, “Yes, you have a point there!” 

On Friday, he stood up to speak to us and said, “I have always admired the Mormon Church.  Years ago my daughter was best friends with a Mormon.  She had such high standards,  was always SO kind, and was very responsible, didn’t smoke, drink or party and was preparing to serve one of your missions. We loved that our daughter was her friend.   One of the things that impressed me with her and with your whole church is the fact that you encouraged your members to have  that “family night” every Monday night?  I hope you are still having that,  because if you aren’t I would be very disappointed!”  We let him know that that is still a big part of our church.  He seemed  in awe to think that we had about 15 senior couples who came out to “volunteer” their services to the church.  I think he was touched by them!

After the conference, we went to lunch just down the street from the Upper Room, then we brought them all over to the mission home for some more training.  I think it was great for all of the couples to get to know each other because they really don’t serve around each other within the mission. 
Beautiful Wood Carving of the Last Supper in the Upper Room

This week we also had our monthly ZLC (zone leader council) here at the mission home.  I make these sticky buns for them each time, because I have a certain elder who calls me the day before and says, “Sister McKee, you are going to have the sticky buns tomorrow aren’t you?  You know they are my favorite and they remind me of Christmas morning at home!!!”  How do you turn down something like that!

We are preparing for transfers  AGAIN  tomorrow!  (didn’t we just have them  last week?)  My how time flies.  We are receiving 10 new missionaries this time and losing 5.  The next 3 days are truly marathon days.  I really love our transfer meetings, but  it seemsI’m always crying so it doesn’t seem like I love them.  We generally have around 80-100 of our missionaries in the gym and to hear them sing Called to Serve (with our special 3rd verse for the Tennessee Nashville Mission) just thrills me.  As we listen to them share miracles that have happened to them, the spirit is SO strong. 

We have been focusing on the Vision of the South for the past year.  That is a quote that we found by Spencer W. Kimball, but then we found out it was given by Vaughn J. Featherstone.  President wrote Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone a letter to ask him about the validity of that quote.  Last week, I just happened to be home late in the afternoon and the phone rang.   It was Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone.  He said he was responding to President’s letter and he wanted us to know that President Kimball gave the first sentence of the quote and that he added the rest.  He said it was very legitimate and that when they built the Atlanta Georgia Temple, they read the quote and then placed a copy of it in the cornerstone of the temple.  He was so cute when he said, “ If there is anything wrong with that quote,  I will take full responsibility for it!  I stand behind it and believe every part of it.”  It was very delightful to visit with him.

This is the Vision of the South
“Make no small plans: They have no magic to stir men’s souls.” This is the vision I have for the South. I believe that one day the South will baptize more people into the church than all other English-speaking missions in the world together. There are great hosts of marvelous Baptists, members of the Church of Christ, Methodists, and Catholics who are honorable people., and have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and love him. As they see their church veering off to the right or to the left of those basic teachings , they will begin to search for truth; and as pivotal teachers come into the church and have influence, we will see the time when we will baptized hundreds and thousands, tens of thousands, in your day , you will see a million members of the church in the South. There will be Temples plural in the South States. What a great call you have to serve with these marvelous people. The missionaries love the South. We are making great strides and expect to continue.”This is the vision of the south:

Hey y’all its Aubrey!! A while back a lady from the Nashville Community Choir (in our stake) called mom and asked her if the missionary choir could come perform at this 100th year celebration of a chapel in Hopkinsville Kentucky.  There was a lot of confusion with everything, so we just decided to take the missionaries who were already in that area to it to sing a hymn maybe. So Angie and I went with the Assistants to Clarksville and picked up a set of sisters and a set of elders. Then we drove for about 40 min through the plains of Kentucky. We came to a fork in the road and decided to choose the right. We kept driving for 10 more minutes wondering where this chapel was. We finally got in contact with another set of elders who were already there and we realized that we had been going the wrong way. We should have taken the left not the right. So we drove for 15 more minutes and finally got there. This little one room chapel stood at the top of a little hill with a little cemetery around it. There were quite a few nonmembers and the missionaries were so good to talk to them and get many referrals. One less actives 9 year old daughter was talking to some elders and told them she wanted to be baptized. There were people from everywhere there. It was  like a family reunion. But it was really fun! Then we drove home and finished with transfers and called them out. Then we went to dinner with a new missionary couple the Matthews from Fruit Heights Utah (east of Kaysville).

While the girls were at this 100 year celebration of this little chapel I had traveled over to Tullahoma (South East part of the Mission) to the baptism of a wonderful man that had written a letter to President Monson asking him how he received revelation from the Lord. The baptism was filled with the spirit and there were two others there who had set a date to be baptized. A young man spoke at the baptism that has cerebral palsy . He could hardly speak but put his whole effort into it teaching us about baptism. He is 25 years old and just graduated from College. Very sharp even though it is difficult for him to walk and talk. He was just filled with the spirit and had touched this man’s life so much. This is the second letter we have received from President Monson with a referral and both have been baptized. We hope that President Monson keeps sending us referrals.WM

This is Angie. Thursday I went with dad to Paducah, Ky.  He had to go to a coordinating council meeting with the Stake President. He dropped me off in Mayfield, Ky to work with the Hermanas: Harper y Jordan. They’ve been teaching both English and Spanish people, but mainly focusing on Spanish. We contacted this great family of 5 who were Catholic, but agreed to do the 21- BOM reading challenge. At the end of the lesson, we sang “Mas cerca, Oh Dios, de ti” which is “Nearer my God to Thee.” Next, we met up with a man named Milo who the hermanas had met 2 days prior, and he commited to be baptized Sat. the 22nd! He is Spanish but speaks fluent English. He is also doing the BOM challenge. I had a lot of fun with them, and tracting in the great streets of Mayfield!

The girls got to sing in 2 sacrament meetings today.  They sang in our home ward—Green Hills, and then President and I spoke in the Nashville YSA ward where they sang again. 

Some Missionary Miracles:
1)  "Satan tries his hardest to discourage us right before something great happens!" We set 2 dates this week! Our investigator has been meeting with us for a while now but we had a really spiritual lesson on Thursday and I was prompted to ask her if she knew the Book of Mormon was true and she said yes! Then I asked her if she knew Joseph Smith was a prophet and she said yes again! Its was amazing! We set a date with her for Sept 29th but she struggles with the word of wisdom as of now but that'll change tonight. She has a granddaughter that lives with her and we are going to start teaching her tonight too!  We got a referral from church HQ …... So we went down there and he was amazed at how fast we got there. He is very interested in the church and believes that he has been led to it. We taught the restoration and we set a date with him for Sept. 29 too! We have a lot to do before both of their baptisms. Neither of them have cars and they both live in …………………… and it takes 45 minutes to get to church from there. Its going to be a challenge but it can be done.” 
2)  “We had a investigator at church Sunday and he knows the BOM is true and he wants to come to church so I told him to pray and that Heavenly Father would help him and so he came this week was a miracle week, we set four baptism dates. The first two were Tuesday night. We had issued the 34 page challenge to them, and she said she would have it read by Sunday. So when we saw them we asked them about the reading, and praying, and she said she believes the Book of Mormon is true, and he said that he feels like this is right. So we asked them to follow their Savior by being baptized and they accepted for the 29th of this month. Then on Wednesday, we went over to a members home to teach another investigator. It was a great lesson, and she loved the spirit, "the yogurt for the soul". She asked us, "so when am I getting Baptized!" she has a date for the 22nd. Then on Thursday we were meeting with a man we had found through tracting weeks ago, he accepted a three week challenge about a week ago, and he now has a date for the 29th also. It has been quite the week.”
“We had 6 investigators at church and while i am writing you my companion has just gotten a referral from a member. Things are turning around.”
3)  “So this has been quite the week!  Zone Conference was AMAZING!  And we have had a lot of miracles this week.  On Tuesday we knocked a door, went in and taught the lady about the Book of Mormon.  She was pretty shut off to everything we were saying.  But what is awesome is that after being there for 15-20 minutes there's a knock at the door and in walks her pastor.  They were going to have what they call cult.  We talked to him and his wife and other members of the church came and we sang "I Know that My Redeemer Lives."  And we gave a copy of the Book of Mormon to the pastor, his wife, his sister, and to the lady who we taught, and invited them to read 3 Nephi 11-27.  So that was cool.  But what's even cooler is that on Saturday after dinner we went to visit some people who live in our apartment complex.  Well no one answered so as we were looking at our plans we see a some people in a van drive by and park close to where we were standing.  We decide to go talk to them and guess what?  It was the pastor and his sister.  The sister is moving to our same apartment complex.  They told us they both had been reading in the Book of Mormon and that they thought it was beautiful. “

We love and miss  all y’ all!  We love this mission, the missionaries and the work!  We want you to know of our great love for the Lord, for His Gospel and for the atonement.  We know this is HIS work and are loving every minute of it!  Thanks again for those of you who wrote to us.  We LOVE hearing from you!!!

Have a great week!

President & Sister McKee, Dad & Mom, Grandpa & Grandma, Bill & RaNae….
and   Angie, Aubrey, Kiara and Destini

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Hey all! Things are still going great in the Nashville, TN area. I failed to post this Monday, so here it is today! We're getting ready for transfers this next week. We love adventures each day brings!..

-- Sept. 10, 2012
Dear Family and Friends,
We have had an extra busy week here in the Great Tennessee Nashville Mission this week.  This was our 2nd week of zone conferences that were held in 7 different zones of our mission—3 last week and 4 this week.  By the time we leave in time to get where ever we are going by 9:00 am and conclude by  4pm ,(Then President usually has to interview a few for challenges or temple recommends)  it has made for some VERY long days.  Our focus this time has been inviting others to the 21 DAY BOOK OF MORMON CHALLENGE~!   We know that all concerns can be resolved by using the Book of Mormon. So we have asked the missionaries to challenge people to read for 21 days, to attend church during that time and to pray about what they have read to see if it is true.  The response has been amazing---many have accepted the challenge and we have seen many come unto baptism because of it!!  Now we know that most people cannot read the Book of Mormon in just 21 days, so the missionaries are printing up calendars for them with important sections or scriptures that they need to read  (34 pages in 3rd Nephi being one of them where Christ spoke to the people in the Americas).   It is the Lord’s promise and we know he will fulfill it for anyone who inquires with a sincere heart and real intent!

At zone conference our office couple over the vehicles and apartments usually collects all of the keys from the missionaries and checks all of the vehicles while we are inside doing the conferences.   They have done an incredible job and they  make it really fun for the missionaries. He told them that he has actually gotten calls from Salt Lake to see why our vehicle costs have been so much lower than other missions.      On Thursday, we went to McMinnville which is about 2 hours away from Nashville. The office couple left early to go back to Nashville before we were done with the meeting.  The only problem was that they forgot to give the keys back to the missionaries!!!    So they hauled the keys for about 15 cars back to Nashville with them.  By the time we realized they had the keys, they turned around and came back, but it was a good 2 hours after the time we were supposed to be done. ( I reminded them that we would all laugh about this next week!!!)     We sent the missionaries out to knock doors and to do a good hour of tracting, while the assistants and myself went out and bought pizzas for them all.  In that hour, the missionaries got over 20 new teaching appointments and gave away almost that many Books of Mormon.  The office couple felt awful about what had happened, but we told them “there are No accidents”.  For some reason, we know that someone out there will receive the gospel because of that experience.

Tonight we had a dinner for a new couple that just came into the mission—the Wrigleys from Las Vegas, Nevada.  They are a great couple who will certainly bless the mission.  Before that we left early this morning to drive to Morgantown – 1 ½  hours to the northwest of us to speak in sacrament meeting  to a branch there and do a combined Priesthood/ RS on setting up their own Family Mission Plan.  We had lunch with the Petersons, a senior couple from Burley, Idaho who are leaving to go home this coming week.  This couple knows Julie and Lloyd Monroe very well (some friends of ours from when we first moved to Chubbuck).    How we will miss them and how much the branch will miss them!  It is so much fun to see the friendships that are made with people here in the mission.

Last night President and I went out with a set of Elders who had an investigators who had asked them not to come back.  The Elders asked if they could just bring “the President” back to talk with him one time.  We drove out to Spring Hill and met with this man and his wife with the other missionaries.  It was evident that he wanted to teach us, rather than being taught.  We listened to him for awhile and then he proceeded to tell us what he thought was wrong about the Mormon church.  1st of all, he said that he didn’t like that we believed that the trinity was three distinct and separate beings.  Secondly he thought we believed we  Mormons were without sin, and thirdly he wanted to know what went on in our temples and why he wasn’t able to go inside.  We proceeded to teach the truths of our gospel to him, that we KNOW we are all sinners and talked about the relationship between Jesus Christ and God the Father.  He was very determined that they were all one person and that Jesus Christ just changed himself into God the Father because he was God and could do that—He could do anything. He also believed that Jesus prayed to himself. We invited him to read in 3rd Nephi 11 and I think it touched him.  We  then told him that he was very welcome to come to the temple—everyone is, but they have to be prepared first.   President said to him, “What would it mean to you if you could take your family into the temple and be sealed for time and all eternity?”  It was so amazing to me to feel the Spirit enter the room and to see his heart soften.  He was very quiet for a few moments as he pondered it and then he quickly “shook it off” and went back to his questions.  We left him with the 21 day BOOK OF MORMON CHALLENGE,  and he accepted.    We’ll see what happens!!!!
The girls are all doing well.  It was fun to Skype some of our family tonight.  We certainly miss having Kylie here.   How we miss all of our children and grandchildren.  What a miracle it is to be able to see them while we talk to them!  We have an awesome family and we love them all so much! 
Here are a few mission miracles:1)      It has been a good week. We have had some great experiences. Sister McKee had Elder Baugh go to the orthodontist this week to ask them a few questions and try and set up an appointment to get his top retainer fixed. When we went there was a lady there working. As we talked about insurance and what we need to do to get them the information it was brought up that we couldn't talk to our families except for Christmas and mothers day that really impressed her this lead into a conversation about what we do as missionaries. Then she ended up telling us how she has watched her church grow and how it is so big and how she doesn't like it at all cause she wants to know the people that she goes to church with. She ended up telling us a whole list of things that she didn't like about her church that she has been going to for 30 years. She basically said that she has been watching her church veer off to the left and right. We gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon and taught her about the restoration. She was amazed of the first vision and the Book of Mormon she committed to reading and praying about the Book of Mormon and she said that she will come to church with us. Then as we were leaving she told that she knew that it was not a coincidence that we came in on this day cause this was the only time that she would have been able to talk to us about religion. Things here are going good
2)     Miracles are happening. This area is amazing! We've issued the Book of Mormon challenge to our investigators. Some of them have accepted, some haven't but we're really going to work hard to make sure that we read with them every day. We've talked about getting the ward involved with it and our ward is doing a 40 day fast for missionary work. This week was kind of hard at first but we had a few miracles yesterday! It was so great. First of all, Jackie Smith was at church! She showed up at the church building yesterday to give something to Sis. Austin. We convinced her to stay for Sacrament meeting. She left halfway through but the fact that she even stayed for part of it was huge!
3)    As we were driving home we got a text from this kid asking if it was the missionary's number. This kid, he's 17, had been investigating the church about 2 years ago but his family didn't approve so he had to stop but he was in touch with Temple Square missionaries over but eventually lost contact with them too. His grandma actually bought him a quad but somehow the rest of his family found out and something happened so he doesn't have it anymore. But anyway, he texted us yesterday wanting to know where he could get a copy of the Book of Mormon, so we told him we had one for him. We met up with him and his mom at the church and offered to give them a tour of the church so that his mom could learn about the church her son wants to join. It was AMAZING! The mom just kept asking questions about everything. She told us that she's been kind of scared of the Church but as her son started talking to her about it she wanted to know more about it. We taught her about everything from prophets to temples to polygamy to bishops. Anything she asked a question about we answered as best we could and her son was answering her questions also. He was talking about Bible verses about certain principles and how they connect with the Book of Mormon. He was answering her questions just as much as we were. As we walked down the halls we taught her using the paintings of the Book of Mormon stories and she loved that. We went into the chapel and the Spirit was so strong in there. She said, "this is the only church where I feel like I would be welcome. None of the churches I've been too have felt that way." Then we took them to the baptismal font and talked about more doctrine. We both bore testimony of the Book of Mormon and committed them to read 3 Nephi. We invited them to be baptized and the son said "I'm going to be baptized." All the mom said was "I need to pray about it but if God tells me, then yes I will be." It was such a Spirit filled night. Seriously, last night made up for the tough week we've had. I love this mission! I'm so grateful that I was called to serve here.

Well.  I suppose that’s about it for the week.  We love our Savior and know that He lives!  We love the Book of Mormon and have had a testimony of it for a long time, but it has never been as strong as it is today.  It is the true “How TO  book for Happiness!”  We hope you all have a great week. 
Much love,
President & Sister McKee,  Dad & Mom,  Grandpa & Grandma,  Bill and RaNae   and….
Angie, Aubrey, Kiara and Destini
ps.  We still love hearing from you!!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Sept. 2, 2012
Dear Family and Friends,
Thank you for the nice emails we have received from some of you!  There is nothing so great as hearing from home!!!  Happy Birthday to our son,  Jared today!  We hope he  had a great day and knows how much we love him and his sweet family!!   We had a great wind and rain storm this afternoon with a tornado watch throughout a lot of our mission, but things have calmed down with no incidents that we are aware of.
We understand that there was a Petersen family reunion last night at Jo Lynn and Bob Jex’s in Tremonton.  It sounds like it was a great success (as they always are.)  JoLynn and Bob are always so willing to open up their home and beautiful back yard to the family and then they provide the best food ever!  We felt very bad to have missed it, but know that everyone had a great time. 
We keep hearing of more and more good news from home,   weddings from family members---Abby McKee, Jason McKee and any others?  Also did we hear about new babies coming?  Congratulations to Tyler and Melissa McKee!  We are thrilled for y’all!!! 
Last week  our first week of zone conferences which we will continue this coming week traveling throughout our mission.  We went to the  Hopkinsville, Nashville and Madison Zones this past week.  President McKee has initiated a “21 Day Book of Mormon Challenge” that we are inviting our missionaries to give to the people they are teaching. I think it is a great thing, and in the past week we have already had many people agree to do this.  We are asking people to read certain passages in the Book of Mormon each day, to attend church for 3 weeks, and to pray about its truthfulness.  We have also asked the missionaries  to begin a reading program with their investigators.  We know that as they invite ward members to read the Book of Mormon on a daily basis with their investigators, both the member AND the investigator’s lives will be enriched, they will be able to gain a testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, and it will start them, hopefully on a lifelong habit of reading and gaining a love for the Book of Mormon.
Saturday, President spent most of the day (as he did every spare moment between zone conferences and for the past many months) working with another missionary who ended up going home.  This was a great young man, who just had a hard time adjusting to missionary life.  How we love him and will miss him—he was just determined to go home and no matter what was said to convince him otherwise, it didn’t phase him.   It is so important to teach these young men and women who are preparing for missions that missionary work IS work, and it is hard.  If they aren’t prepared for that, they need to adjust their thinking before they come on missions. 
It will be hard for us to put Kylie on that plane back to Idaho tomorrow.  We love her and will miss her so much.  She always seems to step right back into the mission-life as though she had never left.  Last semester at BYU-I she worked as a Student Ambassador for the incoming freshmen as they began school.   Just a few days ago, she received a call this week asking her to be a supervisor over all of the ambassadors for the incoming freshmen this semester.  This will take a lot of time, but if there is anyone who can do it, it is Kylie. 
Angie is doing well with her on-line school and is thinking of doing a student exchange to Figi next summer.  She attends every missionary function she can when she isn’t working.  Angie is adventurous and certainly knows just what she wants to do in life.  I think she would go on a mission tomorrow if she were old enough.
Aubrey is also doing so well in school this year.  She also tries to attend every missionary event, but it is more difficult for her because she is in school.  She also loves to go on exchanges with the sisters and she helps out in the mission office often.  As a result of that, she has memorized where every missionary is and where each companionship is serving. 
Kiara has started off her 8th grade year very well.  She is taking some very difficult classes and because of her determination to do well, she has stayed up until the very early hours of the morning to get her homework done—but she is keeping up and we are so proud of her.
Destini also is doing well in school this year.  They will all be starting piano lessons again soon and in spite of OUR crazy schedules, I think are doing great!
TNM  Missionary Miracles
:1)  We had a miracle happen this week in Lebanon. So we met a man on the street and sat down with him on his front porch and began to teach him about the restoration of the gospel. And as we were doing this, another man comes up and asks if he could sit down with us because it is so hot outside. Of course we happily invite him to take a seat.
After we conclude with the message of the restoration, I received a strange prompting from the spirit to ask this man to help us preach the restored gospel because he speaks a dialect of Mexico that many people around here speak. He happily accepted and called another man off the street and invited him to hear our message. He also said that he will be getting his family together, probably about a group of 10 or more, and that we will be invited to come and share the message of the restoration with these wonderful people. I love the power of the message of the restored gospel.
2) As I've talked about before, we've had some issues with our investigators Sue and Sherry Price. There has been much opposition in the recent past and many disputations on the subject of religion. We were in all aspects "lost" and didn't know how to move forward with this family. We decided weeks ago that we would change our focus to reading from the Book of Mormon. When we started to do so, we'd offer Sue a book to follow along with and she would say something along the lines of, "I don't read anything but the Bible and you know that. So I'll just listen. Go ahead." This is the treatment we've gotten from the beginning, but as we've daily turned the pages of the Book of Mormon with Sue, we've noticed a dramatic change in her life, attitude, and the over all feeling in the home. Each chapter we read brings a light to her eyes and sparks a flame of interest. On occasion she would say, "Hey! Now that's some truth! I like that!" and she would tare the Book of Mormon from her daughter's hands and mark the scripture. "I think I might study that later."

This has been going on more and more during the past week and a half. One day we came over and Sue was very sick. She didn't have much energy to move nor speak, but we continued on and read as always. This time we read from 2 Nephi 2. We read about the creation of the world and life of Adam and Eve. We read about how opposition was necessary and we are all meant to be tested in this life, that we might know the good from the evil. Now I've read this scripture at least a million times, but something in that chapter "touched" the heart of Sue. Something beyond our knowledge answered a question, or solved a concern that she was having, and she became very quiet. She said again, "I like that." and she marked the chapter and said that she would study it on the morrow. When we returned she sat down with us, looked us in the eye with a smile and said, "After you read the Book of Mormon with me last night, I felt the Lord come into my home. My sickness left me and I felt completely better. Any book that can do that has to be from God. I know that it is true."

We helped her draw the line that if the Book of Mormon is true, then that means that Jesus is the Christ, Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ's true church on the Earth today. We committed her to be baptized on the 15th of September. Then we knelt down and Sue offered the most sincere prayer we've ever heard her utter. "Please God, if this is where you want me to go, tell me, and I will do it." The Spirit was palpable, as thick as the smell of fresh bread. After she said amen, she sat quietly and said, "I'll let you know my answer tomorrow." We're still waiting for that answer which we know will be, "yes."

We love and miss all of you.  Thank you for your love and support.  We love this work.  Missionary work IS hard and challenging, but is SO rewarding.  We are losing many of our senior couples in the next couple of weeks, and it is SO hard to see them go.  They are like their own mission presidents to the missionaries in their zones.  They are SUCH a great help to us—and we have the greatest couples in the world here in our mission. In closing, just know of our testimony of this gospel and of our Savior Jesus Christ.  We love Him, we depend on Him and we know that it is His Church!  We love the Book of Mormon and know that this book will change lives---forever and bring lasting happiness!  We so appreciate the blessing that each of you are to our lives!  May you have a great week!
Photo Credt: Angie Miller Photography

Much love,
President & Sister McKee, Dad & Mom, Grandpa & Grandma, Bill & RaNae……and Kylie, Angie, Aubrey, Kiara and Destini