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

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