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