-- October 7, 2012
To our dear Family and Friends,
We hope y’all have had a great week! . Michelle, we hope you had a festive birthday and Brittany and Jared, we are getting so excited to welcome Grandson #11 here in just a few weeks. We are praying for you and know that Ethan is going to be a great big brother!!! It was very fun to skype our family tonight. Mike and Kirsten and their boys, and then Jared & Brittany & Ethan, With Scott and Seren, Steven & Rachel and Kylie! The only ones we missed were Michelle & Travis and their boys! It makes me a bit homesick, I have to admit, but it is so much fun to seen them all having fun together and enjoying one another. That’s the greatest thing to see as a parent! Thank you to those of you who sent us emails. How we love them! Anyone wishing to go to Presidentandsistermckee.
blogspot.com can see more of the photos Angie has been posting on our blog.
Elder Scott Packer from Kaysville UT, one of our senior missionaries who, next week, is just ending his 18 month service in our office says that in the mission field, there are only 3 days, Monday, Friday and Sunday. You start on Monday and the next thing you know it’s Friday. Then it’s Sunday and time to write about what happened all week. That’s pretty true except for me I think it just goes from Monday to Sunday in the blink of an eye! It has been a very busy and event filled week! We, like each of you, we are sure, are still basking in the amazing words that were spoken at General Conference yesterday and today. I can’t think of a greater change to add to the mission force: 18 year old men and 19 year old women now able to serve! That, alone, might have an amazing impact on our family. Kylie could leave immediately if she decides to go and Angie could actually leave any time after April 6 when she turns 18, after she graduates from her online school because of our service as mission president. WOW! It will be interesting to see what happens! I have to say I was very touched by all of conference, but especially by Elder Holland’s talk. That talk made me want to do so much better in my life, to be more dedicated and much bolder about sharing the gospel. I couldn’t even talk about his words today without bawling! I was very touched!
This week has been such a great experience. On Monday, besides having our weekly staff meeting and other regular happenings, we had our new office couple from Providence, UT come. They are the Rodaks and are just a delightful couple. It is so hard to think of the Packers leaving, they are the couple that actually trained us the most, as they worked in the office and knew much more about the mission than we even had a clue!!! Elder Rodak used to be in the secret service and was a body guard for at least 6 of the presidents of the USA. He has some amazing stories about his former line of work.
Tuesday, we had our monthly ZLC here at the mission home. We started with an early morning breakfast for the elders (we now include 3 sisters in this council as well) and had a great council. At this council, we showed a video of Elder Jeffrey Holland as he was speaking at the MTC and his talk was very similar to the one he gave in conference today. It was SO powerful! He really put out to the missionaries the importance of them being true to their calling and to give it all that they have---very similar to his message today.
After the Zone leader council we had another senior couple come in to the mission (we love our senior couples) . I drove straight to the mission office to meet with them, Elder and Sister Robinson. Elder Robinson actually did student teaching at Marsh Valley with Newt Lowe and Kathryn Payne. That will take us all back a few years. He is also the brother of Ethel who plays in Jim and Roy’s band. He told us that he had danced to a few of your dances, how about that but there is more. Sister Robinson is the sister of Peggy Chandler from our own little Inkom, Idaho. Now we are getting pretty close to home and is a Potter from Lava which of course makes us a relative in there somewhere. She tells me that Amelia Ann Brown is a common great grand parent. They just kept going on with all of the connections and then we found another. Jonathan Browning was their Bishop . He is a former seminary teacher in Pocatello and was also on my High Council when I served as Stake President. He is a wonderful man and now the Bishop of the South Jordan Ward in Utah.(wm)
On Wednesday and Friday, we took two of our zones to the temple each day . Again we had back to back sessions and they generally had to bring chairs in because our temple can only accommodate about 40 people at a time. It is such a special experience to see these young sisters and elders in their temple robes. I tell them that the only thing greater than this will be when and if we get to see them standing by someone they love standing with them in their temple clothes when they are sealed to them.
Thursday was our first day of interviews for this go-round. We drove to McMinnville ( about 2 hours to the east of us) and got to meet with the missionaries in that zone. President gets to talk about their worthiness and I get to visit with them and "real play" with them to see how they are teaching lately. It is a great experience! After the interviews, President had to meet with Pres. Crawford at a Stake Correlation, We are so excited because this Stake is growing so large that there is discussion of dividing sometime soon. We just got permission to organize a YSA Branch in this Stake. This is where Elder and Sister Rhoades from Chubbuck are serving and doing a marvelous job! So another unit will be added this month. I went out teaching with the Spanish sisters. We went to see the Castro family, a Hispanic family who only the father understands English and speaks very little. It was an awesome experience for me—the sisters would teach them and I would just wait for a translation from one of them! I could tell they were sincere and the sisters seemed a bit hesitant to commit them so after seeing that they were reading the Book of Mormon and that they loved it and were praying about it, I asked the dad if he would follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by one having the priesthood authority of God. I have to say I was a bit shocked when he answered, “Yes I will!” We were very excited and committed him to Oct. 27. His wife will join him and 2 of their 3 children who are old enough. The sisters went back yesterday and gave them a baptismal calendar that they will make sure they are prepared by the day of their baptism. I was so excited---this was truly the first time I had committed anyone to baptism and I can’t even tell you what a great feeling it was! We made it home by about 11:30 pm that night.
Friday after the temple, we got together with our office couples (the ones that just got here and the ones that are leaving) and took them out to dinner. The Packers presented us with a canvas photo they took of Northcutt’s Cove, the oldest LDS Church here in the South. It made me cry it is so beautiful. How we will miss them.
Saturday, it was our families’ turn to clean our church. So we got everyone up early so we could be home in time to watch conference and went over to the church for about an hour and a half and cleaned. It was good for all of us—as we got to share the responsibility with a few other families from the ward. Conference, of course was wonderful, (as you all probably know if you watched it) and we are still contemplating the messages that were given.
Our visa waiters got their visas this week, so we will have them come in tomorrow morning, feed them lunch and then take them out to the airport where they will leave to their original mission destination of Argentina. We are bringing in a third assistant tomorrow to get trained as we will be losing Elder Adams in the upcoming transfer. The Visa waiters getting their visas always creates another mid transfer for President so he has been working on the Spanish Zone transfer as well and they will be coming to the mission home tomorrow for their new companion exchange.
Well, here are some of the miracles in the TNM this week:
1) “Our miracle is pretty sweet. So there is this guy named Maxamiliano who found a Book of Mormon in a store one day while he was out in Madison. He took it because there was a sign that said they were free, and he wanted to know what it was. The next day we found him at a little Mexican store and he asked us how he could become like us. We started talking to him about the church and asked if he would like a Book of Mormon when he told us he already had one. We weren't sure to believe him, but took his word for it. We got his phone number that day and he told us we could come by anytime. We finally found him home last week after about a month of looking for him, and we taught him the Restoration. He actually did have a book and he said he was super interested in it from what he had read, and that he wants to learn more. He was so fascinated with the Joseph Smith story and how he saw Heavenly Father and Jesus. We went back there last night with a member and watched the Restoration movie and he absolutely loved it. We extended the baptismal commitment for October 20 and he said he will try, but that it may be too soon. It was a super awesome lesson, and having our member there, who is a convert of 3 years, helped out a ton.”
2) “This past week has been a pretty good one! We met a lady named Stephanie …….. last Monday who had been taught by missionaries about a year ago. It was awesome because we knocked on her door and when she answered, she got excited and wanted to know when she could have us over for dinner! that of course made us happy! but what was more exciting is that her daughter is a convert to the church and is serving a mission right now in Oklahoma. Her boyfriend was there as well and we talked with both of them and they are very interested in the church. she is already reading the BOM and he already believes it is true! he hasn’t had a spiritual conformation yet but hey that’s exciting stuff right there! So we are going over this Thursday for dinner and are going to teach both of them the restoration!”
3) “We have been trying to help people have a spiritual conversion during each lesson it has helped out a lot. I can tell the differences in the lessons that we teach. A few months ago we talked to a 15 year old girl and she said we could come back but then she later told us her parents said no. They live across the street from a family of recent converts. Jerry (baptized in April) went over there and sure softened their hearts because they then invited us to come and share our message. We met with them last Monday evening and it was the most perfect lesson we've ever been in! the mom and dad are both apostolic ministers but they listened ever so intently and were very excited to read the Book of Mormon. They described the spirit they felt as we taught and expressed that they could see Christ within us. It was wonderful. We are excited to teach them and their 3 children the Plan of Salvation tonight!”
4).” We have really been trying to be a blessing and not a burden to our Bishop. a few weeks ago we dropped by his house to ask for an assignment. He gave us a few less active names and then paused and said, actually why don’t you go see my friend Jim ……. Jim is a fellow dentist for the military. We stopped by Jim's immediately and, after he gave us kind of a hard time, asked if he would allow us to come back. He agreed. This Saturday we came to his home. Both he and his wife were prepared with paper for notes and their bibles. They were amazing! They listened, asked questions, wrote down the scriptures we shared, and felt the spirit! I wish i could describe the look in Miss Betty's eyes as we shared the first vision and explained that there is a prophet on the Earth. She just glowed! We asked him what it would mean to him if there was a prophet on the Earth. He said, It would be amazing! We then testified that there is and invited them to General Conference. Both committed to be baptized when they know these things are true. It was sooo satisfying to report back to our Bishop to tell him what had happened!”
We also met with two ministers from Burma that are looking for a home for their Interfaith Christian congregation of 95 people. They agreed to read the Book of Mormon and watch the restoration DVD and allow us to come and present to their congregation before we check to see if they could use our building for their services so we are excited about that. They speak English but their congregation speaks Burmese. We are hoping to have a Burmese Branch soon. (wm)
We also had a phone call from a Catholic Priest in Franklin, KY that asked our Sister missionaries to come and do an Interfaith presentation for ministers of all faiths and the whole community so that can understand what Mormons believe. We will be meeting with them on the 24th in their building. They are inviting the whole city. (wm)
Two of our Swahili men were baptized this weekend also . We are teaching them by skype with the Bishops brother who understands Swahili. They have very strong testimonies. (wm)
We love this work. We love missionaries and we love the fact that we will soon be receiving 18 year old men and 19 year old women out here to serve. I testify to you that I know President Monson is a true prophet of God. After listening to him today, could there be any doubt? The gospel of Jesus Christ is here again upon the earth and was restored by the Joseph Smith, a man of great courage and integrity. Our Savior lives and loves us and we know that “he is in the details of our lives!” We are serving this mission, truly because we love the Lord---and for no other reason. We also love our family & friends back at home and pray for their continual health, safety and strong testimonies.
Have a great week! Share your testimony and a Book of Mormon with a friend or a potential one!
President & Sister McKee, Dad & Mom, Grandpa & Grandma, Bill & RaNae and…Angie, Aubrey, Kiara and Des