September 30, 2012
Dear Family and Friends,
My how quickly the weeks fly by! I can’t even believe that today is the last day of September. Happy Birthday to Michelle this week on the 5th! I hate it when Michelle has another birthday, because I couldn’t possibly have a child that old . J . I LOVE the fall—especially here in Tennessee. The hills are just barely turning colors and it is starting to look so beautiful! I just found out that my two sisters, JoLynn and Janet and their husbands are coming out here the first week of November. I am SO excited for that!!! I keep hoping that the leaves don’t fall off of the trees before they get here---they are in for a magnificent sight!!!
The work in Tennessee is certainly moving forward. We have been focusing on leaving people with a 21-day Book of Mormon Challenge, to read, pray, and attend church in that interim of time and to listen to their answer. We have also instructed the missionaries to offer blessings to people and to bless their homes as they tract . It is amazing how once people feel the Spirit, they know there is something there and they want to know more.
Shortly after we got here, Aubrey lost her retainer and Kiara has been complaining about the “gap” in her teeth, so I finally broke down and took them to an orthodontist. They told me that Aubrey’s teeth have moved back so far, she is going to have to get braces again! UGGG And that Kiara needs them as well. Wow! I was really hoping not to have to this again. I’m not sure how we are going to do this one!!!
This week, we got to take another couple of zones through a temple sessions. It is a very humbling sight to see our missionaries dressed in their temple clothes. They only get to do this about 2-3 times a year, so it is a very special occasion for all of us. They all meet about 45 minutes early and we take some time in the waiting room of the temple speaking to them about the importance of the temple and its significance in their lives. The temple here in Nashville is a small temple, but it is beautiful! In the first session we went to they had to set up about 24 extra chairs to accommodate everyone. What a great sight! Each time we go, we take two groups of missionaries in two individual sessions. I love going to the temple!!!
On Thursday I traveled up to Madison to meet with the Stake President there in a correlation council and worked with the missionaries in that area. There are some miracles happening in this Stake. Our missionaries are teaching some Swahili people. Two of them have been baptized. They do not speak English but some speak French. The ward mission leader speaks French and so the Elders teach the ward mission leader, the ward mission leader teaches two of the Swahili in French and then these two teach the rest of the group in Swahili. We have the Book of Mormon now in Swahili and have ordered 70 of them. One of the men who got baptized placed 40 Swahili Books of Mormon at a conference in Alabama last week. They have very strong testimonies of the Book of Mormon. We just found out that the Bishop’s brother can speak Swahili so the missionaries now skype him on Sunday nights so that he can teach this group of people. We have 5-11 in church each week. Who knows we may build a Swahili Branch up there.
We are also excited because we got permission this week to organize a YSA Branch in Murfreesboro where our YSA group has been meeting so we will see that happen within the month. Two of our Sister missionaries traveled two hours to the temple with a family that have been inactive for 25 years and just got their temple recommends. IT was wonderful we went through and did all of their family names. wm
On Friday we had a training for all of the zone and district leaders in the mission. But before that, it was my morning to provide breakfast for all of the seminary kids. The last time I did this, I walked in the wrong house at 6:30 in the morning and laid all of the food out, before I realized it was the wrong house! Luckily, I realized I was in the wrong house before anyone in the house saw me and I picked everything up and got out of the wrong house and made it to the right house ok. This time, I just went with the girls to make sure THAT didn’t happen again. It all worked out well!
After that we drove to the Green Hills Building here in Nashville for the training. We trained with these leaders for about 3 hours then we drove an hour north to Clarksville where we trained the leaders in the northern parts of the mission. What a great experience it is to sit with these great leaders of the mission! We focused on ways to create a “spiritual conversion” for each one of their investigators. We have come to see that unless people are truly spiritually converted, they will not stay active in the church. I believe that is true for everyone in the world. We have been told that the time will come when if we don’t have our own conversion, we will be led astray. How important it is in our homes and families that we create a way to have spiritual experiences, to be touched by the Spirit so many times that we know how to recognize that Spirit and truly desire to have more of it in our lives.
Saturday, I took Aubrey over to Murfreesboro for a vocal audition for Mid-State. The person trying out stands behind a closed curtain so that only the voice is heard. This is, where they take only a few selected singers from each of the high schools in Middle Tennessee and put them all together to form one big choir. She made it last year and just found out that she made it again this year! She also made alternate for ALL state which is held in Chattanooga . There were only a few from her school that were selected to audition, so she feels pretty honored.
Last night, I was able to go to the broadcast with Sister Hymas, our Area Authority’s wife. They came and stayed the night with us so that Elder Hymas and President could go to a Coordinating Council together this morning in Madison. Our stake, the Nashville Stake, had a program at 5:00 where they had speakers and music, a gorgeous sit-down dinner where we were served by the priesthood at 6:00, then the broadcast at 7:00. It was a beautiful evening and I was so touched by the broadcast. There were many investigators there that we got to visit with. They were also touched by the whole evening. It was fun to see Emily Wadley up there leading the singing at the broadcast. She was Emma when we were in the Nauvoo Pageant both years and is a good friend of ours. I was so touched by so many things in the broadcast, but the thought has been going through my mind, “The pioneers had to choose what to take and what NOT to take to put in their handcarts to cross the plains---there was only so much room. IT is the same with us today.” WE have to choose what we will put in our lives and what we will NOT. We have to take a stand or we will not end up with what we desperately need in the end. I believe that has so much to do with our time, and with the things we choose to do with it.
Some TNM Miracles:
1) Everything is going super well here in Providence, today we have a little miracle. We are in the library getting our reservation to use the computers when this guy came to us and asked us if we are Mormons! my companion told him yes and he told us about how he had a book of Mormon long time ago, so my companion offered him another one and he accepted. After that he asked us to tell him more about it and we did it he looked really excited and interesting!! it was so cool!! it is so incredible how Heavenly Father has people prepared for us to talk to and teach them about this incredible news.
2) Yesterday we had 5 investigators at church! Also one of those have a baptismal date. Melvin is that person, and his story is amazing. He is a gift to not only the gospel as a nearly new member, but to my companion and I. He sought out the gospel himself, and it is amazing to watch someone do this. As he came to church on Sunday, his countenance was full and bright. He received a blessing to help him quite smoking. I am so excited to be with him through the process/road to baptism. My companion and I have been working on being more bold in invitations and focusing more on establishing our purpose to investigators
3) Our biggest miracle this week has been Bob ……, a less active man who smokes. I've seen him here and there since I've been in this area and he's been leaning towards being agnostic, but this week he fully committed to do the 21day Book of Mormon challenge, we've read with him every day since Wednesday and he's changed, he smiles more and jokes around more, he's actually starting to enjoy what he's reading, He read the whole book of Moroni in one day and the next day he read 10 chapters from 3 Nephi. The change that's taken place in only a few days has been incredible, we're so excited to continue with him, there is great power in the Book of Mormon our friends need that and so do we.
My testimony this week is about the Book of Mormon! What an amazing book it is!!! I can’t imagine going a day without reading in it. 3 things that the Book of Mormon does in our lives is that it 1) It testifies of Christ—as a second witness to the Bible. 2) It teaches true doctrine concerning the Atonement. 3) It also opens the door for personal revelation to each one of us. As we open our scriptures and read, with a sincere heart and faith, we can receive personal revelation as to things that are pressing on our minds. We love this work, this gospel and our missionaries. We know that this is the Mormon Moment! The Church is finally coming out of obscurity.
We love our and miss our dear family---(especially our grandsons!!!) and friends. Thanks again to those of you who are such a great support to us through your emails. They are greatly appreciated. Have a wonderful week!
President & Sister McKee, Dad & Mom, Grandpa & Grandma, Bill & RaNae…….and Angie, Aubrey, Kiara and Destini