Tuesday, December 18, 2012

HOWDY!! December 18, 2012

Dear family and friends,
We are still experiencing wonderful weather in Nashville as we get closer to Christmas we have only seen a few nights of frost. I have two beautiful hanging baskets that I bought for $10.00 last summer that reminded me of McKee’s so I just had to get them and I pull them in every night and put them out in the day. I am determined to have them hanging there for Christmas this year and send a picture to Jim and Clay.
It is hard to believe that we are actually two days away from being in the Intensive Care Unit for four weeks. I remember years ago when Sister McKee was close to delivering a baby and she would wake up every morning almost surprised and say, I’m still here(thinking that somehow during the night she would have delivered that baby and wake up in the hospital). I have a tiny sense of that as I wake up every morning on my cot and say, “we are still here”. IT has become a very long day and yet I have always believed that we would experience miracles. Sister McKee is a miracle and constantly amazes the doctors (Sometimes for good and bad). This time she is going to amaze them for good, I really know that she will. Each day I see her doing little things that I have not seen before.
On Monday they took the drainage tube out of her head. Dr. Li the brain surgeon feels like her swelling has stopped and that the brain is settling in. There is still a small drainage from the back of the head but he did take all of the stitches out and today he took the staples out from the top of her head. He will not let us put anything on it except water so you can imagine what that would feel like after 4 weeks. I try to brush and comb threw it every day, but I am sure that it does very little justice as there is a six by six inch square in the front that is shaved and there is a much larger rectangle that goes clear up the back of her head that is shaved.
Monday we received 14 new missionaries. Jared stayed at the hospital while I drove over and met them. They are a strong group. When we went down to get their luggage there was none. Every other traveler on their plane got their luggage but none of the missionaries luggage was on the plane. We waited for an hour and half for it to come on the next plane. I did a quick training with the missionaries and said this is a great finding place so spread out and see how many people you can visit with and get addresses or hand out a Book of Mormon. It was a wonderful finding opportunity right away even though they are always tired but they got the message loud and clear about what we do in the Tennessee Nashville Mission. They came back with big smiles on their faces and excitement as they reported how many people they committee to teach or share with other missionaries.
We traveled to the Green Hills building instead of the Mission Home and had a dinner there and then I interviewed all of them. While I was interviewing them my assistants did a training for them as well as Elder and Sister Hunt from the office. They traveled to President and Sister Watson’s house and stayed there that night while I went back up to the hospital. The next morning the assistants took them to the Franklin building and did a three hour training for them while I was at the hospital and then I came and spoke at the transfer meeting. There is always a lot of excitement at the transfer meeting but I must say there was not the same enthusiasm without Sister McKee. We will be anxious to get her back. After the transfer meeting I interview 12 of the missionaries who are going home ( I actually only got 7 done) and then they went to the temple. While they were at the temple I went back to the hospital and then returned back to the Watsons at 9:00 pm that night to finish interviewing the other five. We will miss this group of missionaries. Jared stayed at the hospital that night and I got up early and drove to the airport to tell them all goodbye. After our farewells I went to the office with the assistants to update the transfers so that all can get their mail on time.
During this time Scott , Steven, Mike and Michelle flew home on different days so we made a few more trips to the airport. It was such a blessing to have them here. Jared had to fly to California to a training for his work and then he flew back to TN so he and Brittany are still with us. Kylie flew in after her finals the week before so that she could be her for Elder Nelson’s visit. We now have Kylie, Jared and Brittany and the four girls here. We loved having all of our children be here but are sad that it was for a tragedy and not for a great celebration. There is nothing like family support when things get a bit difficult. We thank each of you for your sacrifices and help.
We received the most beautiful letter from Elder Nelson following his visit here. Can you believe that he is 88 and skiis with his grand children every Monday. It was such an honor to meet with him and share that personal time in the hospital. These Brethren are so busy and yet they take the time for people in such important ways. We are so blessed to be led by such great men.
We feel so blessed to have so many prayers in our behalf and know that the Lord is walking with us through this interesting trek. Sister McKee is working so hard to do what she can to return to us. She is moving her hands, will wave to us at times, grip our hands, push against our hands with her feet, lift her eyebrows for yes. She is still on the ventilator but they are taking it off and she is breathing through the trach for 3-6 hours a day. Occasionally I see that light in her eye that reminds me that she is really here. I love it. As she comes back more and more she feels the pain in her neck and in her stomach from the feeding tube and the trach as well as her throat. She has had no liquids in her throat for four weeks. They lift her with a hoist from the bed into the chair much like the one that they used for Grandma McKee. She is such a good sport and is working so hard for tiny movements. We are all so proud of her and know that she and the Lord will produce a miracle. Thank you again for your faith and prayers.

 
 MISSIONARY MIRACLES from this week:
“ Were able to find more concerns of a PM family and were working really closely with the Bishop to help the Husband be worthy to Baptize his wife.”
“!!! The meeting/revelatory experience with Elder Nelson was so great! I realized that I didn't have any notes or idea about what Elder Hymas said, I only paid attention to thoughts from the Spirit.”
“ After that we had our baptism at 4:30 for Brittany. We had 10 investigators at the baptism it was incredible,” .
“ I loved the Elder Nelsons visit on Saturday. When he came, a flood of the spirit came into the room, testifying that he is an Apostle of the Lord. I know that he is. I got a lot out if it, one of my favorite parts though, was the song that your family sang. I have such a testimony of small and simple things. Last night, our friends we went to visit weren’t there, and we felt like we should knock on a few doors in the area. I realized that out of all the things the Lord could command me to do, (move mountains, ext) Knocking on a door is such a small and simple thing, but then I thought of the great things, and eternal changes that have happened in people’s lives because of a door that I knocked on, and I realized that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass. I love the Lord and this work. I do not know a lot of things, but I do know that this work is true, and that Christ’s church has been restored to the earth.”
“ He is starting to understand more and more. Last night we taught him the Plan of Happiness and invited him to be baptized to cleanse his sins and enter the gate to eternal life. He accepted a baptismal date of January 5th!”
“ We set a Baptismal date last night with our neighbor Jerrylee!! For January 5th! He really want to change his life and he told us that every time that we talk to him and after we leave he just feels amazing.”
“We had a great week!! we had a baptism and 3 new investigators and some really powerful lessons!”

“This past week was amazing! Jeffrey was baptized and we were able to listen to an Apostle of the Lord! It doesn’t get much better than that! Jeffrey's baptism went really well. The spirit was so strong there and he said that he felt so good after being baptized! It is amazing to see what the Atonement of Jesus Christ is able to do and what is allows people to become!”
“ Last week I was filled with the Spirit. There were so many amazing experiences, blessings, and meetings that I was able to be a part of. ZLC was great! I learned so much! Being at the hospital with you and Sister Mckee was indescribable. The spirit was so strong. Thank you for your testimony and your faithfulness. So many spiritual eternal truths were renewed in that visit. There was a very special feeling that day. I know that Sister Mckee will be able to continue to progress. Sister Mckee and your family are constantly in my prayers.”
“This Saturday we had the baptism of Katie …. which went perfectly! There was a small group of members that came to the service, which was perfect for her,”
“This week has been a pretty good one. We taught a total of 29 lessons, set 2 baptism dates, had a baptism, were taught by an Apostle, and put up Christmas lights in our apartment. I say that's a pretty good week in my book.”
“Jeffrey's Baptism went over quite well. I wish there would have been more YSA there, but I think that all in all there were about 20-25 people. It was very well organized and the spirit was definitely there. Jeffrey is getting confirmed next Sunday at church, and has asked me to confirm him. That Is such a great blessing.”
“ I love this area and my companion. Second We had Five baptisms in our district this week! I got to do 4 baptismal interviews on the way home from Elder Nelson. Guadalupe was so ready for baptism it was so touching to see someone so excited and prepared to enter into the fold of God, the whole time she kept testifying she wants this for her family and she knows all the commandments are for her benefit.”
“We had a ward Christmas dinner on Friday evening, We were able to have 9 investigators present. A family of 5, the father of the family is a Church of Christ pastor. He later expressed that he felt very welcomed! He and his family got right into knowing the members of the Church and felt the love! The members there went out of there way to shake his hand and get to know him. It was really neat to see when the primary got up to sing to us, that Jason's (the Pastor) youngest child went up there with them and sang with them.”
“Carly …..is getting baptized on Friday!!!!!! I'm so excited!!! “
“We are planning on challenging the Johnson family to baptism this week!”
“This week was great!!! We were able to have a wonderful baptism here in Lebanon the members here were so excited”
” I will do what ever the lord and our heavenly father ask me to do and what ever you ask me to do president just as Nephi when he said "I will go and do the things the lord has commanded"
“ I would like to share with you an experience I had last night with Tony ….. The man we are teaching who lost a son to suicide recently. "we had a great experience with Tony …… tonight. We found out he has been reading the Book of Mormon and is enjoying it. When it was time to go I said a prayer for Tony and his family and the spirit was strong. It moved him to share his testimony of trusting Christ. I shared with him from the doctrine and covenants about Joseph Smith's prayer to God in Jail. How he felt that God had forsaken him. I told Tony of God's Response to that prayer, that those that endure suffering well will know true peace and joy. Tony pointed out that even prophets and good people have to suffer. I acknowledged his wisdom and shared a quote from Jeffrey R Holland about salvation not being a cheap experience. When we consider the incomprehensible pain Jesus felt it is no wonder it is not easy for someone to follow him. We will have to feel suffering as followers of Christ but it is his eternal promise that if we endure those sufferings well we will know peace and joy . Tony responded very positively to this and told me out of all the churches he has felt comfort from, the LDS church is the one that always seems to be there for him the most. I testified that our message is that we are Christ’s church and that He sends us out to find those who love Him and bring them to His fold. I told him that as servants of Christ we could feel of Christ’s love for Tony and his family. And because we follow a being who will always love him and be aware of him we will always be there to invite and comfort and share.”
“And here comes this lady, and she says, "can I just tell you how nice it is to see you young men out here doin' the Lord's work and looking so great in your white shirt and ties, the Holy spirit is just so strong around you two!" So we start talking to her and we were able to get all of her information so we could add her on facebook. We gave her two Book of Mormon's and our information.”
“ I love the gospel and this is the best mission ever! I will continue to live the gospel the rest of my life. …… I've become converted unto the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
“ It was a great experience on Saturday to be able to shake a hand of an apostle and to be able to have him come to the mission and speak to us. I know that for me it was revelatory experience. I was able to write a lot in the margins.”
  • “My companion and I knocked a door and 15-year-old Sam, a Catholic, answered. His family was not home so we did not go in, but he agreed to have us over the following evening (tonight) for a visit and a blessing on their home. We feel very good about this family. We also felt that we hadn't done enough to teach Sam the gospel. I told my companion "if I could do it over again, this is what I'd do...next time I see a young man I'm going to share the story of Helaman's stripling warriors with him. Not 30 seconds later we saw a young man, Teddy, walking down the street. Of course we told him about Helaman's stripling warriors! He was impressed by the story and agreed it would be important to have that kind of faith in today's world. He accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon. Teddy actually knows Sam and is also Catholic. We prayed with Teddy on the street and he agreed to have us over for another visit. He also agreed to read more about the stripling warriors in the Book of Mormon. This experience means so much to me because it taught me how willing God is to bless us with good things when we trust him. The prayer of our hearts was immediately answered, and we were given opportunity to immediately do the good we had already committed to do.
  • Between Sunday School and priesthood meeting we were in the hall making phone calls, trying to get some of our friends to come to another ward's sacrament meeting. A man we had never seen walked in a set of doors nobody ever goes through. He told my companion that he has tried to visit the Church during the week but that it was always locked. He decided to come by Sunday. He requested more information about the Church and wanted to know when our meetings were. He was in a hurry and couldn't stay but agreed to have us over Tuesday for a visit. All my life I've heard stories about strangers walking into the Church. Now I finally have this story of my own to tell!
  • Two other people we met the afternoon following Elder Nelson's visit told us they had been "church shopping" for years. One has never found a church in town he's comfortable with; the other is growing dissatisfied with his church because it focuses on entertaining the crowds instead of teaching the gospel. Both committed to meet with us and visit the Church!”
“but Saturday afternoon and Sunday were loaded with giant miracles!!! We taught 15 lessons and found 5 new investigators in those two days! It seemed like EVERYBODY we talked to in those two days was prepared for the gospel. We ran into several people who had been searching for a church for a long time and hadn't been able to find one that "gave them the message" and we just happened to knock on their door or be in their neighborhood at just the right moment.... coincidence, I think not! I am so excited to continue to progress and to better myself.” .
“ we are still on track for macey and her sister being baptized.”
 
 
Mom and Dad, President and Sister McKee
Jared, Brittany, Kylie, Angie, Aubrey, Kiara, and Destini ( Ethan and Kason)

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