Thursday, February 21, 2013

Howdy from Tennessee! -- Missionary Work and the Atonement

Dear family and Friends,

We had a very busy week last week with zone conferences and now are preparing for transfers next week. I traveled the mission training for Zone Conferences while Jared took Sister McKee to therapy. We are grateful again that Jared and Brittany could be here to allow me to go and train throughout the mission. We also received a wonderful visit this week from Sister McKee’s two sisters, Jolyn Jex(Tremonton)  and Janet Johnson(Preston). I know that this was a big boost for Sister McKee and our family. How we love our family.  We received two new Temple Square Sisters that will come to the field and serve in what the call “outbound” for a portion of their missions. They are Sister Thulasidass and Sister Felsted. Sister Thulasidass is from India and joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints five years ago. She is a former Hindu and believed strongly in reincarnation until she was taught by the missionaries and prayed an received an answer that the Book of Mormon is true. She is 33 years old and a pharmacist. Her spirit radiated as she bore humble testimony about her conversion. They have recently created their first Stake(a congregation of around 3,000 people) in India. Sister Thulasidass is a wonderful example of a strong convert to the church. She knows that it is true and has sacrificed all to come to the mission field. She is the only member in her family and because of her culture she had to wait 9 months for her mother to give her permission to come on a mission. Where there are many church members we often take our membership and our opportunity to serve for granted.

Sister McKee attended sacrament meeting last Sunday again with our family. Aubrey 15 had been asked to sing so Sister McKee had prepared during the week and accompanied her. She was able to do this by patching one of her eyes so that she did not see double. (We call her the pirate now). You can only imagine as we all experienced this miracle. There was not a dry eye in the congregation. She and Aubrey did a superb job and created such a beautiful spirit for the meeting. One of our favorite ICU nurses ,Carolyn, called Jared about one hour before to find out what the McKees were doing today. Jared told her we were going to church and invited her to come along. She was relaxing in pajamas on the patio at 12:00 noon and changed and made it to church sitting with Sister McKee on our row. As we all partook of the sacrament together and I watched Nurse(Sister) Carolyn who was attending sacrament services for the first time, put her arms around Sister McKee and expressed unconditional joy and love for her, I wept inside and out with joy that she had also become a “type of Christ” . I had watched those hands so many times nursing Sister McKee, turning her in bed, changing a trach, siphoning fluids out of her lungs, giving her medication, adjusting her laser, monitoring respirator tubes, feeding tubes, brain drainage tubes, IVs, bathing, changing, assisting in every area and so much more, and today they were holding Sister McKee with joy and rejoicing as we shared a spiritual time together partaking of the sacrament. I know that there are no accidents and that Carolyn is truly our Sister and was meant to find this gospel and connection to our family. We love you Carolyn and will always be grateful to you. You are not just a nurse , you are a Sister and one of the most unconditional loving people that we know. You refresh our hearts knowing that you are not just doing a job. You are loving people. We hope that you will come back often to church with us and experience the joy that is there. We are all so grateful that you helped to save Sister McKee’s life and that we could enjoy that special Sabbath Day because of your special care.

Each of us have hands to lift up the weary, care for the feeble, served a neighbor, friend or someone we haven’t met yet. The Savior has said, “If ye have done it unto the least of these, ye have done it unto me”. Our hands are the hands that the Lord has to use. What we do with our hands in serving others will be recorded in the heavens. What we do with our hearts as well will be recorded in the heavens.  Sister McKee surprised me as well and showed up for an hour at our zone conference in on Tuesday in Franklin. Jared, Angie, Brittany were on their way to take Jolyn and Janet back to the airport to fly home. Of course the missionaries were elated. She stood up and gave the most beautiful ten minute talk and testimony. She said, “ You can see that my eyes are not synchronized.  They do not want to go together in exactly the way that they should go. This caused me many challenges and I cannot begin to accomplish what I need to do as they do not work together. This will happen in your companionships if you do not work together and be synchronized in this work. You must be a team and work together like two eyes to accomplish what the Lord has called you to do. The eyes are the windows to the soul.” As she bore humble testimony about her experiences and her challenges and the truthfulness of the gospel , there were few dry eyes in the room again. I always said that she probably went to Celestial Boot Camp while in her coma and now I will never keep up with her.

As far as the family goes, Aubrey now has her drivers permit and drives me many places. Kiara will be registering for High School this week for next year. Destini is still reading many books each week and Angie just went out with the missionaries again and will soon be graduating from High School. They have all been such a blessing during this challenge as they somehow kept up with school. Angie is also preparing to go on a Service Exchange to Figi this summer.
The Lord has blessed us so much. Our missionaries continue to work hard and remain faithful. They baptized 17 people into the gospel of Jesus Christ last Saturday. We acknowledge the Lord in all things.

During Zone conferences , we focused on the Atonement , knowing that unless our investigators understood it they would never get baptized. We need to understand it as well to make sure that we teach with exact clarity to those coming unto Christ. I have enclosed a video clip that we shared with the missionaries that reminded me as well that we will all go through that refiners fire. This life experience is full of challenges and difficulties that will require us to “Become  like Him”. As we turn to Him, Remember Him and allow the Atonement to work in our lives we will make steps to become more like Him.  We love each of you and hope that this clip of living Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ will bless your life as it has blessed ours.

Love, President and Sister McKee, Jared, Brittany, Ethan, Kason, Angie, Aubrey, Kiara, and Destini

Monday, February 11, 2013


Dear Friends and Family, 

One of our good missionaries that returned home several months ago called me this last week. After inquiring about his successes in life and the wonderful opportunities that lie before him he said,” I still haven’t quite figured out the “balance” that you and I talked about before I left the mission field.  He is making so many healthy and spiritual choices and still felt this loss of balance somehow even though he was balancing all “great” things. My heart shifted back to Sister McKee again as I thought, “That is exactly what we are working on after all these weeks in the hospital, BALANCE.” This is the thing that I talk to our missionaries over and over about and now it is the biggest issue for Sister McKee. We smile as we walk down that long hallway together as she cannot walk alone. She will walk very straight for a moment and then in seconds her body starts to weave with all sense of balance completely gone and without the proper support she would topple into a wall or any other unforeseen object. We have formed quite a strong team in supporting her, making sure that she never goes anywhere with out a “spotter” so that she will always be in “balance”. In this way she can function quite well as long as energy lasts and go and do a few things.

I have been thinking how important it is to stay “Balanced” in life with all of the many commitments that come our way. We each have so many demands and so much expected from us wherever we turn. The world , if we allow it, can quickly throw us “out of balance” even with many great things. I am learning to trust in the Savior more and to allow the spirit to let me know what the proper “balance” is. What are those eternal priorities and what can take the back stage for a while. Each of us are at different stages in life and each day sometimes moves us to a different balance. In reflecting on this to the missionaries I used the analogy of a bucket of water. We are each carrying a bucket of water up and down the hills of life. The bucket itself symbolizes the Lord’s commandments or the standard of excellence that He expects of us all. It forms a solid structure and within that bucket we each are sloshing around a bit but with wisdom we can maintain a moving “Balance”and stay within the  boundaries that the Lord has set so that we get to our destination safely. If we get too “out of balance” we will spill out of the bucket or actually over turn our bucket and the water will go outside of the boundaries that the Lord has set.

In Jacob 6:12 the Lord states,” Oh be wise , what can I say more”. It is so important that we listen to the spirit and “Be wise” as we seek our “Balance” every day. Maybe our balance will require a support person for a period. Maybe it will require a moment of meditation and prayer. Maybe it will require more service for someone or maybe it will require a quiet night at home but we each know (the spirit tells us) what we need to be doing to “keep in balance”. We have certainly been out of balance these last few months but within that realm have found some way while depending on the Lord to capture a “balance” within an “out of balance” setting so that we could keep all of our water in the bucket as we sloshed up and down the hills. King Benjamin taught the people in Mosiah 2:17 to learn wisdom and later in Alma the Lord taught us to “Learn wisdom in thy youth. As we do this we will listen to the spirit and act according to the Lord’s counsel and “Balance” and then we will build our “house upon a rock” like the wise man in lll Nephi 4:24, 25

As we build our houses upon the “Rock” of the Savior, He promises us that He will help us maintain our “BALANCE” in life so that we can return to Him safely on that journey. As we practice the “Balance” of walking , nausea, headaches, family schedules, 170  missionaries(with 80 more on the horizon) and full time missions……..(you can finish the list for your own lives) , we are beginning to understand the Lord’s hand in the incredible journey. Each challenge is custom made for each of us personally and each day creates another opportunity for growth and “new balance”. The thing that gets in our way and probably yours at times is : always trying to do it our way instead of the Lord’s way. He knows what we will go through and He has a plan for our “Balance” as we put our hand in His. This is the faith part. This is the time to trust the Lord and to know that “all will be well”. He said when He left this earth,”Peace I leave with you , My peace I give unto you. Not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled , neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27

Sister McKee and I attended church today with our family for the first time since November. It was a glorious day. As we participated in the sacrament and utilized the atonement one more time I thank the Lord again for the “balance” that He provided for each one of us by removing our sins and weaknesses. Sister McKee is going to out patient therapy three days a week and meeting often with an eye doctor to assist her left eye to move into position. It is about half way there. Because our son Michael was here last week I was able to train at our Zone Leader Council which we held at the Mission Home. Sister McKee came out and ate lunch with our missionaries . Michael went home on Friday and Jared and Brittany are here now to support us. I also held a training for 80 of our missionaries who are new in the field with their trainers on Thursday. We are so grateful for all of our children and their support so that we could continue on in our missionary service. Jared and Angie were even asked to speak in church today. Thank you again to all of you for your love, prayers and support. We do feel your prayers and know that even though Sister McKee is home that she has a huge mountain to climb. We will do our best to “balance” that water in the bucket as we carry it over the tops of mountains and encourage you’all to follow the spirit an do the same. We love you.

Finishing Mom's Bread

Mom at the Green Hills Ward Volleyball game

The William McKee Family  

Sunday, February 3, 2013

I'm Home!!!!!

Dear Family and Friends,

    Hooray! i'm home from the hospital and am so excited to be here!  i'm not healed all of the way yet, but I can certainly recognize the hand of the Lord in my progress.  I still have to go back to Physical Therapy for 3 x a week until I get it all together.   My eyes are doing better and I can almost walk by myself all the way through our house with my walker without ending up in a heap in some corner.  I'm so grateful for my family who watches out for me.  Jared and Brittany were here for a couple of weeks and Mike has been here for the past couple of weeks.  They have both been so awesome in supporting me.  Also, did I mention I have the greatest husband in the world?  

Thank you for all the warm and loving letters we have received from you all.  You certainly know how to give encouragement and love!  !!! Today the family is heading to church, I wish I were going too, but hopefully by next week I will be able to go for the full time.  


We certainly love you'all and miss you a ton.  And we are  certainly grateful for your  love and support
Please keep praying for me and I will continue to pray for each of you!   Last week we received  22 more missionaries and next transfer we are getting 25. This mission is growing and the work is continuing on just as it should be, Pray to have our own missionary experiences---it will change you life!!!  This is my first post in 78 days.  It's good to be home!!!!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

"After much tribulation come the blessings"

Kiara made this sweet sign for Mom

Dear Friends and Family,

(D&C 58:3,4)
“Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation. For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet , cut is nigh at hand.”

We are home and feel so blessed in every way. We recently had our good friend Reverend Tom Albin from the Methodist Church come and speak to our missionaries during a transfer meeting. Sister McKee and I have been meeting with him over the last few months while he has worked to duplicate our missionary program. (By the way he asked one day how we motivate the missionaries to want to do so much. I replied , They are motivated because they know that they have been called by a living prophet , and that is very difficult to duplicate. He smiled and winked and said, “You have a point there.”)
Anyway in his presentation to our missionaries , he complimented them on their dedicated efforts to go out and do something that showed what they believed in. He complimented them for coming out two years and serving in such a dedicated manner. He then taught them that over the next two years they would experience something that was greater than knowledge. He explained that their experience here teaching and inviting others to Christ would be impossible to describe but that they would feel it. It would be absolutely greater than knowledge to them and extremely important for them throughout their whole life. They would reflect on what they had felt over and over. I knew that he was absolutely right. As we experience certain feelings in  life by going through certain challenges our knowledge grows but it is a feeling that is greater than knowledge itself. It comes from the heart.

Over the last 70 days we have and continue to experience something that is greater than knowledge. We wish that we could describe it to you and it would be impossible. What we can say is that we know, that the Savior is in charge, that this is His work , and that He loves us so much but will never take our agency away or our will to choose how to process or handle each situation. As we practice handling each situation the way that the Lord would handle it , our hearts are taught something , “greater than knowledge”, and we will never be the same again.

We love you all and count our relationship with you as heartfelt and something “greater than knowledge” itself. Thank you again for your prayers and your love and your faith.

William McKee family

Friday, February 1, 2013


Dear friends and family,

Crossing the finish line

When our missionaries have completed their missions and are returning home I often quote them from II Timothy 4:6,7 where Paul said,” For I am now ready to be offered, and the time for my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” This scripture seems fitting for Sister McKee today as the “time for her departure is at hand. She has fought the good fight, she has kept the faith”. Only this time she is departing from the hospital. After 70 days of being hospitalized, 37 days in the ICU she has finally received permission to return home. A huge miracle that we have all been anticipating. We feel so blessed and even more blessed today because over night her left eye started tracking over to the middle. This is incredibly progressive because it is a strong sign that she will be able to recover fully in her left eye.

"Believe in Miracles"

Sister McKee will now be in an out patient program at Vanderbilt hospital that she will go to three days  a week. Her doctor has recommended that she stay on oxygen at night for awhile but other than that she will be free to develop her own therapy program. Knowing Sister McKee, this will not take long as she has been so anxious to get back into some regular routines. As I have walked with her through this whole experience it has reinforced to me as so many of you know that she is heroic. She is bold and brave through every experience and every trial. Her faith has never wavered and her positive determination is an inspiration to all. Our love has grown. Our family closeness has grown. We all have a greater love for the atonement and our Savior Jesus Christ. We know that this is a huge step but also a first step in many ways to normal life ahead(whatever that is?). We love you all and thank you again for so many cards, so many notes, so much love, so much faith , so many prayers and so much friendship. We love and appreciate you.

The William McKee Family