Monday, March 4, 2013

Howdy From Tennessee...

To our Friends and family,
The last two weeks have been filled with excitement and very long days as we are seeing the wonderful results of President Monson’s revelation that invited 18 year old young men and 19 year old young women to fulfill full time missions. After a full week of Zone Conferences we prepared for transfers. We received 25 new missionaries last Monday and only 7 are going home. This is the pattern now that the number in our mission will be increased. We have over 200 missionaries now and will receive an additional 50 missionaries within the next few months. We will have 136 Sisters and 114 Elders besides our Senior couples. Again the mission will have a larger number of Sisters than Elders.

We went out to the airport to pick up the 25 missionaries Monday afternoon at 2:30. You can only imagine the sight of that many missionaries stepping off the plane and into the airport. Needless to say everyone was staring at them. I always pull the missionaries aside and say to them as they arrive. “Everyone is starring at you anyway, Go up and talk to them and tell them who you are and what you are doing here.” We have found so many wonderful investigators at the airport and like Sister McKee always says, “ There is such a light around all of you whenever we see you.” She is right you know. The spirit dwells around obedient missionaries. I wish I could have a video of this group trailing through the airport with their luggage. There is not another sight on earth like it and it always brings tears to my eyes when I see these young committed people to the gospel. They are a “light unto the world”. The real challenge for me is to get them all interviewed before nightfall so that the spirit can tell me where they are to serve.
Even with the best laid plans there were two Sisters and two Elders that had their flights over booked and they did not come in with the group. There planes would arrive from four different areas at four different times. One even had his luggage on a different plane than he had flown so we ended up going to the airport several times during the evening. The last to arrive came at 11:00 pm at night. I drove out to pick him up because I always want my missionaries to be met by their Mission President at the airport and because I wanted my other missionaries to get some rest as all of us would be up again at 5:00am the next morning. Of course they lost his luggage so by the time we filed a claim we arrived back home after midnight. We call it sleeping fast when you only have a few hours to sleep so that night I slept fast and told the Elder to do so as well. He had been up since 3:00 am from the MTC . Even though we have a large mission van that transports 12 people we do not have enough transportation for a group this size so we had to call up three Senior couples to come in and drive missionaries to their trainings. On Tuesday we leave the Mission Home at 7:15 and travel to the Franklin Stake Center for training. This time 8 of the Sisters had to stay at a member neighbor’s home as we only had one bathroom for 18 Sisters. After we car-a-vanned to the Stake Center we were blessed to train and hold transfer meeting. What an incredible sight to see 25 new missionaries lined up across the cultural hall floor with 25 new trainers at their sides.  We are truly experiencing a “marvelous work and a wonder” . The world will never be the same again. These new missionaries are prepared and such a blessing to us here in the field.
Sister McKee Teaching The Missionaries about "Vision"

Sister McKee teaching about having unity has companionship's.
Janet, JoLynn, President and Sister McKee at Zone Conference

Sister McKee came out to the transfer meeting with Jared at 11:30 and shared her testimony with the Elders. She has energy to do small moments with the missionaries and then must go home again to rest. Some days she is extremely strong and we are all in awe for example like the video of her teaching the YW how to lead music in  our home for mutual we have attached to this email and other days the pain is so bad and the nausea that she will remain in bed most of the day. She can stand without assistance and can walk but one ever knows when she will fall over with no real warning so we always have someone at her side 24 hours of the day. She will go sometimes three days without losing her food but often feels like her food will constantly come up. As we work with her to focus on a focal point and use peppermint (essential oil) we have been successful most of the time to help her keep her food down. She was able to go through the temple for the first time last Friday but she had to come home and rest for 5 hours afterward because of the energy that it takes to do this.

After the transfer meeting  I interview the missionaries going home. We are always sad to see them go home. Our zone leader and Facebook assistant is going home this transfer and another special missionary went home this time who had lost his father while serving in the mission field. He was a wonderful example of faith as he continued to serve while going through this tragedy. He flew home and spoke at the funeral and then flew back to the mission field. We took them all through the temple, had dinner, testimony meeting  and mission slide show with them and then took them all to the airport at 5:00 am the next day.
President and Sister McKee at transfer meeting

On Friday we started a new round of temple experiences for our missionaries as each will have the opportunity to go through the temple 2-3 times a year. We will take them in groups of 25 through the temple for the next two weeks on Wednesday and Friday with each day serving about 50 in two separate sessions. We love to attend the temple with them. Sister McKee was only able to make it to one session but each day she becomes a bit stronger.

One week ago on Saturday we were blessed to have Elder Dallin Oaks and Elder Richard Maynes speak to our missionaries. They each shook their hands and taught them for over an hour. We were all so touched by their visit and want you to know that the spirit testified to each of us of their divine callings. Sister McKee was able to attend and shared her testimony. She also played for the girls to sing which was a miracle. She has to play with a patch over one eye as her left eye still does not work well. Everything is double vision from that eye. All 200 of our missionaries were in attendance. There were over 30 missionaries who had never met Sister McKee before and as they came through the line to shake hands tears filled many of our eyes. Sister McKee sat in a chair next to me and greeted all 200. Her life truly is a miracle. All of the missionaries were so excited to see her. I told her afterward that I am afraid she might have been upstaging an Apostle for some. They do love her so much.

Elder Oaks taught so man powerful principles. He encouraged the missionaries to keep their lines in the water at all times as he used an analogy of taking his grandchildren fishing. The message was clear for them as they are now “fishers of men”. He talked about the Priesthood and reminded us all that the men are not the Priesthood. He used an example of sometimes at church we will say. The Priesthood go into this room and the Sisters go into this room. He reminded us that the Priesthood goes with the men and the Priesthood goes with the Sisters into another room as well. We as men happen to be holding the handle of the umbrella of the Priesthood. It is over all.
Several of our missionaries brought investigators with them to this meeting and they committed to “follow the Savior and be baptized by one holding the proper Priesthood authority” during and after the meeting. Elder Dallin H. Oaks stated in Preach My Gospel Pg. 9 “ We do not preach and teach in order to bring people in the Church or to increase the membership of the Church. We do not preach and teach just to persuade people to live better lives… We invite all to come unto Christ by repentance and baptism and confirmation in order to open the doors of the Celestial Kingdom to the sons and daughters of God. No one else can do this.”

We are so blessed to have a living prophet on the earth today and Apostles that travel the earth bearing witness of the Savior. Elder Christofferson told us in his last visit that as missionaries , we are his companions to spread the message of the gospel throughout the whole world.  All who have ears to hear will hear the message.
President and Sister McKee with ICU Nurse, Carolynn, after Church 

Many of our missionaries commented on this wonderful day. I have included two paragraphs from two missionaries that wrote to me this week:
 “The Elder Oaks Visit was AWESOME!!! A miracle followed right afterward: The investigator we brought (Stanton) sat next to us and listened quietly. Your testimony in particular struck him hard. I felt impressed to commit him right then and there and turned to him when it was over and asked: "Do you think he is a man of God?" (referring to both you and the general authorities present) "Yes, definitely" "Will you be baptized by proper authority?" "Yes I'll do that" "Does next Saturday work for you?" "Ya, that'll be awesome". What better way to set a date? He's especially excited about the priesthood so he can bless his family and were aiming toward the temple so they can be sealed. Man Missionary work is so COOL!!!”
“We were able to bring our Catholic investigators to the Elder Oaks visit.  We arrived early (the first ones there) so we took a brief tour of the building.  That was incredible.  They loved the Young Women's Theme and the role of the Relief Society.  They enjoyed meeting the 196 missionaries in attendance.  Most important, they were inspired shaking Elder Oaks hand and the messages that were shared.  They told us they came with some questions and left with a lot more.  We have a follow up visit tonight.”  

We continue to climb the mountain , one foot after another and hope that all of you will do this as well headed in the direction of the Savior.
Today is Sunday and has not been a great day for Sister McKee. She is having severe pains again and had to be in bed most of the day an unable to attend church. We will try again next week and like all of you will do our very best to do what the Lord has called us to do. We are so blessed again to have our children with us supporting us so that we can fulfill this mission. We have included today some incredible highlights of Sister McKee on a high energy day and hope you enjoy them. She has come so far and is doing so much. We love you and thank you again for your faith and prayers. Like Nephi “We will go and do what the Lord has commanded” .

With love and appreciation,

The William McKee family


  1. So inspiring to read your mission blog. The missionary work is exciting and growing and it's so cool to hear the stories of those who accept the gospel and feel the spirit! I am so happy to hear that Sister McKee is continually getting better and able to do so much. My prayers continue to be with President and Sister McKee and their beautiful family! You are truly loved by so many and continue to inspire and bless so many others. May the Lord continue to bless you all!

  2. The growth of the mission is wonderful. More sisters than elders. Hard to believe. We watched Morman Times this Sunday, on all the new missionaries. They spotlighted a Sis. Winder that is headed to TNM. Wish we were there. See you soon.

    Scott and Marilyn Packer

  3. Thank you for your beautiful update! This is such an exciting and wondrous time in history. It brings tears to my eyes thinking of the amazing growth happening in the TNM, and across the entire world. We are living in truly remarkable times.

    I love imagining the sight of all of those new missionaries flooding into the Nashville Airport last Monday. It makes me grin! Monday mornings at the SLC Airport are now complete chaos (imagine hundreds of missionaries trying to depart for hundreds of different missions all at the same time!!). I imagine the logistics of moving the vastly increased numbers will need some serious adjustments soon. But, I am glad to hear that all of them were (eventually) safely gathered in. Unfortunate you had to "sleep fast" though! It is especially tender and exciting for us, knowing that our daughter was among those shining spirits to join your ranks that day! (And, I can attest that you were indeed inspired with her assignment - as I know you were with ALL of them.) Rest assured, the Lord is truly guiding you in this mighty work and God is in the details.

    Our family is eternally grateful Sister A was called to serve in the TNM under such special, spiritual giants. Our hearts and thoughts are with you daily. Our prayers are poured out for Sister McKee's ongoing recovery process, and we continue to add your names to our prayer rolls. We are so saddened that she must suffer. Your great faith and daily courage is an inspiration. Thank you for being willing to give as much as you are giving, do as much as you are doing, and endure as much as you are enduring all for the Lord and His work. You are serving as Angels on earth, and your sacrifice is being recorded in heaven.
    The Abel Family
    Bountiful, UT.

  4. It is so wonderful to hear from you all. We love and continue to pray for all of you (with an extra dose for Sister McKee! ;0) Thank you for sharing your wonderful missionary experiences with us. I, too, am seeing increased numbers of missionaries at work, I pray daily that we never have 25 show up at once! What a wonderful miracle that must be!

  5. Beautiful message, beautiful news and beautiful Sis. McKee in the videos! Much love and many prayers to you and your wonderful family.
    Earlene and Roger

  6. It was one of the successful event in our life as a missionary to give and to be given thing from God. Keep it up and God Bless always!

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