Dear Friends and family,
Having just experienced a beautiful Easter I found myself sitting in the congregation at the sacrament table again counting my blessings and handing another mountain over to the Lord that seemed impossible to bear. Each Sunday I am grateful for the Savior’s atonement and the symbolic way that He allows us to experience a portion of that atonement as we renew covenants with Him and pass along to Him things that we really do not have control over. I have contemplated today how many years that I have spent worrying and wishing for some things to change that were completely out my control when in fact I could use that same energy putting faith in the Lord and trusting that He will make everything whole as He has promised. The sacrament is a symbolic way each Sunday that we can meditate about our efforts during the week and then ultimately laying the balance before the Lord with faith that He will take care of the rest. If our Savior would not have gone through His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane we would not be experiencing Easter or the sacrament. Again , How grateful I am to Him who made it possible for each of us to be healed in our suffering and sorrows and to be cleansed of sin.
Over the last two weeks we have traveled to every corner of the mission and interviewed each of our missionaries (207).Each missionary comes from an entirely different background. Some are newly baptized, some have been trained in the gospel all of their lives, some are recently activated while others have been given many double messages while growing up. All have in common a desire to serve the Lord and teach His word. Each missionary carries some burdens and each carries with them the excitement of a “new spring” where one can start over and rededicate their lives to serve Him. While visiting with them I am always in awe at their individual commitment to the Savior and their determination to serve Him for two years or 18 months. Each starts out with some reservation and fear but quickly replaces it with faith as they realize who they really are and that the Lord has set them apart from the world to declare His word and “invite all to come unto Christ”. As they begin to see who they really are and that the Lord has called them they begin to realize their true potential. They become confident in the Lord, confident in the spirit and confident in their message and realize that it really has nothing to do with them and the success begins to happen. The message that we carry is so important. There could be nothing more important in these latter days than to have a book that is a second witness of Christ. This is a day where all need to have faith in Him and turn toward Him.
Friday night the Nashville Interfaith Choir held an Easter Concert in the Green Hills chapel and asked me to give the Easter message for it. They sang beautifully and again reinforced the beautiful message of the atonement through music. The Lord has given us so much and only asked in return that we are obedient and that we take care of His children. He wants us to turn the other cheek, Forgive 7 times 70. Love one another, Bear one another’s burdens. Seek first the kingdom of God. Lift where we stand. It is the least that we can do as we try to become more like Him especially after all that He has done for us.
|Dr. Webber, Elder Hymas, Elder Nelson, Sister McKee (Dec. 2012)|
On Sunday a tear filled my eye again as Sister McKee was asked to speak about the atonement and unconditional love. She was assisted to the pulpit and then humbly gave a masterful talk which was spirit filled. I sat in awe as I realized again how far she had come and how beautiful her mind was working. She is still so weak and yet so determined. We have gone over a week without carrying around a basin for her nausea. Each day she becomes a little more independent. After her talk Angie, Aubrey, Kiara, Destini and Michelle sang a song with Sister McKee playing at the piano. They all did amazing. We had a young man named DJ that was sitting next to us in church. He had been introduced to the gospel of Jesus Christ only the day before. He said to me. “I just feel goose bumps when I am in this church”. I said, “ That is the spirit of the Holy Ghost telling you that this message is true. You are going to love this gospel”.
|This is a picture of Sister McKee and her new IPAD. It helps when we walk and it only costs 2.99|
We found out today that we are going to get 24 new missionaries next Monday. We had 14 coming at first and then the MTC called and they are sending us 6 Visa waiters going to Denmark and 4 going to Brazil. Finding 24 new trainers will be a wonderful quest within the mission again. Almost half of our missionaries are training or being trained. It changes the dimensions of the mission so quickly. Our baptisms are doubling and the members here are so enthusiastic with sharing the gospel with their neighbors. They are inviting so many friends to come to church. Two weeks ago we organized a Young Single Adult Branch in Murfreesboro. There were 115 in attendance and next month we will organize a new Branch in Winchester. We have a Senior couple there that are assisting in gathering less active members and have gathered a group of 85 together. We love the Lord and love this work.
Thank you again for your prayers and faith . Sister McKee is in out patient therapy and is still progressing. We pray for her eye every day that it will resume back to its normal position and that everything will not be seen as double but in the mean time we thank the Lord that she is with us and that she is healing.
Love to all,
President and Sister McKee