Friday, July 12, 2013

A Whirlwind of Emotions... Because We Love the Lord

Dear family and friends,

The last two weeks of the mission field moved so quickly that I do not think that any of us had time for the sadness that we were feeling. We held specialized trainings throughout the mission so that we could do one last training and also take the afternoon to have a testimony meeting and hear from each of our missionaries. This gave us an opportunity to see them all again as we told them good bye. We have been blessed with such remarkable missionaries. They are filled with the spirit and a love for the Savior. Their determination and dedication far surpasses any expectation that we could have. We put together a video about the missionaries and miracles that were happening in the mission and also showed a portion of Sister McKee and her healing. We wanted them to know that each had been a part of her miraculous healing. Most had never seen her in the hospital and were quite surprised to see the pictures of her in a comatose state and then see her teaching today. I encouraged them again to record in their journals that they had experienced a miracle. We traveled throughout the mission every day and ended each meeting with a sad farewell and a strong determination to keep our mission pure and to keep the successes coming. Each committed to serve the Lord with the knowledge that He is in charge and that Mission Presidents come and go. They know who they serve. The feelings were strong each day and the knowledge of knowing that there are many who we may never see again in this lifetime was overwhelming at times. Their eyes ranged from Samoa to Mexico, Canada, India  to Australia. Our hearts are full. There is no plan on earth like this missionary plan where people come from all over the world, pay their own way, volunteer their time, commit to a high obedience standard, and serve with total strangers, receiving so much rejection all day long and keeping big happy smiles on their faces. I am so grateful for this precious missionary program and the miracles that we see in it every day.

We were able to visit with Jackie Steubbel again over in Blackman. She is the Episcopol  Priest that was baptized several weeks ago. I had her address the missionaries at the conference. She boldly talked to them about how important it is to be bold and loving. She said, “ Lord protect us from timid members”. I followed up with “Lord protect us from timid missionaries”. Jackie talked about her 25 year search for truth and how she had spent a life time trying to save Mormon missionaries only to be gaining her own testimony through their testimonies. She has a strong and precious testimony. We have all bonded to her very quick.

Each night we would attend correlation council with Stake Presidents in the area. How we love them as well and their vision for the church here. The Lord is blessing this area so much. We have 59 people meeting in Family Home Evening in Polaski and 85 that are meeting in Springfield. The Family Home Evening groups are so successful and there are 12 throughout the whole mission that are preparing to become Branches. This will happen very quickly as they continue to gather the returning members together. Winchester is still going strong, meeting in their mortuary and setting so many dates there. They are a tiny town of 7000 people and missionary work is going so well there that they still have 5 sets of missionaries in one Branch. They will baptize 20 people in one month. Livingston is still boasting 45-50 people meeting for sacrament meeting in their small two car garage. We will miss this excitement.

On Thursday the movers called and said that they would be packing all of our things on Friday morning so we stayed up through much of the night to prepare everything for their arrival. Friday morning  they packed as much as we felt they could take and still leave us enough to live with for the next month.

Dr. Austin and Liz Rich with Sister and President McKee

with Dr. Jeff and Paula Webber
On Friday night we hosted a medical dinner in the Mission Home. We invited all of Sister McKee’s doctors and nurses that have cared for her. Many were out of two because of the 4th of July weekend but we had 20 that attended. The spirit was strong there as we hosted a dinner and showed a DVD that Jared and Brittany had put together showing Sister McKee in a comatose state to her present ability to teach and express her feelings to them. Our office angels put together gift bags for each of the doctors and nurses filled with Gospel DVDs and information about the church. We are so blessed for these incredible medical people. We told them that we know that we have experienced a miracle and that these things were not possible without their hands and their expertise. It was a blessing to acknowledge their spouses as well for their constant support of the profession. Tears filled all eyes as we watched the transition that had happened over the last six months. Sister McKee still has no memory of three months of her life and when meeting doctors like her brain surgeon she still feels like our stories about her are somehow about someone else although she knows that we are telling her truths. She was able to express her humble appreciation to them as well.

with Nurse Carolynn

On Saturday our ward hosted a beautiful open house for us . We agreed to the Open House if we could do a missionary fireside and ended the open house with a fireside for unbaptized members brought by the members and missionaries. We were so blessed to have many attend and several committed to baptism that night. A Sister in the ward made a beautiful teddy bear for us and the ward members signed it. They also presented us with a beautiful engraved serving dish . People drove for several hours to be there which was such a blessing for us to see those that we have grown to love so much. On Sunday we both spoke in church and the girls sang. It seems unreal that we will not be attending this ward any more. On Monday we went right into transfers . We thought that only 5 missionaries were coming in but were surprised to find out that we were receiving 14 missionaries instead so transfers were very busy with interviews and assigning them their new areas. We brought them to the Mission Home but it looked very different with all of our pictures off the wall and the Grand piano shipped back to Idaho. We knew that we had to be out of the house on Wednesday and had found a house to rent for the month of July but could not move anything into it until after 4 that day so while we were interviewing for transfers, the girls started hauling our food , clothing and essentials to the rented house. We all got to bed so late that night and the next day we took the new missionaries to transfers, had a wonderful training and transfer meeting and then began interviewing the 9 missionaries that would go home on Wednesday. We took them to the temple and then back to the Mission Home for dinner and testimony meeting. On Wednesday morning we took them to the airport at 5:30 to fly home and then Sister McKee went to girls camp to speak. Angie and Kiara had gone to Girls camp on Monday, Angie came back and forth between camp and transfers,while Aubrey chose to stay and attend transfer meeting. Sister McKee did and amazing job speaking at Girls Camp --even though I think we were all sleep walking -- the girls seemed to really love what she spoke about.and afterwards we returned to the Mission Home. The Cleaners were there by then and so we were throwing the rest of our things in boxes as fast as we could, loading them into the Missionary trailer. We will never be able to thank our assistants enough as they hauled loads from the Mission Home over to our new locations and also updated the transfer board for all of the new missionaries as well as the computer system. We all rushed so fast so that we could have the Mission Home ready for the new Mission President and his wife. We then raced to the airport and met President and Sister Andersen and took them to the office and to the home. We updated them on all that we could think about knowing that our exchange should be brief and only a few hours. They are a wonderful couple and this mission is so blessed to have them. It was at that point that we realized that we had to say goodbye to our assistants that we had raced around with for so many weeks hardly pausing for a breath. It was time to say goodbye to our office angels who walked the mission through every day. We had not planned out that moment and the tears began to flow as we looked into the eyes of Elder Horner and Elder Monson who had walked us through so much of this transition. We stood in a bit of a shock as we looked into the eyes of Elder and Sister Hunt and Elder and Sister Rodak who carried us through so much. There was no more time to say goodbye as we knew it was time for President Andersen to begin and yet we knew that we must move forward. We hugged two giants of men(our assistants) and will always feel that special sacrifice of love and service that they have given to our family.
Elder Andrew's (belated) Birthday! (3-days till we all went home...)

Elders Horner, Monson, and Andrew with their mission sisters!

A family we will never forget.

Greater love hath no man than he give up his life for a friend. These two young men had truly given all to support the Lord , this mission and our family. These two sweet couples have done so much for the Lord, our family and this mission. How we love them. “As I have love you. Love one another. This new commandment, love one another, by this shall men know, ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another”. We have taught our missionaries to love and to be motivated by love. This level of love also can bring heartache when you say goodbye. We are certainly feeling that heartache. We know that we will keep doing missionary work all of our lives but it will be different as we take these missionary tags off. I am convinced that there is no greater feeling than being a full time missionary and wearing this missionary tag that states that you represent the Savior Jesus Christ. How thankful we are to Him. Our lives will never be the same as tomorrow we work to be the greatest member missionaries. We tell our returning missionaries that they can now become the member missionary that they have daily prayed for. Thank you all so much for your support for our experience here in the Tennessee Nashville Mission. It has changed our lives. We will be staying for the month of July in Nashville to follow up with Sister McKee’s medical appointments and to keep consistent with her therapy. She is progressing so well and hopes to be able to be fitted with glasses this month that will help her not see double. She is my hero . We love you and will continue to serve the Lord in every way possible. He is our salvation.

Many have emailed to ask when we will be speaking on our return. Our home ward Bishop emailed us and asked us to speak on August 18th at 1:30 in the Highland 2nd ward. We will be gathering at our home at 8621 Buckskin, Pocatello, Idaho that evening and all are welcome to attend. We love you all and look forward to seeing you again. Our hearts feel so close to all of our friends in Tennessee, Kentucky and Illinois as well and we hope that you know that you have impacted our lives in ways that we cannot begin to describe. We feel like we have two homes now and look forward for the opportunity to return here in the future. We know that you will continue on this great missionary effort here.

Love, William and RaNae McKee, Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa.... Kylie, Angie, Aubrey, Kiara, and Destini.



  1. Best wishes McKee family!! I don't know if y'all will ever fully appreciate the impact you have had on those that live withing the boundaries of the Tennessee Nashville mission. . .

    Rick B
    Paducah, KY

  2. You will truly be missed. I am so fortunate to have met you all, and you will hold a warm place in my heart. What outstanding examples of love, faith and courage. Love to you, and best wishes for continued happiness and improved health! Keep this blog going!
    Lynette Harris
    Franklin, TN

  3. What a tender blog post! We couldn't read it without wiping away many tears.
    Tears of joy.
    Tears of sadness.
    Tears of gratitude.
    There are simply no words to adequately express our love for you, President and Sister McKee - & your beautiful family. We have been continually inspired by your journey. We have been amazed and in awe at your willingness to give ANYTHING and EVERYTHING to fulfill your callings and serve the Lord despite crushing tragedy and trials.
    Oh, what a miracle you are!
    You will be so dearly missed!
    We can't bear the thought of saying "goodbye". You will always be part of our extended family. We hope you will plan to continue to update your blog so we can follow along with you into the next chapter of your lives. Sister Abel's grandparents gave their farewell talks today. Tomorrow they will be serving in the California Santa Rosa Mission as "office angels". So, when we started reading the part of your story when you had to say goodbye to your own office angels we got a special lump in our throats. It's hard to comprehend how much your office angels must have been doing quietly behind the scenes, especially over the past 10 months under such especially trying circumstances. What a blessing that these marvelous office missionaries are now helping President and Sister Andersen with the transition!
    The TNM is truly a mission of miracles, and a slice of heaven on earth. Thank you for being so strong in courage and faith and love in the face of such tremendous adversity. Because of you, countless souls have been strengthened, including us. You will forever be our heroes.

    You are still in our daily family prayers and we continue to keep you and Sister McKee on the Choir prayer roll.
    The Abel Family
    Bountiful, UT