January 4, 2013 – Arriving in Missouri

So, here is Jess’  first letter after arriving in Independence, Missouri.  January 4, 2013.  Thank you for all of your prayers in her behalf!!!  We love you all!  Jeri 🙂

Well hey!
I am pleased to announce that I made it safely to Independence, Missouri, spent the night there at the mission home, and then was promptly sent to a little town called Andover, Kansas. It’s a nice place right next to Wichita, Kansas and my companion and I are here as the first sister missionaries in a brand new area. The ward in Andover was so excited not only to get sister missionaries, but to finally have their own. To put the area into perspective, Andover is to Wichita as Ammon is to Idaho Falls. There are a lot of new and large homes in Andover itself, and it is somewhat of a start-up area. But our ward also has a bit of Wichita where the homes are older, smaller, and more run-down. It is a very diverse area, but the ward itself isn’t very diverse. They are all wonderful, kind, and excited about the gospel and I know they will do an excellent job fellowshipping new investigators and members.
The flight to Missouri was fine. I sat by my companion, so we didn’t have any of those “awesome fresh missionary airplane” experiences, but that’s ok. I’ll get my fair share of awesome missionary experiences. The President and his wife picked us up at the airport and we drove first to see the Kansas City Temple where we got sack lunches, then to Liberty Jail, then to the Independence Visitors’ Center, and then to the mission home in Independence where we all had dinner, a little training meeting, and stayed the night. The mission home is BEAUTIFUL! I would love to have a home like that. We had personal interviews with the president that night and he told us where we were going to serve. He told me I was going to be trained by Sister Moon and  we’d be sent to Andover, Kansas, where we would be starting up a brand new area. Umm…ok, President! Whatever you say! No I honestly felt that this assignment was perfect and exactly where I was supposed to go. So in the future weeks, we’ll see what comes of this area!
My companion is Sister Moon and President Keyes described her like this: She has a very happy disposition, smiles a lot, and is very nice and loving. I almost thought he was describing me for a minute 😉 But Sister Moon is exactly how he described. We’re doing well as a companionship and both learning the art of tracting together. She has been out for six months, but has spent every transfer in the Independence Visitors’ Center, so she doesn’t have very much tracting experience either. Together we are learning what to say and what NOT to say in a good door approach. We are getting better though. Every day.
We had a funny experience the other day. We knocked on an apartment door and an arabic man answered it, looked at us with a confused expression on his face, then promptly motioned to us while saying, “In, in!” Lo and behold we discovered that neither he nor his wife and mother who were there spoke English. The conversation went something like this:
“In, in!”
“Hi, we’re missionaries for the Chur–“
“No english, no english! Sit down, sit down.”
So we sat down. And said nothing for a few seconds. Haha. Sister Moon and I were so unsure what to do because neither of us had ever even heard Arabic before in our lives, let alone spoken it. The wife had taken about a month and a half of english, so we were able to get to the point of sharing everyone’s names. Maisam and Wassan are the names of the husband and wife. But that was about it. They called up one of their friends on the phone who spoke english and arabic to try to figure out who we were, but I don’t think that really cleared it up. I did discover that they are Islamic, because of the way they greeted each other on the phone using the traditional Muslim greeting. Then they fed us, and the only thing I could think to do to thank them was to draw a little picture. So I drew a quick picture of their two adorable girls that were sitting next to me and wrote, “For My Friends, from Sister McKay and Sister Moon.” They liked it and we scheduled a time to come back on Tuesday to help them with their english. (Wassan luckily knew the days of the week and we were able to work out the time of day using our fingers) They’re not really investigators, because we have to have permission from the President to teach Islamic people, but we can do service by helping them with their english.
Who would have thought that Sister McKay would need to know Arabic in the middle of Kansas?
I love being out here. I know without a doubt that this is what I am supposed to be doing and that God will guide us as we are obedient and on His errand. The gospel is so wonderful and I can’t wait to see how it will bless people’s lives in the weeks to come!
Mom, please put Joshua 1:9 on my plaque. That has always been a very comforting and guiding passage to me. And I recieved the package and everything in it without any problems. Thank you very much! Last night we ate at the home of some members in our ward and they gave us finger foods on behalf of the Superbowl. And then we had rootbeer floats. I loved it. It reminded me so much of home. Glad to hear that Ashree was able to come. Next time you see her, tell her that her old companion, Keni Pope, was my teacher in the MTC. That might be fun for her to hear.
Love you all and tell the brothers to write me a dang letter! 😉 You can just keep sending letters and things to the mission home in Independence. They will forward it on to whatever area I will be in. And P-day is on Monday!
Sister McKay
On Mon, Feb 4, 2013 at 5:21 AM, Mark & Jeri MCKAY wrote:

Sister Jessica McKay,

Hello Jess!!!!!  How are you?  We have been anxiously awaiting a letter from you telling us that you arrived safely and are with your new companion and all is well!!!!!  Hope that all is well!!!!!!  I am so very glad that I had the opportunity to hear your voice and hear the excitement in your voice and the conviction and truth that you know that you are where you are supposed to be right now!!!!  That truly is a wonderful tender mercy to have that assurance!!!  We know that this is going to be an experience you will be able to gleen from for the rest of eternity 🙂  I wish that I had been able to hear you better but I will just look forward and cherish my Mother’s Day call all the more!!!! We are all doing well.  We got to sing to Jenn yesterday for her birthday.  She is a special gal!  🙂

So, what is the scripture you want us to put on your placque?  Sister Wages had a get together for all the missionary parents in our ward and it was fun to say we had the opportunity of talking to you for a couple of minutes!  Can’t wait to hear from you my dear one!!!!!

Jocelyn and I drove down to Logan on Saturday with a group of her jumprope gals for a clinic.  She had a great time!  On the way home, it was about 9:00 pm when we left and we had to drive in the thickest fog!!!  It was like a cotton ball!!!!  Anyways, you know how hard it is for me to drive at night anyways, but it is especially difficult in the fog!!! I had to watch the white line just to the right of my car to keep centered in the lines because I couldn’t see anything farther ahead then 2-3 feet.  It reminded me of the special blessing of having the iron rod or the commandments and the word of God in our lives every day to keep us centered and on the correct course!!!  What a privilege to have a living prophet and commandments and scriptures and prayer and inspiration to keep us safe while here on earth!  I also want to share another wonderful analogy that Jared  shared with us .. He said, “So, I had a really sweet study the other day! I was reading Elder David A. Bednar’s talk entitled: Converted unto the Lord, and I received this awesome analogy about the difference between testimony and conversion! Elder Bednar states that a testimony is not a finishing point, but a departing point. Once we receive a testimony we must continue building. So I drew this picture of a foundation with a house built on top. The foundation was the testimony, the house was conversion, and then it was storming outside in order to illustrate the fact that testimony does not shelter us from the storm. It is an ongoing conversion that shelters us from the storms of the adversary. 🙂 So, while still being solidly anchored to the rock in our testimonies, it is very important that we strive to always strengthen our conversion by acting on our testimony because that is truly what will protect us from the storm. 🙂 And I say that in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Jess, I will close now and send this letter with all my love and prayer of Faith that the Lord will always watch over you and keep you safe!!! I know that you will be inspired and impressed with the things you need to do and say to keep you safe, well and happy!!!!!  Remember: ALWAYS FOLLOW THE MISSION RULES,  I know that you will and do, but I also know they are there because of Our Father’s love and our Savior’s love to keep you and your companion safe, well and happy!!!!!!  I LOVE YOU ALWAYS AND FOREVER!!!!!!!!!  Mom 🙂

PS  Ashree Atterton came over last night, she is going to school at BYU Idaho.  She is on Winter/Spring track and right now she thinks that she is going to go into social work.  She is so happy you are serving right now!!! SHe is so very happy to have been able to serve and is so looking forward to going out with the missionaries again!!!


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