Faith and Fathers – June 16, 2014

Faith and Fathers

Monday and Tuesday, well, we’ll just glaze by a bit because it was just filled with goodbyes… 😦 Actually, it wasn’t totally filled with goodbyes. We had fun too. We had Sister Jennings’ last supper at Elvira and Jackie’s house. She is amazing. They asked if I would bring my guitar so we could sing together for them one more time, so we did. The elders were there as well and we spent dinner singing hymns and spirituals together. We did quite a few awesome accapella arrangements of songs like “Swing Low Sweet Chariot,” and “This Little Light of Mine.” Incredible! I am really going to miss Sister Jennings’ rice shaker…

Wednesday we finished packing and preparing in the morning and then headed down to Wichita for the transfer devotional. WHAT A PARTY. It was so amazing to be there with all of the other missionaries. They haven’t done these transfer devotionals for a very long time, so this was the first one I went to. But there was 75% of the mission there and I got to see some of my best friends ever! They also did a little “roadshow” demonstration of the album the APs put together, so they had asked me that morning to bring down my guitar and we did one of the songs we’d done. There were a few other elders and sisters who also played. We’re going to have quite the album! MUSIC IS THE BEST.
Following this and lunch we all went to the chapel where President Bell spoke and then they asked some of the new missionaries to give their testimonies and the departing missionaries to share their testimonies. Imagine how I feel to think that that will be me in just one more transfer. WHAT. IN. THE. WORLD. I just can’t even imagine, so I choose not to think about it. We have way way way too much to do here.
Speaking of “we,” let me tell you a little about my new companion. Her name is Sister Hymas and we are BEST FRIENDS. She’s from Lindon, Utah, went to BYU, she came out the same time as Sister Hunter, and it is a PARTY EVERY DAY. The first day we were together we were just so comfortable it felt like we had been companions for months already. The first day. It is SO FUN to just focus on missionary work! I have finally graduated from the 12-wk program for the first time in my mission and we are SPRINTING to the finish line!!!
Well…speaking of sprinting, let me tell you a little about the 42 day journey we have embarked on. Please fasten your seatbelts and keep you hands and legs and elbows and everything else inside the computer chair at all times. This will blow your mind and strengthen your faith enough to move the rocky mountains to Liberal (let’s pray for that!)
A couple weeks back I was studying Alma 31:30-38

O Lord God, how long wilt thou suffer that such wickedness and infidelity shall be among this people? O Lord, wilt thou give me strength, that I may bear with mine infirmities. For I am infirm, and such wickedness among this people doth pain my soul.
O Lord, my heart is exceedingly sorrowful; wilt thou comfort my soul in Christ. (enabling power of the atonement!) O Lord, wilt thou grant unto me that I may have strength, that I may suffer with patience these afflictions which shall come upon me, because of the iniquity of this people.
O Lord, wilt thou comfort my soul, and give unto me success, and also my fellow laborers who are with me–yea, Ammon, and Aaron, and Omner, and also Amulek, and Zeezrom, and also my two sons–yea, even all these wilt thou comfort, O Lord. Yea, wilt thou comfort their souls in Christ.
Wilt thou grant unto them that they may have strength, that they may bear their afflictions which shall come upon them because of the iniquities of this people.
O Lord, wilt thou grant unto us that we may have success in bringing them again unto thee in Christ.
Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are out brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee.
Now it came to pass that when Alma had said these words, that he clapped his hands upon all them who were with him. (priesthood blessing!) And behold, as he clapped his hands upon them, they were filled with the Holy Spirit. (Confirmation by the spirit that it is the Lord’s will!)
And after that they did separate themselves one from another, taking no thought for themselves what they should eat, or what they should drink, or what they should put on.
And the Lord provided for them that they should hunger not, neither should they thirst (FASTING!); yea, and he also gave them strength, that they should suffer no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ. Now this was according to the prayer of Alma; and this because he prayed in faith.

This passage hit me so strongly because my whole mission I have been trying to learn how to pray in faith. It seems to be the resounding theme that keeps coming back throughout every part of my mission. That, and the enabling power of the atonement. Just when I was retyping this passage the spirit filled my heart so fully again, that I know it is the word of God through a prophet. Prayer in the bible dictionary talks about how true prayer is bringing our will into correspondence with Heavenly Father’s will. Alma gives us a pattern in these scriptures, or the equation to pray in faith. From his equation, we learn that this correspondence between our will and Heavenly Father’s will is the atonement of Jesus Christ. Try that aspect of the enabling power on for size! Thus, the equation is: Pray and address heavenly father. Repent of weaknesses. Specifically ask for the atonement of Christ to grant us what we need. Commit to be a worthy servant and do what he wills. Then get a priesthood blessing to fill you with the spirit and get the specific directions and instructions from God.
Thursday morning this came back to me during our companionship study. It occurred to me that we should follow the pattern of Alma in our companionship and area. So we started out a special fast that afternoon after lunch and followed the pattern of Alma, with the goal in mind to raise our vision and align our will with Heavenly Father in order to accomplish what he desires. Our prayer to start the fast was incredible and when we asked certain questions, we felt with resounding strength that we were doing what the Lord desired us to do at this time. That burning in your bosom that the scriptures talk about is so real, because we felt it! Directly after that we asked two of the elders to give us priesthood blessings just like Alma. There are only a handful of times when I have felt the spirit so strongly like we did then. There were incredible promises said in those blessings that continued to confirm what we were feeling about this area and what was in store.
My blessing promised that the Lord would go before our face and after us. I don’t feel that I should share the experience we had with this in detail, but just suffice it to say that we knew that this was true. There are seen and unseen supports among us that are on the same mission we are. My testimony has been strengthened of this ten-fold and there is no way we can deny the Holy Ghost when we feel it.
That evening we went to Holton to teach someone we had found last week. Pedro and Micaela are from Guatemala, they are not married but are living together, and have a little son with one on the way. We taught them the restoration and Pedro especially was so grateful that we had found him and Micaela. We invited him to be baptized and he asked what he had to do. We told him a little about the law of chastity and the word of wisdom. He doesn’t drink or smoke and has been thinking for a while that he and Micaela should get married and follow the commandment of God. This was a huge miracle! We are so excited about them.
The next day we had zone training and continued to receive revelation. This work is really the Lord’s work and once his hand is set to the plow, there’s no turning back. Our mission has a goal for baptisms that has not been reached yet, and this month we have raised it even more. Please pray for our mission to meet the goal. We know that we can do this with the Lord’s help if we have faith and are diligent and obedient.
After zone training we found a little room to close our fast. This was incredible. I felt the same feelings all over again that I had during the my priesthood blessing. When we finished our prayer, Sister Hymas and I both looked at eachother with tears in our eyes and I said, “This is really his will, isn’t it?” She smiled and simply said, “Yes it is.”
That evening we got to go eat dinner with the Cotlame family who are recently returning back to church and they’ve been back 4 weeks in a row! I love them so much! We taught Sister Cotlame about the plan of salvation and she is excited to start doing her family history.
The next day in our companion study, we were reading out of the mission handbook and the first paragraph we read was actually a scripture. Helaman 3:35:
Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.
I know that this is what we are doing right now. It feels like my whole mission and the lessons I’ve learned have been a build up to this point. There are so many things that we keep seeing and experiencing that just make everything seem to “click.” I have started to become even bolder. I’m awfully bold in spanish sometimes, but there is absolutely no reason to dance around the subject. This gospel is truer than true and I know that with all my heart. The only way to have true happiness in this life and in the life to come is embracing and following the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives and that is found in this, the restored church of Jesus Christ. We have a living prophet. The Book of Mormon contains the fullness of the everlasting gospel. The priesthood is literally the authority of God and I am so privileged to have it’s blessings in my life. Christ is at the head of his church and the stone is rolling.
Saturday we went back to Holton to see Pedro and Micaela, and we also saw Maricela and Alex. Maricela is actually a long lost member of the church and Alex is her boyfriend. They are living together and have 2 kids with one on the way. Get this. They are neighbors with Pedro and Micaela. We taught and testified to Alex and Maricela about how this church would change their lives and bless their family, especially their daughter. We even taught them the Law of Chastity. I NEVER would have done that at the beginning of my mission on the first lesson, but the spirit moved upon us and we had to tell them what they could have in their lives. Alex wants to be baptized.
Sunday our Holton families could not come down, and we tried everything to get people to church, but no one could come. Finally, in despair, I prayed to Heavenly Father and said basically, “Remember, you told us this was your will, what do we do next? We need your help. Please send someone to church!”
Elvira’s mother asked if she could come to church with her on Sunday. Elvira’s mother is not a member.
We talked to her after the meeting and I felt impressed to tell her we had a prophet on the earth. We set a time to meet and told Elvira we would be coming to her house on Tuesday to teach her mom, and her mom told her, “They said you have a prophet on the earth!” Elvira said, “Yes, and there are so many other blessings of the gospel.” Her name is Maria Elena and she is a blessing from heaven!
Doctrine and Covenants 64:29 says, Wherefore as ye are agents, ye are on the Lord’s errand; and whatever ye do according to the will of the Lord is the Lord’s business.
I know that we are not alone in this work! Sister Hymas and I are on a quest to achieve the Lord’s will, which means he is going to be involved and we do not have to do it by ourselves. My faith is out of the roof right now. Please pray that we will accomplish the Lord’s will this transfer and that we can give our hearts, might, mind, and strength to be worthy servants of this great cause.
So on a side note, this week has been extremely spiritual, but we have been laughing our heads off the whole time. I am so happy! Sister Hymas learned to play the accordian. How could this ever end?!?

This is a little shoutout about the priesthood. A friend e-mailed me and asked me if some of these feminist movements about ordaining women were affecting the work where we were at. I just want to testify, as a woman, that the church is organized according to how our Lord and Savior designed it. I am so grateful to belong to the one church that has the authority of God to administer the ordinances of salvation as we prepare to see our Savior again. We must lift where we stand and accomplish the responsibilities we were specifically given from the beginning. As a woman, I have so much potential to change the world as a daughter, sister, wife, mother, and fellow servant of the Lord. Women do not need to be ordained. We have other sacred responsibilities only we can accomplish and the same goes for men. Especially as a missionary, it is such a tender experience and blessing to be able to work side by side with the men who have the sacred responsibility and stewardship to hold the priesthood of God to help people come unto Christ. The priesthood is God’s, and he will has his way, and his way is perfect. I love Lord. He loves us all equally and has a purpose for each of us.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!!! You are the best dad and Heavenly Father sure spoiled me to send me to you! (Sorry I didn’t get my card to you in the mail soon enough, I figured you’ll see me in…a small amount of time…) And sorry for any typos…obviously no time to spell check.

The plow is moving.
The stone is rolling.
Hakuna Matata,
Hermana McKay


Dinosaurs and Buffalo pt 2

Dinosaurs and Buffalo pt 2


Buffalo are Sis. Jennings favorite animals, so of course we had to find one to ride it! The Kansas State Animal is the Buffalo.

The power of the Book of Mormon. The word of God is mightier than the sword, right?

I also attached a preview of some of the music we recorded that one p-day πŸ™‚
Hakuna Matata,
Hermana McKay

Dinosaurs and Buffalo – June 9, 2014

Dinosaurs and Buffalo

Best last full week of the transfer ever! SAD NEWS 😦 Sister Jennings is getting transferred. She’s going to Ulysses. Waaaaaaay out west! She’s going to love it. My new companion will be Sister Hymas. She actually came out with Sister Hunter. First time in the history of my mission where I’ll have a full transfer not in the training program or serving as a sister training leader. I’m really excited! Party and missionary work all day long!

I actually knew that Sister Jennings was getting transferred last week because President Bell told me in my interview…whoops. It was hard knowing without my comp knowing, but I didn’t want her to know because she would be devastated. So she found out last night when President Bell called me to release me as an STL (which I also already knew was happening because someone let it out of the bag on Wednesday at MLC). So last Monday we made the best use of our time as possible taking lots of pictures in Topeka. Please observe the following pictures:

This is how we find new investigators.

I was hoping to turn into an angel early so the fall wasn’t so long…

So those were our Monday adventures during the day. (I’ll send another e-mail with a few more pictures) Monday night we went to visit Rosalba, Silvestre and their family with one of our members. It was a really hard lesson. They basically told us they would never change. It was a hard lesson, but also a very powerful one for me. I felt the spirit so strongly as I testified of the truthfulness of this gospel. It really is true, you know. πŸ™‚ So please continue to keep them in your prayers. They want us to keep visiting, so we’ll see if they progress. But we won’t be visiting them quite as often.
Tuesday we decided to make mexican food for our district after district meeting. I am becoming quite skilled in mexican culinary arts…Ok, not really, but I am really good at cooking beans and rice and frying tortillas! We had some great lessons that afternoon with a couple new families. I’m getting better at teaching in spanish! Sadly…with one transfer left, it’s not looking like I will be completely fluent when I get home, but I’m a ton better than I was! Tuesday night we had dinner with Elvira and her family. They’re the best.
Wednesday we went to MLC and it was so fun. I didn’t know at the time, but that’s my last MLC ever! It was a good one. Sister Macovichuk and I had so much fun being STL companions together. Time goes too fast. ALSO, special shout out to SISTER TAYLOR who came to visit Sister Beuchert and I on Wednesday at the church. SO GREAT to see her! She gave us gift bags of sunshine and made my day! Thanks Sister Taylor!
Friday we had an exchange with the sisters in the Sherwood ward. It was my last exchange as an STL. So fun. We had a straight miracle day. First of all, we went to contact potential investigator Sister Jennings had talked to on Wednesday. Enrique and Petra are AWESOME. They are both over 70 years old. The sister I had with me didn’t speak any spanish, so I was basically on my own during the lesson, and I’ve come to the realization that the reason I am in a spanish branch is because the Lord uses the weak and simple to do his work. I was definitely weak and simple during that lesson, but he did his work! They accepted the invitation to be baptized and the spirit was so strong! Then that evening we found a whole family that was so excited to learn more. What a super day.
Saturday we went up to Holton to contact some long lost members. We found some more new investigators up there as well. Total this week we found 12 new people to teach.
I am so grateful to be a missionary here at this time. What an incredible 17 months I have had! (This is my 17 month day by the way) I’m so grateful I still have a little more time to do this incredible work! NEVER WASTE A SECOND.
Love you all, sorry for the scattered letter, but just know it was an incredible week and I look forward to another exciting week!
Hakuna Matata,
Hermana McKay

Turnpikes and Tender Mercies – June 2, 2014

Turnpikes and Tender Mercies

Another week in paradise has just FLOWN BY. And last week my e-mail was pretty sub-par, so I’m going to recap on a couple events that were fairly noteworthy. Charles Trotter (usually I leave out either the first or last name, but this guy is going to be a famous musician some day, so I decided to leave them both in) is the next door neighbor of one of our investigators. We had just left Maria’s house (hah! That name could either be a real name or a fake name…odds are pretty high in both favors. I’ll just let you assume what you want) and there was a man out on his lawn. I thought he was feeding or chasing the nearby bird at first, but turns out he was just weeding around a little tree. So anyways, I had a fleeting thought to go talk to him, then a fleeting thought not to, then another fleeting thought to go talk to him. Majority rules. We walked over to him and introduced ourselves and talked a little about the gospel…which he wasn’t that interested in…but then somehow he mentioned that he played the guitar and wrote music. I said, “Hey! I do too!” which made him really excited and he ran inside to bring out his acoustic so he could play us a little song. The longer we were there, the more he opened up. Turns out that his son had passed away only 6 months earlier and he kept finding and receiving all of these little tender mercies that helped him to know that God was mindful and that his son was supposed to pass away at that time. His son was 21 when he died on the 22 of September, so those two numbers meant a lot to Charles. I asked if I could play a couple songs (yay for mini hymn books!) and then he had warmed up to us so much he actually accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon. When we were just about to leave, he asked what day it was. I smiled knowingly and said, “The 22 of May.” He smiled back and thanked us for being an answer to his prayer that day. Another funny and non-coincidental story is about our good friend Geraldo. Geraldo is practically homeless, but not quite…he’s staying in a friend’s camp trailer. I’ve never knocked on a camp trailer before, and I wouldn’t have either, so it’s a good thing he was outside. Geraldo is from Mexico and has a very strong belief in God. His faith has helped him get through some pretty difficult times in his life, and he shared some of them with us. He showed us two little wallet sized pictures of his daughters (which Sis. Jennings told me later that one of them looked exactly like me, but I didn’t catch it) and told us how he’d had an incredible experience of breaking out of jail with God’s help after he’d been put in unlawfully. His story reminded me of Alma and Amulek, actually…So, we taught him about the Book of Mormon and a little about the restoration. He said he would study it and then he left. He was such an interesting little man that at this point, I half expected him to just disappear as he was walking away…but he didn’t. Darn. Regardless, we still didn’t expect to ever see him again. Little did we know…
The next day, and in a completely different part of town, (now remember, Geraldo doesn’t really have anything to his name) we were driving down a quiet little road, when this familiar man rides by on an old bike. I waved, and he waved back, and then I realized who it was, so I waved even harder and pulled over the car! He told us that other people had seen his Book of Mormon and said it was false and that we were crazy, so we were able to address his concerns, teach a little more of the restoration, and renew his desire to read the Book of Mormon. And we got his phone number this time! (Spiritual slap in the face to me for judging and not expecting him to have a phone the day before. Always ask!) Geraldo thinks that we met again so that we could share his message with the world, but we know that we met so he could receive our message to the world πŸ™‚
You will be pleased to know that I am learning even more traditional mexican recipes. That is all I will say about that.
This last week we had interviews with President Bell, and halfway through the interview I realized that it was the last interview I would have before my last night in the mission home! WHAT. President Bell also didn’t dance around the subject that I was going home in 8 weeks. He was pretty open about it. Rude. But other than that, interviews were great. He commented on me saying “Hakuna Matata” after every letter I send him (just like I do to these) and said he appreciated it. That actually came from an invitation from him quite a few months back to have more of a “hakuna matata attitude” and not be so hard on myself. That was a turning point of my mission and I believe my life. I found out after interviews that he invited other sisters to adopt the same thing.
Sister Jennings got sick that day as well, so we spent part of the rest of the day inside before switching around so I could go on an exchange in Holton while she stayed at home with another sister to get better.
Exchanges in Holton were so fun! There are so many hispanics that we found up there and two long-lost members of the church that we are going to start working with! We also did service in a Christian food pantry. We help the people who come in to collect their items (a little like bishop’s storehouse) but when no one is there, there’s a little bit of down time. They had a little chalkboard with a bible phrase written on it…pretty poorly, I’ll admit. Well, I didn’t tell them I thought it looked bad, but just said that I’m a graphic designer, I get excited when I see a chalkboard, and I would love to do something on their board. They were thrilled and I got design while we talked about the gospel and how the Savior has blessed our lives. Fun way to serve with some of my favorite things.
It has been so wonderful for me to see how our talents are magnified when we are in the service of the Lord. I know I’ll have a lot of catching up to do with design and school when I get home, but the Lord has been helping me to at least keep up on and improve on some skills while I am out here on my mission.
Last story. We were finishing up an exchange with Emporia this week and I was driving back. Well, I got confused with the exits because there are a couple exits/transfers/turnpikes/chaos that I forgot about and drove straight past the exit! Well, I kept praying that there would be an off-ramp that I could take to turn around and go the opposite direction, but THERE WASN’T FOR 40 MILES. I didn’t know what to do! We drove for a good 15 (…maybe 20) miles until we realized that we weren’t going to find another exit…we called our zone leaders (a little in desperation, a little in defeat) and I said, “This is probably the most embarrassing call I will ever make on my mission, but I missed the exit and we’re heading towards Wichita and there’s nowhere to turn around, and I don’t know what to do.” Well he said, “Aren’t there those emergency u-turns in the middle of the road?” I said, “Yes, but it says NO U-TURN.” He told me to take it anyway….So I did and we headed back to Emporia. Right when we pulled up to the Gas station, the gas light turned on. Thank goodness we made it back with gas! However, we did lose 40 miles and we are accountable for our miles in the mission cars. Moral of this story: Pay attention to the signs (i.e. commandments, scriptures, prophets, etc.) while speeding through life because some mistakes are super hard to turn around from. There are always consequences because we are accountable for the choices we make. And don’t take the turnpike unless you know what you are doing, and just incase you forget, you have at lease two other people in the car who also know what they are doing… haha! Love you all!

Hakuna Matata,
Hermana McKay

Specifics and Musicals – May 26, 2014

Specifics and Musicals

This week flew, and so did p-day! The APs came up because they are putting together a mission cd and wanted a few of the songs that I’ve arranged on it. And we did one combined one where I came up with the music and “hook” and then one of the elders wrote a rap to go with it. It’s about Joseph Smith. I think they should call the CD “KWM Music and the Spoken Word.” But we’ll see πŸ™‚ It should be done at the end of the transfer. So that’s why this letter is going to be short…
We are trying to help our family (Rosalba, Silvestre, and kids) to progress, but his brother passed away about a week and a half ago and it has been really hard to contact them because they’ve been involved with family stuff. So please keep them in your prayers!
We had a really good week, but when it came time for church, we tried EVERYONE we could think of, and no one was going to be able to come. We didn’t know what to do! So we said a prayer on Saturday asking Heavenly Father to help us out because we had done everything we could to get someone to church. We told him we didn’t know what else to do, but if he would just send some random person to church that could become a new investigator, we would be extremely grateful. Weeeeeell, the next day in Sacrament Meeting, as we were sitting there getting ready to start, in walks a family that only comes every few months…with a friend! We taught her after sacrament meeting and she became a new investigator! PRAYER ANSWERED! Remember, the lord answers our specific prayers! Have a great week!
Hakuna Matata,
Hermana McKay

Ice Cream and Sales Guys – May 19, 2014

Ice Cream and Sales Guys

What a wonderful week. We had our faith tried. That means we learned something. Here’s the story: We talked to A LOT of people and found A LOT of new investigators, but we didn’t get to keep any of them because they were either men or spoke english, so we had to refer them to other missionaries. We were so grateful for the opportunity to be placed in the paths of all of these people, but at the same time, by golly I wanted to find a new investigator we could teach! All week we searched, and it wasn’t until Saturday that our prayers were answered. Any woman (who is not lactose intolerant…) knows that ice cream makes everything better…Well, that was probably a bit overgeneralized, but it sure feels like it’s true! I was feeling a bit down on Saturday morning (silly faithless Sis. McKay πŸ™‚ ) so our district leader kindof ordered us to go get some ice cream during lunch…haha. We chose to go to McDonalds because it was the cheapest place. We ordered our $1 cones and then I saw a family that looked hispanic in the playground area. Of course we chose to go sit nearby them. And then as we were sitting there, another hispanic lady and her grandson came in and sat down nearby us! We decided to divide and conquer and each went to one of the groups with a Book of Mormon. Lo and Behold, they are both interested and BOTH turn out to be new investigators! So cool. How many times have I testified that we receive no witness until “after the trial of our faith?” Well, I’m testifying of it again. We receive no witness until AFTER THE TRIAL OF OUR FAITH! An entire week of searching, and then as we are wallowing in our vanilla cones, the Lord stretches out his merciful hand and sends a stupor of thought to our future investigators on what to make for lunch, so they end up going to the same McDonalds we were at just so we could meet them. The Lord works in mysterious ways.

Saturday actually turned out to be an amazing day. McDonalds (and ice cream) just started the domino effect. Later in the day we took our friend Jackie with us to visit some people. When we stepped out of the car and started walking, Jackie remembered that her cousin who had met with missionaries before lived just a couple blocks away. So Jackie led us to Velina, who still had a Book of Mormon. We taught her the Restoration, and now she wants to be baptized in June! Then later that evening, we were going to an appointment when a Vivint sales guy saw us and said, “Hey! Missionaries! You guys are awesome!” Two thoughts ran through my mind: either he was another new investigator just waiting to be baptized or he was a member. (Don’t worry, they’re both good things) He was a member. He told us that he had served his mission in France and got back about a year before. He’s here doing summer security system sales and also said he’d seen a lot of hispanics in the neighborhood. We got his contact info and he took ours and we asked him if he would let us know when he finds hispanic families. That night he called us with 16 REFERRALS! Best street contact ever! Moral of the story: That thought in the back of your mind that ice cream is sounding really good right now is actually a prompting, so you should all go out and get an ice cream cone from your nearest McDonalds as soon as you finish reading this letter.

Golden Nugget for the week: Yesterday in Sunday School we were studying Joshua 1-3. Joshua has always been one of my favorites. He had such huge shoes to fill when he took the role of prophet following Moses’ death, but he did it with such courage and dilligence. Chapter 3 talks about the miracle of crossing the river Jordan. We discussed in sunday school about how the first step into the water was an act of faith and obedience, a trust in the Lord that he would take care of them as they kept his commandments. However, this time something new stood out to me. They had with them the Ark of the Covenant, their most priceless possession because of what it symbolized and contained. When the bearers of the ark stepped into the river, the waters parted and the land became dry enough for people to cross. But what stood out to me was that the bearers of the ark remained “in the midst of Jordan” until everyone had passed through. They kept walking until they stood in the center of the river. The Ark represents our own covenants that we make with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. As we are obedient to these covenants, making them a priority, even “in the midst” of our own experiences, we will pass through whatever river we are crossing at any time in out lives. Our covenants protect us. The scriptures say the priests that held the ark stood “firmly upon the ground until all the people were passed clean over Jordan.” When we stand firmly upon the foundation of our covenants and remain faithful, the Jesus Christ and His Atonement–the reason we make covenants in the first place–will allow us to pass clean over this life and return to live with Him in the life to come. Keep thinking about this story, because there are a lot of other really cool lessons to learn that I don’t have time to write in this letter. When we ponder the Word of God, we actually get to receive and understand even more of it. I love the scriptures!

Thank you for all of your love and prayers!
Hakuna Matata,
Hermana McKay

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Sister Poulson just sent me this picture of Sis. Hunter, the Poulson Kids, and Me on a P-day in Liberal! This was one of the days we were making our skirts πŸ™‚ Cracking open the time capsule!
(Please disregard the children sitting on Sis Hunter…you can tell from her face that they jumped on too fast and she didn’t know what to do with herself. Haha)

40+ and Prophecies – May 12, 2014

40+ and Prophecies

Every week before I type out my letter I write a little bullet point list of big events that have occurred that I want to write more about. Well…this week’s list is awfully long, so I might write it out in chapters, and I then give you permission to get up to take a bathroom break between chapters if you really need to…

Prologue: Things worth mentioning that didn’t happen this last week but recently
I was asked if I was married…and then promptly asked out on a date…awkward. He didn’t want to meet with the elders anymore after I denied him…sad. I even did it politely. Sister Broadhead and Housley are coming up here today to take us out to lunch! Wooooo! Our car was rear-ended, but thank goodness to the bike rack, no harm was done and the lady who hit us said we could come teach her! I GOT MY BIKE BACK FROM LIBERAL! It was like Christmas. I love my bicycle.
Chapter 1: Cinco de Mustache and Church Tours
I don’t remember when the whole fetish with mustaches came about, but I’ll be the first to admit that I think it’s hilarious and don’t have a problem participating. The zone leaders asked us (the spanish missionaries) to plan a cinco de mayo zone p-day activity, so we accepted. How could we not? Someone’s gotta represent the Spanish Branch! We had a pinata, mexican pan dulce, a best mustache competition, and we even found mustache straws at walmart. It was super fun.
The next day we had an exchange with the Lawrence sisters. This time I got to stay in our area while Sister Jennings went to the other area. We had a really great day talking to a lot of people, spanish and english speakers alike. We were able to teach Charles, someone we found out sweeping his sidewalk, the whole first lesson and invited him to be baptized when he knows it’s true. He said probably πŸ™‚ He’s english and a man, so we had to refer him to some elders. We actually had the “hand-off” lesson with the elders on Saturday and it went really well. Moral of that story is don’t be afraid to teach the first lesson on the first contact! We don’t need to schedule a return appointment before teaching how the true gospel has been restored to the earth.
We had also invited Johana to Activity Days that evening at the church and thought it would be great if we gave Rosalba and the two little boys a church tour while Johana was at her activity. We’d met another member from a different ward who speaks spanish who agreed to drive them to the church, and there were SO MANY other members of the branch at the church who we could introduce Rosalba to. What an amazing experience! We showed her the primary rooms, young women rooms, baptismal font (which she LOVED), and ended in the chapel. The spirit was so strong in the chapel with all of us there. We had the two kids, the two of us, Rosalba, and three members. Pretty big group. Rosalba said she felt a great peace in the chapel and that she was definately coming to church on Sunday.
Chapter 2: MLC and Reunions
After exchanging back on Wednesday morning, Sister Macovichuk and I continued our escapade and journeyed down to Wichita for mission leadership council. I’ve been to a lot of these, but this felt the most productive as a council. I really enjoyed it. And of course it is always AMAZING to see Sister Beuchert at these meetings. I love that lady πŸ™‚ And there were a bunch of elders there as well that I’ve served with who were recently called as zone leaders. Basically a family reunion. But just wait. It gets better. After the meeting was over, Sister Housley and her girls walk in to the room! I was not expecting to see them at all and I was so excited!! But wait. There’s more. After talking to Sister Housley for a few minutes, ROY walks down the hallway too!! Whaaaaat?!? Sister B. and I were so excited. He hasn’t changed a bit. He has made some poor choices though and has had a tough time, but I asked him if he was ready to change his life around again and accept the gospel. Wow I felt the spirit telling me what to say so strongly. I was awfully bold. But the Lord has so much in store for him if he will just accept the gospel! I even invited him to be baptized on May 24th. He said he’d think about it. Gaaaah. But we introduced him the the APs and said they’d help him out. Such a neat experience to see him again. And then Sister Macovichuk and I talked the whole drive home.
Chapter 3: Lehi’s Dream
Let me go back about two weeks to the Friday before last. Sister Mitchell had gotten sick, so we planned temporary exchanges with Sis. Jennings and Macovichuk so they didn’t have to miss their appointments. I took the first shift with Sister Mitchell at their house while she rested. I was reading my Book of Mormon about Lehi and the Liahona and how Nephi was able to use it to know where to find meat for his family. So I started pondering this and asking, “Where do we need to go to find food (or investigators)?” And then…I DOZED OFF INTO MY OWN DREAM. (Ironic?) I hardly ever remember the dreams I have, if I have any at all, so the fact that I remembered this dream was a miracle in itself. In this dream, I was teaching a lesson to someone who I thought said she was from Guatemala. We were sitting in a home that was fairly nice, which clued me in on where we were teaching this lady. She had a few extended family members there, and the Elders were actually in my dream as well because she was apparently a referral from them. I remembered her hair style, she was fairly young, spoke english and spanish, but I couldn’t exactly remember her name. I thought she was black at the beginning of my dream, but by the end she looked like a normal hispanic. Then towards the end of my dream, there was a white man with long white hair and a white beard (Lehi? Santa Claus?) sitting beside the family. And then Sister Macovichuk and Jennings came back and I woke up from this dream. I was so astounded about this dream because it was so VIVID. I told the other sisters there and said, “We’re going to find this family.” So we told the elders to be on the lookout for someone from Guatemala that they were going to refer to us. One of the elders said that since it was kindof “Lehi’s Dream” that I had, Sister Jennings would be the one to interpret it, like Nephi. We also started asking everyone in the branch who they knew from Guatemala. No one knew anyone. But I still felt like we would find them. I never remember my dreams unless it is important. Now we’ll jump forward to last Sunday. Remember the black guys that we sang some blues with Sunday night? Right after that we were going to contact a referral with the elders just a couple streets away. On the way to contact her, we met someone named Lanae who we scheduled to come back and teach the next Thursday. So then we went to contact the referral from the elders. Fast forward to the Thursday we go to teach Lanae. So, we decided to try a neighbor who had a picture of Santa Claus on their front door. Well, they weren’t home. So we went to walk back to the car, when Sister Jennings looked back at Santa’s neighbor (the house in between him and Lanae) and said, “Hey, I think I saw a little mexican kid!” We both looked at eachother and said, “Right next to Santa’s house!” and went to knock on the door. At this door, some kids answered who spoke english and spanish and we asked if their mom was home. They said she was, and she came to the door. She also spoke english and spanish. Her name was Elizabeth, she was from Guadalajara (which could be easily mistaken for Guatemala), was pretty young, and said that she was watching her sister’s kids (extended family) as well as her own. Her house was fairly nice, and she had a very similar hairstyle to the woman in my dream. And she is now a new investigator!! Did you catch all of the clues that we say about how this dream was both interpreted and fulfilled? We would not have found her house without the referral from the elders, and both Lehi and Santa Claus turned out to be points because Sister Jennings was the one to point out the house. She even lived in the neighborhood I though she would live in from my dream. From starting out with the black people to ending with Santa, this whole experience was crazy. Our return appointment to teach her will be tomorrow! But also remember, I was woken up before we finished teaching her, so I’m not sure what the timeline will be for this lady…could be quick, could be really long. We’ll see!
Chapter 4: Book of Mormon and Baptisms
Have I ever mentioned how much I love the Book of Mormon? We gave out 8 copies on Friday alone. Our goal is to give out all 100 copies we have before the end of the transfer. We also started a competition with a couple of our members of the branch to see who can read the book of mormon the fastest. Deadline is the end of this transfer, or June 11. I WILL WIN (I hope…) Winner gets a dinner made by the other people. I love dinners made by other people…
We’ve been doing a super job talking to everyone and doing an awesome job finding investigators for other people…so we give out a LOT of referrals. But that’s ok, we’re just professional finders. We found four investigators on Friday as well and only got to keep 1 of them because the others were all english.
Saturday we went to a baptism with Rosalba and her kids because she had said she wanted to see one when we were at the church on Tuesday. She loved it and again felt peace. All of these experiences added up to us finally having investigators come to church on Sunday! Also, we had over 40 people in sacrament meeting compared to an average of 28-30. It was the best! Our goal is at least 50 before either of us are transferred or before I go home. I love it her so so much!
Mom, in accordance with your request to get some recipes, I learned how to make mexican orange rice yesterday night! It was delicious. Hopefully I can replicate it properly…We’ll see!
As always, it was wonderful to talk to the family yesterday! I do have the best one in the world. Mama,
Feliz Dia de las Madres! Te quiero mucho! Hope yesterday was the best!
Epilogue: Etc. Etc. Etc.
I also want to testify of the power of the priesthood and what a blessing it is to have in our lives. Sister Jennings received a blessing yesterday for comfort with some of her concerns. Even though the elder giving the blessing didn’t know everything, every question Sis. J and I had talked about that morning was answered and addressed in the blessing. There was so much love from Heavenly Father poured out to all in the room. I know our Heavenly Father loves us infinitely and that when we reach out for direction, he willingly gives it! We are children of the most High God and he loves us more than we could ever understand.
Here we go again for another great week in paradise! Please include Rosalba, Silvestre, Johana, Johnny, Jonathan, Elizabeth, Maria, and Roy in your prayers!
Love you all!
Hakuna Matata,
Hermana McKay

Soul Songs and Surprises – May 5, 2014

Soul Songs and Surprises

Well another week in paradise! LOVE. IT. HERE. We have been trying to take advantage of the beautiful weather we have been having up here by walking around and talking to everyone that is sitting on their front porch…which is about everyone who lives on the street πŸ™‚ So we’ve been taking to a lot of people. Yesterday, as we were walking along 34th, we heard this bluesy soul music coming from someone’s backyard. Anyone who knows me really well would know that I cannot resist good old jazz/blues, so obviously I would want to check it out and share the gospel with them. Aaaaand we walked on over. There were three black guys up on their little back deck as a stage with a mic and sound system set up. One was on keys and vocals, one with some percussion shaker thing, and the other with his harmonica. So fun. And then there were about 4 or 5 people sitting in camp chairs on the lawn. We started talking to the people sitting in camp chairs about the book of Mormon a little bit, until the group finished their song. Weeeelll, I just “happened” to have my hymnbook with me, and I piped up, “Hey, if you give me a basic melody and a beat, I’ll sing a song.” They agreed. Yeah….I had no idea what I was going to sing, but the first song I turned to was “There is Sunshine in my Soul Today,” and I was able to quickly rearrange the melody in my head and decided it fit perfectly. I headed right up to the mic and started singing. It was so sweet! Talk about a fun arrangement to that song. It was veeeeery “soul”ish and fit the audience well. They absolutely loved it and decided they are all coming to church this Sunday. Then we gave them the only two English copies of the Book of Mormon we had. Music is such a great way to share the gospel!
Another fun adventure we had was taking the guitar out proselyting. We got permission one morning and took it out and asked people if we could sing them a song, so we sang a fun arrangement of “I Am a Child of God” and then taught them about the principles in the song. We only did it for about a half an hour because we had an appointment, but we got a couple potentials and a service opportunity, so we called it a success.
I don’t think these extra few pounds are ever going to come off on my mission…we have about 12 extra meals a day because the people here are just so dang nice…and I can’t say no! But it’s ok because I enjoy every minute of it πŸ™‚ We went to Victor and Rocio’s for Victor’s birthday party. They are doing so well! They love the church and unless they move (which they are thinking about) I believe they will be getting baptized very soon.
We are making some good progress with Rosalba and her family too. She doesn’t understand the need to be baptized again, and they still haven’t gone to church yet, but the more people from the branch they meet and more often we come, the more her heart opens up. Please keep them in your prayers. Especially Johana. She got sick Saturday night, so they couldn’t make it to church. President Dodd and one of the other brothers came over with us and gave her a blessing. They are such an amazing family and we love them so much! Keep praying! Prayers of faith!
Stake conference was a way great experience. The talks were all extremely profound and insightful. Sister Jennings spoke on Saturday night, and then President Bell pulled a fast one and had the two zone leaders and sister leaders give a little one minute talk. Haha it was funny. My face was a little pinker than usual.
Well I am going to have to call it quits today because we are having a cinco de mustache…I mean Mayo… party with the zone and the piΓ±ata is waiting! Love you all!
Hakuna Matata,
Hermana McKay

Who would have thought that Cinderella grew up in da hood…Love it!
Plan to Facetime at 7:00pm Kansas time (so 6 your time?)
If anything changes I’ll figure out some way to let you know. Love you!!

Maria Isabel from Liberal GOT BAPTIZED!!! Yay!

Springtime and Jelly Beans – Apr 28, 2014

Well, if I could describe Topeka, Kansas in one word, it would be…

In every way. It is the greatest thing ever to be here in the spring time because the city and area around it is covered in tulips, purple trees, actual GREEN grass, and there are murals and paintings on practically every other street corner. Also, thanks to our arrival, our spanish branch is colorful now too! (We add the white, pink, and yellow…just look at me and it’s obvious what I’m talking about haha). It’s a college town and the community has done a lot of neat things to make it look “prettier” or at least a little “abstract.” For example. Look at this piano. Doesn’t that just scream “another man’s treasure?” I loved it and was freaking out when I found it. And yes, it works! We played it a little’s only missing about 12 very important keys…Image
Next example. This is Mae Lin. She has definitely done her part to make the world a better place and share a little Disney cheer with her trailer park neighbors, including all 7 dwarves and their extended relatives. The other side of her house has about 16 large and colorful birdhouses on tall posts and these statues surround the house with little space to walk. She doesn’t speak very good English and sadly doesn’t know Spanish either (she’s Vietnamese) , so we couldn’t really teach her anything, but she fed us a giant grapefruit and we sat in pleasant silence in her highly decorated house for a few minutes just enjoying the scenery.Β 
We have also tried to incorporate the spring color into our district meetings. Our district leader is going home this week, so we all made (or purchased) cakes and surprised him at district meeting last week. Guess which one we did? (Yes, each jelly bean was strategically placed by yours truly. Would you expect any less?) So yeah, ours was the one on top. Then you have the Lake Shawnee Sisters, Colly Creek Elders, Spanish Elders (haha they made that one from scratch all by themselves. I thought the crushed candycane was a nice touch.), and the Zone Leaders. Long story short, there is no longer a lack of color in our district.
We had a crazy week of lots and lots of organizing/orienting ourselves, back to back exchanges (remind me to avoid those at all costs in the future haha), new investigators, interrupting mexican fiestas, recieving lots of referrals from the kid’s bicycle gang, MONSOONS, planning, planning, planning, hippies (yeah, met quite a few), humbling ourselves before the Lord, and lots of prayers of faith!Β 
We had a wonderful lesson with una familia: Silvestre, Rosalba, Johanna (9), Johnny (7), y Jonathan (4) (I know, they like the Jo/Johnny names). This family is so amazing and we would LOVE to see this family get baptized. We’ve known them for over a month, but just barely were able to teach them the first lesson. It went very well. We committed them to read and pray to know if the Book of Mormon is true and invited them to be baptized when they found out it was. They said said they would when they knew. So we’re on the right track! If you could keep them in your prayers, I know the Lord can help them receive their answer! I’m also going to be giving Johanna guitar lessons and they love it when we sing to them. That birthday present is still the greatest ever!
We’re going to see Viri tonight. She is a miracle and has a lot of questions, but is hard to meet with because she works a lot. We are struggling with helping people attend church, but we’re going to try some new things, so hopefully that will improve this week! Sister Jennings is also speaking at stake conference this weekend.Β 
We are working on having more faith. We know that the Lord can do anything he wants and bring his prepared children to the gospel, but we are trying to have more faith that he can and WILL do that right now in our area. We have so many names to work with and we know that as we pray in faith to let the Lord guide us to these people and help us teach them by the spirit, we’ll see even more miracles than we are right now. Sometimes having so many names can be daunting and we want to use our time in the most efficient way possible to built our little branch of zion up here. Faith is Power, so we are praying for power! We feel like we are on the brink of some incredible things here in Topeka!
And last but not least, it’s TRANSFER WEEK! Good news is, I’m STAYING!! So glad. We are having the time of our lives and always have so much to do! Love you all!
Hakuna Matata,
Hermana McKay

Easter Eggs and Testimonies – April 21, 2014

Happy Easter!

Please visit this site and share it to all of your social media and friends.ΒΒ orΒ It is so amazing!
So what happened this week? 1. We had two exchanges and both of them I got to stay in our area. 2. We got visiting teaching assignments! 3. We finally did our weekly planning on the day we were supposed to because it fit into our weird exchange schedule! 4. We found more people to teach! 5. We ate a delicious authentic Samoan easter meal (yes, we had 5 different types of meat and they were all delicious) 6. Completed a service project of hiding easter eggs. (Best service project ever) 6. Taught the gospel doctrine lesson in the branch on Sunday. 7. Played some songs for my meal πŸ˜‰ 8. Sang a musical number with Sis. Jennings (This is the Christ in Spanish). It turned out great!Β 
9. Went to something called “Walk with Christ” with the branch. It was in the Lawrence church building and we all carpooled on Friday night. They decorated the church like events and places in Christ’s mortal ministry for people to walk through with a tour guide who told the story of Jesus up until his resurrection. It was beautiful and we had 3 non-members come with us.Β 
10. There was an investigator in church on Sunday and we had the sweetest lesson in Relief Society where the sisters all testified to her about the restoration and all told their conversion stories (almost everyone in our branch is a convert to the church). The spirit was so strong and she was so excited to come next week to church. It was a great way to spend the Easter Sunday. Not only does Jesus Christ live, but his church lives again as well! Her name is Rocio and her husband is Victor.Β 
I don’t have much time today, but here’s a little tidbit: I’m taking Elder Bednar’s challenge to read the Book of Mormon with a question in mind and highlighting everything that has to do with it. My question is being converted to the Lord and I just started, so I’m still in the first few chapters of Nephi. As I was highlighting all of the attributes of examples of being converted to the Lord, it hit me very strongly that the more we understand the nature and character of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, the more we want to keep the commandments. Laman and Lemuel did not understand God’s nature, that is why they always murmured and complained. If they would have understood God more and tried harder to get to know him, they wouldn’t have been so slow to obey and wouldn’t have done it so begrudgingly. So my invitation to myself and to you all is to begin learning more about the nature of our Heavenly Father and Lord and Savior, and as you do, you will find it easier to keep the commandments and you’ll begin to understand and know yourself even better.Β 
Love you all! Please watch that video. It was beautiful and just hit home for me. Jesus Christ is not just a historical figure that we read about. He is actually a key character in our lives today and every miracle we see is BECAUSE OF HIM. He can make every situation better and give us peace no matter what the circumstance. He is real. He lives. And he is my BEST FRIEND.Β 
Hakuna Matata,
Hermana McKay