4th Letter– MTC–19 April, 2013

Hey family! Bom Dia!
 
So I’m writing my p-day email super early this morning so we don’t have other missionaries hovering over our shoulders waiting for computers. I love p-day but dread it at the same time. Haha I get way stressed when it comes to email time, trying to decipher what to say/who I can respond to in a limited amount of time. So for the record, if anyone really wants to correspond with me, letters are the best way to go. 🙂
 
Alright this week! So we’ll start with saturday. We had TRC training resource center-I think? Where you teach other investigators besides the ones you normally teach each week. Sadly the assignments got messed up so we ended up only teaching one lesson (normally you teach 2) and we taught our teacher rather than new people. Not a bad thing but I was excited to go into a lesson meeting someone brand new just as if you met right off the street. Still a cool experience, my companions and I are really striving to have the spirit with us as we teach and to really try and discern the needs of our investigators. We talked with our teacher about prayer and trying to help him strengthen that part of his life with Heavenly Father. PRAYER IS MUITO IMPORTANTE 🙂 And I will better illustrate this point here in a couple paragraphs down from this one 😉 you shall see…tehe.
 
I was reading in Jesus The Christ in my personal study-such an incredible book. There are a lot of big words that I don’t understand but as soon as I look them up my mind is just blown away by the understanding and the significance of what I’m reading. It is awesome. Anyways, I was going to share about what I read in one of the chapters. It was about how Christ taught in parables. So neat. I loved reading about the parable of the Soil and then then the sower-they’re both similar but have very important messages 🙂 Yay for parables!
 
Later saturday night we had a mini movie night after add. study where we watched some Mormon Messages-those clips are SWEET! A few minutes of pure goodness every day 🙂 One we watched that really hit home for me was called “Mountains to Climb” talking about trials and building our faith in Christ. It is SO good. Please please watch it if you have a chance. I was crying like a little girl I was so moved. Through the Savior Jesus Christ, we really can get through anything and have confidence that the Lord has a purpose for each and every one of us. What a blessing to know that-sounds like the Plan of Salvation? Mmm Hmm ya, I think so people!
 
Sunday was a bit rough. 3 of the girls in our district woke up way sick 😦 Nao bom. So Sister Dana (she’s from AZ) went on an exchange while the other 3 stayed in bed. We went to Relief Society (here at the mtc it’s one big meeting with ALL the sisters-whew!). The woman that spoke was Sister. Edmuonds, and oh my goodness what a bombshell. She’s a lot like Sheri Dew/Elder Holland haha. Straight up, forward but reproves with love etc. I love it. She served 4 missions and talked to us all about the blessings that we’ll receive and life long+more lessons that we’ll learn as missionaries. I know I’ve already learned so much. I think the most powerful moment for me during her talk was when she held up a journal from one of her missions. It was 702 pages long. It looked like a Harry potter book it was soooo thick. She then told us that if she had quit and gone home when it was hard (which is your whole mission. in case I didn’t make it clear before MISSIONS ARE HARD) she wouldn’t have all of those pages. She held up what she thought would be 3 months worth of entries and to see the contrast of the lack of pages that remained compared to before was a really good visual aid. She encouraged us to rely on the Lord and promised us that yes, homesickness would subside, the language would come, we will find people to teach AS we continue to dedicate ourselves to the Lord and HIS work. I would love to meet and chat with her sometime. She is so inspiring, and funny. Sister Dana turned to me during the meeting and said “You’re totally going to be like her someday”, best compliment I’ve received in a while I thought to myself haha.
 
Later for sunday evening devotional we got to hear from Brother Droubay who is over the media of the MTC and is involved with the media/campaigns of the church. He talked to us about how the Lord really is hastening His work, and we’re right in the middle of it! How cool! He used the reference D&C 88:73. His work, in His time….well I think that’s another prophecy being fulfilled and then some. Mission age change? Then adding 58 new missions!? Another MTC in mexico? This is happening people. There are people to teach that want to hear of this gospel and be apart of it because it does BLESS FAMILIES! He talked more with us about how they had a “Christmas is..” campaign in NYC and bought some billboards and busses, taxi toppers in times square to advertise the mormons are christians and what Christmas really is all about. There was a billboard below ours that was from an atheist group that read “Keep the merry (with pictures of santa and presents), forget the myth! (a picture of Christ with a thorn of crowns)”. Pretty sad to see that, but even so mormon.org has received much more attention as non members are curious and wanting to ask questions and see what we believe. It is a wonderful site to share with friends and others that aren’t familiar with our faith. And of course to see that Mormons are normal functioning likable, peculiar but not crazy people 😉 There’s another campaign beginning in London that just started in april continuing with “I’m a mormon” we’ve been covering “tube” stations in London, we’re seen on double decker busses as well.
 
It’s exciting and cool to see how creative the church is but very dilligent in missionary work even with technology which can be a HUGE blessing when used in productive ways 🙂 Sunday night we watched a movie called “Joseph Smith Prophet of the Restoration” and it was told by Lucy Mack’s perspective (joseph’s mother). I had never seen it before. SO amazing. I believe it’s one of the newer films so if you have a chance to watch it at a visitors center or rent it from a library ask for that movie from Lucy mack’s perspective. The actors are all the same as one of the other films but it’s different. So powerful and inspiring. Joseph Smith truly was a prophet of God. I’ve come to know that for myself but honestly, He could not have done what He did without the Lord. And the early saints of the church and the persecution they faced because of their beliefs. They couldn’t even worship in peace. It just breaks my heart but at the same time these early saints pressed forward not being moved. They were FIRM in the FAITH and relied on Heavenly Father. We too can and should follow their example, no matter what troubles or opposition faces us, we can receive constant nourishment and strength every day as we pray-with real intent, read our scriptures, serve others and strive to do God’s will. We will be fortified, and can say with confidence “I believe in Christ, so come what may”.
 
Okay to finish we’ll have story time, this may or may not make history in the McCleve family as to one of the funniest/coolest stories ever. Sooo I shall talk about that in the few minutes I have left. So I think I mentioned in my last email that I was invited to say the prayer at devotional this tuesday? Well I was, by my bishop. So he said for tuesday night’s devotional will you give the opening prayer? and of course I told him I’d love to. I asked him if he knew was coming to speak and he said they don’t tell you until the speaker themselves show up. So I had no idea who was coming that night. He told me my companions and I would sit on the stand for that devotional too, in front of the whole MTC, 3000 missionaries! CRAZY!
 
Okay so tuesday night rolled around. We arrive early and were told how it would all work. I then found out that I was giving the closing prayer and not the opening, slightly more nervous now as I knew that I would be waiting longer therefor more anxiety to build up-awesome (sarcasm). The meeting started…and in walked…..Elder yes Elder Richard G. Scott. Yes an apostle! Now all speakers at devo’s are amazing and wonderful but this is the first time I got to hear an apostle speak to our group of missionaries since I’ve been here at the MTC. Anyways I felt even MORE nervous knowing that I had to follow up and pray after HE spoke (remember this is an apostle here people). But I prayed so hard and knew that all would be well…or so I thought 😉 As the meeting began and he spoke I came to realize that the topic he was going to share was…prayer believe it or not.
 
Again this led to my heart rate rising, palms sweating as I realized that I would now be the very next person to pray (in front of 3000 people+ an apostle) after he spoke about prayer. It was a wonderful talk though. I did take notes and wanted to make sure I at least remembered a few things even though I was beyond nervous. I love that he talked about 3 ways our prayers are answered.
1. Answer immediately comes (an impression, peace, or happy feelings etc.) 
2. Comes a little later/through someone else or a thought that randomly pops into our mind etc.
3. When our answer doesn’t come right away or even a little later to a point where we think we will never get an answer.
 
He assured us that this is because really, the Lord trusts us and wants us to grow in Faith. He knows that if He gives us an answer right away or the way we want it, that there would’ve been lessons learned that would have gone astray because we didn’t exercise enough faith and patience in Him. To receive an answer in His time and in His way. I hope that makes sense. Basically, the Lord wants us to grow and to be stretched so we can really reach our full potential-how can that happen? We get out of our comfort zone, we experience the unexpected, we have to be patient and HUMBLE. Continuing to seek for God’s will.
For example(and this is my-mackenzie’s example not Elder Scott’s) when we don’t get an answer right away we might normally say “Okay Heavenly Father, I’m still waiting for you to answer my question about…..or I don’t know what to do please just tell me what to do so i can do it!? etc.”  but perhaps if we try to pray with TRUST in the Lord, with a proactive, stepping into darkness attitude with faith, the Lord will manifest what He wants for us. I know this is true. We need to trust Him more and exercise more faith rather than being told/confirmed on every little thing that we should do. The Lord wants us to choose and use our agency, as long as we follow Him. I hope that makes sense. Just wanted to share that. Okay back to the story!
 
Okay he ends his talk. We sing the closing hymn (which I thought would never end oh my goodness haha). I get up to say the prayer, I’m focused on that podium, I’m an obedient missionary going to give a closing prayer in front of 3000 people (these are the thoughts running through my head). Right as I’m about to reach the mic. I see a figure out of the corner of my walk over in my direction. I thought it was the MTC president having to read an announcement that he forgot about or something. I looked right as we were about to run into eachother because I was till walking and it was Elder Scott, yes he was cutting me off to get to the microphone first hahahaha. He looked at me (remember this is in front of the whole MTC) put up his first finger and said with a smile and that cute little twinkle has always has in his eyes “Sorry just one more thing I wanted to say”.
 
I-stunned, slowly backed away thinking he was just going to say a couple words. I then realized that I was still standing awkwardly behind him and therefore you could see me on the big screen where the camera was recording. Funniest image of my life engrained in my head. I took a couple more steps back (the audience now giggling) and still saw that half of my body was on camera and my expression could clearly explain how I was feeling. Finally I shuffled back and sat back down as Elder Scott wanted to share a few more feelings with us. About how our mission calls are inspired and we are truly called by a prophet of God, President Monson.Every single mission call is divine.
 
I then went up again to say the prayer after he closed. And all was right 🙂 I’ve been asked many times if I was the sister that almost ran into Elder Scott at the podium. Example: “Ohhhh you’re the sister that said the prayer! That was a great pra- hey did you really almost run into Elder Scott!? That was so funny!” haha so yes I’ve made church history as the sister that almost took out an apostle. hahaha
 
I have to go. But thanks again for all the support, love and prayers especially ( I feel strength every day from them). I hope you all know how much I love this gospel and how blessed I feel to have this opportunity to be a missionary of the Lord for this period in my life. To have my own journal of experiences of people I meet, teach and grow to love so much. I love this work. I love being a missionary even though it really is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else right now.
 
Eu te amo voces. Eu orar para voces todos dias. Eu sou grato por este evangelho, O Evangelho de Jesus Cristo.
 
Ate mais
Love,
Sister McCleve  
 
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