9th Letter–Grand Blancs (3rd Letter in MI)–May 27, 2013

Oiiii familia!

Happy Memorial Day! I’m so grateful for this country and for the freedoms that we have because of those who fought for that very thing. Especially thinking about the religious freedom we have to believe what we want and to worship how we want to. Chet, thank you for always being such a great example of someone who serves others and that includes our country 🙂
Well I’ve been out as a missionary officially as of today 2 whole months! It feels like 2 years honestly. Crazy. I can’t imagine what it will feel like when I’ve been out 6, 12, and then 18 ahhh! I’ve learned SO much. Little did I know what the Lord had in store for me man oh man. Serving a mission has been an incredible refining and faith building experience that I never expected it could be. My mind is still blown reflecting on the lows I’ve had and the high’s from serving a mission it truly is a roller coaster but with God ALL things are possible. And that includes being His emissary 🙂
So this week we had a baptism on Sunday! Hurray for Jim. It was so funny what happened before. We told him that the baptism would be at 1:00 at the church so to get there around 12:45 would be good and he said okay. Well saturday morning rolled in and we were doing service at a members house before the baptism when we got a phone call. I watched as one of my companions seem baffled as to what she heard and then kept saying “ya…well I don’t know what to do…ummm…ya” I looked at her and she whispered  frantically to me ” Jim’s already at the church!” at this point it was about 10:30 am so he was there about 2 hours early! I told her to hand me the phone and began to work my magic. A ward member was there for a meeting and saw Jim walking around the church by himself. She then went up and asked him what he was doing there and he said “Oh I’m just here for my baptism” she ask when it was and he told her it was at 1:00 pm that day. So then she called us worried about what to do. Haha I wish you all knew Jim because he’s totally the kind of guy that is so easy going and laid back that this wasn’t a huge surprise to us. I asked the member to hand Jim the phone and I asked him what he was doing. He goes ” Well I didn’t have anything else going on because I don’t work today so I decided I might as well come early…I’ve just been walking around the field you guys have here and it’s quite nice” (it was indeed a nice day out). He then asked “You sisters will be here soon though won’ t you?” I said ” Well Jim that baptism isn’t for another couple hours so we won’t be there till 12:30″ Haha he then went on to say that he would just stay there and wait until we came haha. He was that content. Man I love that guy. Long story short I made some calls and one of our ward members Bro. Mason came and picked Jim up and brought him to his house for lunch and kept him company until the baptism.  Ohhhh Jim. Haha he’s awesome. I think we can all learn to enjoy life from the simple things like Jim does.
The baptism was wonderful, my heart was full as Jim made the promise to commit himself to take Christ’s name upon him and to have his sins washed away. He made some big changes in his life to be ready for baptism he quit smoking and drinking and doing things that pulled him away from God. I could feel the spirit and knew he knew that he was truly taking another step to come unto Christ. What a wonderful thing. He was confirmed the following day at church and I knew he was happy to see all the ward members raise their hands in welcoming him as the newest member of the Grand Blanc Ward. I love the organization of the church and how we have wards, stakes etc. I’ve thought a lot about that this week. I mean for example: When someone moves to a new state or even country, they can get in touch with the nearest ward members there and have a whole load of people to help them get settled in. Their kids can meet kids that have the same values and that go to school with them, the parents can meet members that live near by and can help them get familiar with the town and show them where they can get this or that. They have a whole ward to help them move in etc. It’s awesome! I love that we always try to focus on serving each other like the Savior did. That is so important.
Okay here’s neat experience that happened this week that was a tender mercy to me. So we had gone on exchanges for the day (exchanges: swap companions so you can learn other things and teach each other) and were coming back to re-swap. Sister Thompson had left our trio to go with Sister butterfield and her companion Sister Fillmore came with Sister Smithson and I (hopefully that’s not too confusing). As our trio came to meet Sisters Thompson and Butterfield to re-swap we saw their car parked with the doors open in the parking lot. We pulled up and they said they had a flat tire (weren’t sure why). They were trying to call roadside service and see what could be done. I went over and looked at the tire and noticed the sound of leaking air came from a nail that was in the tire-bummer. I pointed it out and the girls were surprised to see that there. They weren’t sure what it could’ve been from but regardless the tire continued to leak.
So while they were on the phones calling service/mission office to let them know what was going on us other 3 went over to grab some ice cream at cold stone since there was one like a block away. We were there ordering as this guy walked out from behind the counter (I assumed he was done with his shift) and had this odd look on his face as he saw us. We got our ice cream and went back to find out the road side service for whatever reason DID not do tire changes at least for not a cheap price anyways. So we thought we’d try to change it ourselves. So here are 5 sisters in a parking lot trying to use what bits and pieces we remembered from YW lessons/ dads teaching us about changing tires etc. Haha quite a site. People continued to drive by and not a single one of them offered to help. We got in contact with a ward mission leader of the near by ward (both companionships were out of our area in this meeting spot) and he was trying to get someone to us.
Well right then a guy pulls up and it was the same guy from Cold Stone that had given us the funny look. He asked if we needed help and he said he’d go grab a jack and come right back to change the tire. Apparently his house was really close to where we were at. He did and as he worked on the tire we talked with him. He was about 18/19 and asked us questions about who we were and what we missionaries did. He then continued to say,  “ya know, driving by you guys, normally I would never stop but I felt like you really needed help and that I should at least come and ask”. The way he said that, I knew that he was prompted to come help us by the spirit. Sister Fillmore and I ended up teaching him the Restoration and gave him a book of Mormon. He told us that he grew up catholic but they never went to church, and his mom had just said a couple days before that they needed to start going to church again.
His face lit up as we explained to Him about the fulness of the gospel bring restored to the earth and the evidence of that is the Book of Mormon that is another testament of Jesus Christ. It was such a powerful experience He said he would read and pray about it and wanted to know more about what we believe. And why we were so happy? Haha. It was wonderful.
I know that that tire went flat that night so we could meet David. Whether he decides to contact the missionaries in the area that could teach him or not. He needed to hear our message and God led him right to us. I know that God prepares the hearts of people to hear our message in His way and His time. I’m grateful for David and for his desire to know truth. He had mentioned how people are so close minded and stubborn and he was touched as we told him that Joseph Smith had the question of which of all of these churches are right? and how can I know it? That desire to just know truth.
God wants us to be happy. And through the gospel of Jesus Christ we can be. A happiness that lasts forever and blesses/strengthens families. I am so grateful for the knowledge I have and for my family and the strength that the gospel has blessed us with in our lives. It’s because it’s true 🙂
I love you all and hope that you each look for the tender mercies that God puts in your lives. Because He does. I know as we look for these tender mercies we will feel of God’s love for us. Everything happens for a reason.
Love you all! Have a wonderful last week of May.
Amor
Sister McCleve

I made crepes for the first time on my mission. Yay for therapy crepe making sessions :)

I made crepes for the first time on my mission. Yay for therapy crepe making sessions 🙂

Me and David! He's awesome! (I'm in exercise clothes because we had just come from playing bball with non members)

Me and David! He’s awesome! (I’m in exercise clothes because we had just come from playing bball with non members)

Us doing service the morning of the baptism at the Rue family's house

Us doing service the morning of the baptism at the Rue family’s house

Us and Jim ( we forgot to get one of him before he was baptized) after his baptism!

Us and Jim ( we forgot to get one of him before he was baptized) after his baptism!

 Me running/jumping in puddle when we were exercising in the morning. Right as we walked outside to go running it started DUMPING rain haha we were soaked in seconds but we ran anyways. Pretty fun :)

Me running/jumping in puddle when we were exercising in the morning. Right as we walked outside to go running it started DUMPING rain haha we were soaked in seconds but we ran anyways. Pretty fun 🙂

Also I forgot we had a mission devotional this week and Ziggy (BYU grad) #1 draft NFL pick for the Detroit Lions spoke! It was awesome! He's a convert to the church from Ghana. Anyways got to see my other Recife bound missionaries there so this is a pic of us :)

Also I forgot we had a mission devotional this week and Ziggy (BYU grad) #1 draft NFL pick for the Detroit Lions spoke! It was awesome! He’s a convert to the church from Ghana. Anyways got to see my other Recife bound missionaries there so this is a pic of us 🙂

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8th letter–Grand Blanc, MI–May 20, 2013

Hi fam fam. I love you guys, so much. Seriously, SO MUCH. I love it when I talk to someone or see something that reminds me of one of you and one of your “life lessons” taught to me. It brings a smile to my face. I’ve been raised in a wonderful family surrounded by amazing people. And that includes our extended family by the way!

This week has been pretty grand…in Grand Blanc. Ha didn’t catch that until I started writing it out-funny. We have an investigator getting baptized this Saturday his name is Jim! We’re so excited for him. He’s excited too although he doesn’t really show it (he’s really soft spoken) but has a dry sense of humor that I love haha. I’ll send pictures next monday. It’ll be awesome! Okay we found 6 new investigators this week. I want to tell you about an experience we had with finding 3 of them.
We were driving to stop by a less active’s home and it had been a very long and tiresome day. I normally sit in the back seat and I always gaze out the window as we drive to different appointments since everything is so spread out here. As usual I found myself in awe of the beauty that fills this area, no joke. I feel like I’m in heaven sometimes-it’s that majestic. The beautiful green grass that rolls and the blossoms of pink and white that fill the trees, the tulips, ponds etc. It just reminds me of being in a dream sometimes, this time of year is apparently the best time of year in Michigan. Starting in June/July everything turns more yellow and gets dried out as the heat sets in. To me it feels like summer in WA now but to the Michiganders it’s basically spring.
ANYWAYS (sorry just wanted to give you guys a visual) I looked out the window as we passed a middle school and saw 3 guys playing basketball. From a distance they looked about our age give or take a few years. The thought occurred to me to pull off and talk to them. We continued to drive a couple minutes and my companions (who drive and navigate) realized that we had the wrong address for our stop by appointment. As we turned around and headed back the other direction going back by the school I told my companions to pull off at the school so we could talk to these 3 men. We did and I became slightly nervous but I knew that there was a reason why I felt prompted.
We parked nearby them, got out and began walking towards them. They stopped and stared so I waved hoping that they’d realize that yes, us girls were walking to them (since there wasn’t anyone else around). I didn’t know what I was going to say and I think my companions were just as curious as I was. But then before we knew it we were having a conversation with them. Got to know them a little bit and they asked us about what we were doing there. We talked to them about the Restoration of the Gospel and they said they’d want to meet with us again to be taught more. They gave us their name and numbers without any hesitation. We invited them to basketball tuesday night and they were really excited to come. One of them had actually been to our stake center and played church ball there a few times a couple years back. He remembered the missionaries too but had never really asked them what they were all about.
Sure this isn’t one of those “Ensign” magazine crazy/miraculous stories. But I know that the Holy Ghost is real and that He helps us and guides us to make decisions that God wants. This is the Lord’s work, it is Christ’s church. He is the head of it and that is why we are lead to people everyday. Because Heavenly Father wants ALL, not just some but ALL of His children to return back to Him. I don’t know what’s going to happen with these 3 fellows. But a seed has been planted and I know that their hearts are open to  e taught what they’ve yearned to be taught all this time. I am an instrument in God’s hands, relying on Him and His will as best I can to be obedient. Time and time again I see the blessings that come from keeping His commandments and putting Him first. Everything else just falls into place. It’s amazing.
Just to summarize the week
Tuesday we had a specialized training meeting with our zone and another. It was fantastic- SO insightful and I learned so much. More effective study habits, planning etc. You’ve got to take it back to the basics and each day can be SO awesome if you prepare well!
Wednesday and thursday visited with a lot of less actives and recent converts. We’re still trying to get to know everyone around here. We did service by weeding for 2 hours (I know that would make mom smile) in a ward members yard. He had a stroke and is in a wheelchair but He loves flowers so we have been tending to his garden each week. I’m getting a green thumb a little bit!
 Friday we committed one of our other investigators to be baptized! She grew up baptist but has felt that something was missing and as we taught her the Plan of Salvation she kept saying “this makes sense,this totally makes sense”.
Sunday only one of our investigators came to church but 2 less actives came! I totally know what it’s like as a missionary now to invite a TON of people to church. And then have only 1 or 2 come 😦 but that’s okay! We’re not going to quit.
Anyways I have to go! But I love you all! And thank you for your letters! I received a few this week from friends and family! thank you!
I love this work. I am GRATEFUL for the opportunity God has given me to be apart of it.
Amor,
Sister McCleve
11301 Grand Oak Drive Apt #10
Grand Blanc, MI 48439

7th Letter–Grand Blanc, MI–May 13, 2013

Hi family!

Yes I’ve been reassigned to the Detroit Michigan Mission. So here I am. I have no idea how long I’ll stay here, I think at least 1 transfer (6 weeks). But president said as soon as my visa comes through I’ll be off to Brazil within a few days so we’ll see. But hey! Happy belated mothers day. It was sooooooo good to talk to all of you yesterday. You have no idea how wonderful it was to hear your voices. I love you all so much. I have the best family, your support, prayers, and encouraging words have strengthened me so much. THank you!
So to recap: we left the MTC monday (a week ago now) morning at 3:00 am. Our district has been split. 5 of us (My trio companionship, and then Elder’s Hoyt & Blanchard) got reassigned to michigan detroit mission, Elder’s Hendrickson, Hanna and Dean got reassigned to Spokane WA (haha), Elder Ryan only to Oakland California (all by himself) and then the other two sisters Dana & Butler got reassigned to Pittsburgh. So sad. I miss them all so much but it’s okay! The Lord has called us to these other places for a time. It’s exciting,unexpected but exciting.
SO we hopped on a huge bus and headed to the airport. Checking in took too long along with security so we missed our flight. Luckily we were able to get on another one so we still made it to our other connecting flight. So stressful when you don’t have a cell phone handy in times of an emergency haha but people are nice and let us use theirs 🙂
We arrived in Michigan and went to the mission home to meet the president and his wife-President and Sister Holmes. SO awesome I love them. I think they’ll send home a picture that they took with me (that’s what my companion told me) so you can see what they look like and how awesome I look since I had been traveling since 3:00 am-model shot for sure. HA.
We had dinner and interviews with the president and it was wonderful. He made me feel so loved and kept saying that me coming there was an answer to their prayers. Clearly the Lord needs me here for many reasons that I don’t know but I’m here to serve.
After dinner we got picked up by some sister missionaries and went out proselyting. I went tracting haha. My new temporary companion asked ” so what’s your experiences with door approaches?” And I responded “Do you really want to know?” she gave me a puzzled look and I continued; “I sold pest control for a summer job, knocked doors for 60 hours a week roughly…” She laughed and said “well this will be a sitch then”. It was very different from sales though, obviously because we’re not selling anything. We talked to a few people about their religious backgrounds (all black women answered the door). They’re so funny. I love black people. ANYWAYS it was a good first time proselyting experience.
The next day we went to our transfer/new missionary meeting and I met my new companions. I’m in another trio-yes. Sis. Smithson has been out 6 weeks and Sis.Thompson goes home in 2 transfers. We then found out our new areas (even though the whole state of Michigan is new to me haha). We were assigned to the Grand Blanc area. There are 4 other elders there so we have a district of 9 because we have senior missionaries in our area too woo!
And that’s where I’ve been the last week. It’s a small town a lot like ferndale. 1 1/2 hrs away from the city so it’s SAFE. Yes I am alive and well. We have a lot of investigators, recent converts, less actives and ward members that we’re trying to get to know since none of us have ever been here. Pretty overwhelming but there is a truth that I’ve really learned since I’ve been serving a mission. And that is growth cannot come in your comfort zone. Example: I was terrified going into the MTC, so many feelings of inadequacy and anxiety filled me. 6 weeks later I felt completely different, and I didn’t realize how special that place was until I got on that bus and drove away to the airport. And so here I am in a new state, new ward, new pesquisadores (investigators), new compainheras, apartment etc. and I’m getting thrown into it. I know that the Lord doesn’t call the qualified, but He qualifies the called.
I love the work that I get to be apart of, to invite people to come unto Christ. I love seeing the faith of people of all walks of life. We talk to people everyday with different religious backgrounds (if any) and I admire the love these people have for God. It inspires me.
We talked to cute black lady (Niki) in rite aid the other day and talked to her about the restoration and the plan of salvation and she told us. “Ya know, I love my church, but you sisters have a spirit about you…I donno what but it’s something special and I’ll tell you I’d go to your church anytime just because of what I feel”.
I know that the gospel brings light into people lives, I know that’s what Niki felt as we shared a little bit of that truth with her. I know that other religions have truth to them but the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth through a prophet. And we have a modern, living prophet today just like Abraham, Moses, Noah etc. He is a mouth piece for God to guide the people in these Latter Days. I’m so grateful for Him-President Thomas S. Monson. General conference is amazing and I love how we get to hear from these apostles and other church leaders that are inspired by God.
The work is sweet.
Amor,
Sister McCleve

2 options to “snail mail” Sister McCleve:

Sister Mackenzie McCleve
c/o the Detroit Michigan Mission
33505 State St
Farmington, MI 48335
or her physical address:
11301 Grand Oak Drive
Grand Blanc, MI 48439
She would love to hear from you.  She prefers letters vs email.  That way she can read the letters as they arrive.  With email she’s only allowed to check it once a week and usually doesn’t have the ability to print it up.
Thank-you for all of your love, support and prayers for Kenzie.  We were able to talk to her yesterday.  She talked non-stop about the amazing experiences she is having… hard but she wouldn’t trade it in for anything.
Thank-you,
Jennifer
My MTC Comp and two sisters trackng our first night in MI.

My MTC Comp and two sisters trackng our first night in MI.

I'm in a threesome again.  First companons in MI.

I’m in a threesome again. First companons in MI.

Non-members playing Basketball at the church.  Shared verses from scripture and then played BB.  So much fun.

Non-members playing Basketball at the church. Shared verses from scripture and then played BB. So much fun.

I played with a bunch of street baller's.  Ha ha. They're awesome. So much Fun!!

I played with a bunch of street baller’s. Ha ha. They’re awesome. So much Fun!!

6th Letter–MTC–April 30, 2013

Hey family and friends 🙂
Okay so this is possibly my last email here from the MTC but I’m not sure yet. Depends on my reassignment which will come this weeK! Crazy! It’s like getting a mission call all over again-can I handle it??? Haha yes. Tudo bem, tudo bem. I could go anywhere from montana to florida so be ready 🙂
Anyways because this is our last full week they changed our p-day so today (tuesday) is our preparation day (p-day, in case you never understood what the was). Okay so friday (which was my last p-day) was AWESOME. I woke up way early and emailed/did laundry and then our district went to the temple 🙂 I love that they let us missionaries go to the temple EVERY week while you’re in the MTC-such a wonderful blessing and opportunity to serve and to learn more of Heavenly Father’s plan for us. My eternal perspective is strengthened every time I attend the temple, I hope to continue to go there often for the rest of my life.
After we got back from the temple we went outside because the weather here in provo has been so nice lately. 60’s-70’s, it feels like summer and I couldn’t be happier. I LOVE THE SUN! I even got sunburt hahaha (sorry Aunt Robin 😉 ) I should’ve taken a picture of it because my pale skin hadn’t had that much vitamin D exposure in ages-t’was great. Our district lounged in the sun during our personal time-writing letters and playing hackey sack. We then wanted to get some wiggles out, since we’re in class practically all day every day. We played “bunny bunny” and “King bull frog”, oh the joys that come from being an efy counselor haha you always have random games to play up your sleeve that teens like and even missionaries haha. It was so much fun the elders were being so so silly it was great. We then had Sister Dana lead our district in a yoga session. Yes, yoga. Pretty sure no other district has ever considered such an idea in the MTC but we do it outside in the grass together and it’s awesome/hilarious. I’ll attach a picture of some of our elders doing a warrior pose. Our district really has a lot of unity…I don’t know if I’ve mentioned that before, but we do. You see a lot of other districts around that study in class but they don’t eat together at the cafeteria or sit together at devotionals etc. Our district does everything together and we like it that way. I know that my MTC experience would’ve been so so so different had I not been with these other elders and sisters. I am so grateful for them. I know that I wouldn’t have been able to get through so much of what gets thrown at you on a mission if they weren’t here with me. I love them all so much and I know we were placed in eachothers lives for a reason 🙂 I wish you could meet them all. They are incredible and although I’m the oldest, I look up to them and they are each examples to me in their own way. It’s been wonderful.
Saturday we taught 3 lessons in one day- here that seems like a bit much but in the field that will be minimal! haha I have a long way to go. It was fantastic! We had one that we taught for TRC where it’s a random investigator that we’ve never met/1st time/one time visit. Her name was abigail and we taught her about the restoration and the Book of Mormon. My portuguese has improved a bit and I was able to share much more than I anticipated. The spirit was so strong, again strengthening my testimony of the truthfulness of our message. You can’t deny it when you feel it. Peace, warmth, goodness all in one. It just feels right. After the lesson she told us we did so well and that she had served a mission in Brasilia Brazil. She told us that the people of Brazil are so grateful for that fact that we as sisters are even there sharing a message that means so much to us. She said to not stress about perfecting the language because it’s about what they feel, not what you say. Her words brought me so much comfort and I left that lesson feeling more motivated to be a better and humble missionary. This is HIS work, not ours. But the Lord’s 🙂 We are simply instruments in His hands, and I love it.
Sunday sister Oscarson (the new general YW president) came and spoke in relief society. We met her afterwards briefly, such a cool lady. She talked a lot about how we are participating in the gathering of Israel and that our respond to the prophets call is historical. There is work to be done, and we are prepared and willing to serve. She complimented us a lot and commended us for our desire to serve. Again, I’m so glad I decided to come and serve a mission 🙂 I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else right now.
Later we went on a temple walk and took some pictures (I forgot my camera but I’ll get some from my companions). It was such a nice day again as we walked around among the hundreds of missionaries that flock to the temple on sundays ahha I love it.
That night we had a devotional with Brother Stephan Allen who is the managing director here at the MTC. It was awesome! He’s so funny, totally has a dry sense of humor like I do sometimes haha I love people like that. Very blunt and straight to the point (like Elder Holland). He talked a lot about how satan knows our buttons, and likes to push them. He’s ticked off that I’m here, serving the Lord and helping to save souls who are lost and know not where to go. Hearing him say that revved me a bit (not in bad way, but motivating) it reminded me of that quote that read “Be that person that when you get up in the morning and you’re feet hit the floor Satan thinks ‘oh crap, she’s up’ ” HAHA. I know that sharing this message of happiness and love does nothing but displeases the adversary. He loathes us all, especially our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. He wants us to be miserable like He is, He is real. But we can overcome his temptations and fiery darts he tries to throw at us in life through our Savior Jesus Christ because HE is the way, the truth and the light. There is an opposition in all things. And He is our biggest opposition.
Later we watched a talk by Elder Holland. Incredible-I love that man. I wish I could’ve been with the Jacobsen clan when he came and stayed with them in Florida. I would love to meet and chat with him someday. He talked about us needing to appreciate living in the last dispensation. We are so blessed to live at a time where the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth. With living prophets and apostles, ordinances, true doctrine. He also went on to say that if we do it right, are obedient and work hard that our mission will be a time in our life where we are closest to God. Oh how I yearn for that, again I left that fireside more motivated than before. The Lord is teaching me so much. And I’m changing. Change is good, I need to be better, I want to be better, it feels good to be better. Heavenly Father knows it makes us happy when we are striving to become more like Him 🙂
I have to go!
I love you all, can’t wait to let you all know where I’m going!
Love,
Sister McCleve
Beautiful Preparation Day in Provo, Utah

Beautiful Preparation Day in Provo, Utah

IMG_0353 IMG_0269