Oct 14, 2013–Recife, BRAZIL

hey family!
okay so to answer some of your questions.

Sister Lima is from Osasco (part of Sao Paulo) and sister Massagardi is from

Its SUPER HOT here. I have never sweat so much in my life haha. Summer doesn’t start until like november december so I have a lot to look forward to haha. I hope I survive. The worst part is the humidity-it feels like you’re swimming in an invisible fog of sticky ick……yaaa that is how I’d best describe it haha.

Our area is called Boa Viagem its RIGHT on the beach and thats the name of our ward as well. Our stake is also Boa Viagem. Our ward is pretty small from what I saw yesterday-nice members though very friendly but maybe thats because I am new.

Yes the mosquitos are killer and although I use bug spray I brought it doesnt seem to help-like these guys are immune to it. My legs are covered in bug bites. They’re sneaky little devils. As far as I know I haven’t really heard about any natural remedies the people have here…I shall investigate more thoroughly. A lot of the food we eat has rice and beans, some sort of meat and either Guyarana-kind of like sangria or Coke (no I don’t like coke-I never have). Yes the food is delcious and I HAVE NOT GOTTEN SICK YET! HUrray 🙂 Just tired….really tired. It’s super difficult after almoco because you get so tired after eating and staying awake is the last thing your body wants to do. Discipline-self mastery I guess and praying to stay awake. The cakes and pastries here aren’t that great. The meat and fruit are awesome-my opinion.

No big bugs I guess cockroaches but I don’t really see them much. We keep our apartment pretty clean (it takes us lik 2-3 hours to clean it on pday because of how much dirt we bring in). I have realized that I will not see or step on carpet for the next 11 months haha because everything here is tile flooring or dirt. Funny thought. I think I might end up sleeping on the floor once summer comes (in a couple months) to keep myself alive-pictures soon to follow I am sure.

My mission president is from Sao Paulo and yes I have spoken english with him and its pretty good but he isn’t completely fluent pretty close though. Very military like and serious but loving. Really laid back at the same time-I think one thing I’ve really noticed that’s different about me compared to everyone else here is my sense of urgency. Everyone (including missionaries here) are very laid back. Focused sure but relaxed too.

So I have learned a lot this week that the Lord put me here to EMBRACE and change. I cannot change these people, my companion, the smells in favelas etc. I have to change and adapt and continue to move forward. I have never been so exhausted in my life. I can’t even tell you how depleted of energy I feel at the end of each day. It’s insane. I seriously could not keep serving a mission (including the physical spectrum) without the help of The Lord. This is His work. And He certainly helps us. There are so many differences here with the culture that I learn about and experience. It’s definitely different when you actually live somewhere rather than simply visiting for a vacation you really see, hear and experience so much more. Some moments it’s so difficult and frustrating (like why a baptism starts 1 1/2 hrs late and no one blinks an eye) !???? But I know I need to learn to love. LOVE LOVE LOVE. So I hope I can strengthen the love that I thought I had (I’m going to say it seems pretty miniscule right now) into so much more these next 11 months. Only Heavenly Father and continuing to serve will help me do this.

I can’t talk about everyone we see because we see A LOT of people. I still barely remember names and faces of anyone. Which stinks because I am normally pretty good with names but with brazilados-differente historia com certeza! We have Samuel-so cute! 11 years old inv. who’s mom passed away from cancer so he lives with his grandma who wants to get baptized too but her husband wont let her :(. He will be getting baptized either this sunday or next sunday depending on his behavior grandma said…..haha love it. He is awesome! He loves the church! I was sitting with him saturday at a baptism and he was looking through the hymnbook reading the lyrics. Love him so much. Camilla is another investigator who’s 14 and also likes the church, we’re going to try and put her on date for baptism this week as well she is so sweet. I do love the youth here so much, their hearts are HUGE. It’s so inspiring. We also have Elias who’s dating a member and he also accepted the invitation to be baptized but they’re living together and hes in the process of divorcing his other wife (with finalizing a divorce here the government process is soooo slow as is everything else in brazil). Tough situation there. We have a lot of other investigators but none are really progressing at this point. So we’re continuing to make contatos (contacts) with people to find those who are prepared to hear the gospel and make covenants with Heavenly Father.

I do want to talk about Manuel to finish. Manuel is a recent convert of 3 months now. He is single, in his late 60’s, lives alone in a favela and doesn’t know how to read. However Sister Massagardi and I went to visit him (it was my first time meeting him) so he could pay his tithing. He doesn’t know how to read the papers but Sister Massagardi helps him by filling it out because he knows its a commandment of the Lord. WHAT FAITH! My heart was so touched by his humble example of one who truly wants to follow Jesus Christ. Manuel is someone who has so little to give and yet he obeys because he knows its what the Lord has asked. Incredible. SO humbling to be there at his home and hear his testimony. And although I could barely understand the words I could feel his sincerety and love for The Lord. Amazing.

I continue to learn more each day with the culture and the language. I can understand people a little better when they speak slowly but still my head hurts a lot and I continue to sleep like a baby because of the mental and physical strain I go through day after day. Its been a wild ride. And like I said before I am just trying to embrace it all. I have felt your prayers and thoughts as I’ve been here. MUITO OBRIGADA! Seriously, I love getting emails from you all I feel so loved and supported and it makes a huge difference. I know the missionaries that are serving in your wards need to feel loved as well. They may look happy on the outiside but remember how difficult missions are and be sure to smile and get to know them better. It helps us out a lot.

Love you all. Transfers are next week and sister Massagardi thinks she might be leaving even though we’re supposed to be together 12 weeks for my training. Man oh man. I don’t even remember the names of streets so if she leaves I can’t imagine how I am supposed to “take over” the area. She is very loved here and knows this place like the back of her hand. I need more time! Ah! I’ll keep you posted once we find out. It would certainly be yet ANOTHER challenge on the mission (inside the mission itself) Heavenly Father would give to me to overcome. He’s helped me do that so many times so far. How blessed I have been for my trials and tribulations to learn and grow that much more. That’s basically a mission in a nut shell. Haha gotta love it.

Thank you for all you do and your examples to me over the years. Ate proxima semana
Beijos!
Sister McCleve
ps. The computers here are super tempermental therefore today I couldn’t send pictures. I will try and find away hopefully next week.
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