Nov 11, 2013–Setubal, BRAZIL

Ola minha Familia!
We are near thanksgiving and I want to share my thanks with you all ūüôā (sadly they dont have the holiday here-obviously)
Ah I hope you are all doing splendid! Thank you for your emails and updates and updating my blog etc. Seriously I have the greatest family. Even aunts and uncles, grandparents that have written via email AND even snail mail has been a huge blessing and I am eternally grateful. Thank you. Also to non family-friends your emails and support are also so appreciated. Obrigada!
¬†I have thinking a lot about family this week. It has been quite the week. ¬†Mainly because 1. I miss you all (always) 2. Because of the lack of family unity I have seen since I’ve been here in Setubal.¬†To explain,¬†my area is really pobre (poor) so¬†we teach a lot in favelas. You can google them. Basically dirt/cement floor and tin pieces somehow welded or stuck together for a roof. It is really sad. It is amazing and saddening to see people and children living in such conditions which to them is normal. We had them in Boa Viagem but my companion didn’t like teaching there, we just stuck with the apartments we had. So being here in this area has been a big difference for me.¬†I want to say that I am so grateful for my house, for food that is clean and okay to eat, for running water, for clean plates and dishes and counter space without ants and cockroaches crawling on them¬†(yes we even have these in our house here in setubal), a chair to sit in, clean clothes, a table where we can eat, SHOES, a toilet inside a house, a clean comfortable bed to sleep in…the list could go on.
I have been humbled a lot. I wish I could take these kids out of such conditions but I can’t. I wish I could stop the¬†fighting and abuse I have seen but I can’t. I can share the gospel and pray that people will feel the light that it has and hold onto it. This week I have felt that although everyone lets us in to teach them, people think that this message of eternal joy that is real is just some other gimmick or false advertisement like many businesses and churches have. How can one feel the way I feel as I testify of the truth of what I know and have experienced in my life? They will never know exactly. But the spirit can help them to feel the truth of what we share as missionaries.
Last night we were teaching a new investigator Duce. She asked us if our families were worried about us being here away from them. I quickly responded and explained as best I could in my broken portuguese;¬†“No Duce,¬†my family is not worried about me being here, my family is happy that I am here because they know that what I am doing here is helping other people. They already have the gospel in their lives and the blessings that come¬†it. They know how important and true it is. They know that others need and want to feel the same happiness and peace too. So I am here to share that with them. My family misses me and I miss them, but there is nothing else I would be doing right now in my life that is as important as this”.
She¬†nodded as I spoke¬†and I knew she felt the spirit testify of what I¬†said.¬†I too¬†felt at peace knowing that I truly am where¬†I am supposed to be doing what the Lord needs me to do. I am so grateful to be a missionary. In Michigan and here in Brazil-how blessed I have been. I¬†have learned so much more about myself, and what¬†my strengths and weaknesses are and with that how much I truly need the Savior’s help every day. But¬†at least I know I¬†have help. I¬†know my Savior and what He has done and continues to do for me and all of us.¬†He lives and loves us.
I am excited to continue serving with these people. I have a love for them and a love for the people in Michigan as well. I know that comes from serving others. We have so many people we are working with and I know there are a lot of people here that Sister Menezes and I need to find. I feel that. I love this gospel and the OPPORTUNITY I have to invite others to come unto Christ every day for 18 months. I am so grateful for my trials that have humbled me and brought me closer to the Lord and helped me to better understand the atonement. I know the Lord loves us and supports us. Alma 36:3
 I want to you to know I love you all and am GRATEFUL for you. I am Grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ that has been restored to the earth. I am grateful to be a representative of Jesus Christ. I can honestly say I understand a bit more of what He experienced and its another testimony to me of how much He loves each of us. Remember that.
Com Amor,
Sister McCleve
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