March 3, 2014 — Setabul, BRAZIL

Ola fam bam,
So 1st of all we’re in a different internet house because the one we normally used is closed. This one is old school, and my keyboard is nuts (for example I can’t use the question mark symbol) needless to say bare with me with the conventional errors please.

1st question why is our normal internet place closed (question mark) Because of Carnaval. Yes the famous carnaval that everyone talked about when they heard I was going to Brazil on my mission. “Oh dudeee you’ll be in Brazil during Carnaval! It’s going to be nuts”-agreed. We have a curfew for 6 days (this past friday until this thursday) to be inside our houses/apartments by 5 pm. Because there are high/drunk people running around in the streets and loud music blaring etc. each night. During the day there’s huge parades or crowds of people drinking in dancing. It’s basically the great and spacious building in 2014 and they’re speaking portuguese hahaha I’m serious. The other night I woke up at 2 30 in the morning to music blaring and singing from our neighbors house…..you can’t call the police, complain, ask them to stop…no no, why it’s Carnaval! (heavy sarcasm). Anyways this is one part of the culture of Brazil I will not embrace. Along with this many people are not home because they’re at the beach getting smashed, no one is working this week either-majority of places are closed. Except for markets-everyone is there buying more liquor than I’ve seen in my life….seriously carne-val (meat-flesh/natural man status) is something else. I’m excited for it to pass so we can actually get out and teach people that are sober.

Butttttt let me talk about some cool experiences that did happen this week.
First of all tuesday we went back to some contacts we had made previously and taught a lesson on prayer. We invited Raquel (the mom) to say a prayer after we finished. We asked her what she’d like to express in her prayer she responded quickly peace and good health (what most people throw out when we ask them to pray). We agreed but then explained this prayer was special and that we wanted her to imagine that Christ was sitting in front of her, what she’d like to ask Him. After we asked she remained quiet….I watched patiently as tears filled her eyes and she began to cry. She chocked on her words and said that she was a sinner, that she didn’t deserve to ask Christ for anything-then she cried harder. We just sat there and let her cry for a couple minutes and then I looked at her at bore my witness about the power of the atonement and its reality. I felt the spirit so strong as I testified to her that none of us are unworthy enough to pray and talk with our Father in Heaven. He ALWAyS has His arms open for us. And there is always away to change and receive forgiveness through sincere repentance. It was awesome.Sister Montalvao shared her testimony as well and strengthened the spirit that was present. So rad. Raquel thanked us and said with a light in her eyes how grateful she was to hear that it wasn’t too late and she felt so much happier already. Hopefully we can go back and keep teaching her when she’s home.

Another sweet experience was to see Salete be confirmed and given the gift of the holy ghost this week in sacrament meeting at church. She was beaming from ear to ear. I love that little lady! She is learning little by little with the small understanding she has but I know the Lord is leading her along, I know that she is exactly where He wants her to be. I love being a witness of this.

This sacrament meeting was extremely special to me for another reason. And that was having the opportunity to see Edelson bless the sacrament.I always remember having gratitude for the worthy hands that prepared and blessed the sacrament each week in church. Being a worthy priesthood holder isn’t always an easy thing, but worthiness is essencial for this saving ordinance of the sacrament. I know Edelson was prepared to prepare and bless it. I was so proud of him, he was so careful and calm-it was awesome. I am so so so grateful I got to witness that as well. being fast and testimony meeting we got to hear testimonies including his. He talked about how each of us are little missionaries with seeds to plant (the gospel). He then shared 1st néfi capítulo 3 versículo 7 saying that the Lord wants us to be missionaries and will help/provide a way for each of us to be. SOOOOOO SWEEEEEttt! Love this guy! haha I was grinning thinking “wow, what a stud! he is progressing soooo well” I am so excited to see where he’ll be in a few years. Married in the temple starting a family hopefully!

To finish I want to share an experience that I had today that was very special. The other day I was pretty discouraged with the work and how I was feeling personally with not giving it my all/doubts etc. Basically beating myself up-something I’ve had a struggle with through out my mission…pushing pushing pushing to do more be better. I got pretty down and felt like I’d been more distant from the Lord than I’d like. I went downstairs and began reading a few different accounts in the Book of Mormon such as Ether, Moroni and Alma. I then grabbed my study journal that I had used a ton in michigan (I have like 4 study journals haha) and started reading through alllll of my notes from district meetings, conferences, interviews, personal study etc. pretty sweet and then I grabbed my 2nd mission journal (my personal one that I try to write in every couple days-I now am on my 3rd mission journal-woop woop!) and began reading from my last transfer in michigan until I arrived here in Brazil. And all I can say is WOW I am so stinkin blessed. I was humbled so much knowing that many times I felt alone or abandoned that really the Lord was RIGHT there all along. Seriously, it was as if someone smacked me on the head saying “Hello! McFly!”. I went into my room and knelt down and prayed asking for forgiveness of my aloofness/ignorance and just thanked the Lord for all of the blessings I’ve received from being on my mission. It is incredible, and I am so so so so so glad that I took the time to write down these experiences because had I not, today I probably still would’ve been bummed. I love President Henry B. Eyring-he always talks about journals/writing/tender mercies/recognizing the Lord’s hand in our lives. I know this is true. Today was An exact experience of the validity of this truth. He is inspired, as well as our Prophet and the bretheren. I am so grateful for them.

So 1. If you have a journal write in it/reflect on it too. 2. if you don’t have a journal get one and start writing. Whether it’s a paragraph or a page a day you will be so grateful you took the time to write.

I love you all. I feel your prayers and thoughts all the time-thank you! I love being a missionary-it is so difficult, it’s nothing like I’ve ever experienced in my life but I guess that’s why we grow so much if we open our hearts to the Lord. I know His hands are stronger than ours and can mold us into who He wants us to become.

As many times as I’ve thought about giving up in the mission-Heavenly Father has been with me. And everytime I’ve picked my head up and kept going, He’s smiling. Knowing that with every rushing river to cross, mountain to climb, sea to sail that I have the strength and power from On High to overcome it all. He is my Maker, My Father, My King.

Love,
Sister McCleve

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