April 21, 2014 — Candeais, BRAZIL (Semana 2)

Oiiii Familia Feliz Pascoa! 

Sorry I can’t send pictures. I will next week!

Primeiro-Shmurf (Geoffrey) parabens com seu visto!!! Que massa! Seriously so excited for you! The Lord truly knows where we need to be and how LONG we need to be there. How interesting that we both spent 1/3 of our missions stateside serving another people. You will be grateful for that part of your mission forever. I miss Michigan, and michiganders (and the fellow missionaries I served with) will ALWAYS have a special place in my heart. Same with you and Texas 🙂 Now you’re off to BRASILLLLLLL! Agora! Boa Sorte!!! I am so stoked for you!!!!!!
OKay well I basically am just a happy little Sister McCleve right now. I had the greatest weekend of my mission. Easter-the time of the Ressurection of the Savior. My heart is full and happy and seriously I wish this moment could repeat over and over again.
This was saturday night….a few thoughts from my journal that I wrote:
Tonight was one of the most special nights of my life. Natalia(22) and Raphael (26) were baptized as members of A Igreja de Jesus Cristo dos Santos Dos Ultimos Dias. It doesn’t feel like it has hit me, but it happened. Covenants were made tonight that changed the lives of 2 people that I love so much.
I know that their mom who is up in Heaven is so happy that they made this decision. The gospel completed the part that was missing in their lives. I know that they are elect and truly were prepared by the Lord. Only 2 months ago Natalia was introduced to the gospel by Levi (member) and now 2 months later her and her brother Raphael entered into the waters of baptism to take Christ’s name upon them and follow Him the rest of their lives. Their lives were changed forever.
Sunday
I really felt that last night was a witness and building block to my testimony that the gospel changes lives. Literally. It’s not a fairy tale or a recipe or some formula that will work its magic for a time and then fade, dissolve or evaporate into thin air. No, it is constant and steadfast. A rock which if we build upon we cannot fall. Natalia and Raph chose to leave the things of the world behind and enter into a family. A family in the church of our Salvador e Redentor Jesus Cristo. The joy and light that I saw in they eyes of this brother and sister just RADIATED. You couldn’t deny that this night meant so much to them. Natalia said to me ” I can’t believe after all this time, that this is happening, I’ve waited so long for this..” She said before the baptism that her feelings were divided into 3 parts “emotional, sad because I miss my mom and wish she was here with me, excited because I know what I’m doing is right, and happy because I’m going to be closer to my mom”.  As I saw them dressed in white I was so happy. I wanted hug Raphael so bad. The love I have for these two is so strong. As they waited to be baptized they started whispering and giggling together (they are the closest brother and sister I have ever seen and I love it). THEY WERE SO HAPPY!!!!!!!! Natalia was baptized first and GLOWING, I was so happy for her she did it!
She came into the bathroom soaking wet in her white jump suit and cried saying “thank you thank you thank you for everything” we just held her as she cried. I love her so much and I could feel Heavenly Father’s love for her. She said she knew her mom was happy with her decision and she felt closer to her. Raphael went next and he was so calm and reverent. You could tell that this moment was SO important to him. He went down and up so fast and was just beaming (they have the cutest/happiest smiles). The spirit was so so so so strong through out the whole baptism. I was beaming. The same continued for the confirmations of them the next day at church. I had never had such a spiritual experience (it was like a flood of the spirit) through out my whole mission. And this was the most memorable baptism/confirmation I have ever witnessed.
The most amazing part of this story is that the father of Natalia and Raphael had a dream the night after the baptism. He dreamt that their mom (who had passed away) came to him and told him how happy she was that her son and daughter were baptized. He woke up and sent a text to them telling them about his dream. Truly this is the work of Salvation, not just here on this earth but on the other side of the veil.
I feel so blessed. I was nervous when I arrived in Candeias. I felt like I had lost a lot of faith because of the trials of my last transfer. I remember feeling doubtful and hoping that things would work out in some way. I remember just 2 weeks ago we taught Natalia for the first time, and I felt a connection with her that I had never felt with any other investigator through out my whole mission. Duarte told me that her and sister white had been praying and fasting that they could teach Natalia. But it just wasn’t time yet. She wasn’t ready to take the lessons for some reason. The day of transfers, after I knew I was going to Candeias and we were getting ready to leave. Duarte got a call from Levi saying Natalia agreed to take the lessons. It was the next day we went and taught her….
Duarte told me “I don’t know why the timing played out the way that it did, I couldn’t understand. But now I know that you needed to be her McCleve. You needed to teach them.”
How little I know the blessings that God has in store for us.He always continues to bless us even when the view seems grim. I will be forever grateful for my mission but specifically for the opportunity I had to know and teach Raphael and Natalia. I love them. I know that I promised them before this life that I would come and teach them the restored gospel. They were being prepared and I guess in a similar way so was I. I feel like my mission scripture was fulfilled with these 2 dear friends of mine. My brother and sister that I found again here in Brazil.
 
Mosiah 18:30″….. how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer; yea, and how blessed are they, for they shall bsing to his praise forever..”
 
Love,
Sister McCleve
Last week with Sister Orr

Last week with Sister Orr

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