August 11, 2014– Candeais, BRAZIL

Ola Familia,

Prayers are answered. Sister Silva and I fasted this week for Tito and our other investigators but mainly with him in mind.  We were teaching Tito and Fatima and Titu was being SO STUBBORN. Refusing to recognize tha tdrinking is in fact pecado (sin) and that it is not only hurting himself but also his family.  We asked if we could pour his current bottle of Cachaça down the drain to which he responded absolutely not. Satan had a firm hold on him, really tight. However as we know Heavenly Father’s power is and always will be greater than the adversary’s. A couple days later we discovered Tito had had a ceisure(spelling?) and is recooperating now. This is what happens when he hits his limit of drinking constantly. He quits for about 15-20 days because he’s extremely sick and fragile. Bed ridden. And then goes back to drinking again.

We went to teach him and Fatima almost with a smile on her face said “Tito had a ceisure, he’s fine now but he’s stopped drinking”. We’ll take that. We went in to see how he was  and began talking with him. It was incredible of how different he seemed already. Almost like a different person. Alcoholism really changes people. His friend Samuel was there who we had just met and we talked to him a couple minutes. He is the only TRUE friend that Tito has that doesn’t bum off him for money or booze. He’s always been consistent and loyal to their family Fatima told us. As he walked out the door he said “Tito, pay attention, your 2 kids went to this church and were baptized  and now you’ve got these 2 sisters here at your side. Everything happens for a reason”. That was pretty sweet as we felt the spirit in that moment. As we talked with him he turned to us in his feeble state and said “oh my dear friends. I know God sent you to me. I’m so sorry for what I said to you last time. You were sent to help me.I know I need to stop drinking. In the name of Jesus I will never drink again. I know that I’ve said this before but I know it’s going to be different because you 2 angels are here to help me”. Fabio was sitting there next to us…you could tell he wanted to believe but was doubtful…that his dad would go through the same routine, nothing changing. It hurt to see the pain he felt, he was holding back tears. We talked about the atonement and how this change was in the hands of Tito, if he really trusted in God as he says he does then he needs to exercise his face and all of his strength to stay strong and not FLIRT with temptation. We set goals with him and Fatima and he gave us permission immediately to throw away the cachaça. I poured it down the sink, the smell gave me a head ache. Sick.

We taught them about temples last night because this saturday our ward is going to have a caravan for recent converts and investigators to visit the temple gardens and for those that can enter to do baptisms. Fatima was really interested. She asked “So do I need to wear white to the temple? Because look, I’ve already got a white outfit….tito on the other hand I’m not sure about” hahahaha so cute. I don’t remember if I’ve already shared but Fatima is catholic but not practicing. She always say’s those decorated prayers that they have in the little books. To Mary and other saints (sorry it’s weird trying to explain this in english). Em outras palavras ela reza DIARIAMENTE. Last night we asked her to say that closing prayer. Ah it was so cute. She said “Heavenly Father, I want to thank you for sending these two girls to my house. To help my family and to help my husband quit drinking. I know that they are helping and so is their church, so thank you. I want you to bring them back here after they finish their missions because they are very special to me. Thank you. Em nome de Jesus Cristo amen”. Once again the spirit was felt and I know that Fatima knows that these things are true. Her and Tito will be baptized, I just know it. Silva and I keep feeling like that’s why we stayed here together was for this family. Please keep them in your prayers. I love them so much.
I’m at a loss of words in the moment…I just read many emails and saw pictures of Grandpa Brenchley’s funeral/viewing. President Bigelow called me into the office this week for an “interview”. Threw me off gaurd being the 1st week of the transfer. As I went into his office he told me “I wanted to let you know that your mom called and that your grandpa has passed away. But I’ve got her number right here and she asked me if she could talk to you for a few minutes so I’m gonna have you call her while I step out and you two can talk for as long as you want okay? “. He was already dialing as I sat there in my chair stunned….tears streaming but still in shock. I was surpised to hear how upbeat and peppy mom’s voice sounded which was such a relief to me.I’ve thought a lot this week about the plan of Salvation. I am so grateful for temples. And the sealing power that is exercised in each of these sacred houses of the Lord here on earth. This priesthood power that is REAL. And binds families together forever, never to be separated. NEVER. We teach people all the time about the plan and its a privilege to do so. Especially to give people hope after losing a loved one. Well I guess I had that kind of experience once again for me this week with losing Grandpa Brenchley. I really really loved and looked up to him so much. He always had the cutest nick names that I remember as a little girl. I’m so glad mom and I took that trip down to AZ before I left on my mission to see him one last time. He was always such a go getter, even hearing him grumbling about being bed-ridden in the hospital makes me smile because he had such a bright spirit. I loved receiving his emails during my mission sharing family history and mission stories from his life. That always meant a lot to me. I know that he is doing exactly what I’m doing right now. Teaching, preaching and inviting others to come unto Christ in the spirit world. This life is but a small moment….and it is precious as we can understand when one life is taken from us. But how grateful I am to know that as real and tangible and living as Grandpa was aqui, he still is there.

Today I read the following scripture “But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art convertedstrengthen thy brethren” Luke 22:31-32

I have thought about my own conversion that is an ever going process. However I know that as I’m refining myself and striving to become more and more converted to the gospel that I am here for who? Others. This scripture really hit home with me today thinking about the loss of Grandpa. As I was in presidents office after I finished the phone call with mom president asked what he could do to help. I just told him that I just needed to keep going. To keep doing what I’m doing because I can’t accept any other option. President and I talked more and he said that these times are rough in various aspects. One imparticular is when the missionary uses an experience like this to not work. I thought about that a bit and honestly I can understand that the feelings of sadness, vacancy of that person can be distracting and heavy. But at the same time, I like to think of what “that person” would want me to do…how they would want me to react. And with out a doubt I know the Grandpa would want me to get up, brush myself self off and keep going. Go and strengthen thy brethren.

That’s what I’m here to do. And oh what joy comes from doing so. It is incredible to see that when you are fighting your own battles, that there are ALWAYS people around you that you can lift up and strengthen. It is the natural man that eats at me….leaving me wanting to think of myself but where does that get us? No where.

I love this gospel. I love The Savior and His completely perfect example for us to not just stand in awe but to follow. We are safe and secure if we choose to LIVE His teachings and keep His commandments.
I love you all dearly, and I am so grateful for the INCREDIBLE family that I have. I know that Grandpa B. left a great legacy and I am so grateful and proud to be called his granddaughter:) I hope that I can amplify somewhat of his incredible example that he left to all of us. A life of service, joy and work!
 
Have a fantastic week and also I encourage you all to grab a copy of preach my gospel. I gave a talk yesterday on PMG and I know that each and every one of you through prayerful study can receive inspiration as to how YOU can help build the kingdom of God here on the earth. PMG is FULLLLLLLL of doctrine that is taught and explained so clearly. Your testimonie’s will flourish and your understanding of the gospel will grow. That is a promise viu!? Let’s hop to it people!
Love love love
Sister McCleve
 
Nacho Libre

Nacho Libre

Sisters

Sisters

My missionary peeps

My missionary peeps

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