Monday, August 18, 2014

Change of heart - Fernando's Baptism - White clothes can't stay white in a mud hole - Random facts about Paraguay

So one of the first things you have to know about people in Paraguay, is that they do not have the same opportunities that we have in America. Their schooling is very poor and not very frequent. So those of you who are not too happy that schoool is starting this week, you should be more grateful!!! ;) But really many of the people here struggle with things that most of us take for granted. Many of the people we teach do not know how to read. Almost all of the people here I can read Spanish better than them and NOBODY who speaks Guarani knows how to read Guarani. I am sure you can see how this would be difficult to teach people who cant comprehend things like that. However, I am growing to love them more and more because of their struggles. In a way, they are going through similar things as I am trying to learn this language.
I have talked about Fernando a bit recently, and told you about his baptism. He is the smartest person I have ran into here and he is only 14. He has a true desire to learn. He goes to a special school so he can be better educated. He really is a genious. He reminds me a lot of one of my best friends Tanner. Tanner and I went through a lot together in the last few months at home, including the missionary discussions. Tanner is also a genious. Although the missionaries could convince Tanner of the truth through facts, it wasn't until the spirit confirmed the truth of this gospel that he accepted baptism. Fernando was like this. From what I understand, the Missionaries before me had been working with him for 6 or more months. They never gave up. Finally he was ready to be baptized.  
Although I hadn't known him exceptionally well (especially with a bit of a language barrier) he chose me to baptize him. When he told me he wanted me to baptize him I was shocked. SO honored, but so shocked. This experience reminded me of Tanner and the change in heart he has helped me achieve. Thank you Tanner and Fernando for changing my life.

Alright, so the baptism was in a river, and I have to say... that was awesome. Very cold, but awesome. The fact that it was in Castellano was that much cooler. Unfortunately after the baptism I found a pretty deep mud whole (and of course I am wearing all white) and fell in it and nearly lost both my shoes!!
My comp was just busting up laughing along with the rest of the group that came to the baptism. 

Alright so I figured I would give everybody a list of random facts about Paraguay so here we go...
1. Dogs. There are dogs every where. No matter where you look. The streets, in houses, in stores on roofs, in the sky, there are dogs.
2. Mud and Floods. It rains a lot! The roads are made of dirt and rocks so there is always mud. Often we cant go to meetings because of the floods in the roads (especially in the area I am in).
3. So I am going to give you an example of a typical house.
Most houses are like this. VERY poor. Although you cant see it in this picture, this house has a satellite dish for TV. Every single house in this country has TV and every kid who has more than 14 or so years has a phone. Although their houses look like this! It is so backwards!
4. The food is amazing. I don't know why we haven't taken some of these recipes over to the states!!!! IT is impossible to not get fat here! ;) (So far I haven't gained, but I don't know how much hope I have for the future!)
5. Buses are crazy, as well as everybody else who drives. They just go and hope they don't get hit! Okay not really but it sure seems like it!
6. Their Spanish is bad! They don't really know how to conjugate! (sorry for those of you that don't know much about Spanish) They often will say things like, Yo estamos aqui...) yeah even I know that's not right!
7. They dont have a trash system so they just burn their trash!!
Yeah this happens throughout the day and night as we walk the streets...
8. All our discussions are done outside. I used to think it was the weirdest thing in the world, but now I cant imagine doing a lesson inside a house!
9. They play volleyball with their feet. No need to explain there, its just awesome.
10. All their clothes are in English. We talked to this big tough guy and he was wearing an English shirt that said "I love hugs".

Alright well I don't have too much more time, but again thanks for reading!

Suerte con escuela! Se que empieza pronto, y voy a orar por cada de ustedes. Les quiero!

Elder Graves 

Write to Elder Graves in 1 of 4 ways:
1. E-mail
2. Send mail through
They will print and mail it for you at no cost (without a stamp).  This is a free service. Instructions:
Select the "Argentina Posadas Mission"

3. Send letters through the Church Pouch Mail Only postcards or one-page correspondences (no envelopes).

Fold the letter in thirds, secure the long side with tape about one inch in from each end. Do not seal the ends. Stamp and address the blank side as you would an envelope. Use the following mailing address:
Elder Taylor Graves
Argentina Posadas Mission
POB 30150
Salt Lake City, UT

4. Physical Mailing Address.
Due to exorbitant costs incurred in the country of Argentina by the church, He can not receive packages :-( - not even a bubble envelope. Please refrain from sending anything other than an envelope/letter - anything else will likely be returned to sender.

Elder Taylor Graves
Córdoba 1243
Posadas, Misiones 3300
Casilla 12

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