Monday, May 25, 2015

Argentine "Cold" (Short Sleeve Weather :-) - Peanut Butter From Mom - Favorite Book = The Book Of Mormon - Hard Times = Growth - Coach Steve Allen, "It's OK to 'Take A Brake'"

Well everybody, I hope you all had a great week! We enjoyed a week full of rain, mud and some small tastes of what we call back home "cold". It really makes me laugh so much to see the people here bundled up in 2 or 3 coats because of the "freezing cold weather" and how EVERYONE is getting sick from this "immense" drop in temperature... When we pass by when we are walking down the street, everyone always stares at us, and its not because we are two giant white people that seemed to have appeared out of no where, but because we are still wearing short sleeves, in this bitter cold that we are passing through :)

It really is nice to have the climate change a little bit, here the heat is very hot, and it makes you sweat... a lot... haha. Now that its cold, we just sweat a little... haha. 


1. Alright... well I just want to report to everyone, that I had lost a lot of weight, about 10 pounds... but... I received my package, and my Mom so lovingly put peanut butter in the package. I am not ashamed to admit, that I ate it strait from the container :) I really don't know what it is, but being on a mission strangely gives you the inclination to eat peanut butter.


2. Here is a foto of me and my favorite book. The Book Of Mormon. If you haven't read it all the way through, you should. It is incredible.

Finding spiritual experiences. As I write in this blog, I think of the thousands of spiritual experiences that I have found. It is interesting the way that God has placed me in certain situations, just so that I will be able to learn a certain principle. I am amazed be his love he has shown for me as I am obedient. 

I have to admit, every missionary passes through hard times, and for some reason I have felt a little down this week :( haha, dont worry about me, it happens in every life of every person. When I have these times when I feel a little down, I think about the challenges I had before the mission, and how I was able to overcome them because of determination, and also being humble enough to except my weaknesses. 
 
 
This picture has some real meaning, just wait for the explanation. 
 
I remember that my running coach, Steve Allen did something that really confused me. I was going through a time in my running career when I really felt like I just couldn't run like I used to. I would get out, and tire very quickly. I didn't understand it, and asked my coach what I should do. He thought for a while, and later told me that he wanted me to take 3 days off of running. ¡¿WHAT!? Are you crazy coach?? Haha he told me to do it, and I obeyed, not really having a clue why. I later on realized why. After 3 days of not running, my drive to run increased. I missed the adrenaline that I got from it, and I missed the feeling of accomplishing something difficult. After my time off of running, I enjoyed every step of the runs that we did, because I learned to appreciate my time doing something difficult. What I am now trying to explain, is that I have now learned the importance of taking a break. When times get tough, we sit back, relax, and just think for a few minutes about the importance of the work we are doing. So when I found these "brakes" just laying down in the road, I thought it was very appropriate, as I have recently learned that it's okay to "take a brake"

I love this gospel and this work that we do. I know its true and nothing will shake my testimony. 
 
Elder Graves
Argentina Posadas Mission
LA IGLESIA DE
JESUCRISTO
DE LOS SANTOS
DE LOS ÚLTIMOS DÍAS
 
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Write to Elder Graves in 1 of 4 ways  :

1. E-mail tgraves@myldsmail.net

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

2. Send mail through www.DearElder.com
They will print and mail it for you at no cost (without a stamp).  This is a free service.

www.DearElder.com 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
84130-0150

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
4. Physical Mailing Address:
 
Elder Taylor Graves
Córdoba 1243
Posadas, Misiones 3300
Casilla 12
Argentina

Monday, May 18, 2015

Audio Message From Taylor (in Spanish) - Missionaries Able To Attend The Cordoba, Argentina Temple Dedication! - Tracting Can Be Funny :-) - Juliana Excited For Baptism - Juan To Marry Girlfriend May 29 & To Be Baptized Shortly After! - Saying Goodbye To Companion -

This is Taylor's Dad: 

After a difficult week at work and at a time when I personally needed to hear Taylor's voice, my prayers were answered with this very brief audio recording from Taylor.  An inspired friend in Argentina, recorded Taylor's 1 minute message to me (speaking in Spanish) and then sent it to me.  He sounded so happy.  The Spirit warmed my heart as I heard Taylor share his love for the gospel and our family.  After such a short time speaking Spanish, Taylor's level of fluency is a testament that he has truly been blessed with the gift of tongues.

Here is the audio message (which Taylor gave me permission to share on his blog :-) :



Here is Taylor's Letter: 
We got to "go to the temple" yesterday. The stake center here in Posadas acted as an extension to the new temple of Cordoba for the day yesterday so that we could be "there" for the dedication of this new temple. It has been more than 8 months more or less, since I have been inside a temple, and I really had missed that feeling. We entered the stake center (the same building I have entered hundreds of times) yesterday, and felt something very special. We got to hear from Elder Christofferson speak in the temple, as well as Dieter F. Uchtdorf.  Elder Christofferson speaks Spanish perfectly and it was very fun to hear him speak another language, and understand him. During my mission, as I have "been in the presence" of 8 (i think) apostoles, I have gained a real testimony of their divine calling as witnesses of Jesus Christ.

So here is another subject completely. It is funny sometimes contacting in the streets of Argentina, and I wish I could tell you every funny thing that happens, but that would take emails and emails to explain everything. But for example, one of the things that happens sometimes is the following... we walk up to a door, we clap (like we are watching the end of a play) and then a little kid of around 3 years runs out and yells "¡NO HAY NADIE!" or "NOBODIES HOME!" It is really funny to me that the little kids even know how to reject the missionaries! 

Although in this area we do face a lot of rejection, there is a lot of hope. The sister who has been coming to church recently (with her handicapped daughter - named Juliana), found out that she couldn't come to the stake center to be part of the temple dedication.  They were both very sad that they couldn't go to "mee mee"  this week (mee mee = church - see last weeks letter). So we told her that we would have a lesson in the church this Sunday, after the temple dedication so that they could enjoy "mee mee". (For some reason Raquel is now calling church "lula lula" as well as "mee mee"). They are both very excited for the day Juliana will be baptized.


1. This is us... yeah don't ask what we are doing... haha I'll just explain. We are with a man (Juan) who has wanted to be baptized for a long time. He has been assisting to the church for more than 4 months but could not be baptized because he was living with his "girlfriend" (who is LDS but had fallen away). They will be getting married also on the 29th of May and then later he will be baptized. 
PS his mustache would beat any other mustache in an arm wrestle.
 

2. Well here I am with my companion who didn't get to finish the transfer with me, but I got to say goodbye before he left luckily. He was a great missionary and I hope he does great in the "Life after the mission..."
 

3. Well here we are out in the middle of nowhere finding souls to bring to the waters of baptism! Elder Gardner is great and we always have a blast, and if we ever feel a little down, we just talk about running, and life is all good again!
 
 
Shauna sent this to me and I thought it was sooooooo funny! I cant stop laughing! Maybe I'm just crazy haha.

Thank you for your love and support as always.

I hope you all know that I know that what I am doing is so important, and that the mission changes lives. I love this mission.
 
Elder Graves
Argentina Posadas Mission
LA IGLESIA DE
JESUCRISTO
DE LOS SANTOS
DE LOS ÚLTIMOS DÍAS
 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Write to Elder Graves in 1 of 4 ways  :

1. E-mail tgraves@myldsmail.net

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

2. Send mail through www.DearElder.com
They will print and mail it for you at no cost (without a stamp).  This is a free service.

www.DearElder.com 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
84130-0150

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
4. Physical Mailing Address:
 
Elder Taylor Graves
Córdoba 1243
Posadas, Misiones 3300
Casilla 12
Argentina
 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Funny Prank Call Mother's Day Video!!! - Teaching Juliana - President Oaks Teaching the Missionaries Via Skype! - It's Mother's Day Week (Pictures Of Taylor And His Mom)


SKYPE on mothers day!!!!! It was so fun to talk to my family! I also had the awesome opportunity to talk to my amazing grandparents (Graves side, sorry Cummings side, maybe next year!!) because I had to have them help me coordinate the timing because my parents weren't answering my calls.  I loved hearing there voices and just talking to them.

I remember the last time I did Skype on Christmas I kinda left the conversation not wanting to work, and to just sit and think all day, but this time was very different. I focused on how they are the reason I am here, and talking to them this time made me want to get to work even more.
I love all of them. A lot.

Here is a quick video of my mom waiting for my call and my brother decided to play a prank on her and act like I was calling...

video

Well we have one woman who is named Juliana, who we are teaching right now, who will be baptized either the 23rd or the 30th of this Month. She is really amazing and really inspires me, as she is a single mother of 75 years old. Let me explain. Her daughter has very severe mental problems, and she has had to take care of her all by herself for 45 years. Her daughters name is Raquel and is always asking her mom when they will get to go to "Meemee" again. Juliana said that is her way of saying "Church" for some reason... haha. Just seeing them, makes me very happy. They are one of the few people who have been willing to get up and walk to church even though it rained (these past two Sundays it has rained and they both came! both times!) 

Well I feel pretty bad about this... but I forgot to tell you guys about something that happened to our mission recently, and I didn't even tell anybody... and its something pretty important... An apostle came and talked to us! President Oaks! Unfortunately, we could not be in the same building as him, due to some paper work problems dealing with the missionaries in Paraguay, but we had an interactive Skype conference with him and it was amazing. He talked a lot about personal revelation and I was very happy to be able to learn from him. Honestly, because of what he said to us all, I have had some of the most sincere prayers with our Heavenly Father. I know that the apostles really are witnesses of Christ, just as much as the moment when I felt the Spirit whisper to me that 6 apostles had arrived in the same room as me, 10 months ago in the MTC.



Thanks for all the support. You guys are all great!

Elder Graves
Argentina Posadas Mission
LA IGLESIA DE
JESUCRISTO
DE LOS SANTOS
DE LOS ÚLTIMOS DÍAS
 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Write to Elder Graves in 1 of 4 ways  :

1. E-mail tgraves@myldsmail.net

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

2. Send mail through www.DearElder.com
They will print and mail it for you at no cost (without a stamp).  This is a free service.

www.DearElder.com 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
84130-0150

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
4. Physical Mailing Address:
 
Elder Taylor Graves
Córdoba 1243
Posadas, Misiones 3300
Casilla 12
Argentina

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Pictures Lost & Recovered! - Stranger Punched Companion - Flat Stanley Pictures Around The World For Cousin Ashton's School Project! - Zone Activities - 120 People In Church Followed By 27 People in Church (Due To Rain)

Well we found out why the computer wouldn't let me send any fotos... the computer erased all the fotos I have on my memory card. Pretty disappointing to be honest, but it was a relatively new one luckily, so I still have most of my pictures. My companion even told me that it is possible to find places that can recover pictures, so we will probably be looking for a place that does that. As for the "Flat Stanley Project" that I was doing for my little cousin Baily, all the pictures are gone for now :( But I am pretty sure I will be able to recover the pictures eventually.

I´m going to start with a rather interesting story, my companion Elder Gardner and I were walking down a windy and very dusty road when a guy that didn't look right - in the head - started walking towards us. He mumbled something under his breath and punched my companion! (In the shoulder luckily) He is 100% fine, but it was an interesting experience for me to be honest. After he got hit, we didn't turn back to yell at him, we didn't ask him why he did it, and we let him keep going on his way. If I think of my old self one year back, I probably would have yelled at him, and made the situation a lot worse. As I thought about that, I realized I really have made some dramatic changes in my mission. 
In the moment that he hit my companion, I thought of the many times that our Savior was hit and whipped and tortured, because he was perfect and because the people didn't understand, and because he loves us unconditionally and was willing to suffer for our cause. 
These changes that have happened in my mission to this point make me feel so much closer to the Savior, and help me understand Him, and the love He has for me. 
(On a less serious note...)We have been talking a lot about changes in the mission together as a companionship, and how we should constantly be finding ways to become better, especially during the mission. My companion told me, that if there is anything he is going to change when he gets home, it will be that he will never buy anything from China again. Haha that made me laugh  :)

I JUST GOT ALL MY PICTURES BACK AND I DON'T KNOW WHY OR HOW BUT I AM NOW 1000 TIMES MORE HAPPY WOO HOO!

Flat Stanley in front of our pension in Garupá Argentina

 Flat Stanley with missionaries from all parts of the World!

Flat Stanley warming up with me before we played basketball for Pday!

 

Just hanging out with good ol Stanley


After playing Football and Basketball for hours, Stanley and I took a break here in the great land of Argentina


This is the whole zone after a Zone Activity that was an awesome success! We loved it! (and were all very sore the following day)


Happy Bday E. Gardner! We celebrated with Mexican American tacos! Super fun! (Here in Argentina they drink Coca Cola like it's water so we are allowed to drink it... I still don't cause I think its gross... ;)


Here we are doing a service project digging a few wells with our hands...(the people here kept insisting us that we HAVE to do it with our hands even though we had a shovel right there...


Well a couple of missionaries decided to go a Chinese restaurant that is SUPER fancy as there last Pday, we decided to join them, as we were already there close by.

There is seriously so much I could tell you guys, I have so much more to say, but I guess I will just leave it at that.

Wait. One more thing. 

Okay Two weeks ago we had the largest asistence to the church in Months (120 people came). We were so excited and feeling like things were finally starting to come along. Well, this week it rained. That might not seem like a big deal (probably because it isn't) but the people here have a culture that if it rains, everything shuts down. After the week of 120 asistence, this week we had 27 people in the church because of the rain. Crazy right!?

Well I thought id just share that with everyone. Thank you for your love and support! Congrats to all those coming home and leaving on missions! You all make me proud!
Elder Graves
Argentina Posadas Mission
LA IGLESIA DE
JESUCRISTO
DE LOS SANTOS
DE LOS ÚLTIMOS DÍAS
 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Write to Elder Graves in 1 of 4 ways  :

1. E-mail tgraves@myldsmail.net

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

2. Send mail through www.DearElder.com
They will print and mail it for you at no cost (without a stamp).  This is a free service.

www.DearElder.com 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
84130-0150

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
4. Physical Mailing Address.
Elder Taylor Graves
Córdoba 1243
Posadas, Misiones 3300
Casilla 12
Argentina