Monday, September 21, 2015

Major Accident - Opposition In All Things - Elder Choez Finished Strong - Sonia, Sixto & Laticia Baptized - Training A New Zone Leader - Elder Hawk Is Engaged!

This Saturday was one of the hardest as well as most interesting days of my mission. It was also the last day of the mission of my companion, Elder Choez. He served a great mission and I am very proud of him. Like I said 6 weeks ago when I got here, we put a goal to "sprint to the finish" together, well... to his finish, I just picked up the pace a little bit ;)

Now I will be training a new zone leader! He is actually an Elder who I watched and helped start his mission, while I was in Garupa! He is going to be a Zone leader with only 4 months in the mission and I am super excited to see how I can help him become a great leader. His name is Elder Cancino and is from Chile and his trainer was one of my greatest friends Elder Hawk. Speaking of Elder Hawk, I just got a letter from him saying that he is already engaged! How crazy is that! It seems like yesterday we were walking the streets together, and now he is getting married. I am really proud of him and wish him the best.

As I was saying, Saturday was an incredibly difficult as well as wonderful day for a number of reasons. I sent the story to my Dad in form of a picture, so I hope he will be able to type it out. 
Here is the story/journal entry Taylor was talking about...typed up and italicized below:

19 de Septiembre Todaywas so crazy.  I can't even believe it.  All I know is that there is opposition in all things, especially when it comes to baptisms.  Today was the baptism day of the Hermana Sonia Martinez as well as Sixto Gauto and Laticia.  We had to be at the church at 5 to get everything ready.  So, after doing a few quick visits, we started making our way back to the church.  The day was sunny and WAY TOO HOT.  When all of a sudden a huge cloud came bursting in out of nowhere!  Thunder, lightning, hailstones, you name it!  We found a tiny little roof to hide under, but the wind was so strong that we were being drenched anyway.  It was raining sideways.  We noticed that someone still had there garage door open, so we got up to go and take refuge in there - when the family inside started to close the door.  We were scared and stuck in a huge storm.  Finally, someone from the distance called us over to come in their house.  We hurriedly made our way.  After entering the house, we thought for sure the baptism would be canceled.  But, only about 10 minutes after it started, it stopped completely (which is not something that usually happens here.  Normally, it just rains forever).  So, we didn't get to teach the family, because we were so hurried, but were very blessed with the fact that we could go to get to the baptism.  So we went on our way, to make our 30 minute walk to the church. 
Now, I am going to take a step back in the story.  This morning I was praying.  I prayed and realized that I used to get emotional with spiritual things in lessons, in baptisms, etc, but recently it had not been like that.  So, I pleaded to God that he would help me to be brave enough to have emotion.  Well, I think I got my answer today.  We were making our 30 minute walk to the church.  Now with the sun shining very bright again, when all of a sudden we heard a loud crash.  We looked behind us and flying in the air was a man who had just wrecked his motorcycle.  He skidded in a huge puddle of water in the road (which saved his skin) for about 25 more feet.  I ran in to the middle of the road to help him.  Two other men got to him first (by the way we are on a highway of about 55 mph) and I decided to gather all the broken pieces of his bike and helmet (that flew off his head) and all of his possessions.  I brought them to the side of the road where the on coming cars wouldn't run into them.  Two men helped him (carried him) to the side of the road.  He couldn't move and was drastically injured.  I wanted to offer him a blessing so bad, but soon after the crash, hundreds of people gathered around him.  Elder Choez and I decided to say our own prayer and plead that he would be okay.  The ambulance came and I still don't know if he lived or not.  We were in shock and I couldn't talk.  We walked the 30 minutes in silence.  I felt like throwing up.  We got to the church and I sat down and cried.  Then I prayed and cried some more.  I had never seen anything like that in my life, more importantly, I had never felt so helpless and useless. 
The baptism would start in a half hour.  We got everything ready.  The baptism was about to start.  The talks happened.  My companion entered the water and took Sonia Martinez by the hand and baptized her.  There was peace.  Peace in my heart.  I remembered that as we die with Christ in this symbol, we are resurrected new and pure as he was lifted from the grave.  2 Nefi 2:11-12  There must be opposition in all things.
With opposition that day, the peace that I felt was ever so powerful because of the uneasiness that was about me beforehand.  I don't know if that man lived or not, but I do know that he will have a chance to meet the missionaries (whether its during or after this life). 

I am so proud of Sonia and her decision to be baptized. 

It was the most amazing way to end the mission of my companion.  
I love this gospel.
Also, just so my parents know, I traded cameras with my companion. His, now my, camera has wifi capabilities so I can now send photos without any danger of getting a virus! Woo hoo!

Thank you all for all your love and support and I hope you all have a great Pday ;)

Elder Graves
Argentina Posadas Mission

Write to Elder Graves in 1 of 3 ways  :

1. E-mail

2. 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

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

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