Monday, October 26, 2015

Never Give Up! - Miracles Happen - Sandra Embraces The Gospel & Brother Gomez Baptizes His Wife! - Ohio To Paraguay/Team Teaching Alexis With Elder Vario - Alexis Want To Serve A Mission

I got here about 11 weeks ago in Ciudad del Este and one of the very first houses that I visited with my old companion Elder Choez, was the house of the Gomez family. Brother Gomez is a man who was a member his whole life, but really never took the church very seriously. He went every once in a while, but didn't feel it was more important than work. His brother however, who lives with him and his wife Sandra, always faithfully went to church, hoping that one day his brother would start going to church again, and that Sandra might be baptized. When I arrived, the brother, Edi, had lost hope, and told me to not even try, and that it would not be worth the effort because too many other Elders had already tried to teach her, and it just never worked. (Even my companion Elder Choez had taught her with his other companion Elder Rigby, but she refused a second visit).  As I taught her for the first time, I too felt like there wasn't much chance, but time and time again, as we  made our nightly plans for the next day, we felt prompted to make a quick visit to the Gomez family.  As we did so throughout the weeks, Sandra started to soften her heart. We even once, brought her a cake on a day that the family was going through a really hard time. (A lot of the time on the mission, people like to give you food, and we just cant eat all of it!)  One night on divisions with another Elder, we sang, "families can be together forever". We then bore our testimonies of how we knew that because of Christ's sacrifice, we will also be with our families forever, and that they too, the Gomez family, would have the chance to be a forever family, and the first step would be baptism, for Sandra, and become a worthy priesthood holder for Brother Gomez.

Though I really never knew it could be possible, Saturday evening, I watched in a crowd of people, Brother Gomez enter into the baptismal font and take his wife's hand, and say the baptismal prayer, and then put her in the water. The part that made tears come to my eyes was when he pulled her out, and kissed her on the cheek. They both have made incredible changes, and I am forever grateful for the chance I have had to help them.

The lesson in this story is to never give up. Even if someone tells you that it has already been tried, and others have failed, it doesn't mean that YOU are destined to fail. How many people said that it was physically impossible for a human being to break the 4 minute mile? They said the heart would explode. Roger Bannister, (the first man to break the 4 minute mile) didn't care about what others said, he went out and did all he could to do something amazing. Shortly thereafter, if I am not mistaken 7 other men broke the 4 minute mile. This story really helped inspire me to never give up on Sandra and Juan Gomez.

I believe I have already explained a little bit about the next story, but I will continue. Elder Tanner Vario was my companion for a day. Can you believe that? I still am in shock that it actually happened. We got permission and we taught a lesson together. I feel like it was just yesterday that I was sitting at his side listening to Elder Holmes and Elder Thomas teaching Tanner the missionary lessons, but on Saturday, we sat, side by side (through the internet and really thousands of miles apart) and taught a young man named Alexis. As we taught him, Tanner and I, in Spanish, (Tanner's Spanish is remarkable for his short time in the mission) about the importance of reading the scriptures daily. We taught him that this was the way that he could little by little make this really big change that he has to make in his life. 
Tanner expressed his testimony about the atonement of Jesus Christ, and how he slowly became who he is today, through Him. I testified, with my best friend Tanner. My companion.
Tanner taught him that the way that he made changes in his life to keep him on the straight and narrow path was by having the goal to serve a mission. As we testified of what Tanner said about the mission, and goal setting, Alexis said, that after he is baptized, he also desires to serve a mission.  We will be having another lesson with Alexis on Wednesday. 

I have so much more to say, but I only have a half hour today again, but just know everybody that this is the true church. That's why I am here.

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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