Thursday, October 22, 2015

Video! - Miraculous Experience...Taylor (in Paraguay) Teaches Alexis With Tanner (6,500 miles away in Ohio)! - The Adversary Can't Win If We Chose To Be A Part Of The Winning Team! - Jonas & Sara Baptized - Isaac & His Father Julian To Be Baptized - Continuing To Teach Alexandro

With every baptism, comes trials. The adversary truly understands the importance of these sacred ordinances that we as missionaries, fight to help happen. As I learned from the last baptism, the key is not getting discouraged, and the result is always as the Lord wishes. I think one of the biggest lessons that I have learned in the mission is that the adversary can't win and won't win, it is all about if we accept the opportunity of being able to be a part of the winning team.

Anyway, this baptism's challenge was that the young boy Isaac got sick. As you can see, only Jonas and Sara were able to be baptized. Isaac has chicken pox - poor guy. But, he is just ecstatic to be baptized this following Saturday. What's more, is that Julian, the father of them all, was not able to attend. He got stuck in a neighboring city, and could not make it to the baptism.

Of course being worried about him, we asked how he was spiritually. He noticed our concern, and told me, "Elder Graves, Whether I have entered into the water or not, isn't what's important right now. I will be baptized, when the divorce is cleared. I have already made a commitment to the Lord to follow this church until the day I die." I was shocked and can truly say that I am grateful that I have allowed God to let me be on the "winning team" as I said before.

I talked about Alexandro in my last letter about how "he found us" on the bus and chased us down so that we could teach him. Unfortunately, he was not able to come to church this week because of some complications with the health of his grandfather, but he is very excited to start this conversion process. He continually says to us that he feels the truth in the Joseph Smith story. In the very same way that I feel the truth when I testify of it.

This is Taylor's Dad.  As background to the following miraculous experience, Taylor baptized Tanner Vario just before he left to serve his full-time mission (See the picture below - for memory's sake).  Taylor, several friends and the full-time missionaries (Elder Adam Holmes and Elder Seth Thomas) taught Tanner over the course of several months during their Senior year in High School.  Taylor was called to serve in Argentina & Paraguay - Spanish Speaking.  About a year after Tanner's baptism, he was called to serve in Ohio - Spanish Speaking.  Through the miracles of a world wide missionary effort, technology, the atonement and many answered prayers, they are now teaching Alexis together over the span of 6,500 miles (with special permission from both of their mission presidents).  

Perhaps the scriptures on the wall behind them (in the picture from Tanner's baptism day)...were a clue that he too would be serving in Spanish :-)

Back to Taylor's letter:
Crazy story about teaching Alexis Fernandez - I felt so strong the need to tell him the story of Elder Tanner Vario, and I didn't know why. I explained to him the things that Tanner had gone through, and told him the incredible change that he made in his life because of the atonement of Jesus Christ. After telling him all of Tanner's story, he told me, "I might want to give this baptism thing a shot, but first, I want to talk to your friend Tanner. How can I talk to him?" I stood their thinking... well... he is a missionary, in the United States of America... you live here in Paraguay... how are we going to do this? But then I remembered, we live in the 21st century! I asked permission from my mission President to be able to write to Tanner during the week so that he would start chatting with Alexis, on-line (benefit of IPADS in USA missions...). He came to church yesterday, and then we later visited his house with his family (a returning less active family, who should be going to the temple, in this upcoming temple trip - to be sealed) and he told me that because of the things that my companion and I taught him, and the things that Tanner taught him, he desires to be baptized.

 Elder Tanner Vario said, " On Thursday I received an email from Elder
Taylor Graves in the Argentina Posadas mission. He told me that they
have an investigator who has a very similar background story as mine.
Alexis is his name. He wants to be baptized... Elder graves felt the impression to share my
conversion story. And afterwards, Alexis asked if there was any way he
could contact me. So I asked my mission president if it was alright if
I contacted him. He basically opened up every option available for me
to be able to help. So, Alexis and I have been emailing and I've been
sharing my experience and the gospel with him as well. It's been
incredible to be able to kinda co-teach with Elder Graves.
Something that sticks in my head is how inspired our mission calls
are. When I first thought about my call, Columbus Ohio, Spanish
speaking. I didn't think there were many people who spoke Spanish in
Columbus. But in all honesty, even if there weren't any, I know that I
would have learned Spanish for this purpose, to be able to talk with
Alexis in South America.

And once more, back to Taylor's letter:
I am amazed. I always thought it would be amazing to be able to serve as the companion of Tanner, but now, I am truly doing it. We are companions living 6,500 miles away. Technology is a miracle of God.
If the only reason that Tanner was sent to Ohio - Spanish speaking (instead of Ohio - English speaking), was to be able to teach Alexis with me, it would ALL be worth it. If he had been called to the English mission, this experience would have never happened to us. If he was called to South America speaking Spanish, this experience would have never happened to us. Our mission calls are divine. 

I love this gospel.


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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