Monday, November 23, 2015

Font 100% full - Carolina Baptized By Her Brother - Alexis' Baptism This Saturday - Listening To The Promptings Of The Spirit - Photos!!!



 Well the glass was 90% empty this past week as I said in my last letter, but this week, the baptismal font was 100% full :) Carolina was able to be baptized by her little brother Fernando, who is actually a recent convert (and son of Sonia) of just a few months. They both love the Church, and have very strong testimonies. My favorite part of that night was after Carolina was baptized she immediately jumped up and hugged her brother. This quickly made me think of my brother and sister Amber and Jake. I am sure, if my family was a convert family like Carolina's family, this would have been a very similar scene. Jake would have done everything he could, as Fernando did, to help his sister understand and come to know this saving gospel of Jesus Christ. My family was raised in the church, and I am forever grateful for that fact, but I do often put myself in the shoes of my investigators, and wonder, "What kind of investigators would my family be?" (I think we would accept the discussions very quickly, and later be baptized within weeks, if not days ;))

We are so happy to finally be able to announce that Alexis will officially be baptized this Saturday! I can not tell you how happy this makes me. I was recently talking to my companion, about the gran privilege that we had to help him in this process. To see someone make such a turn around in his life, has really changed my life. I forgot to mention one of the birthday gifts that I got this past week for my birthday. He gave me his watch, with a letter that said, "thanks to you, I changed my life." Nothing else could have made my birthday better. Elder Tanner Vario as you all know, has been part of his teaching process. What you each probably don't know, is that he, in reality, does quite a bit more teaching than I do, and has been a HUGE factor to this convert to the Lord's true church. He is able to teach Alexis on a daily basis (when necessary) from Ohio (through email), and continually checks up on him, and how he is progressing. With out this, we would have never been able to help Alexis in such a special way.

 I remember receiving so many personal revelations when I was younger, that it was SO important that I remained being friends with Tanner, but I never would have guessed that me listening to that small prompting would have gone so far, and changed so many lives.


Fotos


Well, Christmas is just around the corner, and now all the stores have Christmas things! I love it!



I am missionary Santa Clause, and my companion wanted new shoes :)

He was even more excited when he got the Book of Mormon as a gift from Santa.

Welcome home dinner to Sister Espinola, here in the ward. She was serving in Brazil. 
Is that a chicken foot in my noodles?...

I am in the most beautiful place in the world. 


We found a pig.

video

I didn't know my companion was recording... haha...




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Write to Elder Graves in 1 of 3 ways  :

1. E-mail tgraves@myldsmail.net

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
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
84130-0150

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

Monday, November 16, 2015

Glass 10% Full Or 90% Empty? - Woman Robbed, Missionaries Help Her & Find Family As A Result - Taylor's Shoes...A Sign Of Hard Work :-) - Taylor At The Temple On His Birthday

We left the pension this Saturday with two options. We could look at the glass half full or half empty. Well in reality, as my dad often says to me, we could look at the glass 10% full or we could look at it 90% empty. The night before the baptism of Carolina, we got a call from her mom, Sonia, saying that she was going to have to wait a little bit to be baptized. She said that she wasn't feeling well, and wanted to postpone it. Obviously we were quite surprised, and didn't know what to say, as we had the baptism all planned and ready to go, but we simply let her know that we support her, and want to help in any way we could.
So getting ready for the day of contacting that laid ahead (because we didn't have very many appointments because we had the baptism planned) I realized I truly had the decision to look at the glass 10% full. I felt a huge positive feeling inside my chest, and after we said a prayer, before leaving the house, I gave my companion a hug and told him, "Elder, I feel that there is a reason that we couldn't baptize Carolina yet.  I think God has something big planned for us today." We went out and worked as hard as always. I am not going to tell the whole story of the day, but I will just let you know, that we truly took advantage of our 10% full cup :) In the end of the day, we found 7 new investigators. In one day! It was awesome! Had we had that baptism, we would not have been able to find these new people to teach. What's more, is that 5 of these 7 people that we found each have member friends, who were in the lessons with us! There is so much more chance of baptism when there is member support like this, and we are very excited to see how it goes with each of them.

I will however tell one of the stories that happened, and I know that we were surely and safely guided to find this family. Late at night, we had decided to visit an old investigator who had stopped progressing, but we wanted to stop by to see how they were doing. As we walked to their house, we were shocked as we saw two men pull up on a motorcycle, tackle a woman to the ground and steal her possessions. She screamed and they both ran off, and got back on their motorcycle. We ran over to her and helped her up. She was covered in mud, and was shaking from the nerves. I felt so bad for her, but also very grateful that they hadn't hurt her badly. We asked her where she lived, and she pointed to a house down the road. We walked her to the house, and talked her nerves down. When her family saw her, they were all so worried and scared and came running towards her. We didn't preach a single thing, but we tried to help the best we could. They all looked at us thankfully as we walked away. What is interesting, is that God wanted us to be there in that very moment. He made sure, that there wasn't a baptism, so that we could pass by and help her, take her to her house, because as we walked away from the house (in a street that we would never have gone down) Someone yelled our names! Elders! We turned around, and there was a boy who wanted us to talk to his family. After talking to the family for a time, we found out that they had just moved there from a far a way city in Paraguay.  One of the family members had been about to get baptized and the mom was very interested as well.


 
I sent the pictures separately and wasn't able to comment on them, but I do remember one that I sent, my shoes... yeah, that's a sign of a hard working missionary -) oh yeah and the temple was the best birthday present ever !!!



I am continually amazed by the hand of God in every thing that happens here on my mission.
I hope we can all remember, that even, when the glass is 90%empty, it is still 10% full.
I love you, and I love this gospel.



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Write to Elder Graves in 1 of 3 ways  :

1. E-mail tgraves@myldsmail.net

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
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
84130-0150

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

Friday, November 13, 2015

#PrayForJosh Paralyzed And Fighting In Faith - Asuncion Temple On My Birthday! - Alexis Preparing For Baptism & Mission - Julian & Manny Preparing To Marry & For Baptism - Sonia's Daughter Carolina To Be Baptized Saturday - Loving The Mission/Would Gladly Extend Another Year

This week I am very sad to say that I will not be able to send any pictures, which is pretty hard for me because I have lots of pictures that I wanted to send of me, and videos, opening my birthday gifts! I had to open up my presents early, on Sunday for a wide variety of reasons, but in no way am I complaining. One of the pictures that I have is of me wearing the Team Hinton pray for josh shirt over my proselyting clothes. I really am proud of him and hope he knows that I continually pray for him, as do thousands of other people and missionaries.

This is Taylor's Dad: 
Taylor didn't realize it, but one picture did make it through to us...the picture of him wearing his TeamHinton Shirt #PrayForJosh.  For those of you that do not know, Josh Hinton is a good friend of Taylor's that was paralyzed from the neck down (quadriplegic) in a bounce house accident at BYU a couple of months ago.  Taylor has first hand experience with paralysis as his Grandmother (my mother) was paralyzed in a fall from a cliff  approximately 26 years ago.  He has never known his Grandma to stand or walk, but he does know her as the best Grandma in the world!  She has lived a wonderful life post accident.  We know that Josh will do the same and pray for continued miracles of healing.  We are all praying for Josh and his family.  The progress that he has already made is truly miraculous. 


We also took our most recent family picture (which I will include below).  I am including it below because Taylor was in the picture too!  You just might have to look a little harder to find him :-)
 


#prayforjosh

Back to Taylor's Letter:
In no way can I complain about needing to open up my birthday presents early because the reason I can't do it on the 10th, my birthday, is because I have to go to Asuncion, Paraguay to do legal work, which just happens to be where the nearest temple is to our mission. I will be on temple grounds on my birthday! I honestly cant imagine a better birthday present.

I would like to give each of you updates on our 4 progressing investigators.

-Alexis, the young man that Elder Tanner Vario and I are teaching, will be having his interview on the 12th, and should be baptized as soon as possible. Because of scheduling complications, we have not yet been able to fix a date yet, but he will be baptized :) He is very anxious, and is already attending the "Future Elders Class" during priesthood at church.

-Julian Gamarra and his wife (or his soon to be wife - Manny Velazquez) are working on the legal paperwork of Julian so that he can be divorced, they can marry and so that they will be eligible to be baptized - together. They continue coming to church, and they love the ward. They are already like members in the ward.

-Carolina (the daughter of Sonia Gauto - who was baptized in late September) will be baptized on Saturday, and has expressed her deep testimony in the Restoration of the Church and that Joseph Smith was a true prophet.  She and Sonia explained to us that many of their friends and family are constantly bashing them for having joined the church, but continue telling us that they have no fear and understand that only the true church would receive such persecution. Their testimonies are so strong and I am very proud of them both.


Well, this week again will be short, I am sorry, but I want you to all know that I am loving every moment of the mission. I often wonder, if the prophet came to me today and asked me to extend my mission a year more, would I tell him that I would do it? I can honestly say, that I would gladly accept the call.


I will finish my letter by publicly wishing Happy Birthday to two awesome people. My best bud Tanner, serving "with" me in the "Paraguay Ohio Mission". Love you bud.  Also my little "twin" Shauna. She is amazing and one of my best friends, and always finds time to write me. I hope she knows that I miss her and love her and cant wait to watch "Hunger Games" together again ;)  Happy Birthday Shauna!

I love my family and I love this gospel

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----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Write to Elder Graves in 1 of 3 ways  :

1. E-mail tgraves@myldsmail.net

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
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
84130-0150

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

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Teaching Via Skype - Zone's Visit To Waterfall - Birthday Package In A Soaked Suit - Eating Healthy - Fasting

This might be the shortest letter I have sent in a long time. I have decided to take some time writing to others today instead of dedicating so much time on the blog. Don't worry, next week should be back to normal. Luckily I have a lot of pictures again :)


I hope you got the pictures of Elder Tanner Vario, Elder Cancino and I teaching Alexis. Today we taught him about the priesthood.  He is understanding every principle and is already very anxious to be baptized, and continues to complain that he has to wait. He frequently expresses his desires to to serve a mission.




We got to go as a zone to a "mini" waterfall. Yeah. This really is relatively small in comparison to the waterfall that I will have the opportunity to visit in March or April called Iguazu, which actually means Big Water, in Guarani. You can kind of tell that the language structure in Guarani is very old. It is amazing to see the many places here in Paraguay, and to just sit back and soak in the works of art that God has made here on this earth.


Here is a picture of my birthday package that I got! I was only slightly disappointed to see that it was a Birthday package, and will now have to wait to open it :(


This is a picture of my companion and I continuing to try and eat healthy... lets just say you win some and you lose some...

One quick experience is that this week we were fasting for Alexis so that he will be able to serve a full time mission. It was very hot, and I was nervous that I was going to pass out during the day. I felt that fasting had actually become dangerous, as we had to walk quickly and for quite a distance through out the day. The one thing that kept me going was a story that I heard about Mike Kjar (a neighbor of mine).  Mike was serving in the war in Iraq, and it was fast Sunday. Probably 80% of people would have called serving in the war in the 130 degree weather, with full battle gear all day enough reason to not fast, and to continue eating and drinking. 99% of those 20% that would have fasted anyway, would have said, well, I wont eat, but I have to at least drink water. Not Mike. He decided to live the law of the fast, because he needed those blessings for his family, and for his personal protection. Mike is the reason I was able to complete my fast yesterday. Thank you.

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

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Write to Elder Graves in 1 of 3 ways  :

1. E-mail tgraves@myldsmail.net

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
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
84130-0150

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