Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Hospitalized For Dengue - Left Bags/Wallets/Cameras In Taxi/Prayed For A Miracle - Nana's Example - Training A New Companion From Brazil - Speaking/Teaching in English, Spanish, Portuguese & Guarani - Alexis Is Still Strong & Is Preparing To Serve A Mission Himself - Julia To Be Baptized Saturday!

This is Taylor's Dad:
 I am very sorry for the delay in updating Taylor's blog.  I have been time.  Many of you have asked about Taylor's condition (regarding the Dengue Fever).  We had actually misunderstood and believed that he had been treated as an outpatient.  He had in fact been hospitalized for 3 nights as he received the medical care that he needed to overcome this illness.  Here is the e-mail that Taylor sent last week followed by the one that he sent this week.

Here is Taylor's letter from last week:  I wanted to start today by saying thank you to all of you for your many prayers. I want you all to know that the Lord has helped me in so many ways.  Together with the many prayers and blessings, i have been made whole. I never thought I would have to go through a sickness like this during my mission.

My grandma, or as I  call her, Nana, is one of the strongest women that I know, and has been a great example for me. Several times during this illness that I had, I thought of her. She along with her Husband, my grandpa, were called to serve a  mission in Hungary, speaking Hungarian.  I am pretty sure it is one of the hardest languages to learn. When they were right around 9 months in, my grandma had a very difficult problem with her heart. She couldn't do all the things that she might have liked to do as a missionary, and has expressed to me that she felt like her service in part was incomplete. She told me this week, that sometimes we are to go through these things to make our sacrifice even more special. So, what I have leaned from my nana is that my being sick, does not make my service any less powerful, in fact, it shows just how important this work is to me.

My new companion is from Brazil! He is brand new in the mission and is learning Spanish! He is so great and I love working with him!  Literally in EVERY lesson he challenges the investigator to be baptized!  It is funny, but actually  really has done some really good things. He is very bold and brave, and love seeing him develop.  He also speaks English very well. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, we speak English when we are in our house. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays we speak only Portuguese when we are in our house. I have reached the point that I can understand anything any one says to me, and I can kind of hold a normal conversation with someone in Portuguese. As if 3 languages wasn't enough, on Tuesdays and Fridays we go to Agua Blanca where many people only speak Guarani.. I used to be able to let E. Canete teach the whole lesson in Guarani, but now, we don't have any missionary that can speak with them. One sister named Julia, was planning on being baptized this coming 26 of March, and we didn't know what we were going to do to be able to prepare her for her baptism!

New missionaries are seriously so much smarter than old missionaries like me! My companion decided we would try reading and pronouncing the words from the Book of Mormon in Guarani, and teach only with those scriptures, not saying any other words. I didn't think it would would work because guarani is VERY difficult to pronounce. But, my companion - with all the faith in the world tried it, and was able to communicate the message that was needed with Sister Julia. I was shocked.

I know God works miracles. I have seen it many times this week.

I love you all and I love this gospel.

Taylor sent the letter below last Monday 3/21/2016 

This week has been a roller-coaster ride. We got out of the Taxi that had taken us to a lesson this passed Saturday. We walked down the drive way of our investigator's house, and started talking about the lesson we had prepared, when all of the sudden my companion said "ELDER! Our BAGS!" We had left our bags with money cameras, and everything in the back of the Taxi! In that instant, I emptied my pockets to make it more comfortable to run, and started sprinting towards the taxi! I don't think I ever ran so fast in my life! As I reached a certain point, I realized I wasn't going to catch the taxi. Our bags were gone.
I should have felt devastated, but I felt a certain calm in my heart that everything would be okay. Because of other experiences that I have had during this week, I realized that God always provides a way. After trying to figure what we were going to do, and talking for a bit, I sat down and started praying. I prayed that there would be a way that we could somehow be guided to find the house of this taxi driver. 
While my eyes were still closed God answered. I heard his car honk. He had come back to give us our bags. He could have taken off to never have seen us again, but he was touched by the Spirit, and came back.

As you can see, Elder Sampaio and I got to go do a service for the family of Julian and Luisa this week in Agua Blanca. It was really great! 

Today, I was in Ciudad del Este again, and I ran into one of my great friends Alexis! He is still very strong in the church, and is preparing to serve a mission. He makes me feel like all that I have done here during these two years is all worth it.

I also showed my companion around CDE a little bit, and took him out to eat in Pizza Hut! I haven't eaten so much pizza in a long time! We loved it.

Just a quick story, that I already told my parents.

To follow up on what I wrote last week about Julia, who is an investigator who only speaks Guarani, we decided that we would prepare the next lesson with a bunch of scriptures and we would just try to pronounce all of the words in Guarani, because last time when my companion did it, she was able to understand. We started the lesson, and I tried pronouncing the words, and she didn't understand anything! How frustrating! I have been in Paraguay for a long time and I should be able to know how the Guarani words should sound! Then my companion gave it a try. He being new, and never having heard Guarani until 2 weeks ago, was able to pronounce very well that he was able to teach her the plan of salvation, just by pronouncing these words by reading! He might not have been aware of what he was saying, but Julia understood.  In reality what is more important is the special Spirit that is there when we teach. There is an earnest effort on all of our parts to try and communicate as well as understand.
Julia will be baptized this coming Saturday and we are very proud of her for her great efforts in learning about the gospel.

A rare package from home!

I always thought the letters would slow down towards the end of the mission... but you guys do such a great job of supporting me. Thank you!

Amo este evangelio


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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