Thursday, April 14, 2016

Sabbath Day For A Missionary = Anything But A Day Of Rest, But Worth Every Moment

As a missionary, we frequently struggle to take advantage of the Sabbath day. There are various reasons that this is the case. One is simply the fact that we are constantly working and teaching the gospel, so when Sunday comes, we continue doing what we were doing during the week. Sometimes, we don't experience that "change in feeling" that I so often felt while I was at home able to rest from my labors (as well as, experience a change of focus to the things of the Gospel of Jesus Christ). Another reason that sometimes we are not able to feel the power of the Sabbath Day is because often times we allow ourselves to get stressed about if our investigators are going to come to church, and when they do come, if they are enjoying the experience there. At times we forget about ourselves (which normally is a good thing, but perhaps in this case not so much) and we don't focus on the true reason we are there - to come closer to our Maker and take part in the bread and water that represents the flesh and blood of the Savior.

This week, I had the great blessing to truly be uplifted in every sense of the word during this fast and testimony meeting. We woke up to a call of an investigator who had gotten up early to go to church (for the first time). His name is Hugo, and he knew that church starts at 830, but he wanted to get there early with his family, so we quickly got ready and headed over to the chapel, to open it early so that they could wait an hour and a half for the meetings to start. That was the best way to start the day! As church started, more and more investigators piled in, and many members were there as well. In the second hour of church, I gave a class on the importance of the Mission Labor. I gave my testimony on how important it truly is and how much I love it. I also mentioned that I loved the fact that I am able to serve in the same region of the World as my dad, because I have always wanted to be like him. The people here of Katuete truly know how much I love my Dad, (as well as the rest of my family ;)).

This Sunday we were also blessed to be able to fast for several different purposes. One of them, was something very unusual. There is a very faithful man named Virgilio. He has never missed church even once in the 4 months that I have been here. He is completely blind. He blesses the sacrament each week by memory. It is truly a humbling experience to be next to him as he does so, and then afterward I kneel down with a piece of paper in my hand, so that I can read the prayer. My companion and I had talked to him about giving him a blessing, and he really liked the idea. We told him that we were going to fast first. In the final hours of our fast we were able to give him a blessing. The group leader anointed his head with oil, and my companion gave the blessing. I don't know if I have ever felt the Spirit so strongly. He was not healed in the moment, but he was promised that before his spirit left his mortal body during this life, he would see once again. As my companion said these words, I truly felt something within me that what he had said was true. (I just spent a minute trying to describe the feeling that I felt, realizing that it is not possible. Just know that I truly felt the spirit of God).

This was only part of my Sunday. It seemed like each moment of the day was making it more and more of a delight.

We had testimony meeting, and a very active sister Miguela, got up and started crying. She said "We see the missionaries, time and time again, come all the way to Agua Blanca walking, or biking. They arrive in our homes with sweat on their brows, skin burned from the sun, yet they have a smile on their faces. The sacrifices that they make for us, and for this work make, me want to sacrifice more for the Savior." Her saying this moved me so much. I had often wondered if the difficulties associated with working in Agua Blanca was really worth the effort (because it truly is difficult physically to get there).  Now I see that even had we not baptized a soul there, we have put a good example for the members, that for the Lord, every sacrifice is worth it. She sat down, and her sister Benita (we baptized her a few months ago) got up and bore her testimony for the first time. With tears in her eyes, she also thanked us for our sacrifices. She bore a sincere testimony of the reality of what we teach all the people out here. When she went to sit down, Miguela stood up again and almost ran to her and they hugged and hugged, and cried with tears of joy, because they knew that they were together in the truth.

This was perhaps the most delightful Sabbath day of my life. I hope that I can remember this feeling always, and strive to have it weekly.

Also, as a reminder, I hope that if you have not yet done so, that each of you can try to be a part of the mission work, and help the missionaries in some small way.

With love, Elder Graves


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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