Monday, December 28, 2015

el 28 de Diciembre

hello family!

this past week was a blast. we did have to sacrifice a pday to go 
to managua for the mission´s christmas party, but it was worth it. 
it was almost like an oprah winfrey type setting with our christmas 
presents, but now we have peanut butter and jelly, a microwave, a cool 
little thing for our desks, a bicolor marking pencil and so much more! 
best part was that we got to spend a couple of hours in pday clothes, 
and three other sister decided to bring their A game. we kind of bashed 
a little on an elder that goes to byu, but we had fun. plus, for christmas 
eve we pierced sister naumu´s ears at a member´s house so that was super 
fun. don´t worry, all was clean and sanitary!

my favorite part leading up to christmas weekend was the anxiety of 
christmas. the people here are super christian, so there was just christmas 
everywhere. they made a huge deal out of putting baby jesus in the manger 
in the nativity in the park and everything. the energy was super awesome.

a favorite person... hermana naumu. i don´t know what i would have done 
with a latin companion for christmas. it was just so much easier to handle. 
we made christmas pancakes and hot chocolate, we talked in English to our 
families. and it was just great. couldn´t have asked for a better companion 
for the christmas season.

a favorite scripture: doctrine and convenants 6: 14-15

Verily, verily, I say unto thee, blessed art thou for what thou hast done; for 
thou hast inquired of me, and behold, as often as thou hast inquired thou
 hast received instruction of my Spirit. If it had not been so, thou wouldst 
not have come to the place where thou art at this time. Behold, thou knowest 
that thou hast inquired of meand I did enlighten thy mind; and now I tell thee
 these things that thou mayest know that thou hast been enlightened by the 
Spirit of truth;

blessed art thou for what thou hast done. 

a most tender mercy. hermana mariela came and showed us around el naranjo, 
a tiny little deserted area while sick. a couple of weeks ago she had an accident 
with some hot water that left some pretty deep burns, but she sacrificed to come 
walking with us into the intermost parts of our area. bless her!

a great success... i didn´t cry while talking with my family. love you!

weekly goals. i have a goal not to say everything that comes into my head. i have 
gotten myself into some awkward positions, so i have made the resolution to try 
not to just speak, but to think first.

i love you guys so much. thank you for all of your support and for all those that 
will be present at the wedding tomorrow, tell my sister i love her.

hermana graves

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Day

Today we got to skype with our missionary! She sounds like a native
with her accent. It took some doing to get together online. The power
went off at the house she was at to skype. Then her companion went
first. We finally got connected and had Grandma and Grandpa Bingham
skyping in too from Texas.  We were at Aunt Teniel's house for Christmas
and the kids thought it was great to see Janelle on the TV.

It was good to see her and hear her voice!
Best Christmas present EVER!!

Monday, December 21, 2015

el 21 de Diciembre

this week. was great. just almost picture perfect.

a favorite person this week... keiling. she is a sister in the ward 
who is the same age as i am and she´s a great reality check sometimes. 
i know that i am not the perfect teacher, and she´s helping me realize that 
i can do this and that i can survive these next ten days. being away from 
rachel is kind of hard, and seeing all the bridals just make it all really, really
 real. i love my family, but yikes! reality check for me... and keiling has 
been great. 

favorite scripture... please read 1 nephi 15:24-25. the word of god is your 
salvation. end of sentence.

the training is going great! we found a very large beetle this friday and he 
decided to die in our front lawn shortly after taking this picture. funny thing 
is we found another one not very far away who was dead also. i don´t know 
what kind of beetle he was, but he was a big one. hermana naumu had her first 
nacatamale, in true christmas spirit.

i got into the christmas spirit, and put this over tomorrow´s plans, because 
of the christmas devotional type thing we are going to have tomorrow. here, 
meeting in managua = all day thing = no work for sister naumu and sister graves.

a biggest challenge, getting to guiquiliapa, a little town in our area. it´s got a 
couple of less actives, and like any good missionary does, you try and active as 
many members as possible and baptize the nine+ year old kids. got to 
love re-activation! 

i love you guys all and i especially love this time of season. make sure to send 
me lots of pictures for christmas, and i am still missing lots of family pictures... 
love you all..

hermama graves

Monday, December 14, 2015

el 14 de Diciembre

ya´ll ready for this. the lord and president trusted me with a......

GREENGA. repeat, my new companion speaks ENGLISH. what is this!?
please welcome hermana naumu to the mission nicaragua managua 
south. and welcome to the celestial kingdom where everybody leaves this 
area well fed and well rounded.
hermana naumu is extremely quiet and half hawaiian. the people here always 
do a double take seeing to greengas, but it´s something they are going to have 
to get used to! the next three months el rosario is our kingdom.

so a favorite person, aside from my new companion... hermana powell. we have 
trained together twice now and this will be her last daughter. she´s from perry, utah 
(shout out to steph and ben) and she´s the cutest. we decided that we could be 
friends and took pictures... now to just figure out how i am going to entertain 
myself during the long training meetings we have in store...

a favorite scripture: 1 thessalonians 5:2-3

For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief 
in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction 
cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

let us all be prepared for the coming of the lord. because we all know he is coming. 
stay alert my friends

a tender mercy. hermano pedro. he´s a recent convert who is no longer a recent 
convert, but who like any good nica, likes to buy us coke. on sister rodriguez´s 
last day in el rosario, i bought a round of cokes for everyone in her honor. there 
was only enough coke for the two of them, so i bought a pepsi and we started 
making jokes. two nicas and a greenga. two shorties and a tallie. two cokes and a 
pepsi. it was great... 

a challenge... figuring out how to teach spanish to someone who doesn´t know 
how to speak spanish, being someone who doesn´t speak spanish. your head 
hurt yet? yeah, so does mine. my mouth hurt from speaking so much english. yeah, 
that´s a new phrase for me.... so we have some companionship goals to go back 
to learning five words each day. five words that we are going to use throughout 
the day, and learning the way to apply them correctly in our vocab. these couple 
of changes will be a growing experience for me. 

i love you all and can´t wait to hear about all the christmas plans you have! 
extended family and friends. please remember i want pictures to print here in 
nicaragua of all of you! instagram pics are accepted :)

hermana graves

Monday, December 7, 2015

el 07 de Diciembre

the biggest challenge, continues to be the itching. but thanks to some 
doctor´s loving guidance, i know that i have some mosquito bites infected 
from itching and letting them stay opened. i have now repented, and am 
on a new medicine cycle for the itching, with diligent applicance of bug spray!
some goals... get used to a new house! we changed houses from a little 
room, to a cute little house with hot running water and everything. 
welcome to el rosario´s cutest little house ever. and it´s all ours for only a 
hundred a month. love it!
a scripture for you from the old testament. to go with the church´s campaign 
for christmas, a savior is born, from isaiah 9:6
::For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall 
be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, 
The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.::
please go to and share the two videos with your friends. 
the animation personally is better than the video, but they both have a powerful 
message for us this time of the year.
favorite people: the cute javiera and mariela. they are soo great to help us with 
divisions, and help us get the work done here in el rosario. especially at seven am 
on sunday mornings to bring investigators to church. such dolls!
a tender mercy... the elders who helped us move houses all without using a truck 
up until the very end. they moved almost all the heavy/hard stuff by themselves 
and gladly accepted a glass of coca cola and some cookies as recompense.
i love this time of year. make sure that you give lots of hugs to your family, because 
there will never be a christmas quite like this. i love you!
hermana graves

Monday, November 30, 2015

el 30 de Noviembre

Monday, November 23, 2015

el 23 de Noviembre

let´s just be real for a second. saturday i completed a year since i got 
my mission call. this time last year, i was telling the whole wide world 
that i was going to nicaragua for eighteen months. and here we are, 
almost eleven full months later. i have almost been away from home 
for a year... yikes people.

i am doing great! the medicine that the doctor helped a lot, and then 
i got permission to buy a cream especially meant to treat sarna, and 
that has done miracles to clear it all up. i continue to take benadryl to 
stay on top of the itching, but i am no longer calling attention to myself 
with all the itching. our ward mission leader noticed and gave me an 
antibacterial liquid that is supposed to help with the itching as well, 
sweet man. the parasite is something that i got from the mattress in 
granada, but the mission yes, had a doctor actually look at it in person
 because the first round of medicine didn´t do anything to calm the itching. 
the rash, with all the symptons that i had, were enough evidence to know
 that i had the parasite. with the conditions that are granada, it wasn´t 
overly surprising really.

the greatest success this week, would have to include the fact that we 
completed with all the normas. thanks to some great return missionaries, 
and willing sisters, we were able to do quick spurts of divisions with the 
members to cover more ground in less time. can i please ask all those that 
can, to please do divisions or visits with the missionaries like once a week. 
having that kind of support from the ward makes such a great difference in 
all aspects of the work.

a tender mercy... we were able to teach harold and his children about prayer, 
and it just went swimmingly. harold showed up to church four sundays ago, 
looking for a church where his kids could have a realtionship with their savior, 
and where they would have the opportunity to interact with clean kids... 
something every father wants, right? well, we have been focusing on only 
teaching this family with members because it just makes such a different in 
everything. we taught them about the power of prayer, and it was great to 
see the power of the spirit that was there to help us.

a favorite scripture: philippians 4:8

::Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, 
whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are 
lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there 
be any praise, think on these things.::

just remember that when we think after these things, we will be able to know 
our savior better. because these are his attributes.

a favorite person.. let´s go with the ward mission leader. his name is ricardo, and 
he is pretty much an optime of every missionary´s dream. he goes out looking 
for references for us, and when we were wating on thursday to have our weekly 
coorelation meeting, he was contacting the people that were passing by, helping 
us work as well as giving us a larger teaching pool. what an example... he reminds 
me a lot of grandpa bingham in his ability to talk about random church history 
and deep doctrinal topics, and the ability to capture you in a conversation for an 
hour.... amazing really. i attached a picture of the great man deep in thought. (yes,
 those would be his g´s hanging out... good ol´ nica for ya)

goals this week... be a better example for my companion. something that i have 
learned on my mission is that so much of your desire to do something has to do 
with what you see around you. if your companion doesn´t go to bed on time, it´s 
harder to do it. if your companion doesn´t do exercises, it´s almost impossible to 
have the will to do it. but when you do it, they will too. 

some challenges... getting through all the normas. but like i said early, thanks to 
some great ward members, we were able to complete! also, getting our investigators 
to church, but that is something that shows through because of our lack of work 
before sunday afternoon.

we celebrated hermana quezada´s birthday with cake! delicious, whipped 
creamed iced birthday cake... yummmmmmm

i love you guys so much, and make sure to remember about the christmas wish 
i have for you!

hermana graves

Monday, November 16, 2015

el 16 de Noviembre

Monday, November 9, 2015

el 9 de Noviembre

el 31 de Agosto

this week was one for miracles. we had the opportunity to hear the words of the president of the quorum of twelve apostles, president russell m. nelson, and i had the chance to be the first missionary of nearly four hundred to shake his hand. it makes it worth the three thirty alarm...

my companion is my vivi! something that i will explain another day... she is learning the lessons and we are working on english. she loves to sing, so we pick a hymn out of the english hymnal and sing every morning. it makes it a lot of fun to learn english! 

the biggest success... making to through a nineteen hour day with only about an hour's worth of a nap. see miracle that happened above with president nelson...

greatest challenge continues to find people to teach. if you are the praying type, this would be something to help us with. pray that we find new investigators. please!

my favorite person, president nelson. hearing him for the second time as a missionary really strengthens your testimony and rereading my notes helps me focus on what i need to change and better as a missionary.

i love the prison master's conversion. read acts 16:25-33. look how quickly he accepted the gospel and how completely as well... less than 12 hours!

fun adventures... it's always an adventure to go and visit an older couple we are teaching. there is a short cut, through a finca, or like a swamp, that cuts the travel from about twenty minutes to five. when time is as precious as cold water in a nicaraguan heat, we try and use this passage way when it's dry. long story short, hermana liberato almost fell to her death climbing down one part. great laughs with my vivi.

i have been in this area now for ten weeks, two and a half months. it's possible that i will be here another ten weeks. it's not exactly set in stone. 

i love you all! have a great week.
love from nicaragua!
hermana graves

my vivi decided to straighten her hair for president nelson's visit so she looked a little crazy before hand!

el 24 de Agosto

this week i found a jehovah's witness. for all of you ex-missionaries, you know what an interesting conversation that can lead to. it turns out that this jehovah's witness is from the states, and that my companion and i were the first mormon missionaries that he had come into contact with. what a privilege! the conversation in english made me realize how accustomed i am to talking and sharing my testimony in spanish. it was really, really hard to talk about the church in english! (i haven't decided if that's a good thing, or a bad thing, yet. i'll keep you posted!
this week the lord showed me just how humble we need to be. we didn't have a single little duckling in church yesterday, and i could have strangled the bulls that caused the problem. let me explain. it's a grandadian tradition to allow bulls to run the main streets once a year, like the running of the bulls in spain, just this bulls are a lot more lazy and less aggressive. but, nonetheless, everyone goes. but the twenty people we had lined up to go all told us, "si, yo me voy a la iglesia este domingo; no me voy por la carnival." translated (yes, i will go to church this sunday; no i will not go to the carnival) but needless to say, they are all liars. come tuesday, they won't even know what hit them!

since mom forgot to write me this week, i don't have anything else to say, just to tell mom, that i am getting fed. the sister who makes us lunch and dinner is heavenly, and i am now getting my daily portion of gallo pinto again :)
i love you all, and look forward to all of your repentance letters next week.
hermana graves