Tuesday, July 28, 2015

el 27 de Julio

this week... i will apologize in advance. there will be no photos 
until next week. i forgot to bring me adapter for my memory 
card! whoops!

this week was different. celebrating a birthday in the mission is 
the weirdest thing, because there is no cake, no presents wrapped 
in bows or wrapping paper, and no family. but then you have 
some gems like maria, ana maria and maryuri, who love you, and 
it makes it a little bit better! maria, ana maria, and maryuri are 
grandma, mom, and daughter, respectively. maryuri has the same 
birthday as me, and amidst the torrential downpour outside, maria 
and ana maria prepared a birthday lunch, almost exactly like one 
from hermana gladiz's kitchen. i'll sent a picture next week! i 
decided to share the gummy bears i got in my birthday package, 
because who needs five pounds of gummy bears to themselves? 
not me! turns out that gummy bears are a relatively new thing to 
nicas, and it was a lot of fun to introduce them to Lisbeth, Teresa, 
Geovanny, and Moises. 

something that we are really struggling with is our companionship, 
so if you could include us in your prayers, that could be of a lot 
of help.

a sweet tender mercy? rain for my birthday. i know that sounds 
weird, but it reminded me that even when the weather is hard, 
and the streets are full of water and trash, i can still have a smile 
on my face, because i am the lord's servant. rain or shine, the work 
goes on, and there is no other option. the storm was really bad, 
and reminded me a lot of the thunderstorms we have in tennessee 
in the spring. i will miss another spring in tennessee, but the summer 
storms are almost as wonderful. it reminds me of the primary song,

:i like to look for rainbows whenever there is rain and ponder on the 
beauty of an earth made clean again. i want my life to be as clean as 
earth right after rain.
i want to be the best i can and live with god again.::

i want my life to be as clean as earth right after rain. there is no other 
better smell than the air after a good rain. the rain brings turmoil, but 
the calm after the storm is always the most comforting.

some goals... do the laundry today! and not have to work about it 
tomorrow, or during the week. also serve my companion. change the 
way i think to make it a more positive companionship and develop that 
christlike attribute of charity and love. 

i love you all more than words!
hermana graves

el 20 de Julio

this week was a rollercoaster. friday i got sick, with one of those 
moments that you just want to curl up in a ball, and never move. 
but the thought of curling up in a ball is painful, and it was just 
awful. i took some pepto bismol and some tums to help relieve 
the pressure in my stomach, but it just got worse and by lunch-
time i was in tears from the pain. i called the enfermera (or the 
mission nurse) and she prescribed me some drugs to buy at the 
pharmacy. they didn't immediately take away the pain, but they 
definitely helped! by saturday afternoon, i was in one piece again, 
ready to go to work. 

our biggest challenge continues to be bringing six people to 
church. this sunday we can blame a nationwide party in 
managua for the foundation day of one of their policital parties. 
the political party pays for the gas so that the buses can bring 
people to managua. starting saturday night, every two hours of
 so, a train of buses left for managua to gather, so that sunday 
afternoon they could be present when the president spoke. can
i tell you how frustrating it is, and how spiritually devestating it 
is to only bring two people to church when another set of 
missionaries brought 14?! yeah, it's very humbling. and my
 investigators aren't going to know what hit them when the
 machete drops this week. 

our goals for this week: work with the members.

a favorite person: the sweet enfermera who was calm, when i was 
in pain. she sent me a message with the drugs names, because 
there was no hope of me writing the names down correctly.

a sweet moment this week... yesterday i was sitting in sacrament 
meeting in the middle of four little kids, a recent convert and his 
brother, and our two investigators. they are only ten years old, 
so it was difficult for them to pay attention, so i handed them 
my gospel principles book and for the strength of youth so that 
they could look at the pictures. one of our investigators, about 
five minutes later, asked me "hermana, que es este?" which is 
spanish for "sister, what is this?" which pointing to a picture 
of the salt lake temple. i quietly explained that it was a temple, 
a sacred place that she could enter when she was baptized. 
she sweetly asked me for the book so that she could have the 
picture. i told her that it was my book, but if she would like, 
i could give her another picture of the same temple for her 
own. sweet little girl, wants to be baptized but a mother who 
baptized her catholic, doesn't want to let her get baptized 
again. prayers?

speaking of prayers... it's something we do about ten bajillion 
times a day. and i was reading today in luke, about the last 
supper. the Lord turns to simon peter and says, 

::but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when 
thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.::

the lord has prayed for us, that we may be strong. and 
have the strength one day, to lift another. 

food for thought.
lots of love, 
hermana graves

our district!
elder agustin (guatemala, district leader), 
elder jungers (california)
hermana day (idaho), hermana quezda (el salvador); 
hermana martinez (el salvador) and me; 
hermana suret (guatemala), hermana mejia (guatemala)

Here are some pictures of Janelle's apartment
in Granada, Nicaragua

a real shower!

Monday, July 27, 2015

el 13 de Julio

woo! another week, really? sitting down, thinking about all the 
adventures i have had, i can see where all the time is going, but at 
the same time, yikes! slow down already!
a big success... getting over an upset tummy. this week, just for a 
couple of days, i got a little rumblies in my tumblies, and thanks to 
some good ol' pepto bismol and some tums, i am back on track. 
no fever, need to worry.
our biggest challenge... sunday night we had to have 12 lessons with 
investigators, 8 lessons with converts or less actives, and 40 contacts 
to complete with the standards of excellency. and what did we do? 
completed with almost all of our lessons, all of our contacts, and 
almost all of our recent converts. here, after nine oclock, everyone is 
in bed, doors closed and ready for bed... so it's kind of hard to find 
converts to talk with... and do you want to know why we were so in 
the pit with numbers? because we had a multi-zone meeting!
thursday we woke up at 4:30am, travelled an hour in a bus to get to 
managua, and spent all day with President and Sister Russell, learning 
and practicing, and doing a lot of listening. we even got special 
permission to watch Meet the Mormons in Spanish! i almost
 understood all of it, but thanks to having seen it two times before in 
the MTC, i had a basic understand of what was going on... of course, 
photos had to be taken, because i saw sister garfield!
here, we dress up real nice for activities like that, so of course i had 
to wear my $1 skirt, and my new shirt!
i also received my medallion, which certifies that i successfully 
completed my training as a missionary, almost three months late, 
but we won't talk about that.

a tender mercy... this week we found a brother of an investigator 
with lots of desires to learn and understand the church. he came to 
church, and was a little confused because the speakers got a little 
baptist-preacher like, but we ended up having a great discussion 
afterwards, and he is now on the path for a baptism the eighth of 
my favorite person this week, would be my mother. she taught me 
so many wonderful things in my childhood, and i am so glad that i 
was able to be born into a home where the gospel is so intertwined
 into everything. there is no other way to live the gospel... 
it's a way of life.

::For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abasedand he that 
humbleth himself shall be exalted.:: 

something that i am working always to do, is to emmulate more the 
attribute of christ. i am, after all, his representative, and i need to be 
more like him in every way. him that is humble will be exalted, and 
those who stand tall in pride, will be struck down and humbled 
i love you all, thank you all for your support!
hermana martinez and i send our love!
​the tennessee hermana

el 6 de Julio

el 29 de Junio

el 22 de Junio

el 15 de Junio

this week was an adventure, but all missionaries can testify, that it's always 
an adventure.

our biggest challenge this week was working through the rain. having the
spunk and the energy to work through torrential downpours is a little rough
on the soul, but we did it!

a big concern right now is that our teaching pool is really small, and we should
be working with more people than we are. this week will be almost pure new
investigators if we play our cards right!

a big success, helping michael make his dreams come true and get baptized
this week. also, helping roberto each day remember his promise to live the
 word of wisdom. we started out calling him each day, but by the end of the
week, he started calling us to let us know that he had stayed strong that day.
here come the baptismal waters! 

elder velasquez, the young men's president (kevin) and michael. an older
gentleman in the ward gave michael a tie, and we had to re-tie the dang
thing four times to get it to sit right. but he was soo excited for it!

my favorite person this week is president russell. we had the opportunity to
have an interview, and it was great to see the progress that i am making. it
was really hard to pray in english, and i ended up slipping into spanish in
the middle of the prayer. between the two of us, we had to think really hard
to talk in english. we looked at my numbers and talked about ways that i can
be a better companion. he thinks that i have a lot of potential to be a leader
 in the mission, and i simply told him that i am here to do the lord's work.
where he needs me, i will go. 

for a significant tender mercy, see the story above about roberto.

this week i am not looking forward to preparing to say goodbye. we find out
next tuesday if loma linda 1 will see any changes, and i really hope not. but
the feeling has been the same since i started this change, that my time is
coming to a close here in loma linda. give me two weeks and i will tell you
how close i really am to knowing myself.

the greatest scripture this week is one that has been on the back of my
planner for the past month. lucas 24:5-6

::Why seek ye the living among the dead?
He is not here, but is risen::

with the comment, seek him. 

at first, i thought it was talking about Christ, and really the intention is of that.
but it hit me with another application: our investigators. we search and search
and work and work to help people come unto Christ. but some seeds we aren't
meant to harvest. we are meant only to help them grow to a point. and like the
 parable of the forgotten harvest, to leave field for a while. why look for the
living investigators among those who aren't progressing. there aren't there,
but walk among another crowd, another field.

seek them. and we shall find.

hermana graves

el 08 de Junio