Monday, February 29, 2016

29 de Febrero 2016

leap day!
this week was actually long. which is not normal on the mission. and let me tell you why!
tuesday was an adventure. we started the afternoon off with some really delicious 
potato salad, with beets, eggs, carrots, and potatoes.yumm... we had some plans to 
help nelson, a young man about my age, get baptized this weekend, but when we 
got there to do an interview, we had some troubles finding him. so we went and 
contacted some less actives while we waited for him to get back to the house. while 
entering a less active´s home, the neighbor started screaming that he was going to 
call the police because he had a signed document saying that we weren´t allowed to
 be there. funny, because i had never met the man. while saying the closing prayer, 
he came running out, screaming and shouting that we were violating the law and that 
he was going to call the police. the less active and her daughter came running to the 
door to try and hide us and while the cranky old man went running in the get said 
document, we made a speedy exit. come to find out that nelson was sleeping and so 
we made a ¨quick¨ visit to carlos´s house to verify everything. (quick note, nelson and 
carlos literally live on opposite ends of our area...) but we made it, like an hour late, but 
he was waiting for us, book of mormon out and the seats all ready. it was soo adorable. 
we taught him the gospel of jesus christ, and then were on the run back out to meet with 
nelson. all in vain, because nelson had gotten drunk on sunday after we had called him 
and left for rivas on wednesday morning.... fallen baptismal date for this weekend. what a day.
wednesday was a weird day because we did our weekly planning session. we had our lesson 
with carlos to verify some commandments and some loose ends for the baptism this saturday. 
a member, sister maria esther, even let us use her patio to have the lesson because the church 
was closed.
thursday we spent all day in managua practically. we had a multizone meeting with Elder Ochoa, 
the first counselor in the Central America Area Presidency. talk about a neat experience. there
 just aren´t words for the all the questions that i got answered. i got a package and got to share 
some valentine´s day love from the family with the whole zone. (don´t worry, the m&m´s stayed
 in my and sister naumu´s control...) we had some quick lessons and then had to call it a day. i 
was so exhausted that night that i was literally falling asleep in our less active lessons....
friday was a busy day, starting with sister naumu´s magical rain poncho. she had a lot of fun trying 
it on, and i busted a gut the entire time... a district meeting, and then going to work, trying to make 
up for numbers and to get things ready for the baptism. but we were able to find a member reference 
and have a great opportunity to teach the restoration to them. then it was an emergency trip out to 
carlos because he couldn´t make it to el rosario, where we taught him the plan of salvation. he was 
waiting for us, even if we did have to have the lesson sitting on the curb.
saturday, my companion completed two weeks without a voice. the nurse said that it should 
be coming back any day now, so she prescribed some mucinex to help with the cough for now. 
then we got a call at 9am, ¨hermanas, no hay agua en la capilla.¨ translation, sisters there is no 
water in the chapel. AAHHHH. start the search with the bishop for water **here**. the district 
leader came and got lost in our area trying to help us sign our baptism record, and was able 
to help us organize with the zone leaders to have carlos´s baptism with them at the same time. 
the only member we had from el rosario present was the ward mission leader, but i am not going 
to complain. it was super last minute. it was raining, but i didn´t have to shout over the rain this 
time. by some miracle, we got everything figured out and CARLOS GOT BAPTIZED! repeat, 
we had a baptism. see attached gleaming photos, please. then it was back to work, and to run 
some errands, which proved pointless because the medicine was rancid... gotta love nicaraguans.

sunday was a joy because we had a confirmation. carlos is now a member! but we also didn´t 
have progressing investigators in church, so now we have to work double time and smarter to 
prepare for march. also, yesterday my first convert, Andy, completed his first year as a member. 
the missionaries in loma linda tell me he is still firm and steadfast in church. :)
today, we had a district activity, so we went to lunch and played soccer. this is our fail at a 
championship football team picture. three latins and six wannabes. whatcha gonna do?
2 timothy 2:3-4
::Thou therefore endure hardnessas good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth 
entangleth himself with the affairs of this life;that he may please him who hath chosen him to 
be soldier.::
lots of love,
hermana graves

Monday, February 22, 2016

el 22 de Febrero

I will start off by saying sorry that you received lots of emails this week, but 
myldsmail supposedly freaked out. All is well in Zion, well almost.

This week was a long one, but mostly because we didn't have a normal schedule. 
Monday we spent all day cleaning the house for interviews, and then Tuesday we 
spent all afternoon in the Stake Center in Jinotepe waiting for interviews and things 
of that sort. My interview was something that I needed to hear, and was a huge eye 
opener to the things that I still have to change. Wednesday and Thursday were, 
thankfully, normal, and Friday we spent a great part of the afternoon with our possibility 
for this weekend, giving him the commandment download. Pray that Carlos stays strong 
with his commitment to keep the Word of Wisdom, please?

I did not get transferred, but transfers aren't for a few more weeks. The day after Mom's 
birthday will be the faithful day to know if I will be leaving El Rosario. 

My companion continues to be having lots of health problems. Her stomach continues to 
hurt, and her voice has completely disappearted. We (well, I) pray each time we pray 
together that she gets better, knowing that the Lord will answer the humble servant's 
prayer in his timing. 

Our biggest success, is that we had a successful baptismal interview. We will have the 
opportunity to help Carlos be baptized this Saturday, with the hopes of having another 
as well. The Elders came and helped us (after getting semi-lost in the El Rosario Backwoods) 
and failed several times to make contact while attempting to high five. I decided it was funny 
enough to take a picture... Elder Sanchez is from El Salvador, and he's our District Leader. 
Elder Mattaalii is my faithful Zone Leader and he's from LA, California. (He's a BYU fan... ewwww)

A tender mercy was my interview with President Russell. He made some good points of
things that I need to change to change my stress level. He asked me, "How much more 
does He need to put on your shoulders before you come unto Him?"  And that's the question 
that I would like to do to all of you... How much more does He have to put on our plates 
before we ask for His help?

Nelson may have to take the prize for favorite person. We called him on Thursday and he 
made all the changes so that he could come back to El Rosario to talk with us. We called
 him again last night, and he's keeping all the commandments. Now to just help him get baptized....

A favorite scripture goes along a little with the question... hebrews 2:18
::For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.::

a favorite thing i ate: tuna noodle salad. we changed lunch citas, and this sister has been 
great to give us new things. this was straight out of my childhood, so i was all good.

i love you all and wish for the best!
hermana graves

The Elders' failed high five, and the delicious lunch!

Monday, February 15, 2016

el 15 de Febrero

This letter had to be resent from our missionary because there was an
issue with the ldsmail server this week and we didn't get it the first time.

this week i will celebrate one year in nicaragua.... what is this, people? time is just 
going by waaayyy too fast.

this week was one of the harder ones of my mission. after monday´s excursion into 
managua, we got back to a chilly el rosario, and after all day in managua´s oppressive 
heat, it put my companion in a bad health state. tuesday we spent almost all day in
 the house, while my companion tried to keep her internal organs inside and tried not 
to die because of the pain. i was able to leave her in the capable hands of some 
members for a few hours in the early evening so that i could cover some appointments, 
but she was still doing rough. wednesday wasn´t much better, although the overall 
body aches were gone. the nurse is still confused on why all this happened because the 
only test that came back positive was one for a UTI. thursday and friday continued to 
be bad, and saturday and sunday were worse because she lost her voice due to a throat 
infection... a mute, struggling companion makes sister graves a very stressed sister 
missionary. pray for us?

favorite person... the eskimo guy on thursday. it was my companion´s first day back 
in the field after three hard days in bed, and the day got a little bit better because 
there was just enough money to have some ice cream. sister naumu´s first in nicaragua!

some goals this week, prepare our investigators for baptism. we have some people
 preparing for this next week who are looking strong. lots of prayers for us?

i do think that i will be a part of the next transfers, and it´s something that will be majorly 
dependent one what happens with my companion´s health. if she doesn´t get better soon,
it´s possible that they will send her home to get better and then allow her to come back.
 if she doesn´t get better, it´s almost a given that i will be leaving the area. but that´s still 
a little under a month away, so i´m not too worried about it. today is the halfway point 
for the change, and it will be interesting to see what happens. 

i am doing well, just extremely stressed out about my companion, the area, and our 
relationship with the ward. with these new standards of excellency, it´s been a real blessing 
to see how much we really can do. it´s hard to do just a little bit more each day, but the 
lord makes it all possible.

this week´s scripture comes from the 26th chapter of 2 nephi.
first, verses twelve and thirteen, and then verses twenty-three and four...

::And as I spake concerning the convincing of the Jews, that Jesus is the very Christ, it 
must needs be that the Gentiles be convinced also that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal 
God; And that he manifesteth himself unto all those who believe in him, by the power 
of the Holy Ghost; yea, unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, working mighty 
miracles, signs, and wonders, among the children of men according to their faith. For 
behold, my beloved brethren, I say unto you that the Lord God worketh not in darkness. 
He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, 
even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him. Wherefore, he 
commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation.::

he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvationfor he loveth the world, 
even that he layeth down his own life. he manifesteth himself unto all those who believe in 
him, by the power of the holy ghost.

i know that this is true.

be strong, only believe. and he shall manifest himself unto you.
hermana graves

side note. look at this dog´s eyes and tell me that he doesn´t look like an alien. this photo is real

sister naumu´s first ice cream!

Monday, February 8, 2016

el 8 de Febrero

this week was a little interesting. the mission is looking to continue to grow 
in quantity as well as quality, so we upped the normas. we now have the
opportunity each day to have eight lessons with investigators, 5 lessons with 
converts or less actives, 26 contacts (or talking with 26 new people every day), 
with the goal in mind to have 7 in church. it was something new and challenging, 
but the lord has provided the way for it to all happen. 

this saturday we had a really neat experience. something that i have come to 
realize, here in el rosario, is that one day, there will be a stake made of the one 
area that we are in. that just tells you how gigantic our area is. we went to a new 
pueblo on wednesday but didn´t have too much success finding new people. we 
made a couple of appointments to come back, and saturday we found our way back
 out there. we have a list of all the heads of house in el rosario, so we usually carry it 
around when we go to new places, but i left it at home on accident. but we got onto 
the little moto-taxi and went on our way. a single name and a super vague direction 
came to mind, so i just trusted in the lord and away we went. we got off at what 
should have been the direction. the first house we called at, is the humble home
 of a less active family. all i said at the door was "buenas" and the sister immediately 
thought "los misioneros." the lord called us and directed us to all be there and it was
 special to be in that moment with them. we were able to talk with their non-member 
friend who was asking questions about the church at everything. and the greatest 
miracle, the daughters and the non-member friend went to church. all i got to say is 
the church is true.

a goal for the coming week is to keep hermana naumu more involved in the lessons. 
it´s a bad habit that i fell into when we were starting her training and it´s something that 
i have to change, like yesterday. 

a big success... one of our investigators knows that the restoration is real. the gospel
 has started taking root in her heart. again, all i can say is the church is true.

a tender mercy. i found this awesome quote by dallin h oaks:

::[A person may have] a strong desire to be led by the Spirit of the Lord but … unwisely 
extends that desire to the point of wanting to be led in all things. A desire to be led by 
the Lord is a strength, but it needs to be accompanied by an understanding that our 
Heavenly Father leaves many decisions for our personal choices. Personal decision making 
is one of the sources of the growth we are meant to experience in mortality. Persons who 
try to shift all decision making to the Lord and plead for revelation in every choice will 
soon find circumstances in which they pray for guidance and don’t receive it. For example, 
this is likely to occur in those numerous circumstances in which the choices are trivial or 
either choice is acceptable.

::We should study things out in our minds, using the reasoning powers our Creator has 
placed within us.Then we should pray for guidance and act upon it if we receive it. If we 
do not receive guidance, we should act upon our best judgment.::

i know that the spirit is real. he can and will direct our every footstep if we are obedient. 

i love you all. lots of hugs and kisses.
hermana graves

Monday, February 1, 2016

el primero de febrero 2016

this week was long. probably because we didn´t have lot of breaks, it was just 
go, go, go every moment. i finally had a good study this morning and i feel so 
much better. we worked with the sister leaders, we went to managua and were 
almost late for a meeting with president because of a traffic jam, we had a chat 
with our zone leaders about sister naumu´s health, what else. soo much more.

the next transfer date is not until march 9, so sister naumu and i still have some 
time together. :)

a favorite person this week... karen and keyling are making another appearance.
 it´s great to have some members who understand us and who have been on the 
mission before so that they can help us give us new ideas. last night, they came 
and picked up some stuff from our house, and we had fun taking pictures in the street... 

karen, hermana naumu (who doesn´t like pictures), keyling, and me.

big success, well. we made it to managua on tuesday in time and safely. we got 
stuck in a really bad traffic jam after an accident. lots of hurried cars and not a lot 
of room to keep the traffic moving, it took forever to get into managua. a forty 
five minute trip took us almost two hours.... 

tender mercy. i got to get better! we found out that the stomach pains i have been 
having are due to a little parasitic friend that i picked up, but thanks to some heavy 
duty, human approved parasite killers, i am feeling much better. it´s ruined my appetite 
for dinner, but i'm getting better.

the scripture that wins the title is doctrine and covenants 30. i read it this morning, 
and my head immediately turned it into a tiny little interview...

have i feared man more than God?
do i rely on them for strength, or do i rely on Him?
is my mind on the things of the earth or in the things of my Maker?
is my mind in the work i was called to do?
have i given heed to the spirit?
have i been persuaded by those of whom have not been commanded by my Maker?
do i fear in my moment to open my mouth?
do i head the words and advice of my leaders?
am i afflicted with my companion in her afflictions?
do i pray always?
am i diligent?
do i open my mouth to proclaim His gospel with the voice of a trump?
do i fear what man can do?

because the blessings are these::
i am with you
the power to build up His church among the Lamanites
an eternal life.

i know these things are true. we were called to be here in these days to share our testimonies.

hermana graves