Monday, March 28, 2016

el 28 de marzo

this week was actually really exciting, because miracles do happen! we only have six investigators in hand to go to church, and when we got to the chapel, like thirty seconds before the sacrament hymn, we found out that a convert had showed up with her husband all by themselves! God is good to those that work hard.

a favorite person, we have the three musketeers. paola, maria eugenia and sugey. three sisters in the ward who are a hoot! paola invited us to dinner last night, and as photographed below, it was amazing. well worth the little bit of wait. the members are starting to invite us to come dinner and i think that it is an important sign. it means that the ward is starting to trust us a little bit more. we didn't have a lot of growth as far as people in sacrament meeting, but we are having a lot of success finding and bringing converts and less actives again to church. they are bringing friends and the ward is helping us by taking advantage of missionary opportunities.

a tender mercy... we were able to have lots of investigators in church, find lots of new people and help them progress, despite the fact that the greater part of the nicaraguan population is in rivas or san juan del sur... everybody goes there for the week before easter, or semana santa, and no one is home. the streets are empty and it really is a miracle to find anyone home..

goals for the coming week: we are going on a hunt for families to complete. men and women who have been baptized but the rest of their family has not, in the hopes of finding new people while reactivating the ones that aren't coming to church. the ward is getting excited about a temple goal for the end of this year, and we are trying to get everyone excited to get activated and GO!

today we had sopa de res, an original name for soup of beef. it's not my favorite, but sister hussey and i found the way to enjoy a little bit of it. *picture included*

my comp and i are getting along great. she is so humble and so willing to keep a good attitude about everything. sometimes all we can say about the day is this: the book is blue, and the church is true. they are the only words that can describe all the feelings that were present.

a favorite scripture. today i was studying in jesus the christ, by james e. talmadge and he talks of the Atonement of the Christ. he speaks of the experience only cited in Luke, that an angel appeared to support him, but even then, he cried that the cup pass from him. 

::and there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. and being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.::

how great must have been his anguish, that even the strength of an angel still left him with agony.

for god so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son.

i know he lives.

hermana graves

Monday, March 21, 2016

el 21 de marzo

so, due to last week's inability to send pictures, here are some make up ones! 

This first is my dear Anai and Sofia, all grown up! We ran into them on Friday and it was crazy!

Due to an unsure father, we had to postpone Celeste's baptism to this weekend, and we made a sure and fine commitment with the family a full week in advance so that the same thing would not repeat itself. Saturday 19 March at 4pm, Celeste Jazmin was baptized!

This is Eduardo, a cute Guatemalan, who speaks some fairly good English and loves the gospel. He's received the priesthood and even has a calling pending! 

that is all from last week...


this week's letter finds us in week two in san juan, with this weekend's exciting news: we had two baptisms and seven investigators in church! (we may have had to attend all three sacrament meetings that occur in this building, but we did it!)

things are going great in the new area, and we are working hard. we have to work to find some new investigators that are going to continue to progress, but we are trying to do it at the same time as lifting church attendance, so we are looking for less active families. work smarter to work harder.

this week, i tried bao. it's a typical meal, green and yellow plantains, hamburger, yuka, and lots of time in a plantain boiler. it wasn't my favorite...

a favorite person this week, would have to be Said. he is the grown man that is shown in the amazing late evening pictures shown below. he was completely changed his life for the gospel, and has so wonderfully progressed. he has completely stopped drinking and smoking, breaking a six year habit in three weeks. he knows the book of mormon is true, and has the courage to leave his families' easter celebrations to be away from the temptations to drink and smoke. please tell me that there is not something to be learned there.

a tender mercy. being a part of celeste's baptism was something of a miracle. she has been faithfully attending church with her older sister and cousin for years, while her parents remained inactive. it was always a rule that daddy had to be the one to baptize her, and she never gave up hope that one day her dad would return to activity and she would be able to be baptized. last weekend we could have had her baptism, but because of satan's tempting powers, we had to postpone it to this weekend. below is the miracle is a picture.

a favorite scripture... 1 peter 5:6-7
::Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.::

the new area is small, and there are a lot of less actives. the ward has about seventy as a normal attendance, and we need lots of reactivating of converts because there has been lots of success baptizing, but then they all move away. my companion has been out in the field for five months and always has crazy new ways to find new investigators. she's from downtown salt lake, and convinced me to have a sleepover last night underneath the stars. i only got bitten four times.

lots of love,
hermana graves

Monday, March 14, 2016

el 14 de marzo

this week has been full of new adventures because i have officially left el rosario. i am now in san juan, las colinas, managua. welcome back to the heat sister graves! i am trying to stay positive about the heat because it will only be worse if i think about it! i need to get better at writing in my journal, because life gets in the way....

well, i would send you pictures, but my memory card doesn´t like the managua computers so it doesn´t recognize it... sorry. my new companion is another greenga, who has been away from home a little more than 6 months. sister hussey is a bell from temple square, salt lake and i love having her as a companion. there is just so much fun to have with a bi-lingual companion!

our greatest success, we have two great baptisms this next weekend! said is doing great with the word of wisdom and celeste was ready for baptism a year ago. her daddy is all ready to do the ordiance this weekend, and so we are all set!

a tender mercy. friday we went to go talk with a sister, animating her to do some of her own missionary work. we got a couple of referrals and we had some time to go looking for new investigators = golden opportunity. we walked around the corner and i recognized a cute little girl playing with some other little ones. i looked up and saw anaĆ­, jefri´s wife! come to find out that the referral was her grandmother and i had a few moments to talk with her. jefri is doing well, keeping up with work. sofia is all grown up, almost ready to have a birthday in july. anaĆ­ and jefri go to church every once in a while, and a couple of days ago, the sisters found them again in loma linda! it was so great to see her and i cried a little bit later on. the lord is good!

this week the food was relatively normal. the new lunch cita is sweet and gives us what we want! sister hussey shared with me a great little american fig bar that i am going to have to hunt down when i get back. but yeah, everything normal!

a favorite scripture actually goes along with a quote but i don´t have it on me... but zechariah 13:6, 9
::one shall say unto him, what are these wounds in thine hands? then he shall answer, those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God.:: 

i have always been fascinated with the refiner´s fire that the scriptures talk about. christ had has, two actually. his forty day fast and then his sacrifice for us in gethsemane. we have ours during our difficult moments. we need to remember that the scars that he has on his hands are our sins. we are the friends that he was wounded for. 

john 15:13
::Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.::

i love you all. but not as much as He does.
hermana graves

Monday, March 7, 2016

el 07 de Marzo 2016

first off, happy birthday mommy!

Today was a lot of fun, we went to Nandaime, Granada and had a lot of fun 
playing kickball, SOFTBALL, and just rocking out to some (sshhhhh) Disney music. 
It was a great day. We had lots of actual lunch meat sandwiches, Pringles, and Pepsi 
for lunch. well played Elders, well played.

a favorite person this week, the zone leaders. they are always lots of help and 
encouraging us, and it´s something that has been really interesting to see because
 Elder Mataalii has literally been in the same zone and/or one of my leaders for my 
entire mission. repeat, the 14 months (today, i complete them!), that i have been in 
Nicaragua, we have been together. just so many things that have happened. 

a tender mercy. we were able to find some really great new investigators, but 
unfortunately none of them came to church. the opportunity to fast (for what could be 
the last time) for el rosario was a humbling experience because we were able to see the 
lord´s hand in it all. when we really do sacrifice it all, he can be there to help us along the 
long and dusty paths of nicaragua.

a favorite scripture... which to choose.
james 1:5-6
::If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth 
not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth 
is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.::

let us not be moved like the waves of the sea.

goals for this week... i have to be better about giving less information in lessons. now that i 
understand people, and have a relatively good grasp on the spanish language, i can express 
all of those deep feelings that i have; and sometimes i information download instead of 
explaining it effectively.

i love you all, and i can´t believe the time is flying by!

hermana graves

A Tender Mercy

Hermana Russell,

We did not receive an email from our missionary yesterday. In talking to some of my friends who are missionary Moms, it sounds like it may be something to do with the mail system because they didn't get emails from their missionaries either.  Could you please let us know that our daughter is okay since we didn't get an email from her?

Marianne Graves

Sister Graves,
It appears there was a problem with some emails yesterday.  I have sent a request to see what we can do on our end to fix it. Hopefully all will be working next week.  I apologize for the inconvenience

Hermana Graves is fine.  In fact, I will be seeing her within the next hour or so as President has interviews in Jinotepe this morning.  I will give her  a hug especially from you.

Hermana Russell

Hermana Peggy Russell
Nicaragua Managua Sur