Monday, April 25, 2016

el 25 de abril

a new companion, but the same, good ol' san juan! sister vasquez is my new companion, and it's an interesting day in the neighborhood always. sister vasquez is from tegucigalpa, honduras, about thirty minutes from the temple. it's a little hard being with a spanish speaker after being with another greenga for almost five months, but it's good for my spanish and even better for hermana vasquez's english!

hermana sugey and hermana vasquez, my new companion
we are working really hard. i am bound and determined to have success and just blow out the ward this next change. we have a high goal of ten baptisms in may and it's going to be something hard, but something that is worth the pain. it was really disappointing to only have five investigators in church, but the five investigators we did have in church are progressing. please continue to pray that we may have success.

i had the wonderful opportunity that almost every missionary, and almost every convert, wishes to have happen: to be able to go back and teach them after you have left the area. jefri, one of my and sister gomez's converts from last may, has moved recently into the san juan ward's boundaries and i was able to share with him and give him a couple of machetes again. i am praying to know how to help his wife become active and excited about the church as well so that she can be a part of the grand family of God forever.

this week we were focusing a lot with one of our investigators, denis, about the importance of obedience. there are some things that he has been completing lately, namely his prayers about the book of mormon and the restoration. we all know, that if an investigator, a member, or a less active read and pray about the book of mormon and the restoration, that almost every other doubt just goes flying away. it's all based in whether or not the book of mormon is the word of god. and so we read a scripture with him in doctrine and covenants 59:23

::But learn that he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come.::

those that are obedient and do righteously, will gain their reward. 

this week, we didn't eat anything abnormal, but we did eat this really good spaghetti. here, it's something normal to put chicken in their spaghetti sauce made with ketchup. the salad was something divine, and please note the small amount of rice that occupies the plate. i have to find some way to loose weight before i come home!

today was something small and low key. we cleaned the house, washed clothes, and made some ramen noodles with hardboiled eggs, an attempt at a recipe from home. (minus all the vegetables that go with it... there just wasn't enough excitement to go fancy.)

i know that i will have at least another five weeks in this area. i am hoping to finish my mission here in san juan, but we will have to see what the lord has in plan for us. i know that these things are true, and even more than that i know that jesus christ is our savior.

for god so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, to save us from our sins. there had to be a remission and christ volunteered so that you and i could return to live with our heavenly father. christ had such pure intentions that not even in the darkest hour, when he was completely alone did he revoke his divine call as the savior and redeemer of the the world. the pain was something overwhelming, even so that he didn't realize how hard it was going to be. but he never gave up. not my will, but thine be done

what can we do to have a more christ-like attitude this week?

hermana graves

Monday, April 18, 2016

el 18 de abril

first, to start. we finished last week's pday with a late lunch at a four star restaurant. fachentas and everything. the first time in nicaragua that i have seen a menu in strictly dollars, and the first time in my life that i have paid more than $15 at a sit down restaurant. but, it was well worth meyling's birthday, and her face after she opened her birthday gift.
the second picture is one of our investigators. she and her sister are trained by their father in acrobats, and if you can see in the background, her little sister is in the ribbons. that's right, we found little teenagers who know how to ribbon dance. it was intense, and i will not be attempting it. this little girl, neyelis, is balancing on three tubs. it was soo amazing, and i was admittedly jealous, but what are we going to do? i just cant do that.

this week, we really didn't eat too many interesting things. but sunday, it's always a tradition to have gallo pinto, hard boiled eggs, and some other varied accompaniments. yesterday, sister pastora decided to make a few tortillas, and she let me help. and thanks to watching the nica women do it so often, i was able to make a few perfect tortillas by hand. simply delicious.

this week was very much like the little train that could, that ended up crashing half way up the hill. all week, feeling confident, completeing with the normas, working hard, preparing everything for sunday morning, and in the moments before church, nothing. an investigator that had been without drinking six days, admitted to us that the night before, right after we had talked with him, he had gone drinking. another one of our investigators, all ready to go, had been almost a month without drinking, disappeared for thirty minutes and showed up in the park drunk. satan cannot win, and i won't let him do it either. harder. better. faster. stronger. all through Christ.

we had an amazing experience with some contacts. we had contacted the couple a few days before, and had left the restoration with them. we went back last night, and had a picnic/pow wow, with them. we shared the message of the restoration and the spirit was strong. they understood it, and they both accepted a baptismal date. they commited themselves to church, and all for saying buenas at the right door.

elder mateo is finishing his mission tomorrow and so we had a party to say goodbye.
we had some fun with a pinata made to look like him. i'll have to show you the videos when i get back.
this week i have been studying revelation this past week, and it's been interesting to see the signs of the times. friday morning i was reading in chapter eight, and at the end of the chapter, an angel cries in heaven. john has finished describing the happenings of four of the seven angels in the seventh seal. an angel then comes forth and says,

::Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!:: 

woe, in the scriptures, is a sign of great grief and much sorrow. those who do not repent are warned of what is to come. and in the end of chapter nine, it describes that even after all that has happened in the six seals, there are some that remain, and remain in their sins,

::the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: Neither repented they of their murders, nor of theirsorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.::

these people have seen the third of almost all the earth destroyed, and they are so hard hearted that they refuse to repent not. brothers and sisters, are we those that have seen the hand of god destroy his creations, or do we call unto god and repent of our sins? may we all be humble and ready for the coming of the lord.

lots of love. may the lord protect you always
hermana graves

Monday, April 11, 2016

el 11 de abril

going to apologize right now for the lack of pictures. dumb cyber...

this week was surprisingly long, and i don´t know why. but it was fun none the less.

things are going great! we had a training on wednesday on how to be bold and more like the elders, strong, direct and professional. we were given some tips on dressing like professional missionaries and the importance of our appearance. It was a little bit of a wake up call for me. not that my clothing is inapproriate, but there were somethings that i need to clean up. sister hussey got a haircut, and that was a little terrifying for her.

biggest challenge, getting people to church. we just for some reason didn´t commit as many people to church as normal, and we were only able to have four in church. we had some miracles happen, and had two investigators show up by themselves, and that was great! now to just work harder and smarter, bolder to get people to church.

favorite scripture. this week i started reading revelation, something i am trying to do with an open mind and with only the scriptures help to understand. something i came across that i love is found in revelations 3:19

:: As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.::

and another to go with, doctrine and covenants 105:6

::my people must needs be chastened until they learn obedience, if it must needs be, by the things which they suffer.::

something fun we did this week, fasting. it´s a little difficult in managua with all the heat that just surrounds you everywhere. we made it through though, with some help to a bag of ice. we had made milkshakes at like ten oclock on friday and so on saturday there still was some ice leftover. we took turns during planning to just let it drip down our faces and rub it all over our arms, legs and faces. good old body heat...

i love you more than words
hermana graves

trolling sughey at 10:15 at night... that's what you get when you go to bed early, chica!

trolling meyling, when she fell asleep on the couch at nine waiting for us to get in. crazy ladies!

Monday, April 4, 2016

el 4 de abril

ya'll ready for this? it's almost been another month... what is this, people. reality is getting closer and the closer and closer it gets the scarier life after the mission gets.

this past week was a hard working week. we had the goal to attend all four general sessions of general conference and almost made it. we were able to bring a total of nine investigators to church this weekend and it was completely a spiritual experience. lots of circles to get enough investigators to be in a session (in the nicaragua managua south mission, in order to stay in a conference session, you have to have four investigators with you, excluding sunday morning). i had the sincere desire to sustain the prophet in general conference as a missionary, but was not able to do it. God knows why He sends us trials.

preparing investigators for conference is quite an adventure. for a lot of them it's just simply explaining that it's a giant worldwide conference, where the lord's prophet shares with us His divine revelation. we had to explain that it would be a little different than normal, but that it would be even more spiritual for the same reason. we committed investigators to each session, trying to help them see that something that someone would say would answer which ever question or doubt they had. and a lot of investigators saw the blessings.

being able to hear the prophet's short words was such a calming experience. my heart was joyous for the four countries who will receive new temples in the coming months and years. we all continue to pray for a temple in nicaragua, but there is a lot of growth to be done first.

we are working on finding new investigators. general conference really is a make it or break it for investigators. if they don't come to general conference it's a little bit harder for them to believe the words of a latter day prophet. but if they can hear the words of the prophet from his very own mouth, it's a lot easier for them to feel the spirit.

this week we had gallo pinto, pizza hut pizza, cow liver dressed in tomato sauce and onions, and then a green vegetable stuffed with crumbly nica cheese, fried in eggs. (picture attached of last mentioned plate).

today we had lots of fun playing soccer and basketball as a mini zone. this is my smallest zone yet, only having 12 missionaries in total, 2 sisters, 8 normal elders, and the 2 assistants to president. makes for small pday activities and even smaller zone meetings. two enormous pizzas were bought between six of us and we ate all 24 slices and a 3 liter of seven up by ourselves....

the zone minus the aps

2 john 1:6
::And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.::

sister hussey and a less active, joaquin, enjoying some nicaragua propaganda.

elder de leon (the taller elder) completed 18 months in the mission so he dressed up as a sister. it resulted in several questions about how we could work in skirts all day, why we were makeup, why we use earrings, and everything else in between... ooh elders. the other elder, elder mateo, is just crazy and wanted to see if the skirt fit....

i hope that this letter finds you all in well being. i love you more than words.
hermana graves

pizza is my saving grace.