Monday, June 13, 2016

el 13 de junio

a new haircut for hermana vasquez, courtesy of hermana estelvina... she's a little stubborn and you have to do as she says, or you loose your head.

this is the after effects of walking in a pair of shoes for the first time after washing them... they stain through your socks and stain your feet! all afternoon in wet shoes and then all day too, there wasn't a lot of options... but it's all part of the adventure!

greatest success.. i made it through one of the first goodbyes without bawling my eyes out. every three months we reunite as several zones (groups of pairs of missionaries, for those that don't speak missionary.) and we have a conference. with president and sister russell finishing their mission at the end of this month, they went big. it was fun, but it was kind of bittersweet. hermana russell shared a beautiful testimony of the book of mormon and president russell helped me reanimate myself. i have recently gone a little trunky, almost finishing your mission does that to you, but i have recommited myself to work until the last day. no regrets.

i have really had a hard time thinking about the vision of my work here. starting this week, i will be preparing investigators for baptisms that i will not even be in the country for. but it's not an excuse, and i really need your prayers to help me stay focused until the end. 

this week, we had a neat experience with a new investigator, macelino. he was a referral from his neighbor who didn't want anything to do with us, who had originally refered us to his sister, reyna. reyna of course passed the referral over to her brother, who was a little occupied but took a moment to talk with us. he was a little hestitant to come to church yesterday, but he completed his commitment and came! all his rumbly tumblies stopped and was able to really enjoy church.

my favorite person this week is hermana pastora. she always tries to put a smile on our faces, especially when it's raining, ie almost every day. this last week she was really stressed about her daughter, was going into labor. it was great to have the opportunity to serve her on thursday night and make dinner. gallo pinto, plantains, and eggs. a delicious nica dinner!

a favorite scripture of hermana vasquez alma 31:35
::Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are our brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee.::

one of the most important things that i have learned in my mission is that you cannot leave the church. it is a scary world out there, and when you live the gospel standards, you live on a higher plane. you aren't in the middle of the all the hustle and bustle of the world. but when you leave the ol' ship zion like elder ballard said, you enter a sea of darkness, turbulent and destructive and it's hard to return. so, it's better not to leave.

my favorite thing about serving in nicaragua is that there is never a dull moment. rarely does a day go by when you don't think the words, :what are we to do with this one?: it just really doesn't happen. something normal, doesn't play out. a baptismal possibility falls after five weeks of teaching thirty minutes after the baptismal service was supposed to start. but then come the miracles, and that's the most beautiful part. an investigator finds you and tells you that she knows that joseph smith was a prophet and that the book of mormon is true, and you just have to take a step back and humble yourself first.

my testimony of the reality of a god has been strengthened so much. if there was not a god, i would not be here, living, writing this letter. i would have been hurt, robbed, or worse a long time ago. but the promises that the lord makes to his missionaries are true. there really is a divine company that is at our side. my testimony is small, but i have seen how my little testimony really has allowed god's children to make changes in their lives. this is no time for the preparations, the seeding. this is the time of the harvest, and i really have seen how many we can really bring to god and how white the field still is for future generations.

i would encourage all young women to seriously think about serving a mission. pray, and read the book of mormon with the question in front of you at every moment, ::should i go on a mission?::  the lord will answer your question. pay attention to what your young women leaders say and the advice that your parents have. there will be something that they say that will be "your answer". i will tell you that it is not for the weak of heart, and surely not for the weak of stomach. the mission is beautiful, but in order to be extraordinarily beautiful it has to have it's dark moments. i know that the lord will support and guide every willing hand in the harvest. like it says in doctrine and covenants four, Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work. put your shoulder to the wheel, and push along.

love you all,
hermana graves 

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