Hello Family and Friends-
Another great week here with lots of learning. I also scored my first goal of my soccer career since I think I was 7 years old - the year before I started football. It wasn't too talented, the ball rolled through a couple of legs and my foot was in the right place and before I knew it, I was getting high fives. I kept my shirt on though... Basketball has also been fun, but I like being out in the air better. I keep feeling better with the language. It seems as though they try to hammer us pretty hard with the language especially at the beginning. Then, from what I have been hearing and starting to experience, they start to incorporate more gospel study in the mission language. But I think it is very effective as they are trying to emphasize our teaching abilities hear in the MTC. This obviously begins with being able to communicate with someone, but when this doesn't work, we all have learned how to bear testimony to help us use the true treacher - the Holy Ghost.
Last Tuesday, Elder Russel M. Nelson from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles came and spoke to us about the October 2011 issue of the Ensign magazine. It was awesome. That edition was printed with missionaries specifically in mind, and they gave each and every missionary here a copy of it. It is a great source of not only information about the Book of Mormon, but would be a great missionary tool to send to a friend's doormat or something.
It was so awesome seeing Sister Harries show up. I was very bummed I wasn't able to see Diann and Michael because while she was getting dropped off, I was out on the field playing soccer. I was hoping there would be a way for me to see them but it didn't work out. Elder Higbee, Sister Harries and I got a picture together last night, which was way cool. I am very happy for Elder Higbee to be leaving this week and start putting in the work out in his field of labor. I am grateful at the learning which takes place here, and the amazing Spirit which is brought by having thousands of missionaries in the same place. The main reason we don't get to see more of eachother is because they are Spanish speakers and me, being Portuguese and not really supposed to be here at the Provo MTC, we are in different zones and have different schedules and buildings to do our work in.
I got a letter from the Moraga Ward Primary with a bunch of signatures from the kids and notes from the adults. That meant a lot. One of my most joyous memories I have about primary is the songs we sang about becoming missionaries in the future. I am grateful that I never crossed this opportunity off my list, and couldn't imagine doing anything else to make God happier. I also liked the part about challenging the kids to do missionary work now. Jennifer Whitaker gave me a copy of a talk she gave in Reno just a couple weeks ago now, and a part of it included a thought along the lines of: One way in which we can truly draw ourselves closer to the Lord and Heavenly Father now is by serving and helping our fellowman (Matthew 25:40 Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.)
Time is running short, but I feel so blessed to be doing this work. Thank you all for the prayers and support. I look forward to everyday and finding joy in this journey.
Love, Elder Graziano