Tuesday, October 18, 2011

October 17, 2011

Good Monday-
First off, Mom, I know I have forgotten to respond to your questions about the food and beds and such and I just remembered - finally. The cafeteria food is fine, nothing like home cooked meals, but I have never been picky and am grateful for the options there are. On Wednesdays and Sundays they bring in BYU Creamery ice cream, but I usually only eat it once a week if you can believe it. Last night at our MTC Fireside, Sister Harries and I sat next to eachother and the first speaker was the wife of one of the District Presidents here. She began giving a course on table etiquette... The whole time Sister Harries and I kept looking at each other and noting how we would probably be invited to leave the table at their house. Not really, but it was certainly different than the family dinners we have when all the food is gone so quickly. My companion and the Elders in my district also said that this was personal revelation as a result of me always being the first one done and waiting on others to finish. Gives me something new to think about. The beds are fine, I have gotten used to skipping around from one place to the next over the past six years, and I sleep hard every night. If I don't, I tell myself I didn't work hard enough the day before and make sure the next night is better. We did get two new Elders in our dorm room because they are remodeling a lot of the MTC. So now there are six in one room with the same amount of closet space and desk space. Things are cramped, but working well since we are rarely in our rooms anyway.
I heard there was an article in the Deseret News about me. That is interesting, and hopefully it can have a similar effect as did the one in the Moraga paper - be used for missionary work somewhere along the line. I told my district about the call I got from the 49ers and having an agent and other things, yet I had received answers to prayers that this was the decision to make. I received some nice compliments about how that was going to change their missions with respect to how they view putting their nametag on every morning and the dedication they would put into the work. I didn't know that would result, but it was humbling to acknowledge that God has given me all these experiences to not only bless me, but all His other children I am privileged to come in contact with. Apparenly I didn't say to keep it quiet, because shortly there after, many Elders around the MTC starting asking me about that. I just love talking about myself...
We had another fine week here at the MTC. The language continues to come, but we have been getting more and more into "subjunctive" verb forms which are a little tougher. The proper conjugation is coming, but will certainly need practice. The weather has continued to be very nice here, except they shut off all the AC to the buildings I think and it is certainly not cold enough for that. We are getting prepped for the hot days of Brasil I tell myself. Two more Elders in my district got their Visas last week, but no more on mine. I still haven't filled out my electronic portion of it, so nothing will happend too quickly. I will be excited to serve no matter where though.
Last Tuesday we heard from Sister Julie Beck. She gave a wonderful talk mainly focused on love. One thought I remember right now was in reference to those people we come in contact with that are a bit harder to love than others. An idea to develop love is to pray to Heavenly Father and find out how He and Jesus Christ love that person, and the Holy Ghost will then be able to work with us on how we too can develop charity towards him/her.
I got some neat notes from a group of young women in the Moraga Ward. What a smile those sort of notes bring to me. It is wonderful to think back on the teachers I had that influenced my life for the good. I especially remember the great influence Bob Garff, Bishop Sorenson, Wes Hilton, Jeff Logan, Carter Hemming, Jim Pierce, Dave Pahnke and others had. I am privileged to have grown up in an area with such incredible Priesthood holders.
I am sad to read that Grandma's thumb is still giving her problems. I am also excited for Shanel as she gets to leave next week and have the experience of the Peru MTC. The story about Uncle Michael running into one of the Elders I knew was wonderful. His name was Elder Empey and he was a very knowledgeable and spiritual Elder. As we read scriptures together with the whole group, he was always one to point out hidden treasures that only a certain type of intelligence was able to remember.
I have to ask again as I did not receive anything this last week, but I still don't have Dan Martin's address or his parents. His phone number is 918-899-4084. So if Dad or Mom or Jennifer Whitaker could call him that would be great. I have some letters written for them, but nowhere to send to. That is awesome to know that Vince's football team keeps winning.
One little thought that I came across while I was studying this week. The Law Tithing and the Word of Wisdom - two "physical" laws - have two of the strongest spiritual blessings attached. In Malachi we read the the devourer will by rebuked on our behalf as we pay our tithing and through obedience to the Word of Wisdom, the destroying angel will pass us by (Doctrine and Covenants 89). It was reconfirmed to me that these commandments are all about faith, especially tithing.
You all are cherished,
Elder Graziano

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