Monday, October 31, 2011

October 24, 2011

Hello family-
My companion and I have had another good week here. We continue to progress in the language as well as our teaching ability. It is such a blessing being able to feel the Spirit so often. We heard from Elder Richard G. Scott last Tuesday. One of the main points that I took with me was to pray as if time did not matter. At times I have felt tired and was worried about having to get up early again the next morning, but after he spoke about this subject. I have recomitted myself to making sure God knows how grateful I am every day for all of my blessings.
It is hard to imagine that it has already been one week since my last email. It feels as though it was just a few hours ago I pressed "send" last week. It is also interesting to think that in two weeks my time here in Utah will be up. 3 more Elders in our district received Visa's last week. They leave tomorrow. There will only be 5 of us left after they leave. We started with 12. It feels a lot different in class and doing things together with Elders continually getting "picked off" to go down to Brasil. I still haven't done my electronic visa, so I am sure I will have the opportunity to visit another part of the US before I end up making it to South America. This makes me even more excited to develop more relationships and learn from different Elders and mission president. I may find out this week what my reassignment will be, or next week, not sure yet. One of the Sisters I met that was supposed to go to Brasil just got reassigned to Billings, MT... I was jealous. Also, a counselor in our Branch Presidency served in the same mission as Uncle Steve - the Navajo Reservation - although about ten years prior. His last name is Gale. I asked him to pull some strings for me too. However, whatever happens, the work of the Lord is GREAT.
Neat to hear that Campo and Miramonte would be playing each other as undefeated teams. Hopefully that turned out great for the Cougars. I played bocce ball the other day with an Elder Black from Palo Alto. He is going to Porto Alegre North as well. He hopes to play football when he returns at either BYU or Stanford. He has a good frame for a tight end and if he puts on 20 lbs he would be great. Too bad here at the MTC they won't let us get any football games started, even flag, because there are some very athletic Elders. I feel so privileged to know so many young 19 and 20 year olds whose faith is so fortified already. This gives me more fire and motivation to dedicate myself deeper to my service.
I also enjoyed reading Elder Harries email home. It is so awesome thinking how happy Grandpa Barnes is. Sister Harries and I comment often on how we can feel his love and support around all the time.
Here is something that you may or may not believe. I played the piano in our priesthood meeting. Before I left I practiced a few songs on Jennifer's keyboard in Reno and memorized two of them. All of the Elders that could play left, so I was the last resort. They somehow played themselves without a hitch - prayer works... Anyway, if I have to play again, we are going to get real good at singing We Thank Thee, O God, For A Prophet and Let The Holy Spirit Guide.
Grandma - Thank you so much for the caramel popcorn. It is so good. As much as I've tried to share with others, I still have more to get through. Thanks so much for thinking of me.
Mom - That was a neat story about the snake at the tennis courts. Thanks for thinking of me through your letters this past week. I am doing great and really don't need anything more. I feel spoiled enough as it is from your prayers and love and letters from not only you, but everyone else too.
Dad - Thanks for Dan's address. If I could ask another favor: to call him back and get the address of his parents. His # again is 918-899-4084.
Aunt Diane - Thank you for telling Sister Harries to lend me a few Halloween cookies. They were nice and crumbled by the time I got them so I didn't have to waste any of the Lord's time chewing! They were very tasty though. It has been an enormous blessing in my life and a boost to my faith to get to know her better while she has been here at the MTC. I am excited for her to get to experience the Peru MTC as well.
Aunt Kathy - Thank you for thinking of me and filling me in a bit Brett. That is a big bummer. Having seen so many talented athletes, I also saw many of them never truly get to show their full potential due to injuries. You know this too I am sure due to your extended activity in and around sports. I will make sure to remember him in my prayers. How is Kyle doing in San Diego? I am sure his legs are stronger than mine now if he is working the pedals hard everyday up and down those hills.
I love all and am ever mindful of the immense love and support and prayers that are offered on my behalf. Until next week,
With love and charity,
Elder Graziano

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