Saturday, March 31, 2012

March 27, 2012

I forgot to tell a little more about my first Sunday in Brasil. We arrived at church and were informed that the President of the Elder´s Quorum and the teacher did not show up... 30 seconds before we starting teaching the class. With some participation from the class, it turned out well. I am grateful that the members are patient with my language weaknesses and listen intently to make sure they understand what I am trying to communicate. However, after having communicated in a class, the Branch President then asked me to speak in sacrament. (We have Priesthood meeting first, Sunday School, then Sacrament). So I was able to stand up at the pulpit and bear testimony for a few minutes. He said it was a good thing he asked because the assigned speaker didn´t show up to church. Two days ago, Elder Bryant and I were able to teach the Young Men and Young Women about a few chapters in the Book of Mormon. We tried our best to have some participation and role plays and I didn´t see anyone sleeping by the end of it. The frustrating thing now about the language is that I feel decently comfortable expressing my feelings and even speak at a speed which I think is close to normal of some of the people, ( I don´t think I will ever talk as fast as some of the women) but I still can´t quite make out all the words that are being spoken to me. I presume this will last for a short while longer, because I continue to see improvement. I am trying to memorize a certain number of words a day/week and look forward to the day when I can really stand on my own in conversations. Thanks Dad for all the years of teaching me patience, I finally might start getting it a little. After having to wait at home for an extra couple weeks and then dealing with this, I might move forward with this attribute.
We lost almost two days last week of work due to Elder Bryant having a meeting in Porto Alegre (he is our district leader) and having to hold a baptismal interview in a city an hour away on bus. I worked with one of the Elders there. I enjoy doing splits to learn more about the love and appreciation I have for my companion. Elder Bryant continues to impress me with his dedication. He has been sick on and off this week, but really tries his best to push through the body fatigue and fulfill his assignment to the Lord. Please pray for his health to improve.
This week I had my first and second opportunity to give a priesthood blessing to a man in need. At first, I was very worried about the language, but had such a sense of calm in one instance during the blessing to not worry about it, just let the Spirit communicate. I was grateful for the experience, and know the faith of the individuals involved plays a huge role in these ordinances.
How exciting about Jennifer getting her papers turned in! I will be looking forward to the update when she receives her assignment. I am getting more and more excited every day for General Conference. What a privilege it is to invite people we meet to here the words of a modern day prophet and apostles of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I will be writing certain questions and praying for inspiration prior to watching because I know this is one way to confirm the reality that these men are really prepared, called, and ordained to speak for the Redeemer. One thing that has been on my mind is the Priesthood and how we as members and holders of the Priesthood can really live up to the covenant we made to accept that responsibility of service. How is Bishop Delange doing? And Bishop Sorenson? It was such a privilege to work so closely with him the Stevensons, Br. Logan and the others that helped me stay focused on my calling in Moraga. I have a great void for my companion, Sister Barnes. I hope she is doing well. She is in Georgia right now I believe. She is incredible and I need to repent for being stubborn and stern with her at times. I love you Grandma!
My heart goes out to Sister Harries. Wherever (or whatever) thou art, act well thy part. A great story from President McKay. And a lesson I tried to learn while being in Moraga for more time than what I thought was ideal. I will write her today. And I will send it to Georgia, hopefully that will work.
I love you all and am feeling strong and healthy. My legs are appreciative every night to get in the air.
With love and charity,
Elder Graziano
The cathedral is the 2nd highest in South America I have been told, there is one taller in Argentina. In the baptism of Jesus Christ, notice the three separate beings of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost... Interesting.
President and Sister Pavan.
Elder Bryant.
A few pictures of our apartment.

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