Thursday, May 3, 2012

April 17, 2012

I hope all is well with everyone. Hopefully Vince had a good birthday party last week. Mom, how is the knee feeling? Dad, any news? I think we may get some mail this week or next, so I am sure some questions will be answered and updates will be given.
This week was full of growth and the best way I grew was through the concept of developing love for people here. Elder Bryant and I have talked a lot about how we can be effective in helping people actually grow closer to Christ. We have changed our focus to be directed more on the ability to develop a personal relationship with the people rather than simply drop a message about the Restored Gospel. This not only has produced some better results with our goals of helping people towards baptism, but is helping me realize the type of love that the Savior showed people while He instructed them. Certainly he asked questions and tried to get them to make the commitment to follow Him, but always showed love while doing so. I do know that baptism is the way in which we can help people receive more blessings from God and the gift of the Holy Ghost, but this decision on their part is only going to be made if they feel the arms of the Savior drawing them in. On Sunday afternoon we taught a man and his wife, Ilário and Mara, and her sister and friend, (four people total). Elder Bryant and I had a conversation right before about our focus being out of whack a little. We discussed and offered a sincere prayer for heavenly guidance during the lesson. We certainly received the help, as they all felt the reality of the message of the Restoration. When we invited them to be baptized, Ilário said that he would almost make an oath with us to be baptized. We were very blessed to have felt the prompting to communicate and improve our focus to be better instruments for the Savior. This next week will be transfers and we both want to stick together to see the growth the Lord intends of us together and how we can actually give the Lord some fruits for the labors we have put in here.
I read an email from Jennifer about her call arriving. How awesome that she gets to go to Guatemala and serve a nursing mission. What an incredible blessing for her and the people there.
I also got an email from Sierra in Tennessee. I don´t think I told you but she was baptized a few weeks ago. She is enjoying the difference that decision has made for her and is feeling the improvements in her life as a result of receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost.
This morning, Elder Bryant and I walked up to a view of the city of Santa Cruz and took a few photos. They also had an old pulpit underneath the big cross, and we preached about the Book of Mormon to all the spirits who were listening... Life is awesome as a full-time representative of the Savior as well as knowing that we are children of a loving Heavenly Father.
With love and charity,
Elder Graziano


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