Monday, June 11, 2012

May 28 2012

This weekend was special with the baptism of Wesley and Nicholas. They both asked me to perform the ordinance, and it was very neat to be able to be a participant of the Priesthood in action. Then on Sunday, we confirmed them members of the Church and gave the gift of the Holy Ghost. Doing these ordinances in Portuguese is special and shows the universality of God´s authority. We had a neat gathering at the chapel, but it was a little bit less attended because the baptism had to happen in a different city (santa cruz) because we don´t have a baptismal font yet in Vera Cruz. I took pictures of the Branch President and wife (me in suit) and with the Elder´s Quorum President (on couch). The picture at the baptism with the lady is Aline and Nicholas and the other is Wesley. I also took pictures of the foundation of a house of a family we ate lunch at the other day. The last transfer, they were an answer to prayers as Elder Bryant had basically no food in the apartment. They called us and asked where we were at about 8:30 at night. They dropped two big home made loaves of bread and we ate a whole loaf in about 10 minutes. I was doing a division in Santa Cruz so it was nice to see them again.
Today, seeing as I am writing on Monday, means transfer day. And I am being transfered...again. I don´t know where yet. All I know is that I have to go to the bus station with all the rest of the missionaries being transfered and meet my new companion and find out the new area. I am bummed that I am not able to stay in Vera Cruz longer. I wanted to stay there for a number of months due to all the potential of the investigators, the incredible members that are there and other factors. I feel I know why the Lord has made this change, because I need to grow more, and quicker. I am very grateful for the growth that occurred in this area and hope to be an instrument for Him in the area to come as well. 
Elder Keesling and I had some great lessons this last week. More than anything, we have discussed not running faster than being capable. Physically, I am able to do anything I feel according to the mission standards. But I do feel that at times we have too many people to teach and in spreading too thin, we miss crucial opportunities to help facilitate the growth these people really need. There seems to be many parallels with relating this principle to life after the mission - with a family. Making sure the foundation is always strengthening before getting too top heavy with other commitments outside of the commitment to a spouse. My perspective of mission service continues to adapt to the absolute need of relating this time to life afterwards. I am grateful for the fact that the quest for finding joy in the journey is being won. I am able to reflect every day, in between rejections, people poking their head out the door and shutting it as though the plague were coming, tripping because of the cobblestone roads, brushing our teeth with the dust from the roads... and in the middle of the reflection, feel purely at peace with the surroundings and my relationship with our Savior. I continue to strive to focus everyday on improving. I feel so privileged to have been extended the opportunity to serve a mission. In all honesty, at times I feel selfish being one of the relatively few in the world with this unique opportunity to benefit from all the growth, relationships, experiences, ups and downs, and everything else that comes with a missionary nametag. All in all, I am more grateful for the knowledge I have of the Restoration and the plan of salvation everyday and look forward to exerting myself to be able to use the talents I have been given to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord.
This week I reflected multiple times on the scripture Doctrine and Covenants 18:10 - ``the worth of souls is great in the sight of God´´. Everytime a person appears confused at the message we present I try to sit back and put the Savior´s eyes in place of mine. Without fail, this brings tears to my eyes as I feel a glimpse of what our Heavenly Father is seeing in these people. It makes me yearn all the more to offer the happiness available and comfort knowing God has revealed His complete in these latter days through a prophet. I love you all and would be very ungrateful to not say thank you for all the prayers and thoughts on my behalf. Let me know what I can do better to help you all understand how much I am loving this experience.
With love and charity,
Elder Graziano

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