Sunday, July 8, 2012

June 12, 2012

First of all, I must give a huge thank you to Julie Del Santo who sent a big package with lots of snacks. Just when food was hitting the low point for the week, I received a gift from above. How incredible of her. I initially thought it was a pretty big box for not much stuff, because she only listed four items - nuts, socks, shampoo, trail mix. Upon opening, I don´t know how she was able to stuff everything into one box. It will last for a while... Thank you so much. I also received a letter from the Linton´s in Arkansas which was a great surprise.
Congratulations Vince on graduating. Best of wishes on the Eagle Board of Review.
This week, we found a few different families this week to teach. I really am praying to be able to help them get baptized so that here in a year before I leave Brasil I would be able to go to the temple and witness them being sealed by the Holy Priesthood for time and eternity. It is always a pleasure to find people who are open to learning and willing to pray about what we teach. Many people in this area have been turned off to missionaries I think because of the negative that happen with other churches. Many churches mandate extreme sacrifices of income (75%), homes, cars, etc. As a result, we see the ugly side of people from time to time.
The dedication of the temple in Manaus was really special. On Saturday night we received permission to attend the cultural celebration. We were able to stay about an hour before we have to catch our bus to get in the apartment on time. The dancing and singing were really neat. On Sunday the dedication was very spiritual. I enjoyed arriving early and being able to look at pictures of various temples and hear the beautiful hymns in the background. I felt as though it was like arriving to the temple early to ponder. Certainly I will look forward to the next chance I get to go to the temple here in Porto Alegre. I took my journal and wrote about some of the special feelings I was having. I am yet to miss a day without writing at least a couple of words in my journal. It has been harder to keep us this transfer with extra responsibilities but I will continue to make that effort.
This last week had some chilly days, but no snow. I will be giving a talk in church on Sunday again. One of the things I continue to marvel at is the fact that whenever I read the Book of Mormon in portuguese during the morning, I am able to speak and understand better throughout the day. I know this comes from the promises of the prophets, that reading the Book of Mormon in the other language will help us more than any other tool. The days when I don´t have time to read in the morning, due to traveling or what not, I can really perceive the difference.
One insight I gained this week while reading scriptures and studying was in regards to pride. We read in James 4:6 that ``God resisteth the proud´´. However, we know that God loves all His children and desires their well being in general. As I thought about how He resists the proud, I felt that it doesn´t mean He resists the proud in the sense He turns His back on them. He resists the proud because to force them to change or repent would be breaking the eternal laws of agency. We read in the Book of Mormon over and over the necessity of having a broken heart and contrite spirit. If our heart is not broken, there is no room to allow God in and change us. To have a hard heart would be similar to a rock, impenetrable. I hope the Lord knows of my desires to be moldable and usable as an instrument for Him. I find joy in seeking revelation as to how I can live a more consecrated mission and life in general. I enjoy the process of taking mental notes as to how life will be after the mission and what sort of goals and things I will implement to stick close to the ``tree of life´´.    
With love and charity,
Elder Graziano
photos are of the area and with sweater I am with Elder Richardson and without is Elder Frost, on a division last week in the city of Bento Gonçalves.

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