I have been called to serve for 2 years in the Costa Rica San Jose Mission as a full time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Week One in the MTC!

Hola mama. Today is my first P day but only because its my first week. Every other week my P day will be on Fridays. My companion is Elder Willis He is from a town by San Diego and he is going to Nicaragua. He is really cool and I feel like I have already known him even though its only been 3 days. There are 2 other elders going to Costa Rica in my district and they are both way cool. In the past 3 days my knowledge of Spanish has doubled. It is really weird how I thought I had forgetten a lot of Spanish but everything I learned in high school has already come back to me and so much more that I didn't think I even knew. Me and my roomates/companion pretty much only speak in Spanish. We all decided that every Tuesday the entire day we are not allowed to speak English we just have to figure it out in Spanish. When I think I am always thinking and trying to translate everything I hear into Spanish it is difficult for me to even write this because I wanna just keep working on Spanish. The food here is suprisingly good there are always a million options to eat and it is all very quality food. There is also lots of fountain drinks, juices and milks. They have Coke but its only caffiene free which I thought was funny. My district has 12 Elders in it and they are all going to either Guatemala or Nicaragua other then me and the other companionship going to Costa Rica. Every Elder in my distric is awesome. There is not one that I don’t love or wouldn’t want as a companion. My teacher has told me many times that I need to move to a more advanced class for my Spanish but I would have to change companions, districts, rooms, everything and I definately dont want to do that. Almost everyone in my district plays soccer so for gym time we all play together and we destroy everyone. Its tons of fun. I am loving life and loving being here and training to head out to Costa Rica and I know I’m not ready to get there, but I am so excited for when I am. Everyone should use dearelder.com to write me things. It doesnt have to be long at all but it’s so easy and really fun to get things from that. And letters arent bad either.I will send pictures next Friday. I haven’t had time to take any but I will be sure to send pictures of me and my companion and me pointing at the big map at Costa Rica and all the cliche pictures.My knowledge of the gospel has gotten so much stronger in the past few days. I know that I am where I need to be and I know that there are people waiting for me in Costa Rica. I wrote a letter home talking about an immunization record that I need. It should come in the next few days hopefully you can figure out what I need because I definately have no idea. Tell everyone that I love them and miss them very much. I don’t have time to write everyone . I only get 30 minutes every week to do so. I felt a little rushed with some of my goodbyes. And tell them it will probably be much easier for me in the mtc to respond in e mails then letters so have everyone e mail me. There is a printing place here that shrinks and laminates patriarchial blessings down and laminates them so i got that done I dont need you to get that done. I need to go put my laundry from the washer to the dryer to I gotta go, but I love you very much. Tell dad I love him too. Elder Graham

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Saying Goodbye for 2 Years

(By Taylor's Mom, Alicia)
Elder Graham was to report to the MTC at 12:45. We were only allowed to take one car per missionary. Taylor, Tracey, Brent and I were all in our car. Jen, Jeff, Nick and Allie were going to walk in to meet us and say their goodbyes. As we entered the driveway, we began to pass the others who were walking in. They were stopped just inside the entrance, not allowed to go any farther. We didn't know what to do. There was already a line of cars behind us. We couln't stop to let Taylor say goodbye to them. We just kept going. Every car length there was a numbered post with 4-5 missionaries with "Host" labelled on their white shirts. As we drove along looking for our assigned number, the missionaries all waved to us and smiled. It was quite a sight to see all those missionaries in their white shirts. We drive for a long time until we stopped at our assigned number. We all got out and 4 cute missionaries welcomed Elder Graham. As we took his luggage out of the trunk, Brent and I could see that Taylor was really sad about not being able to say his goodbyes to everyone else. Brent and I both just said, "GO!! Run and tell them goodbye." He hesitated for a few seconds, wondering if he would be breaking any rules, then he just took off on a sprint, out of sight, around the building. Tracey explained to the missionaries that he wasn't going AWOL, and that he would be back. In just a few short minutes, we could see Taylor, sprinting back to us, looking very calm and happy. Now he could enter the MTC.

July 28, 2010

(By Taylor's Mom, Alicia)

Taylor wanted to go to breakfast at The Crackerbarrel, so after stopping at the MTC entrance to take the requisite missionary pictures, we headed for Springville.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Family Time in Utah

(By Taylor's Mom, Alicia)

Taylor flew into Salt Lake early Monday morning and spent the day with Jen and her family. Tracey, Nick, Allie and I drove and got to Jen's house Monday evening. Brent flew in Tuesday afternoon and that night we celebrated Cohen's 2 year old birthday and spent some family time together on Taylor's last night before entering the MTC.

Jennifer and Allison trimmed Taylor's hair so he would look good entering the MTC, and Taylor read Cohen his bedtime story.

Everyone gave Taylor something to take along with him. It had to be small enough to fit in his suitcases and not heavy, so it was fun to see what everyone chose. Then we went around the family, and everyone gave him personal advice for his mission. It was completely unplanned and impromptu, but a very sweet time for all of us.

Both nights, Taylor and Allie tried to stay up with all-nighters, but fell asleep 20 minutes into their endeavor!

MTC address!

For the first 2 months I will be in the MTC my address is

Elder Taylor Chase Graham
MTC Mailbox #352
CRA-SJO 0928
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84602-1793

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Last night in Oregon.

A little over a month and a half ago I received my Mission call to Costa Rica. Even then it seemed like it would be a while untill I actually left home to become a missionary. I leave early tomorrow morning and I think finally it is setting in that I won't be home for 2 years. Everything I have grown to love I will be away from for 2 years. The Blazers, my puppy Bernard, Oregon, FIFA, going out onto a soccer field with my best friends and just kicking a ball around, Taco bell at one AM, Oregon rain, skateboarding with my brothers, Mike and Mike, puting on a Spiders jersey and every Monday at 6:20 playing indoor soccer and my job at Dutch Bros. All these things I have loved doing and I have no doubt I will continue to love them when I get back. I have no doubt that giving up these things are very small compared to all the amazing things I am going to experience. This thing I am about to begin will only happen like this once in my life and I am excited to put my whole heart into it. I am so thankful for the amazing family I have and the support they have shown to me. I am so glad to have the friends that I have that have stood by me. Without all of them I would be no where. Thank you all and see you in 2 years.

-Elder Graham

This blog will be updated every week by my mom with pictures and updates of how/what ive been doing.


(By Taylor's Mom, Alicia)
All I can say, is thank heaven this day was so busy and chaotic, or I would have probably collapsed in tears. Even though it's not my first time as a Missionary Mom, it sure feels like it! What a bittersweet time...
Taylor gave a great talk on missionary work. He spoke of his assurance that the people of Costa Rica are waiting for him to teach them the gospel, that Costa Rica needs him, and that he needs Costa Rica. He told a funny story about giving a group of obnoxious teenagers the wrong directions to the Oregon City football game, sending them clear to Molalla instead of right down the street where they wanted to go, and said that in contrast, he will be giving correct and precise directions as a missionary. He also talked about Heavenly Father knowing each of his children by name, contrary to his own father, who only has 6 children and can never get their names right. He told how on his 8th birthday, he was so excited to get a nice set of leather bound scriptures from his Dad, and didn't notice until just a few years ago, that where his name is engraved, there is a big space between Taylor and Graham. When he asked his Mom about that space, he learned that his Dad had a "J" put there for Taylor's middle initial, thinking that his middle name was Jacob (Nick's middle name) instead of Chase, and when his Dad realized it, he scraped the "J" off, leaving a space. Taylor went on to say that if Heavenly Father were to give Taylor a set of scriptures, it would have his correct name on it. It was very funny and endearing. After church everyone wanted to see Taylor's famous scriptures. He bore a very tender and emotional testimony, and truly seemed like a missionary.
After church, we had an open house for Taylor. Many, many people came to wish Taylor well. Taylor's best friends, Adam and Stephen were here as well as other friends from school and work. The Hibler family, Grandma Graham, and Aunts, Uncles and Cousins were here, in addition to a lot of people from our ward and stake.
That evening, Taylor was set apart as a missionary by President Kohler, a counselor in the Milwaukie Stake Presidency. He gave Taylor a wonderful blessing, with many promises and gifts, and Taylor became Elder Graham!
Early the next morning, he would be leaving for Utah! Family prayer was very emotional that night!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

7 1/2 week WHIRLWIND!!

(By Taylor's Mom, Alicia)

We whipped into action. We only had 7 short weeks before he would be giving his farewell talk in Gladstone Ward and leaving for Utah. We knew where he was going, and had his list of required items. We applied for his Passport, shopped, and studied all about Costa Rica. Taylor put in his notice at work, so he would have time to spend a few days in Albuquerque with Luke and Jenny, then go on his last High Adventure with his Dad and the Young Men from Gladstone Ward.

We received the list of requirements for his Visa, and miracles happened to get everything in to the Missionary Travel Department well before the deadline. I mean, miracles REALLY happened.

The time just flew by and before I knew it, there was only one day left here at home.