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.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Happy New Year

Christmas Day with the Branch President's Family

This is my Planner. This is why I want stickers...

Hey there. I don’t have a ton to say since I just talked to everyone 2 days ago. But Christmas was good. It wasn’t as hard as I was expecting it to be. I thought it was great. Just great to be able to hear all your voices.

And I have been fiddling with that camera a ton and last night I plugged it in and it turned on! So that was a major relief. And nick said that it was waterproof? I definately hope so. This next Monday my mission leader for la Rita is taking us to this waterfall that he said is like 100 feet high but said it’s a nuts hike to get to it. We have to scale smaller waterfalls and swash buckle our way through the jungle! I’m so jacked. This is what I’ve been waiting to see. He said there’s monkeys and everything there. It’s in Siquirres if you want to look it up on a map. And he said that everything will get soaking wet so I’m hoping the camera you sent will be ok. But be excited for sick videos and pictures next week!

Christmas night we went and had some normal lessons then went to the branch president’s house and had dinner. It was all pretty fantastic. They celebrate it at midnight so it was nuts that night but it’s (Christmas) just not nearly as big as in the states. Everyone eats tamales for Christmas which are delicious. I will send a few pics of my Christmas...

Did someone say happy birthday to Bernie for me? I just realized he’s got 4 years now!

What are you guys doing for new years? I don’t really know what they do here to celebrate, but it’s approved we’re going to go to Puerto Viejo and stay the night with the district and just play games and stuff since p day is Saturday

Alright well tell everyone I love them. I’ve gotta head out. Happy new year to all. I love you. Thanks for everything you do

Elder Graham

Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Stable and Nativity
Baby Jesus was played by the turtle

Elder Graham's "Christmas Tree" and presents from home

Heyy there. Sorry I didn’t e mail Friday but we didn’t have time. Today isn’t p day because we have zone conference on Wednesday and our “preparation day” will be spent traveling to San Jose, so we get to email today.

We got a call on Wednesday night saying that Elder Felipe had changes. So we spent Thursday going around to everyone just so he could say goodbye. It was a little sad. Hermana Pacita and Jose and his family were all crying and so was Elder Felipe. It was really hard but made me realize that I really didn’t want to leave yet. It would be tough to say goodbye to them.

Elder Felipe always talked about how bad he wanted to go to Guanacaste which is out on the peninsula and I told him that he would be the zone leader there. Sure enough he was sent to be zone leader in Guanacaste. It was pretty nuts. Then it was my turn to see my new companion. Elder Bernuy. He’s from Virginia and goes home in June. He’s the new district leader.

But no worries I got the Christmas package! And I opened her up and have been going to town on the goodies :) thank you very much.

When Elder feline left we traded scarves. I gave him my timbers scarf and he gave me one from his team in Mexico. Soo maybe for my birthday I could get a new timbers scarf :)

ohh and for the call. I’m gonna call you Christmas eve just for like a minute so that you can call back on that number and I’ll tell you at what time to call back the next day

As far as baptisms coming up we have Marita whose daughter is a member in la Rita and she has already read all the way to Alma in like 2 weeks. She will be baptized Jan 1st.

Every day this week I’ll be doing divisions with someone else! Since Elder Bernuy is district leader he has to do all the baptismal interviews. Right now I’m here with a different Elder and every day this week will be with someone else!

Alright mother. Well it’s time to say farewell. I love you very much. Thank you for everything and I will call you Friday at like 10ish my time, which I’m pretty sure is 2 hours different. I love you. I love the ducks. I love Jesus. Merry Christmas.
Elder Graham

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cariari Week 12

Hellooo mother. Today we had a commutations with the President today in Guapiles with the zone. It was pretty sweet. We broke up into teams and played basketball, soccer, flew kites, and had relay races. It was all pretty good and then we went in and had a training with President Galves. He explained how all of that relates to how we work as missionaries. I thought that that was definitely something dad would do in his activities. Something fun that he knows everyone would love then somehow tie it into a lesson. I always love these conference thingies we have and President Galvez and how genuine he is. The zone leaders always freak out about numbers and don’t seem to care about anything else. President Galvez teaches us how we need to love the investigators and the numbers will come. I didn’t come here to get numbers I came here to change lives. And President Galvez understands that and helps us do that. I just wish a lot of the other missionaries did. I always love zone stuff because elder miller is seriously my best friend we are always the happiest kids ever when we see each other.

This whole month has been really tough. All our investigators are falling and we have been busting it to find people but there’s nothing. Friday night Dionisio said he just doesn’t feel ready so we gotta wait a little more... It’s the most frustrating thing. When I came here I thought everything would be a lot easier... What we’re teaching is true... so why doesn’t everyone just run up to us in the street begging to be baptized?? That’s what I don’t get.

That’s so sweet Tate and Cletus came! That makes me so happy. I was so surprised to see that pic Luke sent! I saw it before I read your e mail. It’s so sweet that Tate’s so amped to get out into the field as soon as possible. I’ll write Pres Monson and let him know that Tate needs to come to Costa Rica and I’ll be his trainer.
Transfers are Friday and that’s P day too. Pres just told us we could e mail today because it would be so long without e mailing. And then my next p day is that day of my zone conference which is next Wednesday, but I think I’m e mailing again Monday but I’m not positive.

That’s so weird that dad had his talk yesterday! Yesterday the branch president asked me 30 seconds before sacrament meeting if I’d give a talk on whatever I wanted. I had been studying a lot about the atonement last week so I gave a talk about the true meaning of Christmas and talked about the atonement. I read a few scriptures in 2 Nephi 9 and Alma 7 about the infinite sacrifice and how kind and loving our heavenly father was to make this plan so that we could be happy. He didn’t have to do it and Jesus didn’t have to do what he did. But they did because they love us. It would be interesting to compare notes between our talks.

Attendance in Cariari has plateaued at 40 which is pretty good if we can hold that because that’s doubling the average. La Rita’s cruisin at 50.
I’ll try and open and give Elder Felipe’s present to him at the transfer meeting. We got mail today and your Christmas package wasn’t there. Hopefully it comes before Friday!
I didn’t know I was coming straight to use internet so I didn’t bring my stuff to send pics unfortunately so this will have to be a picture free week sorry!
I gotta go. I love you and I miss you very much. Tell everyone I love them and that they’re great!

Elder Graham

Monday, December 6, 2010

Week 11 Really wanted those Plantains....

The Story of the Plantains
We stayed in Guapilies with 2 other companionships. We were STARVING and had nothing to eat so they told us that there was this plantain tree in their neighbors’ yard but the wall is about 15 feet high, just a cement wall. I was the only one with the guts to go get em so I scaled the wall and I felt super sick doing it. I climbed like 30 feet along a wall that was about 6 inches wide and it was so freaking scary. I reached over and cut off a fatty bushel of em with a machete but they were soo heavy that they fell and I almost fell but I got caught on the tree. I didn’t even think. I jumped down into their yard to get the bananas and I hurled them up to Elder Malan who was waiting on the fence and as the house of the yard I was in turned their light on I scaled the wall and dropped. I was soo proud when I got those. I felt so sick because everyone was afraid to get em. These are the spoils.

Hellooo Mother, congrats on finishing up your classes! I know how good it feels to be done! It probably would have made me homesick to hear you went to get a Christmas tree but you said you went in the daytime and it was nice and sunny, and I don’t know if I have any memories of cutting down a Christmas tree in those conditions in my whole life so there’s really nothing to reminisce. That’s kinda why I think I’m not feeling as homesick as I thought I would this time of year because it’s not even Christmas. Christmas time is cold and raining and trips to the mountain and I’m very far from any of that so I don’t really feel like there’s anything to miss. It’s hard to picture a place that cold.

I have been soooooooooo worried about the ducks! Friday night I had a dream that the ducks lost in overtime 15-18 and I was shaking as I got on the computer today to read the news! But I can’t explain how a national championship feels to me... All I can say is I love my ducks!

That’s great that dad is giving a talk on the atonement! I would like it if he could send me a copy of his talk to read. That’s a great and very intense topic.

I don’t really want to talk about what’s happening with our investigators... Dionisio is doing really well though. He let us know that he didn’t get baptized because he was having a girl stay the night with him. But he cut that off and is looking like he should be good to go this Sunday at 8 before church! And Jaisons family.... His dad I think is a little offff. He really is bipolar. One day he loves us and the next he has crazy doubts. The last lesson ended with him telling us that we shouldn’t come over anymore because we can’t help his family because we are too young to understand his problems. I didn’t really handle it very well and kind of freaked out on him and got really mad.

But Jose and Carlos really are the greatest kids! They went to the temple last week and they’ve been the ones blessing the sacrament. They have given us a ton of references and keep asking for pamphlets to hand out to their friends and they write their testimony in them. The last time we had a lesson with José, in his prayer he said how he wants us to be proud of him and through him we can see the fruits of our labor. What he said doesn’t really translate but it’s something to that affect. I have loved seeing what they have done with their lives. Not what we´ve done.. but what they’ve done, especially for being so young.

Yeah there are two Puerto Viejo’s. The one I go to is the north one called Sarapique. Doing those crazy exchanges is the biggest headache. We’ve got to always travel with someone and it gets really confusing to explain how we do it, but we have to travel way far to drop people off and pick them up and it takes a long time and a lot of money. Its because the district leader and zone leaders need to meet and interview all our baptismal candidates, so that’s why last week was so crazy because everyone had baptisms and I had to go all over. Its crazy but I like it because I love seeing all of Costa Rica.

Last week for P Day I finished up the Christmas package and sent it out last Wednesday. Biggest headache to get it sent out! It was raining ridiculously hard and we had to try and keep it dry and it was just a headache. When I asked the lady at the post office how much it was she just kept saying that it was really expensive to send and wouldn’t give me a number and just kept saying REALLY expensive. I tried to explain I didn’t care I needed to send it, but eventually I did and it came to like 80ish dollars which is what I was expecting. I sent a bunch of my clothes in it. On one side is the presents for everyone and the other side are my clothes. You need to be very careful to not look under my clothes. That’s for you!

Last week when it was raining suuuperr hard everyone’s houses were flooding and were surrounded with like a foot of water. The draining system here for being so rainy isn’t very good. Our next door neighbor is Hermana Pasitas daughter whose family I love! Anyway Wednesday morning she called us freaking out saying we needed to come over and help her. We went over and her house was flooding like crazy. There are cracks in her house in the floor and they were spurting out water and her house was filling up. We had to take literally every single thing out of her house. Furniture, beds, cloths, kitchen stuff EVERYTHING because she was moving anyway. We changed into regular clothes and had to take everything to Hermana Pasitas house down the road. It took about 4 hours to do and when we were done there was about 8 inches of water in every room in her house. It was crazy and we were so wet. I can’t explain how hard it was raining.

Did you see the First Presidency Christmas Devotional? I loved it. I don’t know if I had a favorite part really, but just them testifying of Jesus and thinking that men so great that understand so much of the gospel and in the end it’s all centered around Jesus Christ. And I love to hear their testimonies of that.

For birthday treats… honestly they don’t have anything here that we have in the states. There is not one thing that you can get in the stores here that you can get in the stores in the states. So anything is perfect. What you sent last time was soooo perfect. Lots of sour patch watermelons and it was all good. And I would love some Nike custom shoes that are Oregon ones, green and yellow, some that say a little something like nc 2010 or something. I understand if they don’t get here by my birthday because it takes so long but I really want them. I had to sell my Rip City shoes to Elder Felipe (WHAT!?!!?) so I am in dire need of some hometown pride shoes. He doesn’t have any shoes and he loves them. I felt bad so I let him borrow them and he fell in love.

Alright I think this is goodbye... I love you and tell people to write more hand written letters so I can send them hand written responses. And did dad get his birthday card?

Elder Graham