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, February 28, 2011

New Area: Moravia 2

Well mom, I made it to the big city. My new area is Moravia 2. I am In Toyopan which is the northeastern part of downtown San Jose. It’s pure downtown city and super sweet. My new comp is Elder Cabrera. He is from El Salvador and he came into the country on the same day I did. He was serving in Limon and the day I went on divisions in Limon I was with him. So I already know him and he’s pretty sweet. We were both e changed and put here to open the area.

It’s extremely hard. Neither of us knows anyone nor knows our way around at all. On Wednesday morning we went early to San Jose and went to President Galvez’ house to eat breakfast. President just said “Elder Graham meet your new companion, Elder Cabrera. You’re going to open an area.” Then he took us and dropped us off in our area and I cannot explain how hard it has been to do. Our ward is part of another area so there are 4 missionaries in our ward. We live in a house with 2 more pairs of missionaries. There are 6 in the house.

This week has been so crazy. We have spent the whole time wandering around contacting people, trying to find where members live, and getting lost. It’s the most confusing place. It’s not like downtown Portland where it’s just squares. All the roads go in the most retarded patterns and have fatty fatty hills.

The lady that cooks for us is our bishop’s wife and she takes culinary classes. The food that she makes is actually amazing. The food that Hermana Pacita made was good but it was just normal house food. She makes us gourmet restaurant food. The ward is huge; there were 100 people at church Sunday.

All the families here are so amazing. I love them all already.

I’ve heard that our area is super dangerous. One of the elders in my house got robbed at gunpoint last week. No one walks around with anything. They have a cheap set of scriptures; they don’t even carry around their regular ones because they will get stolen. Yesterday we were standing waiting for the bus and these 2 guys came out of a bar with a huge mug and a bottle of crown royal and 3 guys in black suits came and followed them and in the middle of a super busy street a guy in the suits started pushing him and then hit him one time sooo good in the face. He was DOWN, bloody all over his face and he got up and started cussing at the guys in the suits and the guys in the suits took the mug and crown royal that he stole and the guys started completely beating the guy, kicking him and punching him on the ground. Then they just dipped back to the bar.. in mid day in the middle of a busy street. And everyone stood around like it was nothing. Crazy.

I feel like I’m in a completely different country. There’s a taco bell in my area. We have hot water in our apartment, and no one here even has to dump cockroaches out of their shoes anymore. It’s a different world. But there’s a super sweet little market place here and I wish I was here before Christmas because you guys would have gotten the greatest stuff from it.

Saying goodbye in la Rita was tough. I got to go say goodbye to Hermana Pacita back in Cariari my last day too.

Are you still the choir director? How has that been going? And teaching the class? What exactly do you teach in the class? Whenever we feel comfortable in life the Lord will throw us into something twice as hard. I was getting pretty comfortable in my old area with everything. I thought I was pretty tight. Then the Lord said, “you think you’re pretty tight? Go open an area in the city.” I don’t think I’m tight anymore.

The whole culture is so different in the city. People actually work. Not everyone is willing to talk to you. There is actually a ward with people filling callings, not 2 faithful members doing everything.

And now that I’m in the city I can go pick up my mail every p day. So you can send me mail and I should get it sooner! I still haven’t got those birthday letters or Tracey’s package..And my companion was about to buy an iPod nano for what is almost 500 dollars. So I sold him mine. So if Nick can find a super super cheap ipod on craigslist it would be great to receive :)

It’s SOOOOOOOOOOOO COLD!! I can’t explain to you how cold it is here! I thought that in all of Costa Rica it was hot but we’re in the mountains and its freezing!!

Ok well I gotta head out. But I love you and keep being a great family!

pura vida
Elder Graham

BIG changes!!!!!!!

This is a family of recent converts in La Rita. we went and played soccer with them last week. he plays professionally on a 2nd division team here. He's sooo good.

Ronald, Rachel and Yermy

Hermana Pasita and Me. My special friend!

The only picture I have of Elder H

Well mother. I think that all your prayers and mine worked. Wednesday night late in the night President Galvez called us and wanted to talk to my companion and I just heard Elder H. stuttering and trying to explain what we’ve been doing. He was saying welll I haven’t felt well this week so I’ve been trying to rest and then he eventually broke down crying saying that its true he has been breaking all the mission norms and that he hasn’t been doing anything. I have talked to everyone and no one told president anything. In all honesty he received revelation and knew he needed to call us. He told Elder H. if he wants to stay this way doing nothing he will arrange for him to go home now so that he’s not wasting all our time, and he responded that he wants to stay here. They were on the phone over an hour and from now on, he has had to wake up at 5 every day to make up for the extra sleep he got and he has to call president every morning and every night giving him a report of what we have been doing that day. And to finish out the change he made me senior companion.

So a few days passed and then we arrive to this morning. This morning Elder H. called to have his morning check up and President Galvez gave him a little news about me. This Wednesday I have to be in San Jose because I have changes. I was taken very very by surprise by this. I have been getting mentally prepared to finish my mission here but I guess I will see more of Costa Rica. I’m half excited, half sad and half nervous. I’m not sure where I’m going. It could be anywhere in the country!

That’s legit about L Tom Perry! I wish I could have been there to meet him and that’s awesome what he said about the baby! You guys are famous! And great advice from the other authority!

Taco bell was amazing!! It’s exactly the same as in the US except a little more expensive and the menu is about half the size of the one in the states. But they do have fries and nacho fries that are pretty good.

I hope that I will be able to e mail on Wednesday but I’m not really sure. There are 6 new gringos coming into the mission. There’s a bunch of changes happening to get them all settled in so they’re also opening 3 new areas. I’ve already got a lot of time in my area and if I didn’t have changes now I’d be having a lot of time all together here.

Alright I think it’s about time to go. Quote of the week: Luis-¨were poor¨ José-¨Luis, poor is the people who don’t have the gospel.¨ words to live by.

I love you. I’ll let you know where I am as soon as possible

Elder Graham

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Last week was the wedding and baptism of Kendal and Idalia in Cariari. They were the first appointment I had in my mission and I have been working with them ever since. And now the week after I leave he gets baptized and married. But it was great to be there and see them so happy together.
This past week has been pretty tough. I’m with a companion who has absolutely no desire to do anything. He sleeps till almost 1 everyday and then wants to go to members’ houses to watch movies. It has been ridiculously frustrating and I really don’t know what to do. I get up and study by myself every morning while he sleeps. When I can get him into a house to try and teach a lesson he just sits back and doesn’t say anything. Yesterday we had a district meeting in the morning and we got back at noon. We went to lunch and then he went back to the house and slept until 630. I don’t know what to do; I would like to call President Galvez, but there’s really nothing to do about it because he goes home in a month anyway. I would love to have something to report but I haven’t been able to work this past week.

My converts are doing well and this week, I’m thankful for my family and for my sister who is preparing to be a missionary. I am thankful for the interest I have obtained in studying the scriptures and church doctrine books because it gives me something to do all morning. And the good thing I see about my companion is that he goes home in a month and will be replaced with someone with a desire to serve the lord.

Well I gotta head out. We’re going to taco bell!

I love you! Tell Allison I’m proud of her.

Elder Graham

Monday, February 7, 2011

La Rita

"hey thanks elder grahams dad¨
Jose and Luis with the soccer ball that Dad sent me and I gave to them

These are the families of converts I had in Cariari.

I love these people!

First off the computer I’m on is retardedly slow and I know I’m not going to have time to write back to everyone who wrote me but thanks everyone who wrote me! because everyone did! I really do appreciate it and I feel bad that I won’t have time to write you all back.

Good news! Remember Dayana? Well she was confirmed and is on the path to enduring to the end!!

In church I had a wonderful surprise when Hermana Pacita showed up just to see me and wish me a happy birthday and bring me candy and a card from her family. You need to know what a sacrifice that is for her to come all the way out here. She hates to leave her house and especially to come all the way out here. But other than that no one even knows it was my birthday and to be completely honest I completely forgot until Hermana Pacita came.

The box score signed by Mike and Mike may be the best present I’ve ever received. The pen is wonderful and the scripture markers also. Everything was perfect. I’ve already gotten good use out of the Calle soccer ball and I already gave the other one away to Luis and Jose. You should have seen the ball that they had before. And every time I pass by their house now they are outside playing with that ball I gave them.

This morning we went to Cariari to play soccer with Elder Bernuy and his comp and those families of recent converts we had. It was so great to see them they all came running when they saw me and all started hugging me. We were walking through the downtown Cariari and I started to cry. I wish I could explain to you how much i love that town and those people. It’s crazy how different everything is when you change companions. He kind of babies me and he doesn’t really have me do things and with Bernuy I had to do everything.

Alright I have to go unfortunately. I’m sorry that the computer is so lame today. I love you and I really am thankful for the wonderful e mail you sent and for all the wonderful e mails I got today. Tell aunt Etie that I’m sorry I couldn’t reply and that I love her too.

Elder Graham

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sometimes It's Sad to be a Missionary

Oh boy. So I got some big changes. I’m in La Rita. They divided my area so I’m just in la Rita now. We searched all last week for the house and now I’m here. Not gonna lie I have been pretty disappointed about the change. I’ve really grown to love Cariari and if I had to leave I want to actually leave. La Rita is pretty small and I feel like I’ve knocked every door here and I really don’t know what to do. Cariari was going really well and we were having a ton of success and then I am put here and we really have nothing.

I had to go say goodbye to everyone there. Last night I went to say goodbye to Hermana Pacita. I didn’t cry when I said goodbye to my family but I cried when I said goodbye to her. She was crying really hard and I was having a really tough time leaving her. It was also super hard to say goodbye to Miguel angel and Benita’s families. They were all crying before I even got there because I called them and told them before. I was there for about 4 hours saying goodbye and they wouldn’t let me go.

My new comp is elder Hernandez. He’s from El Salvador. He’s not bad. I know that I need to learn from all my companions but I’m just looking forward to the time the lord says I’ve learned enough and gives me a companion that I can be good friends with. He’s already served here in la Rita and this is the last change of his mission he goes home in 6 weeks. This means I’m guaranteed to be here at least 3 more months....

We do have someone to cook for us. I don’t know if I’ve told you about our mission leader here Gustavo but it’s his sister who cooks for us. She’s really great so that should be good.

I got my birthday packages last week and I’m not gonna lie I already opened everything. I thought I would have changes and I wouldn’t be able to carry it all with me so I opened it all last week. And wow that package was full of the greatest stuff! That Timbers jersey really is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen. It’s the best made jersey I’ve ever seen. Best quality, design, style everything. It says no pity pdx on it. So great. and the Saprissa jersey too! Everything was perfect! Thank you all soo much! I got Luke and Jenny’s. And the calendar from Tracey in your package.. But she told me she sent me a Christmas package before Christmas and that still hasn’t arrived. The chips were still good and I’m still in the process of eating everything.

Unfortunately I accidentally left my camera at Jose’s house so i can’t send pics today but I have some to send next week! Don’t you worry. Your talk sounds great! Good job! and I’m sorry your sick! Are the blazers still on a winning streak?

alright i gotta go. I love you keep it real.

elder graham