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, June 27, 2011

In the Jungle, the Mighty Jungle

Hey there. This last week was kind of lame. We were getting Freddy and Celina married and baptized last week but in his baptismal interview palmer interviewed him for 3 hours and in the end he can’t accept that the sabbath day is Sunday.
Last Monday we went on the most epic hike ever. It was absolutely intense. We went trucking through the jungle from 10 am to 6 pm basically without stopping. I was sooo tired but it was the most epic place ever that we went. We went deep into a national park that is protected because all the wildlife that’s in there. But holy smokes was it legit! We saw monkeys!! We were just walking and heard above us branches breaking and we look up and there’s a white faced capuchin and he was throwing branches at us, right above our heads. I don’t know why, but my comp decided to scream “hey look a monkey!” It scared him away but he just went a little deeper and we could see him watching us for a few minutes until he swung away. It was so sick to see him swinging across all the jungle trees. It was the highlight of my life. I actually got stuff thrown at me by a wild monkey.
We kept walking down down until we got to an old abandoned catholic church that was deep deep in there. We were literally as deep into the jungle as you can get and not be retardedly dangerous. I actually was getting a little creeped out in there. I tried to get good pictures but it doesn’t capture what it was actually like. The epicness is just when you’re silent and listen. There are tropical birds that just swoop in through the trees and crazy animals screaming and birds singing. It’s so ridiculously loud in there. The only way I can describe it is how alive it is, with the weirdest plants and bugs in there. We saw herd of some weird animal that I’d never seen before just run in front of us and dip out. Jeffery kept telling us about all the dangerous animals there are and that if we see any be prepared to sprint back as fast as possible.
Today we went to the zoo in San Jose. it was alright. It was cool to see the stuff we saw in the wild but as far as a zoo it was kinda lame. I was kinda expecting the Oregon zoo.
Alright. Well I gotta head out. I love you! Make sure I get pictures from Nick Hess’ baptism. Happy birthday. I am very thankful for the mother you are.

Pura vida. Elder Graham

Monday, June 20, 2011

"An Image to Remember"

Marriage of Jeffery and Jeanette (Yanet)

Moravia Missionaries with Jeffery- a happy day!

Elder Graham - Witness at Wedding

Jeanette, Jeffery and Elder Graham

Andrea, Roberto, Jeffery and Jeanette

(Roberto baptized his brother Jeffery)

Celebrating at Taco Bell

Welll this week was crazy. On Tuesday morning I called the lawyer to get Jeffery and Jeannette married and asked him the soonest he could get them married. He said that he could come and do it that night. He just needed all their information, including their social security cards and those of the witnesses. So we ran around getting everything set up and had to go to his office in San Jose to get it to him. They only had one witness so I was the other! So in a matter of about 10 hours we got them married.

We had a little wedding for them in their house where the lawyer came and did the whole shabeel. It was surprisingly nice. I did feel bad for them because I see the difference in the wedding that Allison will have and it will be her dream wedding and take like 8 months to plan. They got a wedding set up in 10 hours where not a single member of their families was there. Just me, Elder Gonzalez, Juan Carlos, Jeannette’s 6 kids and the two of them.

But since they got married last week, Jefferey got baptized on Saturday! And it was awesome because Roberto (Jeffery’s brother who was baptized 2 weeks ago) got to do it! It was a super amazing thing to see the 2 brothers together. After he was baptized, as they were getting out of the font on the steps, they were both soaking wet and they started crying and hugged each other. That is an image that I will remember for the rest of my life.

The baptism was scheduled for 5:00, but Costa Rica was playing Honduras in the gold cup and the game went into overtime, so no one got there till 630 and we didn’t actually start until 7. After the baptism, Jeffery, Roberto, Jeannette, Andrea and all of us went to taco bell to celebrate. It was great.

And in case you were gonna buy me those shoes I bought a pair of running/ random p day activity shoes so don’t worry about it.

And I would like to ask the whole family a grand favor. Sooo I had to pay for the lawyer of their wedding last week and I’m going to have to take money out again this week to pay for another wedding.. And I don’t have a TON of money.. So I was wondering if the family would be willing to donate a little to a good cause. I call it the ¨Building forever families fund¨ If everyone in the family put in a little bit of money it would almost pay for it. If everyone put in 5 dollars It would really really help these people. We were born into a forever family and don’t understand the blessings we’ve received. So it’s our turn to skip a taco bell meal and put it into the building forever families. :) Please.

The reason I’m here so early is because Jeffery is taking us up to the mountains today. It’s gonna be super sick. It’s about as thick of jungle as you can get. He grew up out there and he says he can almost guarantee that we will see monkeys today. He said that there are always toucans there and that he’s seen pumas and explained to me some weird animals that I’ve never heard of. So we will see what we find! I’m super jacked and you will for sure get pics next week.

Ok so I went to the post office that I sent the package from to figure out why it was sent back and what I could do to get it sent. And I have to spoil the surprise for the sake of the story butt It was returned because I sent a machete in it for dad. When I sent it, she asked me if it had guns or liquids and I said no. I didn’t know that I couldn’t send a machete. Soo First off they were going to charge me for the price of the return here. And then charge me again to send it to you guys. I already paid over 50 bucks, and they wanted me to spend over 100 dollars more to get it sent. I flipped crap on them because it was their fault. She didn’t tell me that I couldn’t send it and I said I wouldn’t pay them and that they were going to ship it. The lady said she couldn’t so I did moms trick of saying “ok let me talk to the manager.” I talked to the manager and he said that there’s nothing they can do for me. I then said let me speak to your manager. And he called his manager and gave me the phone. After talking to the guy’s manager, the manager talked to the guy that was there. The guy at the post office got really mad and said fine. They repackaged the package and took out the machete and shipped it free. So after about an hour of ¨theres nothing we can do¨ they did something. It’s good to see that that’s not JUST the usa philosophy of customer service.

Well I’ve already gotta go. But dad’s present was the machete and a leather holder carrier thing. The leather carrier thing is still coming but the machete I had to take out.

I love you. keep it real.
Elder Graham

Monday, June 13, 2011

More Weddings Coming Up!

Hey there. Things have been going pretty well here. We finally got to really talk to Jeffery and Yanet and we’re getting them married as soon as possible and he is getting baptized on the 25th. But I’m going to see if I can get him in the water this weekend right after they get married. They don’t want anyone to know about them getting married so they’re going to have the lawyer come to their house just to sign the papers and they’ll be married. The biggest problem is they need to find 2 witnesses to be there, and they haven’t decided who because they don’t want anyone to know.

We have been working with a family, Freddy and Celina. They’re getting married and baptized on the 25th. They used to live in Cariari and la Rita and they know a ton of the members there. They received the missionaries 12 years ago. They’re super silly and very proper. And after these two weddings I will have SIX weddings in my mission. That’s just a sign of how well they keep the law of chastity here.

Elder Gonzalez is pretty good. He’s really silly and doesn’t stop talking which is kind of nice. It’s nice to have a companion who is friendly and happy.

That makes me happy that Miami lost. I’ll have to talk crap to my bishop. He’s another bandwagon fan. Last night Costa Rica lost to Mexico 4. Picture what I’m like after the blazers lose in the playoffs or when USA lost in the world cup. Now picture an entire country. EVERYONE wore a Costa Rica jersey yesterday and everyone was excited all day. Until night time on the way home I noticed that everyone looked like they wanted to kill themselves. I didn’t even have to ask. It’s tight how united they are as a country when they play. I wish people in the US were cool like that. Not just me and Adam and Stephen in the playroom getting excited. It was tough going to church the next day after losing to Panama. I’ve gotta talk to bob and get that team into shape.

Ok I’m out. Love you. Elder Graham

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Guess What?!? I am still here!

We always say that trainers are dads
and the kids they train are their kids.
My "brother" Elder Malan, my "dad" Elder Felipe and Me

All of the Americans in the mission

The Family Poveda

Indoor Soccer

Showing Canada what's up after we dropped them yesterday

Welll mother. A miracle happened. I didn’t have changes, but Garcia did! Which I really don’t get because he was here for such a short time. My new comp is Elder Gonzales from Honduras. He came into the country at the same time as me so I knew him a little bit. He seems way humble and the first thing he asked when we got home is what I want from him as a companion. The only problem is I hardly understand him. He speaks crazy Honduran Spanish but he’s a good kid.

So i finally saw Jeffery yesterday for the first time in a while so that Garcia could say goodbye and things seemed alright. He hasn’t stopped smoking and is living with Yanet so we will see what happens. He says he wants to get baptized still so we will go and talk well with him and get him baptized and married this month.

That’s super sick about Nick H. I just wrote him so we will see if he writes me back right now.

Are you guys watching the gold cup?? It’s the most exciting thing ever for the people here and I love how into it the whole country is and how united they are. Yesterday the US beat Canada and today sometime I know that Costa Rica plays El Salvador I really wish that you guys would watch it and to try to get the whole country to. OHHH and the worst thing ever happened. Today at the changes meeting I got my package back, and it doesn’t say why. I’m gonna have to pay 50 bucks again to get it shipped. It’s freaking retarded.

A little bit of a sad/different Changes meeting. Felipe and Bernuy go home tomorrow. It was actually way sad to say bye to Felipe. He was seriously the best missionary in the mission. Here we always say that trainers are dads and the kids they train are their kids. Your whole mission everyone asks you who your trainer was and I’ve always been way proud to say Felipe.

welll I gotta go. I love you! I’ll write on Monday. Elder Graham