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, July 25, 2011

The Lord's Obstacle Course

Hey there mom. There is no need to worry about me. I’m happy and enjoying the things that I am learning here. If I’m not completely thrilled with everything that happens to me here, I have to trust that the things I have to go through are the things that the lord want me to go through to become the person that he needs me to be. I have learned more about families and marriages in the past year than I could being married for 100. I’m not gonna lie to you and say that everything is completely perfect and roses but I’m happy about the opportunity that I have to go through the lords obstacle course for me.

Things have gotten a little better. In my letter to president last week I explained about the plans that the ZLs had for our area and said that if the lord trusts in me enough to give me an area then I want my own piece of it, because if not, we would forever be stuck as being the junior companionship here. And he called the ZLs and he chopped their head harder then I have ever seen. Asking them why we don’t have our own area and why they haven’t given us a single investigator. They have a baptismal date to complete a family the 30th and he said that they are now ours to baptize. So they divided the area. I told them that it would be better for them to finish with this family, that all I really wanted was an area. So they gave me a phone number for a guy that has been an investigator for 2 years and Elder Felipe actually found him and started teaching them, but they never wanted to get married. So I called them and they’re planning a wedding so we will see when we can get them in the water.

I’ve been working hard trying to get to know the area and not get lost but we keep getting lost. But it’s good because that’s how I learn. Last night we went out with a group of 5 of the young men in the ward to show us where members and inactives live. One of the members is named Alberto and 18 years old. He was baptized in Nicaragua when he was 16 and was the only one in his family to do so. When he came here he went all alone to church and hasn’t missed a week at church in 2 years. He told us about that and I told him to take us to his house to meet his family. We started teaching his sister in law and his mom and thanks to maybe the strongest testimony I’ve ever seen in this 18 year old kid, we put a baptismal date with them for the 14th.

Other than that we’ve just been trying to contact and knock doors. The elders in the house are absolutely nuts. But it’s really entertaining. The ZLs that we share the ward with are a gringo and an elder from Honduras who just came down from being AP. He really is a champ and I like him.

I went today to pick up the package but it wasn’t there... So hopefully it will be next Monday!

Gotta go. I love you.
Elder Graham

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I've Got Changes!!!

Reppin' RipCity and the "O"

Everyone always has a picture together with their flag, like all the Elders from Honduras, Panama, El Salvador, and so on. So I brought my Portland flag to take a picture with Langford. He's from Wilsonville.
These are all the Elders who came to Costa Rica with me from the MTC
This is what it looked like at Changes Meeting when they announced where I was going
I really am going to miss those kids. We had a lot of fun.

Saying Goodbye to Moravia Missionaries

Elder Gonzalez, Elder Graham, Elder Valasquez, Elder Palmer

Saying Goodbye to Ervin and Mavel and their family
Saying Goodbye to Moravia Bishop and his family

Elder Graham bought a birthday cake for one of Jeanette's children

My favorite little guys, Edilson and Emerson

We were getting so trunky for changes that we started counting down the hours
Skateboard park in a wierd part of my old area

Well mom. I had changes. It was my first time since my very first changes meeting that I received an area. I’ve only received companions. I was sooo nervous... And well I’m here opening yet ANOTHER area... My area is called Don Bosco 2. It is literally literally the center center of downtown San Jose. We literally live right off the main downtown strip of stores and such. Every time I would say that we went to San Jose we came here. So that’s the diz.

Don Bosco is the area of the zone leaders and the Lord found it fit to divide it and put 2 new missionaries here. This is the exact same thing that I did in Moravia. But this time is different. In Moravia they were preparing it for us to come and had it all set up with divisions that we worked in and the others worked in. And I come here and the Zone Leaders say that the area will just be a free for all and both companionships work in the same area with no divisions. This is the worst idea ever for us because they already know every member and work with them and are going to continue to work with them and we have literally nothing. And when I say nothing I mean literally nothing because everything is theirs. I asked if they would take us to show us around and they said that they have appointments tonight and tomorrow and they can’t, so we are literally forced to just wander around knocking doors. I was looking forward to someone showing me around. But jeez. Opening an area especially with no one helping you really is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, and I didn’t want to have to do it again.. I’m sure it will get better, it just seems frustrating right now. We’re in an 8 man house. It will be fun being right smack dab in the middle where all the missionaries pass through. And Elder Stevens is in my zone so we can go do stuff on P Days and such. We just have to work hard and the Lord will provide a way.

But my comp is Elder Reinoza. He’s from El Salvador from the same stake as elder Garcia. He seems good. He’s got 9 months. I wanted to leave Moravia but after I heard I was leaving I didn’t want to. And going and saying goodbye to everyone and seeing them all crying is way too tough. This last week we were getting absolutely crazy waiting for the changes and Palmer and I both thought for sure that we were out. I did get changes but Palmer stayed and his companion with less time, Velasquez left.

I got the package with the iPod and holy smokes its sick! I had no idea anything like that even existed! I opened it right there in the changes meeting and no one had ever seen one and all the missionaries wanted to come around and see it. And thanks for putting all the music on it! I’m sure it took some real doing. And holy smokes a jack ton of cheese! Thank you!

I love you and I have to go. But I’m sure I’ll be able to explain more about the new area on Monday. I love you.
Elder Graham

Monday, July 11, 2011

Justine's Baptism and Scary Bridge to Write Home About!

Baptism of Justine

Justine, Maro Poveda, Elder Graham

Elder Graham, Justine, Maro Poveda, Elder Gonzalez

Playing Soccer at the Church in Coronado

The Most Unsafe Bridge Ever
Its in a weird part of our area. its kind of a hidden trail that i found to cut into a different part of my area.

Hello mother, Thank you for the words of comfort. But don’t worry about me. I really am fine. Last week we finally got Justine baptized. Justine is the girl who lost her baby way back when and her mom got baptized but Justine wasn’t ready. Well finally she’s baptized. She was baptized by one of the youth in the ward, Maro Poveda.
As a mission, we got as many baptisms in the first half of the year as they got in all of 2008 which had the record at that point for most baptisms in this country in one year. And when president told us that he wasn’t telling us to pat us on the back, he was disappointed because we’re not on pace to reach the mission goal for the year.

All the people that we’ve been teaching now have been completely avoiding us so we don’t have much more right now and I don’t really know where else to go to find people to teach. We’ve had to go knocking doors, which is the worst.
Changes are next week and Elder Palmer and I both feel pretty good about our chances of getting changed out. He has been here for 3 changes, and I have been here 3 weeks longer than that.

I called the secretaries this morning and they said that my package isn’t there yet. So I’ll have to wait until next Wednesday. I sent a letter that has my memory card in it home. So you can see all the pics and vids and such.

Jeffery and Jeanette have been attacked pretty hard. Jeffery lost his job and they don’t have electricity in the house because the person that lived there before them had a bunch of bills backed up that they never paid and don’t have the money to pay all of it. They have been almost 3 weeks without electricity.

I’ve really really been trying to hold out without getting new shoes... But the propet ones that I got from bro Remington are trash. There is a GIANT hole in the heel and are my only black shoes so i have to wear them. The Clarks are champs but the heel on the right shoe has been worn down super super far and gives me massive foot problems and now I’m having fatty knee pains because of it.. If you could manage to find me some that have good soles, it would be wonderful. I trust your judgement.

Welp, I gotta go. I love you. I won’t be on until next Wednesday and I’ll probably be in a new area.
Elder Graham

Monday, July 4, 2011

Tough Week

Cake to Celebrate Elder Graham's upcoming 1 year and Birthdays of 3 other Elders

Sisters in the Ward Who Made the Cake

I completely didn’t realize that today was the 4th of July. What are you guys doing today? And no, I don’t have an American flag.

Things are going alright. It’s been pretty tough the past few weeks. We are having a hard time finding people who want salvation. I feel like it’s about my time to leave here. And changes are in 2 weeks so we will see.

Today we went to a museum called the museum of jade. It has all sorts of ancient artifacts and stuff from the Lamanites. It was pretty interesting. I really don’t have much to report from this week. I’ve been pretty down and nothing’s really happened that’s all that cool.
Well, I gotta head out now. I love you. Kiss Cohen and Molly for me.
Elder Graham