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.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Lesson To Learn By

Hey there mother. Today was the changes meeting which is my favorite thing to go to. They’re always so crazy and exciting. I was super jealous because remember elder Malan? My brother and friend from atlantica zone? Well he and Elder Palmer are Zone leaders together now. If I could choose any 2 people to be comps with I would choose them and now they’re together and I’m super jealous. The only change in the house was Elder Espinal who was one of the ZLs and But we´ll see what happens.

That’s sick about Kenny (Hall) and his mission call to Argentina. He’s gonna love it. I didn’t get the package. Maybe I can go get it on Monday.

About 3 weeks ago we contacted this lady that told us that she was busy and maybe another time but wouldn’t put a set date because she said she ¨didn’t know for sure¨ when she could. Which is what 95 percent of contacts say. So we went back. And back and back. and I really don’t know why but I kept feeling like going back to that house even though every time she blows us off. My comp kept telling me that she would never let us in. So a few days ago I had a Book of Mormon in my hand and I asked her to take it and read a chapter. The next day we went back and she had read it and finally let us in. We started teaching the first lesson and she started crying about halfway through and told us that every time she prayed for help we would knock at the door. And then she would get mad because someone was bugging her and interrupting her prayer. And it took about 10 times of that for her to realize that we were the help. A Lesson to learn by. People ask for help a lot and don’t realize the help that they have when they get it because it doesn’t come in the form that we think we want it. We couldn’t put a date because she tried to tell us that she’s already been baptized in the name of the father and son and holy ghost. I’m on it though. Heard that one oh too many times.

Mom, don’t feel bad that Dad is watching the Ducks game instead of celebrating your anniversary. You’ve already had 34 of those. Give it a rest. How many times has the 4 played the 3 when Oregon is 3 and the 4 is LSU and it’s the first game of the season? Priorities mom.

Welp mom. I’m out. I love you.
Elder Graham

Monday, August 22, 2011

Lessons Learned!

Making Pupusas

Thats what they eat everyday in El Salvador and everyone asks my comps from there to make them pupusas.

I've made them so many times I might as well be from there. Its the stuff to make corn tortillas but you put cheese, beans, and a ground sausage inside and cook it.

With a tomato sauce on top. pretty dank

Do you like my bed and curtains?

Hey there mom. Just workin over here. The past few days I’ve been super sick. Yesterday I didn’t even leave to work. I think it’s a cold but I don’t really know. It’s nothing serious calm down. The lord loves me and takes care of me. He doesn’t worry about me. You shouldn’t either.

I just slept all day yesterday and was really bored. We are teaching yet another single mother of 4 who got to church 50 minutes late but we got them there. We were going to knock doors and we were passing a bunch of bigger richer houses and my comp asked me why we weren’t knocking these doors and I said because people with money never want anything. They just yell at us we need to find the poor ones. He said that was dumb and knocked one of the doors with a bimmer outside and a lady came out and immediately asked us about the church and if we had a good system for her little kids. She said they are new around there and she had been looking for a church to take her kids. I felt a little dumb but in my own defense that was the first time ever that a rich family has let us in. And they came to church.

Yep changes are next week. Espinal, one of the zls has been here 4 changes and 3 with his comp so it’s pretty certain that he’s out. But the others probably won’t have changes. One of the companionships left to their own house last week so know we have our own part completely separate and not the weight room. So there 6 now in the house. I’m feeling a little better but not tip top yet.

How’s Nick’s house? Is there a room open? If there is tell him to hang on 11 months and i'll come live with him.

Welp. I gotta head out. I love you. Tell nick to keep the room open.
Elder Graham

Monday, August 15, 2011

Discouraging Week

Hey there mother. The translating for the navy ship went pretty good. I didn’t get to go on Tuesday because we had interviews with pres but Wednesday was sickkk. They took us on a fatty tour of the whole ship! It was dope. (Pictures shown on August 8 post)

As far as getting rested, absolutely not. Today we had a 5 zone activity and I played soccer for 7 hours straight, the hardest I’ve ever played. Most people took a break in between games but I played straight though. We were playing full 11 on 11 for the first time in years. I had to take advantage of it. There was also football and basketball. I played basketball 10 minutes in between soccer games and it felt very weird playing after so long. I smashed everyone though of course. We bought Brazil jerseys for everyone in our zone so we looked decent.

As far as missionary work it’s been tough. I’ve resorted to knocking doors and contacting like crazy... It has been so frustrating. We had a few people we were teaching that were sure about going to church and we worked so hard they already had a baptismal date, but at church no one was there. It was tough to work, maybe the hardest in a week that I have had in my mission and to have it end with that. People always talk crap about the missionaries with no one in church and I had to be that guy.

The interview with President Galvez was actually really awesome. It was the first time that I really talked to president about stuff. They have all been really fast but we talked like half an hour. We talked about my area and what I can do to raise it. He showed me a diagram of missionaries that have success and it starts with a hard work ethic, then worthiness, obedience, and then skills to do things like teach and contact. And he told me to explain to him how I am in every one of those areas. I thought he did it with everyone but he just did it with me. He told me that the missionary that has all those things is the missionary that he wants as a trainer. And that opening an area is one of the hardest things that you can do and most don’t have to ever go through that trial and I’m in my second time. He said that I lifted the first area and that he’s very and emphasized very hard VERY anxious to see what can do and to see if I can lift another one. I’m hoping that what he said about trainers means that maybe he is thinking in me to train. And I honestly don’t want to be any sort of leader but I want to train. But here the people go zone leaders and assistants before they train. They’re literally the best missionaries in the mission. It’s not always like that in order. Some people go from just senior comps to being assistants. But as far as how president sees them and chooses them he puts a trainer before zone leaders. Felipe trained twice before he went zone leader. But if a kid is zone leader for a year and never trains or a kid trains and never goes zl, president thinks higher of the one who trained then who went zl. He always says that he picks his trainers every change before anything and chooses the best.

Welp. I gotta go. Love you ! keep it real
elder graham

Monday, August 8, 2011

Amazing And Exciting Experience!!!

Proud of my Nation

Translating for a Pediatrician

Translating for a Dentist

Doing Eye Exams

US Naval Ship Comfort

Calling in an Airstrike

Captain's Chair

Chillin' on the Deck

Manning the Ship

Puntarenas Bridge

Elder Larson and Elder Graham at the site

Filling Out Forms

Hey there mom! I’m super late today and I will be super short on time but I have a reason! This week has been sooo nuts!! So last Tuesday night I got a call from the APs telling me that they need me and Elder Larsen ( a champ that I live with) to go to Puntarenas everyday for 8 days because there was a US military ship that came there giving free medical care and they need people to translate for them. I was sooo jacked!

So every day since last Wednesday through this Wednesday other than Sunday, 10 of the “best Spanish speakers” have met up at the church employment center in San Jose and they have driven us to translate for doctors, dentists, pediatricians, physical therapists, eye doctors and any medical person you can imagine. We are there until about 4 and get back at our areas around 7 to work for an hour. It honestly has been one of the coolest things I’ve ever been able to do! I wear regular missionary clothes. But I can’t proselyte there. They say to keep the division of church and state. But there are some older couples there serving missions as dentists and doctors.

Everyday our translating post changes but I’ve spent a lot of time with all of them being able to translate for all types of doctors. I was in a hurry early this morning and forgot my camera so I can’t send pics but I have a bunch of pics of me translating. Its soo sweet! But honestly the hardest thing ever. Translating is soo much more then knowing 2 languages. It is so mentally draining. And in those doctor visits I am in the center of everything and I have to translate everything. That, along with waking up at 5 every morning and not getting to sleep till at least 11:30 every night has made me more tired this week then I’ve ever been in my life. I have had to translate some pretty iffy stuff. Some personal women’s matters and plenty of things that I didn’t want to have to translate.

But it has been so fun to hang out with the military guys and be all silly with them. We have been eating MREs everyday and they’re soo good and the most amazing things ever. Have you ever seen em? where you just add water and they get retardedly hot to heat them up, and they’re completely American meals.
The pediatricians have been my favorite to translate for and be able to be silly with the little kids. It made me realize that that kind of job wouldn’t actually be that bad!

A few of the senior missionaries took pictures of me and one said she would send them to you. I gave her your e mail. My Spanish has gotten much better in these days. I’ve studied like crazy every night, all the medical terms, dental terms, muscles and diseases and everything. It has been so fun.

Elder Larsen’s my new best friend. He’s so sick. He has a guitar and I bought a harmonica and we pass every night playing songs. Elder palmer goes too, to translate, so that has been sick to have the Moravia reunion there.

Yep it’s been sweet, but it has made it so we really haven’t been able to work at all. Alberto’s family couldn’t come to church so they will have to wait at least one more week for their baptism.

I’ve gotta head out. I love you. Tell everyone I’m sorry I couldn’t reply to most of them but I will next week. I don’t have much time. I love you

Pura Vida
Elder Graham

Monday, August 1, 2011

ONE YEAR!!!!!!!!

Hey there mom. I got the shoes last week thank you very much! They are sweet and definitely sturdy. Honestly the next pair of black shoes should finish me out the mission. I don’t need any new ones.

Last Thursday, my one year mark, was great. I did the traditional shirt burning. I took a video of it but others took pictures. Hopefully I can get you a picture of the shirt burning. Then the tradition is that the one turning a year buys pizza. It’s usually not that much because it’s usually for just you and your comp. But I had to buy pizza to fill 8 missionaries. And I do have pics of that. There are 8 missionaries that live in our house, 3 companionships besides mine. For the most part they’re all pretty cool.

I can’t believe that my mission is already halfway done. I have been waiting my whole life for this and now I only have a little bit left. And it made me realize that I really will only be here 2 years and not forever. That even though time doesn’t seem like it’s passing it really is passing. I have a lot left to do and not much time.

It’s been pretty tough here. The members here are different than in Moravia. In Moravia you knock on a door of any member or less active or anything and they love the missionaries and let you in to feed you and give you juice or something. Here we try to find where the members live to work with them and they just stand at the door asking why we came to their house. Almost all the members on my side live in a place called la Carpio which everyone says is the most dangerous place in Costa Rica and we can’t go there after dark. But everyone there works until dark everyday so we can’t really work with them.

We’ve had to do some definite wandering because we really don’t know what to do. We contact people and they all are from other places in the country. Like imagine contacting in downtown Portland. 98% of the people walking around don’t actually live in downtown. As far as the area it has been a fun atmosphere to live in and walk through. There’s a ton of tourists that always stop me and ask me to help them around or to translate. And 2 different families of members stopped us and one bought us taco bell. At least they like us.

Okay gotta go. I love you.
Elder Graham