I have failed to post Elder Graham's last two letters. Here they are for your enjoyment.
March 28, 2007
How is everything going at home? You finally decided to put in a garden after I leave. I see how it is. That’s wonderful. I hope that your Hawaii was fun and that everything went well. Family trips are so important. They will help the family grow closer together. The picture that you sent was so cool. Garrett looked funny. Was Emma able to go down in the water too? She probably loved it on the beach. I would love to see some pictures. How are all he kids doing in school? What kinds of activities are going on? So you got some rain? Is the drought still going on?
I am really trying to keep you updated. I only have a little time on the computers, so you need to be patient with me. I am trying to tell you everything I can. There are a lot of things that happen in a week. Tell everyone that I am trying to write them back. We have a big family and it is really hard to get to everyone. Mail is really expensive up here so I won’t be writing as much as you would like me to. And P day is really short and I have a lot to do. So please be patient with me and I will try to answer everyone’s questions.
Now with my new companion, Elder De Simone. He is the opposite of my other companion. He has not been blessed with a great family. He has not always wanted to go on a mission, hasn’t been the best kid in his life, made some big mistakes, and doesn’t know the gospel very well. But he is a hard worker and he knows why he is out here. He really puts forth a lot of effort to become better. Together, we are going to be great, because we both want to work and work hard. He has a great desire to learn more and do better. He has only been out for 6 months. So we are both fairly new at this, but we are really working hard and we can already see miracles. I finally know how a companion planning and study session goes. We are really filling our day. For example, yesterday, our first appointment was at 10:30 with a man named Lynn. He is about 25 and we just met him on the street. We had a great first lesson and invited him to read and pray. He said yes and we are going back tomorrow. He is the first new investigator in weeks. We then had drop by’s. No one was home but we tried, and that is what really matters in the end. We then had an appointment with some investigators named Collin and Heather who I have only met once in the 5 weeks that I have been here. They bombed us. But again, we were really trying and working hard. Our next appointment was not until 2:00 p.m. So we decided to go and contact some of our referrals. We were on bikes that day (it has been beautiful up here, upper teens, that’s in C) and this contact was on the other side of town and there is a big hill that we were going to have to bike up. But we went anyway. 15 minutes later, we found the street and were heading down it, when I remembered that our Elder’s quorum president lived on this street. He and his family are 10 year converts. We decided to stop by and ask him if he would like to come with us. We knocked on his door and he answered the door with a "perfect timing, come on in." My companion and I looked at each other, totally lost. We walked in and at the table was a teenage girl. This was his wife’s niece. She was 15 and unbeknownst to us, they had been talking about life and its challenges. She is not a member and she was really going through a hard time in her life so she had stopped by to talk with him for some advice.
We sat down and started to talk and ended up teaching her the plan of salvation. We found out that she was pregnant and asked us what we thought about abortion. I told her that the power that God has given us is special and that we should not play with that gift. Life is too precious. But I asked her to pray and ask God what she should do. The spirit was really strong. But when Brother Drover said the prayer, the spirit was so strong that I started to cry. It was amazing. We had no intention of going even near that part of town because we were on our bikes. But the Lord led us to her. She is going to stay at the Drovers and we are going back to teach her more. The Lord has a hand in this work. I am so glad that my companion and I were worthy of that blessing.
We had other appointments that bombed us until we met with James. Now you all remember James, right? He is the Native, and we have not seen him for about 2 weeks. His mom still doesn’t like us but she ok with us teaching him. The kid is amazing. We were finally able to teach him the first lesson. He is so full of questions and really feels that something is missing in his life. His words were "I have a whole that is needs to be filled." The lesson went great. The spirit was so strong. We have another appointment with him tomorrow.
Matt is not doing so well. The last time that we met with him he told us a lot about his past. He has had a really and I mean reeeeeeeeeaaaallllllyyy hard life. He is what we know as a drug baby. He has been addicted to drugs since he was born. His mom is a serious druggy. He was kicked out of his home when he was 15 and has been living own. That’s just the half of it. But his life has been bad. I want him to be happy so bad and feeling the comfort that we have. I told him that all of that can be washed away if we accept Christ. I said that he doesn’t have to have this pain in his life anymore. I bore a strong testimony of the atonement and how we can truly be happy we told him that we were going to help him kick all of his bad habits and help him find this happiness. If he could, he would go to college, but he can’t afford it. We told him about BYU and how he could go to college if he wanted to. We talked for 2 hours about how his life could be better with Christ in his life. It was awesome. I know that the spirit touched him. But last night, we ran into him on the street and he was not doing so well. He was fired from his job (You really need to know Matt. He is the hardest worker and was the best employ that they had. But the place he worked at was full of a bunch of idiots. Some girl told him that he was fired so he left. He came back that night to get his stuff and the manager was there and asked him why he had quit and he said that she had fired him and that the girl told him that he was fired. They both denied it and told him that he had quit.) And I don’t think that he is doing so well with the praying and quitting of things. Please pray for Matt. He really needs some help. Please pray for him.
Dayna is doing well. But we just can’t sit down and talk with her. The only time that we ever catch her is at work. But we taught her all about the restoration and how there is authority on the earth again. She knows that she needs to be baptized again. I was so happy. But pray for her to because she has a lot of addictions too.
We really need more people to teach. Pray for us to be lead to those that are ready for the gospel. Pray especially for a family. I would love to teach a family.
The Branch up here is really small. It has about 100 members but about 20-45 show up every week. There are great people and they have great testimonies. The Branch president is awesome. His name is President Longlad. But the missionary efforts are not going so well in the branch. Give me some ideas to get this ward really excited about missionary work.
I am going to memorize The Living Christ, and the Proclamation to the World. Challenge me to do some more things that will help me become a better missionary. Send me things that will challenge me and make me work harder.
I hope that I have done a better job about answering some of your questions.
I know that if you work your hardest and really try, the Lord will do the rest if we can put our lives in his hands. He will bless us. I know that we have a loving father in heaven and that he, if we will let him, well help us through life’s challenges. He is there. All we need to do is ask him to help us. Have faith that everything will be better. Life is short all we need to do is endure our trials with faith in him. What a wonderful blessing it is to know what we know. Now let’s go and share it with the World.
I love you all. Tell me how you are doing on the things that I challenged you to do. I would really love to hear some stories.
April 4, 2007
A lot happens in a week. I only have 1 hour to write you and my mission pres. That is not a lot of time, but I will try to write as much as I can.
First, I only got 1 E Mail from you all this week. What is going on? Thank you for the letters though. And the box of stuff from Maui. Kayla, I am sorry I have not written you back yet. I have no time. Today is our p day, or the time that we have to do other things like write letters and we are booked with appointments. I figure that it is better to teach than take a break. So I am sorry. But I will try to write you back. Tell everyone that I will try to write them back. And for those that have not written, I LOVE to get letters during to week. Garrett, Bo, Estee, Lee, and every one else, I am talking to you. Come on, WRITE ME! Do you not love your brother? It makes me so happy when I get a letter. Tell everyone thank you for writing. It makes my day.
But off that subject. Now on to the things that really matter. The Lord has been blessing us so much. Thank you for all your prayers.
WE HAVE SOMEONE SET FOR BAPTISOM!!!!!!! Yes. His name is Lynn or Leonard. You would like him Grandpa. We had met Lynn about 4 weeks ago, but never talked with him. We were able to have a great first lesson, finally, and taught him about the restoration. He really didn’t talk that much but you could tell that he was thinking. that was on Tuesday. We had another lesson on Thursday. It was awesome. The spirit was so strong. We really didn’t follow a lesson. We just testified up and down. I felt the need to invite him to be baptized. We challenged him and he said yes. The date is the 14th. This was the second time that we had meat with him. The Lord had prepared him for it and he is ready. He came to all except one of the sessions of conference. He loved it. He said it makes sense. When we were listening, I stepped out to go to the wash room (that’s what they call the bathrooms up here). When I got back, Lynn leaned over and said, "This is Elder Packer, he is in the quorum of the 12". He then proceeded to explain to me what he was talking about. He asked if he could write down one of the quotes that he really liked in my study journal. That’s how awesome this kid is. He is 21 and has a 2 year old little girl. His girlfriend is not so receptive to us. We finally were able to talk with her this morning. But we are working on that. With the Lord, anything is possible.
Another amazing story. When my comp was being transferred, I stayed with some missionaries in Barry, about 2 hours away. While I was down there, I got my hair cut. While I was getting my hair cut, I talked to the lady next to me, who was also getting her hair cut. We started to talk about the church and I invited her to church. She said that she would go and later, I found out that she did. But just last Friday, the Barry elders called me. They said, "Do you remember Angie?" And I said yes, the one that I had talked to in the hair solon. He said, "Well, she is getting baptized this Sunday." I was shocked. Someone that I had talked to only a week before was getting baptized. The Lord puts people in your path that you may never know what would happen if you didn’t talk to them. All I did was ask her to come to church. That was it. The spirit in the end is the one that does the teaching. Talk to every on that you can about the Church and the great blessing it is in your life. You never know what will happen. What a blessing that was.
Matt is doing ok. He came to 1 session but I don’t know how well he is doing. We are meeting with him tomorrow. I will let you know how it goes.
Dayna is finally opening up. We ran into her yesterday, really the Lord put her in our path but she is going through a hard time. She asked why so many bad things happen to one person. The first time I met her, she said that if we would have talked to her 3 months before, she would have sent us away. I then told her that the Lord was humbling her and that now she is ready to hear what we have to say. She started to cry and I did to. The Lord had been preparing her to listen. She is now ready to listen. We are meeting with her in 1/2 an hour. We are going to commit her to baptism. The Lord has prepared people to be taught. Some people it takes a little more time then others, but the Lord will humble them. And when that happens, something beautiful can happen in the person. This is what is happening in Dayna. I am so happy. I told her straight up that I am glad that she went through all of these trials because now she is ready to let him in.
James is also doing ok. We didn’t get to meet with him this last week so I will get back to you on that.
Here is someone new. Candra and Kasy. Best friends. They are 15. We have been teaching them for about a week and they love it. They know that the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith is a prophet. They listen to Conference at home on here computers. They loved it. But their parents really, and I mean really, don’t like the church. They think that we don’t respect women, and all this other stuff. But they are still letting them come and listen to us. So that is great. When Candra prays, she always asks for her family’s heart to be softened. Can you all pray for that? For these families to let us teach them. Kasy also has a problem with homosexuality. We gave her something to read but if you could pray for that also, that would be great. But I think in the end, they will be getting baptized.
We are also teaching a great family. They are named Travis and Nicole they have 1 kid each and have had 2 together. Travis is really receptive, and loves it. They are going to take a little more time then I the others, but they will come around. But Travis said that something is missing and he wants to know if this is it. We love to teach them. They just soak it up like a sponge.
For the past few days, we have been on bikes. Our car is in the shop because some Elder Nelson got in a wreck. But when we are on bikes, it opens up so many more opportunities. And the Lord can see that we really are dedicated. On Monday, we biked all the way out to Port McNickle. About 10-15 Ks away. It was a good 25 min. up and down hills. We had to do that 2 times that day and it was raining. It was really cold. All of the snow is gone but it is supposed to snow this week and we won’t have a car so we well be biking in the snow. I am sure that I will have some great stories to tell.
But yesterday was amazing. We had been biking all day and it rained all day. We were soaked, but we kept on pushing. Some time had gone by and we had not seen any one for a while. I asked my companion if we could say a prayer. We did but we didn’t even get off our bikes. We just said it as we were going. We asked to be lead to someone that needed him. This is at about 7:30 and it was getting dark. We could have gone in early but be kept on pushing. We were cold, wet and tired. About 5 min went by and I felt that we should go and see someone in an apartment complex. The road to this place is a hill and we were heading down it. About half way down it, there was a bench that was facing the woods, with a young man sitting on it. He had been there for quite a wile because he was drenched. I slammed on my brakes and skidded to a halt and turned around. I introduced myself and asked him his name. He said Vincent. I started to talk to him. He had had a hard life and was really down. I talked about Christ and his atonement. In the end, both he and I were crying. The spirit was so strong. We are meeting with him today
But I have to go he have an appointment in 2 min. Yes, that’s how my days have been. Running from place to place. I love it.
I love the Lord. I know that we can feel peace in this world. All we need to do is let him in. he is waiting. Just open the door.
I love you all.
Dayna is here so I have to go.