Friday, February 27, 2015

A Note from President Brown


Jamaica Kingston Mission
4 Garelli Avenue
Kingston 10
Phone: 1-876-618-1625

27 Feb 2015

Dear Brother & Sister Graham:

We are happy to let you know your son, Cody Reed Graham, arrived safely in Kingston, Jamaica. He is in good spirits and arrived anxious to become involved in the great work being done here. When he arrived we met him at the airport and brought him to the mission home where he spent his first night. We helped him with banking and immigration matters and then provided training and orientation.

He was interviewed and met his trainer, Elder Fowkes. They then went to their area where they began the work he came here to do. Your son will be serving in the Yallahs Branch. As parents we can appreciate your concern for him and his welfare and felt you would like to know he is safe and doing fine.

We want to thank you for raising such a fine son and for your support for him while he is here. Your support for the next few weeks while he may experience some homesickness will be very important. The work is really beginning to blossom here in Jamaica and the people are warm and friendly. We are confident he will have a special experience. We can assure you we will do everything we can to help him grow and develop and are confident his testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ will increase. Through his mission experiences he will draw closer to our Savior. We are so grateful to have him here.

We will appreciate your continued support. Please feel free to contact us if we can be of assistance.


       Kevin G. Brown               Sister Nadine Brown
Jamaica Kingston Mission

First night in Kingston!  Elders Palmer, Ostrowski, Graham, Evans, Stever, and two nice sisters!

The Newbs! Five sisters, Sister Brown & President Brown, Elders Ostrowski, Evans, Stever, Palmer & Graham

Yallahs is on the southeast part of Jamaica - it is a rural community with around 10,000 people.

Yallahs Beach

Their church building!

A view down the road

Looking down at Yallahs from the Blue Mountains

Hopefully we get an email from Elder Graham with his take on the new digs on his P-Day, which is Monday!!  The journey begins...

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Annnnnnd He's Out!

Cody left for Jamaica today!  We got a call from him this morning at the Atlanta Airport saying he was doing great and excited to get to work.  I asked him to sum up his MTC experience and he said it was awesome primarily because of how close his district was. The four sister missionaries from their district are on their way to the visitor center at the Washington DC Temple. Cody, his two companions, two more elders - Stever from  Battleground, WA and Palmer from Moses Lake, WA, and two more sisters that Cody met today are all off to Jamaica!

Because of the long layover in Atlanta, we thought we might get to chat for a while and maybe add the family in Rexburg and Turlock into the mix. Unfortunately, the 3 hour calling card Cody bought went to waste because Atlanta is in the process of changing out all their pay phones! Lucky for us, he and his two companions, Elder Evans & Elder Ostrowski didn't give up and when they approached a customer service desk, the rep handed her cell phone over so they could all call home! Bless that girl... It was a quick seven minutes, but an amazing morning where it confirmed one more time that he's in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing.  

One more hour to go!!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Week #2 - My District Tho

Hey Fam!

Ten days is so crazy. This week FLEW by, mostly because we have stayed really busy and I have learned a ton!! I can't say I absolutely love the MTC but I do like it, and my district/zone is soooo cool and that makes things really easy. 

Our parents love us way too much so they give us candy and food...
I got all your packages and mail and holy mother who carries chickens we have a ton of food... well mostly cookies and candy but it still counts as nutrients for us hahaha. 
We walked around the Provo Temple on Sunday and got in this morning and do a session. That will probably be my last time in a temple for a long time because there are none in my mission. 
Back of the Provo Temple
The District
Back: Elders Evans, Graham & Ostrowski
Front: Sisters Buhler, McArthur, Wilson & Williams
Trio of a Lifetime!
Elders Evans, Ostrowski & Graham

We got a new crop of elders and sisters on Wednesday. It's not even real to me that WE are the MTC veterans already. The new district is pretty cool but you can tell they are just as nervous and confused as we were last Wednesday. We're breaking them in nice and easy though with lots of jokes and stuff. 

The sisters got a hold of my camera... cool.
Sisters Wilson, Buhler, McArthur & Williams

Today, one of them asked Sister Williams and I if we were cousins and we both looked at each other for a second and then at the same time turned back to the new sister and said "...yep." after we went into our separate rooms, my whole district starting laughing sooo hard and it was incredible. You should have been there. So now we need to focus on keeping our story straight, we decided our moms are sisters, hers is older (you're welcome mom ;)) and ya so we will see how that goes.

But anyway, my companions and I have taught 6 or 7 lessons already and even though they are usually our teachers that portray people they taught on their missions, the lessons feel so real and they are really cool. I learned that I don't have much of a problem talking with people about the gospel so that is going to be helpful in the future.

So that's about it for this week. Not too much happened besides a whole lot more learning and teaching.

Next time I email I will be in Jamaica!!!

Elder Graham

Friday, February 13, 2015

Week #1 - The MTC

Hola familia! 

Just so you all know, upon arrival they switched my language to Spanish so it looks like all those years of school paid off!.........just kidding, it's still But anyway...

I have been put into a trio with Elder Evans from West Jordan and Elder Ostrowski from Layton. We're all going to Jamaica together!! Evans graduated a year before Ostrowski and I, and played baseball and football. Ostrowski did the swimming/ballroom kind of thing. They are both super chill guys and it made me feel a lot better that they were just as lost and confused as I was.

I'll be honest, the first day of the MTC was HARD. I was confused and disoriented and (despite the fact that my body was dead because of the lack of sleep the night before) wasn't really having a great time for the first little while. The first day felt like it was never going to end, and by the time I got to my bed I think it finally hit me that I'm here. I felt a little discouraged but I was looking for a T shirt in my suitcase when I found that book that the fam made for me. And can I just say, that was EXACTLY what I needed. It definitely lifted my spirits a lot so thank you guys so much for that.

The second day was 100x better than the first! I spent my second night trying to figure out why my second day was so much better than my first. My conclusion was that we stopped focusing on ourselves and started learning how to teach. We're already learning how to get lost in the work and I think that is what is making my experience here a lot better!

Even though this is only day #3 for me, I feel like I have learned soooo much already! My teachers are all awesome and I met Elder Palmer from Moses Lake that is going to Jamaica with us. He is Elder Stever's companion and he also way cool!

Our district is just our trio and two pairs of sisters, Sister Wilson from Utah and Sister Williams from Rexburg, and Sister Buhler from Utah and Sister McArthur from Haiti. My whole district is the coolest and we're all getting really close already. We eat all our meals together and can joke around and have a good time, but they also all have killer testimonies and it is super cool to hear them share what they know to be true!!

More crazy news, I've been here for three days and they already called Ostrowski and I to be zone leaders (our zone covers our district and one other district). That assignment starts on Sunday when they release the current ZL's. But it's all craziness and I'm excited and a little nervous to get going with that.

Waking up at 6:30 has yet to be a problem for me which is really nice. Also, when our schedule has a blank spot, I'm already starting to feel weird because usually we are going going going non stop from the time we get up to the time we go to bed.

The food is fantastic (not as good as mama's cooking of course) but don't worry, I usually can barely finish my food so I have yet to go back for seconds. Unlike everyone else, this elder will not be gaining weight here haha.

We got our travel info for the flights to Jamaica and we leave on TUESDAY, February 24, not Monday like we thought. We have a layover in Atlanta instead of Miami as well. So the Tuesday after next will be early for us (first flight leaves at 7:05am). We won't get to Kingston until like 7:30pm. But no biggy.

Well that's about it. Kind of a lot for just three days hahaha but that's just what happens in the MTC.

I'll catch you all next Friday, and the one after that, I'll be in Jamaica!!!

Elder Graham

 My District

 My bed (only three of us and three separate bunkbeds so we all get bottom bunks)

Sisters in our district (from left to right): Sister Buhler, McArthur, Williams, and Wilson

 I'm on the left, Ostrowski in the middle and Evans on the right

The good ol' name tag

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Bon Voyage

It's Finally Here!

Today is that day we've always talked about, Cody's been preparing for and pacing the house for; today marks the beginning of his mission!

We would leave for the airport at 3:45am, so after a quick pancake breakfast we headed for PDX.

When we arrived we met up with the Stever family, whose son is also serving in Jamaica.

It didn't take more than 15 minutes for Cody to be ready to hit the road - made that final goodbye so much easier, knowing how anxious he was to get started.  Of course our family being the crazy sentimental fools they are, we had already had SEVERAL goodbye sessions, so believe me when I say Cody was finished with the gooey stuff and ready to get to work!

My awesome sister, Leanne picked him up from the Salt Lake City airport and took him to breakfast at Kneaders - death by cinnamon roll, what a way to go!

Finally it was time for the drop off at the MTC - the elders there were super cool and welcoming, and even let Cody and Leanne get one final picture before he left.

This is it!  Can't wait to hear of further adventures - we're so proud of this awesome young man.  He's gonna rock it!!