Monday, January 25, 2016

Week #50 - Winning the Rat Race

Hey Family!

This week FLEW by extra fast. There was plenty of stuff to keep us busy.

I went on a trade off with Elder Anderson on Tuesday, and then with Elder Riding on Thursday.

On Wednesday we went to Montego Bay to watch a worldwide missionary broadcast entitled: "Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts." It was way good and I learned a ton from it.

Friday morning we found a rat in our house. I should probably be more sensitive because there might be younger people who read this... but we killed it and threw it outside (yeah us old people are fine with it). Elder Sandmaier and I spent quite a bit of time exploring parts of our area that we had never been to, and we found a couple streets with big houses on them and met a woman who is a flight attendant. She told us about a trip to Salt Lake City and she said that our Mormon temple looked really pretty. Hopefully we can go back and see her and talk more about it.

Saturday was transfer calls - Elder Sandmaier and I will be staying together. Not too many changes happening. We helped some members do some construction work on a house for a couple hours in the morning. We mainly just shoveled rocks into a bucket and carried them upstairs to the top of the house and dumped them out on some dirt - real manly stuff. I was so sore after.

Today our zone met in Negril and just chilled for a couple hours. We played some ball, said some goodbyes to people who are leaving the zone, and had milkshakes and a ton of food at Burger King so we all got a little sick, but rock and roll.

Hope you are doing great.

Love and miss you as always!

Elder Graham
We found a burnt down cane field in our area

Monday, January 18, 2016

Week #49 - Uke Can Do It

Hey Family!

We had zone meeting this week. At the meeting they brought the ukulele I ordered from Kingston a week ago so I am way stoked to get on that. I learned how to play the Zac Brown Band song, "Toes" so that is sweet. Can’t wait to hear this newfound talent, annnnnd I’m guessing he won’t be performing this particular number at missionary functions any time soon…

Friday night the branch had a big activity and Craig, Jermain, Tracy and CJ (the family that we are teaching) came. Craig, Jermain, Brother Woolrey and I played a very intense game of dominoes that went into a draw after an hour and a half because we had to go.

Burnt Savannah
On Sunday we got invited by a member to go way out to a place called Burnt Savannah to teach the member’s relatives. It was like an hour bike ride out but it was so scenic. Super cool. Also Sunday evening we were walking to an appointment and this rast man stopped us and told us to be careful because he saw two white guys get killed in a dream... So pray for me ya hear? Exactly the closing every mother 3100 miles away dreams of reading, eh? *Shakes fist at adorable missionary with red ukulele

Love and miss you guys!


Elder Graham

Monday, January 11, 2016

Week #48 - Maybe It's a Vacation After All... Nahhhhh

Hey Family!

Sorry about last week, the internet was being weird. But anywho, this week was awesome. We are teaching a SWEET family - mom, dad, and 11 year old son. All very interested. I'm going to focus on them because this is literally the only exciting thing that happened this week.

So Craig, Shada, their son, CJ AND even Shada's mother and her boyfriend ALL came to church on Sunday - it was great. They participated like they had been coming for years. This is especially great because they were hesitant to come due to negative experiences with previous churches.

To give you a clue of some of the struggles of the church and the mission here in Jamaica, I’ll tell you that this is one of the first experiences I've had teaching a structured family (married with both parents in the home) on my mission, so this is kind of a big deal.

Anyway, right after church, Shada told us she was headed to New York for a few months to do some sort of nursing/nanny work. Kind of a bummer but she will soon be back.

Today we’re going to Negril to eat at some fancy restaurant on a cliff overlooking the ocean - maybe it is a vacation after all.. PSYCH.


Elder Graham

I'd like you to meet Elder Riding…

The crew: Elder Anderson, Davis, Riding, Sandmaier, and Fowkes on the white beach of Negril

Monday, January 4, 2016

Week #47 - A Christmas Letter from President Brown

Technical difficulties this week resulted in pictures only, no family email, but we did receive a beautiful Christmas letter from President Brown:


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

Dear missionary parents,

There are not words to express our gratitude for the generous donations and packages received from you this season.  Every elder and sister serving here at Christmas received packages and mail, and thanks to your assistance, not one was left out, not one was without a gift to make Christmas special for them. 

This year each zone had a Christmas program focused on the birth of the Savior.  Sister Brown and I were able to spend a few minutes talking about the Savior’s birth and expressing our love to the missionaries. Following the program, we enjoyed a Christmas dinner prepared and served by Sister McPherson and Sister Medley.  They served a traditional Jamaican dinner of chicken, ham, rice and peas, potato salad, Jamaican vegetable, Jamaican pudding cake and ice cream.  

After dinner, Elder Havili, Elder Jarvis and I donned our Santa hats and distributed all of the packages.  As names were called out, there were smiles, and looks of surprise from some who thought there would be no gifts for them. We have captured some of the fun with pictures. We wish you could have shared in the sounds as well, but rest assured that your contributions were of great value in making each Christmas party a wonderful event for all of our missionaries. 

Jesus Christ is the true gift of Christmas.  That fact cannot be denied.  But as we stood and looked on your sons and daughters, it was very clear that they too are God’s gift to mankind. They are also part of the true gifts of Christmas as they represent the Savior of the world in their mission to the Caribbean people.

With sincere appreciation,            

President Kevin G. Brown
Jamaica Kingston Mission

President Santa (Brown) and a few of his elves!

Cody and his companion, Elder Sandmaier across from him,
Pretty sure two more are housemates but no clue of names yet!

It's a Christmas miracle... Elder Graham is singing.  Voluntarily.

Merry Christmas from the North Coast Zone!