First of all, I just wanted to say. It is a little strange that for the first time in a long time, I am the one updating my blog, not my mom.
This means many things, but in the end it basically means that I am home. I am no longer in Honduras, and I am now in my own house, with my own family.
When I was in my final interview, my mission President told me that my transition home would be harder than my transition to the mission. For me, part of that meant saying goodbye to many friends and adopted family in Honduras. It was difficult knowing that it is very difficult for me to see them again.
The last few days in the mission and the first few days home I passed in a daze. After so much time telling everyone that I only had "a little more than a year" in the mission, and trying with all my heart to be "baggy", it had finally arrived. That strange day when you go to changes, and yet you don't leave. You stay until everyone else has left, and then it is only you and your group. It all felt surreal to me, like a dream.
We were able to go to the temple as a group, and some last moments in the most sacred ground in Honduras. I was able to feel the comfort of the Lord, giving me peace when my soul was troubled.
We had one final dinner with President Bowler and his wife, and then it was off to bed, in preparation to arrive to the airport the next morning.
We almost didn't return to Utah due to heavy fog and rain in Tegucigalpa. That airport is dangerous anyway, but the pilot wasn't sure he was going to be able to land. When he finally came in, everyone in the airport headed for Atlanta cheered loudly.
After more than a 12 hour journey, we arrived at Salt Lake City. We collected our bags and we finally arrived to see our families. There was lots of cheering and crying. It still felt surreal to me. I wasn't quite sure how to react. But one fact settled in...I was home.
Sunday, August 2, 2015
Monday, June 29, 2015
So...my mind is still processing this day.
Sunday, June 28, 2015
Sorry for the sad lack of pictures this week. But that´s ok right?I have been busy this week. I feel like we worked harder than any other week.
Instructions for when he get home:
First of all. Thanks for all you are already doing to help me come down running from the airplane. I have this weird fear that if I don´t stay busy I will just melt.I would like to get a phone as soon as possible after getting back. If possible, like... .
Monday, June 15, 2015
Things were cool this week. We did divisions with Elder Rivero and Elder Foster. I got to go and visit Las Unidas, a quite bueatiful community just outside of Choluteca.We had interviews with President Bowler. He basically told me that he would see me the for my final interview. We talked a little about the area and about our investigators. I think things went well.
Monday, June 8, 2015
Again I am so happy this week. I don´t know how to describe it.I feel weird as things seem to be resolving themselves and finishing up. I typed my final report today, ready to present to President in my interview with him on Wednesday.
Monday, June 1, 2015
First of all. I am not dying, I do not have any weird tropical disease.I am simply turning into a leopard. Or at least that´s what I tell people.
What I have is basically a heat rash. It happens when you take a white gringo from cold utah and make him sweat more than he has sweat in his entire life, in a matter of 7 weeks.
It is not dangerous, I just have to put on a lotion every day and bathe twice daily. It should go away in 3 to 4 days.
This week was great. First of all great because I stayed in my area. I will be finishing my mission with Elder Hernandez. All the other missionaries are trying to make my baggy, but I strive onward, leaving them all behind.
condition for sweating a lot.
I am happy, happier than I could ever describe, and I am sad, sadder than I could ever describe. I feel the ending, and at the same time, a beginning. But I always feel the saddness knowing that I will never be a missionary here again.
So I follow onward, or as they say it here, Estoy en la lucha. The fight against evil, and tiredness.
I am so grateful for my time here, I have loved it and I don´t want it to end, but all things have to end.
Please take care of yourselves, and I will do the same here.
I love you,
What was the most important thing you learned on you mission?
That when you stop worrying about what others think, and it only matters what God thinks, is when you are so happy nothing can cover it.
How did the Atonement change you?
It helped me change little by little, slowly recognizing weaknesses and making them strengths. As I realized how much it cost, it helped me make sacrifices to help others. As I understood what it has done, it made me eager to help others be changed by it.
Did you love your mission? Why? How did you develop that love?
Please don´t talk about it in past tense yet, I still have 39 days left.
I have loved my mission more than anything I can describe except maybe my family. I have learned firsthand that there are wonderful people in all places, languages, and walks of life. As I received so much love, It just became normal to give it back. As I worked and helped people, and I saw how it helped them, I felt that joy that only comes from the spirit. It became like an addiction, but a good one. The children of God are happiest when they fufill their purpose, and their purpose is the same as his, to bring to pass the inmortality and eternal life themselves and others.
I also love it because I learned what is really important, and it basically is that you and your family are truly happy and bound by covenants that you are constantly living.
Monday, May 25, 2015
I don´t know how to express how I feel.I feel like everything is a dream. But I´m now at the point where one is waking up and the colors start bluring together and the sounds mesh as your mind changes from fiction to reality.
Monday, May 18, 2015
Monday, May 11, 2015
Things are good here in Por Venir.I enjoyed a fun skype call yesterday with the family. I could see them perfectly, but it was a little hard for them to see me. It was great to see all the family.
Monday, May 4, 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
Note from Mom: I don't think there has been a week on his mission that Graig hasn't written a blog post. He seemed to be distracted this week registering for his BYU classes this fall. I pieced together this post from about 4 emails he sent this week.
Q. Have you been able to do any site seeing in your new area?
A. Not yet. Next week we are suposably going to the beach.
Q. Did you sign up for an orchestra class?
A. Yes I did sign up.
Q. How safe are you?
A. Super safe.
Q. Are there lots of Gangs where you are?
A. No. And if there are they aren´t active.
Q. Isn't the south where you started your mission?
A. Yes. But in San Lorenzo.
Q. Do you have lots of people you are teaching?
A. We have a lot of potential investigators
Mom: You should send pictures of where you live.
Graigry: I tried, I will try again this week. (I get the feeling there isn't very good internet where he is.)
The other day, Your picture fell off the wall in the hall upstairs, rolled on its side down the first flight of stairs, tipped so as to slide between the bars on the banister, and fell to the basement where it landed face up. I wouldn't believe it but I watched the whole thing. Not to worry, it didn't even break.
They say in the mission that when your plack lifts up, its because your family (or your girlfriend) is thinking of you.
Now I know the equivilent at home.
Monday, April 20, 2015
First of all. I am now in the south. I am with Elder Hernandez in Por Venir Choluteca. My comp is rather new, but he is cool and he teaches well.
I have so many random goals.Eat healthier.
Monday, April 13, 2015
This week are changes. They will advise us tomorrow if one of us leaves. I don`t know what I want. I am happy with whatever the Lord gives me.
The funny story for this week is what happened with one of our Ïnvestigadores. We worked really hard and got her to go to church. Her name is Elizabeth. All was fine, she`s kind of an older lady, so a member brought her. A member of the ward took care of making sure she felt welcome. All perfect.
Then, in the third hour, the bishop asked us if we were teaching her. I said yes. He then showed me her babtisimal record. She was baptized in 1991. She was pretty embarrased. She said she had forgotten (she is a little old) that she had been baptized. She had already comitted to be babtized on the 25th. It made me lauph. It then turned into a bueatiful experience because she told us that Jesus had sent us to remind her of who she was. We changed her goal to be baptized to one of going to the temple. She said yes. Things are good.
I am happy, there is not a lot that I can say.
Monday, April 6, 2015
I am so happy. Conference was a great spiritual boost. I loved every session. I loved how they made some changes so that it was focused on doctrine.
I had some good impressions. I loved every talk. The strangest impression was during President Monson´s talk in the priesthood session. I felt like I should read D & C 88. SoMorning I read it. As I read, I felt like God was giving me his perspective on what he wants me to be. I felt like my goals and my desires were put into check and I saw where I was, and where I will be one day. It was a beautiful experience.
I really enjoyed Elder Holland`s talk as well. It reminded me of all those great days rock climbing. I realized that the importance of knowing the Fall is because it makes the Atonement what it is. I thought of it again as I came to Danli to write today.
We managed to have 4 people there. For 1 lady it was the first time. She is a little Old, and said she didn`t remember much, but she remembered how she felt. She said she felt peace. The spirit is so simple and so bueatiful.
I am grateful for the knowledge and strength I have from the gospel. I am grateful for parents who always `put me first, even if I didn`t want too.
Thank you for your prayers.
Monday, March 30, 2015
This week was full of missionary work. Elder Silversmith and I had our best week together fulfilling our purpose. We taught people, we opened the mouth, we did what good missionaries do.
We also did divisions with the Zl´s this week. It was interesting to see a different perspective on teaching and investigators. I was with Elder Crawford from Costa Rica. Elder Silversmith went with ELder SMith.
From the investigators, as always some want to progrss and others not. The funny thing is that here if a person doesn´t want to recieve you, they just don´t answer so its quite easy!
This week I randomly found a guy that makes mandolins (instrument similar to the guitar that has the same string arrangement as the violin). I was tempted for a moment, but I doubt it! We will see if we can teach him later this week.
It is the hottest week of the year here. The good thing is that I am in Paraiso and that means hotter than normal, but not infierno level.
I have been cooking a lot lately. The newest thing my companion taught me to make are omelettes. I ate about one of those a day.
Things are going great down here. I love you guys!
Monday, March 23, 2015
My companion is totally a chef. Those fish tacos you see there are his work. I was at his side eating pasta. I laugh every time that he talks of cooking because he talks about mixing flavors and making it look good.
I talk of how much food I can get for the price.
It has been a blessing because our cocinera moved, so we are cooking a lot more.
All the investigators that we had prepared for this month have come up with problems, so we are helping them develop trust in God and confidence in their decisions. We did a lot of great work this week.
Being with Elder Silversmith again has reminding me a lot of the fundamentals that they teach in the MTC. It has been good to remember all of them. It helps me stay focused on what is my purpose.
I am doing great here in Paraiso, enduring happily to the end.
Sorry I am writing so little these days. Its because there isn`t much to write and the time flys.
Know that I am happy. I am not perfect, but I now understand that those two things don`t go together. Happy means that you are imperfect but satisfied that every day you try to improve. Perfect means you have died and are in the celestial kingdom. Seriously, its the only way.
Thank you for all the support that you have given me.
Monday, March 16, 2015
It was one of those weeks that I feel like I really fulfilled my purpose as a missionary. I feel so good and I am very content with my work here.
I am really excited to be here. I feel like that even as some things don't go how I want, God is opening other doors.
God works in the lives of the people. As you love him and trust in him he answers your prayers.
I am working well with Elder Silversmith. It is great to be with him because he is already adjusted to the mission. He is ready to work and is willing to do so.
Sorry that I don't have much to write today, its because there wasn't a lot of crazy stuff that happened. Just a lot of work.
I love you guys and I wish you all the blessings in the world.
ELder HenriePS. Those are small cakes called penquinos we are balancing on our heads. I was talking about how the gospel is a firm base on which we can base our entire lives. All finds its place and you can achieve everything. Our heads are not firm bases. Hermana Cook got the most with 4 balanced for like 2 seconds.
Monday, March 9, 2015
I am totally fantastic this week. We had changes and I stayed in El Paraiso.
I am now with Elder Silversmith. He is an awsome Elder from New Mexico. He looks more latino, but is actually Native American. His ancestors are Navajos. I`ve already learned a lot from him. He has a very unique perspective on the world.
I am super pumped to be here for another change. I feel like all the seeds I have been placing for all this time are all coming to fruit. I am now the oldest missionary (in terms of number of changes) in Paraiso. The members know me and I know them. Things are going great.
Our stake is going to be implementing a new missionary plan where the Ward mission leader has 2 assistents that have the ward divided into ^districts^. These districts will have a Noche de Hermanamiento every week that they will invite people too. It is basically an attempt to involve everyone in the MIssionary work but also to create a real ward family. The idea is that noone loses touch because they know everyone. They are even asking that they reorganize Home and Visiting teaching companionships to fit the districts. The idea is to reduce the space and to heighten the friendship.
I personally think its a fantastic idea. Its like an extension to the advice that Elder Duncan gave the missionaries a couple of months ago.
I am happy. We have a great zone. The only sad thing was I lost a couple of Hermanas in my district because one was sick and wasn`t improving. It was sad to lose them, they were both great hermanas.
We have a great crazy group in Barrio Paraiso now. There is a lot of energy in the group and everyone is friends. It is a great start to a great change.
Thank you for your prayers and your love. I love you too.
Invite a ton of people to General Conference!
Monday, March 2, 2015
That's the only way I can describe how I feel. I feel fantastic. I am an imperfect person in the service of God and he still blesses me and loves me.
We all have weaknesses, but God blesses us bountifully. He doesn´t demand perfection to receive help, he requires a willing heart.
To talk about all my blessings this week would be difficult. I have seen so much love in the service of God. God loves me and loves the people I serve.
Know that I am happy and that everything is great!
I went to consejo again this week. It was good to see old friends and meet new ones. Elder Caceres and I did divisions, and we had a long talk about everything.
We worked and walked and sweated, and it all felt great.
This week are changes, but we don´t know if we have changes yet, they will tell us tomorrow. The most probable is that my companion leaves. He is really great, and the Lord has had him here a long time, but I would guess that the Lord needs him in another place.
Nothing really crazy happened this week, but I felt the love of God in my life.
God never forgets us, he just lets us fall so that we can get up again.
Perfection is not to be the best, it is to be constantly better.
Monday, February 23, 2015
I was thinking a lot about that this week. Happiness. I realized something that I have always know, and yet never understood. True happiness is when you live the commandments. Always looking for opportunities to lauph and have fun, but always taking into account the Lord.
The end result is you have many positive experiences in your life, and you are unweighed by sin. Many people do good things, but balance it with bad things, so they are only half as happy as they could be. True happiness comes from obedience, because you have all the good things lifting you up, and no mistakes weighing you down.
You are like the balloons that kids let go up into the sky, you have no limits.
I had a really great week this week, and I will have a better week this week. Bad things will happen, but I can use the atonement to fix mistakes and forget pain.
When I was in the CCM, we were shown a talk by one of the apostles. He gave us two promises. First, the mission was going to be the hardest thing we had ever done. Second, the joy of christ would make it all worth it.
I know that´s true. I had one of those weeks that testified to me that I am in the right place.
I love you all, thank you for all your support and love.
God Loves you.
Monday, February 16, 2015
So this week was AWESOME.
We had a Zone conference. We talked about a lot of the same things that we talked about in the Consejo, but we also got to watch the Meet the Mormons movie. It was fantastic. I totally loved it. I loved the part at the beginning when it showed the different views of Mormons. You feel like that a lot as a missionary...
Hey, we´re missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, have you heard of it?
Or the Mormons
(confusion changes to happiness)
Oh ya, you guys can´t drink coffee can you?
Everyone in Paraiso says that because Paraiso is a MAJOR coffee producer. There is a sign that I need a picture of that says
Paraiso, where the earth tastes of coffee.
We also had a Stake conference. I saw a powerful example of revelation. We had an investigator that went to the iglesia for the first time. She has been considering getting a divorce with her husband. The last speaker, Elder Morales of the Seventy, stood up and said [I feel impressed that I should talk to those of you who are thinking of getting a divorce[.
It was totally quiet. He then began to talk of the importance of the family, how divorce was a last (very last) option. He talked of many different ways to strengthen your family and fix problems.
Unfortunately, with how many people that came I wasn´t sitting by her. But her friend that brought her told us it was very powerful for her.
THATS WHY I¨m a Mormon. God speaks directly, not just by words written a thousand years ago.
So in general, it was a pretty inspiring week. Miracles exist!
I love you guys. Thank you for all your prayers.
Monday, February 9, 2015
This week went by really fast.I got to go to the consejo de lideres de la mision. It was fantastic, I learned a lot. The interesting thing is that they didn´t talk about anything really new, but they showed me again how perfect this church (and its missionary program) is. God had everything planned out. If we follow his plan, things work out.