Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Pictures at Twitchells - Dec '09

Definitely our favorite picture.
He had to have known this was being taken, but he isn't being goofy.
It has to be the picture in his hand - and we LOVE the idea of
looking at the Savior as He is put on the tree.

We never thought our son would be the tall one!

This is Elder Nelson - Elder DeGraw's companion.

Of course, there has to be a goofy face in the lot - this being our son.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


We received a letter from Elder DeGraw's mission president about sending mail, especially at Christmas time.

From now on, please use the following addresses:

USPS (Letters and packages)

Elder Curtis Ryan DeGraw
Washington Everett Mission
P.O. Box 13390
Mill Creek WA 98082

UPS or FedEx (Large boxes)

Elder Curtis Ryan DeGraw
Washington Everett Mission
16124 35th Ave SE
Mill Creek WA 98012


You might notice that the differences are simply the different zip codes and not including both the PO Box and street address together. The actual mailing addresses haven't changed.

If anyone sends Christmas mail, please mark "Christmas" on your cards and letters and packages. They would like all Christmas mail to arrive by Dec 20 to ensure the missionaries receive their cards and packages on time. I apologize for not posting this info earlier.

I'm sure Elder DeGraw would love to hear from any of you, not only during the holidays. Thanks for your friendship; I know he continues to appreciate the love and support.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Photo Proof that He Lives and Laughs

Elder DeGraw and Elder Nelson
with the Ferguson Family
Marysville 5th Ward

Yup, he still can't bring himself to pose seriously for a picture! lol

But he sure looks good, doesn't he?!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Belated Updates

We apologize to everyone for going so long between updates. We will try to do better in the future:

1) Elder DeGraw still is in Marysville. He has gone through four transfers now, but he still is serving there and loving it.

2) He is continuing to be exposed to different perspectives - and it is strengthening his testimony of the core principles of the Gospel. He mentioned in one letter talking with someone who told them that we were created because "God was lonely and wanted someone to love Him, so the purpose of life is to love God - so that we can love Him forever and not be sent to Hell." He also says that he hopes the "rapture" is a mis-translation of "raptor" - but that sense of humor probably is Papa's fault.

3) He shared with us the adventures of a P-Day where his companion got beaten at raquetball by their Ward Mission Leader (73 years old). The WML started each game to 15 points down 0-14, and Elder Mose didn't win any games. We are assuming our non-athletic son didn't even try to beat him.

4) In the Marysville 5th Ward, Elder DeGraw's area includes an Indian Reservation - and he loves working there. He is seeing a side of life that has not been there in his own life thus far, and it is neat to hear his love for others in very difficult situations. He is growing in ways that simply would not be possible without being on a mission.

5) He was able to go to the temple in Seattle and see the sealing of a family his companion had taught and baptized. In his own words, it "blew our minds". We are glad he had that opportunity to FEEL what it's like to be sealed eternally.

6) With such limited funds, he is learning to budget - which, for all of you who know our son, gladdens out hearts tremendously! lol

7) His letters are addressed to us (his biological family), but in each one he mentions those whom he loves and for whom he prays regularly. If you are reading this, chances are you are one of those people, but, Ashton, he asks us always to make sure you know he loves you - as we do.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I Am Part of the Fellowship of the Unashamed

He asked that we post the following quote here:

"I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed.
The die has been cast; I have stepped over the line.
The decision has been made. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ.
My past is redeemed; my present makes sense; my future is secure. [He loves you, Ashton!]

I am finished and done with low living, small planning, smooth knees and colorless dreams, tamed visions, worldly talking, cheap living and dwarfed goals.
I no longer need pre-eminence, positions, promotions or popularity.
I don't have to be right, first, recognized, praised or rewarded.
I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk with patience and labor with power.

I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, divided or delayed.
I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, pander at the pool of popularity or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I won't give up, shut up or let up until I have stayed up, stored up and paid up for the cause of Christ.

I must give until I drop, preach all that I know and work until He stops me.
When He returns for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me.

My Banner Is Clear!"
(Henry B. Eyring)

The Spirit Whispered This to Me

From 8/28/09:

"I love teaching (one of his investigators). Last time was so cool. He started crying and said that something I said came word-for-word from a poem he wrote in high school! Yeah, weird to know that I'm not the one speaking in moments like that."

Again, he sends his love and thoughts to everyone - especially one person in particular.

Catching Up: Info from Multiple Letters

From 7/20/09:

A question to consider - "What kind of man do you want me to be when I get home?"

From 7/27/09 - 8/10/09 (some of the difficulties of missionary work):

1) "(One of the people we have been teaching) was gonna get baptized Saturday, but she got evicted Friday morning from her place - so we have to re-find her." [Papa's commentary: Learning to deal with the consequences of others' bad choices can be painful - especially when you come to love someone and want so badly to help bless their life.]

2) He was humbled by a young man who has had an incredibly difficult life but for whom the Gospel just "clicked" as he heard it for the first time. Now Elder DeGraw just has to help convince him to marry the mother of their children.

3) Another woman who had been working toward baptism disappeared to get away from an abusive boyfriend.

On the bright side, he baptized someone for the first time as a missionary about a month ago - a really neat experience!

From 8/15/09:

He wrote of suddenly realizing how miserable it would be to live a life of trying to make others miserable. What a waste of energy and time. There are people who live FOR something and people who spend their lives living AGAINST something. He wants to live FOR goodness and joy and love.

In each letter, he asked us to make sure someone in particular knows he loves her. He really does.