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.