Full-time Missionary

Missionary in the Utah Salt Lake City South Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from August 2015 to August 2017

Thursday, December 24, 2015

CHRISTmas

December 21, 2015

This week warmed up after that last snow storm which was good, but now we're expected to get almost 2 feet over Christmas. Yay. The week started out with Elder Kim trying to eat an Avocado Like an apple... Apparently they don't have avocados in Korea...


But it's been a good week. It will be cool to actually have a white Christmas for once in my life as well. The members here are so great and way too generous to us this season. Wednesday we had exchanges again. This time I stayed in the area with the car and elder Fehoko from Tonga came with me. It was a super neat experience to learn from him, he has been out for 19 months so he's got a bit more experience than me. While with him alone we had a lot of success just talking to people we saw on the streets and giving out Books of Mormon. The exchange was super fun besides waking up to a hungry 300 pound Tongan eating my Reese's...


We shared a lot of Christmas messages this week. Both to less actives and non members. It's really cool to see how the spirit of Christmas really brings Christ into people's everyday lives more. I'm stoked to get to Skype home on Christmas. That'll be a wonderful present!


Have a great week everyone and Merry Christmas!

Elder Ray and his Companion, Elder Kim Enjoying Crepes with Members

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Fender Bending and Baptisms

December 14, 2015

This week was great. We spent a lot of time teaching a lot of less actives and non members. Thursday, our investigator J. got baptized. This week has been amazing with him. He feels the spirit so strong. Sunday he received the gift of the Holy Ghost and was ordained a priest. Today he is going to the temple to perform baptisms, and tomorrow he returns to China where the closest temple is 6 hours away in Hong Kong.

Saturday I got to go to the baptism of B. who I taught most of the way in my last area. That was a neat thing too. So this week has been pretty jam packed with events.

Our hot water heater has been out all week so we have been going to the other missionaries' house in our district to shower there. This morning we woke up to about a foot of snow covering our car. Fun. And we managed to get into a car crash. Everyone was totally ok, more of a fender bender really. We were going to turn left and a guy went around us, on our left... So he hit us. and now we are getting haircuts from a member!

Happy holidays erryone!

Love
-Elder Ray

Elder Ray and Elder Kim at J's Baptism

Elder Missionaries with J.

At B's Baptism

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

November 30, 2015
First week in Draper has been pretty great! It's so nice to have a  car... The down side is now I have to eat less because I am going to gain wait here for sure.

Saturday we had an all Mission conference. We were all super stoked for this meeting because Elder Bednar of the Quorum of the 12 was going to attend. But when we get there, Elder Renland of the 12 and two members of the quorum of the 70 were present as well. That makes 4 general authorities for one of the best meetings I have ever been to. It was amazing to be directly addressed by two of the 12 living apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Sunday was fast and testimony meeting. We sat with our Chinese investigator, J., who is going to be baptized on Thursday, 5 days before he returns home to China. After the bishop started the meeting with his testimony, J. was the first to get up and bear his testimony. The spirit was so strong as this man who had only learned about God a month ago. Poured out his soul in gratitude to the Lord. It was an amazing experience to see how strongly everyone was touched by the spirit. This man is going to be instrumental in bringing many to the truth about the gospel in his life. 

It made me remember the words of our prophet, "Regarding one’s testimony, remember, that which one willingly shares he keeps, while that which he selfishly keeps he loses. … Teach and Testify." The spirit witnesses to the testifier and the listener of the truth of all things. 

I hope everyone is doing well and I miss you all!

Love,
Elder Ray



The Draper Temple (Right Next to Seth's Stake Center)





Elder Ray and Elder ? (new companion) with Bishop Larsen



Monday, November 30, 2015

A Car for Christmas! (and a Transfer to Draper)

November 30, 2015

It feels good to no longer be a new missionary, I am finally done with training! This week has been really good. Our focus this week has been on prayer and making sure we are sincerely praying. I feel like everything we have been taught by our leaders has had need to be applied already. One of our investigators is progressing well but has the idea in his head that he wants to try a different church after he finishes the gospel principles class this year. We asked him if he is praying and asking for an answer and he said he is. Then we asked if he received an answer right now, if he would get baptized. He said he would still want to attend the other church first, which helped him understand that he may not be receiving an answer simply for that reason.

For thanksgiving we had lunch, and two dinners. We were pretty full by the end of the day but the thanksgiving spirit has brought so much joy to us and the members in this area.

Good news: I'm getting a car for Christmas!!! The trade off is I'm getting transferred to Draper which is kinda sad since we made such progress in this area. We had 3 people ready for baptism in December, and even more that were progressing quickly. But I know this is what the Lord wants for one reason or another, so I will make the best of it. Elder Hamilton is the new district leader in this area and he is also training again. Means the Lord was pleased with his work! He is gonna be fantastic.

Oh and what's this white stuff on the ground...?


Love
-Elder Ray

Snow in Utah
Thanksgiving Dinner with Elder Hamilton

Thanksgiving Morning Turkey Bowl






Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Are You Smarter than an Primary Child?

November 23, 2015

Well this week started out with one of our investigators (or his parents, I should say) dropping us. J. is 9 and is very interested and wants to get baptized, our only concern was that his 11 yr old brother was baptized and never went to church again because the parents are inactive. After our lesson Monday, the parents who were supportive of his decision to get baptized realized how big of a promise it is with God to get baptized. We hoped this meant they would want to return to church but instead they decided J. was not ready to make that promise because they would not be able to help him keep it. Hopefully he keeps the desire to be baptized so when his parents
let him he is ready.

On Wednesday we were biking by a house and realized it was the house of one of our ward clerks and we remembered we had something to drop off for him so we stopped. We knocked on the door and his wife
answered and before we really said anything she said 'he's in the garage' so we knocked on the garage door and out came a rough lookin guy with tats all up his neck. He said hi to us and asked us to come in like he was expecting us... So a little confused, we followed him into the house and down to the basement and took a seat and started talking to him to realize that he was an inactive man we had been trying to find for the past two weeks, who ended up being the clerk's son. We were able to set up an appointment with him and find out that he really wants to meet with us and change some stuff about his life. That truly was a blessing from the Lord to be led straight to him!

We were able to put B., our 11 yr old investigator on date for December twelfth. Her mom isn't active but is pretty supportive so we are confident everything Will work out great!  Now we have two solid investigators on date to be baptized within the next month, and plan on getting more!

We met so many people this week who are prepared by the Lord to receive this message. This stake is amazing. Transfers are next week, hopefully I stay! (Even though it'd be rad to get transferred to an area with a car for the winter...)

Stay warm AZ!


Love
-Elder Ray



Elder Hamilton and Elder Ray playing "Are You Smarter than a Primary Child" with the Tithing Hill Ward Primary

Monday, November 16, 2015

Snow, A 50s Impala, and an Investigator from Thailand

November 16, 2015

Snowing. Yay.

There's definitely been interesting things going on since the hand book change. Lots of people have a new anti tool to use, it is pretty sad. On Wednesday we had an all Mission tour where the whole mission met with Elder Wilson of the 70. It was an amazing meeting focusing on the importance of the Book of Mormon as the keystone of our religion.

We talked to some new people and got a lot of referrals from members. We still haven't had a chance to visit all of them, but I know good will come out of it. We OYMed a guy in his garage working on a 50s Impala, I hoped it would be a good 'in' but he was already a member. But.... He is a super cool guy who was also able to give us referrals. And, he daily drives his Lexus, which puts 1200Hp to the wheels. Stoked on getting a ride in that.

This week we picked up a new investigator from Thailand named P. She is a foreign exchange student living with a member family. We taught her God's Plan Friday, then took her to temple square Saturday to meet with the Thai missionaries.  She is very excited about the gospel and accepted the baptismal invitation and plans on being baptized December 5th!

Friday night one of our bishops called us and said his two adult speakers canceled for Sunday, so he asked us to speak for about 15 minutes. Then when we got to church Sunday the youth speaker never showed so we each spoke about 22 minutes... But it turned out pretty good.

Overall this week has been pretty killer for us. Our land lord is going through some rough health stuff which is hard. We gave him a priesthood blessing last night and he is doing better today. He's a good man.


Well till next time,

Love,
-Elder Ray






Elder Ray and Elder Hamilton at Church

Monday, November 9, 2015

Ten OYM's and a Famous Chameleon

November 9, 2015

Well this week is starting to get colder. I'm glad I bought some sweaters last pday because I've used them. It's been sprinkling a lot this week, even spat some snow at us for a bit. It makes riding a bike very, very cold. I'm prolly just being a baby being from Arizona though...

So every day we have a goal to get 10 OYMs (open your mouths) where we actually have a gospel related conversation-or get shut down trying. On Wednesday we had 9 OYM's going into our last appointment which was at 8:30. We got out at 8:55 and still were one OYM shy of our goal.Not too many people are walking around at 8:55 when it's raining...But I knew God would want us to reach the goal we set so I suggested we pray and ask for one more OYM for the night. As soon as we closed the prayer, a man pulled into his driveway behind us and got out, and we reached our goal. It was just one more confirmation that Heavenly Father wants us to succeed in all that we do.


Friday we went on exchanges and I went to our DL Elder Jaco's area. Friday night was one of the coldest this year, and I got to be in a car. Win. That was a pretty fun exchange. Elder Jaco is from Honduras so we talked about a lot of interesting stuff.

Yesterday Elder Hamilton and I talked in church. We were the only two speaking so we each spoke about 20 minutes. It turned out pretty good though. Last night we had a lesson with S. who has been investigating for two years. It's obvious that the missionaries that have been teaching him were teaching weirdly because there is so much he does not know. We are progressing fast with him and I feel we will have him baptized this month.

That's about it. Oh and we held a famous chameleon.


Elder Hamilton and Elder Ray with Youtube sensation, Pascal the chameleon.

Monday, November 2, 2015

A Pretty Chill Week in Riverton

November 2, 2015

It's been a pretty chill week. It seems like this week was filled with more anti-LDS people than usual. We met so many people that were 100% convinced that the church was wrong. We were told that we should not have to ask God to know the truth of anything, and were even told by a born again Christian that because of what we teach, we are going to burn forever in a lake of fire and brimstone... Scary stuff. When we get into situations like that I find pretty much the only thing we can do is smile and leave them with our testimony and hope they feel something.

It started to cool down this week. It rained all day Wednesday and Thursday, and despite his claims to be "protected" on a bike, elder Hamilton still managed to crash pretty good. Made me miss biking where
crashing is a regular occurrence... But I don't think he had the same thoughts, Ha. He's a great guy though and we get along pretty well which I am glad about.

Overall though, this week was very productive. We met a lot of people and met a bunch of potentials in the stake. Work is really picking up here. We have people that will be baptized this month and I am stoked to get them there.

Idk how much of conf you got to watch but you should re-read or re-watch the talk It’s Never Too Early and It’s Never Too Late By Elder Bradley D. Foster Of the Seventy. I love the story about Pablo. Makes me think about the tree analogy... When's the best time to plant a shade tree? 20 years ago. When's the second best time? Now. 

Hope all is going well back home, I definitely miss beautiful AZ Fall.

Love
-Elder Ray


Elder Ray enjoying FHE dessert with Riverton members




Monday, October 26, 2015

Whitewashing Riverton and a Rat Rod

October 26, 2015

Well I got transferred! It was pretty surprising cuz it's not often that someone gets moved on their second transfer in the mission... But it's inspiration that President Chambers received so it's meant to be. So now I am here in the Summer Hill Stake in Riverton with Elder Hamilton from North Carolina who was also randomly moved to this area. So, we are whitewashing and both knew nothing about the area when we got here. Haha - so we have spent a lot of time trying to meet people.

We have 6 people on date for baptism this month. We are just working on making sure they are all solid, because there is probably a reason we are whitewashing the area. Whatever it is, we just gotta work hard.

Elder Hamilton is great. Good missionary. Riverton is great. Not as high dollar as Sandy but still nice. Sunday was good, we had 3 investigators at church which was cool. Two 11 yr old twin girls and their 14 yr old brother, along with their dad whose returning to activity. So the work is good here!

This area definitely has a lot of potential. And, a Mexican place for food! Kinda like a Filibertos. Except... Gual-Bertos... Haha.

Overall not a whole lot happened this week... Just meeting loads of people and learning the area.

And a less active we talked to has a rat rod. (I have to keep up the car stuff just cuz.)

We are all so blessed. I can't imagine where I'd be without you and dad raising us in the gospel. Probably dead or something. But seriously... Eternal families are so awesome. Thanks. ❤️

Love

-Elder Ray


Elder Hamilton and Elder Ray
"Rat Rod"

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A Cool Trike Thing, David Archuleta, and a Transfer

October 19, 2015


This week was pretty good. Started off with a great Monday night, we had a lesson to teach L. H. some more recent convert stuff and since we have already taught it all she chose to learn more about the plan of salvation. Her mom sat in and got very into the lesson and really enjoyed it. We felt the need to extend the baptismal commitment to her, so we did. She thought about it for a little while and said she couldn't because she is too busy with school and a full time job to be able to go to church. But she happily agreed to another lesson tonight!

Tuesday we had an All-Mission conference which took up most of the day but was really cool. Elder Bisera from the 70 came and spoke, and so did David Archuletta. Well... He sang more than spoke but he spoke too haha. Then after that the Etheringtons took us to Arby's and to get subzero which was pretty neat.

The rest of the week was pretty much the same, we met a lot of people and got a lot of referrals. Sunday elder Hilsberg and I spoke in church on Sealing Power and Temple Blessings which of course we know a whole ton about being unmarried missionaries... Right? Haha but it turned out pretty good. We got lots of compliments on them but that's
probably just cuz the members here love us so much.

Last night we had a lesson with R. which went really well. We were able to set expectations for each other which is a big step, and she told us what is holding her back. Essentially, she does not want to become a hypocrite like many members she has met that have given her a bad experience about the church. We gave her some good reading material and the quote by someone important that said something like '100% of the gospel is true to the members, but not 100% of the members are true to the gospel.' I think some things clicked in her head, and we have a return appointment next Sunday.

As far as other contacts go – J.’s "Eye opening experience" during his fast was that we are blessed to have food, which is all he could think about as he was starving.... But in our last lesson we were able to finally help him make the connection that he needs to gain a testimony of the BOM to gain a testimony of everything else. 

T. is slowly progressing still. This time he finally understood why we believe baptism is so essential. He is getting closer! 

So things are picking up and going well. Tomorrow is transfers... And I have no idea how I feel about that. We should find out sometime tonight if anything is happening.
And I saw a cool trike thing.

Peace.


-Elder Ray

Elder Ray and the "Cool Trike Thing"

Last Day in Companionship with Elder Hilsberg:
Seth Transferred to Riverton, UT
"I guess we won't need these, now..."

Elder Ray at a dinner appointment in Riverton
with his brand-new companion, Elder Hamilton

Monday, October 12, 2015

Life's Rough Out Here

October 12, 2015

This week has been pretty normal. Monday night we taught a couple family night lessons to members then went by the H’s home trying to catch R (active non member) home but only caught her husband (less active member) home. Yeah kinda confusing.... Anyway we caught him in his garage building guns. Apparently he is a licensed gun manufacturer. He's got a lathe, CNC mill, and some other cool stuff in his garage that he uses to build entire guns with from start to finish. Super rad. We talked with him for a while about guns and eventually were able to turn the conversation into a somewhat spiritual message about the last days.

We did quite a bit of service for random people this week which I love doing. Wednesday we had a random exchange and I went to Elder Richardson’s area with him for the evening. We spent most of it asking members for referrals and met a lot of cool people. I am kind of glad I was there that evening because I was able to be there for another lesson with H. (who I committed to baptism last time I was there on exchanges).

J. keeps pushing off our meeting due to work so hopefully the one tonight happens. T. is progressing slowly, but still progressing. His doubts and concerns are becoming less and less of an issue and I can tell he is starting to recognize the spirit which is super exciting.

Thursday night we went to black bear diner... Friday our dinner canceled so a member brought us Costa Vida... Life's rough out here.

We met loads of people Saturday. We got the feeling we should just start knocking doors and in one circle we met like 3 less active families. In each family the moms were expressing interest in returning to church so we're gonna spend a lot of time with those families!

Yesterday was fast Sunday. All the sacrament meetings we attended were really good. A big focus of the stakes in this area has been keeping the Sabbath day holy and being reverent in sacrament, and we have seen a change. A few weeks ago I guess we promised to teach a young women's lesson and were reminded about 5 minutes before class... So we stumbled through that... Haha but it was fun. And last night we were blessed with the opportunity to finally catch R. H. home! We shared a message about general conference and she promised she would go back and watch some talks since she didn't get a chance to last weekend. And we set up a return appointment!

So it's been a cool week. It's been in the mid 70s all week which is super hot for this time of year I guess, but I love it.


Write me.
Till next week,

Love
-Elder Ray

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Bomb Week

October 5, 2015

So quite a bit has happened this week, it's been pretty busy. Which is good. Monday was pday... We had a district activity. We had it in the basement of a member in the pepperwood stake which are all multi-million dollar homes. So in the basement of the basement there was a full basketball court and a full volleyball court, One floor up in the
basement there was a weight room, air hockey, pool, ping pong, and a couple other things. That was rad. Then for dinner that night a family took us to a Japanese steak house where they cook right in front of you, I've never been to one of those so that was pretty neat.

Wednesday we had exchanges, this time I went to the other area with Elder Richardson's companion Elder Goins. They serve in the pepperwood area so everyone is filthy rich. We spent most of the time going around to members getting referrals, and got to meet some cool people. Apparently the Godfreys live in that neighborhood so I got to meet the Godfrey clan which is a cool thing. If you don't know who they are... Google "Godfrey and Nitro Circus".

Wednesday night we taught a lady and her kids who is staying with her parents while her husband is traveling for work. Her husband met with some missionaries off on his travels and got baptized so her and her family got interested and started looking into it. One of her sons who is about 12 got baptized a few weeks ago and we were able to teach the first lesson to the daughter who is 11 and we committed her to baptism. That was really a neat experience.

Thursday night back with Elder Hilsberg we taught T.  All of the lessons with him are very unorthodox... But in a good way. He is very knowledgeable about the Bible so in turn he has lots of questions about the Book of Mormon and what we believe but we are seeing him slowly progress in his faith. We teach him about one topic from a lesson each time we meet but we teach it very in depth and answer lots of his questions so I know when the time comes for him to be baptized he will have perfect faith.

Saturday morning we watched conference at a member's house and they made us a fantastic breakfast. Then for the afternoon session we got to go down town and watch it in the conference center! We took a dude who is returning to activity. Well.... More like he took us. We rode with him in his 395 hp turbo WRX running on ethanol. That's fun stuff.
It was really neat to be able to be at the session where we sustained 3 new apostles of the Lord which hasn't happened in 109 years.

Sunday we fasted all day for J. to receive an answer to his prayers. After being an investigator for 25 years he had never heard of fasting.... So he committed to fast for an answer. We were supposed to meet with him Sunday night and discuss but something came up and he had to cancel. But he texted us and said the experience was eye opening and that he really wanted to talk soon, so I am really stoked for that.

Sunday morning we watched conference with a new ward mission leader and his family who are all super cool. His wife made us breakfast... Which we didn't eat. Then Sunday afternoon we watched with a different ward mission leader, whose wife made us cookies and brownies... Which we took home and are eating right now.

Did anyone else get a little uneasy at the end of president Monson's talk...?

After conference we met with an interesting family. The mom and 2 of her kids are from Africa, but came here and married a guy named A. Jr.  A.'s a really good guy and had a kid-A. the 3rd- with his new wife who is going to be baptized soon. The mom and one of the sons are baptized and pretty active. The hold up with A. Jr is that he promised his Lutheran parents that when he moved to Utah he would never become a Mormon. He is going thru a hard time right now, his mother passed a way a few days ago, so we asked if we could give him a blessing for comfort and he agreed. He was in tears at the end of the blessing and I know that the spirit really touched him. I know that we will be able to help him realize that through the gospel he will be able to spend eternity with his mother again. I think he knows the church is true, we just need to help him realize that if he converts he will be blessed immensely.

So yeah. Busy week. The weather’s been pretty cool too.

Love
-Elder Ray







"The weather's been pretty cool too."


 

Bumping into Queen Creek Friends at the Conference Center
Elder Ray with Brother Derek Arnson


 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Better Alternatives from the Lord

September 28, 2015

This week has been pretty great. It seemed that nearly anything we planned fell through but the Lord always provided us with a better alternative. I think the best thing we are doing right now is letting the members know that hey, there are missionaries in Utah, and they need your help! 

On Wednesday we had zone conference. It was a solid 9 hour long meeting.... It wasn't bad like I thought it would be. It was awesome to hear so much directly from the mission president, his wife, and the AP's. The topic of the zone conf was kind of centered around faith and receiving miracles which is something me and Elder Hilsberg have been focusing on lately. We learned a lot of good stuff that is gonna help us out.

Later that day we had a lesson scheduled with a Japanese foreign exchange student named M. When we got there and started teaching we could tell it was going to be rough because we were having a hard time understanding each other. Not long after that though there was a knock on the door and in walked in C. A., a guy that got back from a Japanese mission a month ago. Apparently the stake president called him and told him he should come see M. With him there we were able to teach M. nearly all the discussions in one sitting because of the amount of questions he had. It all made such good sense to him too, even C. told us that he was the most golden Japanese investigator he had ever met. He was leaving for home in a few days but he committed to go to church in Japan and find the missionaries and I am sure he will! C. got his contact information so it will be cool to hear how he is doing. M. should be coming back in a few weeks so if I don't get transferred this transfer I will be able to meet with him again. Having C. there was definitely an answer to our prayers for a miracle.

On Thursday night we had two appointments set up at the same time so we were going to split up, Elder Hilsberg was going with recently released bishop Farrington to teach T. and I was going to go with recently re activated K. to J. But, both cancelled. So bishop Farrington went home and K. came with Elder Hilsberg and me to a struggling members house. When we got there K. seemed to connect with this member as if they've been friends their whole lives. We were able to talk to him and answer a lot of questions and ease concerns. So even though our plans fell through, we were able to do something that may have been more important. Even if it didn't do much for the struggling member it definitely increased K.’s testimony. He just got his temple recommend and is going through the temple in Kentucky to get his endowments. 

Lots of little things like that have been happening. Utah is super cool. It's been a bit warm still but I'm stoked for snow. The other day we met a nice lady in the ward and without even straying from the conversation she pulled a $20 out of her pocket and stuck it in my shirt pocket...... I guess that's a pretty common thing here. So it'll go into the general ward mission fund which is what we have been told to do by president Chambers. We got to be outside during most of last night’s eclipse. Some people were disappointed the world didn't end. Apparently a few people had survival trailers and equipment just for the occasion...

Well that's it for this week. Hope you all are enjoying life!

Love,
-Elder Ray

Elder Hilsberg and Elder Ray

Elder Hilsberg and Elder Ray

Selfie of Elder Ray

Monday, September 21, 2015

Asian Food, Rain, and Spiritual Gifts

September 21, 2015

Well another week down! Not a whole lot special went on this week. We spent a lot of time trying to get referrals. Every time we have dinner with a member family we teach the first lesson and commit them to pray and ask for missionary experiences. So far that's been going great, and the members in the stake are learning how much Elder Hilsberg and I love meat. Last night we had dinner with a lady who used to own a catering business. She made us Asian food. It was probably the best Asian food I've had in my life.

We have done one service project where we helped a short lady trim her trees. Might've already told you about that one. We have three investigators right now. One has been an investigator for 25 years.... We're gonna start getting pushy cuz I feel like he's only in it for the social. So we're gonna remove the social and make it only spiritual. Another is actually slowly progressing... And the other is barely paying attention. He's kinda only doing it for his wife but we're hoping to change that.

The weather has been really nice this week. It got cold with some rain mid week but it's cleared up and is beautiful now. Today we are gonna run to the mall and get sum winter clothes since I have none. Which isn't good.



I feel like this week God really wanted me to learn about spiritual gifts for some reason. We had multiple lessons on them on Sunday and multiple people bore their testimonies on them. We met a lady who has very unique spiritual gifts, and a member’s daughter that also has very unique gifts. It is really amazing to see the things God does through his children to help others. The spirit is there for all those who seek it, that's all we gotta do!

Love,
-Elder Ray

Seth on splits with Elder Richardson from Gilbert

Elder Ray and Elder Hilberg working in the rain

Monday, September 14, 2015

First Week in the Field

September 14, 2015

Well today is my first p-day out in the field. I got here Tuesday and spent most of Tuesday at the mission home going thru orientation stuff that is specific to each mission. We also got iPads. I can't imagine doing this without them... We pretty much do everything on them from personal study to teaching. We use the scriptures on the iPads, Preach My Gospel, church videos, email, everything. Which brings me to a very awesome thing: I can check my email whenever. Everyday. So that means you all need to email me at least once a day and send me pictures and update me on how life is going in the real world since Utah is so sheltered!  

Other than it being a bit sheltered, I love Utah. I'm currently serving in Sandy in the Sandy Granite South Stake almost right at the base of.... A big mountain. It's beautiful. The weathers been pretty dang hot though. Upper 80s all week. It's rough. ;) Next week it's supposed to drop to the 70s though which will be heaven. The mountain has already started to turn red.  Everyone keeps telling me that this is the most beautiful time of the year. It is true, but idk - I still prefer AZ sunsets. We live in the basement of an elderly couple in the stake and have a decently nice kitchen and two small fridges. I've been told it's one of the nicer places in the mission. 

Our days are pretty busy. We wake up at 6 and work out for about 45 minutes every morning, then after we shower there is an hour of personal study and an hour of comp study. It's a lot. But the more I do it the more I begin to love the opportunity to sit and study the word because it brings the spirit into your day so much. After that we have 2 hours till lunch so we go and start our day. There is a huge push for member missionary work in the area so a big part of what we do is asking members for referrals, then we go meet the referrals, and then follow up with the members. Currently we have two investigators and a couple recent converts we are teaching, two of which are a 14 year old girl and her 16 year old brother. It's really cool to see how much better the gospel has made their lives even though they have only been members for a couple months. Every night we have at least one dinner with a member. Tuesday night we had 3 dinners at 3 members' houses. So you could say I'm eating well. But I refuse to gain weight.... We ride quite a bit every day and the hills are decent enough that I think I am losing weight.   

My companion, Elder Hilsburg, is pretty cool which is a blessing because I'm not sure if I could handle a bad trainer.... He has been in this area for a while so he knows lots of people which helps a lot. We are over the entire stake of 8 wards which means there's lots of people to cover, which is another blessing because there's lots to do to keep us busy. 

Well I should stop now because I could go on forever. I've still got to do lots of shopping today as well as laundry. Oh and the senior missionaries in the area are taking me and Elder Hilsburg to Raising Canes. SCORE. 

Love 
-Elder Ray

Elder Ray with President and Sister Chambers on Day One 
Elder Ray with Training Companion, Elder Hilsburg
At a member's home
Biking in Sandy, Utah
Elder Ray and Elder Hilsburg




Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Last Day in the MTC

September 7, 2015

Honestly I do not have much to say about this week. I feel like I just got here. This week was such a blur... Almost every day was the same. Tomorrow morning  I leave for the field at 6:05 AM and couldn't be more ready. 

Don't get me wrong, I have absolutely LOVED my time here at the MTC, but two weeks is plenty and I'm ready to start doing the Lord's work. We have had class morning and afternoon every day just like last week, which once again I learned a lot from. It is such a weird feeling to sit in class for 3 hours at a time and not get tired of it because of the spirit you feel.

There is a little tradition for each departing missionary in our zone to get a priesthood blessing the night before they leave, and this morning Elder Webster from Gilbert left with his companion Elder Clark to Jackson Mississippi. Last night was their turn for blessings and Elder Clark asked me to give him one. Before last night I had anointed a decent amount of times but never had I given a blessing for comfort. I did my best to let the spirit speak but when I finished I felt like I didn't do very well. Elder Clark then got up and hugged me, then went around the circle and hugged all those who stood in. I started to walk back to my room but Elder Clark came back to me and grabbed my hand firmly and with tears in his eyes told me that those were the exact words that were in his patriarchal blessing. I can say that that was the most spiritual moment in my life, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to act as a mouthpiece of the Lord.

I hope that I can do my best to work hard and serve the Lord for the next two years and make them the best of my life.

Love you all,

-Elder Ray


I'll try and send some pics every now and then too. First pic is of Elder Webster and me, he went to Gilbert High.

2nd pic is my comp and me.

Elder Webster and Elder Ray

Elder Ravsten and Elder Ray

Elder Ray and Brother Carver, MTC Instructor

Seth with Gilbert, AZ Area Elders

MTC Zone

Elder Ray