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

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!

-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. 

-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

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Six Days Into the MTC...

September 1, 2015

Well, Its been 6 Days here at the MTC and So far I love it. There is no better feeling than being able to feel the spirit from the second you wake up till the second I go to sleep. First Impressions about the MTC... Do not eat the eggs or drink the OJ and you'll be fine. In all honesty the food here isn't as good as I was told but then again preparing three meals a day for thousands of young adults doesn't sound too easy, so I'm grateful for what I get. At least the chocolate milk is good.

Every morning begins with District study before breakfast. Usually our district leader Elder Cunningham has someone give a spiritual thought, after which we go into discussion about what we've been learning. Being able to hear the testimonies of 8 other missionaries every morning is such an amazing way to start the day. 

After breakfast we have three hours of class, followed by lunch, then three more hours of class.
By the end of classes I'm getting pretty tired but the Holy Ghost tends to keep me interested. It seems that every time we teach an investigator I come up with a new question about how to teach, and then it is instantly answered the next day in class.

Last night We got to sit down and watch a lesson by David Bednar on the Character of Christ, given a few years ago on Christmas in the MTC. I must say that it completely changed my outlook of my mission. As Christ was being taken to be crucified, Peter cut off the ear of the man taking him to his death. Even with all the bad that man was doing to Christ, Christ Healed him. As Christ was dying on the cross, under immense pain, He was giving his apostles instructions to care for his mother. He was asking God to forgive the men that put him there, for they know not what they do. I know that throughout not only the remainder of my mission but for the remainder of my existence that if I can follow the example of Christ and always 'Turn my efforts outward towards others' I will find unimaginable joy and happiness while bringing others the same.

I have one more week before I take the long, rough journey to the Salt Lake City South mission, and while I can't wait to get out into the field I will definitely miss the MTC.

Love you all!

-Elder Ray
Elder Ravsten and Elder Ray, MTC Companions

MTC District

Elder Igleski and his Companion with Elder Ray & Elder Ravsten

Elder Woodard and Elder Ray at the MTC