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, 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. ❤️


-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.


-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,

-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.

-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!

-Elder Ray

Elder Hilsberg and Elder Ray

Elder Hilsberg and Elder Ray

Selfie of Elder Ray