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, June 20, 2016

"I Can Fix That!"

June 20, 2016

Monday for pday we had a sweet hike planned, but it started pouring just as we were getting ready to leave so we just went to  the church gym and played basketball and volleyball. In the evening when we started working again we were walking to the apartments and a guy pulls over off the road and asks if we can come give his wife a blessing, she was having a rough pregnancy, so we hopped in and went to his place for that. (Don't get in strangers cars, kids.)

Tuesday morn we had district meeting, elder Kremer and I gave trainings that went really well which is good because right as we were starting President Chambers walked in. It was a great meeting, we got trained by the district leader on something new (ish) called 4 minutes of restoration. Which was awesome. It was pretty much exactly what I was giving my training on since I love teaching the restoration simply to all those we meet. After the meeting we went to Elder and Sister Blocks house and made baptism programs for Angela and Andrea. Then that night we taught James, a less active we work with, N., who I baptized last transfer, A. and A., then C. and A. who are both investigating the church. It was a solid night. 

Wednesday we taught W., an excommunicated member who is working on being able to get re baptized. Great guy. Not much else happened till the baptism that night. It was such a killer service. So cool to be able to see their dad R. who had just received the priesthood a couple weeks before be able to baptize his two daughters after it being pushed off for too long. 

Thursday not a ton happened. We had lunch with one of our Ward mission leaders as usual, then later that afternoon we were knocking on some random doors in some apartments and a Spanish lady answers, and she speaks no English. Then her husband comes, and he too speaks no English. Before we could say anything they invited us in and had juice in our hands. As soon as we got in we could tell they were members, given all the temple pictures and pictures of their wedding at the temple. We talked to them a bit which was super fun. My Spanish is slowly improving with all the Hispanics we talk to haha. Maybe I'll get transferred to the Spanish assignment... We had dinner with a super nice family. When the mom asked Elder Kremer how long he had been out he said "two weeks" and she quickly said "oh I could tell you were green!" Haha. Poor kid... He puts himself in a lot of situations like that on accident. That night we taught A. and committed him to stop chewing tobacco. The lesson went really well. After that we had a training meeting with all the Ward mission leaders which went great. We even had the Ward mission leaders that quote "have been Ward mission leaders so long they don't need training" role playing and learning new things. Which is great, cuz they're the ones that need the most training ironically.

Friday was my dads bday. Happy birthday dad. We spent the morning doing weekly planning, then had lunch with the Blocks, then did call ins with the district leader. At about 4:30 while headed to the apartments we get a call from the sister missionaries saying they need us to unlock the baptism clothing and font for them. We don't have a key for that... But we rode our bikes allllll the way across our stake (don't worry it was like a mile) so we could do it. Lucky for them Elder Ray is a professional lock smith, and I was able to get it all opened up for them. Then we rode to dinner and ate with Frank Arnold, who apparently used to be BYUs head basketball coach or something like that. After dinner we road to the apartments and figured out one of our lessons got cancelled so we were just sitting on our bikes thinking of where to go when I look over and see a guy looking under his hood like something's wrong... And in a voice just like the black guy from the movie 'Holes' I say to my companion "I can fix that." So we ride over there and long story short I fix it. Then he invited us up to his apartment to wash up, and we get up there and ask him and his girlfriend if we can share a quick message. So we shared the video by Jeffery r holland entitled 'Always Remember Him' which powerfully focuses on the importance of the sacrament. By the end they were both in tears. We aske the, what it meant to them and they both said they hadn't been able to partake of the sacrament in a long time because of choices they had made. It was such an amazing spiritual visit. He-K.- said that for the past couple weeks he has been praying for someone to help him and his girlfriend get their lives back on track. He said he knew that we came because of that. I love more than anything being led by our father in heaven to those who need their prayers answered.

Saturday was a bit slow but another good day because we were able to be in the right place in the right time to meet new people that needed help. We were able to set up many good appointments.

Sunday A. and his wife, S., came to church! Booyah. We asked him how he was doing with not chewin tobacco and he said really well because right after we left Thursday his gums started hurting bad and he had to go to the ER. They found a nasty gum infection that's gonna make it a heck of a lot harder to chew. Tell me that's not a miracle from God?  No one else came to church tho which is always extremely disappointing. Still a great day nonetheless because we got to be there for the confirmations a bestowal of the gift of the Holy Ghost for A. and A.. That night we taught K. and K., who we had taught a month or so ago but never were able to get back in. He is a member she is not. Hopefully we can help them understand the joy that comes from knowing their family can be together forever!

Don't die of heat stroke down there in good ol AZ.

-Elder Ray

Elder Ray and Elder Kremer with R., at A. & A.'s baptisms

Seth and Elder Kremer with A. & A.

Elder Kremer trying to encourage Seth to do a backflip

Elders Ray & Kremer with "some of the local hobos"

Short Week, Hot Sauce

June 13, 2016

Well due to the short period of time between this preparation day and last pday, there's not a ton to say. On Wednesday night we taught a couple less actives, they ended up coming to church which is rewarding for us.  It's nice to know that our efforts don't always go to waste. Then we taught C. and B. Still workin on smoking... I wish C. would just stop. I know he could, then he could get baptized. 

Thursday not a whole lot happened. We went around the stake going by all the houses that have children over 8 who are not baptized, but not too many people answered. Friday after weekly planning we had lunch with the blocks, then continued to work on the list of unbaptized children. Then we had a really good lesson with A.  and S., we taught them about the plan of salvation which made a lot of sense to Adam because he couldn't see a loving God sending his children to either one heaven or hell. Saturday was great, we took C., B., and D. to temple square to try and solidify them to be sealed in the temple. B. and D. loved it, but C.surprised us. Even though he had talked to the bishop about getting the priesthood he still told all of us that he wasn't sure if he wanted it yet. And when we asked him why, the only reason was because he doesn't like giving up the time on Sunday to go to church. I hope he can just understand that a few hours a week isn't much to ask to receive eternity with your family. 

I enjoyed Saturday night very much. After dinner we went to A.'s house, a less active we are working with. Elder Kremer has had bad allergies going on all week and his nose has been completely stuffed. So get to A.'s and elder Kremer asks if he has any extremely hot spices or hot sauce he can eat to try and clear up his nose. Alan goes into the kitchen and comes out with some Ghost Pepper sauce. It's in this little eye dropper bottle, and Alan tells him to pull out the eye dropper and just touch it to his finger, then rub his finger on his tongue. So he does, and he dies. Just kidding, elder Kremer is still alive, but man it was funny. You would think he just drank a bottle of hot sauce... And you couldn't even see the sauce on his finger. That's how little he put on. So for about 5 minutes he sat there in agony, and it didn't do anything for his nose. So then in an attempt to get him to use more I tell him "maybe you should rub some on the roof of your mouth since it's closer to your nose." So he did. That was even funnier. But still,5 minutes later, nothin. Then I tell him he should put a little on his finger and rub it inside his nose. You would think at this point he would figure out I was just trying to make him miserable... But he didn't. So he stuck some in his nose and didn't stop crying for the next 10 minutes. Seriously though, constant tears streaming down his face. My cheeks were hurting dang bad at this point, then A. had an itch in his eye and starts rubbing it. Apparently he had a bit of sauce or something on his fingers just from handling the bottle, and now A. starts crying too. Me and A.'s wife can't stop laughing at this point. A. did say that his nose had cleared out from it though, and we almost got elder Kremer to put some I his eye but he backed 
out. Then I start talking again and say "well maybe you just need it to go down your throat a bit more." And so we have him put a few drops on a saltine cracker and he chomps that down. Nothin. Must have absorbed it and he didn't even feel it. So the last thing I told him to try was just trying to use the eye dropper to squirt some down his throat. So he fills up about the first 3/4" of the eye dropper and squirts it into the back of his throat. Bahaha. This kid is crazy. He literally couldn't talk his mouth hurt so bad. His face was redder than I've ever seen before. Bright cherry red. Fun stuff. 

Sunday we went to church and A. came! No one else did though which was too bad. We taught a less active Sunday night, that's about it. Now it's pday again. Gonna get hair cuts today.

Have a good week!

-Elder Ray

Elder Ray and Elder Kremer at the Oquirrh Mountain Temple

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Killer Salmon and Hospital Elders

June 8, 2016

Hey fam.
Monday was a cool day. We pretty much just hung out all day. We went bowling for a bit. After pday ended we didn't have any lessons but still found success setting up lessons and talking to people.

Tuesday we had district meeting. Our stakes high counselor over missionary work came just to watch how it goes, so he could get some ideas for our Ward mission leader trainings that will occur every other week. That night we taught C. and B., emphasizing the word of wisdom. They both have a strong desire to quit, it just seems that they lack faith in themselves. Then we taught A. and her family, who are super excited for A. and An's baptism on the 15th!

Wednesday not too much happened.

Thursday we taught a less active, J., who we are trying to help return to the temple. He's a great guy and it's been a blast teaching him, he just needs to get his dang butt to church. We had dinner that night with a super cool old couple. They used to be the mission president in some other country. They talked a ton. But man, I sure got a lot out of what they said. Something that stuck out to me was that every mission president has hospital elders, meaning elders that the mission president can trust to send any missionary that is struggling to be their companion and they will learn how to work and love it. I thought that was interesting... That night elder Kremer and I ran the Ward mission leader training almost exactly like a district meeting with role plays and everything. Of course only half the Ward mission leaders showed up, and of course they were the ones who needed the least amount of training, but it was a great meeting. Everyone had a blast and learned a ton.

Friday we had a great weekly planning session, then had lunch with elder and sister Block. They fed us some Killer Salmon. I ate probably an entire fishes worth. Then for dinner someone took us to village inn, who was having an all you can eat fish and chips night. I ate a lot of fish Friday. After dinner we taught a referral, M., and picked him up as a new investigator. Super nice guy with a thick Boston accent. He was raised Catholic and strongly believes in it but says he wants to learn more about the LDS religion. The only problem is that he believes a little to strongly in Catholicism, to the point that if anything we say contradicts what he believes, it must not be true. So we just need to get him to open up his heart a bit. That night in the apartments we saw B. headed to the pool with his fam, and we stopped to talk to him and noticed he had a fresh pack of cigs with him. Long story short he reluctantly gave those to us so we could soak them in milk for him.

Saturday, while headed up to teach C., his brother and sister in law were headed down stairs with their kid, and she -she's an inactive member, he's not a member-asked us what time church was cuz they wanted to go. We were stoked. So we told them, and then of course wouldn't miss an opportunity, we asked if we could come back that evening and share a message. So we did, and they are a great little family that seems super prepared to improve their lives. Her name is S. and his name is A.  A. accepted a baptismal date and S. was excited to come back to church. Something that we were worried about was that A. didn't look like he was doin too hot... He looked like he was gonna barf the whole time. So Sunday morning we got s text saying they weren't gonna make it cuz both A. and their kid were super sick. Dang.

Monday morning we had a new phone training, the mission switched to AT&T, and the rumors going around were that we were getting iPhones. So everyone was super excited at the meeting until they pull out basically the same phone we had before. Except it's worse cuz the software is garbage. We still haven't figured out how to use it. Ha. Right after the training we had a zone meeting. We had some good lessons Monday. We taught D. and B., who are doing so well! B. has just fit into the Ward perfectly and is loving it. We talked a lot about how we want them and C. to work towards getting sealed in the temple, and she told us that he went on his own to talk to the bishop about getting the priesthood so they could be sealed in a year. Made me so happy. Then we taught Sy. who also is doing stellar. Her family is so against the church, it's such a crappy situation for her to be in. But she is always making the best of it. We met and taught a small family that goes to the 7th day Adventist church. Literally the nicest people I've ever met. They talked a ton about grace, and how they believe that no matter what we do we are saved by grace. We are gonna bring them Brad Wilcox's talk 'his grace is sufficient'. (If you haven't read it, read it.)

Tuesday was another great day as usual, we had some juicy cheeseburgers with bacon overload for dinner, then taught N. (the Filipino lady we baptized). She is doin great as well. I am always happy to see those who get baptized recently doing so well. Then we taught A. and her fam again, it's been a blast teaching them cuz we have been doing it at their bishops house kind of like a family home evening. After that we went out with a Ward mission leader but sadly the lesson we had fell through, so we went by a referral the Spanish missionaries gave us earlier that day. They told us it was a black lady who was staying there only for a month or so, but when we showed up it was a little family that we have been trying to find for weeks. It's a mom from Guam and her son whose 14 and daughter whose 17. Originally we talked to the son on the street a few weeks ago who said he was pretty interested, but he wasn't there when we went by last night, just his mom and sister. So we taught them and the mom was captivated the whole time. The daughter was present physically but definitely not interested. We invited the mom to be baptized and she first said she already had been in her church but we taught her about the priesthood authority a bit more, the she accepted to be baptized July 2nd. He daughter accepted as well  but it was kinda just a 'sure whatever' answer so we're not too expecting of that. But the mom is awesome. We set up another appointment tonight and the mom said she would make sure her son would be there so we can pick him up and put him on date too. Super excited!

Hope all of your weeks were as good as mine was.

-Elder Ray

P.S. When elder Bednar came to our mission he said something I loved. He said he hated when to close a sacrament meeting with a prayer the person gets up and says "Heavenly Father, thanks for this day, etc, please bless all those who didn't make it that they can be here next week, etc, amen" he then said that he wishes that the prayer would be like this: "Heavenly Father, we are so sad that some of thy children weren't here. Please soften their hearts, because as soon as we close this prayer we are ALL going to each go find someone who didn't make it to Sacrament meeting and bring them to the other meetings. We know that according to the faith we have thou wilt grant us success, etc, amen" He talks a lot about how we CANNOT make people objects. And neither can God. He will respect their agency. We must be the ones to invite people. So maybe don't pray for the missionaries to be successful, but pray to be led by the spirit to find someone you can invite to meet with the missionaries. And then take the opportunity that you will be given :)

Elder Ray and  New Companion, Elder Kremer

Another New Companion

May 30, 2016

Monday we got transfer calls and just as I expected I stay in West Jordan. My new companion is elder Kremer, who was one of elder Fehoko's companions when we were in the same district in draper, so I'd been on some exchanges with him before. Monday I pretty much lounged around all day while elder Fehoko finished packing.

Tuesday elder Fehoko left for the mission office for his departing day in the mission office, and elder Kremer and I went to work. Wednesday elder Fehoko began the day and a half journey to the Kingdom of Tonga, and Tina and Phil--our landlords- left for Peru for two weeks. It was a killer day. Our new district leader is from Ecuador so understanding him is more of a chore but it's doable. That night we went out with a few wards on splits and had some really good lessons. When we got home elder Kremer was super pumped. He went off for a good amount of time on how stoked he is to work hard this transfer which is great, cuz he was struggling a bit last transfer. He's only got 4 months left so he needs to push till the end! 

Thursday we got up and mowed the lawn then went and had burgers with our Ward mission leader. Had some more good lessons. Friday after weekly planning we went out to work. Remember C.S.? He spent a few weeks detoxing and is now back and says he wants to get back into the gospel! So we picked him up as a new investigator again and put him on date for the 18th. He knows he's made progress cuz of the church, and so he came to church Sunday despite having a swollen tooth that looked like he had a golf ball in his mouth. No joke.  Saturday was awesome too. Tons of miracles. Sunday was great too, C. and S. didn't come to church tho. 

This week was super good, we picked up a few more investigators and have been seeing many blessings working hard. Hard work pays off, we are already looking like we will have at least two baptisms this transfer.

Happy summer everyone. Hope you're enjoying the heat.

-Elder Ray