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, August 29, 2016

"Zooey Mama!" Whatta Week.

August 29, 2016

"Zooey Mama!" Whatta Week.  The lord blessed us greatly.

Monday was a "Companionship Activity" which basically means we sleep, so that's what we did with our P-Day. That night we had dinner with a lady and her boyfriend and her inactive son, then went to a meeting with our High Counselor Over Missionary Work. 

Tuesday we had a great district meeting then had to go to the mission office to take care of some stuff, then after that we taught our investigator J . We had a great lesson in which we committed him to look at the next few Saturdays on a calendar and ask God which one he needs to get baptized on. Then we had dinner with a less active family who believe God has led them away from the church simply because they are happy not going to church. 

Wednesday was pretty great, we taught Erik in the morning, then taught C. and G. the last lesson. After that we were out sitting on our bikes when a lady drove up and rolled down her window and said "you should come over later tonight, my husband would probably wanna talk to you." She pointed where they lived, and drove off. Haha. Then we taught a couple less actives, then shared a message with a family that just moved in to a little town home. With 13 kids. Wowza. It was super fun though to see a strong family sharing their beliefs and testimonies with us. After that we gave a blessing to and shared a message with a lady who got baptized about a year ago that has been having some tough spiritual battles lately. Then we went to the apartment the lady pointed out to us and E. answered the door. Instantly elder Simmons was beaming cuz as he puts it E. was another 'Brutha'. We talked to him for a minute and he seemed interested, but was playing it off a bit, and then we heard his wife yell from upstairs "He's reading the Book of Mormon!" Haha. Sweet, we can deal with that! So we set up a lesson for Sunday. Whoop whoop! 

Thursday I had District Leader Training meeting, so I hopped in the front seat of our neighbor"s Supercharged Silverado and we raced to pick up another District Leader and headed to the meeting while elder Simmons worked with the other district leaders companion, who, coincidentally, became the second and only other African American missionary in the mission. So they had fun. The meeting was awesome, we focused a lot on baptism interviews. At the end of the meeting the mission president told us the meeting went a completely different direction than planned, there must be a ton of baptism interviews in store for us in the future. Rad. 

After the meeting C. and G. passed their baptism interviews, and after dinner we taught a less active family with a non member son. We picked him up as a new investigator, sadly he didn't accept a baptismal date but we can fix that:)  After that we got dropped off at the stake center where our bikes were and we went in side to use the bathroom, and as we walked past the relief society room we saw the entire stake presidency and all 11 bishoprics in a meeting and elder Simmons said "that looks like an important place to be." We got to the bathroom and a few seconds after we got in the stake president burst in and said "Elders when you're done in here come into the meeting." Sweet, so we went into the meeting and the Stake president pulled us up to the front and basically talked us way up to all the bishops. He asked us to share a few miracles we had seen lately so we shared a few, and all the bishops looked pumped. Then president Starks asked us what each Ward could be doing better to get the work moving and we explained how real time correlation needs to happen weekly and if the Ward mission leaders are not doing it, they are not helping us at all. Then president Starks asked the bishops if it would be helpful if we went around to them individually and told them how their Ward mission leaders could improve, and they all said yes. Which is great for us because there are a few that aren't working at all, now we have the OK to tell the bishops about it. It's always hard because we don't like telling bishops their wmls aren't magnifying their callings, but sometimes it's necessary. After the meeting we went out and taught a less active guy. 

Friday: Hump Day! It honestly does not feel like I've been out a year... Cmon guys I got into the MTC like three weeks ago! I'm honestly a little scared, everyone always says the second year flies by much faster than the first, but I can't imagine that given how fast the first year flew by. I have gained so much thus far from my mission... I cannot imagine how much I would be missing out on if I did not come. I have learned so many life lessons in this year that normally would take ten to learn. I hope any of you who are undecided on whether or not to serve a mission can recognize that the blessings that come from doing so far outweigh the sacrifices made. A mission is literally a tithe of your life and just as Malachi tells us, with this sacrifice the lord will "open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."

Saturday morning we went and started filling the Baptismal font and studied while it filled, then C. and G. got baptized at 10! It was a great baptismal service, and afterward we ate a ton of Springrolls and egg rolls sister Lim made from scratch. After the baptism we rushed to do some service for a couple that was moving in, they needed help moving stuff around inside the house. That took a little longer than we would have liked, so we didn't have time to eat lunch (good thing we loaded up after the baptism). While we were there we got a call from C. and G."s mom S. She is from China so her accent is hard enough to understand in person, let alone over the phone. From what we understood she told us that she had a friend who is not a member who came to the baptism, liked what she felt, and wants to join the church. And she will be at church Sunday. Sweet! Then We rushed to a lesson we had at 3 with E., which didn't happen cuz he was late cleaning up for one of his kids football games. But we were there for a reason, a family with an unbaptized daughter that we picked up and put on date two weeks ago came down stairs which was perfect, because the daughter, H., needs to come to church the next three weeks in a row to get baptized. We committed them to come to church and they said they'd be there! So that was great. After dinner we had a lesson with a less active couple, J. and E. Not too sure if that's his real name but that's what's on the records of the church so... E. We met them a couple weeks ago while they were pushing their one year old around in a stroller. Both are pretty rough lookin. I'm so bad at judging people based on their appearance. I mean... They are still rough people but pretty nice. Apparently E. spent about 15 years as a Professional Concert pianist until it destroyed his lower back and he had to get some vertebrae fused. Apparently when you jam crazy tunes on the piano all day every day for years it destroys your back. Nice couple anyways, and they said they were already planning on coming to church Sunday, which is cool. They definitely have a love for the gospel, just have some things holding them back from enjoying all the blessings. Sunday we went to church the first hour with Erik, then headed to C. and G.'s Confirmation. S.'s Non member friend W. was there and stayed for all three hours, and at the end of gospel principles (which elder Simmons and I taught) we went up to her and asked her if she wants to be baptized on September 24th. She said "Oh my birthdays on the 22nd" and then S. said "You should do it then! That'd be so cool to get reborn on your birthday!" So, now, W. is on date to get baptized on September 22nd! After church we taught H. and her dad T. H. loved church and what we taught, and seems super excited to get baptized in a couple weeks. After that lesson we Taught E. which went super well. He has a ton of questions and talks a lot... But has a genuine interest in the gospel and feels it's the most correct church. He is reading the Book of Mormon and loves what he's read so far. He accepted to be baptized October 1st! After dinner we taught Erik about baptisms for the dead and family history work, which he is stoked to do, and after that we taught a less active lady.

It's been a super busy week, the lord has sent us so many miracles! Sorry for the long email... There was just a ton of good stuff that happened this week. I hope you are all preparing to share your testimony in church Sunday! (Especially you, family. 😉) Have a good one, don't forget to read and pray every day!

-Elder Ray

C. & G.'s Baptism with Elder Ray and Elder Simmons


Elder Tahaafe and Elder Ray at District Training

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


August 22, 2016

Four more days till I hit that half way point. Wacky. This week was even better than last. As we have sought to work with all our heart, might, mind, and strength the Lord has blessed us greatly with Sheaves upon our backs.

Monday we had to take the car back to the mission office and the whole staff seemed to know my family since they came up last week and had to pick up a bike I needed to send home. So that was cool. Transfers went smooth considering we didn't have to go anywhere haha. That night we had dinner with C. and G. and their mom S., had some
authentic Chinese food! It was funny, the whole time S. was asking us if it was too hot... I couldn't notice it at all. Helps to grow up on Mexican food! Then we taught a lesson to a less active fam. 

Tuesday morning we helped elder Alfonso and Sandino with transfers to make sure they weren't ever left alone, they both got transferred out. Later in the day we met with the new zone leaders, then had Nielson's Frozen Custard for lunch. So good. That night we had dinner and a lesson with a less active family we've been teaching. Super good family, it's neat to see the gospel change them. Then we got a call from a guy who just moved in to the stake and he said "Elders, my friend J. wants to meet with you!" Whoop whoop! So we set up an appointment for Saturday morn. Later that night we taught E. again.

Wednesday we had district meeting, our district now consists of elder Simmons and I and one other companionship. Smallest district ever... It's pretty weird. We taught G. who seems to be doing good. Then we had E.'s baptism interview which he passed with flyin colors. As everyone does haha. 

Thursday we had a brief zone intro meeting then taught C. and G., they're lookin good to get baptized on the 27th! Friday not a ton happened, we gave E. a blessing cuz he got sick. 

Saturday rocked. We taught J. in the morning, it went great. He has met with missionaries before and been to church a bunch, he just has been hesitant about getting baptized. So, we had him pray right then and there and ask God if he needs to get baptized and he got his answer. If everything logistically works out, he will get baptized on Saturday! Such a cool miracle. Then we went and got things ready for E.'s baptism, it was a great turn out. A ton of people came to support him! After that we went to Nielson's with E. and got lunch.

Sunday E. got confirmed a member and received the Holy Ghost, elder Simmons performed the confirmation and did an awesome job. Then we spoke in 7th ward and then went to a little dinner party E.'s roommate's family threw for him. Then we had a meeting, and went to dinner. Haha. 

The ball is now Rollin almost too fast to keep up, but we love it!

-Elder Ray

Erik (center) with Seth and Elder Simmons

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Stayin' in Daybreak!

August 15, 2016

Alright. Ya know how last week I said this week would be a good week? It was. Monday started it off great, we went by a potentials house, the mom has started coming back to church, and she has two daughters, Charlotte is 10 and grace is 8. Neither of which are baptized, but we were able to teach them the first lesson and they accepted to get baptized! Saweet. Then we had a lesson with an inactive guy named T., who has been struggling and wants to come back.

Tuesday we had a killer district meeting. That night we split up and went out with some Ward mission leaders, I taught B., a big, hard-lookin body builder who has been coming back to church. I shared a little message about the importance of reading praying and coming to church (the three things most people struggle with), and at the end he teared up saying that was exactly what he needed and said he is having some scary heart problems. We were definitely there at a crucial time to support him. He was going in the next morning to get some tests done and he asked us for a blessing, so we were able to help with that. After that we swung by G., a potential we have been trying to get with for a while, and she let us in! She is 17 and has been going to church with her aunt for the past few months. She has also been participating in young women's and went to girls camp a couple weeks ago. At the end of the lesson we were teaching about the Book of Mormon and asked her what she thought about it (we knew she had a copy and had been reading it). She said that at girls camp her and her aunt walked off into the woods and she prayed and asked God if the Book of Mormon is true. She said she just instantly had an overwhelming feeling and knew the Book of Mormon is true and that the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the only true church. Wow. She easily accepted to get baptized. :) Then after that we taught a less active lady who we had challenged to read the Book of Mormon. She had a ton of good questions and has been learning a bunch, it's great!

The next day we taught G. again, then had a meeting with just the district leaders in the zone and the zone leaders to talk about some of the big changes coming up. Between this and next transfer we will be getting around 50 new missionaries, it'll be a big change. Then we had an early dinner and took E. to Temple square. We watched the new First a Vision Video and at the end he was just in awe, and at that point he said he could say Joseph Smith was a prophet and the church is true. Then we saw an exhibit focused on eternal families and committed him to work towards the temple, which he said he wants to do. He is awesome. 

Thursday was awesome too, we seemed to be led everywhere we went to be where the Lord needed us. We taught a less active couple that thought they were active and committed them to come to stake conference on Sunday. They said they'd be there but we didn't see them so who knows if they came... We will have to go follow up.

Friday we got out to work about 3:30 and worked till dinner, then after dinner we felt we needed to go to T.'s house, and there we met his wife and two kids. His son T. Jr. is 7 and his daughter H. is 10. We taught them, picked H. up as a new investigator, and she accepted to be baptized! Woop woop!

Saturday elder Simmons was sick for the whole morning but we got out to work around  noon and it was kinda a slow day compared to the rest of the week, but still great. We taught a couple less active lessons then helped someone move. We were just driving through some town homes and saw a moving truck and stopped to see what we could do. It was just one older guy, his wife, and an 11 year old son who wasn't much help. So he was grateful we stopped.

Sunday we had Stake conference, and E. came lookin' snazzy in one of the suits I gave him. It was perfect for him, the member of the quorum of the 70 who spoke focused a lot on forgiveness which he needed, given some of the crazy things he's done in his life. It was weird because stake conference was over by noon and we went out to work, whereas we usually have church till 4. We taught a young family right before dinner, the dad has no conviction to live the gospel and his family is starting to fall apart because of it, it's pretty sad. After dinner we taught E. My words can't describe how awesome and prepared he is to hear the gospel. Baptism's on Saturday! He is so ready.

This morning we had to take the car back, I guess someone else needed it more than my gimpy companion! That's alright tho, I've missed biking. Transfer calls came and elder Simmons and I both get to stay in Daybreak for another transfer! We are stoked, neither of us wanted to leave.

-Elder Ray

Seth with Erik and Elder Simmons at Temple Square
Seth's District
Seth's Zone

Monday, August 8, 2016

Bear Your Testimony

August 8, 2016

Wow. Time is flyin.
Monday was good.
Tuesday was good
Wednesday was good
Thursday was good
Friday was good
Saturday was different
Sunday was good.

Haha ok I'll give a bit more detail.

Monday night our high counselor over missionary work invited us and our investigator Erik over for dinner. After dinner we taught E. about the word of wisdom which he has struggled with for most of his life. He has been completely clean and sober for 3 months now which is awesome! We watched one of the churches '12 steps to change' videos, and he was in tears at the end and just said "that is my story."  It was way cool.

Tuesday we had a great zone training meeting focused on faith. The zone leaders had a former Mission president/Temple President come in and train us. So we left that meeting super pumped and picked up a new investigator. Haha

Wednesday we started exchanges. I went to elder Sandinos area with him and elder Alfonso came here to be with elder Simmons. Elder Sandino is from Nicaragua, it is way different to be with someone who hardly speaks English.

Thursday we ended exchanges... Not much else happened.

Friday was good. After weekly planning and having to do call ins with the district we finally forgot out to work at around 4, and we really wanted to be where the Lord needed us to be, so we prayed for guidance and were led to a less active family who has a son who has not been baptized, we were able to set up an appointment for tonight! Then we prayed again and had the thought to call a potential investigator, and we set up another appointment! It's awesome to follow the guidance of the Lord. After that we met with some ward leadership and found more potential. Whoop whoop.

Saturday... Ok. Woke up. Studied. Then left to go up the hill to a lesson. Just before we got there 
they called and had to reschedule, so we went back down the hill to a Ward party to meet some people. Then we rode back up the hill to see a high counselor, but saw someone moving in so we helped them for a couple hours. Man. That wiped us out. A house with a basement and a second story... Crazy. Then it's lunch time and we head down the hill. After a while I turn my head and look behind me to make sure elder Simmons is there, and he's not there. Ha. So I stop and wait... Still nothing. So... I ride back maybe half a mile go find him limping down the road. Apparently he was right behind me then his pant leg got caught in his frame so he reached down to unhook it, and then a gust of wind blew him into the curb and he went down, and the back end of the bike swung around and his leg went thru it and got mangled. The worst part about it is I was in front so I didn't get see it happen :( So... We wheeled him back home for lunch and figured we'd just let him rest during lunch. I ate and he slept. Then after the lunch hour I wake him up and he got outta bed, but when he tried to put weight on his leg he just collapsed. Haha so we took him to the hospital. X-rays showed no break... Just some gnarly bone bruising. So they gave him an ace bandage and some heavy duty Advil and we went to dinner. Then he took the pain pill which made his stomach hurt like crazy, so we went back home. Then President and Sister Lansing came and brought us a car (whoop whoop). By about 7:30 his stomach was doin better and he was
tired of sitting around so we went out and worked.

Sunday was awesome. First Sunday of the month is fast sunday, the meeting is open to people bearing their testimonies. As missionaries we bear our testimony in every single fast and testimony meeting, and we were sitting in sacrament meeting with E. and told him that, and told him he could bear his testimony if he wanted but didn't have to. He said he'd think about it. So the meeting goes on a bit and I signal to elder Simmons to come up and so we stand up and I walk up with elder Simmons hobbling behind me, and E. pauses, then gets up and follows! He bore such an awesome testimony! I just know that the Lord has Snatched him out of his old life into this new life so he can help others do the same. It was great because it gave the whole Ward a chance to notice him and now everyone loves him! After that we taught a youth sunday school class about temples and family history, then went home to change. Not much happened after that. We set up a few appointments. Should be a good week this week, we have a ton of lesson set up!

I feel like this transfer just started, and this is the last week! Transfer calls come a week from today! We will see where the wind takes me!

My challenge for each of you this week is to bear your testimony next fast Sunday. Just do it. Don't prepare anything to say, just stand up and be led by the spirit and I promise your words will be guided to help someone in need.

The church is true.

-Elder Ray

Elder Simmons and Elder Ray

Elder Simmons getting X-rays

This Work is Important

August 1, 2016

Hey! So how is life going for everybody, what's new? This week was good as usual, nothin really outta the ordinary happened. 

Monday after all the usual P-Day Shenanigans we had a lesson with a less active lady who cried almost the whole lesson just cause the spirit was so strong and she knew she needed to start coming back to church.

Tuesday we had District meeting, it went super good, I focused a lot on what we call 'four minutes of restoration' which was introduced to us as a mission just over a month ago. It is where we teach the first lesson in four minutes to everyone we can to help them feel the power of the restored gospel. I recommitted the district to share it with everyone we talk to and the results have been great. That night I went with a Ward missionary and taught the S. family. They are a super nice family who has never been active in the church so they have almost no gospel knowledge, but they have started coming back and want us to teach them. It's always nice to teach people who have sincere interest in applying the gospel to their lives.

Wednesday was a blast, a 17 year old from one of our wards came out with us all day. Manuel came over at 7:50 am to start studies with us, and he worked with us till 9 pm! It was really cool, he taught lessons with us and everything. I wish I had spent a day with the missionaries back home like that. Woulda been great!

Thursday was pretty good, first thing in the morning we had interviews with the Mission President. President Lansing is a great guy, he is so focused on Baptizing! We talked about some cool things. That night we taught a couple less active families, then saw our investigator E. at the park walking his dog. We asked how his reading and prayers have
been going and he told us that he finished what we assigned him to read so he started reading Joseph Smith's testimony at the front of the book and loves the story. He said when he reads about Joseph Smith he just feels like he is there and it is so real! Then he said that every night he prays with his ex wife over the phone (she is back in Oregon also taking the missionary lessons and planning on getting baptized in September). He is hoping to get back together with her and if anything can do it, the gospel of Jesus Christ can! It's funny because he says that when they talk she always says "how come you know so much more than me already?" She has been meeting with missionaries for a few months, and we've only been meeting with him for a couple weeks. (Sorry Oregon missionaries...) We also set up a time to go down to temple square with him on Wednesday which will be great for him, especially with the new video of Joseph Smith's first vision.

Friday... Nothin exciting happened

Saturday I got to go back to West Jordan for C.'s baptism! She was so awesome, just one of those people who were ready for the truth. Everything we taught her she just ate up and accepted. Elder Kremer got to perform the baptism which I was super happy about, even though it took him a few times. (She's a little bigger than he.) After that we taught E. and as always it went  great. Then we talked to the bishop of one of our wards and he asked how his Ward mission leader was doing... So we told him he wasn't exactly meeting all the expectations. We (and the stake) expect them to go out and do Real Time Correlation with us each week where we go out and make visits for about an hour and a half. This wml told us that he and the bishop are both in agreement that that is not what their Ward needs. Which is baloney because every ward needs to have visits regularly made to the members that are struggling, and the bishop told us that the Ward mission leader never talked to him about real time correlation, that he didn't even know what it was! Haha. Ha. Sometimes dealing with 11 different wards can be a challenge.

Sunday E. came to church again! I gave him two of the suits that Elder Fehoko left me. They're a bit big for me... Haha but they fit E. perfectly! So he came to church looking like a longtime Mormon! Sunday was a bit hectic, we split up and both went to different wards
to teach primary sharing time. But it was a good day! One great thing I am learning is that no matter what happens in a day, if we can look back and say we worked our hardest that day, we are happy. I know this work is important. My invitation to each of you this week is to repent. Repentance means change, and so find one thing that you can do differently, better, or just a new thing you can do to draw you closer to God. If you can make it a habit to regularly do that, the peace and strength you will receive will help you overcome the trials that we all face in this life.

Have a 💣diggitty week.

-Elder Ray

At Candy's Baptism