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

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Taco Time!

August 21, 2017

Judging by all the emails from my family, I think my mission is coming to a close.

This last week was packed full of different events as usual. Exchanges, lots of teaching, lots of meetings...and so on and so forth.

Tuesday we took Elder Arbon to the airport so he could fly home to good ol AZ! 
This week we got to drive downtown to Salt Lake, and drive 3 levels below temple Square to the Church Headquarters Vehicle Division. Pretty cool place to be, especially when you get to pick up your new 2017 Tacoma. Bye bye Frontier!

N. and N. were on track to be married Friday until... he got himself locked up in jail. And now we have no idea where they are. Too bad. We were able to find a ton of new investigators this week, so the work goes on!

Thursday evening we got invited by President Lansing to go to one of their Lansing Building Products warehouses for an annual 'Corn Roast' party. It was awesome to see their business and the culture they have created.

Friday morning we had to correct some missionaries... my favorite! Ok... maybe Correcting isn't my favorite, but the results are. After that we met President Lansing at a church building in South Jordan where 4 of our missionaries are working with the missionary department implementing mobile proselyting. Our mission is the first proselyting mission to try it out. It is pretty amazing... the work of Salvation is definitely being hastened. The Church is going to quite extensive measures to ensure we are able to keep up with the hastening!

We had a great experience teaching a referral from one of our bishops, who was able to come to church on Sunday!

All in all a good week. I'm on to my last full week, gotta make the best of it! For those of you who want to see me at the airport, my plane lands at about 11:30 am at sky harbor a week from Wednesday (aug 30). Come say hi! 

       Love 
  Elder Ray

Elder Ray and Elder Kaka with former Elder Bouchillon

Going Fast during the Eclipse

With a cool car

Taco Time! (With the Mission's New Toyota Frontier)

Checking out the tires...

P-day "Shenanigans"

Seeing Elder Arbon off at the SLC Airport

Moroni 10:27

August 15, 2017

Hello!

This week went scary fast... I can't remember much of what went on...

N. & N. got their marriage license for this weekend, we are pretty excited for that. 
We went to a couple district meetings and met with some new Zone leaders who needed training. We had exchanges with Spanish and south Jordan Zone leaders, a new missionary training meeting, and our regular meeting with President Lansing. This week we were able to pick up a couple new investigators, too.

Saturday and Sunday was stake conference, our visiting authority was elder Kapishka of the 70. We were scheduled for a different 70, but... some stuff happened that you may or may not have heard about... and we got assigned a different one. Haha. The church is still true! Sometimes things happen that, if we aren't careful, can turn us away from truth. I love Moroni 10:27 where Moroni says "I exhort you to remember these things; for the time speedily cometh that ye shall know that I lie not, for ye shall see me at the bar of God; and the Lord God will say unto you: Did I not declare my words unto you, which were written by this man, like as one crying from the dead, yea, even as one speaking out of the dust?" Just as many oppose the Lord and His works, He never ceases to place messengers in our path—in living person or in the scriptures—to help us stay on the straight and narrow path that leads to Eternal Life. That's where we wanna go!

Have a good week. 

       Love 
  Elder Ray

Seth with the Junium Family

Seth, ex-missionary Colton Kelley, and Elder Kaka

Sandy Zone Activity


Cathy!

August 7, 2017

This week was pretty all over the place. We've been teaching N. and N. who we picked up a couple weeks ago. They aren't married, but it's been so awesome to see how they have received answers that they need to be married so they can be baptized. They've come to church every week for the past three weeks. We took the bishop to a lesson, and they met with him after church yesterday to start making plans to get married. I've never had a wedding on my mission so this will be fun!

On Tuesday we went to some Zone Meetings, and on Thursday we had a District Leader Training meeting for all the district leaders in the mission. We really just focused the whole meeting on how they can improve their image as leaders and be more inspiring and powerful so their missionaries want to follow them. Later that day we got a call from president Lansing. Our mission has begun a trial mission for some sort of call center thing the mission department is testing. So we chose 4 missionaries to be involved, and president Lansing wants them to become companions (2 separate companionships, still). 2 of them are Zone leaders and 1 is a district leader. So, President Lansing told us to make them companions. Which means we had to emergency transfer each of them—as well as a few other companionships—around the mission to make it work. So, in the middle of the transfer we had to do about 10 emergency transfers, including calling 2 New Zone Leaders and 3 new District Leaders. Hahaha. So that was pretty fun and crazy. But it all worked out fine.

Thursday night while on exchanges, elder Bottari and I got to go lift Cathy into bed with elders Rodriguez and Henley. If you haven't seen the "Lift"  Mormon message, go watch it. 
On Saturday Jada got baptized! It was awesome. Her family is less active but has been coming back to activity as she has gone through the process. Her father is not a member, we hope to start teaching him soon. After the baptism we took the T. family to temple square.

Sunday we had 6 investigators at church, N. and N., A. and her son J., and then A. and S.-two of the T. kids.

Life's great!

Love
-Elder Ray

At Jada's baptism

Elders Ray and Kaka with Jada

Elders Rodriguez, Bottari, and Ray with Cathy

Elder Rodriguez's close haircut

Elders Kaka and Ray

Elder Kaka

Seth and Elder Kaka 


"Hoping to Baptize like Crazy this Last Month"


July 31, 2017

Hello everyone!
This week was busy with Zone Conferences.

Tuesday and Wednesday we had Zone Conferences which tie elder Kaka and I up from about 8am to 4pm, then afterwards we were able to work.

Thursday we had exchanges with the Sandy Zone Leaders, I went with Elder Rodriguez who I was companions with back in feb/mar when I trained him to be a Zone Leader. I love going on exchanges with past companions and seeing how much they grow!

Friday we had accountability meetings with Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders.

Saturday we met with President as usual. At about 8:30 pm not much had happened but we got a call from a member who runs a bed n breakfast out of her antique home, she had a young couple move in the day before who said they were lds but haven't been baptized yet. We dropped everything we were doing and went over to teach Nate and Nicole, a great young couple from Texas who are starving for the word of god. They are now on date to be baptized in August. They went to church on their own last week, and came again yesterday.

Sunday was lots of church... a few of our investigators came which always rocks. This week we picked up 5 new investigators and put a few more on date, it was a great week. elder Kaka and I are hoping to baptize like crazy this last month! 


       Love 
  Elder Ray

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Tasty Salmon

July 24, 2017


This last week was crazy. 
Monday night we met President and Sister Lansing at Red Lobster for dinner, had some exquisite salmon, then we all headed to SLC international to pick up 3 new Elders flying in from the Mexico MTC. We grabbed them and their luggage and brought them back to the mission home, where they would spend the night before they came to the mission office for their first day.

At 12:00pm that night, I threw up. Every 20 minutes for the next 5 hours. I got to visit that salmon all night long. At 6:30 elder Kaka woke up, and I rolled out of bed cause I sure as heck wasn't sleeping. We got ready and went over to the train station and picked up 7 elders and 4 sisters who just got out of the Provo MTC, and took em all over to the mission office where orientation day begins. Sometime around 9:30 Sister Lansing found out what I was doing all night and ordered me to go rest, so I went to a members house and took a nap for a couple hours, then headed back to the office around 1:30 to finish out the day getting the new missionaries assigned to their trainers. We went to the mission home for dinner, then spent the night with all the departing missionaries, most of which I came out with, but they were Spanish speaking so they go home a transfer earlier because of the extra time they spent in the MTC. We were up till about 2am with all of them.

Wednesday morning breakfast was around 6, so we had to be ready for that, then we drove them all (14 ish missionaries)  to the airport to send em on their way. We had a new missionary training later that day, always fun to see the new missionaries. Deer in headlights, lol.

Thursday we taught a referral, J., and put her on date for August 5th. Solid.

Friday we picked up two more referrals who accepted baptism as well.

Saturday we met with President Lansing as usual... we met with some Zone leaders as well to train them on some things we will be training all the Zone leaders and Sister Training Leaders on.

Sunday was a normal day at church... 7am-4pm, then we worked all evening at met with a set of ZLs and STLs at 8:30.

Was a slam packed busy week, just the way I like it. If you haven't read the Book of Mormon in a while, or have never read it, do it. I promise it will bless your life as it has blessed mine. 

Till next week,

Love
-Elder Ray

Elder Tindall, Elder Ray, Elder Morris, and Elder Kaka

Elder Jensen and Elder Ray

Elder Froehlich and Elder Ray

Elder Ray, Elder Mestre, and Elder Kaka

Seth with most of the departing missionaries

P-day

      

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Uno Mas Transfero

July 17, 2017

This week... I don't even know what happened.

Tuesday at 4 pm we met a member of the missionary department proselyting division—Ben—for dinner at Texas Roadhouse. A couple members of the missionary department wanted to go out with us and some Zone leaders, so we all met at separate places for dinner to discuss the plan to proselyte from 6-9 with them. So we spent all evening with Ben and showed him how SLCS Missionaries do it. We worked him to death, taught 3 solid lessons and picked up 2 New investigators.

Wednesday we got together with President and Sister Lansing and 3 people from the Missionary Department to discuss how Tuesday evening went, and to plan a(nother) special Mission Leadership Council. We concluded that the topic best suited for our missions needs is planning. So, Thursday we had a special MLC run by the Missionary Department focused on how to make planning more effective. It was pretty solid! The Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders all loved it. 

Friday we had the last round of Sister Training Leader and Zone Leader Accountability meetings, Saturday we finalized transfers with President Lansing, and took care of stuff at the office. 

Sunday a bishop came up to us and introduced someone with an unbaptized child, so we now have a solid baptism coming up in August. We will pick up the daughter as an investigator on Wednesday. We were up pretty late last night getting everything ready for transfers, and this morning we sent out all the documents to the Zone Leaders. I will be spending my last 6 Weeks here in the Sandy West Stake! I realized today that Elder Kaka is my 2nd—out of 15 companion that I've kept for more than one transfer. I guess that's how you can tell if a missionary is trouble! The mission has been awesome thus far. Changes me daily. If you haven't been on one yet and still can, 'just do it.'

Love,
-Elder Ray

Elders Ray & Kaka with Ben, from the Missionary Department Proselyting Division

Happy Fourth!

July 10, 2017

Hello everyone!

One more busy week! So last Saturday in our weekly meeting with the Mission President, he was pretty fired up at how our mission is performing. We talked a ton about how a lot of missionaries are being lazy and not working as hard as they can, so we decided to hold a special MLC meeting on the 4th. So for 2 hours on Tuesday morning we held a meeting with all the Zone leaders and Sister training leaders. It was a pretty fiery meeting. Basically it was just us and the president grilling everyone, setting expectations that have been forgotten and lost over the past year. All in attendance recognized the need to step up and we're all on board. Later that evening, each of the zones presented the expectations to their missionaries in their Zone meetings. Wednesday to Thursday we did exchanges with the Draper Zone leaders, and Thursday to Friday we had exchanges with the South Jordan Zone Leaders. 
Friday afternoon was weird. We had a meeting for all the missionaries who begin their last transfer next week. The missionaries I go home with. Basically the purpose of the meeting is to be sure everyone sprints to the end. It was weird to be there, and even weirder to be the one in charge of the meeting and the training. I was training myself essentially. Everyone was laughing pretty good about that.

Saturday we met with President again and worked a lot on transfers. We got most everything done, and President told me what's happening with me for my last transfer. It's nice knowing what's happening!

Yesterday elder Kaka and I slammed the pavement and picked up a few new investigators and set up a ton of appointments. Life is good, the mission is the best. The church is true. 

       Love 
  Elder Ray


With the South Jordan Zone




God Speaks to Us

July 3, 2017

“This is the principle on which the government of heaven is conducted--by revelation adapted to the circumstances in which the children of the kingdom are placed” -Joseph Smith
It has been amazing throughout my mission to see how the lord has spoken to me. One of the greatest restored truths is that the Heavens are opened, that God speaks to us, and that he speaks to a living prophet. 

This was a great week, busy as usual. We had an MLC meeting, did a couple exchanges, and went to the Salt Lake temple with the departing missionaries. Crazy to think we're winding up another transfer. 

Here's a couple pics: 

These first two are missionaries who served in the mission a year ago and now live in our stake:

Departing Missionary Salt Lake Temple Trip

With ex-SLC South Missionaries



Seth's Video Email

June 26, 2017

Hola todos. I've decided to send a video instead of an written email. I'm lazy today.





At the Draper Temple

With Brother Manu

Setting Mission Records

June 19, 2017

Hola familia!

It's been a good week. Had a baptism on Monday, and just cranked out some finding. We found a bunch of new investigators and a ton of potential this week. We did service for a potential investigator who comes to church almost every week.

We've been working a lot on some big things for the mission. This week as a mission we picked up 121 new investigators. Our online records go back to the beginning 2015, the highest we ever hit before was 107. Setting records!

Have a good week. Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there. 

Love,
-Elder Ray

Elders Ray and Kaka attending a mission baptism

Working hard (?) at the mission office

Monday, June 12, 2017

Elder Bednar - Amazing Experience

June 12, 2017

Wow... time is a weird thing at this point in my mission. 

Tuesday was transfer day. Elder Morris, Elder Kaka, and I woke up and went to the Frontrunner train station at 7:45 am to wait for the new missionaries to come from the MTC. We placed a couple Pamphlets and BOMs while waiting, and put someone on date who we could refer to missionaries in his area. The office staff showed up shortly, as well as President and Sister Lansing with two elders they picked up from the airport the previous night who flew in from the Mexico MTC. At 8 sharp all the new missionaries showed up, and the Transfer Day madness began. A day of craziness. We spent the Night with the departing missionaries at President Lansing's home, and they shipped home early Wednesday morn. 

We spent a lot of this week getting ready for a fireside that was on Sunday where Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles would come train us for 3 hours. We wanted to take a Mission Photo with Elder and Sister Bednar, and so we needed a lot of risers to be able to fit 160 people into a picture in a church building. That was a ton of work, but we made it happen. During the course of the week we met with a few of the Zone leaders and Sister Training Leaders to set expectations for the transfer and answer any questions they had. It was just a crazy week in general. 

Sunday was the grand finale. We left right after our last sacrament meeting and grabbed a quick bite to eat at the apartment, then headed to South Jordan to get things ready. We got to the Building at about 3:30 and started positioning the risers on the stage and in front of it, with chairs where they needed to be so that when the time came, taking the picture would be efficient. We had 4 companionships of Zone Leaders show up at 3:45 to start ushering for missionaries when they started arriving, which happened pretty quick. The meeting starts at 5, we told the mission to be seated reverently by 4:30, so they all started showing up around 4:00. Haha. Everyone wants good seats to see the Apostle. We made sure that on the stand, every seat had a label on it of who was going to sit where, and each had a water bottle with an agenda. At 4:40, Elder Kaka and I went to the Stake High Council Room with the counselors to the mission president and waited for President and Sister Lansing to show up with Elder and Sister Bednar. About 5 minutes later they did. We all arose as Elder and Sister Bednar walked around and shook our hands. We met with them for about 10 minutes, talking about the needs of the mission, then he said "Lets Go To Work!" And we entered the Chapel. We all took our places on the stand. I was Conducting, and so I sat next to Elder Bednar, who was presiding, and right when we sat down he leaned over to me and said "let's get started." So we did. I got up and announced the agenda, then for 3 hours we were instructed by an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was an amazing experience, the spirit was so strong entire time. The Revelation I received was perfectly tailored to me. After the meeting, Elder Kaka and I were the first out of the congregation to shake his hand, then we ran back to the stage to direct everyone as they came back to take their place on the risers for the picture. It all went very smoothly. It was a ton of work, but it was worth it. President Lansing called us this morning and told us how impressed Elder Bednar was with it all. It was by far one of the most amazing experiences of my life. 
The church is true! Jesus Christ is Alive! He knows us perfectly. 

Love,
-Elder Ray

Elder and Sister Bednar with the Great Salt Lake City South Mission

With President and Sister Lansing

With the Departing Missionaries

With the Newly-arrived Missionaries

A new poster to put up in their church buildings






Nuevo CompaƱero

June 5, 2017

Ok... it's been quite a crazy last week of the transfer. 
Tuesday I woke up at about 3 am puking like a hose. Threw up about 5 times between 3am and 10am. So, I went and stayed at our newly released senior couples home all day long, and slept on their couch all day. Didn't throw up at all there, that was good... elder Morris found splits to do what we needed, he picked me up at 9 and brought me home.

Wednesday I wasn't feeling nauseous anymore, but was absolutely exhausted all day. We went to Sandy "All District Meeting" (all district meetings are the same as Zone meetings, long story short Zone meetings have been done away with in the world due to travel limitations, of which we don't have any, so elder Christensen of the presidency of the 70 said we can do "all district meetings.")

Thursday we went on exchanges with Elder Kaka and Elder Manarin, the Sandy Zone Leaders, and we ended early Friday.

Friday at Noon elder Morris and I met Elder Kelley-the departing elder-at the trax station and we headed downtown for the Departing Missionary Salt Lake Temple Trip. We got there about an hour early so we did some other things in the temple before we did a session with President and Sister Lansing and sister Tulip, who they drove downtown with. The Salt Lake Temple is AMAZING! The most beautiful building I have ever seen, inside and out. If you haven't been... you need to go. It was a great experience. After the Temple, president and sister Lansing took us to one of the nicest restaurants in salt lake, 'The Roof,' on top of the old Hotel Utah. Crazy. After we got home at about 8 we met with Ashley for her baptismal interview. She passed! She is awesome. Our district leader, Elder Henley, performed the baptismal interview. After the interview we told him and his companion that we would pick them up at 9:30 and take them to the mission home the next morning. That scared him a lot, because the new assistant gets brought to the mission office Saturday morning, so he thought it was going to be him.

Saturday morning we picked them up and took them to the mission home. We had elder Dutton—elder Henley's companion—call elders Kaka and Manarin to have them "come pick them up". We had elder Dutton tell them that elder Henley was going to be at the home all day and elder Dutton needed to get back to his area. Elder Kaka got to the mission home and knocked on the door, we said "thanks for picking up elder Dutton. We lied. Elder Kaka, come with us." And we pulled him in to be my new companion, to be AP2.  We spent all day Saturday finalizing transfers, then welcomed elder Kaka to the squad with some Texas longhorn steakhouse. We took elder Kaka back to his area just before 5, and after dinner elder Morris and I worked on some transfer stuff some more.

Sunday was church, and Sunday night Ashley was baptized! It was awesome. Then Sunday at 8:30 we picked up elder Kaka and all his stuff and moved him into our apartment. We worked till about 2:00am on transfer stuff, then got up at about 6 this morning and went to the office to finish transfers, and got everything sent out to the Zone Leaders. It's been crazy. But a blast. Life's good, the church is true. I am learning so much. "I'm proud to be a member of this great church!"-Legrand Richards

Love,
-Elder Ray

Ashley's Baptism

Departing Temple Trip


View from The Roof

Seth with Elders Morris and Kaka