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

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.'

-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. 

  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. 

-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. 

-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 Compañero

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

-Elder Ray

Ashley's Baptism

Departing Temple Trip

View from The Roof

Seth with Elders Morris and Kaka

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Holy Guacamolé . Crazy week.

May 27, 2017

Ho-Kay. I wrote like once this week.

Tuesday we went to a district meeting, it was amazing. Gonna make the kid a Zone Leader next transfer. Wednesday we had a new missionary training meeting, that was good, then Thursday we had Mission Leader Council all day. So good. Then we started exchanges with West Jordan Zone leaders. 

Thursday night we brought bishop to a lesson with Ashley, after the lesson she said "Bishop! My husband and I need to meet with you so we can get sealed in the temple!" Woah, she is solid. Baptism this Sunday! On exchanges in West Jordan I saw a couple of my converts! I had served in that area for three transfers so it was cool to be over there. 

Friday we had a meeting for the missionaries who go home in July, basically a meeting to be sure they sprint to the end. It was awesome, President and Sister Lansing did a Q&A sesh at the end. The meeting went from 1:30-4, then after they all left, elder Morris and I stayed for dinner with President and Sister Lansing, then met with President Lansing till 9 pm discussing transfers. Haha. It's gonna be insane... 

Saturday we had a lot to take care of at the office, and Sunday was church. We spoke in one of the wards about making and keeping sacred Covenants. It was awesome. It's always cool to prepare one thing and have the spirit guide you a totally different way to be able to minister to the one. Life's good. The church is true!

-Elder Ray

Elder Morris and Seth with an elder who served here and went home about a year ago

Zone Conferences, Zone Leader Exchanges, and Transfers

May 22, 2017

Buenos Lunes
One more busy week down, of which I remember very little. We are currently at the Mission Office, And I don't have my journal in front of me, so I'll try my best...

We had our last zone conference this week, with the Two biggest Zones in the mission, Sandy zone and Spanish zone. Zone conference is always crazy and fun. We did the same training as the other 2 Zone conferences, focused on the "Music of the Gospel". A lot of the training was pointed toward helping missionaries understand the importance of having effective studies. The night before each zone conference, we picked a missionary from one the zones that would be there the next day and took them 36 paper cups, with the instructions that they had to completely stack into a pyramid all the cups, and unstack them, all within one minute. We told them to practice and get Reallly good at it. Then, the next day, at the start of the training, we asked for one volunteer from each of the two zones. Hands go up, and we pick the missionary who had practiced the night before, and a missionary who did not. We brought them up to the front, and had them compete. It was pretty funny to see everyones reactions, considering that one missionary absolutely destroyed the other, and no one new why. It was a great example of the Importance of preparation.

We went on two exchanges this week, one was with the Riverton zone leaders, the other with the South Jordan zls. both went pretty well!

Saturday morning we always meet with the mission president to discuss the goings on in the mission. Before the meeting we had to take a couple beds to a new home for the spanish zone leaders, then we headed to President Lansing's home. Always a great meeting. These upcoming transfers will be pretty crazy. We lose 27 missionaries between now and the end of august, most of which have been high in mission leadership, so we are going to be hurting a bit. Crazy stuff.

But, All in All, Life is Good!

-Elder Ray

Elder Morris and Elder Ray

Seth with the Riverton Zone Leaders

Happy Mothers Day

May 15, 2017

First off, Happy Mothers Day to the best mom in the world! I am sorry for those of you whose moms aren't mine, cuz she's the best. 

This week was pretty crazy and just flew by... Tuesday and Wednesday from 9:30-3:00 we had Zone conferences, which meant we were at the office at 8 to get things ready, and didn't get out till 4:30. The meetings went really well, we centered it all around a new Mormon message that no one had seen. Last week we were praying about what to train on because it was 12am and we had nothing, then we opened up Mormon channel and saw this brand new Mormon message, and loved it. Now 2/3rds of the mission is quoting it and the other third has no clue what's going on cuz their zone conference is tomorrow.

Thursday from 9-1:30 we had district leader training, it went super well. Then we had exchanges with the Spanish Zone leaders, I went with Elder Garcia and Elder Morris went with Elder Bottari. We knocked on a door and met Chris, an inactive who said he was literally about to call the missionaries but couldn't find our number. He was going through a crazy tough time so we taught him a lesson and got his info to the YSA missionaries. It was awesome.

Friday we had ZL and STL meetings all afternoon...

Saturday was pretty all over. We went to an elders first baptism of his mission—he has been serving for 11 months. Tough. My first ZL companion was there, Thiago Rosette! Haha. He flew in last week from Brazil to go to LDSBC. we had lunch with some Zone leaders to talk about how they can better work with the Sister Training Leaders, then we worked on a new mission training plan. That night we had to get a spare tire from a companionship to take it to the Portuguese elders who blew two tires when they swiped a curb. Ha. 
Sunday was pretty chill, because of Mother's Day there weren't any extra meetings, then after dinner we got to Skype home! That was great. Crazy to think it was the last Skype call of the mission!

-Elder Ray

Elder Ray with Thiago Rossette, former companion

Elders Ray and Morris (APs) with the Zone Leaders

Late night tire change

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Lots of Meetings and a Baptism

May 8, 2017

Another crazy week. 

Monday we had a Zone activity, played some basketball and other sports. We found a family of 10, 4 of which need baptism, and we had to correct disobedience at like 10 pm. Fun.

Tuesday we went to district meeting, elder Bowen—the assistant I replaced—is trial running a new format for district meeting, so we evaluated that and gave suggestions. After that meeting we went to the mission home and had a meeting with all the new missionaries and their trainers. We conducted that meeting and gave a training.

Wednesday we had Mission leadership council all day long. It was a great meeting. We are in charge of pretty much all meetings we do.

Thursday we had a Zone Leadership Meeting in Draper that we went to, then later that day started exchanges with the Draper Zone leaders. I worked with elder Arbon, an elder that came out with me from Queen Creek AZ!

Friday morn we ended exchanges, then did some stuff at the office, then headed to President's House for STL and ZL accountability meetings which took the rest of the afternoon.

Saturday morning we met with President, and in the afternoon we went back to Oquirrh lake for Beckhem's baptism!

The mission is the best. The Spirit I feel as I testify is the greatest I've felt before, I know the Gospel of Christ is on the earth in its fullness!

  Elder Ray

Beckhem's Baptism


Busy Busy Busy!

May 1, 2017

Well this was quite a week to not have my journal. We are currently at the mission office and we've got a bit of time before our Zone activity.

So Monday night we were up pretty late finalizing things for transfers, and then Tuesday we had to be at the train station just before 8 to pick up the 5 new missionaries. That was total dejavu...  the front runner showed up right at 8 and we rushed them and their bags off the train and loaded it all up into the big mission van. The 4 elders hopped in there and took that over to the mission office, the one new sister went with Sister Lansing, and Elder Morris and I drove the truck and met them at the office, where we unloaded them and fed them a quick breakfast. 

Tuesday was probably the busiest day of my life.  We did a ton of stuff. Coordinated the interviews with the mission president and new missionaries, helped with lunch with the new and departing missionaries... we had a meeting with the trainers with the mission president and were in charge of that...  after that meeting we met with President Lansing alone and figured out which trainers would be with which new missionaries, then after that we gathered them all together for the last meeting at the office where we announced who was going to be with who, I got to conduct that which was fun. After all the new missionaries and their trainers departed, we cleaned up and then all headed over to the mission home in South Jordan for dinner with the whole mission presidency and office staff, the two departing missionaries, and us. We had a great dinner, then in the basement organized all the chairs into a circle and had a little devotional. President Lansing conducted and in this very intimate setting, all the staff and presidency gave the two departing missionaries advice for back home and bore their testimonies, then last of all the departing missionaries bore their testimonies.  It was a neat experience, pretty crazy to think it all ends soon. All of this ended at about 8:30. The office staff and presidency went home, and We cleaned everything up with the departing missionaries, and president basically said 'no curfew, just don't wake us up.'  Haha. What usually happens is you stay up all night talking. We all changed out of our dress clothes and into regular clothes and went up stairs for some treats, and President Lansing comes out of his office on the phone with a worried look on his face and pulls us into his office. A missionary in the Spanish zone was on splits with a Ward mission leader and his wife and they were driving to an appointment and got into a car wreck. They were all being ambulanced to the hospital in West Jordan. So, we ran back downstairs, got changed into dress clothes, and rushed to the ER. We got there at about 9:30, talked to the receptionist, and found out the ambulance had just arrived and that we could go back to the room in about 15 minutes, so we waited, hoping for the best, not knowing at all how he was doing. We got let into the room and ran back to see him. We were pretty worried because a few months ago he tore his ACL and had to go back to Mexico to get surgery, and he just got back to the mission a few weeks ago, then this happened. We heard over the phone that his knee got hurt, so that scared us. Turns out it was the other knee, along with his back and head that got hurt, but all is well, he is already out doing the work. We were with him in the hospital for a while, we took them back to their area and got back to President's house at about 2:00 am

Wednesday morning we woke up three hours later at 5:00 am to get the departing elders sent off home.  I don't remember a ton else of what happened, just that we had district meeting at 10. 

We were up doing stuff late almost every night this week, and during the day before dinner we spent meeting with Zone leaders and Sister Training Leaders to talk about the new transfer. One evening we had a lesson with a potential investigator named A.. It was such a great lesson! We get in there and she basically says 'I want to get baptized because I love the church but I just wanna learn more first.' So we pray and instantly open up to Doctrine and Covenants 20:37 and talk about the qualifications for baptism and how the lord doesn't require us to know anything, just to feel and be willing to do things. She then said that she had never heard the gospel explained that way, that her past churches always told her she needed to KNOW things, not feel things. She accepted to be baptized on May 20th, and she also came to church this Sunday!

Friday we met with our mls missionaries. We only cover 3 wards in the Sandy West stake, Elders Henley and Dutton cover the other wards, so they were there too. Elder Henley turned 25 today, so they got cake. 

Saturday morning we spent from about 10:00 to 1:00 at President Lansing's home meeting with him—the assistants meet with him every Saturday—talking about upcoming meetings such as Zone conference, Mission Leader Council, District Leader Training, etc. he shared a lot of good notes he took from this week, most of which he spent downtown at a Mission Presidents Seminar with other mission Presidents and a bunch of General Authorities.  Good stuff. 

All in all a crazy but good week. 
Don't have too much fun in the AZ heat!
  Elder Ray

Working in the Mission Office

Visiting an Elder injured in a car accident

Elder Henley's Birthday

"In His strength I can do all things"

April 24, 2017

Well this has been a pretty crazy week. Last week before transfers usually is... and I honestly can't remember a ton of what happened, nor do I have time to write about it all. So I'll sum up the fun stuff. A few weeks ago one of the missionaries in our Zone had an idea to make a Facebook page for South Jordan missionaries to kinda help the image, since there have been some missionaries in the past who hurt it a bit. So he sent us a detailed email with a plan so we could run it by the AP's and president. Elder Rodriguez and I thought it wasn't a bad idea but with the amount of work necessary it wasn't worth it. Elder Bowen and Morris-the assistants-thought the same. So that was that. 

Saturday morning (two days ago) at about 9:15 the APs called us and said "hey, we ran the Facebook idea by President Lansing and he loved it! He has a friend who is in the social media business and we want President and his friend to meet with you and us at President's house. Can you meet us at his house at 10?" So we're like "sweet, yeah" and we got ready and headed to President Lansing's home. We get there and knock, the APs answer the door and elder Bowen says "hey, you elders ready to talk about Facebook?"  And we say yeah and then elder Morris says "we lied elders. Elder Rodriguez, your split is in the truck, you will be working with them today. Elder Ray, come with us." They pulled me into the mission home and shut the door behind us. I spent the next hour interviewing with President Lansing, then talking with them and President. We all worked on transfers until about 1, then we got longhorn steakhouse for lunch, and the AP's took me back to elder Rodriguez. They told me they'd meet me and my stuff at their house Sunday night at 8:45pm. So I found a member with a truck, packed up, and met them at their house Sunday night at 8:45. I unloaded all my stuff in their apartment, then we rushed to the mission office to do all the mission's weekly numbers, and finish transfers. We got home about 2am

Elder Bowen has been an assistant for 3 transfers which is the normal term for an assistant. I'm taking his spot. 

This is a humbling opportunity given by the lord, and I am honored. There are many more Zone leaders who are qualified to become Assistants, but for some reason the Lord has provided me with the opportunity. "I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things"

-Elder Ray

Last Photo with Elder Rodriguez
Elders Ray and Rodriguez with Stake High Councilman over Missionary Work