Thursday, December 26, 2013

Pictures! - December 26, 2013

There was no email from Elder Ray on Monday - he said he was super busy on Monday and Tuesday delivering as many packages to missionaries that came in - they wanted to make sure that if a package came that the missionary got it before Christmas.
We got to talk to him on Christmas day and he sounded fantastic!! He is happy to be in Ghana and to be serving in the office for the next 6 months - he is having fun driving for the first time in over a year :)
Here are some pictures he sent as well:
Elder Asay (left) and Elder Ray (right) walking on only 1 of 2 railroad tracks in all of Ghana

The Office Elders vehicle - it is named "Goose"

LtoR: Elder Ray, Elder Mason, Elder Asay (before he left for home), Pres Hill, Elder A., Elder Christensen

Christmas morning with his gifts from home :)

Alago District, Christmas morning, after their Secret Santa party!

Transfers - December 16, 2013

This email will be very short because we are super busy today, but let explain why....
    Tuesday was a normal day, went out teaching and had coordination (which fell through) with the ward. We got home and I jumped in the shower right away and no sooner was I about to turn on the water there came a knock at the door saying President Hill was calling. After a small greeting he jumped right to it and asked me if I would serve as an Office Elder for him! I jumped for joy and told him yes, he wanted me to come in the next morning, but I needed some time to pack and say goodbye (not too many people after 4 weeks.) So Wednesday I packed and said goodbye to a few people.
     Thursday- I got picked up by the AP's and went to my Christmas Conference and started as the new OE. I was brought in early so I could be with the old OE, Elder Asay who is going home on Tuesday - and learn a bit about what we do in the office. My companion is Elder Mason, from Arizona and one transfer behind me - we already were friends so this should be good. 
      Luckily I had my International License so I was able to start driving immediately and I don't think I did too badly for someone who hasn't driven in over a year. All mission vehicles are clutch, so they were happy to hear I knew how to work one. The roads and traffic are crazy here, the training has mostly been learning to drive around Ghanaians.
     Tomorrow the departing missionaries are flying out so we are about to run around and pick them up. They will stay with us for the night and in the morrow will prep them for departure and eat one last meal together before we ship to the airport or bus station. Then Wednesday we have transfers for everyone else to worry about. 
    In the office I’m on a computer a lot so I'll write more later when I get time, but for now I have to go pick some missionaries up in my new ride (the OE's and Ap's are the only missionaries with a vehicle too) Also I handle the mail and I was able to pick up my box today at the area office.
      I'm ready for the next 6 months here and happy to be working with President (and a car!!!) So don't worry about me I'm very happy. Goodbye and I'll talk to you soon.
          Elder Steven T Ray 

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Hamattan! - December 9, 2013

So it has come, the hot winds from the Sahara have attacked Ghana and totally changed the weather here. The skies are filled with a haze that is created from all the sand that is kicked up from the desert and makes its way to the ocean. Everything now has a light orange tint to it. At night there are some way cool electrical storms above the city caused by all this sand, makes a pretty nice show.
   My eyes have really taken a beating because of all that before mentioned. Since mid-week they have been puffy, red and the tear ducts get that nasty crap in them you sometimes see in the morning. I have never had allergies before, here or at home, but after everyone in my ward, including a senior couple (the Packs from Alpine here on a service mission) told me to get checked out I think I will. I going to try and find some anti-allergy eye drops tomorrow.
  Other then that eye problem the work continues onward. We have 5 baptisms lined up for the next few weeks and looks like we will have two next Sunday. One is a woman in her 50's and is a former Jehovah witness; yeah it keeps the lessons lively. She is a very sweet woman and has really come to enjoy the church a lot.
  This week is pretty crazy too. Wednesday we have Zone training and it’s sounding like it’s going to be a big one, not “fire and brimstone”, but setting things straight. Then Thursday my zone and a couple others are having a Christmas Conference. We will be fed and entertained, plus we are all receiving a gift! yeah haha Not sure what to expect since I missed last years while in the MTC. Then on Saturday we will be getting transfer news, yes it’s a week and 3 days early, but this is to avoid the chaos of having it on Christmas day. We will be getting a new AP and Office Elders (maybe two) so everyone is pretty excited to see what will happen.
   I'm happy to hear you guys are getting some nice snow storms and that it’s shutting down all the interstates, Utah weather never fails to impress or surprise. Maybe I'm not missing out on anything haha Just remember it is the exact opposite you can get over here in Ghana right now. That's the week in the Ghana Accra West mission for you, just trying to hang in there and spread the kingdom of God the best we can. Until next time.....
    Much love,
      Elder Steven T Ray

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Half way there, Waaaaaaaaah Livn' on a prayer!!!!‏-Dec 2, 2013


The title says it all! What a strange feeling has come over me to think it’s been a year. Only a year? It’s only been a year! Sometimes it seems like just the other day and then it seems like 20 yrs! Really quite a mix of emotions, but first.....
   Most of the week we spent contacting, finding, and hitting the trails scouting for new investigators. I dropped a lot of the people we had been working with to see maybe if our absence made them see the light.
In the search we talked to rich, poor, tall, short, Chinese and Canadian. The Chinese folks (probably gold miners, legal or not) did ask for a return appointment so we will try them later this week. The funny thing with my area is we have some of the richest areas I have seen in Ghana and thee dirtiest slums as well. We also have a large portion with is the Korle Bu Hospital (supposedly the largest in west Africa.)
   Thursday- To celebrate turkey day we hit the local market to buy items for Philly cheese steaks. There we also found potatoes, so we made a big mess of Philly cheese steaks, diced potatoes, sausage, and mango juice. It was really good and we were unable to finish all and after staying up far too late we ate the left overs for breakfast.
    Saturday- Did some few teachings in the morning and came to meet with everyone else for a big open house in our zone. It was a nice change up added into the week from the normal rounds and teachings. Also the mail wagon made an appearance and I was able to pick up my supplies and packages. When we got home I opened them but the one when opened stunk really bad. Turns out the can of Turkey Spam had ruptured and soured in there. Everything else was fine and the camera made it just fine, loved looking at the pictures left on it. Can I say the flask tie is the coolest thing I have ever seen, it might just get worn out being used to much. I also loved the funny Mormon ads in there.
  When Everyone else got home we ate a huge tub of fan-ice( the local ice cream) with bananas and cookies. 8 hungry missionaries took care of it all pretty fast though.
   Sunday- The main investigators we are teaching showed up to church and also brought their friends. One guy we dropped called and said he was looking for the chapel so we went and I grabbed him making 5 (investigators) to sacrament. It was a beautiful way to close the week or so we thought. One elder’s family sent a massive box full of food for us all, so that night we feasted again. We were able to enjoy two Thanksgiving dinners that week.
   Well through all the times and events of the past year I'm still around and taking Ghana one day at a time. The work continues though no matter the time left and we are rolling with, just one day at a time. Thank you so so much for the wonderful gifts, the supportive prayers, and sustaining wishes. Until next time, adieu.
       With much love,
                Elder Ray

Monday, November 25, 2013

So Great a Cause - Nov 25, 2013

I started the week off by just finding new people to teach or otherwise I just white washed everything because all the people we were left with were not serious or 'ready for the gospel." 
   Tuesday I had my first district meeting with the new group here in the LAterbokoshie District. The Zone leaders had to leave to another district but I still had 6 others to have some fun running around in the scriptures with. Taught mostly on our work as missionaries to work hard and continuously. Using one of my favorite scriptures, D&C 128:15 "Shall we not go on in so great a cause?"
  During most of the week we were working near Brother D's house. He is a cool recent convert who really helps us, really the only ward member who helps us out. The rest of the ward is really nice on Sunday and then they all go  into hiding until the next Sunday.
   A few of our new investigators include a former Jehovah witness and her daughter, they are pretty cool. though they will keep you on your toes with random scriptures that really mean nothing to the lesson. For the most part we haven't had any success in finding and tracking though we will keep on doing it this week until I have knocked every door, shouted down every alley, and spoke to every shack.
  Thursday and Friday I went on splits to do interviews for the different members of my district and got to see how their areas are in rough shape too. Kanashie Zone is in the heart of Accra and has always had a rough time baptizing and growing. It opened my eyes to see that not everywhere is flowing with milk and honey like Kasoa was or even Labadi - my first area. 
  Sunday just before I left for church the 1st counselor called and asked if I'd speak in Sacrament meeting for only 20 minutes, "yeah sure buddy, are sure you only want it for 20 minutes?" Well I spoke on missionary work and used a lot from my farewell talk, like the part about the Redwood trees supporting each other. The ward members loved that part and after wards a lot stayed to congratulate me. One my even brought us his 11yr old daughter who needs to be baptized, I told him I could help him with that. :)
   This place as well as a mission are so very wearying on the body and mind. As I remembered to going on in this cause of the Lord's I remembered a quote by President Spencer W Kimball "My life is like a shoe, worn out by service." As it is so for us missionaries and members to work unceasingly for as there is no rest for the wicked, the saints most continue work steadfastly and ever so diligently. That is exactly what I plan on doing here now and for the next year to come.
  Your faithful son,
     Elder Steven T Ray

Grey and Black pants.
any herbal health books I could give to Larbie( he is looking forward to those.)
2 bottles of Sweet baby Ray's BBQ sauce or the the jack daniels kind.
more Uno bars
"The Unknown God" by Mark E Petersen

I did take out the money on those dates and I got a package a few weeks ago with some cowtails and Uno bars in it, I haven't seen the OE's for awhile so they may have my other packages.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

You Don't Know What You Have Til It's Gone - Nov 18, 2013Love

Yes after a near 10 month run Elder Ray has left Ashtown and Kasoa completely. Saying goodbye to those people was the hardest thing I have done since I said goodbye to everyone back home. I couldn't even say goodbye to everyone either, there just wasn't enough time and too many people. So much happened in Kasoa and I grew so much there. 
  Saying goodbye to the O family Bro L and girls, the D family and the Ob family nearly killed me.  I spent the entire day trying to run around to as many members and investigators as I could and in the end I was able to see most of them off on Tuesday.
  So I was called to Korle Bu 1 as the new district leader here. It’s in more of the heart of Accra and my area is right along the ocean. The people here speak Ga' as well as Twi' so it’s a lot like my first area in Labodie were I was trained (not too far from here actually.)
   Wednesday morning me and Thomas (who was also leaving Kasoa) went to see Sis Helen for one last meal and say goodbye. After that we went back to the house and got a taxi for Accra and met at a chapel in Tesano Accra. My new companion is Elder Masaku from Kenya. He has been out for 6 weeks so I'm finishing his training. I'm still trying to connect with him, but there is a lot of work to be done. 
  My apartment has 8 missionaries in it total: 4 for our ward and 4 for the other. The zone leaders are also in my apartment, one is Elder Pearson, from Montana, so we have a lot to talk about. Other elders are from Nigeria, Utah, Nevada, and one S. African. The building we are in is a huge double story place called the Mission frat house. :)
  I found out this area is rough and the missionaries before really burnt this place. They did nothing and the ward has kinda withdrawn from the missionaries. Well hey that was how Kasoa was when I first arrived so here I go again.
  One bright note was when I told Bro L I was coming here, he was sad of course, but also really happy because he comes here nearly every week to visit his family. He really wants me to teach them because he is the only member from this family and he has already told them I was coming. Sunday while out in the area where he told me they stayed I came across Bro L just eating some fufu under a tree. We both exploded with joy and he quickly got us some food and introduced me to everyone. So there is my first family to start teaching here!
    Well it has been a very hard week and I have really felt so down coming to such a hard area and leaving behind that lovely Zion-like place called Kasoa. I do my best to keep my head up and continue moving the Lord's work on. As our dear President J Rueben Clarke taught "Its not where you serve, but how you serve." and that is what I attend on doing. 
   With love,
        Elder Ray

LOVE this picture of Elder Ray (far right) and the missionaries heading out.

Elder Ray (in the middle) - this is at the Ashtown Open House that was held in October