Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I Love Baptisms!! - April 29, 2013

Dear Mom,
This week I remembered what that great feeling was again. That feeling that really makes you feel accomplished and happy to be a missionary. Not the feeling of mail from home or letters from girls (though I love mail, especially from you guys :), I don't know what it’s like for the latter one.) I'm talking about Baptizing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yeah we had a baptism this month and I'm so freckin happy right now. Everything went well and the man is now in God's hands. He is a 19 year old boy named Emmanuel. He is crazy about the church and is always talking about wanting to serve a mission now. Hopefully that one day will happen. I'd send some pictures right now, but the internet is moving really slow at the moment.
  Also next month isn't looking too bad either. We have been finding and teaching for a good month now and have some really good people we are teaching we might even have some baptisms in two weeks, which would only be even better. A few young kids and then two older girls or the ones I'm talking about.
  The ward is doing better. Finally called a ward mission leader, so the work there so start picking up. A few members have also been happy to help has in everything from referrals to Free meals. Bro Larbie has done both for us and is probably one of my favorite members I've met on a mission. Doesn't matter what we are doing he is always willing to help out the missionaries.
  This week in Ghana: Not too much out of the ordinary doing the first part of the week. Went on splits with Elder Smith for Baptism interviews on Thursday. But then Friday we got hit by a massive storm. Big enough it kept us inside for the day or at least the morning. We ran around in it( me, Bay, and Smith) then showered with the rain as well. Later in the evening it cleared up and we were able to go into Accra for a big Choir show. We had to take an investigator as part of the deal. It was at the Ghana National Theater and the performers were the BYU-I choir with a few local choirs. I was able to see Elder Probst for the first time since I left him. It was really nice. Then Elder Hurley showed up and there was much rejoicing. Me, Him, and Bay sat by each other to watch the show. As for the show it was really good. Though Hurley and I were disappointed the choir didn't sing Toto's Africa....maybe that would have been too perfect. Saturday was another normal day except I went a little crazy for coke and drank 4 of them. I'm not sure what overcame me but I did it and might do it again some time, though I really have only been drinking water and a Fanta every now and then. Early today we had light off and we decided to have a water balloon fight. Elder Smith had a ton of them sent from his Mom so we filled them up and enjoyed. We now have city water once more so we are a little more free with the water usage.
  So that has been the little on my week in Ghana. Things were a lot better this week then they have been in a long time. Thank you for the Prayers and the package :) That sure helped brighten my day. Though where did the ties come from? I do like them both and the one is a Donald Trump one, which is cool- if you guys ever run upon some more cool ones I'm always in need.
Anyway I love and appreciate all the support from home I get. Thanks.
 Love from your happy son,
Elder Steven Taylor Ray
PS I showed Bro Larbie Facebook so he could see Utah and my family. He is way cool and I'll talk more on him next week, but for now you can accept the request, but hold on the suggestions.
If you guys could make me a Skype account, that would help a lot. Just tell me what the name is and password when you make it.
I'll try to call you for a little bit on Sunday, but then Monday will be the day we all go into Accra for the Skype. They have a really nice internet cafe there. I might call you first then when you get my number I'll hang up and you can then call me back and we'll talk for a longer time. That's what Smith told me to do. I'll probably call around the 3 or 4 for my time. Would that work?
Ok I have to run, I just heard some people need my help with dinner. So I'll talk to you next week.
I love you bye!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Working hard - April 22, 2013


First of all I heard about the Texas Explosion and the bombing at Boston. We can pick up the VOA on the radio if you position ourselves just right. Me, Elder Bay and Elder Smith have enjoyed doing that. It sounds terrible and I guess they will find out more about it as they talk to the suspect. I am happy to hear that they were able to catch him. On the radio I heard some really great stories( a few sad) about people helping others doing the chaos.
  Anyway, as for the mission: The elderly man we were working with has postponed his baptism, because right now he likes his church, but wants us to continue to come and read the Book of Mormon with him. So hopefully we will get him in the end or at least he will get himself. I will though if all goes right this week have two baptisms, which I really didn't think I'd get any again this month. One is a really sweet girl who was referred to us by the 1st counselor in the ward( Bro Larbie is his name and is one of the coolest guys I've met on a mission.) The other person is a young boy I met while finding and if he continues like he is now by this time next year he'll be on a mission. I hope so anyway. Then we are just working on a few kids for next month and then start looking towards the month of June. Something tells me I might be here in Kasoa until August. If things start improving, that won't be a problem though.
  This week has been another extremely hot week in Ghana and I even turned red a few days (but never bad).  Today though we have had some cloud roll in, but I don't think they'll produce much rain of any sort. Everyone that I ask tells me the rains will come in either May, June, July, or August. Actually that is the only month people agree on is August so I might be waiting for quite some time until I get some good rain.
  My companion is doing pretty good, his is still learning Ghana the hard way, but is the best way. The ward is starting to help a little bit more but not much. The only real good support we get is in Fm( free meals) and Bro Larbie. He is about 45 years old. He lives at the far end of our working area and really enjoys us coming over. He lost his wife about a year ago to cancer and is now raising the sweetest little girls. I really like this man and he is helping me out a ton. We have moved to biking more now that way we can cover more ground from appointment to appointment which is a good thing.
   So that is how the work is looking right now, if anything life in Kasoa is getting better, but is still far from great. Though I can definitely feel the influence from my family back home and I thank you guys for that. Also I’m so happy for my friends out here in the mission field; Elder Probst, Elder Hurley, Elder Smith and of course Elder Bay.  Anyway love you guys and thanks for the prayers( I need them) and I'll talk to you next week.
Elder Steven T Ray
P.S. That is way cool about the Ghanian singer. I tell you it can be hard to understand them and just as hard for them to understand you. Was he LDS cause I might have met him before which would be even stranger!
 And did you guys get a hold of Nathan Wayman....tell him to email me please. Thanks.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Walking and walking - April 15, 2013

Dear Mom,

It has been a long, long week here in Kasoa! I have walked well over 8 miles every day just finding people to teach. Like I have said before, my area is massive! You can fit entire zones inside my area alone! That is just how big my Kasoa 2 area is and there are 7 other area in the Kasoa zone, just to kinda give you an idea of the size we are working in. But all that finding has been paying off. Last week I'd have been very doubtful if you'd asked me about any baptisms for April. Now I can say I have found a few for not only this month but the next one after! With that I also have people to go see during the week and we have only touched 8 miles into our area. The future is starting to look pretty good, but still not easy.
  Elder M. is doing better this week then last. He getting use to the food( which is always one of the hardest things to get over.) Though he doesn't seem too bothered by the heat- I'm not sure how because at least for me that was one of the hardest things and still at times is a hard thing to cope with. He has gotten sick a few times which is not surprising at all because everyone gets sick, even the older missionaries do.....Well not everyone gets sick, because I still have been just fine( I say this as I'm knocking on wood) I have not even touched any of my Medicine, except to give to other Elders. I really feel blessed in health out here because I have watched so many kids around me get sick and it does not look fun at all.
  We actually ended up dropping the Orphanage this past week. They just lived to far away and we were paying for them to come every week which we are not supposed to be doing. The lady was serious at first but has since shown us she isn't ready to give up her old life. We will still go and teach every now and then but they have been officially dropped. It was sad though because I'd hoped for the best with them. We have since gotten some really awesome investigators who love the church. This older man we are teaching has even mentioned how he can get me some gold and even my own gold mine here in Ghana :D haha  First I think I'll just work on baptizing him.
  Beside all the walking there hasn't been much out of the unusual going on. Elder B’s mom sent him a package with items so we could hold an Easter Egg hunt at the Apartment. It was a really fun morning and we got a ton of candy! She is a super awesome lady. Also I found an old run down hotel way off the beaten path and the funny thing was its name is The Canadian Lodge. I really wonder how many Canadians have stayed there, but they had the maple leaf flag above the door so I think I'll do a little contacting there later this week. :)
   So I'll continue trekking all over Ghana, because there are people to be found and baptized, plus it can make me feel like an explorer traveling though some land no white man has been before and meeting the natives haha I'm tired but for the most part I'm doing just fine.
  So Thank you so much and I can't wait to read more of those talks from Conference and one day I might even be able to watch it! But for now I'll just take what I've got and say I love you.
  Your Son,
*Elder Steven T. Ray*

Please tell Grandma Ray I have received both her letters and I'm just waiting for a chance to send one back to her...and Grandma Russell. Also if you can find a way please tell Nathan Wayman the same thing. I have a letter for him I just need them to pick up my mail! Maybe just tell him to email me since now that its totally fine to do.

We will have the chance to Skype home and so we need to setup a time for when you would like to do that, I'm assuming you would like to do that right? :)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Work to do - April 8, 2013

Dear Mom,

So I'm now a father! In a mission sense I am hahaha. My Companion is Elder M. he is from Pennsylvania. He is a pretty darn spiritual kid. I'm beginning to feel what Elder P. went through with worry about training. Elder P. is really excited I'm training and so are a lot of my friends out here. We are not going to have an easy time here though. The area has been neglected  and now I'm basically starting from scratch out here - lots of finding and knocking around. The ward doesn't help us a lot, but we'll change that!
    Transfers also brought a lot of changes to the Kasoa apartment. Elder S.(Elder B.’s companion) went to Office Elder. Elder O. is gone,but then I was extremely depressed when Elder H. was transferred. Me and him really became close and things sure are different without him. I'll probably not see him again. Luckily his replacement is Elder S. from Wyoming. Me and him already knew each other back at the first of my mission. I'm really happy he has come, though he goes home in August, which will be depressing. And then Elder B. stayed and you can't beat that. His new companion is going home this transfer.
  That is way cool they talked about West Africa in Conference! It will be some time until we get to watch it out here. Salt lake has to make copies of the sessions then send them to the Area Offices where they make copies for all the wards and branches. Then we will watch it with them at the chapel. You'll probably be able to send me the Ensign edition before I can even watch it. haha Elder Uchtdorf knows just how it feels to be a missionary hear in Ghana now or at least the light off part haha.
 Oh and those cream crackers are nasty, we did this lady get them? Tell Grandma I got her package and I loved it! it was just what I needed that day.
  I'll try to get some pictures to you today, its just difficult! But Elder B. showed me the message you sent his mom hahaha. She wrote you back as well, but don't worry I'll get you some pictures! And what is my mission blog site? Elder S. wants to know so his mom can see all the missionaries in this area, maybe you can get a hold of her.
 Thanks again for everything, I'm sorry I haven't been writing the best, but I'm trying.... the same is with the pictures.
But as always I hope everyone knows that I love them and appreciate the love they show me. I might have a few white hairs at the end of this, but it will all be worthwhile.
So love from your son,
  Elder Steven T. Ray

P.s I'd Love old church magazines! I think that is a really good Idea. also when you send the next package I need more drink mix, I have run out. Oh and yes I did pull a little personal money last Monday.

P.P.S The name of the volunteer place is Ghanamakeadifference.org  Maybe if you can get a hold of the family who runs it you can mention me and they might know me! Check my Hotmail email, I think they may have sent pictures of me working at the orphanage.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Training! - April 2, 2013

Dear Mom,

Yesterday was Easter Monday and I guess that just happens to be the biggest thing ever in Ghana. It’s the day everyone rest from their labors and work, take a nice trip to the beach with friends and hold massive parties all through the night. Not exactly remembering the resurrection of our Christ. We didn't get this message and just avoided getting caught in the crowds and party goers. The only problem was that all the cafes were closed and then that night light went off- not a surprise for Ghana.
  Anyway last Monday I never got a call so all day Tuesday it was on the back of my mind, mostly just cause Elder H. kept mentioning it and how the ZL's had talked to me. So Tuesday Elder O and I went to the orphanage and taught some lessons there - then when we were finished we filled their water tanks and headed for home. But turned out I didn't get the call that night, needless to say I was bummed.
   Wednesday I went on splits with Elder H.( surprise, Surprise) and we went to a different orphanage, one that is in his area and owned by members from Idaho. Their son is 18 and volunteers there and we go help him out every now and then. This week the whole family was in Ghana so we went by to say hi and soon found ourselves in with them helping build shelves and benches for the place. It was really, really fun and we spent most of the day working there. On the way home we were walking when we got a call from President Judd! He had called looking for me and gave me the new assignment of being a senior companion and a trainer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 I was so excited and of course I was extremely nervous. I mean I'm still pretty young on a mission (being 4 months the day he called) so I felt a little hesitant about taking it, but now I'm so very very happy and tomorrow is the big day. I leave Kasoa earlier(5:45) that way I can be in Accra by 9:00 then we will get our trainees or “sons" as they call them. Even Elder P. didn’t believe me when I called him haha! It’s going to be way cool. I might get the kid from Richfield or if the Gunnison kid is in this MTC I might get him( that would be Interesting huh?) Well the computer is failing so I'll hurry and send this. Thanks for everything and when I go into the mission home tomorrow I'll look for the package...if it’s there.
Love you
    your son
   Elder Ray :)
 Thankfully Elder Bay uploads pictures to his parents and I can get a few of Taylor - Baptism for Zoe and Jonathan