Friday, June 28, 2013

Ween-O-Rama - June 28, 2013

Elder Bay organized a "Ween-O-Rama" for all of the elders, investigators, and members.  He wanted to have a big party (it's something his family always does) and he graciously provided all of the food for the big event.  He assigned the elders certain jobs and Elder Ray was the appointed "Grill Master/Decoration Specialist".  From the pictures it looks like fun was had by everyone!

This was held at the Kasoa meetinghouse for members, converts, and investigators

The Elders, Grandma Grace, and Sis. Aqua who helped so much with the party!

Elder Ray's sign for the investigator table

After the shopping expedition to ShopRite

Elder Bay even got the store to make them FRESH hot dog buns!

The shopping cart

Another one of Elder Ray's signs....

A member made a cake for the missionaries

Monday, June 24, 2013

In the new mission - June 24, 2013

Dear Mom & Family,
  I have to apologize again for last week! Things got so crazy I was just barely able to write a small email to President. Though I can't say you missed out on too much. I really can't recall anything big happening either. But this week I have some fun news to talk about.
   Monday- Crazy day of traveling to Accra to meet Elder Hurley & Elder Hutchinson at a place called Circle. It’s a big round about that is lined with tons of markets selling all sorts of goods and food. Mostly stolen electronics and rip offs of American brands such as headphone, I pads, and X-boxes. We went and ate at a very nice pizza restaurant; it was kinda a sad reunion because we probably won't see each other anymore until we get home.
   Tuesday- Went through the normal routine of District meeting. Rode out far to see a couple different referrals that were somehow serious. Ate a nice meal at a member’s house and when I was washing my hands in the water I saw what looked like a worm. A little clear floating line, anyways I threw it out and washed my hands really good after that.
   Wednesday- Was nearly a copy of Tuesday was we went out to see a few more people, then went into our normal teaching routines and saw a couple people. Nothing big except the Office Elders came by in the morning and I got a couple pieces of mail then we played a small game of darts with them.
   Thursday- We found a man selling some cool African beads and jewelry and had him stop by the house. I got a few different items and can't wait to bring them home. Later in the evening we went to teach a members wife. The family is really nice and hopefully we can baptize the wife because her husband wants to take her to the temple. She is a little stubborn because she likes her old church, might take a little time with this one.
  Friday- Was actually a very successful day.We did some really good finding and contacting. As we were out tracking we met a journalist for the big Ghana television network. He was a very humble man and invited us in to teach him and by the end of the lesson accepted a baptismal date. It was a very wonderful spiritual experience and I hope he will follow through with it. Then went to Br. Larbie’s for the evening and taught another lesson.
  Saturday- This was our big big day. Elder Bay had planned a party that he usually does back home with his brothers, but this year he decided to do it here in Ghana. He dropped a ton of money on it and bought tons of food. It was all for members and recent converts to come and enjoy, plus to meet each other. I was the main BBQ man and cooked tons of hot dogs as the party is called Ween-o-rama. Well the party was a success and everyone enjoyed themselves. Also earlier that day the boys who come over to our house every Saturday built a jungle type hunt in our yard. Just using old pieces of wood and palm tree branches we helped build a really nice Tiki fort.
   Sunday- We didn't have a lot of investigators except for a family that really loves the church( I am hoping to baptize them next month.) We were also going to have a baptism but the two girls but they had some concerns at the last minute and we put them off until this Saturday. After Church we went to a members house to eat and concluded the day at Emanuel's( my recent convert) house for dinner. He is way cool and I am very proud of how he has been growing in the church.
So that has been my week, the rain hasn't come back for a while and it has been very very hot. I got news today that I will be in the new mission and we have split my area( Bad idea) and will get 2 new missionaries here. It also looks like we might become our own district and I'll be the Leader (still waiting for president to call and confirm that.) I'll be getting Elder Lilio or something like that. I don't know anything about him except maybe he is from the Ivory Coast. I'm excited about that but not about staying in Ash-town or Kasoa. Maybe it is all for a reason but know that I will give it my best effort!
Anyways I love you and all the family and in case I forgot to mention it tell Dad I wished him a Happy Fathers day/ Love you guys.

  Lots of Love,
  Elder Taylor Ray

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Pictures - June 17, 2013

This was the extent of Taylor's email this week:

Ok really quick- I did with draw money last week and today. We had a small party and were stuck in traffic most of the day and that is why I haven't sent an email yet. I'm working really fast now but the cafe is closing so I will send it early tomorrow morning.

I doing just fine, actually a little better then last week and you can read about it in my big email. If you are on you can hurry and chat with me.

Ps Please tell Dad happy fathers day for me. I got him a gift but not sure how to send it.

Also the pictures I am posting are courtesy of Elder Bay!!  

District meeting

Grandma Grace - she is great to feed the missionaries!

Kasoa LDS meetinghouse

The man in the center's family has an orphanage in Kasoa and he is leaving for his mission to Sierra Leone

P-Day with the gang

P-Day:  The elders were excited because this lady was selling actual American soda and for normal prices - apparently that doesn't happen very often!

More P-Day pics - the Elders liked this wall and thought it would make a cool background

Elder Ray and Elder Bay pulling a prank on Elder Smith

These are Elder Ray's army of little boys that do whatever he asks of them

These are the boys burning the weeds in the Elder's yard - they clean the yard so they can play soccer in their yard.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Highs and Lows - June 10, 2013

Dear Mom,
 This Week has really not been a fun week or a horrible week. Nothing much happened to make it one way or the other. Even looking in my journal, yes I am now doing my best to keep a daily journal. I do still have to go back every now and then to fill out an entire week but it’s getting better. Anyhow I don't know what’s happened or hasn't happened to cause such a dark spot. Maybe I'll sum it all up really quick.
Tuesday- Filled up our gas tanks and went out teaching for most of the day. We also found out we could come get our washing machine back, though the women wasn't there. Headed to Bro Larbies( which we do every Tuesday) and me and my companion taught a FHE to them. He then fed us as always.
Wednesday- Got a few things done around the house as we waited for the office elders to bring us supplies. Then we had them help us go pick up the washing machine. We finally got it back. Before they left we started to smell a burning in the van. The thing would not speed up though the engine seemed to be working. I don't know how everyone sensed I was the son of a mechanic but they all turned to me to fix it. I figured it was the transmission (IDK) so they are taking it to a mechanic.
 Thursday- Met with some recent converts and less actives. These are lessons we have been stressed to have more of. President Monson also has stressed it with his "To the Rescue" talks. The only problem with these is they don't produce baptisms, or I thought until these people become more warm and friendly and give you referrals.
Friday- Another slow day with both big down pours and then sudden burning sun, then back to rain. Stopped by Larbies for a lesson and he referred us to a family in that area. Rough day and made me depressed, though some good should come from that referral. 
Saturday- Took Elder E. and B. to the market to pick a few items for Sunday. Somehow Elder M. thought we had said we were getting shots instead of shorts. It was kinda funny to see him when he realized what we were really doing. The rest of the day was filled with failed appointments until a man I met on a tro-tro earlier in the week called and invited us to come over. He lived way far in the country or bush. Really cool and fed us a ton or "my home country food" which turned out to be rice.
Sunday- Church and all the fun it brings. I like the people in my ward and I'll miss them, but I just wish they would help a lot more. Except Larbie, he is still the best. My recent convert Emmanuel invited the whole district to his house so we spent the rest of the night eating and laughing there. Rained on us when we went home.
Monday or today- We got up early or early for a P-day haha. Cleaned and made breakfast in a hurry because we wanted to hit the beach as soon as possible. Got there around 11 am and had some fun enjoying the view and talking with some people there. This white guy was trying to do flips and Elder B. went and embarrassed him in front of his sun tanning girlfriends, by showing him how to flips like a boss. haha had some good Italian food while we were there.
  So I guess there was some fun in the week, but for the most of it, it was just another week here in the mission field. Kind of a depressing on, but there is always the hope of tomorrow. And it does look like it will be a brighter day, even though we will probably have rain haha. President Judd always says there is a Fall and Atonement for every day. The bad low part and the part where it is fixed. I think it’s up to us to qualify for the good part, just as we have to put in an effort for the full blessings of the atonement. Well thanks for your prayers and wishes, they help me every day and night. Talk to you next week. :)
With much affection,
Elder Steven Taylor Ray

Monday, June 3, 2013

Dart board - June 3, 2013

Dear Mom,
Last week Me, Moyer, Smith, and Thomas went for FHE at a couple’s house that stay in my area. This family is sweet and have done very well in life so far. The man is named D.A. and he is a mechanical engineer who works for some big oil company and travels the world. His wife E. went to school in the UK and loves to feed us awesome food. They have a 3 month year old girl and Daniels mother stays at the house with them. We had a really nice FHE with them on all of our favorite scriptures then we ate and after words played a game of darts. Now this really spiked my interest in the game as I got better and better and learned how to actually play. After we left the house me and Smith talked to the Office Elders about picking us up a dart board from the Accra mall that way we could have one for the apartment. Tuesday- The four of us took a 1 1/2 ride in a Tro-tro to a place called Bodrwezie which is north of Kasoa in a more "bushy" area. Both companionship's went because we were contacting a referral up there and were confused on where he stayed. Normally we could have just gone on splits but with two "greenies" it was better we both went. We found the man who wanted us to give his wife a blessing. She had some undiagnosed disease in the brain( I think) which made her totally unresponsive and walking around with no purpose. We gave her a priesthood blessing and the man thanked us and said he would come to church. He called a few days later and said she looked good, but he didn't show for church. :/   Went home and made it just in time for Bro Larbies house. Every week he feeds us, which is really hard for him because he has had a really rough time in the past couple of years. He says though it is very important he gets the blessing of helping the missionaries. He also gave us two referrals! This guy is really an amazing person. He has 2 girls one is 4 or 5 and the other is about about  1 1/2. His wife died from cancer almost a year ago and he has really been struggling to raise the girls. His sister-in-law has been raising the youngest girl at her home and a young girl from the stake works full time at his house caring for things there while he goes to work. Plus he works every Thursday at the temple( which is far way) and he was just released as the 1st counselor to get moved in as Stake family historian. If anyone here in Kasoa is keeping the place going it’s this guy and me and him have really formed a strong friendship. I'll miss him when I leave this area. Wednesday- was a pretty normal day other then it rained and made tracking difficult. We were able to see a few people and talked to a couple of recent converts. Went home and got clothes ready for Zone conference the next day. Thursday- Left around 6 a.m. to get to the temple site. Well we got there a little late and that was embarrassing. But we got some good instruction and president did the closest thing to a big farewell as he could. If I do end up in the other mission I'll be very sad because I'll miss President Judd. He is a very great man. After the meeting I met up with some good friends and picked up 2 packages from the OE along with my dart board! oh yeah. On the way home we stopped and ate at a place called Eddy's pizza. E. Smith said he has not seen a more American restaurant in Ghana then that place and he has seen some places. It was an amazing way to celebrate mine & Bay's 6 month mark. I had a buffalo chicken pizza with a sprite. When we finally got home it was late but not late enough to install the dart board! :)  Friday- We did a little work and then got went to Bro Larbies helping make dinner-it was fun but took up a lot of the day. Saturday- Unfortunately Elder Moyer got sick and I had to stay in the house. Luckily Elder Bay came home and we left on splits though most of them got rained out. As you can tell it has been a very rainy week. Sunday- I taught Gospel Principles class or as we call it investigators class. Went to the washing machine lady's house for a FM and she told us we could have the machine back! Yeah now we have to find a way to get that thing back home. Today we have and intense rain storms so bad I almost didn't think I would be able to leave the house. Me and Moyer got trapped on an island under a little shop’s roof and surprisingly some young white girl came to hide there not long after. It’s not normal to see other white people, especially young white girls. Anyway that was my fun week here in Ghana.
    Hopefully the rain will stay though because as long as it’s here the heat stays away! Love you and I'm alright so don't worry about me.
   Elder Steven T. Ray