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

Monday, November 11, 2013

Best Week - November 11, 2013

My email keeps freezing up, so don't fuss to much if this letter turns out to be a bit short.
  Well it was the week before transfers and with having been here almost 10 months, that meant it may be my last week of Kasoa. With this in mind I did my best to not only tie up any loose ends, but make sure it was my best week here.
   Tuesday- taught around our usual proselytizing spots. The French man continues to read the Book of Mormon and since we can't speak his language we just use the BOM (with a French version for him) to teach all our lessons. If he is baptized at the end of the month I hope we get to say the prayer in French. Ended the day at Bro. Larbies where he gave us his latest creation, papaya fruit, ginger, and millet cake. It was interesting but props for Larbie trying.
   Wednesday- I went with Elder Jones on splits. He had just been called to train, so I went to see how his area was doing. While on Splits I showed him around to a few of my former investigators before they had split the area. One was the old man, Baden, Moyer and I were teaching in April. He was happy to see us and had even been reading the BOM lately. Answer to Rod's question: this man is named for Lord Baden Powell. In Accra there is a statue of the man somewhere because when this place was still a British colony he brought Boy Scout here.
  Thursday- Went on splits with Elder Thomas to his area. Thomas has been in Kasoa the longest after me, since May when he started his mission. He may be leaving as well this week. We had a lot of fun together while teaching and even picked up a few meals that night as well.
   Friday- We left around 5:45 so we could get to Accra by 9:00am for our temple trip and instruction. First we had a little teaching from President Hill (now temple trips had happened throughout the week with different districts, so we were the last with 2 other districts.) Then we split, with half going to the temple and the others learning cooking and basic maintenance.  I was first sent with cooking, where Sisters Hill and Wall helped us learn how to make different foods( bisquick, burritos, and cobblers) with the limitations here. Then while the food was cooking Elder Wall talked about bike and apartment maintenance we could do to save money. He was impressed with my knowledge on the bikes, which I owe to Dad and also Scouts, always going on bike trips were this stuff was do or die.
   While I talking about the Walls (our office couple) I would like to say how much I really love these people. I found out that Elder Wall even attended Manti High for a while. I already knew they were related to the Larsen’s and Sister Wall keeps teasing me she is going to send them pictures of me. They are really a wonderful couple and I hope I serve in the office one day with them.
   After this and lunch I had my interview with President and then went to the temple. We got to watch the new temple video. I don't know if I can say much about it, but it was awesome.
  Saturday- We taught, ate and went to a baptism. then visited with the D. family, they are still doing great and we even found a scorpion at their place.
   Sunday- I was surprised to see we had a lot of our investigators come to church. They should all be ready for baptism by the end of the month, so that would be one let down if I were to be transferred. Bro Obeng was gone so I had to go and teach Sunday school to the youth.  I taught how to be spiritual self-reliant.  We took lots of photos with the members after the service and finished with a nice lesson at the end of the day with a taxi driver about to be baptized.
    This morning we went to the ocean to pick up some art work I had ordered-it was a nice way to spend probably my last P-day in Kasoa. Anyways I'm going to go finish washing that way if tomorrow I get the news I'm leaving Wednesday,  then I can use the whole day to say goodbye to everyone (though it probably won't be enough time.) With that said I’ll sign off with the words of the great Mtn man "Bear Claw" Lapp "I hope that you will fare well pilgrim."
          Elder Steven T Ray

P-Day at the beach

This is recently baptized family that Elder Ray just loves!!  Notice the Ghana tie :)

E. Ray with companion and other elders polishing off a plate of food!

He said this was not Def Leppard's restaurant ;)

Making burritos at a member's home

Surveying all of Kasoa!

Total Eclipse of the Heart, in Ghana - Nov. 4, 2013

Despite the heat and a good number of near taxi "run-ins" it was another successful week down on the African continent.
   Tuesday- We had a great Alliance Assembly or what most call DCM, names don't make much difference there. I took a break from my high doctrine Old Testament lessons and gave Elder J a time for speaking points, he did very well. Elder J and I later went on splits to pick up gas for the apartment. We do most cooking with a little natural gas stove and have two tanks which we all pay to keep filled.  After we paid to fill it we found out that a local member has offered to start buying gas for the whole mission, no small chore but that is a very noble thing to do for us.
  Wednesday- Woke up, worked out( just push ups and sit ups, Lilo took the weights) and went into study hours before leaving. Did our normal teaching rounds near the chapel. After the open house we had a few people to follow up on, though most are not as serious as we hoped. Later that evening we attended a birthday party for a youth in the ward. It was a nice event, they had us lead hymns (not the normal birthday music) and then give inspirational thoughts and advice. Then I was chosen to be the cork popper with the sparkling cider. 
  Thursday- I went to a special edition of MLC( mission leadership council or something to that effect.) I went with Elder Thornhill a DL form a nearby district here in Kasoa. Cool guy and is in the same MTC as Probst was which is about 6 months ahead of me. All the DLs and ZLs got together for this to discuss certain items going on in the mission. I was thinking it would be more drama, but it was mostly just talking about teaching standards, baptism interviews and leadership responsibilities. Got home rather late but still went up to see the D. Family, they are doing well.
   Friday & Saturday- Taught a very strange man, he just asked questions from some anti-Mormon website that he read from his laptop (not many investigators just pull those things out here.) Nothing I couldn't really handle and even confounded him on baptisms for the dead. Going back this week to see what we can teach him. Taught 8 lessons on Saturday night.
  Sunday- we finally got to watch General Conference or pieces of it during the 3 hours of church. Something was wrong with the copy because everyone had high pitched voices, like they'd all sucked in helium. President Uchtdorf’s was the best, though we still enjoyed the portions we saw. After the service everyone went outside to watch the solar eclipse. It was pretty cool, though the day didn't turn to night and mist cover the land, we still got a strange eerily light over the countryside, as when a wildfire make the sun into an orange haze.
  We then added another party that evening at our neighbor’s house in our compound- it was to celebrate a type of family reunion and why not invite the only white guys around haha, no we are good friends and have been teaching the family. So they loved for us to come over and eat, it was a fun day all in all.
  This week the mission is having temple trips and interviews. We don't go until Friday so we have a bit to wait. I heard we will be watching the new video at the temple, which is exciting. Besides that transfers will be next Wednesday and from the sound of it I most likely leave. So this may just be my last week here in Kasoa. No regrets as I press on through the next few days and with a stout heart I look towards tomorrow.
    All the best from Africa
          With love,
     Elder Steven T Ray

Sorry this is a week late, I was out of town and couldn't figure out how to post it from my Kindle!

Also Elder Ray has informed us that the Mission office is paying for any extra duties that might be charged for Christmas packages, SO if you want to send anything, now is the time because he will not have to pay anything on his end.
THANK YOU to the Mission Office!!!!! 
This picture is from Elder and Sis Wall's blog:   They know a family in our town and were teasing Elder is an excerpt from their blog: "One of these Elders is from Ephraim and I said that the beautiful Larsen sisters from Ephraim were going to view this blog. He blushed and smiled"   It's just so fun to actually see pictures of Elder Ray so we are thankful for the wonderful couple missionaries that watch over our son!!!