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