Monday, March 24, 2014

Duty Calls - March 24, 2014

No real email today.  Elder Ray just emailed a 2 sentence reply and said he didn't think he would be sending a letter today because his companion needed to get some things before he leaves for home next Monday, although he might leave him tomorrow after zone training.
He sends love to family and friends!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Heart Full of Song - March 17, 2014

Not much time for writing
  Well it was a lot better week this time around then last week. I
think I'm adjusting more to this place and trying to leave behind my
old mission more and more, plus I really miss working in the office.
Hard transition from the Office to a Zone leader.
   So we are helping our investigators on the path towards baptism and
everything is looking good. We will be having and giving interviews
this coming week as our zone prepares for the end of the transfers. I
had a chance to go on an exchange in my area with one of my old
friends from the MTC, Elder Itomo, from Nigeria. He is a very humble
guy who just radiates the spirit and love for everyone. It was a fun
time, to think I thought I'd never see him again after the MTC
   Sunday we got to church and found there had been a break in.
Someone had broken the lock on the front gate and managed to steal the
battery for the church generator. They were trying to figure how they
got into the generator house because it was still locked. I played
Sherlock Holmes for a minute and soon found roofing nails on the
ground a little ways off and discovered they had gone through the roof
and out with the battery. So we are working with the branch to fix
the issue.
   That’s all I have time for, but thanks to everyone’s constant prayers
I sure have felt the power to carry on the work here, even with a
heart full of song.
   With love,
           Elder Ray

Monday, March 10, 2014

Not Easy Being the New Kid - March 10, 2014

Irony, the hard crust of the bread of Adversity
 Yeah I stole the title from Elder Neal A. Maxwell (he is a good friend
 and I think he would approve.) Not much time for writing today, the
 internet is not running great and my keyboard is half Islamic letters (so I'm trying).
 It was just another day in the life of a missionary of Salone. I'll
 tell you my companion, Elder Symons, is going out hard and working
 like crazy. I have learned a lot from him. The mission itself has a
 lot more rules than anywhere else I have served
 (sounds so weird to say haha) Just trying to get use to use to them
 (things like what we wear and how we do studies, exchanges, reports,
 Wednesday I had my first chance to go on an exchange with a zone
 member in another area (his comp a DL went with my comp.) his area's
 branch is one of the roughest in the mission and has been in decline
 for a while. They are trying though and I really see some good work
 happening. One street that runs through that area all the way to my
 own is called “old railway line” - Once a railroad was here but due to bad
 infrastructure and the war it was buried then torn out. All I could
 think of was how ironic.
 Besides this event the week went by pretty normal and we had lots
 of failed appointments but far more lessons than ever. We are working
 for 4 baptism at the end of the month and a possible 4 for the first
 of April. This place is growing gradually - we just need to keep our
 members we have, just like anywhere really.
 Not the best week of my mission, I have been really homesick. Not
 of Utah, but of Ghana and even Texas. It’s not easy being the new kid
 in town( eagles quote) and not easy having 15 months experience in a
 different mission and expected to just know a new mission like that.
 Though little by little it’s all coming and I'm making the best of what
 I can do. I know there is a reason or at least the Lord will have a
 purpose for me, I just need to find it.
 Struggling, but still doing my part happily,
 ~Elder Ray

These were his answers to some questions I asked:
We have 4 districts and 5 branches I believe in the zone.
We cook most of our own food or have a member make us a big stew and
we just make rice( it’s all they eat here)
We are the outskirts of Bo, kind of bush area with the city at one end.
The southern part of Bo I should say.
The city only has power in the rainy season, which isn't until May or
June, maybe not til July
Glad to hear of the news from home, I didn't know that about those
families, but that is so amazing for them to get that chance now.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Busy in Bo - March 3, 2014

Dear Family,

  It looks like Ghana, it smells like Ghana, but it sure isn't Ghana. Granted this place feels more like Accra then Texas did, it still doesn't feel like home. Weather is still too hot (though a few degrees cooler then Ghana) and the air is choked with sand and dirt. We are still in the dry season and a lot of the wells are going dry. 
   Here in Bo the main form of transportation is by motorcycle. This has been one highlight for me so far. Just stop a bike and tell him where to go, then you jump on the back and cruze through town. It’s the closest thing to the four-wheeler back home that I have experienced in the last 15 months. And the great news is that as Zone Leaders we travel a lot and get to ride them almost daily. 
   We don't have any electricity here in Bo, but we have a generator for the apartments and chapels. Bad news is we only run it at the house for 2hrs at night. It’s not as bad as it sounds, though I would enjoy some ice every now and then.

   I have learned the food is quite different here than in Ghana as well. We eat primary rice and then some form of a stew (made from leafs and tomatoes) on top of it. Since there isn't any electricity we can't make anything that will need the refrigerator but somehow we are staying well fed. 
  Well the work is on fire in our branch (it’s one of the better branches up here, had 155 members on Sunday) my area is a smaller one, but we have been finding a lot of people and teaching some great investigators. Elder Symons is going home at the end of this month so he has been working hard to make sure everything is good for when I take over. 
   Not much else to write on at this time, but just know I'm doing good and just trying to make it here in Sierra Leone. It’s different but I seem to be rolling with whatever changes come. I continue here and keep the faith as long as I have the chance.
   With Love,
     Elder Ray
P.S. That is so cool that Emma has been rocking the science world! I can't wait to hear more about that. I sent 4 flat rate boxes and then Bro. Dobsen sent a normal box that had mask and paintings in them, let me know when that arrives.

Also in the next package though I could use

More drink mix (I’ll be living off them more)
Maybe try to see if they have powdered milk (it’s hard to get even that here.)
And if possible some sandals (the strap kind I can only find flip flops.)

Thank you for everything mom!

Love your son!