Monday, August 25, 2014

Stranger in a Strange Land - August 25, 2014

Title comes from Exodus 2 when Moses has escaped from Egypt to Jethro’s ranch house/tent and is thinking things over( which must have been some time cause he gets married and has a kid in that time.) Well as I studied in there I just imagined “Prince of Egypt” in my mind, though this is also an Iron Maiden song. Anyways it’s kinda how I have felt these past two weeks.
    Bad first, coming from a life where I lived very conservatively (not talking about politics) but very conscious about what I was doing with my resources; food, water, money, etc. Coming back to a country of capitalism and materialism is rather difficult and I find myself biting my tongue as I want to say something against the over the top life styles I see. It may be Cali, but even other missionaries, not all, some...have been a bother too. The way they talk about Africa or their problems (1st world problems I say cause it’s really not a problem to me.) But judge not least ye be judged right?
   In our super busy days we drive around in our car mostly visiting less actives and a few recent converts. Lots of less actives who don't like us or the Church, some who don't like the Church but like us, and then a few that want us to water their plants and feed their cats while they are gone. Can I really compare this to Africa? haha Now I really enjoy meeting new people here, California has some pretty interesting characters running around, I thought I'd seen the best in Africa, no SoCal has its own. I hear everything from JFK conspiracy theories to learning how to play the guitar in these visits. Some of these members have a desire to return or become more zealous in their living and we do our best with them, others not so much.
   Now we do have some great recent converts to meet with and a handful of honest investigators. Unlike Africa though I don't meet with them every other day, I have to schedule appointments and meet them then. We have helped do service to members throughout the week, like a garden we went to weed for one women (turned out to be half her lawn to be weeded.) No problem the 4 other elders in my apartment keep busy with service and helping the members. We went to a funeral on Saturday at our chapel, a member I had met once sudden passed the week before. Most of his family are not members or less actives came and were really pleased with the churches help. One of the deceased brothers asked Bishop about some tribute music he wanted to play. So in the gym when we ate lunch suddenly “Stairway to Heaven” started playing though the chapels sound system, guess he liked Led Zep, some thought it was inappropriate at the chapel....I didn't complain though.
    It takes a little getting used to being in America again, but one day at time I'm getting back into it. I love the chance I have to be in my 5th mission with a 5th mission president, 3rd continent, 3rd country, 2nd state and first time on the Pacific coast.

   Until next week,
    Elder Ray

Elder Ray with the Bishop's kids and a BIG lemon!!

Look who he found!!! Elder Mackey is from Elder Ray's hometown!!!

Elder Ray is bound and determined to have a garden - he had to leave his behind in Sierra Leone.  He informed me that this is an ornamental thai pepper plant and it is already flowering!! It's the little things that make him happy!

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