Monday, October 27, 2014

The Final Countdown - October 27, 2014

Last Monday we had a great zone activity. Everyone loved it and it was pretty popular, even the fire department come out for it....
So as I was helping set up and turning on the fog machines, I asked some other missionaries if they thought it would set off the alarm. They said no that the smoke detector was smart enough to distinguish between smoke and fog well not even 30 seconds later the alarms were flashing and blaring. We opened the doors and blew most of it away before the largest ladder truck I've ever seen arrived. We explained to the firemen and they just said "yup, that will do it." They were really nice and before they left a few of us snapped a picture in front of the truck. Lesson learned- disable the alarm before you use a fog machine. But we still played laser tag, just with no fog.
     Tuesday we had District meeting at the Orgills home and Sister Orgill was with us. It was a great meeting and she loved the story of the false alarm. So we updated the mission blog with the pictures. Afterwards we went to our investigators restaurant for lunch and taught him with a member.
  Elder King had to leave Wednesday for the mission choir so me and Elder Thayer just stopped by a lot of less-actives and went to a "bible study" called Alpha. The missionaries in the area have been going every week for some time, it’s put on by a group of Christian from all different faiths to learn more about the Bible, God, Jesus (though if you ask them they are the same person, but don't ask them to explain how...they can't.) It’s actually really nice and I'm happy to see there are still lots of people who are excited about religion although there is a LOT of false doctrine tossed around and we do our best to be peaceable about it, and in turn they are nice to us as well.
  We had a great week though following all that. Something that has really stuck out to me or at least I have learned has been with some of our old "stale" investigators. Ones who just weren't progressing or seemed to not be interested with the message anymore. Though records were filled out for them and many missionaries said what they had been taught in the past; after teaching some basics again we discovered a few key points were missed or not learned with old investigators, not anyone’s fault just something overlooked. Now a couple of our investigators are progressing like never before because they learned more about either baptism, Joseph Smith, or the Book of Mormon. I feel that in my life at time to time, I gaze over basics and then farther down the line I get lost, but by a bit of back stepping and study I find myself again.
   In other news we got transfer calls. I'm staying (though we all figured that) Elder Thayer is going, but King will stay with me, maybe we will get a 3rd companion again, but we won't know until tomorrow at transfer meeting. The ones transferring only know they are leaving, not where they are going or their new companions. I am happy to finish up here because I love this place so much and couldn’t be happier with things or maybe I could and that will keep me working, right? “Never satisfied” was the motto in football. I think of what ol' cowboys always say. "I want to die with my boots on."
   Much Love,
         Elder Steven T Ray

Fun times at Zone Activity

Oops! Yes fog machines set off fire alarms!

Goofy faces

Corona Del Mar District, Newport Beach Stake

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Blitzkrieg! -October 20, 2014

Continuing on the Newport 6 pack (or the different focus each 6 weeks.) We have almost finished everything up. 3 weeks ago was the Blitzkrieg where the entire zone of missionaries would proselyte and contact in one ward or companionship’s area for an hour or so. Not only was it fun getting to go to someone else's area each day, you would split up with a different missionary in the zone. Had some great fun with an Elder from Payson contacting gypsies in a park. Lots of people contacted that week.
   Then we had service week where each day the Zone would go take care of a service project together. 2 days we went to the Orange County food bank and sorted nearly 20 tons of tomatoes, bell peppers, apples, and donated items from Target. We cleaned out a member’s garage (then put it all back in so not sure if it accomplished anything?) While cleaning it out I found lots of old church books they were going to toss, so I got them instead, like Cleon Skousen’s 1000 years collection and History of the Church.  It was a great week.
   This past week we had what was called "Window Week".   A window is a hour where you pray, then contact every single person you see in and hour (kind of supposed to do it all the time I thought.) It was a bit of a bomb because it just didn't have the fire like the other weeks. Though while contacting a family in the Back Bay (A natural park in the area) they fed us dried seaweed, probably a first and last thing.
   This week is “Work hard/Party hard” - can't explain what that means we will do but I kinda feel like that is what should always happen in both mission and life:  Focus up and do your work, but don't forget to have joy on the way (the right kind of fun.) Besides there is a time and season for most things. Today for P-day I got a member to loan us lazer tag guns for a Zone activity so I'll let you know how it goes.
   We had a super busy week, but felt like nothing got done although we got our rewards in the end. Wednesday and Thursday we spent 80% of the day helping a member move into the adjoining ward. It took forever despite having the 5 elders from my ward (Newport 2) plus the 2 from Mesa View where they were moving to.  Super great people and we were happy to help and while moving some photography magazines I noticed one talking about the cameras and filming of the Lone Ranger. So I thumbed through just to see and there was a picture of my scene with me working on the railroad. They gave me the mag and I'll show you all soon.
  Me and Elder King (the one from Chicago) used the Mesa View elders’ bike to move between the moving locations and while going through Back Bay a tire went out in the bike (of course because every time you borrow something it breaks.) Luckily we were close to the former Bishops; who is an avid mtn and street biker. So we stopped and repaired the flat. The old bishop even let me take a few laps around on his Cannondale Prophet (has only one fork in the front) I sustain it as a true prophet ;)
  Saturday we stopped by a few investigators and less active in a blitz of our own because the week had been so busy. One is an investigator from Czechoslovakia and her less active boyfriend, another is a member’s 93 yr old mother who isn't a member and even a Muslim whose restaurant we eat at each week.
  On Sunday all of them and a few more came to sacrament meeting, even had a less active pass the Sacrament.  It was a great success and all had an enjoyable time. I met a family on vacation from Heber City (there were a lot of visitors from Utah, UEA- Utah Exodus to Anaheim.) And they knew Alex Probst (Taylor’s trainer from the Ghana Accra Mission) really well -small world where the church is concerned but I knew that
  Well that is all for now, oh wait... Thank you again for always remembering me and encouraging me to carry on and do good. I'm happy as ever and still love this work, as well as everyone back home.

Je taime encore,  (I love you still)
Elder Ray

Friday, October 17, 2014

Week of Service - October 13, 2014

Again not much of an email just a little back and forth - maybe next week?  The pictures Elder Ray sent were from the missionaries working at a food bank and a member's yard sale.
Working at the food bank

Working at the food bank

Halloween in Cali

Darth Vader helps out at the food bank too!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Just Pictures - Oct 7, 2014

So no formal email today just some back and forth for a minute.  I guess there was a big zone hike for P-Day but we did get pictures!

Birthday dinner for Elder B - I guess they wanted Russian

More pics of Elder Ray's squirrel

Inspiration Point at East Bluff

Seals on the rocks

More of Inspiration Point, East Bluff

Newport Zone Hike

Elder Ray and his "new" shirt from last week's yard sale