Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Last Thursday evening we received an email from our friends in the California Irvine Mission.  Elder Ray trained their son in the Ghana Accra West mission and now he is in their mission.  This family is not in Elder Ray's area however the mission had a "mix-up" day where all the elders are sent to different areas for 24 Elder Ray stopped by to say "HI" before going to their dinner appointment.  We appreciate all they have done in looking out for Elder Ray :)
This is his trainee's jeep

Elder Ray and the Schoessow Family

Loving California

Hamid and Elder Ray - he always feeds the missionaries

Nighttime view of Newport

Elder Ray has a special attachment to old suburbans :)

View from Corona del Mar

Corona del Mar hike

Newport Zone Hike

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A few spares for the flats - November 17, 2014

So I am a little tired today as I write this email, I hope I can make it through without falling asleep (well a wall outlet just exploded here at the library so that has me up again.)
  J Golden Kimball made the comment about some of the flats (old people or lazy) in the Church and that the spares that keep everything moving. Made me think about this today.
  This morning we got up earlier than normal (of all days to do that, a Monday!) We went on a zone hike in some nearby mountains (or the closest things to it here) just above the ocean in Corona del Mar area. It was very beautiful as we had an overlook of the hills, ocean, and Catalina Islands. I can tell I'm a bit rusty though at hiking.
  Last Monday as we left the apartment in the morning we noticed the rear tire was flat. Luckily there was a spare small tire and a jack. I soon found out though that none of the other 4 elders had any experience in actually changing a tire. One or two had taken theoretic courses on how to change one but had not been proven yet with it. So I coached them through and eventually we made it to Pep boys (though I thought about calling AAA haha) I could find many ways to apply this to lesson, but I think it was learned that day well, how thankful I am now for having Dad there to teach me those skills, but then having the trials and burdens that tested those skills. 
I had my last zone training meeting. Such a strange feeling being the missionary at the end who is called upon to bear their last testimony, one of the sisters mentioned how she never thought she would be here (giving her last testimony) so when it was my turn I said how I really never thought I'd be here. That got some good laughs, even from one of the counselors in the mission presidency.
 Did a lot of service painting office rooms for Bro Kettley (2nd cous.) and moving the Martin family, they are heading to Palm Desert. Also had a fantastic dinner with the Conks. Probably the eldest couple in the ward, but Sister Conk is the funniest women ever, she has that sense of humor as J Golden Kimball. I had told her about eating cat in Africa and for the last few weeks she kept telling me she was looking for one to get a big steak from.
   Another dinner was with The Cook family, he is the gentleman who took us on the tour at the airport museum. We got to listen to stories upon stories of his days in Berlin in the cold war. Such a blessing to have such fun people to work with and be around at the end of my mission. We even picked up 3 new investigators this week, one was a couple that showed up to Church.
   Such fun and happening times here combined with the warm weather really makes me wonder if I want to return to school in 14degree temps...maybe I'll just extend until summer! :) No not really however it’s sad to be ending but until then there is the urgency to continue what I have been doing, there has always been that urgency, you just seem to notice better at the end.
   Elder Steven Taylor Ray

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Visit from Elder Andersen

The California Irvine Mission had the opportunity to have Elder Wilford Andersen of the Second Quorum of the Seventy, and his wife, Sister Kathleen Andersen  here as a visiting General Authority.  He spoke to almost 200 missionaries and participated in the multi-zone training conference and participated in their break-out sessions.  Between training meetings and Elder Andersen's address wonderful sisters from the CIM boundaries fed the missionaries.

Elder and Sister Andersen, Pres. and Sis. Orgil

lunch after the multi-zone training 

the California Irvine Mission with Elder and Sister Andersen

All 5 elders before transfers
the "Wedge" at Newport Harbor
the new companionship: Elder K., Elder B, and Elder Ray
Enjoying beautiful weather in Newport Beach

Everyone loves Frozen!!!

Warnings From Outer Space - October 5, 2014

I'll explain the title of this email later, but hopefully for now I have you attention before I tell you about another week in the California Irvine mission....
   Transfers: Elder Ballif and Thayer are gone, I thought it was funny they were both my former companions. Elder King and I stayed together, which I am very glad to have him as my last companion or hospice elder since he is taking care of a dying missionary (just what they call you in your last transfer.) But as I stated before I'm doing my best to go out with my boots on. We did get a 3rd comp, Elder Bartell from Idaho Falls - he is a funny guy.  It was nice to see Elder Mackey and hear his last testimony, he is already well missed here.
     Saturday I got to go down to the peninsula to teach the 93yr old mother of one of our members. She was married to a "good Mormon guy" but never seriously investigated the Church until recently and he is long passed. Sweet woman and she may be baptized by the end of the year. Her house was two blocks away from the “wedge”, a popular surfin' point and also the exit for the Newport harbor. We stopped for pictures and contacted a couple people, even some members from Texas.
     Also it rained here for the first time in 8 months, which not only was an answer to many prayers, but brought the chill of November to the air. I put my trench coat on for a minute (somehow I now have 2), but it was ok, by noon it was sunny and warm again....California is rough I tell you, are you sure you want to come here? 
   For Halloween the zone got together to play games and watch a movie. I thought that sounded lame so instead I had a member get us "the Best Two Years" so we could watch it with a part-member family. The man is a recent convert and we have been trying to meet more with his wife. He is a super funny (in a good way) guy who helps us a lot, plus feeding us too. It was a great night and both loved the movie, getting better versed how a mission works and the lingo. I thought it was great too now that I have served a mission.
     The ward’s Halloween party was last Friday and was a great event to get not just members out, but less-actives and non-members. We, the missionaries, had to judge the mac'n' cheese and chili cook off. It was hard eating with our mustaches on but we got it done. One of my favorite families came and their daughters came as Anna and Elsa (these are the same girls I drew Frozen for.)
  The library here for some reason attracts some real crazies. Some may just be homeless, but others are a strange crew indeed. One was talking to me about how she landed spaceships in Palm Springs, and is here to save the world from alcohol and tobacco. There have even been some less actives who have also had some "close-encounters" or believe in witchcraft and what have you. Anyway through all the stories of aliens warning us about the evils I remembered a talk I saw once by President N. Eldon Tanner called "warnings from outer space." We made mention to an astronomer who thought some far off civilization was trying to reach out to us and warn us of self-destruction, then related it to how in reality our Father in Heaven who is "above the earth" warns us of the things we do (even alcohol and tobacco.) 
   It’s a rather roundabout way of saying it, but I tried to look at some positive in it, thank goodness for modern and continuous revelation...even the personal kind which helps guide our life, but also keep it grounded and understood. Anywho I just keep on moving on, making every moment count and "enjoying every sandwich."
  Love you all forever,
             Elder Steven Taylor Ray
Elder Mackey and Elder Ray and the transfer meeting

Newport Harbor

Newport Harbor

Newport District Transfers

Winter in Southern California