Tuesday, January 27, 2009

"As I learn more Spanish, English words look funny sometimes"

January 26, 2009
Dear Family,
It's going great here! This last week has gone by so fast. I finally started studying really hard instead of fairly hard and it is paying off. Spanish is coming easier to me now and so is gospel stuff. I can feel your prayers.
Oh, and by the way, there really isn't anything of mine at home that I want protected...so go ahead and fight it out. Ha. I don't know why I cared about so many things back a couple weeks ago. Most of it is small and insignificant in the eternal perspective. I hope you all can forgive me for my shortcomings.
On my email, I will do short ones on Mondays but the main chunk will be in letters. As I learn more Spanish, English words look funny sometimes. Thanks Erik. You're an example to me, too. Mom, that's good that you're serving. Just remember when times get rough to just keep plowing. We will never get everything done so remember that. Tell Tim that I sleep on the bottom bunk and that the tree of life is no more. It's divided showers now, which is nice.
My first two Sundays have been way nice. It's nice and slow. We watched the Joseph Smith Restoration movie last night. It was way good. It seems like every couple days they always have a speaker or a talk or just something that really picks you back up to keep you going strong.
Justin, your car looks awesome! The weather looks like it has been nice there. It snowed a couple inches last night here in Provo. That fireside sounded real good, Ash. Cassie is such a sweet girl and Chad is way cool and nice. The MTC is an amazing place. It's weird that we hear almost nothing here. I heard from one of our speakers that Obama's inauguration went safely and I heard from someone who made the super bowl, but that's all I've heard from the outside world. Tell Erik and Justin to prepare well spiritually for their missions because even then you won't be prepared.
It's so nice to feel the spirit here almost 24/7. Twice when we were teaching the first lesson to practice investigators, I have had the spirit direct me to certain scriptures or say something I didn't even think about until it was out of my mouth. In John 3:16-17, I thought of it in a way I never had before. The Lord came to Earth to know how pain, hunger, sadness and all those other emotions felt so he could help us through our trials.
Thanks for the quotes dad. I love them. Oh, and by the way, I owe 20 dollars in tithing to the Bishop. So if you could take that out of my funds that would be excellent. There is so much stuff and not enough time to write it all. Maybe ya'll can see my journals when I get back. I feel like I'm growing older every day here. The days pass slow but the weeks pass quick. Thanks for supporting me on my mission. I heard from one elder that his family doesn't support him at all here. His dad doesn't even like him anymore. Thanks for loving me and I love you all. Sorry for my randomness. I will try to organize better in the future.

Elder Gray

P.S. How are you all?

(A note from Chris' family....here's Elder Gray's email. eldergray@myldsmail.net)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Trials truly make you grow spiritually

Hey everyone! Thanks for the letters. It was really good to hear from everyone. The MTC is great. We are learning a lot of things way fast. At first I got overwhelmed and I kind of hit a wall on Friday afternoon. I got frustrated and then got homesick. But after a couple hours I was good and I have been good ever since. I know that after I do all I can then the Lord will help with the rest. There's no point in getting frustrated. My testimony has grown so much over the last couple of days. Trials truly make you grow spiritually. We have learned how to bear our testimonies and pray in espanol, plus a bunch of words and other things.

Here is a typical day day at the MTC...
6:30 - wake up
7:15 - breakfast
8:00 - personal study
9:00 - companion study
10:00 - MDT (Missionary Directed Time)
11:30 - Lunch
After lunch we usually have class, then dinner, then class until nine. Everyday is a little different but that is the basic schedule. On Mondays we are going to have FHE in the evenings. On Tuesdays we will have a general authority devotional. On Wednesdays we will have a service project in the morning for about an hour. Five days a week, we have gym for an hour. On Sundays we don't have classes. We have all the basic church meetings like priesthood, Sunday School and Sacrament. We also have a fireside and then movies after that.
We just go a new MTC President. So he and his wife talked. Their last name is Bird. The movie our district watched this week was Legacy. The show four movies each Sunday and you choose one.
Today is P-day. We have until 5:15 to do what we want (dinner is at 4:30). I have seen a bunch of people I know. Logan Obering and Kyle Christian eat at the same time as me. I have also seen Steve Starley and Ben smith around. Dane Askeroth from Parowan is in my district. Our district is really neat. The elders in my room are Elder Craig, from Washington; Elder Houder, from Ontario, Oregon; and my companion is Elder Seymour from Portland, Maine. We have all bonded really fast. We are the best of friends already. We were all struggling a lot at first and we talked a lot and helped each other. Elder Seymour was on the verge of going home, but we helped him through. He helped himself a lot, too. I really do love it here so you all don't need to worry at all. I am eating plenty of food and the food is very good. My companion is fun to be around and we get along great. Thank you mom for the blog stuff. And thanks for being such a great mom. You too, dad. You are a great example to me. And to answer all Justin's questions....
I love the MTC;
it's very fun (and challenging);
Spanish is kinda hard, but it's fun to learn;
my companion is a couple inches taller than me;
I don't know if he snores cuz I'm a deep sleeper.
Thanks dad for the letter. I like the quote thing. Thanks for everything everyone.
The spirit is so strong here. It's nice to know that no one is perfect, so I fit right in. We went to the temple this morning. It was amazing! I really don't think I could learn this language this quickly without the spirit.
Yo se que el evangelio es verdadero, se que la templo es el casa de dios, se que el Libro de Mormon es verdadero, se que el presidente Monson es un profeta di Dios, se que Jose Smith fue un profeta. En al nombre de Jescristo, Amen. I can't write much more without looking at my notes or a book. Sorry my letter isn't organized very well. I love you all and I hope that y'all are having fun because I sure am!

Elder Gray

P.S. Could you send a couple things with your next letter. No rush.
1. my mission call or a copy of it.
P.S.S. Thanks for the pics too!

A note from the Gray family....we knew 2 stake presidents in the Lancaster/Palmdale area 19 years ago with the last name of Bird, a father and son...I wonder if it's one of them. We'll have to ask Elder Gray!

Monday, January 19, 2009

First Letter

Hey sorry it took so long for me to write my first letter.
This is our first p-day and I just set up my email
account. We can get on email only on p days. I am
doing very well. Its challenging here but its great.
Its amazing here. I don't have much more time today
so this is gonna be a little short. Sorry. But my
letter I wrote is a couple pages long and it has a lot
more detail. I just put it in the mail a couple
minutes ago so it should be arriving sometime this
week. I have a couple questions. Do you prefer
emails or letters. If email, which email
address? Thanks for everything :) I love you all!


Elder Gray
p.s. We got a new mtc president this week.
He is awesome and his favorite poem is
touch of the masters hand.