Monday, March 30, 2009

My testimony has to be strong when you have people questioning your beliefs constantly...

Hey everyone!
Everything is going good here. That is awesome about Ashley and Erik.
I am very proud of them. Congratulations to both of them. That is
awesome how well Ashley did. Erik too. I am so excited to see how good yall are when I get back from my mission. You two just keep on working hard and it will pay off in due time. I just wish I would have done the 800 a couple times. Was it the Pineview meet? How is Justin doing?

Anyways things are going really good here. We had a big storm with a
bunch of hail the other day. It was exciting. Luckily we were eating
dinner during the worst of it.

We are teaching a couple people right now (all in English). James and
Lauren are doing alright. They want to be part of the church but they
need to start keeping more commitments. They will go at their own pace
though. We are also teaching a woman named Alisha. She is real genuine and truthful, which is nice. She asks so many questions and she is really interested in all we have to teach. We taught her the plan of Salvation on Saturday. She soaked it all in like a sponge. She did have a couple questions that we are gonna have to do some research on. For example, she is wondering when we are in the celestial kingdom, why would we visit and teach people from the lower kingdoms. It is a really good question and we told her we would have to get back to her on that one. We have another appointment with her on Wednesday.

We have met a lot of different people here. Austin is really diverse.
Even just in our area is diverse. There’s plenty of Hispanics and
blacks, and then the closer you get to the university the more liberal
people there are. Most liberal people won't even listen to us. Same
with most of the hippies. Austin is said to be the San Francisco of
Texas so.......

It has been different being on a mission but I am finally getting
settled in out here. I really liked the greenie package. Good idea :)
The mini PMG sounds awesome. I can't wait for the next package. do you think you could send a couple wash clothes or rags in the next package.
please :)

My testimony has grown so much in this week and a half here. It has to
be strong when you have people questioning your beliefs

My testimony has grown a bunch out here. I am understanding more and
more about the gospel daily.

Thanks for everything. I am grateful I was born into such a great
family. I am so blessed. You are all in my prayers and thanks for
including me in yours. I hope the work continues to go good for you
dad. In construction and in your calling. Same with you mom. Keep
studying PMG. Remember, everyone, if you're not moving forward you are
moving backward. So keep up the good work! Stay close to the Lord.

Elder Gray

p.s. Thanks for all the random stuff in that package. Its fun to play with :)

another email sent 2 hours later
subject: more random thoughts from your missionary ;)

Happy Birthday to Brooke a couple days ago and to Justin in a couple days.

And with my debit card, I might have to use it occasionally for emergencies. Most likely I won't have to use it, but things happen so..... yeah

Remember to take at least a couple notes in conference. I wish I would have so I coulda remembered more than just a couple talks from my past years.

Love yall
Elder Gray

Monday, March 23, 2009

"Its amazing how humble...."

(New picture added! Scroll down!)

Dear Family,

Hey, hows it going there? Sorry I have still not
sent the memory card yet. I left one of my bags
in the trailer we put all our luggage in. That
has my stamps in it, too. So hopefully I will get my
bag sometime this week. Oh, and I'll get our new
address to you next email. I will get it to you
next week for sure. If you send it to the mission
home I probably won't get it for a couple weeks.
But whatever works.

I am in Austin, Texas right now. Our area is
the northern half of the Walnut Creek ward.
Our area covers part of the University of
Texas campus. There's so many people here. We
haven't even been to the university part of
town yet.

My companion's name is Elder Kleinman.

He has five months left on his mission. He went
to school at Lone Peak High. (Highland, UT area)

Our area is really
diverse. We have a little bit
of everything here.
It seems like a lot of
the time we are the only
white people in the
neighborhood,which is
awesome ;) For
the most part we take care
of the English
speakers and then our zone
leaders take care
of the Spanish speakers. We
still teach a little
bit in Spanish but we hand
over the Spanish
investigators after the initial
visit. Me and
my companion were doubled in.
That means
that we are both new to the area.
He was
down in Del Rio by the border before this.

We had a couple referrals but we basically are
starting from scratch. We have a bf/gf
couple that we are
starting to teach. They are really neat.
On our second visit they told us how they
felt this good feeling and it was just really cool.
I hope and pray that they continue to progress.
We also talked to a guy that wants someone from
the church to get on his radio show and talk
about the family history site and the church.
We have a couple people interested so far but
since we are new there isn't anything too solid
yet. Its amazing how humble some of these people
you would expect to be are. We will get plenty
of new investigators this week.

Thanks for the emails. Emails will probably be
the easiest now but do whatever is easiest for
ya'll. Have fun and stay close to the Lord.

Elder Gray

Hey, a couple more things.
I love you all. It was good to hear
you all too. Thanks for the support
and prayers and everything. If you could,
pray for Lauren and James(our bf/gf
investigators I was talking about).
Thanks for everything and stay safe.
Good luck in everything everyone.
-Elder Gray

"Elder Gray arrived safely"

We had a great phone conversation with Christopher on Wed, the 18th when he was at the airport waiting to catch a flight to San Antonio, along with 17 other new missionaries. WOW! It was nice to hear his voice! He is doing great. He loved the devotional Tuesday evening before he left. Elder L. Tom Perry. What a treat for all the missionaries. Chris said it was awesome. Here's an email we received from Chris' new mission president and wife.

Dear Gray Family,

Elder Gray arrived safely and is already assigned to his first area. He is a wonderful young man and we are thrilled to have him here in the Texas San Antonio Mission. We will treat him as if he were one of our own sons. I have attached a picture of him in our home the day he arrived. He is going to be a blessing to so many people. May the Lord bless you!


President and Sister Cutler

We look forward to hearing about his new experiences and knowing his new address and area and companion!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Flight Plans for the 18th!

How is everything back at home? I am doing well. Actually more than well.
I am doing really
well! My Spanish is slowly getting better and my gospel
studies have gone so much better.
I started writing down stuff I learned in
personal study and that has made all the
difference. This last week Elder
Seymour got the results back for some test for Crone's
Disease. They
cleared him to go to San Antonio. :) For a while we weren't sure if
he was
going to be able to go out in the field. Oh, yeah, I almost forgot to tell you

that we got our flight plans...
I got my flight plans on Friday. We leave the 18th. We report to the travel
office at
6 in the morning and then our flight leaves at 9:35am. We get in
San Antonio about 1:30
central time. I am super excited :)
Anyways, how is track going for the teenagers? Is it Hurricane this week?
That was
awesome to hear Ashley's good news (wink, wink :)). That CD
idea is great. I really
like it. I'm sorry to hear about the Sewings. They
seem like good people.

My favorite meal here is Chimichangas on Saturday night. We have ice
cream on Sundays
and Wednesdays. Sundays are better because they
have all the toppings. I gained 6 pounds
in the first 3 weeks so I decided
to stop eating so much. I weigh about 9 pounds heavier
than when I first
got here. Don't be sorry about long letters. I love them.
That's crazy that
so many people came out for track. I bet the team will do good again

this year.
Thanks for the picture, Justin. I really appreciate it. :)
And Erik (well I guess this could apply to all of you), remember that the
only way to success
is hard work. Great things come one step at a time.
But it's all well worth it.
We had a really good devotional last Tuesday.
Yoshihiko Kikuchi spoke. It was probably
in the top 3 of the best talks I've
ever heard. He started off by calling everyone to
repentance, hardcore,
and then he gave on of the best talks on the Atonement. I learned
so much.
And talking with our Branch President, President Studdert, I learned even
He gave me an example: If he shot me in the arm, he could
repent and be forgiven of the sin.
There might always be a hole in my
arm though. That's how it is with all the sin. We can
be forgiven even
though we don't forget it. We just have to move on and make the best of it.

Thanks for sharing all your experiences w/me. I hope everything continues
to go well. Thanks
for everything! Stay close to the Lord. I love you all.

Elder Gray

P.S. I was wondering if Dad and Tim could tell me little about the first
months in the field
(experiences, etc., if you remember). Oh, and I
started reading Jesus the Christ. It is really
good. Read it if you have
a chance.

P.S.S. Thanks for the bike info and Nicole's letter (cousin sister missionary)
and the pic of the SLC temple:)

P.S.S.S. Ha, sorry, but one more thing. Ashley and Erik, pay attention
and memorize scriptures
in Seminary. I shoulda done more of that.
It'll really help with mission stuff.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

""Whoever works the hardest will be better in the end"

Dear Family,
Everything is going really good here. My Spanish and testimony are slowly getting better each day. I am working hard. It's funny how some elders are so ready and pumped to speak Spanish sometime in the near future, but aren't working hard now. I guess reality will catch up to them sooner or later. This work is like anything else in life. Those that are naturally talented might succeed at first, but whoever works the hardest will be better in the end. I plan on working hard my whole mission.
Today we are trying to speak completely Spanish. It's easier than I thought it would be. This week we taught the first lesson in Spanish again. It went well. We can't speak and understand everything we want to but it still works.
Congratulations on your Bear, Justin. (Cub Scouts) Keep up the good work! Elder Seymour is going to San Antonio, just like me. My favorite food here has to be the chimichangas. They have the same foods here each week with the exception of Friday and Sunday dinners. They do every other week on those dinners. I have clipped my toenails once or twice while I've been here so I guess that's regularly. :) (He's just answering back one of Justin's questions.)
Keep me up to date with your track meets Ashley and Erik. I wanna hear how ya'll do and what events you do. You know, just stuff like that. Same with you Justin. Tell me about your weeks, like you have been.
We get our flight plans on Thursday or Friday this week. I am way excited!
One tip for Dad or maybe all of you. Preach My Gospel helps you teach better, communicate better and a bunch of other stuff; even if you aren't gonna teach about gospel stuff. And it also helps with a million other things. I learned something really good in the fireside the other night. "If you pray and don't receive an answer to your question, get back on your knees and thank Heavenly Father that he trusts you enough to make the decision on your own." I hope that makes sense the way I worded that.
Mom, dad, everyone; thanks for all the letters and packages. Keep writing. Thanks for the music. We really like it. Amo ustedes!
Elder Gray