Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"I am excited because we finally have things rolling...I'm glad we get to stick around"

Hey everyone,
This week has been pretty normal week. Thanks for the package. I received it on Saturday. I am excited to make the cookies and brownies. Thanks for the pants and ties. I definitely needed some more variety in my clothes so I was pretty excited when I saw the contents of the package. How is everyone doing? Are you all excited for school to get out in a couple weeks?

So Mother's day I get to call home. I will let you know what time I will call as soon as I know.

Last night we got the call about transfers. Elder Kleinman and I are both staying another transfer. Most of our district is staying, which is awesome because we have the best district. We have a baptism scheduled for Saturday. Her name is Ellen. She is so accepting of everything. I think the Lord really prepared her a lot before hand. When we talked about the word of wisdom she said she used to drink a bunch of coffee but not anymore, just an occasional cup. She was like, "yeah, I can give up that. Its no problem." I just wish everyone was this awesome. She keeps her commitments and everything. I'm not sure who is gonna baptize and confirm yet but we'll figure it out. All our other investigators are either pretty new or they have been dropped. I am excited because we finally have things rolling. I'm glad we get to stick around.

So in our mission, our goal is always 100 baptisms a month. It hasn't been reached for a couple years (I guess they got close a couple times). But May is looking really promising. May is gonna be the month we do it.

Tell Grandma and Grandpa thanks for the letter and that I am very safe. I enjoyed their letter and the stories in it. Yesterday the mission president's wife called informing us about the swine flu. Elder Kleinman and I had heard about it on Sunday from a member but just briefly. But anyways, the president's wife just told us a bunch of things to do to avoid it and what to do if we got it. Don't worry. We are in good hands. This will probably just pass soon enough like the west Nile virus and bird flu.

If I'm remembering right, BYU is this weekend. (track and field) Good luck Ashley and Erik and also tell the team I wish them all luck. How is soccer going for Justin? Is he still on defense?

Thanks for everything. Ienjoy your letters and packages like always. I love you all and I am so grateful for your examples. Remember what we learned in conference and stay close to the Lord.

Elder Gray

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Crazy Thursday

This week has been a crazy week. Thanks for the package. I stuck one of the mini Preach my Gospel's in my scripture case so I can always have one with me. And the candy is really good. I am still working on it :)
I love hearing about track and the family. Those are the two things I miss the most back home. So keep telling me all you want. I might have to steal Ashley's Arcadia medal. I'm jealous :) Tell Ashley good job! Maybe I could train with those 2 when I get home. That's funny about Justin and those bananas. Is there anything else you want me to nudge him along with? ;)
So with transfers next week we will have P day on Tuesday. We find out Monday night if we are getting transferred. I will let you know then what's happening.
Thanks for the quote. It is really true. The thought has crossed my mind several times that there is no limit to how much I can grow out here. The more effort, the bigger the reward. Keep that in mind, especially in sports, you two track stars ;)
Last Thursday was really crazy. We met Satan himself. We had weekly planning, then went to an investigator's house to teach. Her name is Mickey. We committed her for baptism and she accepted (she changed her mind though on Saturday and doesn't want us back :( unfortunately. After that we went in an area of town that we hadn't been in before. We pulled up to an apartment complex and the first person we ran into was a little Mexican guy on crack. He was high and couldn't think very well. It was sad because he had rotted away teeth and had no meat on his bones. After that we saw a profane sign posted by the apartment management. As we were leaving the apartments we tried to talk to a lady that was knocking on a door. She had one leg, was dirty, was carrying a wad of cash and a begging sign, and she was really grumpy and looked like she needed more drugs. It was the perfect example of what addictions do to people. Truly sad.
After that, we started walking down the street and a guy pulled up beside us and told us to be careful because we were in a dangerous neighborhood. We kept walking because it didn't feel that dangerous, just a bunch of weird people. A couple minutes later we saw a guy with dreadlocks and a vest walking and stopped to talk to him but he just kept on going right into his house. Just then a big guy that looked like a hippy/mountainman popped up from the bushes by the front porch. He was the drunkest I have ever seen someone. He couldn't say anything without slurring it. He said something about hating mormons and when we asked for him if he could refer us to someone, he literally could not think, because he was so wasted. This whole time he had a stupid smile on his face. He disappeared into his house. We didn't even get twenty feet away from the house before we started talking to another interesting guy. This one looked pretty normal besides being a little dirty but right in the middele our converstation he asked us if he could "roll one". He then proceeded to roll a cigarette with who-knows-what in it. We had a good conversation with him though and he seemed like a pretty good guy deep down. He donated 32 cents to us to give to the church. We had just gotten done talking to him when a cop pulled up. He asked us if we had seen a certain guy. He proceeded to describe him. The description matched the guy with dreadlocks perfectly. We told the cop that the guy he was looking for was in the house taht we were standing in front of. The cop called in backup and another cop pulled up. We left so we don't know what happened with that situation. (As Chris' mother .... I am really glad they got out of there!)
We started walking down the street again and saw a guy passionately sniffing roses in his front yard. He would grab a rose in both hands and take deep breaths, then move on to the next one. He had long sleek black hair. A long satan beard (satan or satin?), and tatoos all over his right arm and just a couple on his left. We started talking and he was like "sorry guys, but as you can see," pointing to his right arm, "I work for the other side." He then proceeded to explain how he finds joy in being miserable and how he was predestined to not be saved. He also said how he and his friend were talking about how mormons are the only ones going to heaven. He was probably one of the nicer people we talked to that day, just horribly misguided. Its sad how Satan can trick people like that. We knocked on two more doors then went to dinner.
After dinner, we committed another person for baptism. Her name is Ellen and she is real sweet.
I will snail mail you the rest of the story.
And don't worry we were never in any danger. We are lucky if we meet one really crazy person in one day. We just got lucky and met, like, seven that day!
Stay close to the Lord and I love you all.
Elder Gray

Monday, April 13, 2009

The only way we can truly teach people is with the spirit.

Hola de Tejas mi familia,
I am doing well here.  Thanks for the Easter basket.  I actually just got it.

I don't know why they couldn't find it before. It’s pretty big. Thanks for
everything. I am excited to eat some more sugar. I'm sure I can still
give those Easter things to some people even though Easter has passed.
And you’re welcome for the pics. Sorry I didn't send any till now. It
seems like the whole weekend people are celebrating down here.
Good Friday is a pretty big deal because there’s a lot of Mexicans

who are all catholic. I forgot to bring the letters I received from you
all to the library so I will do my best to answer the questions I remember.
So what was this about dad going to Alaska? Justin told me how his

plane got delayed. And yes Justin, my companion does snore ;) He
is a really funny guy though. That was a good analogy you had in
your letter Erik. Keep working hard. You are getting about the same
times or better than I did when I was a freshman. My success slowly
built up all through high school. That’s cool about your races too,
Ashley. Both of you look up
Alma 37:6.
That is cool that Justin is playing defender.  Just like Ashley.  This

week has gone by pretty fast. We have been working pretty hard. We
have been working a lot in the area around the university lately. This
is by the north part of the campus. Its kinda cool cuz we have driven
past the football, baseball, and softball stadiums like every day. The
football stadium and practice facilities are just on the other side of the
road from our area's boundaries. It is a really big stadium.
We met this lady in that area that is a refugee from New Orleans.  

They lived on a bridge for a week. She is really cool and humble.
Her name is Mickey. She is about 30 and lives with her son and
nephew. We've only taught one lesson with her so far but we're
praying that we can keep teaching her. We haven't been able to
get a hold of Alisha so hopefully we can soon.
Elder Kleinman is really good at studying.  He teaches me new things

about studying better every day.
We have been helping a lady in the ward named Beverly Bliss that

doesn't go to church anymore. Her son still does most of the time.
We have gone over a couple times and done yard work for her. She
really appreciates it. We are just gonna keep on being nice to her
and maybe someday she will come back to church. I sure hope so.
The other day when we were tracting we ran into a house that was

being rented out by some college students. It turns out they are all
part of a Christian club at the university. One of them is a preacher's
son so he knows the Bible inside and out. It was funny because he
is only a couple years older than me but he gives a better argument
than most everyone else, including the ministers. But we had to
move on because you can't teach someone without the spirit and
even though it was a nice discussion, the kid wasn't receptive to the
spirit. The only way we can truly teach people is with the spirit.
Stay close to the Lord and I love you all.
Elder Gray

Monday, April 6, 2009

"Remember, you are never too far gone"

Hey everyone,
Thanks for the package. I haven't actually got it yet but I'm
sure its
awesome :) Long story short, I got a slip in the
mailbox saying there is a
package waiting for me but they
couldn't find it. I will try again

But anyways things are going good here. James and Lauren
progressing so we might have to drop them. Alisha is
doing really good.
I don't know if I explained about her in a
previous letter but she is
doing awesome. She is still keeping
all of her commitments. She is
really nice and she is 100%
truthful. When she has a question she
doesn't beat around
the bush. Not too many people are like that.

I am adjusting well to the field. I love sharing the gospel
with so many
people. And when someone questions our
testimonies when we are out
tracting it seems like
something always happens in studies later on to
my testimony about that particular thing.

We had zone conference on Friday. I loved it. The whole
thing was
centered around the atonement. President Cutler
gave everyone in the
mission a packet with a bunch of talks
and chapters of scripture about
the atonement a couple
weeks ago. Zone conference along with this packet
strengthened my testimony about the atonement so much.

Conference was really good! I really liked every talk.
Especially Elder
Holland's. I always loved watching past
talks from him at the MTC. His
testimony of the Atonement
is so strong (as are all the brethren). For
anyone reading
this letter, remember, you are never too far gone. I
Elder Holland said something about how even though you
might feel
alone sometimes you never are. Jesus will always
be there for you. All
these studies about the atonement
lately and zone and general conference
have been so
wonderful for me. Also I liked all of Elder Uchtdorf's
but especially the one in thepriesthood session. We truly
need to
focus on the most important things in life. It
seems like he always has
some story that is easy to
remember and is a really good life lesson. I
also liked
the couple talks about temples. I think it was Sunday

afternoon. I just wish we could go more out here on the
mission. Was
conference always this good?

Here's a couple things I think ya'll might find interesting.
If not,
skip this section ;) I am getting into the low 170's
as far as my
weight goes. That's about 10 lbs gained so
far on my mission. We play
basketball six days a week at
6:15 in the morning. We did not win clean
car award at
zone conference (it was still really shiny and clean). I
finally got my bag with all my books in it so now I can
study more than
just my scriptures and the Gospel
Principles manual. I like cheese on
most of the things
I cook. I tried a banana and liked it.

Thanks for all the letters. I love hearing from everyone.
Even the
little random facts are fun to know just cuz
all I hear from home.
I am proud of you all. Keep
working hard in all you do and it will pay
off, maybe not
right now but you will see the fruits of your labors in
Also remember when you are feeling down, stop to think
about all
Heavenly Father has blessed us with. I love
looking at the stars in the
sky or a sunset and being
grateful that God blessed us with something
like that.
Ha that sounded kinda cheesy, looking at that last sentence
I just wrote, but its really something I would recommend
trying. Stay
Close to the Lord.

-Elder Gray

P.S. I am sending a letter with pictures today. I promise.
Also do you
think you could get me Austin Pickett's home