Monday, November 30, 2009

Five Thanksgiving Dinners

So first of all I would like to thank you for the package I received the
other week. I forgot to thank you last week. We have enjoyed the apple
cider and I really enjoyed that shirt and pillowcase Erik. Thanks a
bunch. That kind of looked like my or your profile. Is it on of us?
(Erik's project in Graphic Design class... screen printing of a runner)
Thanks for the pictures too. All you younger ones have changed a lot.
Justin seems taller. Erik and Ashley have changed some too. I’m afraid
Erik will probably be able to beat me up when I get home. I better
start doing more push ups :)

This Thanksgiving was a lot of fun. We had five Thanksgiving dinners in
three days (three of them were onThanksgiving day). I was so stuffed.
Our main dinner on Thanksgiving was at the Jensen apartment. They
both went to George Wythe in Cedar so it was kind of cool to talk to them.
They have a couple kids and they invited friends with kids over so it was
crazy the whole time.

This week I have been reading in Alma. The missionary stories in there
are really neat. All the Lamanites converting to Christ, burying their
weapons; I like it all. Everything in there shows how much zeal to keep
the commandments, they had. Every time I read something in the BOM,
even if I’ve read it before, a new thing is brought to light. It’s
awesome. Gordon B. Hinckley once said that he got more out of the Book
of Mormon the second hundred times he read it. Wow! Remember to make
the Book of Mormon a part of every day.

Mi espanol esta mejorando. Tambien mi testimonio en todas las cosas del
evangelio esta mas grande que antes de mi mision. Me pongo en practica
las cosas que me ensenaron. Gracias por sus amor y devocion y todo.
Estoy agradecido por todos mis bendiciones. Se que esta iglesia es la
unica iglesia verdadera. Os Amo y recordad seguir a Cristo.

Here's the Spanish to English translator:
(My Spanish is improving. Also my testimony in all the things of the

gospel is greater than before my mission. I put myself in practices
the things that they embosomed to me. Thanks for its love and devotion
and everything. I am thankful for all blessings. That this church
is the only true church. I love to you and you remember to follow

Con Amor, (With love)
Elder Gray

Monday, November 23, 2009

Tell the extended family this weekend that I said hi.

So I know you were expecting an email from me tomorrow and honestly I
thought it was going be tomorrow. But it turns out that because of
Thanksgiving, transfers this week are on Tuesday instead of Thursday.
Anyways, Elder Best and I are staying here in Buda for another transfer.
We are excited to keep the work going here. The members are still
awesome. They keep giving us referrals. Not all the referrals want to
learn but at least the people of the ward are trying to help.

We went to a great fireside last night. It was put on by the High
Priests group in our ward. The focus was on missionary work. They had
a couple members share their conversion stories. They all had great
stories but one member, Brother Ragu, had a real awesome and unique
story. He is from Malaysia. He had a really hard life. He worked on a
plantation when he was young and didn’t have any parents to look up to
so he had to just watch people and learn from them. He couldn’t afford
to eat very well so coconuts were a big staple in his diet. Through
some good fortune he got to go to a technical school in his later
teenage years and ended up working for an electronics company. He
worked hard at that job and sometime around then was when the church
came into his life. His wife was a staunch catholic (her dad is a
priest and her aunt a nun). His background was mixed with Catholicism,
Hinduism, and some Chinese customs. One interesting thing he said about
Hinduism is that a lot of the things they do correspond with the Mosaic
Law. Especially with the way they did sacrifices in their temples. He
thinks that Hindus are one of the lost tribes of Israel. So anyways he
was on a business trip on the island of Oahu, Hawaii and they were
driving around and saw the Temple. He really wanted to go in the big
white building so he went in by himself (he was with two Muslims that
did not want to go inside). He signed the guest book and then two weeks
later, back in Malaysia, some missionaries stopped by his house. He
usually didn’t let missionaries in past the gate but he let them in
because he felt that he needed to hear the message. Eventually his
family was baptized. Then a couple years later some extended family was
baptized. There was one family member that was 104 years old that got
baptized. Through the next couple of years his job was getting too
dangerous because some people were out to kill him. He got offered a
job here and accepted. He is one of the strongest members of the ward.
He borrowed the PMG dvds from us and is just loving them. He is always
a missionary. He is a really awesome person with an awesome testimony.

Here is a story I heard the other week in church:
There was a man getting his hair cut at the barbers. Eventually the
conversation turned towards God and the barber stated, “I don’t believe
in God because there is a lot of suffering in the world. Children
dying. Murders. Horrible things. Why would God allow such a thing to
happen?” The man getting his haircut pondered the comment for a moment
and then said very simply, “I don’t believe in barbers. See that
homeless man over there? He has hair halfway down his back and his
beard isn’t trimmed. Why would a barber allow that to happen?”
Baffled, the barber exclaimed, “That is ridiculous! I am a barber.
They have to come to me if they want a haircut.” And that is how God
works too. We have to come to him for help.

I love you all. Have a great thanksgiving and break from school. Tell
the extended family this weekend that I said hi. Stay close to the

Elder Gray

Monday, November 16, 2009

Howdy yall

How is everyone? I am doing really great this week. The area is
getting more and more productive as we keep working hard. It has been
fairly warm lately except this morning we walked outside and it was
about 50 degrees instead of 60-70. I’m sure you guys would love for it
to get up to 50 right now but for me, its cold.

Yesterday we passed a list around the ward to see when people could
generally come out and help us teach. We got a pretty good response.
We have about 18 names on that list right now and it will continue to
grow as we ask more people about their schedules. When we passed it
around to the YW I think they forgot that it was just for the adult
leaders. A couple of the girls signed up. It was funny and great that
they were willing to help but we can’t really bring young women with us.
We had a good laugh about that.

In our last District Meeting we talked about doubling our faith and
being bold. Some of the ways we came up with to double faith are: Read
and Listen to God’s words, base our faith on correct doctrine, repent
continually, have a positive attitude, pray with fervor, and a couple of
other things. We also practiced some door approaches. We were supposed
to be super overbearing in our role plays. It was funny but it really
helped me realize how bold I could be without being overbearing. The
last couple of days I have been trying harder to be bold and it has
worked well. One lady we talked to last night had a couple of
misunderstandings about our church but we were bold and persistent.
When we left she made a comment about how we really were more Christian
than she originally thought.

We got to help vaccinate sheep and goats again on Saturday. It was
just an oral vaccination so there weren’t any needles involved. Thank
goodness! It was a lot of fun especially since this time I got to
wrestle em and shove the syringe in their mouths. There was one that I
did that was just a little heavier than me. Lauren, the lady that owns
the animals, calls that one and two others “the linebackers.” He
struggled a bit and I ended up getting pulled to the other end of the
pen a time or two. But eventually I muscled his head up and gave him
his vaccination. The rest weren’t quite as strong as him so it wasn’t
too bad.

That is way awesome that there some more convert baptisms going on in
the ward. Good job and keep up the good work and remember how great of
a tool Preach My Gospel is. Thanks for that scripture in DC 18:10,
15-16. That is a really great scripture. Ashley you had a question
about being busy and stuff. Remember when things get difficult, get
down on your knees and pray. I have a big testimony on the power of
prayer. Sometimes we get so busy and it gets stressful. I also have a
big testimony in planning. When I plan out all the things I need to do,
I am a lot less worried because I know that everything will get done.
Then in your prayers let your Heavenly Father know all the things that
you need help with and always express gratitude. In the end, keep doing
the basic things that we are all taught to do (scriptures, tithing,
prayer, etc…). I promise that if you do these things that it will help
a lot. I know that our Heavenly Father loves us and wants whats best
for us. I hope you all have a great week. Keep up the good work and
keep the faith.

Elder Gray

Monday, November 9, 2009

Focusing on the task at hand


Things are going great down here in the great state of Texas. It rained
yesterday and that was nice. Lately it has been in the 70’s when its
sunny. Elder Best and I had interviews with President Cutler this last
week. They went very well. I asked him for some pointers on working
more with the members of the ward. He said a couple things I knew
already and some other good things that I hadn’t thought about yet. I
really like talking to him. Just talking with him seems to help bring
the spirit stronger.

We had a pretty interesting guy this week. He said he was against any
religion that started in the Middle East (namely Judaism, Christianity,
and Islam). He said he is going to shoot down any angels coming from
heaven with his Winchester. That whole night we met some pretty
interesting people.

We had a really good zone meeting this week. Zone meetings and zone
conferences are two different things. Zone meeting is just a meeting
with the missionaries in the zone. Zone conference is when a couple
zones get together and are instructed by the president, ap’s, and
occasionally a 70 or someone else. Honestly I can’t remember much of
what we talked about but it really motivated me to do my best and to
increase my faith more. One of our zone leaders, Elder Santa Cruz, said
something that really hit me: “Are we doing what we are doing for
ourselves or the Lord.” If we remember who we are here to help then
doing the right things all the time becomes that much easier.

Thanks for the letters/emails/candy/gummy hands ;) It’s always nice to
hear news from home and to get advice from you all. I really liked that
story about the three cowboys. It’s like being out here in the mission
field. Focusing on the task at hand is the best way to do it. If I
feel homesick or bored it won’t help the situation at all. It would
just make it worse. And don’t worry; I am not the type to get homesick.
I am doing great :) Keep the faith and I love you all.

Elder Gray

Monday, November 2, 2009

More important is what you felt, not so much what you heard

Howdy yall,
So I guess I will start with business first so I don’t forget. I did
receive that Reliv package on Tuesday last week. This apartment complex
is great with packages so you won't need to worry about sending anything
here. I really appreciate it. Thanks! I received those 3 shirts that
you sent me a couple months ago. Thanks for those. I received that
package last week. That was a great package. I love all the candy
especially the big gummy hand  I haven’t ever seen one of those
before. And don’t worry about sending the audio BOM stuff. It’s more
fun to read than listen to anyways. That’s pretty sweet about the new
bishopric. I don’t know most of them too well but it will be fun to get
to know them later on. I will miss having Bishop Allred though. He is
a really nice guy that loves everyone and tries to help them the best he
can. He is an awesome, humble guy. The Bishop here in Buda ward is
pretty neat too. He loves to fish and works for the Texas Wildlife
Magazine. He is really humble too. We have a great ward here. They
are ready to help in any way they can. I am excited for the future

On Tuesday we had the opportunity to hear from Elder Snow of the quorum
of the 70 at our zone meeting. We had 3½ zones there so it was pretty
big. He started off by having his wife share her testimony. He then
got up and told us not to take very many notes because we aren’t going
to go and read them later on. But he did tell us to take notes on what
the spirit prompted us to write. Then we basically had a big discussion
for the next three hours. I felt the spirit very strong the whole time.
We talked about the spirit and its importance. Here are some things
that I took from it:
-More important is what you felt, not so much what you heard.
-Revelation is remembering.
-If we don’t make that connection with the Holy Ghost, we can’t help
others connect.
-We must have the spirit of revelation at all times and in all things;
if we don’t, we can’t function the way God wants us to.
-It doesn’t matter whether it’s the Holy Ghost speaking directly to us
or if it’s our own thoughts. If we are living the way we are supposed
to, there shouldn’t be a difference.
-Am I helping someone because I’m supposed to or because I really care
about that person and their welfare?
-We are bringing people unto Christ, not into the church. Therefore we
need to help everyone we can even if they are already a member. The way
we can help them is to help them feel the spirit. We can do that by
inviting them into our homes, sharing our testimonies, and many other
ways. When they feel the spirit, it will prompt them to act.

It was really awesome. I am so glad I was able to participate in that

We are teaching a couple people right now. LaTosha is pretty awesome.
She accepted the Word of Wisdom and really wants to change. We are
working with the 14 year old teenager still. Not much new with her.
Other than those two we are doing a lot of finding with moderate
success. There are a lot of potentials in the area book that we have
started to visit. So far not too much success with that part but we'll
keep pushin along. The work with the ward is getting better too. There
have been some good missionaries and some bad ones in the past so right
now it’s a matter of gaining their trust. Elder Best is like me in some
ways. He doesn’t like to argue (for the most part) so that is nice when
we have difficult people. I still love it here. It has been in the
60’s and 70’s here. I am getting too acclimatized to Texas because that
felt a little chilly to me. I am going to die when I come home in the
dead of winter. Maybe I’ll just stand in front of the freezer my last
month during studies ;) That’s cool that it snowed there. I miss snow.

Elder Best and I got permission to go to our ward trunk or treat
activity last Wednesday. We dressed up as missionaries :) We couldn’t
pass out candy so we passed out pass-along cards. It was lots of fun.

Have fun and stay close to the Lord. I love you all more than I can

Elder Gray