Thursday, December 23, 2010

Home

His brothers holding up his Welcome Home sign! Waiting to see Chris step off the plane.
With Bishop Allred.
And President Schmutz.

Monday, December 13, 2010

nos vemos en dos dias (C u in two days)

Howdy ya'll,
Well here it is. Your last email from me. I don't have too much to say that hasn't been said already. My mission was the greatest thing that ever happened to me. So many great memories. I just thought that I would share my favorite song from the spanish hymn book. It sums up what our mission is all about as servants of God. It isn't in the english hymnbook, just fyi.
Placentero Nos Es Trabajar #88 Himnos
Placentero nos es trabajar en la viña del gran Rey Jesus, y honroso nos es predicar, a Su pueblo Su ley y su Luz.
Por Su luz, por Su luz, placentero nos es trabajar. Por Su luz, por su luz, moriremos en El sin pesar.
La palabra de Dios escuchad con ahinco, lealtad y fervor. Para siempre jamas recordad Su pureza, verdad y amor.
Con amor, con amor la palabra de Dios escuchad. Con amor, con amor, la bandera de Dios empuñad.
Oh Hermanos adios, pues adios! El momento de ir vino ya. Si guardamos la fe_en el gran Dios, nos veremos aun mas alla.
Mas Alla, mas alla, oh hermanos adios, pues, adios! Mas alla, mas alla, moraremos con Dios en amor.

Google translate:
It
is enjoyable work Hymns # 88
Pleasant we are working in the vineyard of the great King Jesus, and honored us to preach to His people His law and His Light.
By His light, His light, pleasant, we are working. By His light, light, die in Him without regret.
Hear the word of God with zeal, loyalty and fervor. Never forever remember his purity, truth and love.
With love, love, hear the word of God. With love, with love, take up the banner of God.
Oh brothers goodbye, because goodbye! Came time to go now. If we keep the fe_en the great God, we will even further.
Beyond, beyond, oh brothers goodbye, then, adios! Beyond, beyond, we will dwell with God in love.


Well I don't know what else to say. I will expound on whatever you want me to on Wednesday. Love ya'll
Love,
Elder Gray

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Exciting Week

Hey!
Well this week is gonna be exciting. Our area is being combined with Boerne 2nd ward to make one big Boerne area. Elder Sherwood is leaving and Elder Bertoch and Elder Gardner are gonna stay and receive another district leader companion. On Thursday we will receive the other Elder. So for about five days we will still have 4 elders here and then I leave and It'll be just the three of them here. On Thursday I get to go with the departing missionaries and go to the temple and have some type of dinner thing at president's house. Then on next Tuesday I head down to San Antonio to leave early Wednesday morning. Its gonna be confusing coordinating all of that but we'll figure that out. I just thought you'd like to know my crazy schedule for this next week.
The work here is still progressing. We are going to teach Carolina and baptize her as soon as she's out of the hospital. We have had a couple more investigators drop so we are back to a tiny teaching pool again. I bought some cool goodies from the candy shop here in town. You will love them ;)
I agree with Clinton, I would like that layover in the airport so that I can be a missionary for a couple more hours.
I love you all and am excited to see you soon.
Love,
Elder Gray
PS I am so glad that the NCAA thing went through!

Dear Justin,
I remember Egypt day. That was a lot of fun. We made these cool wigs out of yarn and I looked like a girl ;) Good luck with your tonsil surgery. I guess I will be there so I will wish you good luck in person next week. One thing I want to do when I get home is watch some of our dvd's in Spanish. Like finding nemo, shrek, etc....You wanna join me?
Love ya,
Elder Gray

Dear Erik,

Darn. Now I have to learn that song. (I saw Three Ships by Jon Schmidt) Its a sweet song. Another cool music artist that I've ran across on my mission is Paul Cardall. He has some sweet piano music. I don't know if he's made any sheet music for it though. Keep working hard, especially in seminary.

Love,

Elder Gray


Hey Ash,
Its great to hear from ya. Footlocker sounds like a lot of fun. I remember all my xc friends always had such a great time. One of my mission buddies is gonna play football at Mt. Sac. I hear its a pretty good school. That's so awesome about Brandon. I remember him. No one could pronounce his name :) He is a really good kid. I'm surprised that he wasn't a member already. Great job for setting an example. Out here I have seen that a good friend's example is what usually starts it all for people getting in the church.
Keep it up. I will see you next week
Love,
Elder Gray




Monday, December 6, 2010

Pictures....

I love it when I receive a memory card in the mail.... just wanted to share some of his pics!







Does this mean they have been working hard doing missionary work and playing hard on P days? Looks they like had a neat adventure exploring and caving.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Understanding Heart

Hey,
This week went fairly well. Its getting colder here. The other night it got down to 31 degrees and we've had a couple of other nights just as cold. I like it. I got my "trunky papers" in the mail last Wednesday. It was my flight plans, info about baggage, stuff about sending my bike home, and a couple other things. I think the only thing I will need from you all is a bit of money in my account. I am really grateful for all that you have helped me with so far. Thanks! I will send a memory card home in the mail today. Since I forgot to bring my papers into the library I will also include anything else I need to tell you.
We had exchanges this last week with the zone leaders. I went with Elder Howell and spent a day in his area. It was actually the area that the Ellingsons live in. Didn't see them though. I enjoyed working with him. He came to the MTC the same time as me. He is really a bold but nice person so it was nice to get an honest opinion of what I needed to improve on.
We have an investigator who is in the hospital right now with pneumonia. We went with a recently ordained elder in the ward and gave her a blessing. As soon as she recovers she will be ready for baptism. She just moved from Colorado and her daughter is a member. She called the bishop a little over a week ago and asked to be taught by the missionaries. We are excited to teach her soon. Also in her neighborhood we found this Mexican guy who is pretty interested. The spirit was really there and I was able to talk a lot better, in Spanish, than I ever could have done on my own. We are gonna teach him again on Wednesday.
We had a great lesson in elders quorum yesterday. The big thing I learned is to ask our Heavenly Father for an "understanding heart"(just like king Solomon asked for). Oh and also in sacrament meeting we had some great talks on being grateful. I learned about how the most likable people are the ones that express gratitude the most often. Also a lady by the name of Sister Graham shared a story about Rulon Gardner, the greco-roman wrestler (greco roman is a style of wrestling). Because of a miss-communication he missed the weigh-in for the Olympics by about 20 seconds and was disqualified. He didn't get bitter. He worked hard for four more years and came back and beat that huge Russian guy. This Russian hadn't been beaten ever and hadn't even had a point scored against him in the last decade. Rulon beat him. I don't remember what the story had to do with gratefulness but I liked it nonetheless.
That is awesome you went to that Jazz game. The night they played the spurs we went to a dinner and the member had a jazz shirt on. I don't know if they won or not. I really enjoyed that talk by Justin. I will have to remember that story. Thanks for the HS football updates. Too bad for Hurricane. I dunno if I told you already but we have a member from Hurricane in the ward.
Well that is all I can think of. I love you all and hope for the best. Keep on being awesome and I love you all.
Con Amor,
Elder Gray

Monday, November 22, 2010

Only Scratched the Surface.....

Hey!
How are you all? I'm doing great. We had to take Elder Bertoch to the doctor earlier this week. He has had the flu and it wouldn't go away. So when he went to the doctor they give him 3 different prescriptions. After that he has been kinda out of it. We are still working hard though. We were able to find a great family to teach last Monday. They live in a complex that is full of Mexicans so we were surprised when we found someone that spoke English and even more surprised when they let us in to teach them. We are going to teach them again tonight.
Also some of the recent converts that we are working with are doing awesome. Andy is awesome. She always wants to help us with stuff like Christmas shopping and other things. She has a great heart. Her kids, Bryce and Logan, are really cool too. Logan is 2 or 3 and is the cutest little kid. I'll have to take some pics of their family before I leave so I can send them to you. Speaking of pictures, I need to send another memory card home. I'm sorry I haven't for a while. I will soon.
For Thanksgiving we are going to visit a couple of members. The Johnstone family is going to give us our main meal. They are a cool family. Blake is going to turn in his mission papers in the next couple of weeks.
I read a scripture the other day at the end of Jacob or one of those other short books. He talks about how his life has passed away as if it had been a dream. I feel like my mission has been similar. Looking back, two years is a long time. Its a whole tenth of the life that I have lived so far. But then it feels like it was only yesterday that I left. It has been a great experience. I have learned so much and made friends that I will never lose. I feel like I have learned to be a better friend as well. The greatest thing by far that I have learned is the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ. I have gained so much from his sacrifice. I understand him so much better and I'm sure I have only scratched the surface of what he has to offer. My mission means everything to me.
As the weeks wind down I am excited to start another chapter. But this chapter is going to end with a bang. Don't worry, I will work until the moment you see me. I'm pretty stoked to talk to all the people in the airports. It'll be fun. I love you all and hope for the best.
Love ya,
Elder Gray
P.S. D&C 10:5

(
Pray always, that you may come off conqueror; yea, that you may conquer Satan, and that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work.)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Honest Truth Seeker

Hey,
We met an awesome investigator this week. He is an honest truth seeker. We went into a gated community and hurried to the first house before we got kicked out. The first door we knocked on he let us right in. He was on the phone but we waited until he was done. He only had about ten minutes so we did a quick restoration lesson. He was really intrigued and wanted to know more about us and was willing to pray and ask.
We also had a really awesome fireside on Sunday about member missionary work. I sent the attachments of it so I won't go too in depth in the email. But it was an awesome fireside. The members that came learned a lot. So did I, for right now and when I get home.
Our area is probably 20X40 miles. Most of it is pretty concentrated in Boerne, Fair Oaks, or the Dominion. But, rich people (like George Strait and half the spurs team) live in the Dominion so it is heavily guarded and they won't let us in the community without an appointment. We have a car. I don't think I will ride my bike the rest of my mission. With my bike, the mission will help me send it home. I just have to pay them some money. My clothes are holding up good enough. I will be fine the rest of my mission. I don't know how much I have on my debit card but if I have $100-200 that should be plenty in case there is some fee or something that unexpectedly comes up. That's cool if you look at my planners and letters. I guess you already have but go ahead and dig through whatever you want.
Sorry this isn't too long. The library is really busy today and they aren't being very patient with us. Plus, we are burning cds of the fireside for the ward members. So anyways I hope everything goes well and that you all have a great week.
Love,
Elder Gray

Monday, November 8, 2010

Team

Hey everyone,
This week went great. We are continually building up the ward trust and building up our teaching pool. This week was a little hard to find new investigators. But we are re-evaluating and gearing up for another week. We had a couple service opportunities this week. We went to go help someone cut wood. I got to use a really dull log splitter to split a bunch of cedar. It was a lot of fun. It was a really good workout because I was sore all over the next day.
I bore my testimony in sacrament meeting yesterday. It had been a little while since I'd done that in sacrament meeting. It is always a nice feeling to get up and do that.
I'm sorry that I really don't have much to say. This week was full of a lot of knocking on doors without too much success. But, hopefully we got some good seeds planted.
I love you all and hope for the best. Keep on keepin' on and remember what team you're on.
Love,
Elder Gray

Monday, November 1, 2010

New Area and New Companion

Hey,
So I just got transferred into a really awesome area. Its called Boerne (pronounced Burn-e). Its a lot different than my last area. There are a lot of rich people here. Its always exciting to have a little change-up. Each area has its own unique challenges and strengths. It reminds me a lot of what we had in Buda. Also, there's lots of deer here. We always see them outside our apartment. We are trying to devise a plan to catch one. No luck so far ;) But anyways this area has a lot of potential. I just hope I can make a difference the short time I'm here. We have a speaker coming on Nov. 14 for a fireside. Apparently she is really good at getting wards fired up about missionary work. I'm excited. On Saturday night we got to be taste testers for the ward trunk or treat party. We tried a bunch of different kinds of chili and a bunch of desserts. It was a lot of fun and it all tasted great. I got to meet a bunch of awesome ward members. One of them grew up in Hurricane so he updated me on all the region 9 football stuff. He told me about that safety that pulled Cedar to a win against Desert Hills and then said Cedar was gonna play Juan Diego or someone like that on Saturday. Who won?
My companion's name is Elder Bertoch. He is from Prescott, Arizona. He was in my district when he first came into the mission in Pflugerville. I'm glad I got a companion that I already know. In our district we have two elders that live with us, sisters in Kerrville and sisters in Fredricksburg. They are all great missionaries. I got to interview an investigator for baptism in Kerrville. He was a big football player type guy with a huge heart. He was very ready to be baptized and did so on Saturday.
As I was leaving my last area I realized how much I really loved that area. Honestly most of the time that I was there I was a little frustrated with what I thought was a lack of progress. But as I was saying goodbye to everyone I realized how much we had really done. The Samoan family, the Taala's, were hard to leave just because we had been with them through a lot. I really enjoyed that area, just like the others.
Yesterday on Halloween we worked like normal. The only thing we were advised to do was to not knock on doors later on. So we just visited members. Theres a great family, the Johnstones, that we had dinner at and then watched the Prophet of the Restoration movie. Their son is getting ready to go on a mission soon.
It sounds like you all had a fun Halloween. Is it cold there yet? It got down to 43 degrees the other night here. I had a great experience on Sunday. We didn't have any investigators at church so we went to the gospel doctrines class. Through a scripture, I recieved a renewed witness of the cleansing power of the atonement. I wish I could remember which one it was but its written down in my other planner. Thanks for sharing all your experiences. I know the Book of Mormon is true and so is the church. I love you all and hope for the best upcoming week.
Con Amor,
Elder Gray

New Address:
125 Cross Point Apt. #6204
Boerne, TX 78006


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A full sprint these last 7 weeks

Hey,
Greetings from the great country of Texas. As you might have heard, we seceded from the Union and have started the Republic of Texas. Very epic............
Well....maybe I just lied. But anyways, we have had a great week here. Teresa got confirmed. It was intense. It was my first one in spanish. She is way excited for this new step in her life. It brings me a lot of joy to watch people change their lives. I wish everyone had the fire that she does.

William Noll, a convert of about fifteen months, went through the temple with his family a couple of weeks ago. Elder Smith and I helped teach him back in my 2nd area last year. About two months ago he changed wards and started coming here. It was really awesome that he moved here. I hadn't seen him in about a year. He is the ward mission leader now. He has changed a lot in the last couple of years. I know that only the Lord could help someone that much. It strengthens my testimony even more to see him and his family happy.

So something funny happened this morning. I was trying to do leg curls on my bed with a backpack full of weights strapped to my legs. I kept slipping of the bed so I told Elder Kelepi to sit on me. When I tried it again we where both too heavy so it broke the corner of my boxspring. We all laughed pretty hard.

This area has been a great area. I will be sad to leave it. But I am going to love my next area and I'm going to sprint this last 7 weeks as hard as I can. Thanks for the rice crispy pizza. I had a slice this morning. It tasted great. Thanks for all your love and support. Stay awesome.

Love,
Elder Gray

p.s.
I am getting transferred. I don't know where but I'll let you know next monday

Monday, October 18, 2010

New and Clean

Hey,
So I did receive last weeks email but I just read it today. I guess sometimes it just takes a little longer when there's pics (maybe they filter it and check it out or something, i dunno). But anyways great pics. Congratulations to everyone for callings, XC, percussion, homecoming stuff and whatever else yall are doing.
We had a baptism yesterday. It was really awesome. Teresa has changed a lot in just the past couple of weeks. There are some really neat people in our wards here. Sadly we do have a lot of inactive people but the ones that do come are just amazing. So anyways we had some great talks and Elder Alas had his first baptism. He even got to do it twice cuz her feet popped up. Teresa said that she felt new and clean and just had a feeling that she couldn't describe. It really is one of the best things in the world to see the ones that truly change their lives. We have a lot of people around that don't want to change, in the church and out. We see alcohol and immorality everywhere. But then we find a person that wants to change their life for the better, they want to get out of the crazy life they're in. Finding those people makes it all worth it.
Our trainings were really awesome this week. The first day was pretty much all about tightening up some loose bolts as far as the rules go. President defined the key indicators and how we count them in a way that will help us focus more on the people than on just getting numbers. He also defined the rule on music. That is something that I really appreciated. Its a lot easier now to know what we should and shouldn't listen to. He made the line between the black and the white a lot more definitive. Two sister missionaries gave a really good lesson about teaching people and not lessons. They really helped me bridge the gap between the mission world and the real world. We did some role plays where we were helping a real friend from back at home to come closer in the gospel. It really hit home for me as I practiced helping one of my buddies from back home. There was a lot of other great stuff we learned throughout the week.
We also had the opportunity to go to the temple on Saturday. It was a really good session. One of the temple workers told us to look for some specific symbolism in the designs of the rooms. It really opened up my eyes and helped me to understand some principles of the Plan of Salvation better.
I really enjoy hearing from you all and am also grateful for all the things you're helping me with. Keep up the good work and I love you all.
Love,
Elder Gray

Monday, October 11, 2010

Effectively

Hey,
This week was a really good week. The other Elders in our ward had a baptism. His name is Carlos and he is very committed. He has really bad back problems and could barely even get to church. He woke up three and a half hours early to get ready and he still just barely made it to sacrament meeting towards the end. I got to interview him for baptism earlier this week. He has a really awesome life story. His life has been spared more than once. He even died once for 4 minutes and 22 seconds during surgery. The elders that taught him really helped him to have a very spiritual conversion.
The weather here has cooled down a lot. Its in the 60's in the mornings and the 80's during the day usually. Its so nice.
The next four days we have meetings from 9am to 4pm. They are showing us how to use PMG more effectively through the new program they have implemented. Also president is going to clarify how we count our key indicators. It should be an awesome week, full of lots of new things to learn.
We are helping a member of the ward get on a mission. It is really fun to be able to help him because he doesn't come from the strongest member family. He is the only active one. He has a real strong testimony.
I know that the church is true. I love yall. Keep on lovin' life and living it to the fullest. I will do the same.
Love,
Elder Gray

Monday, October 4, 2010

This is what truly taught me...

Hey,
This week was really awesome. We have an investigator, Teresa, that is getting ready for baptism this coming Sunday. She is really awesome. She is very willing to sacrifice to do what is right. She gave up coffee with no problem and she is changing so much already. We are gonna meet with her most of the days this week to finish up teaching her. She really enjoyed conference too. She came to the Sunday morning session.
I really enjoyed conference. Down here people can get it on the internet of course, cable, or BYUTV if they have satellite. We just went to the church to watch it. During Elder McConkie's talk, the signal started going crazy and we couldn't watch it in English or Spanish. Luckily someone had it on the internet in the family history library. We crammed in there and then one of the members had a great idea. She plugged in the microphone into the gym and then brought it right next to the computer speakers. We were able to have audio in the gym. Then about 20 minutes later the regular broadcast started working again. It was a fun. My favorite talks were probably President Monson's on gratefulness and Uchtdorf's talk when he talked about Vince Lombardi. I thought it was funny that a guy from Germany mentioned an American sport. But that's not what I liked about it most. I liked how he talked about how Vince Lombardi would go down to the very basics. "Men, this is a football." I had a question going into conference about how I could achieve my bigger goals. He answered it clearly in his talk. Master the basics. Line upon line, precept on precept. There were so many other great talks. I clearly saw what I need to improve and how I can do it. I love the spirit. That is what truly taught me.
Remember, write down your goals and then go out and achieve them. Remember what you learned in conference. I love you all and hope and pray for the best.
Love,
Elder Gray
Notes of Interest:
A Postcard in last Friday's mail says:
Hey I forgot to tell you all that my release date has been set. It was supposed to be the 28th of December and I forgot to write it in my email. Then, just after emailing, we got a call saying that all of us that were going home on the 28th of December have been changed to the 15th of December. So my release date now is December 15. I love you all and I appreciate ya'll.
Love,
Elder Gray


A letter received from the TSAM mission office today (Monday) tells us his flight schedule... Departs San Antonio on 12/15 in the morning and arrives in SLC and has a 4 hour layover in the afternoon before he flies into Cedar City arriving at 5:52pm.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sweet Referral

Hey,
This week was really awesome. We had a zone council on Thursday with the assistants to the president. It was really awesome. The biggest thing I learned was how to really study and get the most out of it. It made a night and day difference in my studies right away. I applied this quote: "Knowledge carefully recorded is knowledge available at time of need." I had not been keeping a very good study journal. I learned so much more as I wrote down the really cool things I learned. I was amazed how much better my study went. I thought I was learning a lot when I just kept the things in my head and didn't write them down.
Also this week we received a sweet referral from a former TSAMer. There was a lady that he had taught. She text-ed him and told him that she wanted to be baptized. So he gave us a call and let us know. We came over to her house and taught her. She accepted to be baptized on October 10th. She has given up a bunch of things and is really willing to give up all she needs to for the Lord. She is in hair-dressing school and was planning to take a trip up to Austin for a conference yesterday. But, she decided not to go so that she could be baptized on the 10th. Sacrifice does really bring forth blessings. She had a great time at church.
I am excited for conference. I have learned so much each time. I wish I would have realized how big a blessing it is before my mission.
Jalapenos..... Awesome! I have definitely been eating a bunch of hot stuff here. I remember before my mission I didn't even like the fire sauce at Taco Bell. Now, it isn't even good because its so weak sauce (ha no pun intended). There's some really good hot sauce called Valentinas here. Do they have that back in Utah? When I first got to the mission I ate at a Spanish lady's house. I was on exchanges with a Mexican elder and he told me that the food wasn't spicy. I took a couple bites of the meat and my eyes started watering and my nose started running. It was super hot. And then I looked at everyone else and they weren't even fazed. Man, it was torture. But now I'm a little more accustomed.
Your garden looks awesome. I have really grown to love healthy food out here so I'm excited to have some vegetables next summer. That tithing story is funny. In my last area there was a lady that told us when she first joined the church and paid the first time, she paid $90ish in change for tithing. She didn't realize someone had to sit there and count it. Oh by the way, kind of off topic, this lady's husband tied the 60m sprint world record back in the day. I think he got like 6.1 seconds. And he's white! Ha so anyways for my responsibilities..... I give a nightly call to make sure the Elders are home safe and also talk about how their day went. I give trainings once a week unless we have zone conference or something else. And I just try to set the best example that I can.
Thanks for everything. I really appreciate all your help, love, support, advice....... I love you all and hope and pray for the best. Thanks for the package. The cookies are gone already and I really appreciated the quotes, bookmarks, Toy story candies and the other things.
Love,
Elder Gray

Monday, September 20, 2010

The atonement

Hey,
Greetings from Texas. I am doing very well. This last week went pretty well. I went to a training meeting on Wednesday. The big thing I got from it was being an example and being 100% obedient. Now with some leadership responsibility, its a lot easier to do the right thing; because I know that if I don't, then someone else might not do the right thing. It truly is a blessing to have this opportunity.
We have a new missionary in our apartment. The zone leaders are training him. His name is Elder Kelepi and he is from Florida. He is also Tongan. He is a fun missionary. He always has something funny to say and keeps us laughing.
The work here is great. We are working with this one family and the husband finally told us some stuff that is bothering him and holding him back. We could tell there was something that he was holding back for a while. He is a member and sometimes feels down because of his weaknesses. But I know through the atonement that he can change. That's the wonderful thing that we have. Never take it for granted, because most of the world doesn't know about the awesome power of the atonement.
I love you all and am glad that you all are still thriving. I'm glad that Dad has been able to receive sufficient work in these challenging times. I see so many people out here that have been hit hard by the economy or they weren't raised in a good environment or a number of other things. Count your blessings.
Con Amor,
Elder Gray

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Member Trust

Hey,
So this week was a great week. I am staying in this area and so is my companion. I'm gonna be a district leader. A lot of our investigators have fallen through but that Samoan Family is still going strong. They are such a great family. You can feel their love for everyone. They always feed us when we come over. Its great :) Our English class is doing great. We have only done it once but we had a great turnout. We had about 8 people there. It should just skyrocket from there. They were all members but soon enough they will bring their non-member friends and hopefully we can teach them.

We also went to the flea market last week. I bought a full sized Texas flag (it was only $5), some Mexican sunglasses, some rope, and a Texas license plate. It was awesome because everything was cheap and you could talk em down a bit too.

Member trust in the area is going up. That is one of our big objectives right now. A couple years ago there was a lot of missionaries just trying to get baptisms. You can see it in this ward because there are a lot of in-actives. I really enjoy helping people out and bringing them back. When we work we generally try to visit less actives and then knock around them looking for new investigators. The ward members are semi-helpful. We are doing our best to strengthen the wards from the very core. The bishops are very willing to work with us. Especially Bishop Alonzo from Las Palmas ward. He is a great man. We know exactly what we need to do to help the people. So remember, sacrifice builds the Lord's kingdom. Lift where you stand y haga tu parte.


Thanks for all that yall have helped me with as far as school and stuff. I do have a couple questions about SUU. I will sign up for the classes cuz I can just do that on some pday.

We didn't do too much out of the ordinary last pday for the holiday. We played volleyball with a bunch of ward members and chilled. As far as I know, transfers are still working the same way. Every six weeks. I guess every once in a while they do an emergency transfer if a problem arises. But thats pretty rare.

Oh by the way, I lost my scriptures a week or two ago. I cannot find them anywhere. So tomorrow when we are at some training meetings up north I might go and buy some. Just fyi. Well, I love you all and I hope this scrambled letter makes sense. Keep the faith and love everyone.
Love,
Elder Gray

Monday, September 13, 2010

Someone Great

September 6th, 2010

Dear Family,
We had another sweet week. We had exchanges with the Zone Leaders and then our District Leader, Elder Kellog, again. I got to go with Elder Loertcher. He is a greeny. But, he is a really good missionary already. His Spanish is really good and he is very obedient and diligent. Then on Saturday I went with Elder Bennett to his area. He is a real good missionary also. He is very good at keeping to the basics in Preach my Gospel. I learned a bunch from him.

It's crazy how time flies when you are having fun and staying busy. I really love being out here. I would have gone anywhere else and been as blessed as I have been here. I know that the Lord's hand is in it all.

I love you all and am proud of every one of you. Thanks for the support and love. Remember, if you want to become someone great, study the great ones that have come before us or are among us, and emulate them. Especially our Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that His atonement is infinite and His example perfect.

Love,
Elder Gray

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day Holiday

Sorry we don't have too much time today. We are using the computer in the clerk's office at the church. I just wanted you all to know that I love you and that you are in my prayers. There will be my regular letter in the mail soon.
Love,
Elder Gray

Monday, August 30, 2010

Lay hold upon every good thing

Hey,
So this week was pretty sweet. We had a part member family come to church. They said they were gonna start coming every week. I am so excited because this family needs the gospel so much. I guess we all do but anyways....They are struggling a bit but they want to change. Their two girls that are excited to come are awesome. Carmen and Julisa. Julisa still hasn't been baptized so we're gonna help with that. The older girls aren't too interested right now but they will follow with the example of the others.
I got a speeding ticket. I was going 10 over in a school zone so they doubled the fine. It was crazy. They were pulling over people left and right. Everyone was going about 30-35 mph. They were pulling people over an average of about two people every five minutes in their little speed trap. They printed the tickets quick too. Its been almost two and a half years so it was a record for me.

That day it seemed like everything went wrong. The work wasn't going anywhere, appointments were falling through, etc.....At the end of the day I looked back and realized that if I would have been a little more diligent and obedient, I could have avoided almost all the bad things that happened. It really fortified my testimony of obedience. Unfortunately, I had to learn it the hard way that day. But, overall our week was fantastic. We taught more people than we have in a long time.
I am so excited to hear that everything is going so well at home with everyone's' pursuits. Keep moving onward and upward and keep the faith. Stay consistent and "lay hold upon every good thing"(Moroni 7:19). Keep conquering those XC courses and Catan ;)
Con Amor,
Elder Gray

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hey,
So this week has been pretty sweet. All the District leaders, zone leaders and trainers came down to San Antonio for a four day training meeting. Elder Seymour (not my MTC companion) and Elder McCurdy stayed with us. On Tuesday and Thursday they tracted with us from 5-9. It was really great to learn from both of them. They are both great missionaries. Elder Seymour is 6' 6" and his testimony is just as big as him, if not bigger. He really has a love for the people and for missionary work. We had a lesson that was just completely guided by the spirit. The people understood clearly and wanted more. Elder Seymour, Andy, and I were all amazed after the lesson. Andy said it was the most amazing lesson that he had ever seen and both I and Elder Seymour have had very few, if any, lessons like that before. It was a really great spiritual experience. I am really grateful for that experience. Oh and by the way Andy is a member in the ward that is getting ready to go on a mission. He has a super sweet testimony. He is my age but just started coming back to church about a year ago. He overcame his trials and has come to love the gospel. He's a great example to me.
I read Moroni 7 the other day. I really got a lot out of it about personal revelation. Like a lot of people, I have the trouble of trying to discern whether its personal revelation or just my own thoughts.
-The first thing you can do is look to see whether its good or bad. Will it help you or someone else come closer to Heavenly Father?
-Then if you still are in question, just go with what you think is right.
So I knew a lot of this stuff before. It was a great reminder. But the new thing I realized is that when we are doing what we are supposed to, to come closer to God, the spirit will guide our very thoughts to what we need to do, where we need to go, etc... So all the time I'm going by what I think is best. But now I know that when I'm obedient to the Lord, my thoughts are no longer my thoughts. Its hard to tell if the spirit is guiding when I'm in the act of doing something. But I can look back at the end of the day and see how the Lord has guided me. I hope that all made sense. The way I understand it cannot be explained in words. Thats the wonderful thing about the spirit.
I'm glad everyone is doing well. School, sports, reading, all that fun stuff. Sweet pics. Justin is doing percussion, right? I'm glad dad is fine from his little dumpster incident. Its funny because I was actually reading a Dr. Suess book in Spanish before I hopped on the computer. Then that's the first thing you mention. My companion's name is Elder Alas, not wings haha. And he is from Fontana. We are still getting along great and are having a great time doing missionary work. Gonzalo just kinda disappeared. He won't return phone calls or answer the door. Its sad but he will be baptized someday. Just hopefully sooner than later.

No nececito mas camisas blancas, pero gracias. Ojala que tengan buena semana y Les Amo!
(I don't need more white shirts, but thanks.
Hopefully, all will have a good week and tell them I love them!)
Con Amor,
Elder Gray

Monday, August 16, 2010

Trust in the Lord

Hey,
How is everyone? I am doing awesome here. Elder Alas and I are getting along great. That is always key in a companionship. When I haven't been the closest with a companion, it reflects in the work. Luckily, I haven't had hardly any problems with companions and none with Elder Alas. I don't remember how much I told you about him last time but here are some things about him: He loves cars and is a certified mechanic and welder, he is a real good people person, and he is fluent in both English and Spanish.
This week was a little disappointing at church. We had a bunch of people lined up to go and we had rides for the ones that couldn't drive. But, none of them came to church. Its sad when people know that they need to change and definitely feel the spirit, but then just throw that all away. But I trust that the Lord will give them more opportunities to accept. After we do all that we can, and then some more, we have to leave the rest up to the Lord.
Our mission president is a great man, definitely called of God. He is way different from President Cutler but just as great. While Pres. Cutler seemed to be more of the "spirit of the law" kind of person, President Jones is more "letter of the law" kind of person. But awesome nevertheless.
I know that Heavenly Father lives and loves us all. I have come to appreciate and love the simple aspects of the gospel in this last year and a half. Its cool and fun to learn all the random facts and doctrines, but the simple things that we can apply to our lives each day are truly the life-changers.
I love you all and am very grateful to be blessed with such a wonderful family and friends. Thanks for the love, support, testimonies and everything else.
Con Amor,
Elder Gray
P.S. Good luck in the deer hunt! Oh and with that book, Drawing on the Powers of Heaven, you don't need to send it to me. I can focus on the missionary library and BoM for now. But thanks for the offer.

Monday, August 9, 2010

New Companion

Hola,
Es bien que tiene un traductor para traducir el correo. ¿Funciona bien? El foto del "Cat-scan" es chistoso. Esta semana fue bien. Mi nuevo compañero se llama Elder Alas. El es de Fontana, California. Sus padres son de El Salvador. Entonces, el sabe español muy bien. Tambien, conoció el Presidente Jones antes de la mision. Me ayuda mucho. El es muy amable a todo. El ha sido en la mision desde el 27 de enero. Vamos a hacer mucho bien juntos en esta área. Elder Haueter es el nuevo ZL en nuestro apartamento. Fuimos en el mismo distrito en el CCM (MTC). El es buen misionero. Esta mañana fuimos a la escuela secundaria para practicar el fútbol americana. Elder Haueter va a jugar después de la mision en Boise State (punter y kicker). Nuestro Presidente es muy amable y tambien es estricto. El es un buen presidente. Su esposa es muy amable tambien.
Tuvé la oportunidad a enseñar el quorum de los elderes ayer en el barrio Las Palmas. Escogí la lección acerca de la oración y por que debemos orar a nuestro padre celestial. La clase habló mucho y Gonzalo, nuestro investigador, se sintió el espiritu. Hay otra persona que encontramos hace unos dias. El fue mui triste y no le gusto a vivir. Pero, el fue muy feliz despues de le hablamos. Me gusta mucho la obra misional. Me encanta mucho cuando las personas se cambian.
Well I'm running out of time so heres some english. A typical sunday in this ward is english PEC at 7:30, english Sacrament at 8:30, Spanish PEC at 9:30, spanish sacrament at 10:30 and then church ends at 1:30. We study and eat till 3:00 and then we go out and work. We usually have dinner as a district that night at a member's house. Thats great about DeAnn graduating. Tell her congrats from me. I bet you all are excited for school, eh ;) Well I love you all and hope you have the best week. "Remember" ;)
Love,
Elder Gray
P.S. Brittney Polatis' college room-mate at BYU-I goes to the singles ward here in our building. She said hi yesterday.

Now for www.spanishdict.com/translation:
Hello, It is well that it has a translator to translate the mail. It works well? The photo of ' Cat-scan' he is humorous. This week was well. My new companion is called Elder Alas. He is of Fontana, California. Their parents are of El Salvador. Then, he knows Spanish very well. Also, President Jones knew before the mission. He helps me much. He is very amiable to everything. He has been in the mission from the 27 of January. We are going to make much well together in this area. Elder Haueter is the new ZL in our apartment. We were in the same district in CCM (MTC). He is good missionary. This morning we went to the secondary school to practice the American football. Elder Haueter is going to play after the mission in Boise City State (to punter and to kicker). Our President is very amiable and also he is strict. He is a good president. His wife is very amiable also. Tuvé the opportunity to teach to the quorum of elders yesterday in the district Las Palmas. I chose the lesson about the oration and so that we must pray to our celestial father. The class spoke much and Gonzalo, our investigator, felt the spirit. There is another person that we found days ago. It was mui sad and him taste not to live. But, he was very happy after we spoke to him. I like much the missionary work. It enchants to me much when the people change.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Con Amor

Hola,
Buenos días. Estoy feliz porque Erik no tiene el cancer no mas. Yo se que Dios nos contestó y todavía nos contesta. Los ayunos y oraciones ayudaron, yo sé. Nuestro presidente me dijo en el celular que llamó usted a la hogar de misión. Me alegré el nuevos de Erik. Todavía estoy orando para su salud y también de toda la familia. Recibimos una llama ayer. Llamas de las transferencias. Me voy a quedar en esta area y mi compañero va a salir. El va a ser el mayor en su compañerismo (senior companion). El es un buen misionero. Hará bien. No se nada de mi nuevo compañero. El tiempo que tuvimos juntos fue muy bien. Aprendí mucho de Elder Swainston. Espero que yo lo ayude también. Tenemos unos investigadores. Gonzalo, en el barrio español, esta progresando adelante. No tiene una fecha bautismal pero el esta orando para saber cuando debe ser bautizado. Hasta el primero día de esta mes, andábamos en bicicleta mucho. Pero tenemos millas ahora y podemos manejar en el carro y conservar las millas mejor que el Julio.
Como están todo? Justin me dijo que tal vez el va a nadar en un equipo. Todavía quiere hacerlo? Erik y Ashley están corriendo por la escuela, si? Gracias por los recetas. Esta mañana yo traté de cocinar las galletas(cake mix cookies). El horno no funciona muy bien entonces fueron sobre cocinadas. Pero me gustó todavía. Gracias por el apoyo y todo. Os Amo.
Con Amor,
Elder Gray
PS Let me know if theres anything more or less that you would like me to include in my letters


Free Translation.com....
Hello, good morning. I am happy because Erik does not have the cancer. I itself that God answered us and still answers us. The fasts and prayers helped, I know. Our president told me in the cell that called you to the home of mission. I was happy the news of Erik. Still I am praying for his health and also of all the family.

We receive a flame yesterday. You call of the transfers. I am going to remain in this area and my companion is going to leave. The he is going to be the major in his friendship (senior companion). He is a good missionary. He will do well. I know nothing of my new companion. The time that had together was very well. I learned a lot of Elder Swainston. I expect that I helped also.

We have some investigators. Gonzalo, in the Spanish neighborhood, progressing ahead. Does not it have a baptismal date but he this praying to know when should be baptized. To the first day of this month, we walked and bicycle a lot. But we have miles now and we can handle in the car and to conserve the better miles than the July.

As they are all? Justin told me that perhaps the is going to swim in a team. Still it wants to do it? Erik and Ashley are running for the school? Thanks for the recipes. This morning I tried to cook the oreos (cake mix cookies). The oven does not function very well then they were over cooked. But i liked still. Thanks by the support and all.

I Love you. With Love, Elder Gray




Monday, July 26, 2010

Baptisms




Hey,
So another week has passed by and I'm still lovin it. This last week we rode bikes a lot. A couple days we went 10+ miles a day. Its been fun. We have been able to talk to a lot more people than usual. One of our investigators, Gonzalo, came to church for the second time. He showed up all on his own last week. He will be set with a baptismal date most likely when we meet with him on Wednesday. The two girls got confirmed yesterday. I am so proud and happy for them.
Mom, I believe too that angels are watching over us always. Just yesterday we were riding or bikes home and we heard this wierd scraping sound. We turned around the corner and someone was just getting out of a wrecked car. The front passenger side wheel was completely torn off and that corner of the car was resting on the ground. We looked behind him and there was a ruined chain link fence and a completely demolished mailbox and some damage to the grass in front of the two houses. This mailbox was about 3X3 ft on the base and about 4ft high. It was made of cement and stones so I was a pretty solid thing. We had probably rounded that corner less than thirty seconds after he wrecked. A couple minutes earlier we had stopped for about thirty seconds to see if we saw one of our investigators across the street. I don't know if we would have been in the path of that car or not but nevertheless I am very grateful for the protection we received. He claimed that he was talking on his cell phone, but I wouldn't be surprised if he had some alcohol in his system as well. I know that the Lord watches over us all. I am sure there are many times that we never even know that we were spared from tragedy.
I really like hearing about all that's going on back at home. Thanks for the updates about family, friends, etc... That was interesting about the Cutlers' homecoming. It sounded crazy. Thanks for your testimony about forgiveness Dad. Before my mission I still carried a couple of grudges deep down. I felt justified. But now I know that I wasn't justified at all. No one is ever justified in committing even a little sin. Its been really easy to let it all go once I realized it was wrong. Its still fun living with the other missionaries. We cook a lot of stuff together and I am trying to perfect my no-bake-cookies. They are getting better (thanks Ash for the cookbook). Could you send me the recipe for cake mix cookies? I would really like to make some sometime. Thanks for everything. Good luck in sports/school/student govt/avoiding shark attacks/life in general. Remember to avoid mediocrity and rise above and beyond the rest. Y'all have a good'un cuz I'm sure fixin to, aight ;)
Con Amor,
Elder Gray

Monday, July 19, 2010

Last Quarter of my Mission

Hey,
Today I am feeling great. Going into this last quarter of my mission I am trying to work the best I can. As time goes on I am learning to work smarter and put the natural man behind me. Its still tough sometimes but that's what makes it worth it. Preach my Gospel, and the spirit of course, have really helped me to understand things clearer than I have ever before.
I listened to the "Way to Be" cd by Gordon B. Hinckley this morning. I really love the way that he teaches. He is very simple but very profound. Thanks for sending it to me. Along with that book, another one I would highly recommend is Drawing on the Powers of Heaven. Its by Grant Von Harrison I believe. I haven't read it, but there are a few missionaries that have it out here and I've heard excerpts and their opinions about the book. Anyways, sounds like a must read.
We had a great baptismal service yesterday. Annabelle and Israel got baptized. They are both really awesome girls. There were a couple things that went wrong behind the scenes as far as getting ready for the baptism and stuff but it went great in the end.
As we teach people it helps me just as much as it helps them. Its really awesome when the spirit is there. We all learn things that might not necessarily have been said with words. We are trying to help this one guy with a marijuana addiction. I've noticed that we might not have the same problems as him, but the principles of the atonement are universal.
Quotes:
“The Spirit is the most important single element in this work. With the Spirit magnifying your call, you can do miracles for the Lord in the mission field. Without the Spirit, you will never succeed regardless of your talent and ability.” --Ezra Taft Benson (PMG, 176)
"Success is failing time after time and not becoming discouraged."
-Sir Winston Churchill
Thanks for the package. I am enjoying everything in it. I even got an offer to trade for that bucking bronc tie that you sent me. Lol. I loved the muddy buddies. Every time Elder Criddle eats some he says, "Mmm, I love this Christmas crunch." Its pretty funny. I like the idea of putting in carmel instead of peanut butter. A little more healthy option for me ;) (Elder Gray is allergic to nuts)
Os amo. Que tenga buen semana y estoy agradecido por el apoyo que me dan. Dios los bendiga.
(I love you. Have a good week and I'm grateful for the support they give me. God bless.)

Con Amor,
Elder Gray

Monday, July 12, 2010

Spanish

Hola,
Ojala que todo esté bien. Mi vida aquí es muy divertido. Estamos buscando, predicando y enseñando muchas personas. Mi español continuamente esta mejorando, especialmente en esta área. Casi todo son hispánicos pero mucho hablan ingles también. Me gusta mucho esta área. Mi compañero es (cool). Tenemos cuatro personas con una fecha bautismal. Los dos chicas que hemos enseñado por un tiempo va a bautizarse el próximo Domingo. Teníamos un poquito de lluvia en la semana pasada. Nuestro reunión de la zona fue bien. El presidente nuevo no cambió mucho, pero la obra misional mundial cambiará algunas cosas en las meces siguientes. Hay ocho lecciones que recibiremos para mejorar nuestro habilidad de enseñar. No sé cuando lo recibiremos pero espero que llegan pronto. También, aprendimos como debemos enseñar cuando empezamos lecciones. Aprendí algunas cosas que ya me ayudo. El Jueves leí Eter capitulo 12. No tengo una parte favorita porque todo es asombroso. Se que el Señor nos ayuda con todo. Yo estudiaba mucho de la fe esta semana. Estoy tratando de mejorar mi fe. También, estoy tratando de invitar mas el espíritu en mi estudio. Yo puedo ver una diferencia grande en que aprendo en mis estudios.
Gracias por la paquete. Me gustan las corbatas mucho ;) Y tambien los otros. Tendré divertido con las cosas que recibí. Gracias mucho!
I only have a minute left :) I love you all and am so grateful for your examples. I can feel the power of your prayers. Way to be awesome!
Love,
Elder Gray

Now for "google igadget translate"!

Hello,
I hope all is well. My life here is fun. We are looking for, preaching and teaching many people. My Spanish is improving continually, especially in this area. Almost all are Hispanic but many also speak English. I love this area.
My partner is (cool). We have four people with a baptismal date. The two girls who have taught for a time to be baptized next Sunday. We had a bit of rain last week. Our meeting of the area was good. The new president did not change much, but the global missionary work some things will change. There are eight lessons they receive to improve our ability to teach. I do not know when I receive but I hope they arrive soon. Also, as we learned when we started teaching lessons. I learned some things that helped me. Ether On Thursday I read chapter 12. I have no favorite part because everything is amazing. I know the Lord helps us with everything. I studied a lot of faith this week. I'm trying to improve my faith. Also, I'm trying to invite the spirit is in my study. I can see a big difference in that I learn in my studies.

Thanks for the package. I like ties much;) And also the others. I have fun with the things I received. Thanks a lot!

I Only Have a minute left:) I love you all and am so Grateful for your examples. I can feel the power of your Prayers. Way to be awesome!

Love,
Elder Gray



Monday, July 5, 2010

New Mission President

Hey,
So it has been another great week down here in San Antonio. President Cutler left and President Jones has started his term (or whatever you call it). We have zone conference tomorrow so we will soon see what he is all about. The zone leaders had zone leader counsel with him last week and said that he is awesome. I'm excited for tomorrow. This new area is a little lower income on average so we get a lot of investigators coming and going. Elder Swainston is a hard worker. He knows what he's doing, he loves talking to people, and he still has that new missionary excitement. He is awesome. He played on the line in football at his high school and is about 6 foot or maybe 6' 1". By the way I'm still 5' 10.5" and I'm pretty sure that's not gonna go up. The two younger girls that I talked about last week still have a baptismal date. Their names are Anabell and Israel and they are going to be baptized on the 18th. We also have another lady that will get baptized soon. We are having a problem with boundaries though so I won't get too much into that. I'll let you know when things are worked out and we know whats going on.
I'm excited to go fishing at that lake in town when I get back. I bet there are gonna be some huge catfish soon. Those things can survive through anything. That's really good that Erik is going to EFY. That really fortified me through high school. It really helped me realize how much I needed to stay on the straight and narrow path. I am really grateful that we live in this free country. It is a blessing, like you said, to be able to have our religious freedoms. I'm sorry that this email is short. I love you all and hope for the best. Keep on keepin' on.
Love,
Elder Gray