Monday, January 25, 2010

Alexis and Julien

Things are going well here. Alexis got baptized on Saturday and then
confirmed on Sunday. We have another potential baptism coming up. His
name is Julien. He is 17 years old and needs his parents to sign the
baptismal form and a permission slip. He will be baptized really soon,
hopefully in the next couple of weeks. Sorry this letter is going to be
short and probably boring but I spent a while making Julien’s baptism
permission slip. I’ll send it as an attachment so you can check it out.
It isn't anything official. It is mostly to make his parents more

On Saturday we had our interviews with President Cutler. It went really
well. We talked about a lot of different things. He is a great man.
His advice is always just what I need to hear. He also told us that an
apostle and a 70 are coming to the mission on February 20. We don’t
know which one yet but we all are super excited. We get to meet with
them for three hours.

I still have plenty of Reliv left. I hadn’t been taking it consistently
for a while but now for the last little while I have been doing a lot
better. I really have noticed a big difference in my energy level
during the day if I take my reliv and eat a good breakfast that morning.
Also, I’m not sure if we are moving apts or not. We will see soon.

Thanks for everything and I love you all. Stay close to the Lord and
remember that consistency is what makes champions in every walk of life.

Elder Gray

Monday, January 18, 2010

Don’t stumble over this rock, leap off of it.....

Things are going great here. Elder Himes and I are doing very well
together. We are having a baptism on Saturday and we are super excited.
I'm not sure if I told you all about her before so I will tell you
again. She is 12. Her dad is the only member in her immediate family.
He is deacons quorum adviser so he is super awesome. He is a stay at
home dad now that he has retired from the military. The mom works for
Frito lay, I think, up in Dallas so she flies down once or twice a week
for a couple days. She is catholic. She will be coming to the baptism
though. Desiree is doing very well. She got a calling on Sunday. She
is the YW personal progress adviser, or something like that. She is so
happy and we are way happy for her.

This week we had ward conference. Church was only two hours long though
since we still don't have use of all the rooms. They found mold and so
they will be replacing some sheet rock in the section of the building
that got flooded. It is supposed to be all done and usable by next
Sunday. The new stake center for the Kyle stake is making good progress.
It should be done and ready to move into by the end of the year,
possibly the beginning of December. Everyone in Buda is excited since
the building will be a little closer to them. The rumor is that the
north part of the ward will be put back into one of the Austin wards.
It’s just a rumor right now though, nothing has been said officially.
The stake president gave a good talk at ward conference. He basically
talked about helping and finding the lost sheep. He shared a great
story. It went something like this:

One day there was a man walking along the beach. He saw up ahead a
little boy bending down, throwing something, taking a couple steps, and
then repeating the same process over and over again. He was curious to
see what the boy was doing. He approached and saw that the little boy
was throwing starfish from the sand and back into the ocean. He asked,
"What are you doing?"
"I’m throwing the starfish back into the ocean. You see, the tide is
going out and they are going to dry up and die if I don’t do anything.”
The man replied, “Son, there are miles and miles of beach. You can’t
possibly make a difference.”
The boy bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the
ocean. “Well I made a difference for that one.”

I do know that we can make a difference. No matter how small it is, we
are still helping and making the world a better place.

I am so glad to hear that Erik is doing well. Erik and all of us should
remember that these trials are for our better. They are molding us into
whatever the Lord needs us for later on in life and the eternities.
Don’t stumble over this rock, leap off of it and gain more ground than
you could have before. And remember Erik, as far as recovery times and
such, the doctors will tell you things according to what they’ve seen in
the average person. You are not average. You are awesome and I know
that you will be back to normal before long. You all are in my prayers
and I love you all more than words can express.

Elder Gray

P.S. Speaking of rocks, we played disc golf all morning and it was
pretty muddy. I tried to jump off a rock and over a stream but I
slipped and fell in. Luckily it was only a couple of inches deep and I
landed on my feet :) I didn’t get a very good score either but it was
fun. Thanks for all your emails and letters. I think I have gotten
at least one from all ya'll in the family pretty recently. Good luck in
Track Ashley, good luck in YW mom, good luck in work and all that dad,
good luck in soccer Justin, good luck in recovery and everything Erik,
and good luck in life I guess to Brooke and Tim.

Monday, January 11, 2010

We want to be like the Lord

I am so glad to hear that Erik is doing well. Thank goodness for the
power of prayer and fasting. He will have an awesome story to tell with
that scar. Personally I would say that I got attacked by a flock of
wild mongeese and they sliced my jugular vein with their razor sharp
claws but I just barely escaped with my life and crawled on my hands and
knees for three whole days before I was saved ;) Hehe just joking around
but seriously I am so glad that Erik will be fine and that he is
toughing it out.

So as you heard, our church building flooded and church was canceled.
We came to help clean up at about 8 in the morning. The pipe broke in
the nursery. We are guessing it froze because it was really cold that
night. It was in the ceiling so it did some damage to the insulation
and ceiling tiles in there. There was a couple of inches of water in
the nursery at first but by the time we got there it was just wet. That
whole side of the building had water damage. It also got under the
stage. There was a ton of people helping so the work went quickly. I'm
not sure how much permanent damage was done but we will see soon enough.

Our typical morning is we get up at six thirty, exercise, personal study
at eight, companion study at nine, and language study at ten. Right now
we are studying pretty much whatever we think we need, we don’t have a
mission study program at the moment. I usually study out of the Book of
Mormon, PMG, occasionally some talks, then sometimes the other mission
library books(True to the Faith, Jesus the Christ, Our Heritage, and Our
Search for Happiness. My biggest focus is on those first two though.

We have another person getting ready for baptism. Her name is Alexis.
She is 12 years old and her dad is a member. He is super active but the
mom isn't a member. The plan is for her to be baptized at the end of
the month. She is a lot of fun and she loves yw. She is ready.

Elder Best got transferred up to Leander and I received my new
companion, Elder Himes. He is from Brigham City, Utah. He is called
English speaking. He has been out only six weeks less than me so we
actually left the MTC at the same time. He is good and obedient, which
I am glad for. He is a little quiet right now but I’m sure he will talk
more as we get to know each other better. He likes outdoor stuff. He
worked before his mission instead of going to college right away, like
me. Like Elder Best, he wants to major in chemical engineering.

When men say unto us, “You are not like us.” We reply, “We know it. We
don’t want to be. We want to be like the Lord. We want to secure his
favor and his approbation and to live under his smile and to acknowledge
as ancient Israel did on a certain occasion, ‘The Lord is our God, our
Judge and our King and he shall reign over us.”
-President Ezra Taft Benson

Gracias por el paquete y los charlas. Me gustan muchos, especialmente
la charla de Gordon B. Hinckley. Mire por los milagros siempre. ¡Os

Con Amor,
Elder Greis

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

20th Birthday... January 2, 2010

Compliments of a family in the Buda ward, The Andersons, and friends to Desiree (new convert)


Elder Best, Logan (Desiree's son) and Elder Gray

Desiree's baptism

"We've been good, Santa!"

Chris and his companion, Elder Best

I really love being a missionary

Everything is going great here. We have two potential baptismal
candidates that are just waiting for parental approval. One is from a
part member family and the other is from a non member family. The ward
seems more excited about missionary work now and everything is rolling
along just great. DesireƩ got confirmed by Lisa's husband Orson on
Sunday. She has changed so much in (for the better of course) in these
last couple of weeks. And it was all the Lord. He did all the work. I
really love being a missionary.

My birthday started out fairly un-eventful until the Andersons found out
that it was my birthday. They insisted that we come for dinner since we
didn’t have a dinner appointment that night. We had Mexican food (still
my favorite) cooked by DesireƩ. Her family is partly Hispanic so she
knows how to cook Mexican stuff. It was a really good birthday. I
enjoyed everything in the package. I really like how you had all those
people write me something. All the friends, family, teachers, and
everyone. I really am glad that you put in the effort to make that
package for me. Thanks :) Also I enjoyed the dried blue berries. They
are one of my new favorites as of a couple of months ago. I believe
they were from Steve. Thanks. I also got the stuff from Brooke and
Tim. And sorry if I missed anyone else I’m sorry but I appreciate stuff
from everyone.

So also I found out that we are distant cousins with the Buda ward
mission leader. We were over at his house eating on Sunday and he asked
us if we wanted to watch a movie about his great great Grandpa. Guess
who it was…….. John Tanner. He had the same movie that grandma and
grandpa had sent me. So we watched it. It was really good. I liked
it. Then we looked through his John Tanner family genealogy book to see
how closely related we were. It turns out that he is from the 3rd wife
of John Tanner and we are from the 2nd, if I remember right. That was
fun to see that family connection.

There are a lot of people that are excited for the big game on Thursday.
All the stores are selling championship game shirts and we see quite a
few longhorn t-shirts around.

Elder Best is getting transferred. It has been fun to serve with him.
We got along almost all the time and we had fun working. I will miss
him. He is getting “doubled in” for his next area. That means that
both he and his companion will be new to the area. That happened to him
when he first came to Buda too.

I hope everything is going well back home. My prayers and fasting are
with Erik and I pray that everything goes well. I know that he is a
tough guy though so he will be fine. I do know that everything that the
Lord throws in our path is for our good. Also, I am proud of all of you
no matter what. No matter if you are the best at running, chess,
badminton, or a best friend, you are awesome in my eyes. I love you all
and wish you the best.

Elder Gray

PS Happy Birthday on Thursday Erik