Monday, July 21, 2014

Hey Family! (and Friends)

Hey Family! 

      Well. I've been fiddling with the settings and sizes of the photos for the past forever. Hopefully they all make it through safe and sound and big enough to actually see anything. A quick summary of the photos...
1. Members, recent converts, missionaries, and investigators gathered for a good ol' game of Football. 
2. We scored
3. The aftermath of the football game and the basketball activity the following Monday. Words could not describe the horror of my face as I realised I would be walking around on those skinned piggies.
4. Elder Lala went home this week, Elder Seidl replaced him.
5. Crazy Primary. It's been a very interesting experience so far. We've learned how to sing "I'm a Child of God" and "Choose the Right". So far so good.


Things here are still going really well. My companion and I are still pounding things out and working hard. We ran into a slight hiccup with some of our progressing investigators, but thing'll work out. 
You guys are all awesome! Read your scriptures, say your prayers, do your best, the weasel runs at midnight, remember who you are and all that stuff. 

I love you all! 

-Elder Gray
The Team
**CAUTION! The next picture is N.A.S.T.Y! ! !***
Gross Toes after the games
Bye Bye Elder Lala
Primary children picture did not make it through cyber space....maybe next week

Monday, July 14, 2014


Dear Family, 
      Well things are still gong fantastically. This past week had a few appointments fall through but we were able to visit some members and recent converts. One of the families in our sector is in the District Presidency. He served a mission in the Ivory Coast and is sealed to his wife. The first of the month rolled around and his wife gave birth to the most adorable creature ever! Her name is Light.

      Other than that we try to keep ourselves busy and bump up potential investigators into progress. Our efforts were smiled upon and we had three investigators come to church yesterday, one of them has a baptismal date for the 26. We'll see how things go. 

      Uhhhhhh.... other things worth mentioning would be the Football (soccer) activities that we try to put together to build unity between the members and investigators and hopefully pick up some contacts. So far we've actually had quite a bit of success. Last Saturday we had a good 15 people there. I proudly wore my Argentina jersey in hopes of them taking the World Cup... but.... oh well. 
      Today we had a basketball/soccer gathering in Menontin and it was lots of fun. (I left my camera home which is why I wasn't able to send any pictures this week.) I am one very very very tired little missionary. 
     Anyways... I hope you all have the bestest of the best of weeks! 

-Elder Gray

7/7/2014 and 17 Months

Dear Family and Friends, 

      Things are going really really well here. Thanks for all the incredible emails and support! Last week the power went off around 11 o'clock and stayed off until late that night. It really puts a damper on P-days when I don't get to check up on y'all. 
      I'll try to give a quick summary of what all has gone down, how the sector is doing, and what the companionship is like. 
      I'll start off with the companionship. I'm working with Elder Rakotoarison. He's an awesome little dude who was trained by Elder Garza. He started his mission with Elder Bulunga and Elder Brou (other missionaries I've worked/lived with) last October. He's climbing up to celebrate his year mark soon. 
      The companionship rivals one of the best I've ever had on the mission. Things are fantastic. In the mornings we jump out of bed, slap on our world cup jerseys and plastic cleats, run over to the nearest patch of dirt and play some good old football. After a good warm up we jog back to the apartment, whip up some breakfast, shower, and are ready to go for personal study. When companionship study rolls around we start with a hymn or two and then plan out the day. We end with another hymn and a prayer and we're out the door. We talk to EVERYBODY. It's awesome. 

      We work in the "Calavi University" sector. It's kind of a deceiving name because we don't actually go out to the univeristy... yet. Our area is pretty villiage; mostly dirt roads and small brick houses. It's a relatively new sector so we land a lot of potential investigators by people just wanting to know what the big white guy is doing walking around Benin with a white shirt on in the blazing sun. 

      The branch is super new too. There are eight missionaries working to fill up our new branch. I also have the blessing (ha!) of being able to play the piano for sacrament meeting. I'm hoping my prayers of converting a piano player carry over from Gbegamey... I've gotten a little bit better, but I still have no idea what I'm doing. 
      Elder Merril (another American working with Elder Malowe in the other Calavi district) and I have been unofficially called as the nursery leaders too... THAT is something I wish y'all could see. They put two big white guys who can barely communicate with the grown up natives and expect us to teach a bunch of kids. However, with a little bit of patience, cookies, and a LOT of patience we can actually string together a half decent lesson. 

      So... yeah. That's just about that. Things are fantastic. The Gospel is true and the Priesthood power is restored. I love you allllllllllllllll oh so very very very much and hope you have the bestest of weeks!

-Elder Gray
Elder Gray eating Atcheke
Elder Rakotoarisan easting Atcheke
 Germany World Cup Soccer Uniform

Argentina and Brazil World Cup Soccer  Uniforms (He is looking  for the Netherlands so he will have a set of the finial four)
*He said he paid $4.00 for the uniform $5.00 with socks and $3.00  for the cleats... go figure
(Elder Gray's caption not mine!)

Pictures ! !

June 23, 2014

Hey Everybody, 
      Well. Things have finally settled down. I got a call from the Assistants just a couple of minutes after sending last weeks letter. I was shipped up north to the "Calavi University" sector. I replaced Elder Brou and will now be working with my beloved new malagash companion Elder Rakotoarison. (Raw-co-toe-are-ee-son. Co=coconut. Ee=T'ee'th.) I'm living with Elder Lalahariniaina (A.k.a. Elder Lala - He's a frenchie with malagashian parents) and Elder Yamapia (yuh-ma-pee-a. He's congolese). 
Good luck with the names!
Our sector is relatively new, and our Branch is only a couple of weeks old. 
Also.... Pictures!!
I'm still getting the hang of things in the new sector, but things have definitely turned around for the better. We're working 100% and having a blast. 
-Elder Gray
 Cleaning up the Church at Menontin
 Elder Garza and the Young Women in Menontin
 Elder Gray and Garza doing dishes in Menontin
 Elder Gray and the Youth from Menontin
 Elders Gray, Brou and Rakotoarisan

 Elder Gray and Elder Konduah

 Football Blister
 First time walking in grass in a year and a half !
 Four pounds of Chicken, Four Pounds of French Fries and probably Four Pounds of oil, salt, and ketchup....
Mashed Taters 'n Gravy

 Baptisms in Calavi
Elder Gray, Stanicias, Prince, and Elder Rakotoarisan
Sister Weed, President Weed, Elder Rakotoarisan and Elder Gray
**Sorry about the size of these photos, Elder Gray was having a hard time in the Cyber and this was the only size he could get them to download.  I was just grateful to have pictures, of any size.

Potatoes! !

June 16, 2014

Dear Family!

      Well. Things are finally starting to turn around. My companion
left for good Saturday night. President Weed came by to pick him up
and threw out a quick "Thanks for your patience Elder Gray". It helped
a lot.
      Anyway. Just a quick summary of the changes that've gone down:
Elder Garza got transferred to Finagnon and was replaced by Elder
Mejean. (French) For the moment we're in a threesome until poor
President Weed can figure out what to do with us. There's been a lot
of missionaries getting sick and going home lately. I still don't know
if I'll be staying here or being shipped out somewhere else.
      One thing that is totally worth mentioning is that last Friday I
totally made me and Elder Garza some good ol' American om noms before
they took him away. It. Was. GLORIOUS. I was pretty proud of myself.
My Mommy would've been pretty proud of me too! We went out and bought
five pounds of potatoes, three pounds of solid BEEF, a bunch of sweet
corn, and everything else needed to whip up some EPIC mashed taters
and gravy.... and then... we feasted like lions. I'll send pictures
next week!
      I hope y'all have the best of weeks! Love you lots!

-Elder Gray