Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December 8, 2014

Hey Everybody,

      Well. Transfer calls went out last week. Elder Rakotomanana is getting moved to Jericho to work with Elder Ringle and Elder Joseph is getting a new trainer, Elder Hanks. It'll be the first time I've ever even heard of having three Americans in one apartment. Speaking of firsts, I'll be the first missionary to ever NOT see Togo. There have been a couple of missionaries that have gone their whole missions in Togo, but nobodies ever done it with Benin. It's a strange thought to picture the fact that Elder Sagers (another missionary in our Stake) and I have been in the same mission for more than a year, but never have and never will actually see each other.
      Small particles of light are beginning to shine ever so slightly upon the branch of Calavi. These past couple of months have been super duper rough trying to work with these people. Our branch presidency has well under two years of experience between the lot of them. The oh so very minor details that we take for more than granted just about anywhere else are overlooked or unknown. We've been ever so steadily and patiently taking things one step at a time. We've almost filled up the necessary auxiliaries and yesterday we had our very first ward council meeting! 
      Things are moving along with our sector too. We've been working tons with one of our recent converts. She's insane! Her name is Prisca. She's turned into a machine. Almost every single day last week we were teaching with her, and she dragged us up and down her neighborhood and introducing us to just about anybody she could think of. We've been blessed with a couple of progressing investigators that've given the commitment to come to church this upcoming Sunday. We'll see how things turn out.
      I hope you all have the best of weeks ever!
-Elder Gray

Flight Plans ! ! !

From: Benin Cotonou Mission
Date:11/07/2014 2:46 AM (GMT-07:00)
To: bishopmcgrath@gmail.com
Cc: jstaylor89@msn.com
Subject: FW: RETURN: Travel Itinerary For BUXTON/JACE BLAINE - 20Jan - 5PFRS2
Good morning,
Below you will find the flight plans for one of the missionaries in your stake, Elder Gray, who will be returning home in January. This is just to inform you a little more about his return home. If there are any questions we are here to help. Have a great day.
Elder Oliverson
Benin Cotonou Mission
Cadjehoun Lot #1158, Bloc F
01 BP 3323 Cotonou, Benin
SERVICE               DATE  FROM           TO             DEPART  ARRIVE
__________________ _____ ______________ ______________ _______ ______
SN 231              TUESDAY CADJEHOUN      BRUSSELS AIRPO         21JAN
           NON SMOKING      REFRESHMENTS                  1 STOP
                            RESERVATION CONFIRMED         9:00 DURATION
LUFTHANSA             21JAN BRUSSELS       NEWARK NJ      1000A   1230P
K ECONOMY                                  TERMINAL C
                            RESERVATION CONFIRMED         8:30 DURATION
V ECONOMY                   TERMINAL B     TERMINAL 2
                            RESERVATION CONFIRMED         5:00

Camp Zion

Hey Everybody,

      Things are coming along bit by bit even though the week itself
was a bit rough. Tuesday was spent taking things a little bit easy and
not trying to do too much running around in the blazing sun in hopes
of finally kicking Malaria to the curb. These efforts were met with my
eyes starting to itch and go all red Wednesday and followed with a
crazy nasty case of pink eye for the rest of the week. Things are
finally starting to look like they're gonna clear up on the health
front and we're hoping we can put the pedal back to the metal soon

      Friday we had our Zone Conference and it was a good one. I
really enjoyed our Mission Presidents lesson. He talked about Camp
Zion and the group of people that gathered up their supplies and made
a huuuuuuge march because the prophet said so. To make a long story
short teir journey was full of all sorts of trials and at the end they
found out that all the miles they'd walked and all the effort they'd
put into the campain was for nothing. Or so they thought.

      Camp Zion was a huge test of faith for those that blindly walked
through terrible conditions because they were asked by a preisthood
leader to do so. A short time later the Lord instructed Joseph Smith
to organize the first quroum of the 12 and the 70. 9 out of the 12
first apostles and all 70 of the original 70 were men that had been
formed and tested through the long march of Camp Sion.

      Have an awesome week!

-Elder Gray

Round Two - Malaria

Hey Everybody,

      Sorry about last week, we weren't able to get anything though. To be completely honest these past couple of weeks have been kind of frustrating. Most of last week was spent trying to diagnose the big toe on my companions right foot. He messed it up really bad and it got all sorts of swollen and gross. We had to keep him off of it as much as possible, take him in for x-rays, and blah blah blah. Needless to say it made for a very long week. ( I've sworn into secrecy that I would tell anybody HOW he almost broke it. I'll give huge hints by telling you it had something with him trying to prove he could do a front flip over the couch....)

      The results came back with good news. He didn't actually break his toe! Yay! We were able to be out and about for a couple of hours before it was my turn. I got allllll sorts of woozy and the slight headache I'd been feeling for the couple of days before exploded into what became a nasty round two of the lovely sickness we call Malaria. These past couple of days have been awful.... Malaria is no fun. No me gusta.

      Other than trying to recover from random illnesses and filling in our blanked schedules from the small windows of health that we have had, things are coming along. Elder Rakotomananaand Elder Joseph had a baptism last Saturday with a girl that Elder Lukonga and I had found and taught while it was just us two alone. When the others showed up we passed her and her friends off and they've been doing well. Her friend Thomas picked out the 29th for his own baptismal service.

      Hopefully we'll have better and brighter news next week! Love you all!

-Elder Gray
A couple of pictures:

Elder Gray (What a good looking missionary)

Yet another use for the all mighty Duck Tape!  MOUSE TRAP!!

November 9, 2014

Thanks to Elder Kunz, we were able to get a SD card from Elder Gray.  Here are a couple of pictures from the card. 

Elder Siedl, Elder Gray, Elder Hawkins and Elder Kunz on the day that Elders Siedl, Hawkins and Kunz left Africa. 

Flat Stanley with "Angry Africa"

Flat Stanley with "Happy Africa"
 Elder Gray grinding something