Sunday, March 11, 2018

Men Are They That Might Have Joy

Hola mi familia! Elder Sampson has been teaching me some Spanish lately so I am basically a Spanish missionary. Look out, I might have a hard time remembering English when I come home! I can officially pray over the food in Spanish. 

 This week was a good one. So lets jump right into it. 

First off, we finally got to spend more time in our area this week. All of the drama of transfers is over, we have made all of the plans for the next little while so we got to get out and do some old fashioned missionary work. What a blessing. We found a plethora of people to teach this week that I am super stoked about. One in particular I am pumped about. His name is N and he is a Liberian/Indian. He is a stud. He has met with missionaries before and even attended church a few times. The best thing about him though is that he is living with a girl... But they are married! What the? That never happens these days. We are pumped to teach him again this week. He is going to get baptized no doubt. 

We have also been teaching a super solid guy named S. He is from the happiest place on earth. He is the man. We gave him a reading assignment last week to read 2 Nephi 2 and when we came back this week he basically taught us the Plan of Salvation and testified of how true our church is. Buckets! He came to church this week and is looking forward to baptism on April 24. He is married to a member too, gotta love the part member families! You guys need to see the outfits that Africans wear to church. They are so sick. I think I am going to buy one here in a little just because they are the coolest. Look out for me coming off the plane in an African get up. 

Elder Sampson and I had to do some traveling this week to close down some apartments. We just don't have as many missionaries anymore, so we are having to close down areas and shut down apartments. That means my professional mover title has returned. Gotta love it. We got to travel up past the promise land of Ames and of course all of the good memories of my time there came flooding back. If we plan a trip out here next summer, we will have to make sure to visit up there. It will be easy, because all of my favorite people are with in an hour radius. 

As I mentioned last week, we share a building with the Des Moines ward so I get to see my friends there every Sunday. Today, after our church ended I walked into their Gospel Principles class while they were setting up and got to see my favorite lady D! When she saw me she ran up to me and shook my hand and said, "Oh my I miss you!" She is the coolest lady. She is getting baptized next Saturday and I couldn't be more excited for her. Definitely one of my favorite finding stories of my mission. 

I have been thinking a lot this week about joy. I always think about what President Nelson said in the October 2016 conference, "saints can be happy under any circumstance." I love this so much because it is so true. The motto that I have taken on for my mission is the same as it was before my mission. "Attitude Determines Altitude." As members of the church, we have the Atonement of Jesus Christ and through it, any circumstance that we are in can be made a happy one. Our Heavenly Father's purpose is for us to return to Him, but I also believe that he desires our happiness and joy along the road. 

We have our mission tour this week, so I am super pumped to spend time with Elder Costa from the Seventy. Pray that I don't say anything dumb to embarrass our family. 

I love you guys! Have a great week. 

The Professional Moving Company,

Elder Obray

no pictures this week... I will take a bunch this week for sure!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

The Des Moines Resident

Hey Hey Hey! Not too many things bring a smile faster to my face faster than hearing that all is well back in the 801. I love you guys so much.  It was yet another great week in the promised land of Des Moines IA. I guess that I have really accepted the call to serve in the Iowa Des Moines mission. Who would have thought that I would spend so much time in the capital? I am pretty sure that I will be staying here for the rest of my mission, so it will round out to more than a year in the same church building and driving the same roads every day. I can't complain though. I love it here. This week was a wild one so I will cut right to the chase. 

On Tuesday, I got to go to the temple with all of the departing missionaries. I almost forgot how incredible the temple is. I haven't been through the entire temple since the MTC, so it was a definite breath of fresh air. The temple is such an amazing place and is truly the House of the Lord. Gotta love it. It is about a four hour drive to the temple from Des Moines, and I got to drive my girl Heather again. Man what a blessing. I think I am going to invest in a Ford Transit when I get home. What a machine. The temple president is married to one of President Nelson's daughters... Yes the Prophet's daughter. He is so awesome. He helped us out when Q went to the temple for the first time with us. Anyway, he took all of us up to the bell tower in the Nauvoo temple and talked to all of the departing missionaries. When we were up there, he said a few words and invited us to sing. Of course we sang "We thank thee o God for a Prophet." It was awesome because he backed right into the space next to me, so I got to sing about our wonderful prophet, with our wonderful Prophet's son in law. It was pretty rad. The spirit hit me real good.

The next fun experience of the week was when we got to pick up all of the new missionaries form the airport. Man, it was a humbling experience talking to them. It feels like just yesterday I was coming off of the plane in Des Moines so excited for the work. We had some great missionaries come out. We got to hang out with them and then send them off to their new areas the next day. 

We also had transfers this week. Man, I am so grateful that those are over. It was a fiasco planning this one. We had to close six areas and join four zones into two. It was a huge headache that I am grateful is over. I just pray that all of this stress won't accelerate my hair loss. Luckily everything went super well. Definitely looking forward to more time in our area this week to do the real work. 

On Thursday afternoon, we collected all of the departing missionaries and brought them back to the mission home. One of those departing is my good pal and trainer Elder Dunford. It was sad to see that man go. He is such a stud, and I learned so much from him. He is safely back in San Diego now, but man I will miss him. We had a cool experience to be a part of the departing testimony meeting. It was a really powerful meeting. After which we had to stay up and babysit all of those going home. Don't want anyone hugging or holding hands or any of that nonsense. We didn't get back to our apartment until like one o'clock. We then had to set our alarm for four o'clock to be up to take them to the airport. Man it was wild, but don't worry President Badger approved a nap for us that day. It was magical. I haven't had one of those for a while haha. 

I am finally almost done reading Jesus the Christ. I have read it on and off on my mission but I decided that I needed to finish it. One of my favorite scriptures is in Isaiah 49:16 which says: "Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me."  I have loved reading Jesus the Christ because it goes into a lot more detail and expounds upon the sacrifice that our Savior made for us. Words will never be able to describe how grateful I am for Him. I know that He lives and that he is mindful of every one of our needs and desires. He truly is our greatest friend. 

Have a wonderful week this week. I love you! :)

The Des Moines resident,
Elder Obray

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Sleep Never Felt So Good

Hey Hey Hey! Oh man this week has been a trip, I can't say this email is going to be super exciting because we spent the majority of the week behind a computer screen planning for all of the missionaries, but I will do my best like usual to keep it exciting and upbeat. There are some super cool experiences ahead of me and I am super pumped for it.

To dive into it. Like mentioned, we spent the majority of the week doing transfer planning and transportation planning. It has been pretty stressful. Basically President and Sister Badger sit down and discuss every companionship and area to see what would be best for every situation. It is quite the process, but it has been really cool. I never really realized how much President and Sister Badger really love the missionaries. They are such incredible people. They are funny too. It is cool because I get to see them outside of the "meeting behavior" when they are relaxed and themselves. Of course they are full of integrity though. Such amazing people. We have spent at least ten hours at their house every day this week so I already feel right at home. 

To give a little update on my new calling, as you know I was called to be an Assistant to President Badger, we spend most of our time making sure missionaries are okay and planning meetings and conducting exchanges with zone leaders. We are responsible for planning Zone Conferences and MLC's, planning transfers, organizing transportation for all of the missionaries, opening and closing apartments, etc.. Plus another thing that is super cool is that in a couple weeks were are having a mission tour with a general seventy, so I will get to spend a lot of time with him and traveling to meetings with him. It is going to be sweet. His name is Elder Costa and he gave a fire talk in one of the recent conferences. I am stoked to meet him and learn from him. President Badger made the call last Sunday night so the next day was P Day and I started as an assistant that night, so I didn't have any time to say goodbye to any of my favorite families. I was really sad to leave the Des Moines ward... I have truly grown to love that ward. So many amazing memories were made in the seven months I served there. The best part though, is that the Easter Lake ward (my new ward) shares a building with the Des Moines ward, so I will be able to see all of my favorite people every Sunday. It is going to be awesome. Gone but not far away right?

My new companion is Elder Ben Sampson from the Draper area. He is a stud. He was in my first district back in Ames so we have known each other for our entire missions. He is a Spanish missionary so he goes home a transfer before me. He played ball for Jordan High his first couple years of high school so I remember playing him a few times. Small world right? We have had some good times on P Days already and we are open to challenging any companionship in a 2 on 2 game. He has been an assistant for four and a half months, and from what I hear, he is probably going to be released here next transfer after he shows me the ropes. There is all kinds of drama going down in the next six months, including absorbing a part of the Chicago West mission, so I will be super busy.

I wish I could say I have had some incredible experiences to share with you this week, but it has just been super busy getting ready for transfers this week. Man pray for us. Transfers are wild this time, we are closing two zones and moving cars all over the place. 

It is weird being an assistant, we won't be able to do as much teaching and tracting and all that stuff which I am really sad about, but I am grateful I have the opportunity to grow for the next little bit. The home stretch of my mission is definitely going to be a hill, but I am excited to climb it. This church is so true. I am I am so grateful to be representing it full time. 

I love you guys. Have a great week.

The Party Planner,
Elder Obray


"Front seat middle feet on the hump!" AP initiation

President took us bowling when we finished planning. I am getting better, but I am still terrible.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

After the Trial of Your... Bowels?

Hey Hey Hey. I will apoligize for this email in advance, I only have a few minutes to send it off. This week is going to be crazy so I will look forward to hearing from you again next week.

To give a super brief update on the week. Elder Hadfield and I got real sick on Wednesday after a Zone Conference. We got some food poisoning from the meal. It was so brutal.

Elder Hadfield and I had a killer week this week when literally all of our investigators decided it was a good week to come to church so we were super pumped. Blessings for sure! I had a super cool experience when I got to ordain "S". He received the Priesthood and asked me to be the one who ordained him. I was terrified, but it turned out pretty well. We are super pumped for that man.

From what I have heard, you already know about the transfer assignment I received on Sunday. President Badger invited us over to the mission home Sunday night and issued a new leadership calling. I am an Assistant to the President (AP). I am really excited because I will be working really closely with President and Sister Badger. They are such incredible people. I will be sticking around in Des Moines for a little while longer. My new companion is Elder Sampson and I am super pumped. We have dreamed of serving together since we came out at the same time. These next six months sure are going to be fun! One minor detail that will be switching up a little bit is that we actually email on Sunday afternoon because we are really busy Monday mornings. So be expecting another, better, email on Sunday, where I can give you a better update on my new calling. Just know that I couldn't be more happy, but also couldn't be more anxious and nervous. 

Sorry for the quick email, but we have to get back to planning transfers next week! Ugh pray for us. We are losing a ton of missionaries so it is super wild. 

Talk to you Sunday

I love you guys!

The Not So Tan Anymore,
Elder Obray

Monday, February 12, 2018

Six Months to Sexy

Hola mi familia! We went on another Spanish exchange this week, so you know I have to throw in some of the Spanish I have been picking up. Truly blessed to teach in English haha. Man, this week was quality. We had some major opposition, but ended the week with a bang. I am stoked to tell you all about it. 

First off, I officially hit my 18th click day. That means the dreaded six months to sexy has begun. It is time for me to stop eating so bad and actually work out hard in the mornings instead of doing a few crunches and a push up. I have already shed a few pounds so before you know it, I will need to get new white shirts. Partly because they are turning yellow and have stains all over them, but more because my muscles will be too big to fit in them. Just wait! I don't really know how to feel about this milestone, but I guess I will continue to do what I am doing and see what happens! 

We started off the week pretty solid with big hopes for the week. We had interviews with Pres Badger on Tuesday which is always a huge blessing. On Monday night, we got pounded with snow so the Ankeny ZLs ended up staying the night with us. Man it was so fun. Long story short, I ended up eating glue, Elder Dunford had to do a snow angel with his shirt off, and another Elder got pelted with eggs in the parking lot. It was a lot of fun! They played a pretty wild prank on us later in the week that I will have to tell you all about when I get home haha. Parental supervision is advised! 

We had a super rough day on Thursday. We stopped by to see our man C (the fifteen year old from Tanzania who bore his testimony) he was doing great, but was a little hesitant when we invited him to work for a date to be baptized. Long story short, he asked his pastor uncle about rebaptism and got an earful. We are super bummed that we won't be teaching him anymore, but I am confident that he will be on the church records here in the next few years. He is a good kid. 

My man R is doing great! He continues to progress. We taught him the Word of Wisdom this week and he is excited to quit smoking. He has to be off it by this Saturday, so keep that man in your prayers. He is such a stud. One of the kindest humans I have ever met. 

One of the main highlights of the week was our African feast with M and A. They are so cool. M spent several hours Saturday morning preparing the good stuff. This time we ate some more Fufu of course, which wasn't as bad as last time, but was still pretty wack. M speaks much better English so she taught us how to eat it right. We didn't use forks or spoons, but we ate traditionally, with our hands. We are supposed to take a piece of Fufu and dip it in the Palm Butter soup (which had fish, chicken. crab, shrimp, and fish head in it) and basically pop it in your mouth and swallow. No chewing, but we got used to it. It was a much better experience than last time. We also had a dish she called Potato Greens, which is the leaves of potatoes mashed up with spinach and fish. It was really good actually. They put it over rice so we got to avoid the Fufu with that one. What a blessing. It was awesome. She told us that she would be feeding us some other good stuff here in the next few weeks. 

We saw a miracle last night. The sisters in our area gave us a referral for a man named H. He is from my favorite place on the planet. This man is sooo solid. It was one of the most spiritual lessons of my mission. We taught the restoration and he loved it all. He was asking all of the right questions so we set a date with him to be baptized in March. This leads right into the spiritual thought of the week. There is nothing I love more than reciting the first vision to people. It seems like every time, no matter what the circumstances, the people pay attention and everything else seems to disappear. Yesterday when I was talking to H about it, I felt the spirit stronger than usual. I know for sure that what we were teaching him is a true experience. Joseph Smith did see the things he saw and heard the things that he heard. I have walked where he walked and I know with out any doubt, that he was a chosen vessel to restore the true church of Jesus Christ to the earth. I am grateful everyday that I can share that happy message with people. 

That's about all I have to update you guys on. The fourth quarter has officially started so look out for the best plays of the game coming here soon. I love you guys! Have a great week.

The Fufu eating American,
Elder Obray

Monday, February 5, 2018


Hey Hey Hey! I want to start this email by wishing two of my favorite people on the planet Happy Birthday! As soon as I logged off last week I knew I forgot something. You two are the coolest cats around. Man, you guys are getting old. Trevor, Bob I am so grateful for all of the great times that we have had together. I am super pumped for many more golf trips, games of 21 in the driveway and ski trips with you guys. I am forever grateful that I have had two excellent examples of how to be a priesthood holder in my life. I have modeled a lot of my life after you two. I love you two. I will be there to celebrate next year.

This week will probably not go down on the list of incredible weeks on my mission, but it was still good none the less. It was a pretty standard, more frustrating than usual week for us here in the Capital. We don't have a ton of time to email today, we have been running around all day plus we are right in the middle of a blizzard so it has been a wild day. So this email might be a little disappointing, I apologize in advance.

I have sad news... We are having to part ways with our beautiful friend Heather. We found out this weekend that we would be downgrading to a Chevy Malibu instead... Man, I am going to miss the wonderful times with this sweet piece of machinery. All of the six point turns in the busy Des Moines roads, barely squeezing into parking spots and never earning any trust from the parents of the kids we talk to. She will be missed. But she eats too much gas and we are basically consuming our mission budget for gas, so they decided it was time to park her for a while. Ugh...

We had some cool things happen this week including one of our investigators named C. He is a fifteen year old kid from Tanzania. He is such a stud. During church yesterday he looked at us and said, "I am going up." This man barely knows English but bore a sick testimony on his first day at church. We are so pumped for him. He is teaching us some Swahili so watch out I will be fluent here soon. If it goes as well as the Chinese lessons went, I will be multilingual when I get home.

My guy R came to church again this week. He is such a stud. He is making some great progress. Who knew? Bible requests actually turn out well sometimes.

I got an awesome email this week from my man Q. He told me that he is doing super well over in China. He also told me a few months back that he met this girl in his Branch and he likes her. Long story short, they are still dating and he told me that they are talking about getting married in San Diego! Man, how cool would that be to be able to go to that man's wedding? I will have to convince him to wait a few months, but I think I have a good shot! Man, I love that man so much. He has been a member for more than a year now, so he is looking to receive his endowment here in the near future. I couldn't be more excited for him! Isn't missionary work the best?

I really can't think of anything else too exciting to update you on. We conducted a couple of exchanges in our area this week with our DLs. We worked super hard and were able to find a plethora of new investigators. Hopefully soon we can get them to church. That is the real test.  

I learned a cool lesson with prayer this week. We have been working real hard this week so when we get into the apartment I am always exhausted. My bad habit of falling asleep on the couch was not left behind in Utah. I have this recliner chair that I fall asleep in way too much. Basically this week I was thinking about how much I do this and how lackadaisical my prayers become as a result. In one of my favorite scriptures in Alma 34:39, it says that we must be watchful unto prayer continually so that the Devil will not overcome us. I have a testimony that when we make a conscious effort to have meaningful conversations with our Heavenly Father, he will direct us and help us in all aspects of our lives. Plus we will be happier, and who doesn't want that? 

I love you guys. I hope you all recover from all of the birthday celebrations this week. Don't get too crazy without me! 

The Third Most Attractive Obray Boy,

Elder Obray III

Monday, January 29, 2018

Flirt to Convert

Hey hey hey! You could have never guessed it, but it was another great week here in the promised land. Have I mentioned how much I love this place? I think that I am going to move to Africa when I get home, because Liberian people are the coolest humans on this planet. I have some fun stories for you this week so lets dive right into it.

I will start off with my favorite story of the week. We got a request from saying that someone wanted a free bible. We get these quite a bit, and usually they don't turn out too well. They often are just old people who clicked the wrong button and didn't know what they were signing up for. We called this mystery person but no answer. We quickly forgot about it and got back to work. A few hours later we got a text exchange that makes me laugh everytime I think about it. Man I am such an idiot. It goes as follows:

Person: "Is this u Jeremy?"

Me (Being stupid): "I wish it was Jeremy. Sorry sugar"

Person: "I am sorry I must of had the wrong number. God bless you and know that Jesus Christ is a prayer away and loves you. #live love laugh

Me (Saw this super dope opportunity to spread the gospel): "No problem. Jesus Christ is definitely the way. If you want to learn more about him and find more happiness and joy, check out!"

Person: "Oh yes <3 Thank you so much. Amen! I actually requested a bible from them a week ago or so and am waiting for them to deliver the bible and waiting for a visit. God bless and may you have a humble blessed day, I also recently committed myself to Christ and I feel so wonderful very excited for what is to come and what he has in store for me in the future."

At this point I am pretty much dying because I am such an idiot. But this man R is super solid. Long story short we got it all straightened out that he was talking to the missionaries and that I wasn't trying to flirt with this man. We visited him Saturday morning and he came to church on Sunday. He is now progressing towards baptism in March. What a guy. 

We saw some other awesome miracles. Remember D? My favorite Liberian woman who I invited to baptism immediately? She is doing great. She is progressing so well. She is looking to get dipped on February 24th. She is so awesome. She is an older African woman so our lessons with her are always super exciting. This week, we got into her house and saw that she was watching TV. We asked her if we could have a lesson with her and turn the tv off when we noticed that she was watching Utah play Arizona. I am not going to lie, I was weak. I decided it was okay for a second to watch the last couple minutes of the game. Man it was a pretty wild game too. I miss basketball so much! Oh my goodness. I need to repent.

Last person to update you on. I can't remember if I have already told you about this, but we found this awesome family a few weeks ago. His name is A and her name is M. They are the coolest people on the planet, you can guess where they are from. When we first taught M, she told us that she had almost gotten baptized years before, but decided to wait a while. She is so sick, she invited us back to watch the NBA finals with her and A, knowing my rebellious nature lately I might have to take her up on the offer. She came to church yesterday and is on date for March 17th. She is cooking an African feast for us next Saturday so I will make sure to let you know how that goes in the next couple of weeks. Pray for me. 

Well mi familia that is about all I have for you this week. Some other highlights include: exchanges with the APs, MLC, musical number (went well), praying in Swahili, and lots and lots of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Love you!

The Elder who is losing weight,

Elder Obray

MLC with the brethren
My favorite little African girl

When we got the Cafe Rio Burrito