Monday, June 26, 2017

No Shoes, No Shirt... Wanna get baptized?

Hey Hey Hey. This week has been a pretty standard week. There were some interesting changes though so we will see how things go. Because of transfers, we didn't really get to do as much work as we would have liked, but all is well. I am glad things are going well back home. I am jealous that summer is starting up for you guys! The humidity is picking up here. Just like the winter, the actual temperature has no indication of how the weather really feels. I am becoming more and more grateful for air conditioning and deodorant. What a blessing. 

So I am kinda bummed to say that Elder Cline got transferred this week. I was sad to see him go. We sure had a lot of fun together. He moved out to Mason City, Iowa. I sure am going to miss him. The cool thing though is that we will be going home together so we definitely will be around each other again. My new companion's name is Elder Youngstrom from Idaho Falls. He is a super funny kid and he is a crazy artist. He is currently drawing a picture of me and my dream girl, Rapunzel from Tangled. I will make sure to send you guys a picture when he is done. We are pretty different, but I am excited to learn from him.  He has been out for nineteen months. 

There was a couple of pretty unfortunate things happen this week that put a damper on the work. Our investigator D didn't come to church for the third week in a row. we are going to have to postpone her baptism a little bit. She told us she is ready to go, but has a hard time getting rides to church. Definitely keep her in your prayers this upcoming week. She needs to get baptized! We had awesome lesson with another one of our investigators C. We taught him the Gospel of Jesus Christ from 2 Nephi 31. We had an emphasis on the spirit and he opened up and told us that he was starting to realize the truth of our message. He told us that he feels the spirit and he is excited to work towards his baptism date of July 22. We found an African investigator from a new country this week. His name is M and is from Chad. We are teaching people from like ten different countries right now. Who knew? 

I am starting to recognize a pattern here in my mission. It seems like every Sunday night, when we are about to go in, we end up finding an investigator on the last door of the day. Obviously, no coincidence. Yesterday was an interesting one. We approached the door and I was convinced that no matter what, this guy was going to be a new investigator. When he opened the door and came outside he was literally wearing nothing but a tiny pair of boxer briefs. He proudly came outside and talked to us as he rubbed his hairy belly and wiped the tired out of his eyes. As we talked to him, he said he was down to have us come back and teach him. I invited him to be baptized and he even accepted. Hopefully he dresses a little bit more modest when he comes to church. I don't think the Relief Society would appreciate that. 

Unfortunately, that is all the real highlights of the week. We did find a street called "Chandler Street" and of course we knocked it. No success really, but we did have a Christian singer give us his CD. I can't wait for August 2018 when I can put that bad boy in and jam. 

Have a great week this week. I love you. 

Elder Obray

Monday, June 12, 2017

Friend Zone

Hey Hey everyone! It has been a great week here! MAN TREVOR AND MADDIE FINALLY ARE ENGAGED HUH? That is so exciting! I am stoked for you two. You guys make an adorable couple. If you have any, send some pictures of the proposal. Trevor it seems like you did a good job on the big event. You make a brother proud. It is pretty wild to think about how different life will be when I get home. Three Cheers to Two years! I am really sad to hear about Grandpa's health. He has always been such an amazing man. I am especially grateful for the experience that I had to give him my first priesthood blessing. I will hold on to that memory forever. Many other blessings have followed and I am grateful that I had the privileged to give my own grandfather my first. Please give him a hug for me and tell him and grandma I love them. Enough of the sad stuff. 

Some highlights of the week, we were accused of housing a juvenile delinquent who escaped her half way house. We saw these two guys wrecking each other outside of Taco Bell. We found an investigator from Egypt, and we literally found an investigator whose name is Lemuel. I almost peed when he told us his name was the same as the brother of Nephi. He is going to get baptized for sure. Plus Elder Cline and I have officially been out on our missions for double digit months! Ten months has flown by holy cow. The mission thing is crazy sometimes. 

The role of district leader is going just fine. I have an awesome district so we haven't run into too many problems. I am grateful to say that I give a lot of blessings of course, but I don't mind at all. This last week I gave a training on staying out of the friend zone with investigators. We talked about making our purpose clear and having a DTR (Define the Relationship) during the first lesson. It went well. Who knew that dating is such a great analogy for missionary work. Lucky I have a ton of experience with the friend zone! I practically live there! 

Our investigators are doing well. D, our investigator has set a baptism date for the first of July. Who knows we might be moving it up a little bit. She is ready to go! We continually find new investigators from other countries. I love Africans so much! I am definitely going to try to go over there and do some humanitarian work when I get home! They are the coolest people. 

I will finish this email with a thought. I have felt extremely grateful these past couple of weeks for the blessing of being born into the church. Lucky for me, I have never really had to search for the truth, because I was born with it as a part of my life. Every day I run into people who could so greatly benefit from this message, but are not willing to put pride aside and listen. Bob and Jen, thank you so much for raising me with the gospel in our family. I will be forever grateful for that blessing. We are so blessed to live where we live and to know the things that we know. It doesn't take long to find a long list of blessings that we have been given because of the gospel. Gratitude is the key to happiness!

 I love you guys have a great week! 

Still in the Friend Zone,
Elder Obray

Monday, June 5, 2017

It's Heating Up!

Hola! It has been a pretty great week here in CR. I am beginning to love Africans so much. Man, they are the coolest. There is a little Liberian kid in our ward and we are best buds. Whenever we go to visit his family, we have to do our special handshake, which includes a jump shot and a dab. I will try to get a video of it the next time we go over there. Man, this week was pretty wild. There are a couple of pretty fun stories that I am sure that you will enjoy. 

The first story happened on Saturday night. When we got back to our house, we were just sitting around talking in the living room when we heard some gun shots from right across the street. Have I mentioned that we live right across the street from a super sketchy bar? We looked out the window and pretty soon like five cops rolled up and an ambulance as well. A few minutes later, we watched this guy get arrested and pushed into a cop car and then we watched a gurney roll into the ambulance from inside the bar. Yep we are pretty sure somebody was killed right across the street from our apartment. Gotta love living in Cedar Rapids. Pretty sketchy. But never fear we park our car in the back and are rarely in our front yard so don't worry mom! I feel completely safe! 

The second story was a finding miracle from yesterday. In the early afternoon, we went to try by one of our investigators. When we stopped by, she came to the door with the Book of Mormon in her hand and said that we could have our bible back and that she is too busy to meet with us again. We did our best to turn it around, but she awkwardly stood in the door trying to close it. We let her keep the BofM and took off. I was pretty frustrated because we were pretty excited to teach her. I angrily started to knock on the next few doors and nobody was down. As we were about to finish up, we knocked on the last door of the complex (coincidence? I think not). Two girls came to the door. About an hour later, we gave them a Book of Mormon and set a return appointment for this Tuesday. We are pretty excited to go back and teach them some more. They were super open and actually knew the Bible really well. You don't see that too much here. So, it was fun to talk to them. 

Cedar Rapids is very different from any other place that I have served so far. Out of our investigators we are working with we have six from all different countries. Sudan, Togo, Kenya, Ghana, and Pohnpei. It is super diverse here so we run into people from all kinds of different walks of life. Who knew that when we went knocking, I would have to carry around pamphlets in French, Arabic and Swahili in Iowa. It is a pretty awesome experience to meet these humble people.

I know this email is getting a little lengthy, but I will close with my testimony that our Heavenly Father loves all of His children. He has a plan for each and every one of us. It is not fair for us to decide which ones hear the gospel or not based off of their outward appearance or surroundings. It is simply up to us to share the gospel with everyone. All of His children deserve to hear the message of the restored gospel. I love this work.

Have a great week this week! I love you!

Elder Obray

p.s. If any of you know any virtuous young ladies who are cute and willing to email a missionary please give them my email. The struggle! 

Super candid picture while helping a member move
The Cedar Rapids District! Gotta love serving around a bunch of Sisters! 
Where champions practice

This whole missionary work thing must be paying off!