Thursday, September 29, 2011


The alarm rings at 6:30; I stumble to my feet
I grab my companion's bedding and pull off his sheet.
A groan fills the room. It's already time to arise?"
It seems like just a second ago I was able to shut my eyes.

The morning activities follow: study, prayer and such
When its time to leave the apartment, you feel haven't accomplished much
"We have a super day planned," my Companion says with a grin.
I lowly utter a faithless breath, Yea, if anyone lets us in.

With the word of God and my faithful schwinn, we ride off in the street.
Prepared to face another day of humidity and heat
It's 9:30 in the evening, the day is almost through.
My companion and I are riding home, not accomplishing what we thought we'd do.

We ride up to the mail box hoping to receive a lot.
Only to look inside and hear my echo reverberate "AIRBOX"
We go up to our apartment; the day is now complete
the only thing to show for our work is a case of blistery feet

It's past 10:30 Pm, my companion is fast asleep.
Silence engulfs me all about and I begin to weep.
In the midst of sadness I kneel down to pray;
I need to talk to my Father, but I'm not sure what to say.

"Oh Father," I begin, "What happened to us today?
I thought we'd teach somebody, but everyone was away.
My hands, my aching hands worn, hurt and beat,
If our area was any smaller,we'd have knocked on every street.

Why on missions are the days so much alike?
The only difference about today was the flat tire on my bike.
Will you send some cooler weather? the heat is killing me!
I sweat so bad, it gets in my eyes. Its very hard to see.

Why do I have to wear a helmet, isn't your protection enough?
People always laugh at me and call me stupid stuff.
Please send us investigators so I may give them what they lack;
I want to give them Book Of Mormon, the weight of them hurts my back.

And what about my Family? They don't have much to say.
I'm sick of not hearing from home day after day.
Oh Father,why am I here, Am I just wasting my time?
Sometimes I just want to go home, I'm sorry but that's on my mind.

My Companion, Heavenly Father, who are you giving me?
The way he rides his bicycle I don't know if he can even see!
Now you have it, I can't go on. I DON'T KNOW what to do!
That, my Father in Heaven, is the prayer I leave you."

My prayer now finished I stand up, then jump right into bed.
I need my feet for tomorrow; we have another long day ahead
Sleep starts to overtake me, I seem to drift away.
Then it seems a vision takes me to another time in another day.

I'm standing alone on the hill, the view is very nice.
A man walks towards me and says, "My name is Jesus Christ."
Tears of joy well up inside, I fall down to His feet.
"Arise he states, follow me to the shade, you and I need to speak."

My attention towards my Savior, total and complete
He says, "Your Mission is similar of what happened to me.
I understand how you feel, I know what your going through;
In fact, it would be fair to say I've felt the same as you.

Even know how you felt when no one listened to you
At times I felt not quite sure what else that I could do.
I know you don't like to ride a bicycle, for a car would be sweet.
Just remember the donkey I rode I was not equipped with 21 speed.

I understand you don't like sweating, in fact it's something to hate.
I remember when I sweat blood from every pore, Oh, the agony was great.
I see you don't like your companion you would rather have someone else.
I once had a companion named Judas who sold my life for wealth.

It's hard to wear a helmet and have people make fun of you.
I remember when they put thorns in my head and called me King of the Jews.
So you feel burdened down by the weight of your pack.
I recall how heavy the cross was when they slammed it on my back.

Your hands hurt from tracking and knocking on doors all day
I guess when they pounded nails into mine, I ache in a similar way.
It's hard not to hear from home when your family was not there to see.
I lost communication on the cross and cried, "Father, why has though forsaken me?"

We have a lot in common, but there is a difference between us you see.
I endured to the end and finished my mission, so follow and do like me."
He embraced me with his arms, His light filled me with His love.
With tears in my eyes, I watched as he went back to the Father above.

I stood with awe and wonder when a beep rang in my head.
I listened and heard the alarm, when I realized I was in my bed.
My companion let's out a groan, "6:30 already, no way!"
I sat up and said. "Come on, I'll even carry your scriptures today!"

No matter what we go through when we feel we can't take more,
Just stop and think about Jesus Christ, He's been there before

By Troy Whittle

Letter #4

Hello family! / Creepy stalkers on the blog... haha jk
Que pasa? Nothing is going on here, just the usual.
We did get to hear from Elder Allen. he is the big head honcho in charge of the mission funds or something like that. he was really funny and talked about our desire to serve missions. one thing he said that i really liked was, "Get lost in your mission, for it is the best place to be lost, and the only place to truly find yourself." he also said, "let your mission go through you, dont let you go through your mission."
we also heard from elder clarke who talked about our desire to serve missions as well. there were a lot of things i liked about his talk. he said that we should never take our name tag for granted adn taht we should be proud to wear the name elder. because there are only a few amount of people IN THE WORLD who get to wear it. included among these people are prophets, apostles, and us missionaries.  he also talked about our missions that we will be serving when we leave the mtc.  he read a story that touched my heart and it was something like this:  there was a missionary where i was serving who came into my office after 2 days of getting to Chile. i asked him why he needed to see me and he said that he wanted to go home. "I hate the climate, i hate my companion, i hate my bed, and i hate the food. i want to go home." i pleaded with him to stay for a month. he said, "i'll give you 2 weeks." after those two weeks he came back to my office wanting to see me urgently. he came in and i asked how his two weeks went. this is what he said, "I can't stand having my shirt stick to my back because of how much im sweating, the climate is terrible. I cant stand my companion. I can't stand having to sleep in the dirt covered bed that they give me. I can't stand the beans, rice, tortillas, and sauces that they feed me..... but i met this family, who has less than what i have, who doesn't have very many clothes, whose bed is the dirt, and who barely has enough to eat.  then we taught them about the companion that we all have, Jesus Christ, and the love he has for all of us.  President, after these two weeks, this family is the reason that i want to stay."  that story touched me so deeply, and even remembering it now i can feel the spirit and im starting to tear up.  I know it will be hard to adjust to argentina, but i know it will be easy to find people who are looking for the companionship of Christ.  He is my favorite companion that i have had so far in my mission and i know that he lives.  I can't wait to see him again, when i can kneel down and kiss his feet for all that he has done for the world.
That story reminds me of a poem that Elder Ireland's uncle wrote. I think i posted it on facebook under my "notes" section. if someone wants to print that poem off and send it to me that would be great. :) and also my farewell talk too. i want to get that story of the index cards.  and any other inspirational stories, quotes, pictures etc. please send them my way!
The MTC is an amazing place. i love it so much. i can't wait to hear about all the wonderful experiences that my friends will have here. congrats to zack for his call! and ill be seeing elder rasmussen soon! i can't wait to hear where elder Downey, Bruin, Holmstead, and sister Holmstead head off to.
A mission is the best choice i have ever made in my life. even though it has only been 4 weeks (who's counting) i know that i am quickly turning from a boy into a man. i have loved every minute of it.
Im sorry to hear that Utah crushed the Cougars...................................... NOT!!!! take it dad :) the cougs finally got what they deserved haha. but i hope byu finds their rhythym because they need it ;).
Tell the ward that i have them in my prayers and that today's trials, become tomorrow's testimonies. stay strong, and love every minute that you have the gospel, becuase there are many others who would take your place in an instant. consider yourself blessed that you have heard the gospel in this life. i know i am.
Thank you mom for being such a great example to me. i love you SOOOOOOOOOOO much. i want to relate myself to a stripling warrior, who was taught the knowledge of the gospel by their mothers. i am so strong in the gospel because of my family. I love the examples that everyone has set for me.
things i need from everyone:
Things i need from home:
some bathing shoes.... (flip flops, sandals... whatever) the bathroom floors are kinda sick. haha
por favor, recordar todos las cosas eso Dio ha bendicido ustedes con. ustedes estan bendicido muy mucho! ( sorry for the poor spanish, im kinda out of it right now. the smell of bleach is putting me into another world.... haha )
"Adios! Nos Vemos!" -Hermana Andrade
"Abrazo"-Elder Morin
Te Amo,
Elder Gris

Sunday, September 25, 2011


These are just some pictures that were taken at Collin's farewell:

Him and all the Chicas

The gang

Uncle Dodo holding little Graycie

Letter #3

I actually did get your letter!! jsut that the bookstore/mailroom was being switched to a diffrernt buliding so all the mail was delayed for 2 days!! thanks for the package!! i was actually murmuring to my district about why i never get any packages.... elder bate came out of the mailroom with all of our letters and everyone got something except for me. and i was like ahhh..... maybe tomorrow... but in my mind i was sad. then i got up to my room and started reading el libro de mormon. then there was a knock at my door and a worker at the MTC asked if there was an elder gray in the room... i was like.... yeah? porque? then he gave me the REALLY HEAVY box of goodies that you all sent me :) thanks so much!!! i love it. the root beer is already gone and my district loved the cookies. haha.
its weird how god answers your prayers. one day i was having a bad day because i couldn't understand what our investigator was saying. so after i was jsut reading the scriptures and i prayed that the lord could show me a scripture that would make me laugh. then i just opened my scriptures to a random page and viola!! Acts 10:36..... read it and you'll figure out why........ :)
yo se que dios respuesta nosotros oracianes. el oir nosotros preguntas y ayuda nos con todos.
my p day is always thursday here at the mtc. idk aobut in the mission field and we had elder nelson come talk to us about hte new ensign/liahona that is coming out!!! :) its a blessing to see 2 apostles in the two-three weeks that i have been here. im a lucky missionary.
they gave me a walking boot.... and when i taught my first investigator i thought it was a real investigator... then later i was walking into class and "luis" greeted me at the door. i was like, "hola luis!! como esta??" and just introduced himself as hermano richards and said that he is our other teacher. :P what a punk. so the "investigators" that we have are our teachers. they just use identities iof the investigators that they had on their missions.
and the spanish is coming along well. except we have this thing called trc.... and we go talk to real members who speak spanish... and that made me realize how much i dont know spanish... hahaa we met maria and she is from mexico. she has three missionary sons that all served in mexico.
thanks for your letters!!
i can't wait to see you all again.
my time is up on the comp so im going to the bookstore to print off some pictures to send you!! :)
elder gris

Letter #2

How is everyone doing? I haven't received an email yet so i dont know how you're doing!! psh.... some family... haha jk. i did get a letter from cassie, marci, and tj though! its always nice receiving letters! :D

everything here is going swell. we've taught Luis 4 more dicussions and he committed to be baptized nov 5!!! its amazing how the spirit can speak through you and afterwards you have no idea what you said. so now our last couple of lessons are going to be about preparing for baptism. its gonna be awesome! me and elder sands learned great studying habits that help us prepare a ton for teaching the investigators. luckily right now we only have to worry about one, but i can't wait for the challenge of having 3 or 4 in a week or so. but sometimes during our lessons it gets frustrating, because we can understand everything he is saying, but i dont know how to say el respuestas back to him. :/

Elder Ballard came and talked to us missionaries on tuesday. its crazy to think that i was only 8 rows away from an APOSTLE of jesus christ. the spirit was so strong. he talked about how to prepare to teach the people and not the lessons.  he also told a story about when woodruff wilson (i think) went on his mission to england and the first day he got there they went to a huge park in england. there was a podium in the corner where people were listening to some missionaries preach about the gospel. then the mission president said that there would only be time for two more elders to say some thing and they only have 2 minutes to speak. so thinking that out of the 20 elders there, he would not be picked, he didn't prepare his mind at all.  then the mission president called one elder who had been there for a long time and he talked about loads of stuff. then the mission president told elder wilson that he would be going. elder wilson started freaking out about what he was going to say. then the mission president told him to just "preach the gospel". elder wilson went on the podium and said everything he knew about the gospel in two minutes.... it was a disaster. the lesson of the story was to keep the gospel simple, and to prepared to teach.

That can always apply when we teach. El Evangelio is for Todos a las personas!!! It is for everyone!! (2 nep 26:33) that is why the gospel is so great. there is not one person who is not included in the atonement, resurrection, etc. IT IS FOR EVERYONE. but our duty as missionaries to to find out how the gospel that applies to everyone can be taught personally to those who are looking for something specific.

It is amazing to think it has already been a week! Time is flying by so fast! only 103 more weeks until i get to see your smiling faces! ... well usually smiling faces :).
My ankle is fine! i have to be in a walking boot for three more weeks and the after that ill start my rehab. hopefully it doesn't take to long because i want to get some soccer in before i leave!!! I need to show the elders here how to play :D. its just annoying watching all mi distrito jugar volleyball y futbol, and all i get to do is stroke some J's.... but the good news is i have improved my free throws :) it doesn't hurt that much until i start walking fast on it... my ankle just isn't strong enough yet.

Something interesting actually came up. My departure date is Nov 3.... and Elder Sands' departure date is Nov 7.... i dont know that is going to work out but whatever.
OH! some things i do need from home are: 2 pairs of shorts (preferrably the ones i made from pajama pants :)), some more t-shirts, cookies, brownies, candy, PICTURES!, and to know how everyone is doing.

El espanol es venido muy bien! yo soy palabras este yo no comprehendar ayer. (idk if that sentence makes sense). yo gracias por la oportunidad al servir la mision! es muy bien aprendo el evangelio. es muy bien aprendo las verbas.

yo se que el don de lenguas es verdadero!
I would LOVE to hear about your lives!!  you don't know how great it is to get some thing in the mail from home.
and if you ever have a bad day, remember DyC 122:7-9.
Te Amamos,
Elder Gris
Sorry for the spanish in some places... i am starting to forget english :/


Collin's first email home:

Hola mi madre, padre, y familia!

Im just doing my laundry right now so i have some time to write you.  first of all, im alive and i am breathing... My companion is named Elder Sands. he is from burke, virginia and he's been a member for 1 year 2 months! he's such a great example to me and im glad that i have him.  There are 5 companeros en mi distrito. Elder Gries (gray) and Elder Sands, Elder Bate and Elder Lindsley, Elder Relf and Elder Pickett, Elder Harvees (Jarvis) and Elder Bowman. We have tres hermanas en nos distritos, hermana t, hermana adair, y hermana potrie. Elder Bate, Lindsley, Hermana adair, potrie, and myself are going to Cordoba. Elder Sands and hermana t are going to Rosario, Argentina. the other four elders are headed to el reuplica dominicana en tres weeks!

Elder Sands is from Burke, Virginia. Elder Bate (the DL) is from Springville, Elder Lindsley is from Holiday, Elder Relf is from Sandy, Elder Pickett is from Bountiful, Elder Jarvis is from St. Geezy, Elder Bowman is from Soda Springs Idaho. Hermana T is from Kansas, Hermana Potrie is from British Columbia, Canada, Hermana Adair is from Gilbert, Arizona.

ElderSands went to The University of Virginia for a year studying engineering. He is 19 and his birthday is in april. he is very good at learning spanish and makes teaching the lesson easy.

We started teaching our investigator Luis the second day here.... and no not in english, en Espanol!! He did not know one word of english, and we only knkew a couple words of spanish so it was hard to communicate.  but i think he was a set up investigator because he was so  inviting and understanding.  actually during our first lesson we were talking about his family and the stuff he is going through and i knew every word he was saying. its crazy! I now know that the gift of tongues is not a myth, i know for a fact that it is true. nowhere else in the world can young boys come and learn a new language and turn into a man when they leave. the spirit is so strong here and i know this is what i am supposed to be doing.

It is actually getting hard to communicate with you on this because i am starting to turn into a fluent gringo! the first day we learned probably 200 words and we can pray and testify in spanish already.... and that was only 2 days!! now im on day number quatro and i feel like im starting to lose english.

The MTC schedule is like this:

630: awaken, get ready for the day

7:00: personal/companionship study  (It says personal study for every single study session so we use some of them for comp study.)


9:class en espanol

12 lunc

1:class en espanol (some teaching investigators)

4: language study





9:30:get ready for bed/personal time

10:15 quiet time

10:30 lights out.

The schedule changes around every day so stuff is at different times

The comps call me the baby/Elder Gries because i sleep like a baby and Gries is how you say Gray en espanol.

yo soy que la iglesia de jesucristo de los santo de los ultimas dias es verdadero. yo soy que el don de lenguas is verdadero. yo soy que Dios amor nos, y tu hijo, jesucristo amor nos, y expiacion es por nos. yo soy que al propheta thomas s monson es a verdadero propheta y jose smith es verdadero. yo soy que el Libro de mormon es la parabla de Dios. en el nombre de jesucristo amen.

I love you all and i hope i can hear from you!!

If you dont have my address, you can go to and type in my name and mission (cordoba), and my mtc mailbox # (374) and the MTC will give whatever you type to me for free! I'd love to hear from you!

Thank you for all the support!

Elder Gries

Missionary Training Center

 Collin is officially in the MTC!! He is doing so well and is enjoying MTC life so much. Here is a few pictures of the drop-off.

Unloading his suitcases from the car for the curb-side drop-off.

Peace out! See you in two years