Ah, I love life. This is pretty much the best job ever, and I'm pretty sure it's only going to improve once I get into Chile.
Here's what's new in my life.
Pens. The other day I was writing in Preach My Gospel with one of my usual bic 10 cent apiece pens. Every time I moved my hand, though, I would smear my writing! All of a sudden, another Elder swooped in and let me borrow his zebra f-301, which not only doesn't smear, but writes so tiny I can fit twice as many notes on a page! I now own three. They're pretty sweet.
Fitness. I just might be in better shape now than I have ever been in my life. Not only am I eating the very best the MTC cafeteria has to offer, but I'm playing soccer 4 times a week, running once, and working out for ten minutes (just exercises using my body, no weights) four times a week. It's weird, I think the diligence I've been putting into everything else here makes it easier for me to be diligent at exercising. But hey. I like it.
Español. Español es increíble. Yo he visto el don de lenguas trabajando en mi vida mas que yo pensé es posible. Cuando you llego en Chile, yo todavia sentiré como yo no entiendo nada, pero yo podré enseñar el Evangelio, y este es lo mas importante. Y yo todavia tengo uno y media mas semanas aquí, mucho tiempo para estudiar y practicar.
Loving people. I think I have finally pushed through into this place where I can love all the Elders in my district even when they aren't doing exactly what I think they should, which has been a problem for me in the past. It's an interesting feeling, and it requires me to look past what I see on the surface to what I know that is good and what I can guess about the past of each Elder. I hope this new state will transfer over to Chile, and that I will be able to love my companion and other elders I work with, no matter how they act with regards to how I think they should.
Leading by the spirit. I had a pretty amazing experience last Friday. Every Friday morning is a district study, where for thirty minutes we talk about whatever the district needs. This last week it was goals--we had the goal to speak 100% spanish except for in our residance halls before 7 and after 9:30, but for five days I had heard maybe an hour of spanish a day from each elder. I knew this needed to be brought up, but I also knew if I rushed into it in my usual way I would hurt feelings and not accomplish anything. What happened instead, is that I was guided by the spirit just as I am when teaching an investigator to know what to say, how to say it, when to bear testimony, when to ask questions, when to keep silent. It was a pretty great study. I didn't really do anything besides stand at the front of the room, but I think every elder in there recommitted to speak Spanish, remembering that we aren't just learning it for fun, but so that we can teach the gospel to the Chilean people.
It's really amazing how clearly I can see the influence of the spirit in my life right now. I think it's not so much that I have it more in my life than I did before, although that is probably true... however, I think it is more that, because I spend so much of every day talking about the spirit and how to help other people feel it, I notice it myself.
Final point: Sacrifice. I had this insight while I was teaching in the TRC last week--every sacrifice I have ever made is now worth it. I'm not going to list off everything I've ever given up to prepare for a mission, but there are definitely things I would have liked to do but didn't because I knew I needed to be ready to come out here. And it's all worth it! I haven't even gotten to Chile and it is worth it. There have been times when I have been able to point to individual, specific instances and say "I knew this scripture when Javier (one of my 'investigators') needed it because I paid this price three years ago," or "I have received this blessing because of something that I chose not to do last year." It's really amazing to see it this clearly--and if my sacrifices have all paid off two months into my mission, how much more will I value them in two more months? A year? Two years? Fifty? After this life?
I love this. I pretty much have the best job in the world. Travel plans come in later today--within 10 hours I'll know exactly when I'll arrive in Chile!
"Y ahora bien, repose sobre vosotros la Paz de Dios." --Alma 7:27.
~Elder Jason Ray