Monday, November 21, 2011

November 21, 2011

Dear Mom and Dad,

Another great week! Luis, father of one recent convert and wife of another, was baptized, and both Luis and Guillermo were confirmed and received the priesthood. This Saturday is a ward temple trip--all of them, Guillermo, Luis, Daniela and Fransisca (Luis´s family), are going to go do the temple work for their ancestors. And we get to go with them! Temple in spanish will certainly be interesting, but I´m really excited.

After he was confirmed, Guillermo told me ¨¨Yo voy sobre los nubes,´ or ¨I´m going above the clouds.¨ This gospel really is amazing, the power of the spirit is incredible.

A couple of stories to start off. Every so often, La selección national de Chile (the national soccer team) has it´s games, and everything in Chile stops. Then, whenever Chile scores a goal, the whole city erupts in applause and screams, really from every single house. Scared me the first time it happened, but now I think it´s hilarious!

Fun service experience this Wednesday, draining out a pool that was about 1/5 full of dirty water. We didn´t really have a way to make a siphon (and it probably would have clogged anyway), so we ended up using buckets to, bucket by bucket, pull the water up out of the pool and dump it on the grass. By the end, we were all totally soaked, filthy, and happy. Good bonding experience for all the elders in the ward, too.

My companion, Elder Paulsen, got really sick this last week. I was torn between wanting to go out and work and wanting to stay in because he looked so bad, but he kept saying he wanted to go out, so go we did! I´m pretty sure that gets him saint-status. There were times when he could hardly speak, and times when he looked like he was about to die, but we went out, taught some lessons (with me doing the teaching when he couldn´t speak) and found some great people.

One family in particular that we ran into is pretty special. They lived, as a family, for five years in North Carolina. A few of them even speak English (and about as well as I do!)  My companion said he had talked to them before and they never had any interest, but now they said we can come by sometime and talk, just because I´m from North Carolina. Moments like that just make me smile. I like thinking about how many people there are in Chile that I, specifically, need to find.

Note about another investigator, Anna. Anna pretty much asked us to baptize her the first time we taught her, she just doesn´t realize it. She explained that she felt like she was apart from God, that He had a plan for her but she didn´t know what it is, and she wanted to make the commitment to follow him. She also talked about how hard it is to have so many churches and that there should only be one, and that she wants to know what God´s reasons are for doing everything he does. Now, we´ve taught her a few more times, and every time she is absolutely full of questions and, by the end of the meeting, I can actually see more light in her eyes. She´s read all of the pamphlets that we have several times over now, and keeps reading the Book of Mormon even though she doesn´t always understand it. She also promised to come to church this next week, and wants the bishop to come bless her house. And when we first ran into her, we had no idea of any of this. This is the hand of God putting us where we need to be! I love being a missionary.

This is the end of my first change. Not too much is changing for this next one, Elder Paulsen and I will still be together here, although one of the Elders in our ward is leaving. I had a realization that I think is going to shape a lot of this next change--one of the best things I can learn here in my mission, perhaps, the absolute best thing, is how to be a good companion. Because if I can be a good companion here in the mission, then I can be a good companion for all eternity. So in this next change, I´m going to try to figure out everything I can about how to be the best companion, how to love and serve and have patience.

Qué más... I love my life. I love Valparaíso and Chile. I´m always hungry. I can jump rope for 200 reps at a time now (up from 30 when I started). One of the elders in the ward drew a caricature of the four of us and drew me singing. Jesus loves me.

One of my MTC teachers signed a tshirt with the saying ¨Viviendo el Sueño.¨ Living the dream. There´s really no other way to describe it!

Os amo, (I know vosotros isn´t really used except in the scriptures, but I like it),

Elder Jason Ray

Luis y Familia

Zona Valparaiso