Monday, November 28, 2011

November 28, 2011

Dear Mom and Dad,

We got to go to the temple this week! One of our recent converts, Guillermo, went and did baptisms for the dead. We went to accompany him and our ward missionary leader, Gaston, while he received his endowment (investidura en español. One of those words I imagine most people don´t learn in school). I´ll send some pictures from the temple as well.

The temple in Santiago is beautiful, and small--you actually can´t see it unless you are in the church-owned property that also has the Chile MTC, a distribution center, and the Santiago East mission offices. While there I also got cases for my scriptures, so now I don´t have to put them in covers made out of cereal boxes (it works, but it always feels a little weird to pull out a crunchy-O´s box to read something to an investigator). Going through the temple in Spanish was quite an experience. I think I understood most of it because I had gone through so many times in English, and the amazing spirit of the temple helped me to understand everything else I needed to. Both Guillermo and Gaston had big smiles when getting back on to the bus. Gaston is a convert of about two and a half years, and he made it to the temple. I have no doubt that Guillermo will be going there in another year to get his endowment, and to be sealed to his spouse.

So, we have a new Elder in the pension (which means apartment in mission-ese, don´t ask me why), which somehow made me think that I should give a background of all the Elders of O´Higgins (our ward) including the one who just left. My companion, Elder Paulsen. From Utah, went to BYU the year before coming out on his mission. Likes singing in the street (me gusta). He keeps finding unexpected talents while on his mission, out here he has learned how to play ping-pong, the piano, and now he is learning how to draw. He is the grandpa in our group, he has about 7 1/2 months left of his mission now.

Elder Mace, who just left. Also from Utah, also a BYU-ite. Everyone in the ward calls him ¨Elder Woody,¨ Like Woody from Toy story. He played the hymns on the piano while he was here. Pretty crazy, one time when I asked him if he could test me (meaning with a scripture) he bit my leg. Also super nice, the ward was sad to see him go.

Elder Umbach. He has been here for one more change than I have, but is several years older--he wasn´t planning on serving a mission until about 6 months before he came out, but after fasting and praying he decided it was right. Before that he was in the army and played rugby, so he is ripped. He also doodles better than anyone I´ve ever met.

Elder Marecos, who just moved in. He is from Paraguay, but speaks really good English (also Portugese and Paragi, ((I think that´s what it´s called, some Indian dialect)) he is a talented Elder). He wants to play soccer for BYU after his mission. He alternates between being really humble and quite to funny and crazy, and he is more expressive with his lips than anyone else I´ve ever met (Paraguayan characteristic?)

Speaking of lips. I´ve starting pointing things out with my lips like Chileans. Hehehe.

On Thursday night when we called President to make sure we could still go to the temple, he wished us a happy thanksgiving. None of us had even realized which day it was! Turns out we had a great thanksgiving feast, fajitas mexican-american style made by a chilean-canadian daughter of the Bishop. Then she showed us this house she wanted to rent out to missionaries--basically a paradise of tropical trees, flowers, and other greenery that I named Narnia. We can´t change pensions unless something bad happens to the original one, but I now know what my dream house looks like.

Two investigator stories, first Alberto. Alberto is the husband of one recent convert and grandfather of another. When we taught him the Word of Wisdom last week, he said that he had given up all of that three days ago when his wife told him that´s what he would need to be baptized--so much faith! We are also teaching another grandson of his, Eduardo, so I´m pretty sure the whole family is going to get baptized someday.

We met a family on the street a few weeks back and set up a time to pass by. Then we had a mission meeting go long that day and we missed the time, and after calling a couple of times it was looking like we weren´t going to be able to do anything there. Then a few days ago I saw the son, Diego, walking along the street. He remembered me too, so we started talking, and he said we could come meet his family again. Now we have a definite pass-by time, and I´m pretty sure the whole family things we´re pretty cool. When I left from talking with them, I realized that Diego reminds me of Jared. About 11, same mannerisms, same smile. That made me think of how glad I am that God is in my brother Jared´s life, to help him and protect him, and how much I want to help Diego to have that as well.

I decided on a goal for this change. I want to learn everything I possibly can so that I can train in my third change. It isn´t an application process, God decides, but I want to give it everything I have to become the missionary who could train after two changes. ¡Es posible!

I love being a missionary. Even the hard times are awesome, because it´s hard because I´m doing the same thing Peter did, Paul did, Ammon and Alma and Nephi and Lehi did, the same thing Christ did.

Love you all, and I pray for you every day.

Elder Jason Ray

Editor's Note: I asked Jason several questions and he responded to them before he left for the day.

Do you live in an apartment? With a family?
We live in an apartment with the two other Elders in the ward.

Do you cook for yourselves or does someone else cook for you?
We cook our own breakfast and dinner (if we want it/have time), lunches are with members. Lunches are the biggest meal of the day, like dinner in the states, and it´s the only time we have blocked out for meals. I usually eat dinner about every other night.

Do you clean your apartment or pay someone to do it?
We clean the apartment and dishes for ourselves, but we have a mamita who cleans all our clothes. She and her family are amazing, I´m pretty sure they´re spoiling me because no way are all the mamitas in Chile this good.

What is your schedule like as a missionary?
Wake up at 7, pray, work out (running if I´m lucky and someone wants to do it with me, jump rope if not). Eat breakfast. At 8:30 we start with an hour of personal studies, then two hours of companionship studies (only for the first three months, then it´ll go to one hour) and an hour of language study. The we work for an hour and have lunch at 1:30, for an hour and a half. After that we work until 9:30 or 10 (usually ten, there are a lot of people who have schedules such that they can only be taught after 8 or 9). Then we plan, eat, I write in my journal, and head for bed!

And here are some pictures he sent

In front of Santiago Temple
View from a member's "Tree House"
On top of the World
At the Santiago, Chile Temple