Dear Mom and Dad,
I have an apology to make. I have been far too selfish in my letter writing. Elder U (whose mom you are friends with through the missionary-mom´s email group) told me last Monday that his mom told him to tell me (still following?) that I should write more stories that include him, because I write bigger letters home than he does. So I want to dedicate this time to a few shorts moments with Elder U.
Elder U is from Canada. He lived most of his life in Ontario, then moved to Alberta for a few years before coming out on a mission. He is an artistic genius and can draw basically anything in about five minutes. He was also in the army for a few years, and played rugby, and has muscles that frequently have him compared to The Hulk and Max Steel. The other week when we played soccer, Elder U wore his Tractor Shoes. They are basically smallish boots with treads that could probably knock down a small building, and definitely not built for playing soccer. While wearing the awesome shoes, he played defense by dancing around the court (alternating between hip-hop and ballet styles) and trying to surprise people. The great thing is, it almost worked--if we hadn´t been playing gringos against latinos, we might have won!
Next week I´ll try to take a picture with all four Elders in it, to continue unselfishly sharing my propensity to write a lot.
Now for a funny story from my companion, Elder B. A few days ago we were talking in lunch about what we say when people tell us there are busy. Elder B usually asks them when they will be available, which makes perfect sense. The problem is this: In Chilean Spanish, the verb disponerse isn´t the parallel of the word disposable, which means available. In fact, it means for a woman to get sick. Elder B had been alternating between the words disponible and disponerse, which means half of the time he wasn´t saying "we want to come by when you are available," but "we want to come by when you are cranky." Good thing we are so obviously gringos!
I saw this week how powerful a member can be in the life of an investigator who is just coming into the church. M, who we have been teaching for a few weeks now, met Hermana H a few days ago. They hit it off amazingly, and now Hermana H is excited to introduce her to Relief Society, show her how to make tea out of apples and carrots so she can stop drinking tea tea, and invite her to come learn how to work with freezer jam and homemade bread. M has just blossomed because of it, it was really amazing to see.
Now for a couple of miracle stories to close off the week. On Saturday, we had an appointment with a lady that we had helped carry groceries to her house. We came in just as she was walking out the door, but she invited us in for a few minutes to sing her a hymn and leave her with a Book of Mormon. The hymn we sang was "I Am a Child of God." When we finished singing we looked up to see tears pouring down her face. She said that she could feel through the hymn that it was time for her to come back to God, and even though she knew it would be hard and she would need to change, she wanted to do it. The power of the spirit... so amazing.
Final story of the day: About two months ago I lost my triple combination. Elder P and I were running back home to get in before 10:00 (we made it by 3 minutes, yay!), but somehow I didn't notice that my bag was open. My triple combination bounced out onto the street, and in the next week we couldn't find it. Since then, I have been praying that God would help me to get my book back, and that he would use it to bring someone to the gospel. Friday on interchanges we stopped to talk to a group of women waiting for a bus. First thing one of them said to us: "I have your book." We talked for a few more seconds, I showed her my matching bible, and she said that she had picked up my book on the street a long time ago, and just had never got around to returning it. Tomorrow we set a time to go by and pick it up, I am also hoping to share about why it is such an important book for me. But when I think of how big Valparaiso is, how many people walk around, pick up lost books on the ground, sit around waiting for buses... and God put us all together just like that.
Viviendo el sueño.
Elder Jason Ray