Jason found this hanging on a door while knocking on doors and thought it said it all
Also, due to privacy concerns, we will be removing names of people other than Jason
Dear Mom and Dad,
I started out this week with a brand new watch I picked up on the street (US $4, brand SUPER FAD, made in China) to replace my watch that I brought into the mission, which sadly broke (US $15 plus a $4 size change, some-brand-pretending-to-be-a-lot-classier-than-it-really-is, made in China). Good start to a week, I really wouldn´t be surprised if this next watch lasted me five more years!
Mission conference this last week, I got to see Elder P again. He is enjoying his new area, although apparently the apartment was a mess when he got there, but he has whipped it back into shape since then. We had a lesson on the Creation-Fall-Atonement which totally blew my mind, and the assistants performed a skit talking about how important attitude is, showing the difference it can make when everything is a blessing and every experience shows the hand of the Lord in your life. Important for me to realized as well, to help me remember that, even after 3 hours of knocking doors in the sun, God is still guiding our steps and helping us (and, thankfully, we don´t usually have to knock doors for 3 hours in the sun. That has only happened once.)
I keep seeing just how important home/visiting teaching are. In this last week we taught about 6 inactive members who, if they had good home/visiting teachers, would probably have come back to the church months or years ago. They really are inspired programs, and they really do accomplish something. More than I ever realized as a teacher or a priest!
Two personal challenges I´m trying to overcome right now. First, working together well with a companion. My natural tendency is always to push ahead by myself, regardless of what other people around me might think, but here God has put me with a bright, excellent, equally committed and inspired companion and told me to work together with him to serve my best. I have to reign myself in a lot, and I´m really seeing how important this will be for when I am married. Second, staying awake between the hours of 3 and 5. After lunch... nap time... hot sun... whether sitting at a table after lunch, walking the streets, or teaching in someone´s house, it´s tough. I have less ideas on how to deal with this one, although maybe mnm-type sweets or cold water splashed in my face will work :)
One miraculous experience this week was finding A. He´s young, doesn´t believe much in God, but somehow knows a ton about our church. We ran into him while talking to people in the street, and in our first lesson he said it was "Just too important" that he know the truth. He immediately agreed that, if he finds out this message is true, he should be baptized and continue faithful afterwards. Quite amazing, really.
Another great person I met this week is I, a young man (ok, so he is only 6 months younger than me) in another area in the zone. He is headed out to the Peru MTC in February, and has, since January of the last year, been preparing himself heavy-duty. He goes out with the missionaries almost all day every day (and sometimes really all day every day), he is on his second read-through of Preach My Gospel, and he knows the lessons better than I did when I left the MTC. Seeing this kind of person make me happy, I can already tell he will be an incredible missionary, super prepared and ready.
Due to my only-partially-functioning internal clock, I never seem to write new years resolutions--Instead I do February resolutions. This year I decided on exact obedience, getting to bed/waking up on time, telling my companion I love him, following the guidance of the spirit, and being thankful, being accountable, and asking forgiveness every day in my prayers. It´s interesting that the farther along I get, the closer I get to Christ, the more sharply I see my faults and weaknesses... but the journy is worth every mile.
I love being here. I love Chile, my mission, my companion, Spanish, the members, the kids, the weather, I am so blessed here.
¡Viviendo el sueño!
Elder Jason Ray