Monday, January 9, 2012

January 9, 2012

Dear Mom and Dad,

First off--apology. I do not yet have a picture of Elder Buffun, so you will just have to imagine how he looks for a week. We´ll take a cute companionship picture today.

To help you imagine, we are now team absolutely-gringo. He´s not as tall as I am, but he is blonder. He is also a total goof, and absolutely hilarious. His favorite past time is pointing to people´s shirts/ties, saying "hey you´ve got a stain," and then flicking them in the nose. He has about 50 different jokes in Spanish that he tells in a monotone voice--kids think it´s great, adults not so much. One morning he convinced me for a solid 20 minutes that he never received the Melchizedek Priesthood before coming on a mission, and his conversion story had me laughing on the ground (he is a convert of about four years. His story... well, you kind of had to be there for it to be funny, but he heard about the church in school, looked up the missionaries a few years later, got baptized in College). In short, it´s going to be a fun change :)

Before changes though, I got to clean out the kitchen. Three hours after I started, the whole place was absolutely spotless, the freezer was frostless, and I can still smell Dawn on my hands a week later. New goal for the rest of my mission--clean every week so it doesn´t get that dirty at the very end.

We had a fun day with La Familia Pizarro. First off we cleaned a little hill next to their house of weeds (pictures coming.) Then, while lunch was getting prepared, Elder Buffun and I talked Hannah Montana, Jonas Brothers, and Camp Rock with Jordana, the 8 year old daughter. After that got old and when lunch still wasn´t ready, Jordana got out one of her Christmas presents--a little vibriting-bug battle arena, the bugs just ran into each other and knocked each other over, then vibrated back up onto their feet and went at it again. Four missionaries sitting around, cheering while their bugs ran into each other... I love life :) The great thing is, Sister Pizarro got pretty into it too.

We had a family night with La Familia Córdova, we had plans to bring a couple of investigators--Jackelyn and her daughter Daniela--but at the last minute Jackelyn´s husband came into town (he works on ships I believe) and that got called off. Instead we shared something with the Córdova family about prayer. One of the comments Hermano Córdova made really got me, I asked what kind of decisions he has to make in his life, and his answer was that he´s already made his only decision, to follow Christ, and that he did that by being baptized. Everything else has already been decided, because he knows where he is going. That is the kind of attitude I want to have about being obedient, following the spirit, serving other missionaries, and even after my mission, with my own family. The die is cast, I´m on God´s team now. Enough said!

Something that Elder Buffun and I have started doing--knocking doors (nobody says "tracting" here, it´s knocking doors or touching doors ((that comes from the two verbs used in Spanish to mean knocking on someone´s door, tocar and golpear, which mean to touch and to beat/knock))). Can you believe I made it 3 months in my mission without knocking more than a dozen doors? But in these last few days we have knocked doors and then some!

And that brings me to my last story for the week. Last night, we were really tired after a full day of knocking doors. We decided to keep pushing forward (because after the trial of faith comes the prize) and to decide on one more street to go down. For a couple of days, without really knowing why, I had wanted to go knock the street that The Córdova family lives on, so we decided to head over there. We talked to a couple of people, got a couple relatively funny rejections, but then arrived at a really bright pink house. I knocked on the door. "Who is it?" "The missionaries!" Five seconds later the door opened. Without saying anything else she invited us inside and sat us down. Her name is Sara, she is a mother of two and daughter of members, although her father passed away a few years ago and her mother is now inactive. She has been taught by missionaries many many times, but not in quite a while. But here is the amazing part--her nephew, Claudio, is in the hospital after a really traumatic situation that I won´t go into. She had been ironing clothes and praying for her nephew when we knocked on her door. I´m pretty sure my back-of-the-mind feeling that we should go down this street started about when Claudio went into the hospital, 5 days ago. And Sara knew right away that the Lord had sent us to answer her prayer.

It is such an amazing privilege to be the Lord´s servant like this, to be able to bless people´s lives in such an amazing way. I love my God. I love my calling.

Viviendo el sueño.

Con amor,

Elder Jason Ray

More fotos!

The Mamita's family on Christmas

Picture of the Bay

Street Signs: Ray in spanish is Rey (aka. king)

Picture of the area

Pizzaro Family

Service Project: Cleanup

Service Project: Cleanup