Monday, March 5, 2012

March 5, 2012

Dear Mom and Dad,

Dad told me that he got the superman joke, but it fell kind of flat with everybody else (try saying it out loud). Just to dig my humor hole even deeper, here are a few more superman jokes.
¿Qué es el fruto favorito de Superman? Supermanzana.
¿Qué pone Superman en su pan? Supermantequilla.
¿Qué es el otro nombre de Superman? Clark Kent.

Last Monday, I picked up my Chilean ID, meaning that I have moved passed the short-term-tourist stage and am now in the long-term-visitor stage. My companion managed to convince me that "M" stood for "Mujer" and not for "Masculino" and they must have made a mistake when they were filling out my information, and I believed him for about three days until one of the zone leaders showed me his. After picking up my Carnet (that is what the ID is called), we went by Pizza Hut for lunch. There really is nothing quite like a Gringa Pizza.

That night, I got to teach a family home evening lesson with a family in the ward--the Hermana´s sister was in town with her kids, they all live in Santiago and are not members of the church. (The Hermana was baptized when the Hermano got back from his mission to the south of Chile and started telling mission stories to his girlfriend, they now have two kids and stake callings). After a 20 minute conversation about things that we like, but that scare us (me gusta, pero me asusta) I got to teach a bit about the Holy Ghost and the Restoration. The whole family agreed that they need to read and pray about the Book of Mormon, it was a pretty special moment.

Then a few days later I had a very humbling moment where I realized how far I still have to go in learning the language. With my past two companions, both gringos, my spanish has looked alright. On Interchanges with Elder B, de Honduras, I realized how little I really understand/can communicate compared to latinos! He was a very outgoing, talkative Elder, and when he got going in spanish I had to work to keep up. I guess little moments like that are good--they show me how hard I should still be working!

I learned a pretty big lesson from a couple of experience on Friday. At the request of a member of the bishopric, we went by to visit an excommunicated member. We didn´t ask questions and he didn´t really tell us his story, we just talked about this and that for a few minutes, but the pain and sadness in his eyes was obvious. He was a return missionary, had been where we were, but at that moment in time he only had a faint hope to slowly struggle back to the church. A few hours later, Hermano V acompanied us to a lesson. Just by the powerful, honest, humble, spiritual person he was, he asked a couple of questions and made a couple of comments that brought the spirit powerfully to the lesson and taught everyone there more about God. I thought about his family, as well--a wife and three great kids, one of those families that really show how the home can compare to the temple in sacredness. He, too, was a return missionary. The message was pretty clear, sobering and yet incredibly hopefull at the same time. Elder Ray, you are doing pretty well right now, but make sure to keep it up 2, 5, 10 years from now. The future is too important to not make the right choices.

G, my very first convert ever, called us up early in the week and told us he had a problem. He had had an interview with the stake president on Sunday about receiving the Melchizedek Priesthood, but he didn´t think he was ready to become an Elder and commit himself to teaching the gospel like we did. First, we explained that Elder didn´t always mean Missionary, that he wouldn´t be asked to walk around in the sun all day. Then we talked a lot about the help and support that God is willing to offer him. We talked about God´s words to Enoch, "Open your mouth and it will be filled." Yesterday in stake conference, G was sustained to become an Elder.

And, final story for the week--AF is going to get baptized this week! She came out of her baptizmal interview beaming from ear to ear, absolutely estatic. She has already invited all of her family, three kids and a handful of grandkids, to come out and see it.

I absolutely love my job (or calling, I guess, since in a job you get paid with boring things like money). Viviendo el sueño.

Elder Jason Ray

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