Dear Mom and Dad,
I forgot to sketch up a summary of my week like I usually do sunday nights, so I might be forgetting some vitally important and life-changing moments in this letter. But oh well, here goes.
We had a fun service project with the High Priests on Saturday. My companion and I, together with four frail older men, jumped around cleaning pigeon droppings off the roof of a non-profit organization, a center that helps people with physical disabilities. Walking around on this roof wasn´t the same as when I painted the house and had to walk on the roof, because it was a metal roof with only a few support beams. If I put my foot in the wrong place, it would have gone right through. But, I learned to walk on the support beams, and we scooped up several kilos of pigeon unmentionables. I took a looong shower afterwards.
This Sunday, by choice of the bishop, was testimony meeting. What really stood out to me was how many people stood up and said "I know this is the true church." It got me thinking about why that was important, why it is so special that the church is true. I thought about Joseph Smith in the presence of God the Father and Jesus Christ, hearing from Christ´s lips that the truth was not at that time found on the earth. I thought about Peter, James, and John, John the Baptist, Moses and Elijah coming to the earth to restore the Priesthood and the saving ordinances, the ordinances that cleanse, purify, change, enable, and eventually bind us together as eternal families. I too, know that this church is true, and that by direct command of Jesus Christ I must declare that truth to all the world.
A family that we have been teaching, the R family, came to church with us this weekend (everybody but the husband, who had work last minute). When we stepped into the chapel, two of the mother´s friends who were members came up to say hi and welcome her in--friends we didn´t even know she had! They were also very excited to hear that there was primary and YW/YM every week, since they had two kids of ages 9 and 13. I hope to bring a lot more good news here.
I had a great experience with the Ensign, the church magazine, this week. I was feeling a little stressed for everything that was happening, being new here and training a new missionary (even though he hardly needs training, Elder S is great) and still waking up in the mornings without being able to understand spanish perfectly. I decided to read the cover article, about grace, by Elder Bednar. It was an answer to a prayer I didn´t even know that I had been offering. God already knows that we are too week to do everything he asks us to, but that´s ok because He is strong enough to make up the difference. E´ Bednar then shares a few scriptural examples of people who prayed for strength to be able to do as the Lord asked, such as Nephi bursting his bands or the people of Alma lifting their burdens with ease. Since then, my prayers have taken on a different tone, asking for God to strengthen me and fit me for a task He already knows I need His help at. I highly recommend both the article, and prayer in this way--praying for strength.
To end the week, a little bit about another man we met this week, named E. He came up to us in the street the day before easter, and invited us into his home. Incredibly intelligent man, he is the editor of a newspaper here in Quintero and has a million stories about every topic in the world you could ever think about. He, also, came to church this sunday (and was very surprised by how young the Bishop was), and I´m excited to keep sharing with him.
Living the dream. Viviendo el sueño.
Elder Jason Ray