Dear Mom and Dad,
I do love life. I also love my mission. I was talking with Elder W, one of the Elders that lives in my pension, about how much what we are learning now will help us when we get back... long story short, I think my life has already been forever changed, and I´ve still got time to learn a whole lot more!
On a random note, it rained for the first time yesterday. Elder S and I were both pretty happy with it--walking from appointment to appointment in the rain just feels cooler, for some reason--but it didn´t last too long. Just enough to make the air smell fresher.
We are planning an awesome ward activity this week, a mini-MTC experience. All of the youth and young adults in the ward are going to come to the chapel really early on Saturday morning. We´ll have breakfast, some studies, and then classes and activites like in the MTC. To top it all off, President Gillespie is going to come speak to everybody right before we divide everyone up and head out to do proselyting. We´ll have four missionaries and a bunch of priesthood and relief society leaders there to go visit investigators, members, inactive members, everyone. I´m really excited--the whole ward is getting behind it to make it turn out well.
One of our lunches this week was a memorable experience. The A family, from Logan, Utah, spent a semester here in Chile--CA is a professor at Utah State, and they did a switch with a Chilean professor. While they are here (just four months, one semester), they are staying at a beach-side appartment with a view I would kill for. They invited us over for lunch, introduced the family (the two parents and four small children, all of whom are blonder than me and completely out of place in Chile), and then gave us an American-style lunch of hamburgurs with potatoe chips, all out on a balcony with a view of the ocean. I´ve decided that when I get back I´m going to change my major to business, with the eventual goal of feeding missionaries in a Chilean beach-vacation resort.
We were part of ward council this week, for the first time in my life actually. The Bishop talked a lot about what we can do to help the strength of the ward, how the ward is important as a social unit in addition to being a church. He talked about how important it is that the leaders of the church help people out with a smile and a listening ear, how much of a difference that can make in somebody´s life. Next week we are going to have a big brainstorm about the things we can do to help people stay active, get active, or get more active than they already are. It made me think a lot about what my personal responsability is, regardless of my calling, to help other people to feel welcome and loved in the kingdom of God. Interesting idea.
So, one of the coolest things we are doing right now is teaching the R family. This week we had two lessons and two Family Home Evenings with other members of the ward--in one of the lessons, 12 members of the family were present. It is amazing seeing the progress of each individual member of the family, and how they all help each other out to come closer to Christ. Everybody in the family is getting excited (to one extent or another) about this message--KR, the married daughter of 28, wants to be baptized and is already trying to convince her husband to follow her. T, the mother, said that her husband is becoming more and more interested as he notices what a difference the gospel makes for his granddaughter and his nephew. That same granddaughter convinced her mother to come to one of our visits, the nephew brought his sister, and so the chain goes. And when I think it what a difference the gospel has already made for them--the peace and happiness that is beginning to enter their home--and what will continue to happen as they are baptized, I am so grateful to be here, to be able to help people in this way. I am also grateful for the gospel in my own life.
I know this work is true. I know I have been called of God to be here, to teach His truths, His gospel.
Viviendo el sueño,
Elder Jason Ray