Dear Mom and Dad,
A big week ending in some surprising changes, so here we go.
Every week, we have a weekly planning session to figure out how to help all of our investigators. When I got to La Ligua with Elder A, we started a tradition called pan, palta, y planeamiento (bread, avocado, and planning), where we ate pan con palta (bread and avocado, Chilean avocado is delicious and quite common as well) while we plan. This last week we kind of went overboard and made pancakes and eggs as well. That didn´t turn out so well because we ate a ton, and then we weren´t hungry to eat lunch two hours later. We ate with the Relief Society second counselor, and she made us a delicious casuela (a type of soup). I ate until I felt like I was about to throw up, and then we sheepishly told her that we couldn´t finish. For a while she thought that we were sick, until she understood that we were just rather foolish and ate a lot that morning. Note to self: pan and palta is all good, but pancakes is a bit much...
Another lunch we had was with the S family. There are three generations of women in this family, the youngest is 7 year old D, her mother I, and then the grandparents. Grandpa is a recent convert who, after his wife had been a member for 20 years, got baptized because it was so important to his granddaughter. This family really shows how the blessings of the gospel are multiplied from generation to generation. D is so sharp and knows so much about the scriptures, I has a great understanding of the gospel as well, and all because grandma decided to get baptized 20 years ago.
We had a talent show this Friday, it was pretty incredible. I performed a piano/voice piece by Kenneth Cope (Sweet Jesus). Everyone said they liked it, but that they wished they could understand it. I think I´ll get working on a translation to help the Chileans enjoy it more. My companion stole the show singing L.O.V.E. by Nat King Cole, and for the rest of the weekend everybody called him Elder Frank Sinatra. Sister B (75) got up and danced to a really sassy song in spanish with a couple other sisters from the relief society. All in all, it was a great night.
We ran into a youth on the street, C, that is pretty incredible. When we started talking about the restauration, he knew all of the bible verses that we mentioned to him by memory. His only doubt was that he had done some research online, and he couldn´t find any external evidence that the Book of Mormon could have been real. We invited him over to Elder Bowen´s house, where he showed C, out of the Bible, evidence of the Book of Mormon and its truth. (a great lesson about birthright that I would be happy to share with you all in a year more :D). At the end, he said "It´s all consistent, I´m excited to keep learning more."
We had a very interesting experience with T this week. We had an appiontment with her for Saturday morning. We went by her mother´s house to see if she was there (that is usually where she hangs out). When we got there, T tried to hide herself and her mom said she didn´t know where she was. I asked to use the bathroom, and after I got out I pretended to be confused about how to get out of the house and "accidentally" bumped in on T (I really did have to use the bathroom, so I don´t consider that dishonest :D). From there it turned out that she felt ashamed, because she had been smoking for the first time in 3 months right when we passed by. She got pretty agressive/defensive at one point in the lesson, and almost told us to stop passing by. Then, we decided to try out a hymn. We sang three hymns (in beautiful harmony, even) one after another, and after we finished there was a quite, spiritual feeling of peace. She then said that she wanted us to keep going by, and that she would keep on trying as well.
This week was changes, and what a surprise they were. I just got to La Ligua six weeks ago, but President Känlein called me Friday to tell me that I would be leaving La Ligua and that I would be serving as a zone leader in my next area. What is more, Elder A is now serving as a district leader and is training a new missionary.
And so, I said goodbye to Elder A (what a great Elder... really, I feel like we became best friends in just a little over a month), to the B's (we have an open invitation to go visit them after my mission, they live about 45 minutes away from Hillsboro, they said), and the rest of the branch. I am now in the zone of Achupallas, right next to beautiful Viña del Mar, in a ward called El Mirador. I´m serving with Elder B, who is a friend of mine already that I met when I was in Valparaíso (4 and a half months ago). I am excited to start here.
Viviendo el sueño,
Elder Jason Ray