Dear Mom and Dad,
Fantastic week. (Wow, I say that a lot, don't I?) I have a lot of great stories to share, lets go.
This last Monday, we accompanied the sister missionaries (intercambios would be a little weird, so we just accompany them for a few hours) to a lesson with one of their investigators named F. He is a 19 year old guy that started going to church and institute with his girlfriend. From there he started talking with the missionaries, reading, praying, the whole works. We asked him in our visit if he had prayed to know that the Book of Mormon was true. He said that he didn't, because "God answered me so clearly and powerfully when I was reading it, without asking, that it would have seemed ungrateful to ask him." He said that every verse seemed incredibly beautiful to him, and that he had no doubt that it was true.
The next day, as we were coming from Quillota (a larger city where there are a lot more missionaries) to La Ligua (that's where we are), we both fell asleep on the bus instead of getting off and changed buses, and ended up waking up in a tiny little town somewhere in between the two cities. The bus driver told us to walk towards the freeway, where we could find a bus that would take us on to La Ligua. We got over to the freeway and crossed a bridge to the other side, then realized that there was no entrance road at that point, and we had no idea how to get back to the freeway. I saw a dirt road and suggested we walk down it. My companion didn't think it was such a good idea, but I convinced him and we started going. My idea was to get to the end of the dirt road, trek through a tiny little patch of somebody's yard, and hop their wall right over to the freeway. It seemed like it would work until two huge dogs came out of the house and bounded across the field towards us. We got away, and found another way to the freeway. Once we hit the freeway, the problem was getting a bus to stop for us. The first bus to La Ligua passed by without batting an eyelash (do buses have eyelashes to bat?) We decided to pull out a piece of paper and write "La Ligua" on it, so that we could hold it up and the buses would know we wanted them to stop. Then, while I was holding the sign, my companion started throwing his thumb out, and we almost ended up hitchhiking back. Luckily, we finally got on a bus. The best part of the whole trip--I saved 100 pesos, which is about 20 cents, from the mix up!
We have an investigator named E, who is a little older than 20 and has two small daughters. We hadn't seen her for about a week, and then one night while I was heading towards the church I saw her in the street with two of her friends. We stopped to find out what was going on, and she explained that her grandmother had died and she had been out of town. Then she continued explaining that her mother, whom she lived with, got tired of us coming over and told E that she had to chose between her (the mother) and us (the missionaries). She moved out of her house. Such amazing faith! It was really incredible.
The next day, we went to a lesson we had set up (do I ever say cita in my emails? Cita means appointment or lesson, so if I say it that is why, sorry) with an elderly lady we met in the street. Her daughter and two grandsons were there, and had to have been one of the most receptive families I have ever met. They loved the idea of the Book of Mormon and of getting baptized. In our second visit, F, the 9 year old grand son, had already read 5 chapters of the Book of Mormon to his grandmother, and today we played soccer with M, 14, and all of his neighborhood friends. The best part--we passed by one day to see how they were doing and got to meet the father of the family, who is a less active member who stopped going to church several years ago when he moved and didn't know where to find it. Lots of great things should be coming out of this family!
One night, we stopped by an investigator named J. She was in her pajamas and about to go to sleep, but she let us it to chat for a few minutes. We asked us if she had been able to read the Book of Mormon, and she said yes. We asked her how she felt, and she said she felt peace, tranquility, and happiness whenever she read it. She then said, "I talked to one of my coworkers (the branch president's wife), and she said that what I'm feeling is the Holy Ghost." The Spirit entered the room powerfully, and as we invited her to be baptized she started to cry. She accepted. And all this while she had on blue fuzzy pajamas.
They recently called a new Branch Mission Leader, and this week we got together and figured out a Branch Mission Plan. We are planning on calling a bunch of youth and older couples as Branch Missionaries, and on working with all of the members to talk to their friends and family members. It is an exciting time!
Last story of the week. Saturday morning, we were walking towards an appointment we had when two drunk gentlemen started motioning for us to come over. We decided to go say hi, and they started talking to us. They asked for us to read to them what would happen at the end of the world. We shared a scriptures that talks about how one must be baptized to be saved in God's kingdom, and said that is what they needed to do to be prepared for the end of the world. One of the fellows, calling himself Charly, invited us in to see an painting he had created. He then proceeded to show us, beer can in hand, what he pulled out of his mind. I'll send a picture of it, but those of you who are familiar with mormon artwork will instantly recognize the picture of Jesus Christ's baptism that all the chapels have. I don't really understand everything that is probably going on here, but I'm excited to find out.
Oh, being a missionary is incredible.
Viviendo el sueño,
Elder Jason Ray