Dear Mom and Dad,
This week I turned a year old and finished half of my life (we always say that starting your mission is birth and ending it is death). My one year mark means that I have 12 months left to give my all to the Lord. I´m amazed by how far I´ve come and quite excited to see what happens in this next year in front of me. I also used it as an excuse to buy pizza. And ice cream. But hey, you don´t finish half a lifetime every day!
An interesting observation about the gift of tongues. I have absolutely no doubt that I have received the gift of tongues as a gift of the Spirit--this Sunday in Sunday school, we were talking about gifts of the spirit. The teacher used me as an example, and I got up and said a couple of things about my history learning spanish, how I hardly knew anything when I started and how much God had helped me to progress. After the class I started thinking. When I was at school (BYU), I had a friend that used to say things to me in spanish (que triste, pobrecito, etc). Even after she told me seven times what each word meant, my mind still went blank each time I heard them. Just a year and a half later, I am speaking fluent spanish. Wow. So if you don´t understand what que triste and pobrecito mean either, ask God for the gift of tongues. It´s pretty great.
We had a couple good lessons with MB this week. He is having a hard time working up the courage to go to church again, just because he doesn´t know everybody, he´s the new guy, etc. But, when we were talking about enduring to the end after baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, he said something like "well, of course, that´s the whole idea. That´s what I´m here for." It was a pretty impressive attitude.
We met a great family this week, the second counselor´s daughter, her husband, and their two sons (C and E are the parents). C was baptized when she was 8 years old, but E and their sons have never really gotten to know the church. We all hit it off pretty great, and everybody agreed to read the Book of Mormon. We´ll see what else happens there.
We also met MM, whose son and wife are members, but who has never gotten baptized himself. He is quite an interesting man. A professional painter who has an exhibit in Atlanta, Georgia, he speaks perfect English and works in odd jobs (especially sales) to provide whatever his erratic painting business can´t supply. I´m pretty sure that when he accepts the gospel fully and is baptized, God is going to be able to use his intelligence and skills and bless their family in enormous ways. I felt pretty strongly when I was sharing with M and his wife that they are a big part of the reason I´m here in El Mirador.
Another fun guy we met--PD, a 70 year old blind man who grew up in a rough neighborhood in Valparaiso and told us stories that made me glad I was there in 2011. He was quite receptive, and we got hold of the Book of Mormon on CD so that he can listen to it, too.
Last story. We go several times a week to a cyber cafe next to the chapel to make copies and send reports of zone meetings. The owner of the cyber is a young single mother named Y (pronounced Jessica). We felt really strongly this week that we should start sharing with her, and stopped by one day before she opened up shop. It was a truly amazing lesson, she has been absolutely prepared by God to receive us in this moment. We felt the spirit so strongly while we talked about how God could held her, with all her difficulties and problems, that everybody was crying. I was truly amazed to see how God set up that whole situation, putting us in the place (the cyber cafe) that we needed to be in order to find this person we needed to find.
So, that is what is happening this week. These next few weeks should be quite interesting as well, there is definitely a lot going on!
Viviendo el sueño,
Elder Jason Ray