Monday, August 27, 2012

August 27, 2012

Dear Mom and Dad,
Happy birthday to my companion! Elder B turned 22 yesterday. Fun day, fun week as well. On with the stories.
We entered into a lesson with L, the super-smart history teacher father of A, who was a mini missionary while I was in Q (remember that story? It´s ok, me neither). For one reason or another, he started talking about the botanist stage in his life. While on vacation in the North of Chile, he met a fisherman who lived in the bays and hills near Antofogasta. This old, part-indian fisherman told him a story about a time when his mother got stomach cancer. He took her to the hospital and they said they he should take her home and make her comfortable, that the disease had already progressed too far and had no cure. He took her back home, and then went out into the bays and hills, brought home herbs, made herbal teas, and cured her of cancer. He said that this story absolutely enlightened him, that for five years he went hiking and climbing all through those hills and bays in a pair of sneakers, discovering plants, cataloging and catagorizing them, asking native fishermen what their purposes were, searching, searching. He said that every morning he woke up with a burning desire to go out and find the cure for cancer, to change the world. In a really incredible moment, we compared this same desire that he felt to cure cancer to what he should feel towards our invitations to read the Book of Mormon, to pray and ask if it is true, and to go to church. We compared the value of life on this earth with the value of eternal life, and how he would be able to come to know Christ through this journey. It was a really incredible lesson.
I did an interchange with a missionary who is just beginning his mission, Elder H. He is from Colorado, and is tall enough that our morning game of basketball seemed more of a joke than a real competition (6´ 6" I believe). It was almost a nostalgic experience, seeing him struggle to understand Chileans, adjust to Chilean food/a missionary diet as opposed to his mother´s cooking, practice spanish and learn how to teach from the sciptures. It made me feel very glad for how far I have come, for my progress as a missionary, everything that God has helped me to be able to do.
One day this week, I don´t remember which, we were talking to somebody on the street and we invited them to listen to us. They said something along the lines of, "I´m, sorry, we don´t have time to listen to you." First I thought, "How do you not understand that you need to make time, that this is more important than anything else in this world!" Then I thought, "Do I really understand that? Do I grasp that this work, this church, God´s desires for me, are more important than anything else in the world? Will I ever say towards some responsibility that God gives me, ´I just don´t have time´?" It was an interesting thought, and a good motivation to keep developing my testimony.
L, B, and S, the family that we found last week, are so great. They came to church yesterday, stayed all three hours, and seemed to really enjoy everything. We talked a lot this week about having an eternal family. They already love, cherish, and take care of each other so much, I am excited to see them gain even more love and happiness as they receive the Holy Ghost and start on the path to becoming an eternal family.
Y is, if anything, even more incredible (I think I wrote about her a few weeks ago--single mother of two children, she owns the cyber cafe that we use every week). This week, she asked God sincerely if this was the true church. She got an answer so strong, that literaly everything that Satan can throw at her hasn´t daunted her one bit. After she found out that this church was true, she immediately gave up smoking. The next day, when she learned about the word of wisdom, she gave up tea and coffee. Now she is excited to pay tithing, she is changing her wardrobe to dress more modestly, she came to church and also stayed all three hours. One of the coolest moments of this week went a little like this: "I made a commitment with God once. And even though I made it in the wrong place, it is still a commitment that I have with him. And that means, at any church meeting that I go to, I wear a skirt." The moment only could have been more perfect if fireworks had shot up in the background.
I feel like I just have so much urgency to find people, to reach everybody that God has prepared as much as He has prepared L, B, and Y. I hope to keep finding people, and to keep having amazing stories like these to share.
I love you all and pray for you always,
Viviendo el sueño,
Elder Jason Ray

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