Dear Mom and Dad,
To start off: Mom, I think I found your favorite scripture.
"...we were exceedingly rejoiced when we came to the seashore..." (1 Nephi 17:6)
Other slightly silly news: Thank you so much for the birthday backage.
I was so happy to see the church movies, and almost moved to tears by
all the wonderful family photos (and everybody is amazed to see how
small the kids used to be!) The 3x5 cards, clown-style balloons, and
party hat were great additions as well. My companion and the other two
Elders that lived with us especially loved the balloons :D
So. To (slightly, but not by much) more serious matters.
We started teaching a lady named F (raspberry) with her 9 year
old grandson, I, this week. She is a really nice lady, life (and
her family) haven´t treated her as nicely as perhaps she deserved, but
she is very excited to share with us now. The rest of her family
(except her grandson) is pretty apathetic towards us, but we decided
to try pulling everybody in a little bit more by making brownies in
their house and giving them to everyone (thanks for the mix, it was
delicious!) She has felt the spirit several times and says that she
wants to go to church, but she is nervous to start off because of
delicate health. This next week we are going to focus a lot on the
promises of physical and emotional help that come through Christ´s
L and B are doing pretty fantastically as well. We found out
that they are living together unmarried, which is pretty common here
in Chile (in the states marriage and divorce have become almost casual
matters, here the state tends to favor single parents and divorces are
lengthy and uncomfortable, so a lot of people just live together to
"avoid all the hassle."). But, they loved church on Sunday and are all
pretty decided now on getting baptized, so the next step is to help
them understand that God wants them to be married, too.
There was an interesting moment during the week when B told us a
couple of things that helped us to understand that she didn´t really
understand the Restoration, how Joseph Smith saw the father and the
son and received the legitimate authority from God. We came back the
next day and taught a really simple, scripturally-based lesson about
the restoration, and then within the few days break we had before the
next lesson, the Spirit had done all the rest and she said she already
knew it was true. Wow, they really are a great family.
I went to the ward next door this week, and got to know an
investigator named ML. She had shared withed missionaries
years and years ago, but one day she just showed up to church at 10:00
in the morning, stayed for all three hours, and then told the
missionaries that she would like them to come by. She is really a
fantastic example that it is God that directs this work, and His
spirit is the key factor.
We´ve been sharing with a young naval marine named C for the last
few weeks. He is a really good guy, hard worker, and recognizes that
he needs to let God more into his life. He came to church for the
first time this Sunday, loved it, and is set to keep coming from now
on. The last time we were in his house, he talked about how every time
we go by he feels peace and joy in his heart, and how he wants to have
that feeling more. I really love the simple and sweet manifestations
of the spirit, like the peace and joy, that people just don´t feel and
don´t understand away from the church. Because that same spirit, make every moment so much sweeter, every day tells me again and
again that this work is true.
We had lunch this week with the V family. They are also marines,
he is retired and she is still working at the front desk in the naval
hospital. They had been inactive for several years, and just started
coming back to church a few months ago. They talked about how they
noticed the difference when they weren´t going to church, how their
family was less united, there was less love in their home, things
didn´t work out quite as well or move foreward quite like they wanted.
We decided to go share with them for a few weeks to help their 8 year
old grandson to get ready for baptism, and to help them get back into
the flow of living the Gospel.
Finally, Y. She is doing so great, she has so sincerely and
completely chagned her life and every day I thank God for leading us
to her. She even started sharing the gospel with her mother, who
started out pretty touchy but has been softened a little bit by her
daughter´s earnestness. She is so excited for her baptism, and you can
tell the difference that the Gospel has made in her life when you talk
So, that is what´s up in EM right now. We are still working
hard to find people, and I hope to keep filling these letters with
miraculous stories in the weeks to come.
Viviendo el sueño,
Elder Jason Ray