Monday, September 3, 2012

September 3, 2012

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 atonement.
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 to her.
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

No comments: