Tuesday, December 18, 2012

December 17, 2012

Dear Mom and Dad,

To make up for my historically short letter last week, I´ll try to write this one big enough to have it qualified as a small novel.

The first story that I want to tell: E. Since the very first week that i got here to El Mirador we have been teaching him. This week, on Monday, we went by to teach him with a sister who recently came back to church after about 6 months inactive. He loves going to church, and knew from pretty early on that he wanted to be baptized, but on Monday that "someday" became real. The sister that came with us to the lesson, P, shared her testimony about the church and about how blessed she has felt since she was baptized--and, more recently, since she started coming back to church. After listening to her testimony, E said that he wanted to prepare himself to be baptized the 23rd. The next day we went by, and were absolutely amazed by what a huge change we saw in him! He was inspired by the fact that he had a goal, a date on his calender, he had been reading the Book of Mormon and praying for strength to leave behind everything in his life that could keep him back. That day, he agreed to leave tobacco and alcohol, both of which had been lifelong addictions. As we were leaving, he said, "My case is going to end up being a legend, isn´t it!"

We also had a breakthrough moment with M. He decided that he does want to be baptized, and that the only thing he needs is that his parents agree with his decision. On Wednesday he left for an end-of-year vacation with his grade, and is probably getting back home as we speak. While he was gone, we went by and talked with his parents to help them get over their doubts. The biggest potential problem would be that they prefer M to do what they say instead of keeping the commandments (for example, drinking green tea). But, at last they started talking about how happy M has been these last few weeks, and said they would have to talk to him about it.

This week we had a few great moments with Y (random note--she has a cast on her foot right now after she walked all over town one day and got muscular fatigue, your prayers are appreciated). We started talking about prayer. There had been a pattern in our lessons with her that, after asking her to say the last prayer, she would ask someone else to do it, and only after 5 minutes of encouragement would she actually start to pray--but every time she prayed, her prayers were incredible. So, she agreed now that she needs to be willing to pray whenever she is called on, and is willing to do it.

J, just 2 weeks after being baptized, is almost more involved in the ward than the bishop. She met Y this week, and stopped by a couple times after that just to see how her foot was going. She went to sit by someone who was sitting alone at church so that they would have a friend, and got to church an hour early to set up everything for the Christmas devotional. I am amazed by her attitude of service and devotion!

We had a great Elders quorum activity, I made french toast with maple syrup (thanks for the imported maple extract, it was a hit!) then we played soccer (I made myself famous when I missed 20 easy goals with my feet but hit in a few lucky shots with my head).

The ward Christmas devotional was also pretty incredible, the highlight was definitely the nativity scene by the primary children. There was even a little baby Jesus, who was born about a month ago!

Viviendo el sueño,

Elder Jason Ray

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