Thursday, January 17, 2013

January 15, 2013

Dear Mom and Dad,

Changes have come again, and I´m in a new ward and with a new companion, after 6 months in El Mirador and 4 and a half months with Elder G. I´ll finish off talking about changes though, first off, what happened this week.

We did a really great interchange with Villa Dulce, another ward in the stake. I got to go over there with Elder O, who has been here in Chile for about 6 months now. We had a blast, really, talked to a ton a amazing people in the street, especially two or three families that were really ready for us. It was pretty special. I would say the best part of the day was a lesson with had at the end of the day with C and J. They had met the missionaries just the day before, and we started talking to them about the restoration of the gospel, and about baptism. They understood things like the apostasy and the priesthood like they had heard about them all their lives, and C said several times, "I´m just amazed that God sent you guys here right when I needed you!"

The next day we had interchanges with the assistants, who are working in the center of Viña del Mar (El Mirador is up in the hills around Viña, a suburb, really). This time I stayed in the ward. Miracle of miracles, we decided to stop by C (different C), the english teacher who used to come and teach english classes every Friday (I didn´t teach when she was there because, even though I speak english, I don´t understand it quite as well as she does. Yes, CL, I should have studied better :D) We hadn´t seen her in about a month since she stopped coming to teach the classes, so we stopped by to see how she was. Then we started talking about God, and about her beliefs, and before we knew it, she said that she wanted to meet with us, read the Book of Mormon, and go to church. I was blown away--for almost six months we had invited her to come, or to read, or to pray, but she had never wanted to! But I´m sure that God was worked with her all that time to soften her heart, and now she does want to.

L and B--L was working up in the mines all week long, but we went by and watched the movie "Legacy" with Beatriz. She was impressed by how many sacrifices the early members of the church made, leaving behind homes, temples, cities, possessions, crossing plains and mountains, all because they read the Book of Mormon and felt that it was true. We related it to her, inviting her to go to church on sundays, since it isn´t even a sacrifice to get there (she lives about 10 minutes away from the church). She agreed, and said she would try to make it. She didn´t end up going, but it was a pretty powerful moment anyway. Personally, I was really fascinated to see the sacrifices that the early missionaries and leaders of the church made. When I saw people shot at, spit on, tarred and feathered and more, it made me appreciate how little I really am called to sacrifice. And when I saw men, women, and children carrying all their possessions across the plains, I thought about how little I really to walk.

We had a fantastic lesson with the S family about tithing. I told Grandma Cindy´s story about how she met Grandpa, and there was hardly a dry eye in the whole room. We all really felt how incredible it is that I am here in Chile, and my family are all members of the church, that so many other people have served or will serve missions, all because my grandma decided to pay tithing. Thanks, mom, for sending me that story all those months ago!

Y is going to have a calling--2nd counselor in the Young Women. We spent a good little while explaining to her what it means to be 2nd counselor, and what all her responsibilities would be. She is also completely set on going to the temple in another week to do baptisms for the dead. I am amazed by her!

J also wants to go to the temple, but so far it looks like her family isn´t to excited about that and doesn´t want her to go. Your prayers are all appreciated, I´m hoping for some miracle this week so that she can go, as well.

So, this leads me to talk about changes. Yesterday morning I left El Mirador and Elder G and drove up north a bit to Quillota, where I will be serving with Elder C (also from Uruguay--I think that he and Elder S are the only two Uruguayan Elders here in the mission, and now I´ve been with both of them!) Quillota is the stake which La Ligua is a part of, I was in La Ligua six months ago for a few short weeks. Now that I´m back in the stake, I´ll probably get to head back to La Ligua at some point in an interchange!

I´m excited to be here. Quillota is very different from Viña del Mar, but I can tell that there are a lot of people here ready to receive the restored gospel. I am honored by the trust that God has in me, that he has assigned me here, and hope to be obedient to all of his commandments so that I can see miracles happen in my life and in the lives of other people.

I love you all. Christ lives, this is His church, and right now I am His missionary.

Viviendo el Sueño,

Elder Jason Ray

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