So, when I got here to Quillota, I noticed that nobody knew how to play the piano, even though there was one in the chapel. Last week, I told the counselor in charge of music that, if he gave me a couple of hymns, I could practice them during the week and play them during sacrament meeting, since it is so much better to sing with a piano. He gave me three hymns and oh, how I practiced this weekend! 4 days this week I gave up my 30 minutes of Spanish study (if I get home and can´t remember the word for "shovel," that´s why) to go practice the piano. I think I have never in my life practiced with such diligence and focus. And Sunday morning, early, when I warmed up my hands, I thought to myself, I can do this. I somehow learned these hymns, and I can play them. Long story short, I started out trying to play with two hands, and don´t even know how to describe the sounds that came out of the piano. I reverted to a very simple top-hand-only approach, and played the first two hymns like that. I was still nervous, but it sounded decent. But then, my confidence building, I decided to try two hands again on the last verse of the last hymn. And, would you believe it... I messed up again, but this time worse! It was rather entertaining. I think that, even though I had practiced a lot, what I need is practice playing in front of people. Eventually I´ll get it figured out and play two hands in sacrament meeting, but for now, I´ll stick with my right hand mastery.
The other fun thing we did this week was a big service project with a recent convert, C. Her mom was pulling out a stray branch when, all of a sudden, a huge part of their fence that was tied up with the branch came down with it. They took it as an excuse to rebuild the entire fence, to take out a huge thorn tree (I say tree because it was the biggest, nastiest bush I´ve ever seen), and to remodel their yard. We helped in a lot of it, especially digging the new post holes for the fence and sawing boards (with a handsaw. Powertools were sadly lacking).
Now for two amazing, miraculous stories. When I first got here to Quillota, in the first day, I saw two women walking down the street. They seemed... more full of light than the other people in the street, and I thought, these two are members of the church that are somehow going to be important in my life. We stopped by to visit them the next day. Two sisters, LE and C, who recently moved up here from the south. LE is getting ready to get married to JC, an amazing man who has been searching for the truth, and who is very committed to follow Jesus Christ and do as He would do. Yesterday we taught him about the Restoration of the Gospel, and asked him to say a prayer to know if it was true. After he prayed, we asked how he felt. "I felt something really good when I was praying," he said. We helped him to see that what he was feeling was the influence of the Holy Ghost, answering his prayer and telling him that this was the truth. "Yes, I think you´re right, I really felt that," was his reply.
Second story--F and A. F is a military commando (built like my uncles Ben and Grant), he and A dance Cueca professionally (the national dance of Chile). F has been investigating the church for a long time, more than a year, and he and A have been thinking about getting married (and F baptized) in July. When I met them in the street and heard there story, I also thought or heard in a very real way, they are going to get married sooner than that, and you are going to help them do it. I am very happy to announce that, this morning, we accompanied them to the city hall to get a date for their marriage--February 21st.
I feel so blessed to have the company of the Holy Ghost with me, for these impressions and these privileges. I know this church is true.
Viviendo el sueño,
Elder Jason Ray