Wow, good day. I have a whole 28 minutes to write this letter (normally I have 7-10 minutes), so I´ll try to make it especially good (to make up for the weeks when I have 2-5).
I learned this week that the gift of tongues can be used to help with homework. V, L E´s daughter, was having trouble with some math homework (isolating variables, what fun!), and neither L or JC had any idea of how to help her. They asked me for help, and, even though I had never before talked about math in spanish, somehow we got through it. I was able to explain and demonstrate well and she understood it all.
Speaking of JC, he has decided that he wants to be baptized (yay!). Downside--he has to wait until the middle of May to get married, and can´t be baptized any sooner than that. But, he said that he is sure he wants to do it, and we´ll help him be nicely ready in everything before that day.
We heard a lot of crash stories this week. First off, while we were eating lunch with Al and An, recent converts of about a year. They told us a story that happened to them about six months ago. They had left Quillota and gone to live in Chañaral with one of Al´s brothers, looking for a new life. After a few weeks, a couple of problems came up, and it got to the point that they decided to leave and go back to Quillota. They packed everything they had in their car and set off. After a day and a half driving, at about midnight, they had just gone down a rather large hill and were going up a slightly smaller one. Al said that he looked in his mirror and saw two 18 wheelers racing each other up the hill, using the speed they got from the downhill. One of them wizzed right by them, the other one tried to pass them on the same side and ended up crashing into them, almost sending them flying off the cliff. Miraculously, they all managed to get out of the car without anything more than minor scratches. They attributed their safety to the prayer they had said, asking that God protect them during the trip.
That same day (once again with L and JC), they told us that they had gotten in an accident. A car full of drunk, drugged teenagers crossed in front of them while they were driving at 70 mph. The car was completely totaled, but they are just fine. They also attributed their safety to prayer.
We met a really awesome family this week--J, E(17), and C(11). They used to be neighbors of F and A and helped us out to get them moved, later they came to their wedding party and even sang (the whole family sings, mainly Mexican music). We ran into E in the street one day, and walked back home with him conversing. When we got there they invited us in, and as we talked a bit, it turned out that they are all looking for a way to get closer to God. They are a really beautiful family, I´m excited to keep working with them.
F didn´t go to church this week--he and A stayed at home to do a fundraiser during a flea market that happens every Sunday here in Quillota. When we went to visit them we decided to do something a little differently, and changed roles--F and A had to teach us, pretending that we were recent converts who hadn´t gone to church that week. This helped in two ways--first off it demonstrated a really good grasp of the doctrine, they talked about how it was a commandment to go to church, that God would bless our family with peace and unity as we did so, and that he would take care of us financially if we put him first. Second, it helped them see how important it is that they keep going to church. They assured us that they´d come next week, and every week after that, too.
This last week we had a Zone Council, in Viña, with missionaries from all over the mission (it happens once a month). One of the activities that President and the Assistants planned out was to invite several recent converts to come to the meeting and share their conversion story. I was absolutely thrilled and surprised when I saw the new members enter the room, and among them was Y (remember her?). She gave an incredibly powerful testimony of her conversion, talking about eternal families, the Book of Mormon, and the organization of the church. As she spake, it seemed like I could see, just as clearly as God does, why he called me on a mission here to Chile. There are people like Y that I need to find, who will end up surprising and delighting me by their faith and conversion. She is doing great, D, her husband, keeps going to church and listening to the missionaries, she is the 2nd counselor in the Young Women now, and did I mention that she read the Book of Mormon in 29 days?
Viviendo el sueño,
Elder Jason Ray