Tuesday, March 19, 2013

March 18, 2013

Dear Mom and Dad,

Great week, as usual. We did exercised with F on Saturday, and he succeeded in doing something that lifting weights with Elder R hadn´t done--leaving my muscles sore for two days afterwards. We also went to seminary this morning (6:30 to 7:30). It was really neat, and brought back a lot of sweet memories. I feel like I´m on a seminary high right now, too (because the day always went better when I went to seminary!)

A few weeks ago, while I was with Elder V before we went to Viña to pick up our companions, we were walking through the street and we saw a man using a metal pole to break of some earth (he later told us that he was preparing the ground to build a sidewalk, so he had to take off a layer of earth so that the sidewalk would be at the same level as the dirt had been). We stopped and helped him out for 40 minutes while he rested. We conversed a bit, he told us about his life and family, we told him a bit about missionary work. This last week, we were heading from our house to the stake center (a 15 minute walk) with two suitcases and a microwave (materials that we picked up in Viña and had to repare). Somebody pulled over in a pick-up truck and said, "get in!" I hopped into the bed of the truck so that Elder R could hand me the suitcases, then sat down to hold onto them as my companion got in the passengers seat of the truck. When we got to the chapel, the man got out of his truck and said, "hey, do you remember me?" It was the man we had helped weeks before on the other side of town! It was a really beautiful experience.

We visited E this week, a convert of a few years who was inactive when I got here. I then learned that she had been active, but then stopped going to church about a month before I got here. Mostly with the help of Elder C and C, the member who baptized her, she started coming to church again, and now she seems to be pretty firm and resolved to keep going. As we visited her, she explained a little bit about why she had stopped going to church. It really astonished me--she had gone through some trials that anyone would shrink at, and in a moment when she felt completely alone she messed up, she fell, and stopped going. When I first got here to the ward, I might have considered her as being simply weak, or not really understanding things, but I was the one who really didn´t understand. Now I also understand how important it was that we helped her (again, I did very little, it was mostly Elder C and C) to get back again. I´m sure there are a lot more E´s out there, who just need a loving hand and encouragement to get over whatever they have gone through and get back on the path.

Friday night, we were walking down the street to go visit some investigators when we passed by a blind man. For some reason I thought about M, a blind recent convert from my last ward, and felt a really big need to talk to him. So we turned around and asked him if we could help him to his house. As we walked, we talked, and it came out that he was going through a really difficult separation. He invited us to his home the next day, Saturday, and we went. We found that he, his two daughters M (14) and V(8), and M´s boyfriend L (16) are all incredibly interested in God, and completely convinced that He sent us here to help them get through. They came to church with us yesterday, too, and W has already expressed his desire to be baptized. This experience was all the more amazing, because I almost lost it. I passed by him the first time, and only recognized the Holy Ghost talking to me the second time I felt it. But wow, am I glad that God gave me that second chance.

This work is true. God directs it.

Y yo estoy viviendo el sueño.

Elder Jason Ray

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