Monday, May 20, 2013

May 20, 2013

Dear Mom and Dad,

I felt like spiderman a few days ago, we were walking down the street towards and appointment when we saw F up on his roof with a few big tarps. We asked him if he needed help, he said sure, so we hopped up on his roof and helped him nail a few tarps on to keep the recent rain from getting into his house.

C threw out her boyfriend. This is a very, very good thing, actually--this last sunday she went to church, and when she got home he wanted to fight with her for having gone. It got physical, so she told him to get out and called the police. He broke in the next day to steal a few things, but thankfully they haven´t seen him since then. Since C started living with her boyfriend again a few months ago, not only did she stop going to church, she also stopped reading the scriptures and praying, and started drinking, smoking, and smoking marijuana. This week she stopped drinking and smoking and started reading the scriptures and praying again. The only thing she hasn´t been able to get rid of is the marijuana, it´s a pretty nasty drug and all of your prayers for her are appreciated.

Last week in our monthly meeting with President, we learned a lot about how to better teach repentance, something that we had not been doing with enough depth or commitment. This last week, while sharing with the V family (including the Sunday School and Gospel Doctrine teachers), we decided to try out everything we had learned. What followed was an incredibly spiritual lesson, in which the Gospel Doctrine teacher, who had decided to ask the bishop to release her, changed her mind and decided that she could, with Christ´s help, keep fulfilling her calling. I was amazed to see the real power of repentance in anybody´s life.

JC and LE were married this Saturday. It was a beautiful service, they both joked a bit before saying "I do," and I was very touched to receive a public acknowledgement for having helped them to make the choice to get married. A few days earlier, we finished up teaching JC all of the missionary lessons. We all started talking about God´s plan, His hand, and how incredibly he directs us and puts us where we need to be, and I had a really clear, wonderful moment, in which I realized that I had to come here, to this mission, to this ward, to find, teach, and help JC. I am so grateful to have felt this so clearly, and hope to keep working hard in order to find and help anybody else who is our here waiting for me.

Viviendo el sueño,

Elder Jason Ray

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

May 13, 2013

Dear Mom and Dad,

It was great to see you all yesterday. I really enjoyed the skype call, and am amazed at how much the kids have grown!

We had an interesting week, with a couple setbacks and a couple big advances, too. The first big setback--Ir, who has gone to church the last few weeks and was preparing herself to be baptized with her daughter Ch, had a boyfriend a few years ago. Well, he moved back in, and Ir hasn´t received us back in her house since he got there. We are hoping things change, or that we can help her feel once again what she had been feeling in the past few weeks.

Second setback--JC and LE are getting married this next weekend. JC should be almost ready to be baptized, but it has now been two months since he has gone to church, and a months since LE went. They still haven´t quite recognized that it´s not ok to stay at home, to say it like that, and I would ask for all of your prayers that they can get over this slump and get completely active in the church (and that JC can get baptized).

The first big advance was with C. She hadn´t gone to church in two months, but this last week we had a really powerful lesson. She realized the dangerous position she was in, that she had started drifting away from God by accident, and that she needed to act fast to correct her course and not end up really, really bad in a few weeks more. We were able to give her a blessing of counsel and comfort, I think that helped a lot, and the ward member who baptized her accompanied us in a visit to talk to her and help her wake up her testimony. She Made it to church yesterday! She didn´t stay all 3 hours, but she was there, and that was a big deal.

The other big advance was with S, a friend of C that we met in her house. For the first time ever, we went by to see S in her own house, and she told us a little bit about her life. She said that she doesn´t want to keep going in the same direction her life is going in right now, that she wants to change, give up smoking and drinking and come unto Christ. She came to church, too--which was a big help to C to come--and is already reading anxiously to find out if our message is really true. I was quite surprised and delighted to find out all of this about S, I had never really looked at her as someone who would want to change their life and come to God. I guess that should be a lesson for me.

Several weeks ago we met a blind man named W who we taught for about a week before we realized that he didn´t want to continue. This last week, we ran into his daughter, M, and her boyfriend L. They felt bad because we hadn´t stopped by to visit them, and asked us to keep sharing with them, even though W didn´t want to listen to us. So, we had a really fun visit with L (16) and M (14), neither of their parents want anything to do with God but they are trying to find Him.

Yesterday we were trying to watch the short video about the Restoration with E and M, a less active member and her non-member husband. The video player started acting up and freezing right in the moment when Joseph Smith went to the grove to pray and ask God which church was true. I found it very fitting that, just as Satan tried to keep Joseph Smith from having his sacred vision, he wanted to keep E and M from knowing about it. Luckily it didn´t work, we got to see the video anyway and they felt the spirit and are starting to realize that it is true.

Viviendo el sueño,

Elder Jason Ray