First things first--I had cambios! I am no longer in Quillota, and actually, I´ve gone about as far away as you can go in this mission. I´ve left Chile´s fifth region and am now in La Serena, a place I had heard about all my mission but never imagined that I would be sent to. I´m rather ecstatic to be here, even though I will miss Quillota and all of the people that I knew there. The ward I am in, Serena 4, is rather incredible. I saw this because, all throughout my mission, I have noticed things in the wards I have been in that aren´t done right, or that should be done better, and resolved to impliment them if I were ever in a possition to do so (like, if I were called to be ward mission leader). Well, I got here to Serena 4 and on my second day here met the bishop. He explained to me what the ward is doing right now, and named every single one of the changes that I have thought of, from a plan to take new converts to the temple in the first 3 months to a missionary correlation meeting with representatives from all of the organizations. In other words, this ward is great!
But, first off, a few words about the ward I left.
We said goodbye to the M family (pictures included, including one of them while I use C´s hair to give her a mustache--a favorite pastime of mine) and taught them about enduring to the end. We also gave them a picture of their baptism, hymnals, and triple combinations, which they were quite excited to receive. It was a good lesson, and I was very happy to see how committed they are to keep going on.
We went by to see the Ma family, and saw a video about a family much like theirs (a few less active members who returned to church, a few recent converts) who then made it to the temple, and the great joy that they felt. With tears in their eyes, they said to me that they would make it there, that they would make it to the temple.
Wednesday night, after learning that I would be going to La Serena but while waiting for the bus to leave (we had about a 5 hour wait), I went out to the streets of Viña with another Elder to talk to people in the street and give out copies of the Book of Mormon. After several hours of work, we met a man named Victor smoking outside of his house. He explained his life story to us, how he had recently suffered an accident that could end up with the loss of his arm and his employment; he talked about how worried he was for his family, and as we started testifying of the truth of the Gospel and the power of the Holy Ghost to lead and guide him, he told us, "I feel different. I don´t feel so worried now." We gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon, and the next day the missionaries from Viña went by, and he said that he would like to be baptized. Just another demonstration--God has already prepared people to receive the gospel, and he knows where they are. So wherever we may be, we just need to open our mouths!
We´ve had some pretty miraculous experiences here in La Serena as well, but I´m now out of time, so I´ll have to wait until next week to tell you all about them.
Viviendo el sueño,
Elder Jason Ray