Monday, October 28, 2013


Dear family,

First of all, thank you for the packaged love that you sent the other day. I love you! I don't just love you because you sent me a package, but it certainly was a great reminder of all the reasons why I love you. I loved getting the notes and the old pictures. I also love the coat. it is perfect! It is coming in very handy with these cold days. So far, I've just been wearing the liner. I'm sure i'll add the other layer in a few more weeks. And yes, I am planning on being here for a few more weeks. If you're praying that I get my visa, please stop. I love it here! Please pray that everything will happen according to the established timeline of the Lord. (I'm hoping that timeline allows me to taste some Thanksgiving pie before I head south.)

This week has been kind of a roller coaster between having our area doubled in size and going on exchanges. Remember, Elder Stechnij and Elder Colligan are zone leaders, so I get to experience all of the fun things (and tedious things) of that assignment. Our area originally included South Parkersburg and Belpre, OH. On Monday we found out that the sister missionaries in North Parkersburg would be transferred to Charleston until the end of November for health reasons. That means that we were assigned to take over the northern part of the ward as well. That's a lot of ground to cover!

On Tuesday, we went to go visit one of the investigators that the North Parkersburg sisters were teaching previously. It seems that he has been trying to avoid us. I really don't know why. He was planning on getting baptized, but seems afraid of talking to us for some reason. Anyway, we knocked on his door and no one answered. As we were going back to our car, we stopped and talked to his neighbor. She is an older woman who has been going to the Baptist church all of her life. We talked to her for a while about our church and her beliefs. We asked if we could come back and share a message about Jesus Christ. She refused and said that she didn't think that we could teach her anything else about Jesus that she hasn't already heard from her preachers. We ended our conversation with her, got in our car, and drove off. As I was sitting there thinking about the experience, I got really frustrated with myself. I let her tell me that I had nothing else to bless her with. This was totally false. Over the next several days, I thought of all of the wonderful things that we know about the Savior in our Church. We have the Book of Mormon. That alone is marvelous. The Book of Mormon is not offensive, antagonistic, or harmful to anyone's faith. It upholds, exalts, and enriches the Bible. It speaks in harmony with the Bible's teachings. it speaks in correspondence with the Bible to support the testimony of Jesus Christ as our Redeemer. It further develops the understanding that we have of the love of God. He loves all people everywhere. He seeks to lead all people to the pure and only source of joy in this life, Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon helps us to understand the plan for our salvation made possible through Jesus Christ. He is the only way or means whereby salvation cometh. The Book of Mormon is powerful as it invites the Spirit into our hearts. Any person who can call himself a Christian should be overjoyed and desirous to read the Book of Mormon so that they can add to their testimony of the Savior and their faith in His power.

Later on Tuesday, Elder Colligan and I traveled to Marietta, OH to exchange with the elders there. It was a long evening. They haven't been able to find any people who want to listen to their message, but it is probably because they haven't been doing it very effectively. We spent the evening calling and contacting people who had been interested in talking to the missionaries. It was tedious, but we did teach one woman who has clearly been prepared to receive the gospel message. She was asking questions about life and Christ that are clearly answered by the Book of Mormon and modern revelation. One interesting thing that she said is that some different churches frown on people having an experience where they feel the presence of God. They also tell people that some questions cannot be answered. We teach the exact opposite. We tell all people to seek out a spiritual experience through prayer so that they can receive answers to their questions. Prayer is a communication tool to be used between God and man. We declare that every man and woman has the divine right, as a child of Almighty God, to receive a spiritual witness of the truth as a guide in this life. We invite all people to ponder about our message and then to ask Heavenly Father in faith, in the name of Jesus Christ, if what we teach is true. We do so with confidence because we know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, the Book of Mormon is true, Joseph Smith saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and God has a prophet on the earth today to lead and direct His people.

Wednesday morning, we woke up in Marietta and got a call from Elder Stechnij saying that we would switch back to our normal areas earlier than planned. That meant that we had to choose one name from a list of several people who we would go visit. I suggested that we pray together and ask Heavenly Father who we should visit. After the prayer, all of us had the same name on our minds. When we looked at her information, we found that she was 20 miles away in Waterford, OH. That seemed a long way to go to try to track down one person. Still, we decided that we would follow the inspiration that we had received. We drove for quite a while through some winding (and pretty) country roads in order to get there. Once we got there, we knocked on her door. No answer. We knocked on her neighbors' doors. No answers. We knocked on her door again. No one. Nada. Zilch. Why had we been directed to this place? It was confusing and a little concerning. We loaded back into the car and drove back to Parkersburg. After talking with Elder Colligan and thinking about it for a while, I decided that God had his reasons. Was he testing us. Had we avoided a major accident on the road. Was it a tender mercy just to drive past scenic and picturesque Ohio? Was it a combination of all of these? I am not really sure. What I have determined, though, is that I know in whom I have put my trust. I know the power of prayer and receiving answers. I will not be shaken. We were all guided in our thoughts to go to Waterford. If anything, I hope that I have shown to God that I will do whatever He commands me. It may seem illogical and unreasonable, but i trust Him. I hope that He can trust me.

Thrusday, I went with Elder Stechnij to Ravenswood on exchange. What a fun experience! This was a small town in which everyone knew the missionaries. Those that actually like he missionary refer to them as "the boys". Fun trivia for you, Dad, Ravenswood has the highest number of churches per capita of any town in the US. We got to visit several kind and sincere people while we were there. We went to go visit a man recovering in a nursing home. When we walked out, we walked past an old guy who said, "Hey, you've never come to visit me before." He was not a member of the Church; He was just a kind old man who felt slightly left out that "the boys" had never stopped by to talk to him before. What a great place!

Friday, we finished the exchange with Ravenswood, but we had to go down to Winfield/Teays Valley so that Elder Stechnij could do a baptismal interview for someone down there. It was a long drive. I was in the back seat and Elder Colligan and Elder Stechnij were in the front talking to each other. I don't know why, but I was feeling kind of low. I was feeling bad for myself. I tried to read the scriptures to cheer me up, but I wasn't really paying attention to them. On the the long ride back, I tried to sleep, but I was mostly just consumed with feeling sorry for myself. That's when I started blaming others in my head and thinking that everyone else should be trying to cheer me up. Then the Spirit came into my head and chastened me. I was being the natural man. The natural man is when we feel entitled to people serving us. In contrast, Christ's character is to turn outward despite opposition. Well, I tried to be cheerful. It wasn't coming. That night, I felt impressed to pray out loud. I went into our study area and prayed out loud. I cannot describe the peace that I felt. The Spirit helped me see the ways that I could change in order to serve those around me better. I feel such gratitude for prayer. It is a real and vital source of strength and connection with God. He is real. He is there for us, ever watchful and ever mindful.

Saturday was baptism day. We went to go visit Tina early in the day because she said that she was kind of nervous on Friday. When we got there, she was happy as could be. She said that she had been listening to John Denver's "Sunshine on my Shoulder" when the sunlight had come through her window and she knew that she had to be baptized. She is so sincere and sweet. She was baptized that night by Elder Colligan. On Sunday, Elder Stechnij confirmed her. It was a wonderful experience, and she was clearly delighted. She was also very happy because the Primary Presentation was on Sunday. She loved listening to the children sing. So did I.

Life is great. Life is beautiful. My life is a gift, my life has a plan. My life has a purpose, in heaven it began. THere is so much joy in the gospel. I feel that joy every day, and I hope that you do, too. I love you!

Love, Elder Parker Ayer

Monday, October 21, 2013

One Week in the Mission Field

Querido familia,

I love you all so much! Lots of events that I missed. Happy Columbus Day and 25 October Lane Day! There are so many wonderful things that come from being in the mission field. There are so many wonderful reminders of what is most important in life. I think about you all often, and I pray for you. I will also join with Sarah in saying that all I want are some handwritten messages. Right now, it is starting to get really cold. I wear my long sleeve shirts and sweater almost every day. We've had to scrape ice off of our windshields the past couple mornings. Still, I think that I would rather get a note before you send me a coat. :D Thank you so much for your encouraging emails and for all of the love and concern that I can feel from your prayers. I feel so much strength every day, and I'm sure it comes mostly from the prayers of those who love me. I have had lots of other reminders throughout the week that have helped me be strengthened. Heavenly Father has been so kind to me to bless me with tender mercies that comfort me and lift me up.

Sorry about last Monday. I really meant to say more, but I had to finish up and send my email before the computer booted me off. After emailing last week, we played some basketball with other elders in our zone. Now, I usually don't look forward to playing basketball that much. I'm really not that good. Also, the only time that I ever played basketball was in 6th grade and the only basket I ever made was for the other team. I would like to report, however, that I have redeemed my reputation. i am proud to say that I enjoyed basketball very much, I was contributing to my team, and I made a basket (for my team)! This is sounding more and more pathetic as I write it. However, it is the small and simple things that really make the mission field so wonderful.

On Tuesday, we got to meet with a great couple. The wife is a member, but the husband is not. He has been talking to the missionaries and reading the Book of Mormon because he wants to better understand what his wife believes and to make their relationship stronger. When we got there, we discussed what he had been reading in the Book of Mormon. It was so great to be able to talk about and bear testimony of this special book. There is such power in the Book of Mormon. There is such strength that can be obtained from reading its pages. However, when we asked Beth (the wife) to share testimony about the Book of Mormon, she didn't really say much. She said that she has grown up with it and that she likes it. It was a little frustrating because she didn't really bear testimony about it. I don't know if she doesn't really have a testimony, or she is just worried about saying her true feelings to her husband. In any case, liking the Book of Mormon is not good enough. After all, I really like the Harry Potter series. Does that mean that I'm going to go out looking for Hogwarts and basilisks to slay? No. The Book of Mormon will not become a catalyst for change until we understand and know that it is true. It is a sacred record that speaks of prophetic warnings and divine visitations. Either it is what it claims to be, the very word of God, or it is the work of the devil. I know for certain that it is the word of God. It has been prepared since the beginning of time to come forth and save the people of our time. The people in the Book of Mormon were visited by the Savior. They were privileged to feel the engraven prints of the nails in the Savior's hands and feet. We have the privilege today to read the testimony of the Savior, translated from words engraven on plates of metal. We will come to know Him, and we will have a mighty change of heart as we read the Book of Mormon and gain a divine witness of it. We must study it every day. Later Tuesday night, we taught Tina Palmer. I don't remember whether I mentioned this, but we taught her about the Word of Wisdom last weekend. On Tuesday, we went to see her, and the first thing she said was, "I drank tea. I drank tea all day." It was so funny. I couldn't help but laugh a little bit. You're probably wondering why it was so funny, but that's because you don't know Tina. She is very simple. When she told us, it was almost like she was giddily nervous to tell us that she had had tea. She is so sweet. After discussing why she drank tea, she recommitted not to drink tea. Since then, she has been doing great, and she will be baptized this Saturday.

On Wednesday, I prayed that our companionship could be more unified. It has been a little hard to come into a companionship to become a tri-panionship. Elder Colligan and Elder Stechnij are great, but they spent the last transfer together and had already become best friends. I'm just trying to find where I can be of the best service. In Preach My Gospel, it says that missionaries should always ask themselves if they are being a blessing or a burden to their bishop. I've been applying this same principle to our companionship. I feel like I've really been strengthening and blessing the other elders, but I really just wanted to strengthen our friendship more. My prayer is definitely being answered. In so many ways, I can see us coming closer together in how we work and interact with each other. For example, Wednesday morning we had a somewhat silly but fun activity together where we discussed who our apostles would be if we were called as president of the Church. It was totally meaningless, but it did bring us closer together. Later, that day, we had a great experience teaching a woman who requested to see us on She had a rough childhood and never believed in God, but after a year of trials, she was searching out a church because she thinks that God will bring peace into her life. I was so amazed by her faith. Here is a woman who does not know that God exists, knows her, or loves her, but she is seeking Him out. During the lesson, she told us that she was feeling more peace than she has in a long time. It was such a great experience.

Thursday was awesome, marking one week in the mission field. An entire week! I have loved being here so much. Also, I got to go over to Brother Cordell's house for dinner. If you remember from last week, Brother Cordell is the man who approached me after sacrament meeting to tell me that he knew Grandma Ayer. Well, we got to go over to his house, and I was able to ask him some more questions. He was apparently going to school at UNH from '72 to '74 on army assignment. He described Grandma Ayer as being one of the happiest people that he knew. He didn't pay much attention to the two children that she brought to church with her, but he did say that the boy (that's you, Daddy John Bob) was very quiet. That made me laugh. One of the things that I think is interesting is that Brother Cordell mostly remembers Grandma 40 years later because of one act of kindness that she did. He called the house to ask if Grandma could pick up his wife and children and bring them to church. Grandma did it without complaining. Only later did Brother Cordell find out that she was already planning on picking up someone else very far away and that this act of kindness had been at great expense to Grandma. Grandma was so willing to serve and to love. I have been amazed as I have continued to think about this experience. Did Grandma know 40 years ago that this one act of service would become a tender mercy for her grandson in the mission field? Was it accident that Brother Cordell went to UNH, moved to West Virginia, and I was then temporarily reassigned to his exact ward in West Virginia? Do you think that it is coincidence that Brother Cordell had been less active for several years and only started coming back to church in May? Do you think it coincidence that we lived in NH, and Brother Cordell was thus able to make the connection between me and Grandma Ayer? I do not think so. There are so many factors and so many variables. I have been amazed on my mission to see how much the Lord has blessed me. He has prepared a way for us to feel His love. He has provided means whereby we realize his reality and bless others in the process. Of this I am certain. Of this I can powerfully testify. God is working a marvelous work and a wonder.

Friday was another great day.

Saturday there was a baptism for a girl named Kristen. The other elders had been teaching her for a while. I will try to include pictures.

Sunday was another wonderful day.

Know that I love you. Know that God loves you. I feel like I include this same simple testimony each time, but I have felt this more now than at any other time in my life. He lives. He loves. He guides. Let Him be your guide. Let Him be your Father. Accept the love offered to you through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Love, Elder Parker Ayer

Here is a message that Sarah sent to Parker after she received his letter.

GOD LOVES ME!!!!!! He gave me this tender mercy today, so I thought I´d pass it on. I love you, Parker! You inspire me to be a better missionary! Can you believe we´re missionaries??? The two of us!!! At the same time! We always talked about it when we were younger, and now it´s real!!!!!!!

TE AMO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :]

Hermana Ayer

Monday, October 14, 2013

A week of blessings: receiving and giving

Hey ya'll!

I have been loving my time here in West Virginia. I hope that I can quickly bundle up all of the awesome experiences that I have been having here as a missionary!

Tuesday: I know I got to call you from the airport, which was great! Unfortunately, half of my talk time was apparently taken off when I called you that first time, so there was no time left for me to call you when I got to the Dallas airport. However, know that I love you!!! Flying into West Virginia was such a great feeling. The airport is on top of a hill, and it was such a weird sensation having the ground come up to meet us as we descended to it. Anyway, the leaves haven't turned color here yet, so I am so excited to get to see them change. There are so many things here that remind me about New Hampshire. I love it so much! The things that are different are very apparent. I'm loving the accent they have down here. Tuesday night we went to the mission home and had a devotional with President and Sister Pitt. We were the largest group that they've received so far: 19 elders and 11 sisters. The elders stayed the night at their home, and the sisters stayed at a hotel.

Wednesday: All of Wednesday was spent in training at the stake center nearest us. It was somewhat of a long day, especially because I feel like I just done with 6 weeks of 24/7 training and I was ready to get to the field. One of the really great things that we talked about is our "White Christmas". It goes right along with Elder Ballard's talk from conference. Elder Ballard asked that each and every member (not family, member) of the Church work on helping one person come closer to Christ by talking to the missionaries before Christmas. I would ask that each one of you do that. Missionary work is so vital. How can the people of the earth be blessed by the gospel of Jesus Christ if they aren't introduced to it? Our responsibility is to help others come unto the throne of grace so that they can decide for themselves whether or not they will work to qualify for that grace. Please follow the direction of an apostle of the Lord and focus on one person that you can help during the next few months come closer to Christ. There are great blessings in store. After training, we spent the night at the Pitt's home again.

Thursday: Blessed transfer day! We went to the stake center again to finally find out where and with whom we would be serving. Before this, I had been trying to guess where I would be serving. In the MTC, I had been able to look at a map of the mission. I was immediately drawn to the city of Parkersburg (for obvious reasons). I kind of gave up on the chance that I would be sent there. However, when trainers and areas were announced, I found out that I was going to the Parkersburg South area!!! I couldn't believe it. It is so awesome. I am being trained by the two zone leaders for the Parkersburg Zone. That's right, we're in a tri-panionship, but it's been great. My companions' names are Elder Colligan (from Sandy, UT) and Elder Stechnij (from Gilbert, AZ). They are awesome! Both of them having been serving for less than a year, making them some of the youngest Zone Leaders in the mission. I have been so blessed to be with such great leaders and good examples. It does get difficult once in a while because they have a lot of things that they have to do as zone leaders that makes me feel like we're not doing anything. Also, we don't actually start doing missionary work until noon because I have language study and new missionary training as well as all the other study that we do in the morning. Anyway, Parkersburg is a great place. It's probably one of the wealthiest parts of West Virginia. There are three sets of missionaries in our ward boundaries. There are some other really cool things about this area. Before coming here, I had only ever met one person that was from West Virginia. Her name is Rachel Newell, and I was her home teacher at BYU. Well, Thrusday night we went over to a family's house in the ward, the Walkers. At the dinner table, they were talking about the ward, and I heard them mention the name Newell. It's the same Newell family! They moved to Texas a couple months ago, but everyone in the ward (and stake) knows the family. Brother Newell was the stake president here before they moved. Well, it felt great to be in a family's home again. After that, we were called by the sister missionaries in the ward and asked to give a priesthood blessing to one of the ward members from their area. When we got there, I was asked to give that blessing. I felt so blessed to be the means whereby God could bless his children. As I spoke, I could tell that the Spirit was guiding me in what I was saying. At the end of the blessing, Sister Fletcher (who was receiving the blessing) thanked me and said that she could feel the Spirit very strongly at the end of the blessing give her the comfort and peace that she needed. It felt so wonderful to serve in that way.

Friday: The beginning of Friday was somewhat slow. We had studying all morning and the Elders Colligan and Stechnij had to call all of the districts in the zone and discuss what each districts goals are for this week. I was a little disheartened just because I was ready to go out and start knocking on doors. Eventually, we went out for lunch at 2 o'clock to Bob Evans where we got biscuits and gravy and all-you-can-eat hotcakes. Wow, that was a lot of food. I was stuffed. After that, I was so relieved when we finally got to go out doing some tracting. It felt good to knock on doors and walk around. We didn't see any results from our labors, but I do want to be able to show Heavenly Father that I am trying and working and am anxiously engaged in doing his marvelous work. On Friday, we also got to teach Tina, an investigator who has a baptismal date set for the 26th. She lives in an apartment right next to the church building. She is hard to describe. She is somewhat of a slow learner, but she is so sweet and sincere in her desires to understand the gospel and everything that we have to teach. She also says some of the funniest things. That night, we had a miraculous experience. Without planning to, we decided to go visit a sister from the ward, Sister Allen, to see how she was doing. She met us on her front porch and I think she only wanted to talk to us outside, but then I saw a family history fan chart hanging up in her house. When I asked her about it, she answered me and then decided to let us in to talk. Once we were inside, Elder Colligan went immediately to play the piano. After sitting and talking for a little bit, Elder Colligan volunteered me to play something on the piano for them. I went to the piano, assuring them that I really couldn't play that well, and decided to play one of the only things that I know how to play, "Be Still My Soul" from the hymnbook. After playing this powerful and poignant hymn, Sister Allen opened up to us. She said that that was exactly what she needed to hear. She told us about how she had been having some very confusing thoughts recently, and she couldn't tell if they were from God as a warning or from some other source. I then told her about a similar experience that I had had in which I asked Dad to give me a blessing to help me feel better. I then asked her if she would like us to give her a blessing. After thinking it over, she accepted the offer and asked if I would give her that blessing. I did, and I could feel that similar and wonderful power again as the Spirit directed my words according to our faith. After the blessing, she told me that she had received some understanding from the Spirit during that time. As I thought about the experience more, I was amazed. A seemingly simple chain of events unfolded that evening that led us in the right to direction to allow God to be able to comfort His child. As I have been here, I keep looking for those ways that God has prepared me to serve here. It has been wonderful.

Saturday: This day was a lot more eventful than the past days. We got to go teach several lessons. At the end of the day, I was once again asked to give a priesthood blessing to one or the sister missionaries. This whole series of experiences has baffled me. There are things that Heavenly Father is trying to show us if we will but look.

Sunday: Sunday was so great. In our ward here, this Sunday was fast Sunday. I bore my testimony and told everyone in the congregation that I was from New Hampshire. Afterwards, a brother Bob Codrell came up to me and asked if I was related to Alice Ayer from Durham. I couldn't have been more surprised. Apparently, Brother Codrell worked at UNH in the 70's and went to the Portsmouth Ward. At first I wondered why he didn't ask about Grandpa. That's when I realized that he probably never knew Grandpa because Grandpa wasn't baptized yet. I don't think you were baptized yet either, Dad. Could you please send me a full account of that whole experience with dates and such? That would be great to know. Well, there's a lot to say, but the computer's counting down the second now. I love you!!!

Love, Elder Parker Ayer

p.s. we have a ping pong table

Monday, October 7, 2013

Hut one, Hut two, I've got a Charleston Chew (just in case you didn't understand my subject reference last time)

Howdy family!

There have been a lot of crazy things going on in the last few days. I'm allowed to email you today because today is kind of like a P-day for me for packing reasons. I want to tell you all that has happened in the last few days because I know that I'll forget about it by the time I get to the field.

First, I would like to talk about General Conference. Wasn't it great? One of my favorite talks was by Elder Bednar. I know he was really focusing on tithing, but I got so much else out of it! The biggest thing is that God does not always bless us by handing over solutions to our problems. When we are faithful and diligent, Heavenly Father blesses us with increased ability to do His will. He blesses us with more determination to read the scriptures, serve others, and seek for the things that he commanded us to do. This helps us to grow. God provides a way for us to become agents unto ourselves by empowering us. He directs us, sustains us, and rewards us. If we are faithful and diligent, we can accomplish those things that he has commanded.

One thing that I have been thinking a lot from the past week is that Lehi was commanded to depart into the wilderness. That must have been just as scary as the other option, staying in Jerusalem and being taken captive into Babylon. Lehi chose to obey either way. He and his son Nephi knew that God had inspired and commanded them to depart Jerusalem. For them, there wasn't any question about what they were supposed to do. They left all comfort and safety to follow the directions of their God. They were rewarded for their faith. They were led to a land of promise. They saw the mighty hand of God in their deliverance. They were also all made strong so that they could bear the challenges put on them in the wilderness. In the end, though, they had to work. They had to exercise their faith with toil. The Lord would bless them, but they had to trust in Him through action.

There is a lot else that I would love to say to you all. I will try to tell you everything else when I talk to you on the phone tomorrow. :D I love you all so so so so much! I've got to go.

Love, Elder Parker Ayer

Friday, October 4, 2013

Hut one, Hut two...

Querido, amado, bondado, maldade ótimo família,

I love you, I love you, I love you!!! In the scriptures, the Lord says "wo, wo, wo" to the wicked people so that they really listen to Him. I'm using the same pattern to tell you that I really, really, really love you!!!

So, I'm going to try to make my summary of this week quick because there is a lot I want to say.

Friday was a great day as usual: laundry, temple, seeing Uncle Scott.

Saturday was very awesome. In the morning, Elder Findley and I got to have a skype session with a Brazilian girl, Stefany, from Sao Paulo. It was really cool because I was able to understand a lot of what she said, and I was able to communicate everything that I wanted to. However, the thing that I did misunderstand her on was kind of critical. She had a little girl with her during the skype session. I was pretty sure that she said the little girl, Susan, was her daughter. Then she proceeded to tell us that she was 17 years old and in high school. Well, I tried to ignore for the most part that she had a child in high school. Instead I asked her how she can be a influence for good on her friends at school. She said that she invites her friends to Church, which I thought was great. At the end of a our meeting together, I finished by saying that reading the Book of Mormon will herlp her be a good support to ther friends and to her daughter. As soon as I said it, everything was a little awkward and quiet. We finished up the meeting quickly with an strained "tchau" and then hung up. As soon as I finished, Elder Findley told me that the little girl wasn't her daughter, but her sister. I felt so embarrassed, but I just laughed it off. It was pretty funny. I also finished reading through the Book of Mormon again on Saturday. This book is such a blessed and wonderful book. It is not just literature; it is not just history. It is a sacred record of a people who looked forward to the coming of Christ, came to know Him, and saw Him in the flesh. Everything in it testifies of the glory and divinity of Jesus Christ. I know that it is true. I invite all people everywhere to set apart time in their lives. The people in this record gave their lives for the cause of Christ and the preservation of this record. Give half an hour every day to studying its pages, and you will be blessed with spiritual stamina and strength. The Holy Ghost will testify in your heart of the truth of the record.

Sunday was the best day by far of this whole week. Better than any other Sunday, which means that it was better than any other day in my mission so far. After Sunday, I can testify with even greater clarity and confidence that Heavenly Father knows us perfectly. He is preparing us to receive his tender mercies. His guiding and directing hand will lead us through the wilderness of life so that we can be brought triumphantly to stand on mountains of strength. Sunday was fast Sunday, and I was fasting to receive strength in my life. I never knew that Heavenly Father would answer my fast so privately, powerfully, and distinctly. Many of these witnesses are too personal and sublime to describe, but I will say that Heavenly Father gives us tender mercies so that we have strength to overcome our struggles. 1 Nephi 1:20 says that "the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance." I know that this is true. Another thing that I have realized is why heavenly Father gives us weaknesses. In the Book of Mormon, the people that follow Alma are taken captive and made into slaves. Their backs are laden with heavy loads that they cannot bear. They sincerely pray daily to Heavenly Father in their hearts. They learn to rely upon God. Eventually, Heavenly Father creates a miracle to allow them to escape. In Mosiah 24:21 it says that they knew that it was only the Lord that could have delivered them. When we have trials, we come to know God if we will turn to Him. He hopes that we will humble ourselves so that we will come closer to Him in prayer, and so that He may demonstrate the glorifying and wondrous power of His grace in our lives. Later, when the people have settled in liberty, Alma Jr. asks the people if they have properly remembered the deliverance of their fathers (Alma 5:6). This is what we must always do. Once we have received grace, we must not forget it. God will test us to see if we can remember Him after He has so kindly remembered to deliver us. The maintaining and sustaining of this memory will help us live from day to day and endure to the end. One of the greatest tender mercies from Sunday was being able to see President's mission president. At Mission Conference on Sunday, President Lindahl was sustained as a counselor in one of the district presidencies. After the meeting, I went and gave him a hug. It made him so happy, and it made me so happy. Will, President Lindahl sends his love! Sunday night I also was asked to sing "My Kindness Shall Not Depart From Thee" for the departure devotional. It went great, and Sister Nally (wife of the MTC President) cried. I was just glad that I could sing after having a sore throat and fasting all day.

The next really cool day was Wednesday. Elder Findley went into Provo (o mundo real!) to get his knee checked out by a specialist. It's been hurting him, and hasn't been getting better. While we were there, we got to talk to a Catholic woman. She was married to an LDS man, but he died recently. I shared with her the scripture Mosiah 16:7-9 about the sting of death being swallowed up in Jesus Christ. It felt so great to be able to help someone with a problem in their life. She seemed really appreciative of the message and the kindness. It felt so good!!! The other really great part about Wednesday is that Elder Findley and I got to teach Patricia (our teacher Sister Connell acting in place of a pesquisador). Last time, we invited her to read portions from the Restoration pamphlet, including the First Vision. This time we reviewed with her what she learned from the reading. The Spirit was so strong in the room as I recited the words of the Prophet Joseph Smith about his experience. I could tell that the Spirit was testifying to her. She said that she knew the Prophet Joseph was an important man. It was amazing to see how the Spirit guided me as I responded to her. At the end of the lesson, we invited her to be baptized and she accepted. Even though I know that she is just our teacher, it felt so good. We have prayed and thought about Patricia and her needs. We have desired to help her come unto Christ. The thing is that it isn't our success. In fact, I think that success as a missionary doesn't even exist. Nothing is OUR success. Nothing we do comes about because we are good teachers or because we are good persuaders. This is His, Jesus Christ's, work. He guides and directs it. Heavenly Father gives man his will to choose, Christ saves man from death and hell, and the Spirit testifies in the hearts of the people. This work is divine. It is ennobling. It is peaceful. Baptism is not a means to rope people into our Church, but the means by which Christ gathers His children. Jesus knows that by baptizing people into His Church, he can administer grace unto them. He can strengthen them and administer the fullness of his gospel. He is the way, the truth, the light.

So, Thursday was really long and somewhat grueling. It was In-field Orientation. Basically, a 9 hour training session about how to be a better missionary. A lot of it was very instructive and helpful. I think what might have been distracting me is that I thought I was going to get my reassignment on Thursday. It was driving me crazy! The one bright spot about Saturday was having Derek (Asay, my cousin) teach one of the classes. Other than that, I was enduring to the end with a smile on my face.

Okay, so this is the paragraph that I have been building up to. Actually, the paragraph about Sunday was the most important one, but this is the one that has been on my mind for the past hour. I have received my reassignment!!! That's right, I do not have my Brazilian visa yet, so I have been reassigned to serve in a mission in the US. Drum roll, please... I have been assigned to temporarily labor in the CHARLESTON WEST VIRGINIA MISSION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Craziness!!! I am so excited and I am looking forward to serving there. Here are my travel plans. I leave on this Tuesday. I fly from Salt Lake Airport at 6:25 AM and arrive in the Dallas Fort Worth Airport at10:05 AM. I then fly from Texas at 12:45 and arrive in Charleston at 3:55 PM. I will be able to call you from the airport. I am thinking that I will call during my layover in Dallas. I am going to call the home first. I will then call Mom's cellphone, then Dad's if I do not receive an answer. I love you all so much and I know that Heavenly Father has plans for me that I cannot understand.

I love you all so much. Be strong. AKA Be humble and rely on God so that you can be made strong. God lives. God loves. God knows. Turn to Him in prayer. Turn to Him in study. Turn to Him with full purpose of heart.

Love, Elder Parker Ayer

P.S. I am so excited for you to be able to see the Holmes(es) in Boston!

P.P.S. I am so excited for General Conference this weekend! I am so excited that you get to watch it on the lake. Have fun!

P.P.P.S. I am so excited to possibly see some real Fall colors in WV! YAYAYAYAY!

P.P.P.P.S. I will probably need a jacket sent to me in WV.

P.P.P.P.P.S. I know that I'm not answering all of your questions, but I can't remember them all and my time is up. Tell Brother Varney that I love him and tell Bishop Payne that I love him. I love you all!!!