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!!!