Friends, Mormons, countrymen,
Lend me your ear. This is an auspicious day. This is a heralded day. This is a day of pomp. Christian *Ayer, the son, rises* from a state of childhood to a state of manhood. For on this day of joy and gladness, he begins his seventeenth year, which is to say that upon this noble day he has attained to the amount of sixteen years. Yea, verily, yea. Let the earth break forth into song. Let the women cheer. On this day he presents himself as an available single, which is to say that he will allow himself to honor young ladies of untarnished reputation to partake in dating events with him. HAPPY SIXTEENTH BIRTHDAY CHRISTIAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Okay, that took me ten minutes to write. I hope that fulfills all of your wildest birthday wishes. I have been thinking about you a lot. I love you and I hope that you enjoy your sweet 16.
I also love all the rest of you. There is not a day that goes by that i don't thank Heavenly Father for my loved ones. Just the other day, Elder Colligan was playing some sacred music before we went to bed. He said something about being so grateful for the music of the Church and how it helps him so much to connect to the Spirit. I immediately thought of our family. I imagined us gathering around the piano, Sarah at the keys. I thought of us singing our all time favorite hymns and then venturing out into strange waters with some unknown hymns. I imagined not being able to hear the melody because we love the harmony parts so much. I imagined us singing opera style when the hymn got a little intense and very zealous. I remembered these inspiring, instructional moments. Thank you for the love of the gospel that was developed in our home. Thank you for the Spirit that we felt through music. Thank you for these experiences that have developed a love of family, but also a love of God. I do not think that we could ever be as close as we are if we hadn't pursued a closeness with Heavenly Father. Through the power of Jesus Christ, we bind our hearts together as we rely upon each other for strength in overcoming challenges and pursuing righteousness. I have seen many kinds of families on my mission. Usually, we don't get to visit the families that make me feel warm and fuzzy. It always makes me feel great when I do get to visit these families, but that is not what I have been called to do. I have been called to go among families that are in disrepair and need the repairing power of the Savior. It is heartbreaking to see homes where children are considered a nuisance. It is heartbreaking to see homes where the Church is present, but the gospel is not. It is heartbreaking to see homes where there is no care for self, situation, or sanctity. It is heartbreaking, but we follow the example of the Savior. He came not to go among the righteous, but to go among sinners. It is such a blessing when we get to cheer up troubled children and bring the Spirit into hollow homes.
I do not have enough time to retrace each day, but know that I love you. Know that I think about you. Know that I wonder what my parents would do in the situations I am in. I often think how my mother would react in the midst of challenging days and disheartening times. Would she give up? Would she put in the towel? No, she would pick herself up, see her duty and do it. She would finish a job despite weary hands, and she would make it a masterpiece. I often think of my father's continuing conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ. I use this great heritage of conversion to help guide others and myself in learning and living the principles of the gospel. I am everlastingly grateful for my parents. Thank you. I love you all. Continue to improve and come unto Christ. Help others improve and come unto Christ. When we surrender ourselves to God's work, we are given guidance to do His work in His way.
Love, Elder Parker Ayer
P.S. Biscuits and gravy are big here. I have had them multiple times from breakfast and dinner. For example, someone in the ward dropped off dinner for us last night. Between the three of us, we ate 15 biscuits and a bucket of gravy. Yum!
P.P.S. rabbit rabbit
P.P.P.S. A guy named Will Long, from the ward here, just got called to the Santa Rosa California Mission speaking Spanish. I'm going to show him a picture of Elder Stephenson.
P.P.P.P.S. I heard the Red Sox won the World Series. Hurrah for Israel! :D