This week is transfers. In this mission, P-day is on a Wednesday the week of transfers. Thus, I am emailing today. This week has been packed with craziness. It was the last week of transfers, and it couldn't have flown by faster.
Wednesday night we saw a great miracle. Elder Colligan, Elder Stechnij, and I were walking around North Parkersburg. We do something called "selective knocking". This is when we walk down the street and we only knock on doors that we feel impressed to knock on. This cuts down on wasting time. It also helps us fine tune our spiritual sensitivity. We knocked on a few doors, but nothing really came of it. As we continued to walk down the street, we saw a home that was covered in Christmas decorations. It looked like a nice, cheery home with nice, cheery people inside. We obviously knocked on the door. After the first knock, we stood around for a little bit talking. We decided to knock a second time. We were about to walk away when the door was opened by a half-naked woman in a scanty nightgown, curlers in her hair, and tears streaming down her face. I was expecting her to tell us to go away. She was in hysterics. Instead, she invited us in. There were dogs jumping all around her and she was trying to pull herself together. We all came in and sat down. We soon found out that she had just gotten off the phone and had been told that her beloved niece (or cousin) would be taken off of life support. She was devastated. She was still holding the phone, and it seemed as though she had literally hung up seconds before opening the door. We were so glad to be there to support her in her time of grief. What impressed me most of all was how Heavenly Father had orchestrated this moment. He is an expert in arranging perfect times and perfect places. As the Lord's official representatives, we were able to bring the comfort of the Spirit immediately into her heart at a time of extreme need. We were able to listen to her. We were able to share our testimonies and the testimonies of Book of Mormon prophets. In this moment, I felt nothing but extreme love and concern for this daughter of God. I wanted to impress upon her mind, more than anything, that we were here to show God's love. I told her that we were not there to take advantage of her situation, force a Book of Mormon upon her, and baptize her that very night. For some reason, people have this conception of us as missionaries. What I wanted to share with her more than anything at that moment was the peace that the Book of Mormon has brought into my life. Heavenly Father also knew that the Book of Mormon was the thing that would bring her the most comfort and peace to calm her troubled heart. That is why He sent His servants. I am so grateful for the Spirit. I am so grateful for the guidance he can give us. I am so grateful that Heavenly Father trusts me enough to direct me to someone who is in real need. It was an amazing experience.
Thursday and Friday were both dedicated to Zone Meeting. Thursday I helped Elder Colligan and Elder Stechnij get everything in order for the meeting. We were planning to have a jeopardy game about Zion with a White Christmas theme. Thus, I was in charge of putting together questions about Zion and cutting out snowflakes. The other Elders kept asking me how I knew to make snowflakes so well. Thank you, Mom, for this important and very underappreciated skill. It came in very handy. Another skill that came in handy was being able to play the recorder. I don't think that I ever told you, but I found a cheap plastic recorder in my apartment. I have been playing it a few times a week and it makes me think of Sarah every time. Well, for Zone Meeting, I was in charge with making and reading the questions about hymns of Zion. Since the clues were pretty hard, I decided to also play the tune of each hymn on the recorder as an extra hint. I'm not sure if it actually helped. I haven't quite figured out how to play sharps and flats perfectly on the recorder. Everyone loved it though. The room was decked out in snowflakes and everyone got a chuckle when I pulled out the recorder. One of the blessings of being with the Zone Leaders is that I've gotten to know all of the missionaries in our zone. It has been very fun to get to know so many other missionaries. President and Sister Pitt also came to our zone meeting so that President Pitt could conduct interviews. He gave me some updates on visa stuff. First, the Church is having a very hard time getting visas because other countries are scared we are taking over the world with all of the missionaries we are sending out. Second, the Church will no longer be transferring visa waiters immediately to their foreign missions when they get their visas. If my visa comes in the middle of this transfer, I will wait until the end of the transfer to go to Brazil, which means that I will definitely be here for Christmas! President Pitt also said that I will now be serving with Elder Gadberry (another visa waiter who came out with me) in the Vienna area in the Parkersburg Ward. It is kind of crazy, but we'll be co-training each other. I am very happy to be in the Parkersburg Ward still, and I will still be able to see Elder Colligan and Elder Stechnij. I can absolutely say that I love President Pitt. He is such a loving a wonderful man. After talking to him, I felt such love and excitement to do the work.
Saturday was Elder Stechnij's 21st birthday! Thank you so much for the crepe recipe, it was great. My crepes didn't turn out very well, but they tasted good. I haven't quite gotten down the form for spreading the batter around on the pan. After crepes and studying, we went to go help set up a football banquet being held at the Church. One of the stake counselors is in our ward and is the head of the boosters for his son's football team. We were more than happy to do it because his family does so much to support us in our missionary efforts. It was also a great opportunity to expose others to the Church. What I have realized since being in WV is that I know nothing about football. That is all that my companions talk about, all that anyone else talks about, and I am clueless. I know that it's going to be even worse when I get down to Brazil because futebol is really the ONLY thing that people will talk about. Oh well, I'm learning. That night we had a mini party for Elder Stechnij. I made a cake with homemade cream cheese frosting. I didn't even use a recipe! Luckily sugar tastes good no matter what you do to it. :D
The past few days have been a blur. Everything went by so fast I can hardly remember it all. One thing has added to the craze of it all. I got a call from President Pitt asking me to serve as the new district leader of the Vienna district. I don't know what to make of it. I am happy to serve, albeit bewildered. I really do hope that the Lord qualifies those He calls! I look forward to the new transfer. I love you all so much. I think about you and pray for you. Christian, I loved your fun newspaper photo. you are awesome. Mom, Dad, Will, and Sarah are awesome, too. You're all awesome and I am so glad that we are an eternal family.
Love, Elder Parker Ayer
P.S. I don't know what I want for Christmas. Yes I do. Invite at least one friend to Church. Love you!