Monday, January 13, 2014

Exclamation Point!

Dear family,

I love you all so much! This week has flown by. It has been a wonderful week. Let me tell you about it.

Monday- We had P-day. I got a haircut which I desperately needed, and now I kind of look like a hipster. It is still respectable though. :D That night Elder Lyman and I went to teach a woman and her boyfriend. They are super awesome. They are super funny, and I feel like we can relate to them in a way that we can't relate to our other investigators. The boyfriend, Mark, reminds me of Fred Randell from Rocketman. They look and talk similarly. Anyway, it was a great meeting. Kristen was taught ten years ago, so during the lesson she was kind of explaining to mark why we are the true church. It was really awesome!

Tuesday- We had to go do visa stuff for Elder Lyman. The Brazil consulates just changed policy so now everyone has to get an FBI clearance before they can get their visa. Since I haven't gotten my visa yet, it seems as though my small town police letter of good behavior isn't quite going to cut it. Tuesday was frigid. Beyond frigid. Tuesday was bitterly cold. As it turns out, we had no appointments planned for Tuesday. That meant knocking on doors all day. We bundled up as good as we could and braved the below zero temperatures and wind. We had some pretty funny experiences. One lady wasn't interested, but she let us in to defrost (or is it de-thaw? :D). When I asked her if she went to a church around here, she said she didn't and that she was a secular humanist. Well, I didn't know much about that, so I asked her how she came to live the life of a secular humanist. She told us about her educated parents and her father who participated in the socialist party. Well, I then tried to assert my intelligence by using big words that I used in college. If there is one thing that bugs me, it is the idea that a disbelief in God is more educated than belief in a divine being. I know that it is ultimate wisdom to know that we are not the most intelligent life, and that we must subject ourselves to that Father who has given us life and sustained us from day to day. Despite her views, she was very nice and served us some hoity toity hot chocolate that left a bitter taste in my mouth. As we were leaving, I said "God bless you" to her, despite her disbelief. She responded with a disheartening, "And humans bless you." Elder Lyman and I had a good chuckle about that.

Wednesday- We were knocking doors again. We went to go visit a woman we met the other day. She told us to come in and see her. We only meant to stay for a minute to set up a return appointment, but she started telling us some very sad stories about her family and her life, and we felt like we needed to stay and share a message. Jerry Springer was on tv, so we asked her if we could turn it off and invite the spirit in. We talked to her about the Book of Mormon and got the audio set up on her laptop because she can't read very well. We asked if we could come back during the week and she said we could because most of the time she just sits, plays games on her computer, watches tv, and sleeps. We encouraged her to use some of her time during the day to listen to the Book of Mormon. Really, there is nothing in our life that can compare to the importance of reading the scriptures, praying, and coming to know of our divine potential as spirit sons and daughters of God.

Thursday- We had some great plans for Thursday night. We had been planning a critical lesson for a week to teach to the Turner family to encourage them to come to Church. That is really the only thing holding them back from being baptized. They were first taught by the missionaries 5 years ago, and they never came to church in all of that time. When we went to go see them, no on answered the door. We could tell that they were home, but no would answer loud knocks or telephone calls. We decided to go try to see some other people in the area. We were able to talk to an investigator we haven't seen in a long time. When we were done, we went back to the Turners and they let us in when we knocked this time. Apparently, they had all been taking naps earlier when we knocked and had completely forgotten about our appointment. It was a little disheartening, but we scheduled to come back Saturday. It is so hard for some people to make the thing that will bring the greatest joy in their life the greatest priority in their life.

Friday- We go to go to mission conference in Charleston to listen to Elder S Gifford Nielsen speak to us. It was awesome. I performed a duet with another elder. We sang "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go." I feel like that applies to me specifically because I'm in West Virginia even though I thought I would be serving in Brazil. It is okay because I love being here and I know that God has a plan for me here! Elder Nielsen had some great things to say, and really brought in the spirit of love and encouragement into the meeting. You can read the email President Pitt sent out if you want some further details on what he said.

Saturday- There was a funeral for a young man in the ward who committed suicide. It was so sad to be there. It reminded me of my own experience with that tragedy when I was a freshman in high school. I just wanted to reach out in love and support to all of the mourners there and help them feel the joy of the restored gospel. later, we were able to have a meeting with the Turners. It went just as we had hoped. The Spirit was so strong there. They dedicated themselves to coming to Church the next day.

Sunday- We were very sad because the Turners didn't come to Church. We went back to talk to them and will be giving them some time to decide when they will be ready to make the changes in their life required for baptism. It was hard, but necessary. We hope that they will see the need for change in their life, and set their priorities so that they will receive the happiness and strength in their lives that God wants them to have.

Well, I love all of you. Know that God reaches out in love and care to everyone of us. In my studies this morning I came across Ether 3:18. "And all this, that this man might know that He was God". God loves each of us and reaches out in love and care so that we can know of His divinity and His love for us as His children. God does care. He does live. He will guide us in rightesouness if we are willing to do what must be done to obtain the blessings. I love you all!

Love, Elder Parker Ayer

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