Monday, February 24, 2014

A wonderful and growing week

Dear Family,

This week has been wonderful. It's been a growing week, and there's nothing better than that! For real, I feel like a new person now that I have made it through this week, and I feel like I am more focused on being a missionary. One thing that has really helped has been the warming of the weather. Elder Lyman and I haven't needed to wear our thermals at all this week! It has been complete sweater weather. I can't get ahead of myself, though, because it sounds like we might have to break out the jackets again this coming week. Oh well!

Besides the weather, there have been a few things that have been good every day of this week. Last Monday, Elder Lyman and I found Fruit Gushers at Walmart and decided to splurge on a little childish snack. 36 packs later, we're thoroughly convinced that they are the best snack ever. Also, last week I was asked to speak in church this Sunday on Jesus' Parable of the Talents. As a companionship, we have also focusing part of our studies on Joseph Smith and the Restoration. The focused and extended study has really been a blessing. Later I'll share with you a little bit about what I learned.

Anyway, do you remember Glenn that I talked about last week? Well, this week we got Brother Lee to come teach Glenn with us. It went great. We talked about prophets, some organization of the church, and the Book of Mormon. At the end of the lesson, we gave him a Plan of Salvation pamphlet and I let him borrow my conference ensign. Since our meeting, he has called us several times. He told us that he read through the pamphlet, the entire ensign, and has started in on the Book of Mormon. He loves it! He said he made a little note in the ensign next to Elder Craig Cardon's talk that said, "Very Good!" In a later phone call, Glenn told us that he doesn't think Mormons are aliens anymore. Glenn is so funny and sincere. We hope that he will be able to recognize the truth to an extent that he'll realize the need to change in his old age (he's 89). The gospel is for us all, and the Lord does not give up on us.

Another family that we are teaching, the Peppers, have really opened up this week. We had a meeting with them where we were planning on reviewing the beginning of the Plan of Salvation and then emphasizing life after death. We didn't quite get there because we had a powerful discussion about the power of the Atonement. Elder Lyman and I have really been working on teaching with unity (AKA Elder Ayer needs to shut his mouth long enough for Elder Lyman to talk). We've been progressing well, and the lesson was just near perfect. We were able to build on each other's testimonies. By the end, both Ron and Crystal Pepper were on board to start utilizing the Atonement to make changes in their lives. This Sunday, Ron came to Church and said that he received an answer to prayer about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. He believes this is the one true Church.

Mary didn't had a couple surprises up her sleeve for us this week. We continue to teach her. She isn't making very much progress, but she continues to read the Book of Mormon, pray, and come to Church. What else can she do? It is a slow process of helping her tear down walls of false ideas and beliefs. It is especially hard when she continues to build up those false ideas. The main culprit is the History Channel. That is her favorite show to watch. She believes that everything on their is researched and proven by the world's top scientists. Unfortunately, she's not the only person we've talked to in West Virginia that completely believes what they see on the History Channel. This week, Mary shared with us a few more insights. She told us that demons are most active between the hours of 3 and 4 am. She also told us that Eve wasn't good enough for Adam, so Adam demanded that he have another woman created. That's when a woman was made from Adam's rib, called Lillith, became Adam's slave, and now exists as a demon. I don't what the people from History Channel are thinking, but it's not helping. As always, the Spirit must prevail in all things and teach us from above.

We had a great zone conference this week. President Pitt told us about completely consecrating our lives (interests, hobbies, efforts, talents) for missionary work. I am slowly but surely trying to do this. I do not want to be as the slothful servant from Jesus' parable who was too distracted, lazy, or afraid to multiply his talent, but buried it instead. One really cool principle I learned from my study this week is that the Master is not entrusting us with His work so that we can multiply talents unto him. He is does it so that he can raise rulers unto himself who were once meager servants.

I love you all. I love your prayers and kindness. I love my Ayer heritage. I love my Savior, Jesus Christ, and know that we can only find salvation through his atoning sacrifice.

Love, Elder Parker Ayer

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