Monday, March 10, 2014

On the up and ups

Dear family,

Life is swell. Let me tell you why. When something swells, it gets bigger and bigger. Well, life just gets better and better. The missionary work is going forth, and it is so great to see. We learn in Alma that when you plant a "seed", you can know it is a true or a good seed when it begins to sprout and grow. When this happens, we begin to feel a swelling motion in our chest. That is the Spirit testifying in our heart that something is good and true. Well, this missionary life is swell and it makes me swell up with joy. I know that it is the purest and truest endeavor that I can ever be engaged in. It is so good to know that. I feel bad for people who labor day after day in something that isn't pure or true. How do they even motivate themselves to get out of bed in the mornings? It is so wonderful to have the Spirit bearing me up each day to go and get to work.

This week has been another record-setting week for us. We keep teaching more lessons than the week before, and it feels great! Elder Lyman and I are really beginning to understand how to work in this area and bring God's children to the truth.

Last Monday was an interesting day. After writing emails and shopping, we went back home. I had letters to write, but instead I decided to make apple crisp. It took me way too long to make the apple crisp, and afterwards I was just annoyed with myself. We had to go right out to work. For some reason, Satan saw an opportunity to hit me with a wad of bad feelings. As we were walking to our appointment, I felt the whole world come down on me. I was worried about leading the district, helping our investigators, being a good trainer, having the energy to work, writing letters to important family members and friends, and thinking about all my favorite people back home having fun, going to work, dating, and sleeping in. It wasn't anyone else's fault; I just felt overwhelmed and ready to snap. It's been a major problem for me that I get super stressed out. Luckily, Elder Lyman is able to recognize when this happens. He started talking to me and dragging everything out of me. Pretty soon I was sharing my feelings and crying. Oh brother. Elder Lyman isn't a very sentimental guy, so this was a big, and greatly appreciated, sacrifice from him. Well, I felt a lot better after that. Just after that experience, we had an awesome teaching moment. We went to see a potential investigator. We had met the wife, Qin, before, but this time we met the husband, Qen. They are a Chinese couple and have two children. They are very nice. We sat down and talked with Qen. He told us how he met some Mormon missionaries about 15 years ago and was appreciative to them. He continues to wonder about who God is. He is not sure that he wants to commit to anything just yet, but is interested in learning so that he can find out for himself. It was such a great experience to be able to talk in basic and simple terms about the nature of God and how he cares for us. We taught Qen how to properly pray to Heavenly Father and receive answers. It was a wonderful moment. He wasn't comfortable with praying right then, but he was very grateful. The Spirit bore powerful testimony in my heart that we had taught truth. It was a great evening. We will meet with Qen again soon. Since my experience last Monday, I have been working at managing my stress. There is no point in allowing ourselves to worry. Worry gets in the way. What we need to do is act diligently. We do our best and leave God the rest. If we put our trust in Him, he will take care of those things which we have no control over.

Thursday was another crazy day. We spent the first 4 hours of the work day serving our Bishop. After that, we had weekly planning. Another surprise was thrown in there when I received an envelope containing important documents that I had to sign and FedEx back to Salt lake for my visa. I got it all done. I think that is the last of the things that I need to do for my visa re-application.

Ron Pepper, one of investigators, is doing great right now. He has accepted a baptismal date for the day before transfers. It has been amazing to teach him and see him accept the gospel. He has had the chance to ask God questions and have them answered. He knows the Book of Mormon is true, that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that he needs to be baptized. It is so great to see. The only thing that stands in his way are the smokes, and we'll be working hard at helping him overcome those.

Friday we had zone meeting. Afterwards I went on exchange with a disobedient missionary in my district. He is a nice guy, but that's the problem. he's acting like a guy and not a missionary. He has less than 3 weeks left on his mission. He really doesn't see the point of obeying rules as long as he teaches people the gospel. It is really frustrating to see. On top of that, I'm scared of conflict. Everyone says that I'm too loving and nice. That's one character flaw I'm not too ashamed of. I need to learn how to be direct in calling people to repentance. The rules are important. Obedience to law is liberty!

Well, I love you all so much. I am glad that you fill me in on all the news. I'm trying on staying focused and worry free. Life is good, life is great, life is swell!

Love, Elder Parker Ayer

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