Monday, April 28, 2014

How Great! That's Awesome! Wonderful!

Dear family,

It's been another great week living the missionary life. This week has been really slow and really fast at the same time. Let me tell you why!

At the beginning of this week, I started getting really anxious about everything. I'm going to Brazil. Holy cow! I'm going to be surrounded by people who don't speak my language. Wowzers! I don't know when I'm going. Yikes! I need to focus on missionary work here. Sheesh! I've been sworn to secrecy and can't vent any of these feelings to the people around me. Mums! Anyhow, these thoughts and feelings were just a racing in my head. I spent most of my morning exercise time this week praying or thinking.

Well, I kept on getting reports from fellow visa-waiters in other missions who got their visas and were leaving this coming week. I was starting to freak out. However, President Pitt told me to keep it quiet, so I couldn't just call the mission office and ask them when I was leaving. On top of that, it sounded to me as though someone was going to call me and let me know when I was leaving. I didn't know how far in advance, but it sounded as though I wouldn't get much notice so that I would be able to focus more. Also, i had already asked President Pitt once in email how early I was leaving, and he said that he thought I would be leaving at the end of the transfer. I really didn't want to ask him again and sound like the distracted missionary I was while also distracting him from his important work. So, Thursday rolls around. We were out helping with a non-member's Eagle Scout service project when I got a call from Sister Holdstock. She is one of the senior missionaries who is in the office. She is very sweet and she is the one that you talked to before, Mom. Anyhow, she asked if we had a blow-up mattress swimming around in our apartment. I said, yes. Then she asked me if I would bring it with me when I was there "next week" (meaning this week). I said yes, but inside I was thinking "what?" So, that ruminated in my mind for a while. What is going on? I resolved that night to secretly call Sister Holdstock at some point the next day and ask her what was going on. The next day was Friday. A member of our ward, Brother Wells (he also served in Brazil and was a visa waiter in Roanoke and he's the one who sent you the pictures of me), works at a hair salon and really wanted to cut our hair, but could only arrange for a time on Friday. Anyway, we went to his hair salon on Friday. I determined that that was the time I was going to make my move. I got my hair cut first, and then made my move while Elder Russo got his chopped. I went to a corner of the salon and called Sister Holdstock on other pretenses. When I asked my initial question facade, I went in for the kill. "Sister Holdstock," I said, "do you know if President or Sister Pitt are going to call me about my travel itinerary?" She responded that she had the itinerary right in front of her. She said that President Pitt would let me know of the exact details. Then I asked if I really was leaving this week. Then I told her I didn't even know what day I was leaving. She happily filled my need to know. I am leaving for Brazil Wednesdayat about 5 o'clock in the evening!!! I drive up to Charleston tomorrow morning, and I assume that I will spend the night with the Pitts at the mission home. I will arrive in Brazil at about 5 o'clock in the morning on Thursday. Well, after I got the details, I still wasn't sure whether or not I was supposed to tell anyone. That problem was fixed quickly when we got a text message an hour later from Sister Pitt with some more details. Elder Russo read the text and flipped. He and Elder Grajeda both flipped. They felt like they had been deceived because I didn't tell them for two whole weeks. Well, they were a little mad/annoyed, but I was just happy that I could talk openly about it.

So, now I am really excited and scared about what's going to happen. One thing I do know is that it is so important to stay focused on the work. It became very easy over the past few days to become very unmotivated to work and very motivated to daydream. Well, that's no good. I'm glad I was able to catch myself doing it and then stop. This last week I had the opportunity to give my first baptismal interviews. It was a couple who has been familiar with the Church for a while and has finally had things work out in their lives so that they were ready to receive the restored gospel. Anyhow, it was a very cool experience. Their baptism was on Sunday. It was at the stake center, about 20 minutes away. Well, we decided that we wanted to go to it. I mean, it is a baptism. Isn't that what missionary work is all about? The missionaries who taught the couple were in our district, and we should lend them our support, right? Well, these were unmotivated, daydreaming words. I drove us all the way to the stake center, the whole while this feeling started to creep over me. Why are we going? By the time we got to the stake center, I had a knot in my stomach. I could feel the Spirit asking me, "How is this fulfilling your missionary purpose?" Well, the truth was that it wasn't. All that I really wanted to do was see some missionary friends, talk about going to Brazil, and not think about how much help my own area needed. Well, my companions weren't too happy with me when I told them that we were going to turn right around, not go to the baptism, and go knock some doors. We had used several of our limited miles driving to the stake center, why would we waste them by turning around? Instead I thought, "We've already wasted the Lord's miles, why would we also waste the Lord's time?" We turned around and went back to our area. We went to visit our Chinese investigator, but she wasn't home. We went up one floor and knocked on a random door. A kind older woman came to the door. We talked for a good while about church and stuff. Then I pulled out the pamphlet about the restoration of the gospel and showed her the picture of Christ appearing to the people in America. As soon as I showed her the picture, the woman commented on how she loves seeing that picture. Really? I was very surprised. How had she seen this very Mormon picture before during her time as a Protestant? Well, it didn't matter because she made a great connection with the painting. We then told her that it was a depiction from an event in the Book of Mormon. Now it was her time to be surprised. We taught her a little bit about the Book of Mormon, gave her the pamphlet, and then asked if we could come back. She said that she would love for us to come back. It was a very sweet experience. It just showed how a little applied diligence brought great blessings. Who knows what this small amount of effort on our part will work in the life of the daughter of God? It is amazing to contemplate.

Also, do you remember Elder Ballard's talk from conference? He talked about how important it is that every family have a copy of Preach My Gospel and that they study out of it. If you would, I would love to hear what you are learning from it. I will also share with you some of the things that I am learning out of Preach My Gospel. I never really had an appreciation for it before my mission, but I have grown to appreciate it. It is an inspired text. There is so much to learn from it. I study from it every morning, along with the Book of Mormon. This morning I studied chapter 7. I am so excited to learn and speak Portuguese! My favorite part from the chapter is when it talks about the gift of tongues. President Monson has a great quote. he says that all of us need to learn the language of the Spirit. This language overcomes all barriers, concerns, and misunderstandings. How I hope that each of you will be able to develop the language of the Spirit as you seek to understand how to "minister grace" to others and help them come unto Christ. As you begin studying PMG, I would suggest that you study chapter 9. It is all about finding people to teach, and that is the main missionary responsibility of the members of the Church!

I love you all so much. I am excited to go to a foreign place. I am scared to death as well. Please pray for me. Thank you for your prays to this point. Can you please talk to my high school friends who may not be getting these emails and tell them how I'm doing? I would love to hear from them. Please give them my email address or get their email address for me. I love you all so so so so so much!

Love, Elder Parker Ayer

P.S. Today is my 8 month mark. I have already completed 1/3 of my mission. Where does the time go? I've had 1/3 in the US and will have 2/3 in Brazil.

P.P.S. Last Monday we went to the Dixie Caverns as a zone. That's a lot of people to fit in one cavern tour! Anyway, it was really fun. You'll get pictures at some point (whether it's a week from now or 70 weeks from now).

P.P.P.S. I found out that one of my friends from BYU, Kirsten Webber, is from the Roanoke Zone. She is best friends with the Wells' daughter, Jessica. Super cool!

P.P.P.S. The subject line is the way it is because apparently I say those things a lot :D

Friday, April 25, 2014

Current Picture

This is a note and picture we received from a man in Parker's ward.

Howdy folks! 

Took your boys out for pizza last night and then cut their hair at the salon this morning.  I thought you would enjoy seeing your good looking sons after their haircuts.  Sure enjoy them!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Miracles

Dear family,

I know there are important things from back home that I'm supposed to comment on, but I'll keep that until the end. Anyway, this week was the first week in Cave Spring that felt pretty successful. It was great!

It started out with a little P-day sacrifice last week of going to see some potential investigators at 10 in he morning. Well, it turned out great! There names are Grace and Kelson. They are from Malawi. They are Seventh Day Adventists, but they are very open to learning more about the restored gospel. The lesson went great, and by the end Grace said that she is going to carry the Book of Mormon around with her everywhere and read it and pray to know whether or not it is true. They are very nice people and we will meet with them again this week to talk to them more about the Book of Mormon.

Monday night was crazy. There are some members of the Church in the area who have put together an activity for older couples in the Church and the community that happens once a month. They call it "Empty Nesters". At Empty Nesters, there is a spiritual thought, potluck, and then some Bluegrass. They also always invite the missionaries. It was a lot of fun and allowed for a good opportunity for us to get to know some of the people in the community and ward better. One of the men from the community was from NH and was in the first graduating class from Oyster River! It was awesome. The Bluegrass was the greatest part. They had booklets of lyrics so that everyone could sing along to the folk and gospel songs. I can't tell you how much fun it was! I really want to learn how to play the mandolin, banjo, automatic harp, fiddle, and upright bass just so that one day all of my kids can sit around and jam out to some homegrown bluegrass! And of course, bluegrass reminds me of when I was in 2nd grade and was so proud of myself for knowing what bluegrass was because we read about it in class. Bluegrass really is fun if you're singing or playing along!

Anyway, The next big thing to happen during the week was Thursday. Oh, Thursday. I am working on patience if that is anyway to help you understand what Thursday was like. It started out as any ordinary day. We had personal study. Then we got to companion study. Elder Grajeda started by telling us what he learned during his personal study. Then he made a comment of how he had come to some doctrinal conclusion that clearly was not true. Elder Russo and I both recognized this. We didn't intend to tell him how he was wrong, we were just trying to guide his thinking so that he could understand the doctrine a little bit better. Well, that started a discussion that soon become heated, unintelligent, repetitive, useless, and frustrating. It went on for an hour and a half. At the end, Elder Grajeda and I were mos annoyed with each other. It was especially annoying because we had used up a good amount of our weekly planning time (that happens every Thursday and takes a few hours of siting to complete). Well, then Elder Grajeda told me that he was just pushing the argument forward to "test" me to see if I could explain myself. That got me riled up and I used words and a tone that were not becoming of a missionary. Anyway, there was no way that we could continue after that. I had to go away for a little bit so that could calm down and reestablish myself. I realized that much of what had gone wrong was my fault. Well, we went back to planning and things worked out well. After only a little bit, we were laughing again, the Spirit had returned and we could continue. After a little while, I had to call the areas in my district to find out how all of them were doing and how the missionary work is progressing. That took a couple hours. Then I called the zone leaders to report. They started asking me how everything was going. I told them about all of the areas, and then they asked me more specific questions about each area that I did not know the answers to. After asking several of these questions, they suggested that I call all of the areas again so hat I knew more about how they were doing. Oh boy, I was not thrilled to hear that. I could feel the anxiety building up inside of me. I felt like an idiot. Why was I such a bad missionary that I couldn't keep an even temper with my companions and then not fulfill my calling effectively. Well, I realized that I was getting anxious and explained the situation to hem. They were very kind to me, but I felt bad that they had to deal with a district leader who couldn't keep his own. I said a prayer and the peace of the Spirit returned. It was a hard beginning to a day, but I managed to get through. Satan was trying to tempt me to get frustrated with myself and with others. He was he one really trying to deceive and annoy me. Most of all, it was tempting just to think, "I don't even care, I'll be in Brazil soon." No good. I am so grateful for the Spirit who reminds us of our earthly duties and our heavenly potential.

Friday was an awesome day! Here are the highlights. We had district meeting in which we talked about the importance of the First Vision in inviting the spirit into a lesson so that people may be converted. Then we had a potluck. It was awesome! The Spirit was so strong! We also ran across a 13-ish-year-old boy/kid/man/person that we gave a Book of Mormon to a couple weeks ago. We haven't been able to see him since. His name is Michael. We asked him if he has been able to read any of it. He's read 130 pages!!! That is simply amazing. He said that he likes it so far and doesn't have any questions. He said that we can come over soon and teach his whole family. We are so excited!!! We went to visit another investigator who wasn't home. When we were walking up to his apartment, we had seen a couple Chinese people talking on their porch in the neighboring apartment. After knocking on our investigator's door, I felt prompted to knock on the Chinese neighbors' door. We knocked and an older Chinese couple came to the door. They spoke no English but invited us in with hand motions. They indicated for us o sit and talk off our jackets. We had no idea what was about o happen until they went into the other room and got their 20-something-year-old daughter. Her name is Jenny (no originally). She can speak English. She and her family are only in the states for 7 months as she does research at a local hospital. She is from mainland China and is not familiar with religion, but is very curious. We had the opportunity o teach her about the Book of Mormon, and she is very interested in reading it. She has a limited understanding of the Bible and Christ. We explained who the Spirit is, and she said that she felt the Spirit confirming what we were teaching her. It was so cool! We are going to return with a brother in the ward who speaks Chinese from when he served in Taiwan (Steve Arner if Scott Eliason happens to know him). Friday night we got to play volleyball with the youth. It was meant to be a missionary tool, and luckily one of them invited their friends! It was a great experience. Please invite your friends to activities! Missionary work starts with friendship, loving relationships that grow into sharing opportunities.

Sunday was wonderful. It was Easter. How great! I got the package, and it made me so happy! I discovered outside of our apartment on Sunday. Apparently our landlord thought that she would play "Easter Bunny" and hold our packages for us until it was actually Easter. I didn't mind except for the fact that some animal found my package in the middle of the night and nibbled into one of my cookies. Not cool Ricky Raccoon! That's fine; I still have plenty other cookies to enjoy. We went to church for sacrament and then left to go to our investigator's Lutheran service that he invited us to. It was a contemporary service and was really funny because the opening hymn was "Christ the Lord is Risen Today" with a great rock beat. Not my personal favorite. I prefer the organ. He then invited us over to his family's house for Easter lunch. It was so good! We ate like kings. The only problem is that we had a dinner appointment with a member of the ward 20 minutes later. We had to eat like kings then, too. Well, we were stuffed. So much so that Elder Russo and I thew up a little bit. I didn't taste as good on the way up. Oh well, we calmed our troubled stomachs with some peeps. :D

Whelp, I always thought that Will would make it to menace of society status, but I guess that's not going to happen. Atualmente, estou muito animado! I can't say much about how the family dynamic is changing, since it is likely to make me very emotional. I am happy for Will and Stephenie to be married in August in the Logan temple. I am sad that I won't be there. I am sad that I will never meet Ms. Frye, but I look forward to meeting Mrs. Ayer. (Mrs. Darcy, Mrs. Darcy, Mrs. Darcy ;D) I'm a little anxious knowing that everything from childhood won't be the same, but at least there'll still be "the kids". I know that we are eternal beings, so endings are harsh and unfamiliar. I know that we are eternal beings, so we also naturally seek after that which is eternally significant. I love you all, especially you, Stephenie. And especially Mom, heaven only knows what this is doing to her poor nerves. :D I love you all so much. Can I say that times infinity? You are all the greatest. I am glad that we can be eternal family because of the triumph Christ had over the grave and hell. We can live in an eternity of progression and love because we can rise again sinless. Always remember that. Voces estao meus pessoas preferidas!

Com muito amor, Elder Parker Ayer

P.S. There are Eliasons in my ward. They are descendants of Anders Eliason, the brother of Erik Eliason who came over Sweden. Sweeede! :D

Monday, April 14, 2014

Oi voces!

Oi voces! (Hey y'all!)

This last week was one wild good ride. There were lots of crazy things that happened. If you want to know the craziness, read to the very end when all will be revealed. :D

Well, now I can't remember anything that happened this week because I'm waiting for the big reveal at the end.

I went on two exchanges this last week. That has pretty much taken up this whole last week. They were a good time. One of them was with the elders covering Botetourt County. They are also visa waiters. The highlight of that exchange was encountering a Jehovah's Witness. I think I was already prepared for the attack when we started talking to him. Unfortunately, I didn't consider that it could be a good and uplifting interaction. I think I was still charged from my experience last week being confronted by that preacher. Luckily, the other elder, Elder Kochenderfer, took it more calmly. Once I realized what he was doing, I was able to settle down and not try to get caught up in the scripture battle. I don't know if that made sense, but basically I learned that I need to treat everyone I meet with great respect and love. Who are we to become angry or frustrated with them because they are also passionate about what they believe? Who are we to become angry with them because they haven't been exposed to the whole truth since their birth? Who are we to deter them from the truth afterwards because they had a bad experience with a representative of Christ's Church? Anyway, it turned out to be a good interaction. We took his watchtowers, and he took our Joseph Smith pamphlet. Hopefully he'll read what we gave him; we looked at the pictures and then threw his literature away.

The second exchange this week was really good as well. It was with the zone leaders. We got to go out on bikes. It felt great to be on a bike again. I don't know why, but it was a lot of fun. Since they live in the downtown area of Roanoke, we got to talk to people on the streets all along the way. It was so much fun!

Well, Thursday was the biggest day this week. We had district meeting while President Pitt came and interviewed all of us. I love President and Sister Pitt so much. We had to go extra early to make sure that President would have enough time to interview the rest of the district. While we waited, we got to talk to Sister Pitt. While I talked to her, she told me that their family was in the Hill Cumorah Pageant in 2010 and they were cast team leaders for one of the adult groups. If you want to do some research on that and figure that out, that would be cool! Well, my interview with President Pitt was great. He is such an inspired and inspiring man. He shows so much love. He is also full of so much energy. Just the other day I learned that he is in his 70's and that he only gets 3 or 4 hours of sleep each night because he is doing mission stuff. He is an awesome example of putting our shoulder to the wheel. As I was going into the interview, Sister Pitt asked President if he was going to show me his phone. I was like, What? Well, I didn't worry too much about it. President likes showing me stuff on his phone. Anyway, we had a great interview. I talked a little bit about the challenges of this transfer. I confessed to him about how I had yelled at Elder Grajeda for being whiny. I also told him about how the trip-ship has been pretty hard and a little frustrating, especially in an area that needs to be resurrected. Well, he confessed to me that he knew this was going to be a hard transfer for me. That's when he told me some exciting news to help me endure. I got my visa!!! Apparently it came unofficially the day after transfers, just one day too late in order to get shipped down to Brazil. Oh well, the next few weeks are the testing period to see what kind of missionary I am. Am I focused? Am I concerned about helping others? I can say that it has already been hard to stay focused. President Pitt asked me not to tell anyone in the mission so that everyone else can stay focused also. It's super hard (especially when they're right next to me typing emails also). Anyway, I will be going down to the Brazil MTC at some point for 2 weeks of intensive language training before going back into the field in Brazil. Anyway, things are really exciting.

I can't think of anything else. I completely derailed my train of thought talking about going to Brazil. Anyway, please pray for me. I thought it was harder not knowing about my visa, but it's quite the opposite. I love you all and know that the Church is true!

Love, Elder Ayer

P.S. I'm excited for you that Will and Stephenie are coming home today! Don't stress out at all! They'll be happy just to be there. :D

P.P.S. There is someone in the ward who lived in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia when she was younger. Is that where you lived, Mom? Her name is Desert and I think her maiden name is Sprouse. She joined the Church while she was in Saudi. Do you know/remember her?

P.P.P.S. There is a less-active family in the ward that used to live in Essex, Vermont. They went to church with the Doney family! Anyway, their names are Bryan and Cynthia Colburn, and they love Clark and Bev!

P.P.P.P.S. I got my visa! Yippeeeeee!

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Spirit

Dearest family,

This has been one wonderful week! It started off great with a special gift. Our Malibu had gone over its 60,000 mileage limitation (that's when the Church decides to stop using vehicles for missionaries). Thus, we got a brand new 2014 Toyota Corolla! It is ridiculous. It had to travel the 200 something miles from Charleston to Roanoke, so it arrived with a little over 200 miles on it. I'm not sure that I will have a brand new vehicle as nice as this for a while. It has a back-up camera. It has a touch screen up front. I can even plug my flash drive into it, and it will play whatever is loaded on there! Since discovering this, I have downloaded lots and lots of General Conference talks. We listen to them in the car, and we never have to listen to one more than once unless we want to. How great!

Well, we have a few investigators here in Cave Spring. One of them is Freddie. Freddie is a Hispanic Seventh Day Adventist preacher. He runs three congregations in the area. This last week we got to meet with him. He readily seemed to accept the concept that Joseph Smith could be a prophet. (Seventh Day Adventists believe in modern day prophets) He is going to read the Book of Mormon in order to decide for himself whether Joseph Smith was a prophet. How great! The only problem is that he believes that everything a prophet say must line up exactly with the already established word of God. Of course, this is not sensible because revelation brings about new truths and new knowledge. How can revelation always be constrained by the already established word of God? If that were so, Noah would have received no instructions to build with, Abraham would have received no covenant to hope with, and Moses would have received no law to govern with. The glory of prophets is that they may speak for God in a way that draws us ever nearer to Him and His ultimate reserve of knowledge and truth. What is most important is to judge every revelation against the spirit of truth. The Spirit is sent from God and is our ultimate touchstone of truth. By the Spirit we can gain a supreme and surreal understanding of all that is true. Freddie is having a hard time understanding that. His biggest hold-up is the concept of a pre-mortal existence. We try to share biblical scriptures with him, but he still maintains his own understanding and interpretation of the scriptures. We will continue to try to help him, but it will take humility to accept that "[God's] thoughts are not [our] thoughts, neither are [our] ways [His] ways.... For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are [His] ways higher than [our] ways, and [His] thoughts than [our] thoughts." Nobody likes being told that they are wrong. How do we know that we are not wrong? We have personally received a pure and powerful witness from the Spirit that the work we labor diligently under is true.

We found another investigator this week through some interesting means. We were driving home one night when we stopped at Walgreens so that we could talk to some more people before heading in. As we were leaving, a woman told Elder Grajeda that her husband would love to talk to us. She told us that we could talk to him the next night when he was working at Starbucks. She gave us his name and drove off. Well, we had no idea which Starbucks she was talking about. We drove all over trying to find Scott at Starbucks. Imagine three Mormon missionaries driving all over and going to every Starbucks in the area, not a normal sight. :D Anyway, we couldn't find Scott. At our last stop, we started talking to another worker behind the Starbucks counter. His name was Jon. He was really nice. I gave him a card, and he said that he could talk to us longer if we waited for him to start his break in a few minutes. We happily waited around. (In the meantime I tried to start up a conversation with a man wearing a Utes shirt. He was having none of it. Maybe I shouldn't have started off by saying, "I went to BYU"?) After our break chat with Jon, he asked to meet with us again. We planned for the next day at Mill Mountain (another coffee shop, but it has good food). Well, we were really having a good time talking and socializing over lunch when I asked him if he had had the chance to look over the Book of Mormon at all the night before. He said he did, and that he had a few questions. He warned us that his questions might be pretty hard. "Bring it on," I said. Well, he started rattling off question after question attacking the validity of the Book of Mormon. It was a little pathetic. He had to take his phone out during the middle of the conversation in order to look at his research website and "remember" all of "his" questions. On the plus side, he was being sincere about it. He wasn't just rudely attacking us, but he was curious. Luckily I was prepared for the onslaught. My two younger companions listened as I answered his patronizing questions that ranged from the reality of pre-Colombian horses to the weight of a block of golden plates. It was ridiculous. It was especially ridiculous because every primary answer to each question was simple. I know the Book of Mormon to be true. This knowledge has not come from historical study. This knowledge comes from God himself. Who am I to deny His holy witness. Who am I to deny His glorious truths? It is so wonderful to know what I know. I am glad to share this with everyone. In the end, Jon was satisfied with the answers he received. He said that he would read the Book of Mormon and decide for himself. We can only hope that he will follow through with this commitment.

Another exciting investigator is Norman. He is schizophrenic and was once accused of murder. Don't worry, he's cool. He was innocent, and he has family that is Mormon. He doesn't hold that against us. Well, Norman thought that he would really like us to attend his church service for a change. We had conference this weekend, so we wouldn't be occupied during that time. We agreed to it. Bad idea. We went to his church (not really a church, it was a "sanctuary" housed in an office building). We got there and started wondering if we should really being driving around our brand new car in this part of town. We went in and were three of 20 people there. We were the only white folks there. I only say this because it became a point of discussion later during the service. There was a man up front just chanting and fast talking about the goodness of God. Everyone was waving their hands in the air and shouting amens and hallelujahs. There was another man across from us who was sitting and speaking gibberish to himself (they refer to this as "speaking in tongues"). That went on for five to ten minutes. Then the service began. I had already determined in my mind that I would not engage in any conduct that was not becoming of a representative of Christ. I would respect their worship, but I would not participate in something that disrespected my god. The preacher started. Well, it didn't take long for him to notice three white Mormon missionaries sitting in the back of his congregation. Yeah, he got in our faces. He asked us if we knew the word of God. He looked directly at us for most of the time he sermonized. He asserted his own superior knowledge of the word. He drew conclusions from the scriptures that I found no basis for. All the while, the people laughed at his clever words and phrasing as he discoursed to them blasphemy upon blasphemy. He asked us if we wanted to contend against anything he had said, if we wanted to argue that his teachings were not scripturally founded. How I wanted to get up and bear pure testimony against them all, but a feeling inside me told me to stay still and remain under control. Thank goodness. I probably would have lost it. I sat in my chair quietly. I kept my face straight. I did not "amen" his teachings. I did not clap when he commanded. I "set my face like a flint" and did not waiver from it. Finally we had to leave in order to get to the conference. We luckily left before they started their "healings" and "speaking in tongues".

One of the most surprising things was that this man had called himself a prophet. A prophet! He did not invite the Spirit. He did not edify me. It made such the sweeter contrast when I got to go to General Conference and hear the true and pure words of God's anointed servants. What a blessing! What a heavenly manifestation of guiding love! I am so grateful for the prophets and apostles that lead and guide us today. I know them to be true men of God. The Spirit will bear testimony to you of this truth. There were so many good talks this last conference. I had questions answered. I was edified and uplifted. I hope that you were, too.

I love you all so much! I hope that everything is going well with y'all. I always love to hear from you and hear that things are going well and progressing as normal in the Ayer household. :D You have my love and prayers always. Have fun getting ready for Will and Stephenie to come home! Love you!

Love, Elder Parker Ayer

P.S. Starbucks smoothies are guh-ROSS!!!