I love you! I love you a lot! Thanks for the pictures. There is a reason that I can only receive emails from you once a week. If I were to receive emails from you every day, I definitely would not be able to concentrate on anything other than fun visits with friends, brotherly wedding plans, and home. Im grateful for this one day to see all of the fun and then get back to work. I love you!
Well, interesting experiences this week. You would think that after 9 months in the field and 4 trip-ships, I would know how to interact better with people. Well, change takes time. It will probably take much longer than 2 years to learn everything that I need to know. Anyway, at the beginning of this week, all I could think about was speaking Portguese and the gift of tongues. Why, you might ask? Well, it just so happens that I am in a foreign country where my sole purpose is to TALK to people and invite them to Christ. You can probably see how quickly my patience has deteriorated. Anyway, it was particularly bad at the beginning of this week. I became so consumed with my lack of ability that I did not really think about the misisonary work at all. Yeah, I became very focused on myself and on me not knowing enough, me not being able to participate, me, me, me... Anyway, it was bad. What I discovered was that the gifts of the Spirit come when we forget about self and start focusing on others. During the week, I became particularly impatient with one of my companions, and I snapped a bit. Well, that set a bad tone for the rest of the day. At the end of the day, I had to apologize to him in order to make things right. That was an important moment for me. I realized that I was only hurting myself and others by being stressed and impatient. What I really needed to do was focus on serving others and be as patient with the weaknesses of others as I would want them to be with me. Would it make sense for someone to snap at me because I used incorrect grammer in trying to speak POrtuguese to someone? No, that would be ridiculous. The same goes for the weaknesses of others. The Lord says that he cannot look on sin with any allowance, but he always looks upon weakness with mercy. We can strive to do the same. Anyway, now I am having fun with learning Portuguese. It can still be hard, but I am trying to laugh off funny experiences when I cannot say what I need to say. I hope the Lord will make up for the misunderstandings I cause!
So, funny things this week. We are teaching a 25-year-old woman. The first time we met with her, I knew that she was talking about me, but I had no idea what she was saying. It was really confusing, and I did not know what to do except laugh it off. Well, it came off wrong because the woman was saying how she feels like she has a special connection with Americans and how they are really good looking. So funny! My companions give me a hard time for that. Also, I am learning that simple things I would say to be friendly in the US come off as flirting here, and that is dangerous, especially as a white American missionary. For example, we stopped by a candy store, and I asked the woman behind the counter what her favorite candy was. Well, I thought that it was completely normal. I was trying to start up a conversation and then invite her to learn more! Nothing happened, but my companions warned me not to do it again. We went to the house of the Bishop for a meal, and they played the Book of Mormon Movie while we were there. We only saw the beginning, but it was so funny! (mostly because it was underbudgeted)
I had an interesting answer to prayer come this past week. I was praying for strength (in my companionship, in the language, etc...) and a song from the 90s came to my mind during the week. SOmething like: Hey, dont run yourself around, its only in your head you feel left out and looked down on, just try your best, do everything you can, something something something, it just takes some time little bit something something everything everythin will be alright everything everything will be alright alright. Anyway, I cannot remember all of the words, but you get the gist. For some reason, it really helped. How weird! Im pretty sure that its a song from a teenage boy to some sad little teenage girl, but it realy cheered me up this week for some reason!
I know that Jesus Christ lives. I know that he loves us. I know that humility and selflessness bring more joy than pride and selfishness. I know that the Book of Mormon contains answers to the questions of our soul. Read it. Ponder it. Learn from it. Know it is true. I love you all. Be strong. Be good. Dont let Satan tell you that you are less than you are, or that you are somehow outside of the grasp of the merciful arms of the Savior. Let your mind and heart be filled with the knowledge that you are infinitely bond to his love and that you can return to the presence of the Father through him. If we let ourselves be purified, He will work wonders among us.
I LOVE YOU!!!
-Elder Parker Ayer
p.s. here the recorder can be played in sacrament meeting. and it was! hahaha