Monday, June 23, 2014

1 year older and wiser too?

Dear Family,

A lot happened this last week. I hope that I can write it all fast enough. I actually planned out my email this week so that I will be able to write about all the things that I need to write.

Okay, I will start out with my birthday. It went well. Mom said to buy a cake for my birthday, but I really didn't feel like eating a Brazilian version of cake for my birthday. I wanted the real deal. Well, when you want something done, it's best to do it yourself. Mondy I went shopping for cake supplies. The cake itself wasn't that hard to buy. I just bought a really good cake mix. Then I had to venture out and get the frosting stuff. I had to search for a while to find some cream cheese, but I got it! Besides tasting a little too salty, it was the same thing as American cream cheese. At the end of the trip to the store, the ingredients had mounted up to about 20 US dollars, but I really wanted that cake. Monday night and Tuesday morning I baked away. I really didn't feel like being a weirdo a baking a cake for my own birthday. Luckily, another sister in our district had a birthday this last week, so I slapped her name on the cake, too, and brought to district meeting birthday morning so that we could have a party. It turned out really well! That day there was also a Brazilian match. We had to stay inside for a few hours. Also, that day was the 2 year anniversary of Elder Rodrigues' church membership. How great!

This last week I was able to witness a great miracle. I am continually grateful that I get to see the Holy Ghost work wonders in the lives of those who open their hearts to Him. A week ago, we were walking down the street when a man introduced himself to us. He said his name was Tiago and that he had been taught by missionaries before. He had felt the Holy ghost testify powerfully of the Joseph Smith story and he believed the CHurch was true, but he unfortunately struggled with same-sex attraction. We set up a time to meet with him for this week. The first meeting went very well. We met in the chapel. He said things like, "Every time I walk into this building, a feel a warm feeling come over me" and "I feel like my actions have separated me from God". He really is golden. We talked to him about the importance of the family and the hope of change. He admitted to us that he couldn't imagine the day when he is able to overcome his feelings and have a family. He looked broken and destitute of hope. We told him that attraction is not sin, but action. I wanted to fill him with all the hope that I have ever felt in my life. I wanted to bear testimony of every experience I have had in which my Heavenly Father kindly reached out and strengthened me to overcome obstacles. I wanted to be like the sons of Mosiah who testified with such strength of the healing power of the Atonement because they had been redeemed from their past as the "very vilest of sinners". At the end of the lesson, he was more hopeful for the future. The next lesson, we taught the Restoration. It was one of the best lessons I have ever had. He already recognizes the promptings of the Spirit testifying of the prophetic calling of Joseph Smith. This when I explained the First Vision, the Spirit easily came into the room and gave confirming power to my mortal, fragile words. It was such a wonderful experience. The meeting was comforting and reassuring, knowing that someone who has been lost in the throws of sin can once again return and heal a broken bond. There is a balm in Gilead, it is the Atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ. This last Sunday, he was our only investigator to come to Church. He is now doing those things in his life that will help him prepare for an eternity with his Savior. I am sincerely grateful for this experience. And I hope that everyone who reads this will know that there is a way back from a life of sin. It is in a broken heart a contrite spirit. It is in faithful observance of the commandments of a loving Father in Heaven. Stop giving place in your heart for the father of lies and misery, and begin to give place in your heart for the Father of joy and life.

Alright, now for some bullet points of fun things. Here we go!

*I saw 4 wild monkeys this week! They weren't the big kind, but were squirrel sized. How cool!
*I love doce de leite. Take it away before I get fat...ter :D 
*There are lots of types of banana here. One here is really good and has a tangy, orangy taste. 
*Capybaras live along the river here. Last Monday, I saw a huge dead one on the side of the road with flies zooming around it. UGHH!  
*We got permission from the President to watch the jogo today! Yeah! US classified! 
*I tried a coffee alternative this week called cevada. I think it might be like Postum. It was good for the first few sips, but then got gross fast. 
*I had interviews with President this week. Super great! 
*We can watch any church movie about missionary work (The Best Two Years, The Other Side of Heaven, etc) hahaha  
*These fun portugues/englishy words: shopping (mall), tutti frutti (sounds like toochy froochy), pique nique (picnic) 
*I asked someone if she has had beans every day of her life. Yep. I said I eat beans and rice like once a month in the US. She said, "what do you eat every day, hamburgers?" 
*My nickname is Elder Ai because when I get stressed out with the language, I hold my head and say, "Ai" 

Please thank Grandma and Grandpa Eliason for the card. I got it this past week. I love you all and pray for you sempre. You are the best around!

Love, Elder Ayer

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