Monday, June 30, 2014

God Bless America

Dear family,

It has been another crazy week. Let me give some brief, fun, spiritual, loving highlights.

MOnday we watched the jogo of Brazil against ?(20-year-old moment) in the house of the Bishop. It was a lot of fun. They had some good party food. Among the food was something called torresmo. Everything jokes that Americans love bacon, but this was better (and more fattening) than bacon. Oh, it was so good. I looked it up in the dictionary later and found out that I tried good ol' crackling! I am glad that I can get the deep, deep, deep South experience! :D

We had an awesome week for church attendance! We brought an entire family to church. It was so great! They have six people in their family! It was wonderful (and wild)! Anyway, the family is very sweet. They love to sing together. The dad plays the guitar as the rest of the family sings (evangelical) hymns. The oldest child is named Mariah Carey (of course, they have to change the spelling in order to have it come out sounding the same). They are super awesome. It was their first time at church, and the whole world took them in and talked to them and supported them. We are going to have a family home evening with them tonight in the house of the Bishop. It is super great!

For our other investigator, Tiago, he is doing super well. He is continuing to progress. This week he has been working at overcoming his addiction to smoking. He has had some great success. One thing that has been hard is to get him integrated into the ward. He has a lot of shame about his past life following his previous tendencies and attractions. Because of this, he feels ashamed to talkl and interact with members of the ward. Some of the members are not helping because they talk about him in the sense of his personal temptations. They talk about how they have never seen someone with those tendencies make a permanent change. Some of them are afraid to interact with him because of this. Well, this grinds my gears and puts fire in my blood. When I hear this coming out of member's mouths (who should know better), I feel like getting up to the pulpit and joining Brother Brigham in the excitement of exhortation. Well, it is not my place to do that to the ward, but I still want to testify in my words and actions that anyone may change through the Atonement of Christ. To support this, I read from Alma 26. In this, Ammon talks about his and his brothers' misison among the Lamanites, a wicked and idolotrous people. When he and his brothers told the other members of the Church about this, they said that it was a waste of time to try to convert the Lamanites. The brothers were "laughed to scorn" and told that it would be better to take up the sword and "destroy them and their iniquity out of the land". Well, the sons of Mosiah did not take this counsel. Instead, they went in faith to teach the Lamanites and saw one of the greatest conversions in the history of the world. Their bretheren were loosed from the bands of iniquity and were filled with the light of the everlasting Savior. This people would be obedient unto death. These missionaries did not bring in a harvest of half-wits or half-hearts. They brought in the greatest harvest of the children of God. This is my testimony, that the Atonement can take effect in even the greatest of sinners. This is real. I challenge all of you to think of the most sinful person you know and refer them to the missionaries. Perhaps God is preparing them for a change of heart. This change of heart will only be aided by our dedication to love and support all of God's children in righteous endeavors.

Well, I love you all. I love that Sarah will be returning home for the 4th of July. I am happy for you all. I am hoping that some of the Americans in my zone and I will get together today and eat a cheeseburger (with sweet ketchup, potato sticks, and maybe an egg). Keep me in your prayers. I'll keep you in mine.

Yours always,

Elder Parker Ayer

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