Well, I am going to be a little honest. But do not worry, the honesty has a happy ending. By the way, this keyboard only types in Portuguese, so I do not have the capability of making apostrophes, so excuse the formal language or typos. Anyway, I think that I experienced depression for the first time this week. It was the strangest feeling. It came a little bit at a time since I got to the Brazilian mission field, but really manifested itself this last week. Holy heartbreak, batman! Im not sure if that phrase really quite fits right here, but it was the first thing that came to mind. Anyway, things kind of all mounted this week. No, it wasnt any one incident that set things off. In fact, nothing out of the ordinary that made me feel so crummy. The weirdest thing was that I thought I was acting perfecty normal, and my companion kept asking me over and over again if I was sad. No, Im not flippin sad! It was frustrating. I would walk and think to myself about all that was going on, within and without the mission field. My companion would also tell me about several other American missionaries who had come to the field after waiting for visas and were sent home because of extreme depression. When we got home, I would listen to general conference talks from the apostles to try to cheer me up. It was ineffective. I read a talk by Orson Pratt (?, dont quote me on it), about the Potter and the Clay; it talked about how those who are humble can be molded in every situation by the Master Potter and live happily and cheerfully. Well, why wasnt I? I felt like the most humble of all. I, who couldnt speak. I, who had learned lots of things already but was restarting at square one. Well, the I´s had it. I believe Anne Hathaway once talked in a movie about how often we repeat the word I and dont think about others. Yeah, that was happening. One morning this week, I was reading in Preach My Gospel about how to recognize the spirit. The chapter talked about the importance of receiving personal revelation for ourselves and to help others in their progression towards Christ. I realized that I hadnt tried at all to receive revelation for myself or others. I had completely disregarded the importance of prayer, and had not been using my gift to receive direction from the Holy Ghost. At that moment, I was done with feeling crummy. I bowed my head, folded my arms, and closed my eyes. In simple terms, I told Heavenly Father about what was going on. I told Him that I did not want depressive feelings because they were not benefitting me as a missionary. I asked Him to take them away. When I was finished, I began making plans for my new life as a missionary. That day was the best day in Brazil. I talked confidently with the members we ate lunch with. I was cheerful and energetic the entire day. I talked with everyone I saw. That day, my companion and I talked with 40 people in the street, and we saw so many miracles. Since then, we have found several new people to teach. Some of them have accepted the baptismal invitation. We had a stake conference on Sunday, a broadcast from Salt Lake. Three of our investigators came. Even better, another man from our area came who we had never met before, and now he wants to learn more. There are so many things that I have been learning in my time as a missionary. We cannot sit by. We cannot be content. We cannot be things to be acted upon. We were made to act. Yes, God is at the head of this great and eternal work. That does not eliminate our personal responsibility. We can plan and directly act. In doing so, we can expect the blessings and guidance of God to follow. Make an evaluation today of what you are doing and who you are. Make a plan to improve. Promise the Lord that you will follow this plan. Act in all diligence. See miracles follow. I know that God wants to bless us greatly. We need to allow Him to by acting in faith and in all diligence. I love you all! Sorry for not responding to your questions and emails. Go BRAZIL!
Love, Elder Parker Ayer