Well, a lot of good things happened this week, here and abroad. I hope that more emails flood in so that I can read about my favorite sister returning to my favorite family and our favorite home. Until then, here are some things that happened while I am here doing my favorite thing, missionary work! :D
Last Monday, we had a noite familiar with our investigators. We brought them to church last week, and they loved it! THeir names are Joel and Alcione, and they have 4 children. We had a lot of fun at the Bishop's house as we played that game where you put a sticky note on your forehead with some name of a famous person. Anyway, it was a lot of fun. The next day, we brought members with us to teach the plan of salvation. THe LOrd perfectly laid the foundation of our lesson; Alcione started talking about the children she had lost and the grandchild she had lost as well. I was able to bear testimony briefly about modern revelation that gives us hope for the eternal salvation of those who have died in childhood. The Spirit immediately entered the room. There was silence, and there were tears in Alcione's eyes. We had a prayer, and commenced to teach about the mighty plan of God. Due to many talks in church about genealogy and temple work, we also taught about the temple. It was amazing to see them be filled by this profound doctrine through their simple faith. It was amazing. We talked to them about marriage and baptism. They have committed to do both! We are very excited for them, and we are working on marriage papers for them AGORA. Unfortunately, they weren't able to come to church this Sunday because Joel spent the night drinking and passou mal. It just goes to show that the vices of men always get in the way of us obtaining those things which are most dear and precious to us. Luckily, there is repentance and the ability to change. We are looking forward to their continued progression.
Lots of America this week. On Tuesday, EUA unfortunately lost in the jogo contra Belgica. However, I'm sure they were easily cheered up in the following days by singing some very patriotic songs. "Cuz I'm glad to be an American where at least I know I'm free..." Yep, as you probably imagine, that is what I did on ye olde Fourth of July. I woke up feeling a little trunky. NO watermelon. NO lake. NO blueberry pie. Well, freedom and America are a lot more than that. I started going through the hymn book and singing all of the patriotic songs to myself. Well, that was good, but I really wanted to listen to someone else sing these songs to me. At last I remembered my first area in West Virginia. There was an old war (Second World and Korea) vet in the ward named Chuck Shepard who we brought the sacrament to. He really liked to make "photoshows" about his military service with accompanying patriotic music. He had given me one of his videos. I searched through my bags, but found nothing. I said a prayer and searched some more. Finally, I found it! I put it in our DVD player and hoped for the best. SUCCESS!!! I played that video and listened to a little piece of America. Well, my South American missioary housemates were in somewhat of a mood and didn't seem to want my American spirit around. They asked, are these hymns? Yep! These are hymns in the hymnbook! I can listen to them! They grumbled a few things about America and how Brazil is better because Santos Dumont invented the first airplane and not the Wright Brothers (okay, you have the airplane and we have freedom and everything else). Sorry, this isn't meant to sound discouraging, but I was really feeling the American love that day. It was really good. Also, I started making an Americna flag from paper. All I need now are some star stickers. Also, I got to hear fireworks! It was Independence Day! Everyone was setting off fireworks because Brazil won the jogo! It was a great day.
I am loving the time here in Brazil. I am loving the people. Miracles happen every day. The spirit testifies of truth. The spirit guides us. We are being redeemed as we help in the redeeming work of others. It is a miracle. The purifying influence of the Spirit is the only thing that will prepare us for an eternity in the pure presence of our Father. Everything we do in this life should lead us and others to make and keep covenants which magnify the influence of the Spirit in our lives.
I love you. I think about you, but not too much (okay, I am working on it). It's hard, but it will bring blessings. I love you.
Love, Elder Parker Ayer
P.S. I found a place that sells waffles. You can bet I bought it and ate it!
P.P.S. All the members here refer to each other as Irmã ou Irmão (first name) without fail. This is the rule here in Brazil. No one is referred to by their last name except the missionaries.
P.P.P.S. We have a mission song. It reminds me of the Hill Cumorah Pageant song. Lots of good words mixed in together put to a tune that doesn't make much sense. It's fun to sing! (and fun to hear people try to sing it)