Monday, September 8, 2014

That Pita Pocket is Not a Tortilla

Dear Family,

Many wonderful things happened this week. It was really exciting. Monday we had a churrasco with our beloved Ward Mission Leader, Geraldo. He has a sweet terrace above his house where he does churrasco and we play pool. Basically a churrasco consists of eating salty, delicious meat until you're ready to burst. It is a wonderful Brasilian tradition. Tuesday I bid adieu to Elder Rodrigues. I have enjoyed my time with him for the most part, but it was time to have a change. I was really worried about the transfer because I will continue as junior companion, and everyone hears all the stories about getting a power-hungry companion who is a tyrant. I don't really understand this because I feel like I'm just a "nice guy" (insert an image of Gilligan from Gilligan's Island). Anyway, I was worried. We got to the bus station so that I could drop off Elder Rodrigues and pick up an Elder Alexsandro. All of the other missionaries being transferred were there. I got to talk to Elder Findley (my companion from the provo MTC who arrived a few weeks ago) and meet Elder Atkinson (a good friend of Elder Lyman [the Elder I trained in WV] who is from Parker, CO). Finally it was time to meet up with my companion. Ever since that moment, missionary work has been going great! Elder Alexsandro is from the same city (Aracaju, SE) as Elder Rodrigues. He is super funny and has helped me turn around some of the bad feelings I've been harboring the last few weeks. The day of the transfer, I took the attribute assessment activity at the end of chapter 6 in Preach MY Gospel. I really had to question myself when I came to the section about hope. Usually my scores in this section are very high because I am very positive, but they had taken a toll over the last few months. I was a little sad when I got to the part that says, "I am confident that I will have a happy and successful mission". I realized that this was not my feeling at all. I expected my mission to be pretty painful, frustrating, and fruitless. That was not the correct view to have. I am grateful that now I have been able to turn my thoughts around and think of my mission in an optimistic way. Hooray! Elder Alexsandro has a sense of humor that is very similar to mine. It kind of caught me off guard that first day when he joked about something and it seemed like I was remembering some sense of humor I had forgotten. Anyway, this isn't supposed to be a love letter about my great new companionship, but it is a testimony of the blessings that can come through other people.

Sunday was a wonderful day. We had a baptism! Antonio, the father of Vania, was baptized. He is a very sincere and good old man. He is decreasing a little bit in his mental capacity, but he is very pure and good. The other day, we had to say probably 20 times that Joseph Smith was a prophet because he could not for the life of him remember who Joseph Smith was. Even after two minutes he needed help to remember that Joseph Smith was a prophet. Well, everything turned out right. He was finally able to remember the prophet. He is such a sweet man. He didn't want to be baptized this week, but after explaining the importance of following the promptings of the spirit promptly, he just asked us what hour the baptism would be. He still doesn't know much about the Book of Mormon, church history, and many things, but he wanted to be baptized because he trusts the messengers of God and feels a sublime peace when we talk to him. Everyone at church loves him because he is so sincere and good. It has been really wonderful to see his faith in action.

I know that if we follow our faith, we will be rewarded. If we follow our faith, we will find knowledge. If we follow our faith, the windows of heaven will be opened unto us. Because of experiences of faith followed by miraculous revelation, I know that the Book of Mormon is truly the word of God. I know that Joseph Smith is the Prophet of God and His Christ. I know that Christ is our ever faithful Redeemer. I know that we are children of the Most High God with a divine heritage. I love you all. Be true to that knowledge which you have received and that faith which led to its reception.

Love, Elder Parker Ayer

P.S. I made tacos for the other elders the other day only to find that the tortillas we bought are really thin pita pockets. Weird combination!

P.P.S. Also, the tortillas have the brand name of "tenda Arabe" with the emblem of a mexican.  How does that work?  :D

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