Monday, October 27, 2014

All the Monkeys Arent in the Zoo...

Dear Family,

Today will be hard to write because the keys on this keyboard are super sticky, and my fingers are already dead. anyway, on with the good stuff! (please excuse the typos today!)

Wednesday we had zone meeting in Barra Mansa (about an hour away). Afterwards, I had to stay behind as I was responsible for pickng up the materials for my district. I watched as two other elders fought over all of the pamphlets and stuff. After a while someone said that I hadn~t picked up anything yet, and they decided to give some materials to me. As they were packing those away, I quietly snuck all the Book of Mormons that we needed. Then one of the sister leader trainers came in and starting demanding Book of Mormons from everyone, and wasn~t willing to share with anyone else. I was getting a little frustrated with everything an said something rude-ish to her. Then I stepped back, took a deep breath, realized how ridiculous we all looked as missionaries fighting over the Book of Mormon, and tried to laugh it off. But seriously, if the world knew what we know about the Book of Mormon, they would be fighting over it too!

This last week we saw some litle monkeys outside of our window. We fed them bananas. i have the movie on my camera for after the mission. We tried to lure the monkey in t our house. we succeeded fter a little bit, but he ran away. There were about 3 grown mnkeys and 2 babies on their backs. it was pretty sweet!

We were preparing Ellasandra to be baptized this last week. We had a cool leson when she told us that she was feeling a prompting from God that she needed to be baptized. It was super funny hwen we taught her the word of wisdom. we explained the law, and she made a face like she wasnt too sure about what we said. Then she surprised us by saying, -I dont even drink coffee! It was a relief for us and we started laughing. It was a great moment. We marked the baptismal interview for Saturday, but couldn~t find her anywhere that day. We spent the whole day trying to track her down, lookng in the store, hospital, and even the church she used to go to! (universal church) We were dead tired by the end of the day, and ew had just about gone crazy. every corner we turned we expected to see her face there. I am just glad that we showed our diligence in lookng for Gods lost sheep. We went back last night to her house and found out that she wasnt feeling too well saturday. She still wants to be baptized, we~re excited, and were going to help her be more prepared thaan she was before to be baptized.

We found a 30 year old man that might be identified with Fred Randall. His name is Diogo, but he also lives with his parents and isnt quite the full grown man his age says he is. Fortunately, his is listening to the spirit. Yesterday he told us that he prayed for the first time in his life and felt like his is prepared to be baptized. It was a very cool moment. He will be baptized next sunday. I like ginog to his house because his mom is really nice and reminds me of Aunt (ant) Dee.

Last night we started walking home when it started raining, no downpouring, no sending forth shafts in the whirlwind. Well, it was rough. There were noah-ish rains tumbling down and noah-ish floodas coming up. Unfortunately, I had m nice suit pants on with my nice silk men~s wearhouse tie. In any case, it was a lot of fun.    

We need to have our foundation in christ for moments like these. When we have days looking for one person in vain, we need to remember why e are looking. It isnt in vain. We are serving the god of heaven and earth. We must give ear to his words. We can serve the king of kings by searching his truths, or we can falsely imagine ourselves to be the god of heaven and earth by determining what we want as truth. We must receive the truth of god to be saved ultimately. OUr own false perception of things will bring damnation. These words are meant to be for a recent convert who i met yesterday, but you get them today. :D I hope that you all seek out the truth that cannot be changed or adapted to our own selfish desires. I know the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet who received all the keys of the kingdom of heaven and passed them on to the other presidents of this great Restored Church. I love you all!

Love, Elder Parker Ayer4

Monday, October 20, 2014


Yum!, Cow Tongue...
Well, I hoped that those recordings work for you. You might have to convert them to a different format to listen to them. Unfortunately, this LAN house is kind of annoying and weird and I can~t convert the sound bytes. Anyway, something I forgot to say in my recordings is that I got to try cow tongue on Sunday. I~ll send a picture for you. It was cut up and put in a tomato-y broth. I actually really liked it. It was a pretty dense meat, but it was really good. I am doing great here, and I love you all so much. In case the recording doesn~t work, I am in the branch of Barra do Piraí. We meet in a small house that the church bought. This last week we had 36 people in church and it felt a bit crowded. One of the speakers read from the True to the Faith manual for his talk and the other used a big laptop for notes. It~s a pretty typical, quirky, loving branch. I love it! Unfortunately (but more like FORTUNATELY!) it shouldn~t stay a branch very long because we are going to baptize all the people in this city. I love you all!

Love Elder Ayer

Monday, October 13, 2014

I Caught on Far*, Just Caught on Far* (*Fire)

Dear Family,

That's right, this week has been a week to riff, rip, and burn it up. I don't know if I already used this classic "Called to Serve" line in a previous e-mail, but it's just so good that I could probably use it over and over again. Anyway, let me describe the wondrous events of this past week, and what is about to come in this coming week/transfer.

Monday was really wonderful. We we had our usual noite familiar in the house of Irmã Penha. We unfortunately didn't have any investigators there, but we did have two recent converts there, Teresinha and Elisabeth, who have been struggling a little bit to become accustomed with the change in churches. Elder Alexsandro and I both felt impressed to talk about the Book of Mormon. It was truly inspired. We got there and started talking about the Book of Mormon. At first, the recent converts didn't feel much like saying anything. As we got started talking about the Book of Mormon, they couldn't stop talking. In particular, Teresinha bore a powerful testimony. Of the two sisters, she always seemed to be the spiritually weaker of the two; Elisabeth had spent much more time reading the Book of Mormon and other Church publications. It was interesting to see how more important than our academic knowledge and study of the church doctrine is the heed we pay to the spirit. Teresinha bore testimony about how she looked in the index one day to learn more about "Mormon", She didn't read anything about the prophet, but studied Mosiah 18 that talks about the waters of Mormon. She was touched greatly by the spirit as she remembered how she had been taught by the missionaries at these waters. She declared to everyone there that she would never desist from the Church. It was a very "proud" moment in my missionary life, and an answer to many prayers.

Tuesday we had a fun gift exchange in our district meeting. It was a secret Santa type thing. I got my best friend Elder Alexsandro. He's the pardo, favela type, so I got a pretty sweet hat for him that he can turn to the back or the side (cue the dad-cringe). Well, another Elder pulled my name. He's the jokester type. He had been pretending the whole past week that he got the name of a sister, and he bought some very expensive soap from a sister in the ward who sells beauty products. Let's just say that now I'm smelling very good and have baby soft skin.

We had some great success this week with setting baptismal dates with investigators. It is wonderful to be able to see how the spirit can touch the hearts of people to the point that they are willing to make a commitment to change their lives. After extending the commitments to know of the truthfullness of our message in a lesson this last week, I asked the investigator (Jose Alexandre) what this would mean to know of the truth of these things. He said that he would know that God had given permission to this church to act in His name. It was an inspired answer. I then asked if he would be baptized in this Church. He said, "Claro". It was a cool moment to see how the spirit was able to reveal the simple truthfulness of this to him.

One of the great fire-y moments this week was a lesson with a 25-ish-year-old man named Marcelo. We made contact with him a few weeks ago when we attempted to contact a referral. She wasn't there, but he passed us by in the stair well of the apartment complex a few times as if he wanted to talk to us. Well, I stopped him and we started to talk to him. We weren't too excited that first time when he seemed to be one of those strangely theoretical minds that liked getting in young missionary's faces to ask them deeply probing questions about ethereal concepts. I thought he was very proud, would be interesting to talk to, and any future lesson would probably end in a Bible bash. Even though he seemed like a weak contact, we kept him in the back of our minds as someone that we could teach. Since that moment, we hadn't had any time to talk to him until this last week when we were walking near his apartment complex with shaky plans for the last hour of the night. We came up with some finding ideas, but we really wanted to teach someone, and Marcelo had told us that he is usually at home at night. With this in mind, we went to his apartment. After buzzing us into the complex, we said a quick prayer to have success and patience and to have all the right scriptures come to our minds. We were effectually preparing for a Bible bash. When we knocked on his door, he let us in. We talked for a couple minutes about his life and his para-gliding hobby. When I was about to ask another question to him about his hobby, he asked us what our message was about for the night. Well, apparently he had been reading the investigator manuel "Learn My Gospel" in the section on How to Begin Learning. (For those less acquainted with modern missionary work, an RM can explain this joke more fully to you.) It was very interesting. The moment we started teaching the lesson, there was a spiritual sort of silence that surrounded the voice of who was speaking. I don't know if I explained that very well. It was as if the spirit was guiding every person in the room to pay strict attention to the words of him who was speaking, and no other noise made any sort of distraction. I only remember experiencing this feeling as powerfully one time before when I testified for my high school US History class of Joseph Smith's first vision. Elder Alexsandro and I explained the first lesson of the Restoration in a way that we have never explained it before. We usually say generally the same words, but this time was completely different. We completely established the nature of God as a loving Father. Elder Alexsandro was clearly impressed to talk very specifically about the doctrine of the Atonement in the earthly ministry of the Savior. During this time, I was looking at him. When I began to speak, I looked back to Marcelo to see that he had tears in his eyes. I talked about the importance of Christ's Church in a way that I have been struggling to understand and was finally made clear to me. The Church is the earthly guardian of eternal, redeeming truth, built upon the authoratative revelation of prophets and apostles. This doctrine of "organized religion" was something that Marcelo belittled in our last encounter, but this time I could see him accept the truth. After we explained Joseph Smith, the Restoration, and the origins of the Book of Mormon, Marcelo thanked us for coming at the right time when he had been prepared to be humble enough to recognize the importance of our message. I don't know exactly what happened with him, but it was a miracle. I don't know exactly what happened with us, but it was a miracle. We invited him to be baptized, and he wrote the date down on a piece of paper so that he could remember it. It was the best experience I have ever had teaching the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am so grateful to have been able to experience it. I really do know that the things of which we taught and bore witness are true. Thanks be to God for the miracle of revelation, without which none of us could inherit any degree of eternal glory. (see "Revelation" in the Bible Dictionary)

Well, that was the best fire-y experience this last week. There were other, more temporal, ones as well. This week it hit 41 degrees Celsius in our area. That's about 106 degrees Fahrenheit. Put on your sunscreen, wood chuck chuckers. It's still spring, wood chuck chuckers. The six more weeks of winter have long passed, wood chuch chuckers. Anyway, it's hot hot hot (oh baby, it's hot, hot, hot). Another fun experience this week was a spicy lunch. There is a brother in our ward who has some very hot hot sauce. Actually, it's not hot sauce or pepper sauce. It's pepper extract. I told the other elders that the stuff was really good (they had never eaten there before), and they loaded it on. I felt guilty because I lied to them and I'm really the only one who likes the stuff, so I loaded it on, too. WOW! The lunch only got more fun when Elder Alexsandro dared us to drink 10 pure drops of the extract. Well, we did and it was funny. Elder Alexsandro and I both died. It was definitely not the best thing to eat right before starting a fast. Let's just say that we didn't feel too well after that.

Well, more fire-y experiences are coming. It's a new transfer, and I'm being transferred to the south of the mission to the state of Rio de Janeiro, the Barra de Parai area. I'm going to be district leader again. I will be serving with Elder Kenning, a missionary from Maine (who I recognized from EFY) who also served in the West Virginia Charleston Mission. It's going to be great. It gets wicked hot down in that area, and we are going to make it hotter with the baptism of fire. I'm sad to leave my best friend and companion after six weeks, but there are more great things to do!

I love you all so much. i hope you enjoyed the lengthy email. You are all the best. Know this work is true and be faithful to it. Do your part and the Lord will do His. I LOVE YOU!!!
My gift-wrapping with an apostate newspaper from the Universal church.

Love, Elder Parker Ayer

Monday, October 6, 2014

Something New

Dear Family,

I am sending some audio files to you. Video files are too big to send, but I can send my voice! I am sending a personal message about this past week and also my own personal recordings of Joseph Smith History, which Elder Anderson suggested that we make. I only did it one time, so there are some mistakes, but I hope that you enjoy! I love you!

-Elder Ayer

Well I sure hoped that worked!  I was praying that it would!  I love you all so much and I hope that you enjoy what I sent you!  Love, Love, Love, Love, Elder Ayer