Monday, November 3, 2014

Book of Mormon Battles

Dear family,

I was thinking about Sarah~s emails and how she would call us ñaño/a, and I was thinking what sort of cultural equivalent I would use to call all yall. I don~t know if there is really an equivalent here. When I talk to people in the street here, I usually call them amigo or irmão. Here it really isn~t weird for the people to call each other brother or sister. There is a kind of strange practice that people have here of calling other people ´meu filho´ (my child) or ´meu querido´ (my dear/beloved). It~s a little strange, but its all good. Usually Elder Kenning and I have to hold off all of the old ladies here who call us filho/querido/menino and want to pinch our little white cheeks. It~s pretty fun walking around with another American and getting a lot of attention. The first thing people ask us is where we are from. When we tell them we~re American, they start calling all of their family members over to see us. It~s good for getting into people~s houses to teach them, but bad for weeding out the elect from the un-elect.

This last week we had a little bit of a hard time with our investigator Ellasandra. She~s the one who ran away from us and then said that she still wanted to be baptized. We tried to see her again this week, but she wasn~t at home again when she set the appointment with us. We waited around 45 minutes, and she didn~t show up. We really wanted to teach her, but right now she isn~t making this a priority. I have decided that I really don~t like flakes. However, what~s even worse than a flake is a Frosted Flake. Frosted Flakes are the people who fain (feign/fein/fane ?) real interest and have real spiritual experiences, but are just flaky. Along with them in the unsavory cereal family are Grape Nuts, Brasen Rands, Marshmallow Mates, and others just to name a few. Hahaha, this isnt really any important commentary, just some funny thoughts I was having this last week. Alright, back to the real deal.

THis last week we had an awesome zone conference in the city of Petropolis. Petropolis is a pretty cool city; it~s very touristy, and the chapel there has to be the only one of its kind in the whole world. It~s three stories high with the parking under the building on the ground level. Anyway, the meeting was really awesome. I started thinking about all of the things that I need to start doing directly to be the best missionary I can be. I always have really big ideas for my missionary service, and I need to take the risk of a little extra, hard work to accomplish all that I want to do. Another great thing from the meeting was some training we got on the importance of the Book of Mormon. President Cascardi gave us the idea of walking around with the Book of Mormon in hand. I love the Book of Mormon, but I usually just keep it in my bag for when I need to use it in a lesson. HOwever, Elder Kenning and I started walking around with the Book of Mormon in hand, and it~s starting to work great miracles!

The BOok of Mormon really is the word of God. I don~t have any hesitation saying that it really is the clearest, purest, best, most important, and most powerful book that has ever been brought to light. It is amazing. It is a power-packed book, filled with great spiritual light and learning from 1000+ years of experience. It was written and translated by prophets, declared and protected by angels, and testified of by the very Son of God himself. Now it has been read by millions, changing their hearts forever and guiding them to the work of the Lord in these last days. 

Anyway, we had a lot of miracles this last week. One night we were desperately looking for our frosted flake. We were standing in the middle of the road (deserted road) and some man came up to us and asked us if we were from ´that church in São Paulo`. We were a little frustrated, and I didn~t really feel like talking to the man. We had been fasting that day and been through a lot of challenges. I quickly explained to him the church we represented and I felt prompted to show him the Book of Mormon in my hand. He said that he already had the book, read, loved it, and had already passed it on to several other people in the city. I was flabbergasted and started tearing up. This was the miracle that we almost missed. The Lord had already been laying the foundation of a great work to be done here. Unfortunately, he didn~t remember the names our addresses of the people he gave the book to, but we are going to preach and teach the Book of Mormon until we hunt out every last Vincenzo di Francesca and bring him to the gateway of which the Book of Mormon is the keystone.

Another great experience this last week. We were teaching a very Evangelical lady. She started talking about how we have to pray to God to ask what is right; we have to study it out. It was a perfect set up for the second half of our Restoration lesson. We told her about the Prophet Joseph and the Book of Mormon. She did not brush off the story, and she did not accept it right away. She told us that she would pray about it. Her sincerity about it shocked me. She really wanted to know. With us, she got on her knees and prayed to Heavenly Father sincerely for orientação to find and follow the truth. She said that she will read the entire Book of Mormon and will pray. Unfortunately, the only thing in her way is that she takes care of a deathbed-bound old lady every Saturday and Sunday. We are praying for a way to be made for her to visit the church.

Another cool thing this week. We didn~t have time to teach one of our contacts, Matheus, on Saturday, so we passed by his house as we were going home to invite him to church. Before we could even finish reminding him of the name of the church, he said that he would go to church with us. We gave him the Restoration pamphlet, the Book of Mormon, and we met him at the church the next day. It was prbably a bit of a shock for him the next day starting out in priesthood meeting learning about all the ordinances of the gospel, but he took notes. He listened intently in gospel principles as I taught about the Restoration. He said amen as he listened to testimony meeting. At the end I invited him to pray to God about the reality of the prophet Jospeh SMith. He said he would pray for a confirmation, but that he already believed that he was a prophet. It was amazing! We are going back this week to teach him.

Diogo had us going this week. During the middle of the week, he decided that he wasn~t ready for baptism. We resisted, but said that we could prepare him for a later date. I never like doing that because I know what a procrastination circle is like. Anyway, the other day we visited him briefly and left Alma 7 with him to read. I underlined the part in verse 15 where Alma invites the reader to enter the waters of baptism TODAY. Well, we meant to pick up Diogo for church, but he wasn~t there. We were very shocked during priesthood meeting when he showed up at church with a white shirt, white pants, white socks, and white shoes! It was super funny. I was dying of laughter! He decided he wanted to be baptized after all. Unfortunately, we still need to help him with a couple things and he should be baptized next Sunday! 

Being a missionary is great. It~s a dream being fulfilled. I would like to be a missionary forever, oh wait, I can! You can, too! Is~nt this gospel great? Let~s do all within our power to spread the good news we have. We~re not spreading around old news, but new news. We have it! Come and get it! God lives! Christ lives again! We have a living Prophet! We have the true and living Church! Come unto the living waters and be satisfied. I love you all so much!

Love, Elder Parker Ayer

PS HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRISTIAN!!! I made a voice recording for you, but the computer isn~t taking it. grrr, but I love you and good luck in the show this Friday! Muah!

Our Halloween party with sparkling passion fruit juice and some lame candy.  YEASH!

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