Monday, January 5, 2015

The Man from January January

Family, family, family,

Isn´t it about time? That might sound like I am getting mad at you, but I really wanted that to sound like an old Church ad. So in other words, isn´t about time for another email exchange with your beloved son and brother, Elder Ayer? I don´t know exactly what your practice is for reading missionary emails now, but I know that in the old days we always read them as part of Family Home Evening. That reminds me of Dad welcoming everyone to FHE as if Hulk Hogan would be our special guest for the night. Chuckle, chuckle, chuckle. I hope this email fulfills your spiritual and emotional needs.

Anyway, yes, I am here in the state of January River (Rio de Janeiro) in January! What a fun thing to happen. Unfortunately, the January River here really isn´t a Snowy River. That´s because it is hot, hot, hot and I feel like I just caught on fire, just caught on fire. But really, the work here is catching fire. It is great to see. To begin this year and to end the transfer, we had the opportunity to baptize three people, Gleyce, Rosângela, and Rosiane. I was super glad that Elder Barbosa had the opportunity to baptize his first transfer. It was great! Gleyce is a middle-aged woman who is a little grumpy by nature, but it was amazing to see what kind of effect the gospel had and is having in her life. Rosângela and Rosiane are the same age as me and Elder Barbosa, respectively. When they start asking us about our girlfriends back home, we have to steer clear. Fortunately, they really had a great conversion as well. Rosiane wrote down her testimony to be read in testimony meeting yesterday, it was so great! 

It was amazing to see how everything came together this last week to help prepare them all to be baptized. They all had goals to be baptized on Saturday. However, I don´t think that I have ever baptized someone on the date of the first goal set. I was kind of prepared for something to happen this week as well, but I was hoping and working for the best outcome. Gleyce had already had some powerful experiences with prayer and the Book of Mormon before this week. That was an essential preparation. This week we went to talk about her about her goal for baptism. Really, we should have been talking to her more about her baptismal date before this week, but it didn´t happen in our teaching. When we returned this week to teach her, we talked about her baptism. She seemed very apprehensive. She was emphatic. She had to resolve some things in her family before she could be baptized. When we asked some more questions, it was apparent that these problems were excuses. We invited her to pray for herself to ask Heavenly Father if she should be baptized. After leaving the appointment, I called my zone leader to tell him aobut her progress for baptism on the planned date. He told me that the next appointment I should teach her, read Moroni 10:32, and tell her that if she wanted to be perfect in Christ she had to be baptized. It didn´t sit well with me. It seemed a little brusque. I wanted to help her. That night we prayed together and individually to be able to help her. The next day we went and read Mosiah 18 with her. She liked the chapter and said that really she did want to have the influence of Spirit to be manifest more abundantly in her life, like the ancient Mormons. We asked her what would impede her from being baptized. That was the moment when she opened up to us. Really, she was worried that she would have to walk with us in the streets preaching the gospel. We relieved her concerns about this. After that, she became excited to be baptized. It was amazing to see how the Spirit could help her and could releive her worries and encourage her to be perfected in Christ through baptism.

We saw similar conversion in the lives of Rosângela and Rosiane. I really am heartbroken when I enter their house. THey are so poor, but the are so happy. They and their family also give so much for us. They always offer us food. They always insist that they have to buy soda for us, even when we say that water would be great. They also fed us lanches several times this week. I was so sad when they shared their father´s birthday treat with us which was some jell-o. They became very worried one day that Elder Barbosa got sick that he had gotten sick because of some bread he had eaten in their house. They are such good people, and now they have the blessings of the Spirit to be constantly with them. It is such a blessing. There is nothing like starting a new year in white clothes with a white slate!

I love you all so much. I hope that you will all seek to have clean slates and maintain that cleanliness. We came receive and retain a remission of our sins through the greace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Be strong and of a good courage, always abounding in good works. I love you all! By the way, Happy Birthday Aunt Sarah! And Grandpa, we are all praying for you! I still need to speak in portuguese with you!

With lots of love, Elder Ayer  

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