Dear family and friends,
Well, this week has been wonderful. Hard at the beginning and wonderfully blessed at the end. Sorry that I am writing on Tuesday again. It´s because Elder Fraga and I are going to the conselho da missão tomorrow and the Assistants moved around our P-day. Oh well, here we go!
Last Tuesday and Wednesday were ridiculously hard and sad. Let me explain. I already told you about our two elect investigators, right? They were Luciano and Nataly. They are two children of a less-active woman we found when we were inspired to knock on a door out of nowhere. Anyway, they were super excited to be baptized. They were feeling the Spirit powerfully, reading the Book of Mormon, praying, and asking inspired questions. Really, I thought that they were some of the most elect people I had ever taught on my mission. Well, Sunday their grandpa from Curitiba passed by unexpectedly and they didn´t go to Church. Monday and Tuesday their truck driver dad got home and spent time with them during Carnaval. His is very Catholic, but Teresa (the mom) said that she had already talked to the dad and he was A-OK about their involvement with the Mormons. Well, I am not so sure about that now. We talked to them at the beginning of last week and found out that all of a sudden they were completely uninterested in our message now and that they are most decidedly interested in being very involved in the Catholic Church. We talked to the Dad and he said that he didn´t mind if they went to another church, but everything was very fishy. It doesn´t help that there is a very dark aura in the house sometimes because of Teresa´s current practice of espiritismo. Well, Luciano and Nataly have decided to go their own ways. It was very hard because I really don´t think that I have ever loved an investigator as much as Luciano. He just seemed like a little brother. Anyway, we must move on and give them the space and distance to feel the weight of their decision.
Ever since the break with our elect investigators, I have been praying hard, but very hard, for us to be able to find teach and baptize a family with a dad, mom, and children. I have been praying every dad for this, and the Lord has been hearing my prayers. We have found three very special families. The Spirit has been especially strong with us as we have testified to them of the truth of the Restoration message. One family in particular is very special. The daughter went to church on Sunday with her aunt and we met her there. She is the daughter of a less-active member who left the church when he was 18 years old. Yesterday we had the chance to teach the family which consists of the father and two daughters. The mother passed away 6 months ago. The Spirit was very strong as we taught them the restored truth of eternal families. Now the two daughters want to be baptized, and the dad wants to be active again so that he can baptize them (he´s a priest in the Aaronic priesthood). We are so happy for them and know that they will receive great blessings as they prepare to be baptized and sealed. What an awesome blessing of our dear Heavenly Father!
Sunday´s sacrament meeting was especially special. We missionaries were responsible for the meeting. The topic was the Restoration. I got to pick my topic, Joseph´s First Vision and opposition. I had been praying and preparing the whole week to have the Spirit with me and make our little sacrament meeting equal to a Kirtland Temple dedication service. Right before my talk, we sang a special musical number with the youth of Joseph´s First Vision. On the third verse, a member recited the words of the account at the microphone with the piano music. It was very powerful and many people cried. I was so glad to have a strong spirit when I started. The Lord really did sustain me and the Spirit, like a burning fire, was felt very strongly. What was best was that that day our attendance in sacrament meeting soared from the usual 85 to 120 people! It was a perfect sacrament service. I really couldn´t be happier. I know that this work is the work of Almighty God. I know that Joseph Smith was a chosen servant to testify powerfully of the reality of the Savior´s divine sacrifice, death, and resurrection. I know that through the Prophet, sacred truths concerning the eternal nature of the family have been revealed. Families can be eternal. We can be eternal if we will keep the commandments. Please keep the commandments. I love you all, a bushel and a peck and a hug around your neck! With all my love, my dear family, adieu.
-Elder Parker Ayer
Quick pics: (1) me and Sister Cascardi (2) us with pele stutue