This week has been a challenge, but a blessing. There is nothing like opposition to help you form a fresh view of yourself, God, and the world. That sounds an awful lot like repentance. Well, it hasn´t been repentance of sins. Even harder than that, it´s been trying to cope with situations where no one is sinning but there is a lack of mutual understanding or agreement. There are lots of opportunities to learn when you spend 24 hours with someone else. With my companion, we are learning humility, patience, and charity. I am learning that there doesn´t have to be someone to blame, but I can make a change in my nature to cope better with the nature of others.
Well, that was a heavy start. I probably should have said happy most progressive day of the year or something like that (this year it was so progressive that I didn´t even notice it was going by until the next day).
Anyway, at the beginning of this week we did divisions in São Lourenço. It´s a very nice little city with cobble stoned roads. Look it up, dad! Anyway, the morning of the exchange, I was studying about humility, pride, and selfishness. I feel that sometimes I try to use people and their spiritual experiences unfairly in an effort to get them to accept the gospel and be baptized. I realized that I need to help people be touched by the Spirit so that they can make the choice of following Christ and His restored gospel. Anyway, I had a great opportunity to apply the principle. We visited a young woman (Joane) who had been investigating the Church for a year. Unfortunately, she had a bad experience with an elder that tried to coerce her into being baptized by saying that if she wasn´t baptized, the people at Church wouldn´t talk to her anymore. Well, that had a terrible effect and she really didn´t want to be baptized after that. In our meeting together, I found out that she really had a testimony of the gospel and wanted to be baptized, but not right then. She wanted to be baptized in the Lord´s timing and her timing. I explained to her that she had fulfilled the Lords requirement to be baptized, she was prepared. I then said that she was only waiting on her personal timing. I told her that the elders were going to have a baptismal service this month on day 21. I asked her if we could pray together on bended knee to ask Heavenly Father if she should be baptized on that day. We knelt down. I said a prayer out loud. Afterward she said a prayer silently. She told us when she had finished. The Spirit was a warmly powerful influence in the room. I asked her if she felt that she should be baptized this month. She said yes. It was a great experience and all of us felt the spirit confirm the same thing to each of us.
I am trying to apply these principles more in my life. I want to be someone who cares about others enough that I don´t try to coerce others into doing what I want. The Book of Mormon (Moroni 7:45) speaks very well of charity. `And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.` Really charity has to suffer. It doesn´t seek what it wants, but seeks what is best for others. Charity is hard, but is the most important of all of the Christlike attributes.
We had a great experience with our investigators in Church on Sunday. A member had visited our four principle investigators with us on Friday and Saturday. She brought a very powerful influence of the Spirit to the lessons. On Sunday, she brought two of them to Church with her. All of the investigators were very happy at Church and felt the Spirit abundantly. Karoliny and Lorem (daughters of our family in which not all are members) told me afterward that they feel they are making their own family at church. It was such a good thing to hear. I want you all to know that the influence of a member in the life of a non-member investigator is immense! Please do all that you can to help those who are coming into the church feel of your spiritual strength, love, and commitment!
I love you all. I will probably be coming home a month early because of how transfers worked out. That means that my flight home will probably be July 28! That means that my return just krept up all of a sudden. I would like to go the Boston temple with you as an elder. Do you think that I could fly into Boston and then we could do a session afterwards? I would love that! I want so much to be with you all again in the temple as a family. Family is the only thing that will ever last in this world or the world to come. I love my family!
With Still More Love, Elder Parker Ayer
PS I sat in as another missionary gave Spanish lessons this last week. I did some conversation practices with another person as an example. I really have difficulty now to speak Spanish. Everyone was laughing at me because I speak Spanish like dear Mom, moving my head and eyes a lot as if I was in a Mexican soap opera. jajajajajaja :D