Monday, June 1, 2015

A Mighty Change

Dear family,

I love you all so much!  Let me brighten up your day a little bit more with a very cheery message.  I realized last week wasn´t too cheery, but this week will be cheerier.

There was a great miracle that we had this last week.  Do your remember how I was complaining last week about how José wasn´t confirmed in church?  Well, the miracle was that his whole family showed up for church.  After the meeting, we set up an appointment to meet with them and teach them as well.  We hadn´t ever talked to them before because José lives with his sister and brother-in-law.  His sister, Andrielly, had told us that their mom would probably never be interested in the message because she xinga (curses) a lot and her mom´s boyfriend doesn´t like a lot of people.  Well, we went there anyway.  What we found out is that José comes from a family of very elect people.  We taught the Restoration to them and José´s mom, Neide, said that she already believed that what we said was true because of the peace they felt in the Church and with us.  She said that she always left other churches with more of a headache than when she had arrived, but it was different with our church.  She said that she would always go to our church.  She had gone on Sunday with a lot of pain because of an eye infection that swelled her eye up.  She was having difficulty feeling very good.  Well, I noticed and thought that I would get a glass of water for her.  She said that when she drank the glass of water all of the pain from her eye went away and she was able to enjoy the meeting.  She said that it was blessed water.  Unfortunately, she said that she wouldn´t be able to be baptized because she was living with her boyfriend.  Her boyfriend recently traveled to their home state of Bahia to prepare the way for them to all go back there in two weeks.  Well, that was a let down, but the three daughters all wanted to be baptized before making the move.  That was a blessing.  We were still a little worried because the city they are moving to doesn´t have the Church and they would have to travel to hours every week to sacrament meeting.  That is a lot of money for a poor family.  Well, we knew the Lord would provide.  We left the Book of Mormon with them and 3 Nephi 11 to read.  We were very surprised the next day when we returned and found that all of them had read, pondered, and prayed.  These three daughters who do not have much in the way of schooling or religious instruction comprehended the chapter perfectly, giving spiritual insights that I have never thought of before.  When they prayed, each of them had their own personal experience with the Spirit.  This bolstered my testimony that the Spirit is the universal language that can speak to all of us.  The Book of Mormon is designed to speak to our souls, any soul, and bring us closer to Christ.  It was a great miracle.

Baptism of José
In this moment, the Mom told us what José hadn´t told us: his personal conversion.  José is a timid young man who doesn´t share a lot of his feelings.  We had noticed a change in him, but we hadn´t known the whole story until his mom told it to us.  Apparently, he used to hear voices in his head.  He never liked to visit churches, but he felt different when he visited The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The voices in his head started to go away.  The day he read and prayed about the Book of Mormon, we went out into the street and said that everything looked new to him.  He saw all of the old shops, houses, and streets in a new light.  He didn´t know how to explain it very well, but everything was made new to him.  His eyes were changed, and he knew that he was feeling like God was answering his prayer.  I was awestruck when I heard that conversion story.  He is a normal rapaz who had an extraordinary experience.  We started to talk to him about serving a mission.  He is very shy, but I am excited for him to serve!

Anyway, there were lots of things happening in the life of José´s family.  Apparently, Neide´s boyfriend cheated on her while he was bumming around in the other state and that was the last straw for her.  She dumped him and will now be baptized with her children!  They are very excited and will all be baptized this Saturday!  It is amazing to see the change that is taking place in their lives.  It is a change that is taking place in the whole family.  I couldn´t be happier for them.

Let me tell you that I know that the Book of Mormon is true.  This last week we had an unfortunate encounter with our supposedly elect media referral.  He and his wife were taught a couple weeks ago.  This last week we had the opportunity to talk to him for the first time since the last encounter because he apparently traveled.  I don´t know if that´s true, but what I do know is that he didn´t keep any of the commitments that we left for him the last time.  He definitely didn´t read the Book of Mormon, definitely didn´t pray about its truthfulness, and definitely didn´t visit the Church.  What he did do was he definitely read a mountain of anti-Mormon trash, he definitely prayed to uncover our heresies, and he definitely paid a visit to his church to talk to his pastor.  We got there and he tried to start out all sneaky.  He asked if we thought the Book of Mormon was more important than the Bible.  He made it seem like he was being all sincere.  Then he asked about Joseph Smith.  The questions got progressively more aggressive.  After a while he was showing us video testimonies of ex-Mormons.  These are REAL Mormons, he told us.  I looked at him like the fool he was, and said, ´And we are REAL Mormons and REAL representatives of the Church!´  In one of these attempts to convert us with false videos, I saw on his smartphone that he was recording our conversation.  In all that I had said, I was glad that I said what was right.  I was glad that I had been found defending the Book of Mormon and the Prophet Joseph Smith, and consequently defending the Savior Jesus Christ.  It is one of my greatest joys to be able to defend these keystones of our faith.  The greatest fool in this world is the fool who has the tenacity to look me in the eye with a freely gifted copy of the Book of Mormon produced with the sacred tithing funds of the Church and say that the Book of Mormon does not testify of Christ or seeks to undermine His divinity.  Fools spend hours searching for things that testify against the Book of Mormon, when they hold the very proof of its divine authenticity in their hands.  A simple reading of one chapter of the Book of Mormon takes 10 minutes, and a humble prayer another 5 minutes.  I have seen this simple recipe followed in the lives of many people.  Those who do so are enlightened, illuminated, and feel at peace.  Those fools who take the other course are irritated, enraged, possessed by the spirit of the evil one, and feel nothing but confusion.  Let us turn to the light and find truth in that light.  I know by the light of God´s love that the Book of Mormon is true and will always be true, no matter what anyone says or supposedly discovers contrary to that.

I love you all.  I hope you feel the effect of that light and love.  I will seek to be diligent in my missionary efforts.  Until our reunion in a few weeks.

I tried to do a wheelie and hurt my back, ouch!

Love, Elder Ayer

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