I love you all so much! One month from today I will be with you all again. That is one of the hardest things for me to imagine, which is probably a good thing. If I can't imagine it, I can focus better on what I need to do. This last month has to be the month where I give it my all, fight the good fight, and stay the course. I hope that the Lord will give me daily manna to keep me going.
Anyway, this week has been very good. It has been one of the coldest weeks as a Brasilian missionary. Seriously, it has been REALLY cold. I have been wearing a sweater every day and blowing hot air on my hands to keep them warm. At night I have been wearing wool socks, sweat pants, and a sweat shirt to keep me warm. I think I am going soft. All of this hot Brasilian weather has made me a wimp. Good thing that I'll be getting back in the middle of summer.
We had some really great miracles this last week. The trouble is is that so many good things happen every day, but then we often get disappointed the next. We find so many good people that end up rejecting the message. Happily, we found one family that is holding on strong and it looks like they will be baptized. We went to contact a media referral, but it looked like someone sent a fake referral. Anyway, we kept knocking on doors around the address. We ended up helping some person move some things from their house into a taxi. After half an hour of service, we were ready to move on to another area to do proselyting. The thing was that I felt that the gente (we) should keep on knocking doors in the alley. We finished knocking and at the end of the alley we met a kid. We talked to him and he said that we could share a message with him and his grandma. As we shared the message, they felt very strongly the truth of the message. The grandma said that she had been praying to know which was the right path to follow. She said that they had gone to so many churches, but they were looking for the right one. She became very emotional to have the Book of Mormon. The next day we went back with a member to teach them. When we got there the grandmother, Flavia, said that she wasn't going to visit the church with us on Sunday because of what the neighbors might say. We stayed calm and reminded her of the powerful feelings she had had the day previous. Luckily, Elder Ribeiro had put the Restoration DVD in his bag, so we watched it. I was so grateful for the movie to bring back those very powerful spiritual feelings testifying of the truth of the Restoration, the Prophet Joseph, and the Book of Mormon. Flavia was able to overcome her fears with faith. She went to church with us and felt the spirit swell up inside of her when she saw the church spire. That feeling continued on and on during the meetings. It was amazing to see how much she was blessed by the message and by the visit at church. She is a woman of faith. She even payed tithing!
This last week I was reflecting a lot on the natural man. The natural man is an enemy to God. He always has been and always will be. What is the natural man? It's that fallen nature of our flesh that is contrary to the nature of God. It is sensual, carnal, and devilish. It is that part that gives every excuse to live sinfully or even somewhat erroneously. The natural man gives excuses that in the natural world would be naturally accepted. For example, a natural man would not fulfill his church duties because he spent the entire week at work and is tired. It's only natural. Unfortunately, it's only natural for the fallen man. God expects more of us. He made us in His image. He expects us to be like He is. In that effort, he will support us from moment to moment by His grace. If we are to be like Him,we must not accept the excuses that the natural world gives us, and we must seek to be our best selves in spite of our fallen nature. We must be born again. We must become new creatures in Christ. We must become as children, even saints. Let's not accept the temptations of Satan, but let us valiantly strive for a greater expectation in spite of them. We are never too tired to pray, we are never too sad to help another, we are never too knowledgeable to read the scriptures.
I love you all! You are my favorite.
With love, Elder Parker Ayer