Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Elder Parker Ayer made it home safely and is doing well!!

If you would like to contact him from now on, his email address is parker.ayer@gmail.com.

Monday, July 27, 2015

see ya in a bit

Dear family,

I am currently in the mission office.  I will be home in a little bit.  I´m holding back great gouts of tears, but things are going great.  I love you all so much.  Just wait for a little bit longer and we will be home together!  Together forever!  [Play that music from the church movie, ´We can be, together...forever´].  Anyway, we are going to matar saudades in a little bit.  I love you so much!


Love, Elder Parker Ayer

Monday, July 20, 2015

One Week More, Bring Him Home, Tell the World I´m Going Home, Home Home Where I Wanted to Roam...

Dear family,

This is officially my last email home as a full-time missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  That is a daunting thought, but the reality is upon us.  Obviously, I am very happy about some things, sad about other things, and completely anxious.  That is, anxious in a good cause.  :D  There were lots of wonderful things this last week that happened that I will try to relate to you in a few words.

On Monday we had a family home evening with Flavia that was just great.  We talked about the temple.  She has already had several dreams about the temple and lots of good feelings.  She just doesn´t understand why she has to wait a year to be able to go and enter into the whole temple.  She is very sweet and sincere.  I am so glad that she is looking towards the temple.  Tuesday we did exchanges with the zone leaders from Manchester.  I obviously went to the Manchester area and got to visit some very beloved ward members from there.  There are so many good experiences that our dear Father blesses us with.  We also taught the Restoration to a woman whose 16-year-old daughter with cerebral palsy kept stroking my knee and hand telling me that I am lindo.  It was very funny.

This last week we have been struggling with Flavia´s daughter-in-law to let Flavia´s son be baptize in the church.  The problem is that she knows it´s all true because she loves to read the Book of Mormon, but she is scared of being rejected by her friends who are practically all Seventh Day Adventists.  We are praying for her heart to be changed and strengthened.  Also, Flavia passed the baptismal interview ja and will be baptized my last Saturday in the mission!  We worked a lot this week to help less actives and investigators go to church.  Many of them went to the Fest Julina on Saturday and then to church on Sunday.  It was so successful that there were 63 people in church on Sunday when the last few months it has been a steady 40!  It was a wonderful day.  All of the members were excited to see so many people in church.  I believe that the Lord has heard our prayers and is softening the hearts of the members.  We are very excited!

Well, I already have to go.  I am sorry that I didn´t get to write more.  It will make you all more anxious to see me on Wednesday!  I know that the Church and Book of Mormon are true.  Joseph Smith was a prophet.  Thomas S Monson is a prophet.  Jesus is the Christ.  I love you!


Love, Elder Parker Ayer

Monday, July 13, 2015

Press Forward Saints

Dear family,

I don´t know how much longer I can take the anticipation.  The email sessions have been getting more and more emotional lately.  I don´t think it´s helping that today I have had a head cold and been feeling crummy.  I´m not that affected by the impending homecoming during the week, but the Monday emails really hit me like a ton of bricks.  This will be my penultimate email since in two weeks I will not have P-day but will be in meetings all day.  That means only one more email after this one.

Let me tell you about some real difficulties that I have been facing recently.  I have found that at the end of all things, everything gets a little bit more difficult.  You would think that at the end of a mission, you would know exactly what to do, what to say, how to act, how to react, and how to be a perfect missionary.  Unfortunately, I have found that it has become much and much harder recently to be patient, charitable, loving, and totally involved with people´s needs.  It isn´t so much with investigators as it is with members.  I have been facing a whole new type of problem that I have never faced before.  When I got here, the members had some anti-missionary feelings.  It´s not that they try to be rude to the missionaries.  It´s just that the missionaries that served here in the past several months didn´t work.  They liked to break a lot of rules and weren´t that much into fulfilling their callings.  That includes to some degree my current companion.  Now I am here and people are holding onto the old image of the past missionaries (including my companion).  I got here, they heard that this was my last transfer, and they immediately assumed that I would be a bust.  I can tell you it has been one of the most frustrating experiences.  I can´t say that I haven´t complained.  I can´t say that I haven´t murmured a little bit.  I have been searching deep inside of me for whatever patience and charity that is there.  My deep desire in these last few weeks has been to turn around this terrible feeling that I have towards the ward and they have towards me.  I feel like even when we do all that we can in bringing people to church and setting baptismal dates and visiting less-actives, our efforts are desprezados.  Yesterday we had a ward council meeting.  When it came to our part, everyone was more anxious to criticize how our work has been going than fix the problems.  It was all I could do not to snap.  I looked down at my planner and the picture I put there of our house in autumn.  On the photo I have written Alma 43:45.  I thought of my ´better causes´.  Luckily it brought the peace and patience I was needing to endure the meeting.  I pray that I may be able to do as 2 Nephi 31:20 (my ´favorite´ scripture) says,

"Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life."

I need to press forward with steadfastness in Christ.  I need a perfect brightness of hope.  I need to love God and all men.  I know that I will only be able to do this if I feast upon the word of Christ.  Please pray for me to be able to have more charity these last few weeks.

Sorry so much to have to write about hard things.  Things have been going marvelously here as well.  Our dear Flavia is continuing to progress.  We decided to delay her baptism a little because her son went out of town, and she want shim to be there for the experience.  I will still be able to be there for the baptism, so I am happy.  Flavia is really having a thorough conversion.  She loves hearing about the temple.  Sometimes I think she has the faith of Nephi from 3 Nephi whose faith was so strong that he received angelic visits daily.  It seems that every day Flavia has another story to tell us about some miraculous spiritual witness that she had.  These witnesses are giving her the strength to withstand the buffetings of the evangelicals all around her telling her that she is joining a cult.  She always testifies to us that she has finally found the True Church.  It makes us so happy.

You all make me so happy.  I hope that this email makes you happy.  Don´t worry about my situation.  God loves us so much that He gives us challenges that make us grow.  You should be happy knowing that I will be striving until the end of my mission to be my best self.  I love you all!


Love, Elder Parker Ayer

Monday, July 6, 2015

With Love

Dear family,

There were so many good experiences this last week!  I am sad to hear that President Packer has also passed away, but we know that the Lord has His purposes.  It looks as though He is now preparing those who will fill the roles of Prophet and Apostles in the future.  Anyway, it is reassuring to know that the Church is led by Christ through inspired men who hold the keys of revelation in the latter-days.

All of our special experiences this last week were centered on our beloved investigator Fl├ívia.  I think I called her Fatima in my last email.  It´s confusing because people use both of the names to describe her.  Anyway, it is strange to think that Elder Ribeiro and I have only known her for a little time, but we have become so close to her.  She is a little crazy, but she is very dear.  She loves telling us some of the funniest stories and some of the saddest stories.  She has come to truly love the restored gospel, which is such a blessing to see.  She said that when she went to church the first time, she felt a great big spiritual wave envelop her chest when she saw the church spire.  That was the first thing she saw.  When she walked in, she felt the spirit even stronger.  During the hours, that influence grew even stronger.  She said there was a moment when she saw a foto of the temple and she felt that same swelling motion inside of her.  I was so happy to be able to hear that, and I know why she felt that influence so powerfully.  It is because of all of the people that are counting on her to go to the temple.  I was so grateful that she was able to feel a spiritual witness of the temple already.  I know that it will be essential to her.  She has a very big family.  On Tuesday we went to her house to teach her the Plan of Salvation.  She had mentioned that one of her children had died.  I felt that we should ask about all of her children.  I started writing down the names of her children.  She passed a long list to me of eight children, only two of which are still living.  Five of her children died in childbirth or thereafter.  One died with 15 years.  The other two are still alive.  She told the most heartbreaking story of her first child.  She had her first child with 15 years of age.  She was living with her mother, who didn´t want to have to take care of another child.  Flavia´s mother went door to door looking for someone that would adopt the child.  Finally she found an old crone who was even poorer than the family, but willing to take the child.  One day the old woman passed by to take the child.  The little baby boy, Daniel, was nursing.  Flavia did not want to give the baby away, but asked that he could at least finish nursing.  The old woman did not allow that, but took the baby away from his nursing mother.  Flavia was very sad and ran to find comfort from the local Catholic father.  Flavia told him that she could not live without her son and to see him be maltreated and abused by his adoptive mother.  She said a prayer to ask God to take Daniel from this world so that he wouldn´t have to live under such conditions.  She was allowed to live in the church for three months as she recovered from her sadness as long as she cleaned the church.  After three months she received an urgent message telling her that her son Daniel was suffering unto death and wanted his true mother.  Flavia ran to the house of the old crone and found her little son in great pain on the bed.  His eyes were open.  Flavia kissed him on the forehead, wished him well on his eternal journey, and he closed his eyes and passed on to the other side.  I wish that you could have heard the story firsthand.  It was the most heart wrenching story I have ever heard.  I will have to tell it more completely to you when I get home.  I could feel this mother´s pain and sadness.  It was such a joy to be able to share the message of the Plan of Salvation with her.  It is amazing to know how the gospel and the truth can heal our hearts.  The fulfillment of the Plan of Salvation is found in the temple.  That is why Flavia felt the spirit testify so powerfully to her of the importance of the temple.

There were many other special experiences this last week with Flavia.  I wish that I could tell them all to you.  We had the chance to give her a blessing of health because of some pains in her heart and joints that she has been feeling.  At the end, she jumped up from her chair and start doing exercises!  She is such a sweet lady and has a very pure faith.  When I am with her, I feel like an angel by the way she speaks to us.  She says that we look like two of her lost children.  She says that when we first met her, she felt that she was letting two angels enter into her house, her two beloved children come back to teach her a special message.  I cannot tell you how much this has been helping me endure these last few weeks as missionary before going home.  I do not know when I will be able to be an angel again.  I do not know when I will be able to be on the Lord´s errand as I have for these last two years.  I wish that I could pass my entire life being an angel for those in dark places.  That is the wish of my heart.  However, we know that those wishes, though they be sincere, may not always be fulfilled. We must fulfill the commands of an all-knowing Father.  Rather than wish for more time, we must desire to fulfill more completely our responsibilities in the limited time that we have.

I hope that we can all use our time more wisely.  I hope that we can analyse our use of time and start to use our time in a way that will fortify our family, erase our sins, remove our weaknesses, improve our knowledge and conversion, and prepare us to return to the presence of our Heavenly Father.  I love the words to the hymn ´E´er the Sun Goes Down´.  These is much to do e´er the sun goes down.  Lets do that which is of most worth and will make our reunion all the more sweet and desirable above all that is sweet and all that is desirable.  I love you all.  Only a little bit longer.


Much Love, Elder Parker Alan Ayer