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 Flávia. 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