Monday, March 19, 2018

Have Ye Inquired of the Lord?


Some of my favorite people in the world - Adriano and Samara
E aí galera! Been a great week. Today has been busy so I literally have about 5 minutes to write this. Things are great here in Hortolandia. I love being here. Today we were able to go see Adriano and Samara which was super cool. They have been through a lot lately with some pretty serious trials but are so very strong in their faith. They are moving forward and trusting in the Lord. They are still planning on getting sealed soon so that is something for them to look forward to. I am super excited about it. Teaching is going well. We working with a lot of great people right now. Seeing them grow in their faith and make changes is one of the best things I have ever experienced.
Saying our goodbyes to a good friend and missionary - Elder Sander

Elder Torres and I with Sister Sander

Brothers

Dinner with the Sanders
I saw one of my trainers go home last Tuesday - Elder Sander. His parents came from Uruguay to pick him up and then they went to all the areas where he served to meet the people and his old companions. They are great people and it was a privilege to meet them. He is like a brother to me and an eternal friend. Soon it will be me - hard to believe I have about a little over 2 months left. It's coming too fast.
Leadership Council
I want to share a scripture with you from 1Nefi 15:8-11. This is Nefi talking to his brothers who are murmuring because they do not understand the vision their father has shared with them.
"And I said unto them: Have ye inquired of the Lord? And they said unto me: We have not; for the Lord maketh no such thing known unto us. Behold, I said unto them: How is it that ye do not keep the commandments of the Lord? How is it that ye will perish, because of the hardness of your hearts? Do ye not remember the things which the Lord hath said?—If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments, surely these things shall be made known unto you."
This is a great scripture that reminds us that we are responsible to seek out the knowledge that we need. Answers do not come without asking and without working to find the truth and the guidance we need from the right source. Spiritual questions deserve spiritual answers from God. We all need those answers in our lives and the answers we need come through Him. If we are not willing to inquire we will not get the answers we need. So the challenge this week is whatever the questions are that you have right now in your life, turn to the scriptures and sincerely talk with your Heavenly Father and ask. I know He will give you an answer as you show faith in Him.
Hope you all have a great week.
Elder Davis

Monday, March 12, 2018

Hortolandia = Sião


Hortolandia Zone = Sião 
E aí galera-
This week was a good one. Will have to give you guys the quick lowdown because we have leadership in Piracicaba tomorrow. Don't have too much time. It has been a great week being back in Hortolandia. I saw many members from Jardim Amanda 1 - my old area where I was a year or so ago. Man did it bring back a lot of memories from the old days here in Hortolandia! Elder Torres is a great companion. He is pretty funny. We are both from the same group. So we both end in two more transfers. I am excited to continue working with him. He is awesome. I love the zone here too. We call it Sião Hortolandia (Zion Hortolandia) - it's a pretty cool zone.

With Elder Torres & Maria Diogo
We are teaching a lot of people right now. Wendrell just set his baptism date for next Saturday. Juninho is another guy we are teaching and this week we will be setting a baptismal date for him, probably the last week in March. It has been great because his cousin, Mateus just got back from the mission a month ago and has gone with us on visits. We also have Reinaldo, Sonia and Fernanda. We had some great visits with them and a really great lesson on the plan of salvation. They also committed to come to church and they have all set dates for baptism. Reinaldo and Sonia will have to get married first so it is going to be a little while but Fernanda has a baptismal date for the 25th! We are also teaching Amanda. She loves church and has been attending and loves learning about the gospel. She really really wants to be baptized. She has a few things that we have to get worked out and some hard decisions to make regarding her boyfriend but she is moving forward. We have been teaching Elaine also but she is in a difficult situation. So we will continue working with her and moving forward. On Friday we did splits with some missionaries in the zone and I went with Elder Loueriro who is in my old area. It was very crazy because we visited a lot of my investigators that I had when I was in Jardim Amanda almost a year ago. We have been able to contact many and make appointments with them. We also taught some of their current investigators and confirmed them to go to church this past Sunday. On Saturday the guy I was teaching in Sumaré , my old area, got baptized...by me! It was great. He really wanted me to baptize him so President let me go back and do it. Washington and Andrea came and got me & my comp here in Hortolandia and then we went to Sumaré did the baptism and then they brought me back to Hortlandia. The Bishop baptized Andrea. I am grateful I had the opportunity to do that. It was a privilege and blessing for me. He is awesome and I am so happy for him and Andrea.

Washington & Andrea

Baptism of Washington & Andrea in Sumaré
I have been studying Alma 32 in the Book of Mormon where it compares the gospel/ the Word to seeds that if we plant and nourish it, it will grow and bear fruit. That is a parable or analogy a lot of us have studied and know pretty well. But I also think that most of us once we have planted the seed and see the first fruit sometimes we think we are okay and have no need to worry anymore. It is easy in the beginning when the seed first starts to grow, we are excited and we nourish it and take care of it. But then once it is growing we become casual and may not fertilize or water it or care for it like we did in the beginning. We start to take it for granted and think it will be okay and it will just maintain. But as we all know it will eventually die if we neglect it. Just like the plant, our testimonies are fragile and need to have regular nourishment. We need to treat them as a living thing that needs nourishment to grow, spiritual nourishment. When we nourish the plant, we get the fruit (blessings and spiritual experiences) and then can use it to become even stronger. We need to seek spiritual moments through prayer, scripture study, fasting and living the gospel every day. Then use those experiences to become better people and disciples of Christ. I am grateful for the "fruit" of the gospel that I have been given. I cherish the spiritual feelings and experiences that I have had that have strengthened my testimony of Christ. I am thankful for the opportunity to be a missionary. I know we all can have those daily fruits of the spirit in our lives when we nourish our spirits and testimonies.

Have a great week.
Elder Davis

Monday, February 12, 2018

He Will Illuminate the Path


Multizone with Sumaré, Hortolandia and Americana
Hope everyone is doing great. This week was good. It was a pretty slow week because of Carnival but it was still a week that was edifying. We had a multizone with Sumaré, Hortolandia and Americana. I had the opportunity to give a workshop there with Elder Hainsworth (Assistant to the Pres) on the Role of the Spirit in our missionary work. It was really cool to have the opportunity to teach a workshop and learn together. It was sad as well when we all sang the mission song because afterwards, someone told me that I only have two more of those left... I really loved the training that President gave us. He focused on true conversion as he did in the Leadership meeting a couple weeks ago. We need to make sure we are truly converted before we can help others.
With Elder Simmons & Mansell at Multizone

With Elder Almeida
as
With Sister Cardoso and Sister Perez

Elder Kleinkauff - Love that guy, he was an awesome companion.

We are working with Clayton and Ana Lucia. This Saturday Ana Lucia will be baptized and Clayton will be baptized later. They are really great people that want to follow the truth and the right way. Claudenice was confirmed this week and it was great to see her. She is just the best. We are also
working with the family of Ana and went this week to support her as she performed in a singing competition. She did really well.

At the singing competition with Ana after she received her award
We did another service project this week. Man talk about a killer service project! If that was what a service project should be, I don't think all the ones I have done before count. Wow did I feel like I became a 70 yr old man after that! I was beat! There are before and after pictures. The roof covering for the back part of a members house had collapsed and we had to clear it. My companion and I survived the challenge. haha

Before

After
Winter Olympics are going on right? My parents have shared with me in letters about some of the inspiring stories of people who will be participating in the Olympics. Some who started really young like 4 -5 yrs old to develop their talents and then people who started later in life to develop theirs. They all got where they are through trials and hardwork - not for a day but EVERYDAY for years sometimes almost their entire life. Every day is a perfect time to start developing our gifts and talents - never too early or too late. Those kind of gifts such as sports, musical or artistic abilities are sometimes easier to see but equally or more important are the spiritual gifts like knowledge, patience, compassion, kindness, etc.. Each one of us has spiritual gifts and should work to find and develop them. We will be blessed with many gifts DEPENDING on our faith and our will to develop and use them. If we really focus, we can develop any gift and all gifts that God is ready to give us. Then use these gifts to bless us, our families and others! There is a great quote from Pres. Uchtdorf. He says,

"Let us listen and obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit. As we do so, Heavenly Father will reveal to us things we never knew about ourselves. He will illuminate the path ahead and open our eyes to see our unknown and perhaps unimagined talents."

Thanks to everyone for their love and support.
Elder Davis

Monday, February 5, 2018

Essence of Conversion

I am so very happy for Claudenice!
This week has been good!
We had a baptism this week! Claudenice was baptized this Saturday. I cannot describe to you the happiness that I have felt in my heart to see her take this step. She will be blessed so much in her life and I am sure that it will be a moment in her life that change her forever. She was baptized by Renato, a great member and example in the ward here.
With Claudenice, Renato and Elder A. Silva
She told us a story at the baptism. She got up in the front during the baptismal service and asked for the opportunity to bear her testimony. She said that there was a time that she was really doubting if everything was true, and we invited her to pray and ask God about everything, She received an answer but she was still bugged by something that was always on her mind "Will I be good enough? Will I be able to be forgiven for what I have done? Would God really accept me back into His presence?" She said that we told her that in the moment that she would be baptized, when she came up from the water, she would feel it in her heart as if God Himself was speaking to her in her heart that everything was forgiven and the reconfirmation of truthfulness of this gospel. She then had a dream that night. In the dream she was at a funeral looking on and she came to know that it was her funeral because her whole family was there. But something was very different. Everyone was happy at the funeral and joyful. She was confused until she saw a woman call her family over to the corner and say "I have something here that marked the life of your mother for all eternity. Something that changed her life forever." She then gave a white jumpsuit to them. For the whole day on Friday she didn't understand the dream. But when she was baptized on Saturday and she came to the understanding of the dream. As she came out of the water she realized that this dream had come to pass as if God had told her Himself "Do ye not remember the dream I have given thee?" She said she has come to the understanding that it was her funeral because of the fact her old self had passed away and was buried and the new Claudenice had been born when she was baptized wearing that white jumpsuit. She was so full of joy as she shared this testimony with us all and it truly touched our hearts. The next day she was at the Autosuffiencia course at the Church, as well as doing Family History to start preparing to go to the temple. How great the joy was in my heart that day to see her so faithful and so strong, trusting in the Lord for just but a moment to make the first step into the unknown and then to be guided to the Light. I thank Heavenly Father each day for the privilege I have to be a part of His work and the privilege I have to dedicate my time in His name.
Leadership Council
With Elders Hansen and Simmons

With Elder Craveiro - notice all the bug spray in the background,
Sister Bangerter is doing her best to save us from
yellow fever, zika and dengue.

The one and only Elder Cifuentes

Saw Elder Soares from my old Rio Claro zone.
With Sister Jesus from my old zone in São João da Boa Vista

We also had the Leadership meeting this past week with all the district leaders and zone leaders as well as the sister trainers. We talked a lot about conversion. One phrase that I liked a lot was by Elder Bednar "Knowing that the gospel is true is the essence of a testimony. Consistently being true to the gospel is the essence of conversion." Thinking on this, are we truly converted to the gospel? Or do we just have a foot in and a foot out? Do we sometimes keep the sabbath day holy and sometimes not keep it holy when other distractions pull us away. Do we obey the commandments when it is convenient and not when it is more difficult. The Holy Ghost as a companion as well as the Lords promises/blessings are not like a winter coat or rain coat that we wear on certain days or in certain seasons depending on circumstances. We cannot simply just decide to take it off if it is not "raining" or "storming" in our life. We cannot simply "take off" the Holy Ghost and then expect to "put" Him back on as if nothing has happened when we are need of guidance or blessings. The Lord knows our hearts and knows our doings. We have to be true to what we know is right at all times and be worthy of the companionship of the Spirit. Heavenly Father, is the source of miracles. He is the provider of blessings, the provider of happiness, through His plan we can gain Exaltation. And the price for these precious blessings is never going to be material things such as money. The price will always be sacrifices made in faith and with integrity. We have to be willing to sacrifice all things even those things that are precious to us. A good example is keeping the sabbath day holy. We have to be willing to give up those things like watching the super bowl so we can go to church, study the scriptures, or do our home teaching. Maybe our thinking is its something that comes only once a year and it will be okay just this one time. But through our actions we show what we value and what we love. I know the Lord wants to bless us immensely with miracles that are indescribable and immeasurable. It just depends on us.
Have a great week! Love you all!

Elder Davis




Monday, January 29, 2018

"The Future is as Bright as Your Faith"

Sumare Zone with our Banner of Goals
Hope everyone has had a good week. Elder Silva and I are doing great! He is awesome and I am grateful for the chance we have to work together. He works hard and has a great spirit! Had some awesome experiences this week. On Thursday we went to some appointments and everything fell through. So we knocked some doors. The whole loooooong street, and didn't have any success. Elder Silva said, "Man, how did we knock the whole long street and not one person was interested in a message about God? As he said that I remembered that we had skipped a house because the person left in their car just as we were at the house next door. We had assumed no one else was at home so we passed by. So we went back and knocked there. A guy, David, came out of his house and we talked to him and scheduled to teach him on Saturday afternoon. Once again the Lord shows that we have to go to the "fourth floor last door" like Elder Uchtdorf said. It requires us not to give up and to seek out all opportunities to find His sons and daughters prepared for the gospel message. It was cool - a definite blessing.

With Elder Mansell at our service project
On Saturday we were in divisions with the Elders from Ward Vila Flora. I was with Elder Mansell who has 4 months in the mission. I got him up and out the door at 6:30am to get to this appointment at 7:15 in the morning! He probably will not want to do divisions with me again! haha This guy could only be visited at this time during this week so we made it happen. It went well. Then we went back home and got our studying in before going to a service project. We were helping a sister with her garden and lawn. Talk about a funny thing to see. Elder Mansell was tearing out a bush and I swear to you that every 5 seconds I heard "Oh, ants stung me!" There was a big struggle going on in that garden! Brought back memories of living in the South with red ants! Haha   After the service project we went to David's appointment. He was not at home yet so this other guy opened the door and invited us in. We thought he was a stepfather. We shared with him why we were there and he said he was interested in hearing our message too. Then David arrived and we started the actual lesson. While we were teaching, the guy we thought was the stepfather, said that we were answering many of his questions before he had time to ask them. I think he said during our lesson 'Wow, what a coincidence!' 7-8 times! I am grateful for the spirit giving us guidance in the things we needed to teach and say. In the middle of the lesson he said, 'Do you want to go to my house and say a prayer there too?' I was thinking "isn't this your house?" but we agreed and went even though when we left the house we had no idea where we were going! Well we went next door! hahaha This guy is dating David's mother but does not live in the same house. Here that is very unusual - like this never happens. When dating they usually live together and sometimes do not ever marry. So we were excited to see that that would not be an challenge. You can see how much God prepared this man to receive us with His message. As we shared the first vision we saw him shiver and he spoke up that he felt a strong feeling pass through him. David also said he felt a feeling of peace. The older guy said that he prayed to Heavenly Father yesterday to receive the Holy Spirit and to be touched by him to show him the right path. We were thankful that we arrived at the right time. The Spirit truly does inspire us to find those people who are in need. As we read from the Book of Mormon and then he prayed his eyes filled with tears as he told us the feelings he was having were nothing like he had ever felt before. That opened the door to speaking about recognizing the promptings of the spirit. He said that he felt Jesus Christ was sitting next to us. What a powerful lesson and experience! He does have some challenges and needs to make some changes in his life but we are on the right path now. Imagine if we had not chosen to go back and give that one last door a knock!

We have been teaching a woman who has suffered from strokes which keeps her from walking without a lot of pain or assistance. When we were with her this past week we felt prompted to share the account of the Priests crossing the Jordan River with the ark of the Lord in Joshua 3. We talked about how they needed to step into the river first and come in to show God that they had faith in Him that he would part the waters for them to cross. We told her that it is that way with us sometimes what seems impossible becomes possible if we have faith. That if we are baptized and seek to follow Christ miracles can happen. She called us later in the week and said with great joy that she walked to the end of the street and came back alone and said she was almost running for joy! We were very very happy to hear that she had planted her seed of faith.

One last one. We felt prompted to knock a door down a street from an appointment we had and a woman came out(Ana Lucia). She talked to us a bit and then called her son to come talk to us (Clayton). He said lately he had been very sick and that he had not improved after 3 days, going to the hospital even took an injection and nothing helped. I felt prompted to offer a blessing so I offered and explained what it was. He accepted and invited us in. We went in, we talked a little bit and you could see he was having a hard time just standing. He was not well. So we gave the blessing. We came back the next day and he said he felt completely healed. We explained that it was through God and the authority that we have as representatives of Jesus Christ and his faith that his happened. We will continue to teach him and his mother.

We had a great week and I am grateful for the tender mercies of the Lord. Remember to keep the faith. As Pres. Monson used to say the future is as bright as your faith. The Lord has great blessings in store for those who follow Him.

Love you all!
Elder Davis

Monday, January 22, 2018

Staying in Sumaré

PDay with the Sumaré Zone 
It was great starting off the week with the broadcast from Salt Lake and the message of the 1st Presidency. I am glad we got to watch it. It was really inspiring! I love President Nelson and all of the apostles. I support and sustain them.They are men of God and you can see it in their countenance and in their work. It is hard to believe Pres. Nelson is 93. Wow! He is an example to us all on how to take care of our mind, body and spirit. I hope that he continues with good health! He is truly an inspiring man!
Catching lunch with Adriano. So happy for him and Samara!
Last Monday Adriano a good friend and one of our converts from Hortlandia surprised me with a visit here in Sumaré. It was awesome to see him and spend some time with him. He truly is like a brother to me. He told me the exciting news that he and Samara will be sealed in the temple in February. President said I will be able to go which will be so great! One of the greatest blessings of my mission has been seeing Adriano baptized then married and now being sealed. I am truly grateful and so happy for him and his family.

We visited Cleodenice this past week. We had a baptism date marked with her but she is getting a lot of opportunities to work and she is taking advantage of every opportunity. That is good but it also is kind of getting in the way of meeting with her but it will all work out. She is a great person and so ready to learn.

We have also been visiting Pedro. He is another person that works 24/7 if he can so sometimes its hard to find him in his house to teach but we finally got in contact with him. We invited him to come to stake conference this week. He came and brought his girlfriend. He has been to church a couple times now and our lessons with him are going great. We have truly started to see our work with the wonderful members of Amizade Sumaré come into place.

Transfers were this week. I will be staying here - I will have three transfers here in Sumaré. My companion will be Elder A. Silva. He is a DL in my zone who will now be a ZL. I look forward to working hard with him and learning from him!
With Renato's Family saying goodbye to Elder Araujo

With Elder Conceição

With Elder Hermínio of our zone
I wanted to share a spiritual thought. In Moroni 10:8-23 Christ speaks of gifts we have all be given. It says specifically in verse 17-18 that ALL good gifts come by the Spirit of Christ and are given to each one of us, individually, according to our will.
"And all these gifts come by the Spirit of Christ; and they come unto every man severally, according as he will. And I would exhort you, my beloved brethren, that ye remember that every good gift cometh of Christ."
They have been given to us but it is required of us to search and develop them.And it says unto each man they have come "severally", we all can be blessed with many talents we just need to put in the work for them and pray/fast diligently to find them. Sometimes they are very evident and sometimes it takes a little searching. Usually it requires being willing to be outside of our comfort zone. But as we magnify and use the gifts we have, then the Lord will not only bless us to develop them to a greater level but also give us opportunities to develop other gifts. I have seen this in myself on my mission. But if we do nothing with them they will be taken away as it tells us in the parable of talents in the Bible. So as we start this new year remember several talents can be yours as you work diligently to find and then use them in righteousness. I am thankful for the opportunities I have been given to grow and for the talents the Lord is helping me to develop. I love my Savior and am grateful for this time I get to serve as His disciple. Hope you all have a great week!

Elder Davis

Monday, January 15, 2018

His Work

Sumaré Zone with Pres. & Sis. Bangerter (minus Elder Conceição and Elder J. Oliveira)
This week was a good week. We had interviews with President on Wednesday which are always good. Then Wednesday to Thursday we did divisions with the assistants, Elder Christensen and Hainsworth. It was nice to see them and talk and catch up on the old days (they are both from my CTM group). I then went with Christensen on divisions and it was awesome. I was able to learn from his strengths and see some things that I can do to improve and be a better missionary. I am glad to be able to have the opportunity to improve each day. As well as it was awesome to work in Piracicaba because I haven't ever passed a transfer there!
While in Piracicaba at the mission office I ran into Sister Ramirez from one of my old zones.
We also did divisions in our zone with Elder Conceição and Elder J. Oliveira this past week. I went with Elder J. Oliveira to Portal Bordan (their area). We were able to find new people to teach as well as confirm some people to go to church. I was going to do an interview with someone they had marked a date with but it had fallen through. She wasn't home at the time they confirmed with her and the morning after wasn't home either. So I did not get to speak with her but the division was good. It was a good opportunity to help them with a few things to make their work go a little more efficiently and for me to learn from them also. I appreciated Elder J. Oliveira's heart because when I made a suggestion he sincerely tried to apply it and wrote down a few notes. His example touched me. We all need to be open to learning from one another. We did an inventory at the end of the night to see how the division was and to talk about what we thought. It was really cool because even though the day had been hard and we were only able to find a few people, we were both able to see we had been blessed by the hand of the Lord. As we did contacts, knocked doors and visited a few people, we were still not having too much success and then finally the Lord would bless us as we would find someone who really needed to hear our message and agreed to come to church on Sunday. He blessed us various times during the day with miracles! Can't give up you just have to trust in Him.

Elder Araujo and I with Elder Conceição and Elder J. Oliveira for divisions
Unfortunately not all the people in our own area that were supposed to come to church this week made it but we were glad to see those that did. Cleonice came. She is awesome. She is already participating in the class discussions and even bearing her testimony of things she has learned! It is super awesome to see that. She truly has a pure heart and because of that the Spirit is able to help her recognize truth and experience a "change of heart". Those are the moments that I love when people gain their personal testimonies of the church and of gospel principles and are able to respond to our questions with "Yes, I know it is true." I love that feeling and that happiness that fills their heart and mine. As we were showing her the baptismal font and answering some of her questions on Sunday we asked her if she had felt the Lord touching her heart confirming what she had learned that day was true and she quickly responded "Yes, I don't have a doubt in my mind about that". She has decided to be baptized! Oh the joy that I feel in my heart when people truly accept the truth in their hearts. Thankfully I have changed a lot on my mission thanks to the Lord and many others. I have always felt happiness and joy as others have accepted the gospel but it was sometimes I think partly for a selfish reason. I had worked hard and I liked feeling like all of my work had been worth it. But I quickly came to learn it actually was not very much of me, but it was the spirit of the Lord that was helping these people come unto Christ. I now feel the joy and happiness not because it is a reward for hard work but because it is another precious soul coming back into His fold. It is a brother or sister who has found the path. I am grateful that I get to be a small part in that happening and to feel the joy and happiness that comes with it. I am thankful for this opportunity to be a disciple of Christ. To set ourselves aside and do His work and help people come back into His fold.

I hope you all have a great week.
Elder Davis