Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Seek & Invite



Baptism of Igor and Eliane
This week was great as usual. The Lord is so merciful with us, always blessing us so much! The words to the hymn "How Great Thou Art" come to my mind. We are truly blessed by His hand everyday.

Transfers are today. I am staying in Sumaré with E. Araujo for another transfer. I am happy to be staying. I have only been here one transfer but you never know sometimes you leave quickly but luckily I am staying here at least one more transfer. I love working with the members here and love the people we are teaching. Elder Araujo is super cool and we work well together. This week we have been working with a few members and less actives. We were able to give a few lessons to some of them and it all went great. I love seeing them start to feel with the spirit of Christ again and remember of their testimonies and the feelings that they had! Sometimes as people we get a little off track and then we just need someone to come along to help us get started on the right path again. We all need a helping hand some time in our life. One thing a mission reminds you of is that it is important that we be Christ's hands here on earth to serve others and do His will. It is one of the greatest feelings to see someone remember about what they felt and what they know is true. I love the verse in the Bible in Matthew 18:12 "How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?" Being the Christmas season, what greater gift can we give our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ then to seek after the lost sheep. So everyone there is no better time than now, start seeking and inviting!
With Igor & Eliane and Elders Araujo and Pontes

I love this family!

Finally the day came! Igor and Eliane got married firstly in the Cartório (the government building for documents) then they got married/got the blessing of the Stake President in the church! It was super awesome! This all happened in the morning and then that night we had the baptism! I love their family and am excited for the progress they will make now with the blessings of the gospel in their lives. This is what life is all about. Something a little funny - anyone who knows me well knows how I hate to decorate or do anything like that, probably because I am horrible at it. But Araujo and I were asked to help the Relief Society do the decorations for the wedding. Haha They put great trust in us I guess. And a miracle happened it turned out super well! It was a great day seeing them married and then baptized! It was the highlight of the week.
zx
Igor and Eliane with their son at the Cartório

All set up for the ceremony at the Church

With Brizzy, one of the ward members, who helped with the decorations and Elders Araujo and Pontes

Another miracle. We were walking in the street and a boy was sitting at his doorstep. I felt prompted to talk to him. I talked with him, he said he lived there with just his mom but she was taking a shower and so we said we would come back another time. We continued going up the street, talking to a few people along the way and then we turned the corner and went up the street going to our other appt. When we got halfway up the street, there was a boy at the door of another house, we felt prompted to go talk to him even though we were trying to get to our appt on time. As we approached him we realized that he was the SAME boy that I saw in the OTHER street in the other NEIGHBORHOOD. How he got there so fast, I do not know. He said this was his cousins house and he had come to visit but that no one was home, just him and his little cousin. We set up another time to come back and we continued back on our way up the street. Then we saw a teenage girl coming down the street and we felt prompted to stop and to talk to her. We stopped and talked with her and she wanted us to come teach her so we marked her address and phone number so we could come back the next day. Would you believe it if I told you she lives in that house where we stopped and talked to that boy? The second house which was the house of his cousins, she is part of that family. It's so great how the Lord works. He had prompted me 3 times about this family, at 3 different times and 3 different places. I am glad we listened. We went there on Saturday to teach the family and she even brought her friend. We taught the first lesson and asked them to pray. They agreed to come to church and we will continue to work with them this week.

Luis and Francisco are doing well! We invited them both to be baptized. Luis also accepted and we marked a date for the 23 of Dec. Francisco is not quite ready so we are going today to see him and answer some questions. I am excited for Luis. That will be a wonderful way to celebrate Christmas and what a great gift to give the Savior!

Hope everyone is doing the #LightTheWorld challenge! What a great way to help us come closer to our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ through serving. Helps us follow His example and become more like Him one day at a time! Link: https://www.lds.org/blog/25-ways-to-lighttheworld-this-christmas?lang=eng

Have a great week!
Elder Davis

Monday, December 4, 2017

Always Let the Spirit Guide

Hey Everyone-
This week was a good one! Every week I feel like I am always saying the same thing but it was a great week! I guess it is okay to repeat things if the only thing that changes is the miracles that the Lord does in our work as His representatives! It is always good to see how He uses us for good as we work to serve Him.

We are trying very hard to work with the members here because like it says in the scriptures, Zion isn't just one specific place, it is a place made by the people who are pure in heart. So we are trying to help the members have the DESIRE to do the work, not just do it because we ask but help them have the experiences that they need to so they will have the desire to do the work by themselves. It's a lot like what we do with an investigator. We teach/review with them what is the spirit, and how to feel it or recognize it, and after that we help them experience all of that and then give them opportunities to do it themselves. They are starting to give us references and we even got a calendar made of divisions for December! This month will be a good one!

Monday we did a Family Home evening with a few of our investigators and it all worked out well! Igor and Eliane will baptize this week on Saturday! Everything is set. They will be married in the Cartório at 9:45 and then be baptized at 4:30! I am very happy for them. We are also teaching Maria which is Yasmin's grandma but her health really stops her from doing a lot of things such as going to church. She wants to be baptized and said that she feels that it is the right thing to do but she hasn't been able to go to church because of her health. Through fasting and prayer we know the Lord will bless her.

We also found 2 awesome people this past week. Luiz and Francisco. We are working in a neighborhood called Virigilio Viel. It is a neighborhood that has a lot of members, actives and less actives, as well as investigators. We started working in the street of our investigators, Igor and Eliane. Igor goes with us as we make contacts and teach. He and Eliane are awesome missionaries already. Anyway, we were working in their street and as we were passing by a house, we looked over and saw a man that was all tattooed and looked kind of rough. Initially we passed his house and then we both stopped afterwards and looked at each other and said at the same time "lets go back and talk with that guy". So we went back and talked with him, he invited us in and we talked a little bit and marked a date to come back and visit him (Saturday at 3). We came back on Saturday and we taught him the first lesson (Restauração) and he loved it. Although he had a lot of questions because he had heard a lot of bad information about who we worship and what the Book of Mormon is. After answering his questions he said he felt he now was learning what the truth was and he knew what he had been told before was not true. He said it is unfortunate that people say those things without finding out what is really the truth and he was glad we had come to talk to him. He also said he doesn't like making promises or appts but he said he would make one with us to go to church. At the end we told him that we were sent by God to teach him and that we had been prompted to come back and talk with him. He then said "Yeah, I saw you guys pass by and look at me then continue forward without coming over to talk to me. I thought that it was probably because of my appearance but then you guys returned after a minute and started talking to me. I was thinking why you passed by and then came back to talk and I think it was God that prompted you guys to talk to me because I need the truth". We were amazed when he said that. It is so important that we do not make the judgement in our minds of who we think will accept the gospel; our office and duty as missionaries and as members is to preach to all people equally. He kept his promise and he came to church on Sunday and LOVED it. It was fast and testimony meeting and then we read the scriptures and talked about Jesus Christ in Gospel Principles class. Then we went to the Elders quorum and we taught about desire to do the right and how to strength our testimony through 7 things:

1. Desafiar (challenge)
2. Ensinar (teach)
3. Sacrifício (sacrifice)
4. Estudar (study)
5. Jejum (fasting)
6. Oração (praying)

and the seventh is all of the first letters of the words together, desejo (desire). He loved the class so much that he asked to take a picture of the whiteboard to study at home and he asked us if the book we gave him had the Doctrine & Covenants in it and everything that we studied in the classes. Said that he cant promise to be there every Sunday because sometimes he has to work on Sunday but he will come the next two weeks when he is not working. And then to top it off he took Luiz home, our other investigator that came to church that lives on his same street! How awesome is that right? What a great person he is and how grateful I am for the prompting Elder Aruajo and I both had to turn around and go back to talk with him. We need to always be careful about making judgments about others. That experience reminded me that appearances can be deceiving but the Spirit ALWAYS guides. How grateful I am for the still small voice that can bear testimony of truth and guide us in our lives if we will listen.
Have a great week!

Elder Davis

P.S. Sorry I did not get any pictures uploaded this week. I got a crazy slow computer in the LAN house this time.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Leaving Limeira is Difficult




Dinner & FHE @ Mara & Adilson's home

Oi todos-
This week was good. It was really rushed! The last week of the transfer always is. So today is transfers, I will be leaving Limeira! :( I will be going to Sumaré Zone and serving in the ward called Amizade. My companion will be Elder Araújo. I really don't know much about him. I am excited to get started in the new area. It will be cool to get to know new missionaries, a new area, a new ward as well as just have a change. But to be honest it is really hard to leave this area. I have developed a love for our investigators, the ward members and have great friendships with some of the missionaries here. I will miss them a lot. Elder Cifuentes has been a great companion and I will miss him. It is like leaving family.

With Adilson and his family my last Sunday in Limeira. I love this family!

With Eduardo Luis Taboga

We had interviews this past week with President. I always love the interviews because it is always a chance to progress forward and learn a lot. I always leave the interviews uplifted or having learned something on how I can be a better representative of our Savior. I love Pres. Bangerter and am grateful for his counsel.

So Elder Cifuentes and I were in divisions almost all last week. One of the district leaders in our zone got sick and had to be hospitalized so Elder Cifuentes went to Rio Claro for the week to cover the interviews and things for that district and took Elder K. Oliviera with him. I stayed in Limeira with Elder Jackson and covered this area of the zone and worked with him. It is always cool to see how other missionaries do things and learn from them. We had a great week.


With Elder Jackson

Sorry this email is short but I need to go say some good byes and don't have a lot of time! I want to share a quick quote from Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley about the importance of humility and the purpose of life.

"Being humble means recognizing we are not on the earth to see how important we can become, but to see how much difference we can make in the lives of others."

I am grateful for the Savior and for all He has done for me. I love Him. I know He lives and loves each of us. I am thankful for all those that have made a difference for me. Let's all make a difference for those around us. Have a great week!

Elder Davis











Monday, October 23, 2017

A Place of Peace and Revelation

On divisions with Elder A. Silva
This past week was very busy. We had little time and lots to do in the zone. We did three divisions this past week. One with Nova Italia which we had to do a few things there with the elders, then one with Araras A and the last one with the elders here in Limeira B (we are Limeira A). It was awesome to go on divisions with the elders. I loved it. Its something I have not had a lot of opportunity to do because of the districts & zones that I have had in the past have been mostly sisters. It's such a great learning experience and I have been truly loving it.

We did a division with Elder A. Silva. I was able to go there in Araras and stay with him for a day. We did a little of everything there. We found new people to teach, contacted references, as well marked a baptismal date with someone named Patricia. We also visited a few members and working with them on gaining some references and we ended up doing well. Elder A. Silva and I had a few great talks and conversations together, it was super cool to get to know him better. It's amazing how we all have something that we can share with one another and learn from each other. Everyone has something that can bless another. As we learn from each other we gain knowledge and wisdom we can use to become better and also bless the lives of others. Elder A. Silva showed me a lot of things in a different perspective and I am grateful that I could learn those things from him.

Packing in some calories with Elder Cifuentes
It has been a great week where we have seen the Spirit work and guide us in our work as missionaries. We talked a lot about temples this past week, with our investigators and also with the missionaries in zone. I gave a talk in our ward on Sunday about temples also. So that is what I wanted to share with you guys in the spiritual thought this week. There is a part in the Families and Temples pamphlet that we use that I really love. It says,

"For members of the Church, a temple is the most sacred place of worship on the earth. It is unique from all other places of worship. It is designated as the only place where families can be united forever and where the most sacred gospel ordinances are performed. It is also a place where you can feel closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, a place of peace and revelation, a place where family relationships are strengthened, and a place to seek direction concerning life’s challenges."

We should always take advantage of the times we have to go to the temple and participate in sacred ordinances or in seeking our Heavenly Father's guidance in our lives. The temple is the holiest place on earth. It is literally the house of the Lord and you can feel His presence and His peace in His house. He is willing to love, guide, heal, or comfort anyone in need, we just need to seek Him out. I know that Jesus Christ is our Master, Teacher, Savior, Redeemer, and of all, my best friend. He is the Healer of all diseases, infirmities, illness, weaknesses and of all that is bad. He is willing to bless and guide anyone and everyone who has sufficient faith. Seek and you shall find. Knock and it shall be opened unto you.

Elder Davis

Monday, October 16, 2017

More Holiness

District Meeting in Rio Claro
It has been a great week. Highlight of the week was on Saturday when we taught Gabriel and Ana, we talked about the temple and sealing their family. We had already taught them about that stuff but we revised our lesson and reviewed it again. Their hearts were touched and they have decided to get married so they can be baptized and then sealed as a family forever! Pretty awesome! So they will get married in a few weeks and then they will get baptized. I don't know if I will be here in Limeira for it but I am super super happy for them! One of the great moments of the mission! I love that family and want to see them grow in the gospel together!
P-day activity with some Elders from the Zone
Last Monday we had a district pday and played soccer at the church. It was super fun and it was a great activity to have together to excite everyone in the district. Its been a while since I have played and I realized my soccer skills are not what they used to be! haha Here in the mission we usually aren't allowed to play because it can get very competitive here in Brasil and people can get injured. But every once in awhile we get the opportunity but not very often. When I get home I will have to practice I have definitely lost a little skill . haha.

The week got off to a slow start on Tuesday and Wednesday Elder Cifuentes was really sick so we had to stay home. It knocked him down for a few days. So I got some good study time in and a bit of exercise too. Thursday we had a district meeting in Rio Claro. We did a cool activity based on Alma 24. Just like they buried their "weapons of war" and promised to God that they would be "peaceful". We buried our "sins" or our "weaknesses" and promised God that we would be obedient and faithful. So we wrote "our weaknesses" on a paper and then buried it outside. We also did a plan of salvation for our missions, before the mission, during the mission and after the mission. So we took a picture we had from before the mission and took a picture we had of during the mission and then Sister Azevedo drew everyone after the mission. We thought/wrote the goals of our mission, how they would be accomplished and then how others & ourselves & our families would be blessed by the mission. Was super cool.

Our weaknesses

Burying our weaknesses & committing to overcome them.

Our Plans of Salvation for our Mission

Sister Azevedo's drawing of my future after mission goals
Friday was my Bday but it was pretty much like any other day in that we worked. But that is what made it great! haha Thanks to my family for the great birthday packages. The chocolate chip pancakes and syrup were a great birthday breakfast. And thanks again to everyone for the birthday emails. I apologize I am still trying to answer a few. We do not have a lot of time in the LAN House on P-days. But I appreciate all the messages. Maria Diogo who is like my Brazilian mother from Hortlandia wanted me to come to Hortlandia to have lunch together because she has the same bday as me. But as you can guess President didn't give us permission to go. So what did Sister Diogo do? She said if you cannot come here, the mom will go to you! So she came here to Limeira on Friday and ate lunch with us! I love her and I am thankful for her kindness and the love she gives us as missionaries. It was super awesome. We also had cake at the house of Mara and Adilson. I love them so much. They are awesome. They made me a cake and sung happy birthday which was super cool. We also had a cake that the Bishops wife gave me and we ate that in our house. But before we ate the cake my companion and the other elders that live with us were singing me happy birthday and then at the end, snuck up on me and broke an egg on my head! That's a tradition here as well as to throw flour on top. I was happy we didn't have flour in our house! hahahaha It was super funny. Tried to give my companion a hug after to share the "love" that was shown but he didn't want a hug, I wonder why? ;)

Celebrating our birthday with Sister Diogo
For the spiritual thought this week I want to share the lyrics of the Hymn "More Holiness give me"
1. More holiness give me,
More strivings within,
More patience in suff’ring,
More sorrow for sin,
More faith in my Savior,
More sense of his care,
More joy in his service,
More purpose in prayer.

2. More gratitude give me,
More trust in the Lord,
More pride in his glory,
More hope in his word,
More tears for his sorrows,
More pain at his grief,
More meekness in trial,
More praise for relief.

3. More purity give me,
More strength to o’ercome,
More freedom from earth-stains,
More longing for home.
More fit for the kingdom,
More used would I be,
More blessed and holy—
More, Savior, like thee.

That is what we are all striving for to become more like Him. Sometimes we can get overwhelmed or feel we can't make it or do it anymore. If you get to that point where you don't have desire to improve, don't have a desire to read the scriptures, pray, go to church, or continue onward, - get down on your knees and say a prayer. Ask Him to give you a little of that great desire that He has for you. He will "loan" you a little, give you "a seed" so you can begin to nurture that into a big ole tree that will bear many fruits! He is there for us if we but ask for His help.

Have a great week!
Elder Davis

Monday, October 9, 2017

A Better Disciple


With Elder K.Oliveira and Elder Cifuentes
  This week was a good week. Hope everyone else has had a great week too! We have been working with 4 people really closely. Gabriel and Ana, Elaine, and Maria. These people have all had dates for baptism but we had to put them off to the future because of them needing to do a few more things to be a little more ready for baptism. Like I said before Gabriel stopped smoking the 22nd of Sept and hasn't smoked since! He and Ana have already been to church 8 times and they are already doing Family Search/family history, have visited the temple, go to family home evening consistently, they read the Book of Mormon everyday and are about 100 pages into it, they are saying their prayers everyday and they are even going to the church activities. It has been super cool to see them progress. They are really ready to be baptized and want to be, they just need to get married. That is a constant challenge here in Brazil, not a lot of people get married.

Mission Conference
Elder Costa

With Sister Januario
Elder Oliviera, McAllister, Carvalho, Araujo and Sister Mendoca
 We had our mission conference this past week and it was great. I always come out of those meetings feeling pumped and ready to improve any way I can. There is always something we can do to be better missionaries and disciples of Jesus Christ. Really that is a pattern for life that we should all be doing. Trying to be better disciples every day right? Not just us as full time missionaries but all of us should be focusing on being a little better each day at representing Christ and being his disciple.

Elder Viera

Elder Kleinkauff

Elder Hugo

Sister Pinhero
For a spiritual thought this week I want to share a little from a talk that I loved in General Conference. It was Elder Russell M. Nelson's talk about the Book of Mormon. He said to ask ourselves these three questions.
1. What would our lives be without the Book of Mormon?
2. What would we not know without the Book of Mormon?
3. What would we not have without the Book of Mormon?
He said to ask ourselves these questions and to reflect upon our lives to see if we are giving importance to it and treasuring and cherishing the Book of Mormon as we should. Sometimes we take it for granted and forget to give it importance in our lives that it should have. We go searching for peace, love, answers and acceptance in some other place when in reality all we need to do is to turn to the word of God in the Book of Mormon. It has everything we need. We can find peace in the scriptures, we can feel the acceptance and love of our Savior in the scriptures and we can find answers to our prayers & guidance there. We just need to search and we will find. We all need to take the challenge of our prophet Pres. Monson and read it every day and cherish it as if it was our most prized possession.
A surprise visitor on my desk
Thank you for the birthday messages. It was a great surprise to open my email and see so many emails in my inbox. I did not have time to respond to everyone but please know that I appreciate the support and love. Hope you all have a great week.
Elder Davis

Monday, October 2, 2017

Be Humble & Remember Him



With Elder Cifuentes 
Hey Everyone-

This week was a great week. Hope everybody got to listen to General Conference and received the guidance and answers they were needing. It was awesome!

We worked a lot with Maria Lourdes, the lady that came to church the last week. I think I told you that she lost her mom recently and is staying with a member here for a little while. We visited her this week and had the opportunity to teach her the plan of salvation. She had a lot of comments and questions to add to the conversation which is good. I love it when an investigator is involved in the conversation and message because if not, you don't really know if the person is fully understanding. She asked a few things about the spirit world and how it would be after and how she could be with her family. We talked about baptism with her too and she said she was already baptized and then comes that moment right? To explain how it needs to be done with property authority in the manner that Christ was baptized. After we explained, she accepted to be baptized. She will be baptized this week or the next week! It will be great. She came and watched General Conference with us! It was awesome.

We are also working with Gabriel and Ana still, the parents of Maria Eduarda (our recent convert). A miracle happened! Gabriel had been trying to stop smoking since we started to teach him a couple months ago but just wasn't able to stop. We talked about how if you start with the small but important things, the small daily things or holy habits, you then will be able to do the big things. So Gabriel started reading the Book of Mormon everyday, from the beginning! Started saying his daily prayers and also asking for the strength to stop. He humbled himself and then Heavenly Father was able to help, like it says in Ether 12:27 " if they humble themselves before me and have faith in me, then I will make weak things become strong unto them". He stopped smoking the 22nd of Sept. He stopped cold turkey, he was smoking about 6-7 every day. He hasn't smoked in 10 days! He is going strong! Elder Cifuentes and I are so proud of him.

The leadership meeting was awesome, loved it! We talked about a lot of things that we needed to talk about, especially working with the local leaders, including the Bishop. I think if we all do this, we will be able to see the work progress much faster, members and missionaries working together.

Leadership Meeting with all ZLs and Sister Leaders

With E. Cifuentes @ President's House for Leadership
General conference was super great! Loved it all. Especially Quentin L. Cook's talk about being humble. We all need to be humble. I loved what he said about humility. What I took from what he said is if we are proud/prideful, we cannot accept the will of God, which includes answers to our prayers, callings from the Lord and eventually we will slowly go against His will. We need to stay humble. We often times forget about God in our lives. We may remember Him daily but sometimes we forget to INCLUDE Him in our plans and to search Him out when in need of advice and comfort. If we can but be humble, we will come to know Him and His will, as well as feel the great love that He has for each one of us individually. He wants to bless us, and He WILL bless us, it just depends on us if we will receive it with a humble heart.

Have a great week.
Elder Davis