Monday, October 30, 2017

Leaving Limeira is Difficult

Dinner & FHE @ Mara & Avilson'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

Monday, September 25, 2017

"Ask, and It Shall Be Given You"

With Elder Cifuentes, Soares and Jackson
Hope everyone had a great week. We had a pretty great week and this Sunday we had a new investigator at church so that was a good start to the next week. Her name is Maria and we are excited to start teaching her. Unfortunately her mom recently passed away. The Lord is amazing in how he times things to bless his children when they are in need. We seem to meet people right at the time they are ready and needing the gospel. I honestly don't know how the Lord does it but he puts us and them in each other's paths at just the right time. Like seriously, it's so amazing, He is perfect. He knows all. Truly does. As I said this was the first time Maria had come to church and it just so happened that the gospel principles class was about eternal families and how that is possible through the Lord's plan. And the talks in Sacrament meeting were about how we can accept Gods will in our lives and much more. It all touched Maria's heart and gave her comfort as well as hope. She loved it and happily accepted us to continue visiting her. We also restarted teaching one of our previous investigators, Elaine who we had stopped seeing because when we were teaching her before she was interested but would not take the step further to do the things she needed to do to find out for herself the truthfulness of the gospel. She would not read or pray and really was not ready to make a commitment to change so we stopped teaching her. But last week she came to find us. She had had a dream where Oliviera (my old comp) and I were standing at her door telling her that we were leaving and did not think we would be able to come back again. She started crying in the dream and said she felt the spirit of Jesus Christ leaving her house as we left. She couldn't sleep the rest of the night after the dream so the next day she came to find us. We are working hard to help her gain her own testimony of the gospel and prepare for baptism.We are also teaching a guy named Donizete who compares himself to Tomé (Thomas). He really feels he has to see something before he can believe it. He feels that there are so many bad things happening in the world and even in churches that it makes him doubt. We definitely have some hills to climb with him but he has accepted to pray with faith about what we are teaching and if he should go to church. So that is a start. We have found some other new people to teach too and are excited about getting started with them.
After zone meeting
Overall, everything is great, Elder Cifuentes, my new comp. is awesome. This is his first transfer as a ZL and he is stellar already. He is a little quiet/reserved which is super weird for me because usually I am the quiet one! But I am now noticing that I am the one talking too much! hahahaha. But he is really great. I am learning a lot with him and we are working hard. He is trying to teach me Spanish as well so that will be cool.

A short spiritual thought. As I have witnessed the Lord working in my own life, as well as the people we are teaching this past week, it has really confirmed to me that our Heavenly Father is mindful of us all. He hears our prayers and knows our needs. Praying is such a simple thing but it is so so so important. Our relationship with Heavenly Father changes everything in our lives. It changes how we see life, how we accept His will, how we act and what blessings we receive. This week we all need to prepare for General Conference, we need to pray to have your questions answered through His prophet and the apostles. He has always answered my questions. Always. I know He knows and loves each of us and will guide and direct us in our lives if we but ask and listen.

"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened." Matt. 7:7-8

Hope you all have a great week!
Elder Davis

I didn't take any pictures this past week but I have one that Elder Cifuentes took and another one after zone meeting from one of the other missionaries. I will take some this week.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Choose the Harder Right over the Easier Wrong

With Maria Eduarda and her parents Ana & Gabriel before Maria's baptism
Hope everyone is doing great. Transfers are today. I am sad that Elder Oliveira is leaving. I have learned a lot from him. But I am excited to have Elder Cifuentes as a new companion. He is from Argentina. Looking forward to working with him.

Maria strong in Body and especially in Spirit
With Bishop and Maria before the Baptism
With Maria, the newest member of the Limiera ward and her family
Well the highlight of the week was we baptized Maria Eduarda! Woohoo! I am so excited for her! We have been teaching the entire family for awhile now and I am hoping her parents Ana and Gabriel will soon be married so they can also be baptized. They are wonderful people. Maria is young but she is strong in spirit and did not want to wait until her parents were baptized so we went ahead with her baptism. On Sunday when she came to church you could see the difference in her countenance, she had a bright spirit about her. She had a dress on and was looking her best to come and worship the Savior. She has such a desire to change for the better and be the best she can be for the Lord. It makes me so happy to see people change their lives in even the smallest of ways. They want to be the best they can in the presence of the Lord as well as show Him respect as they enter His church. We are going to continue to do our best to help her parents get ready for baptism. I love that family. I am so grateful for the opportunity to meet wonderful people and have these experiences that we can have almost every day in the mission. The Lord is so loving and merciful in giving us these glorious experiences in our life. It changes us immensely as we try to help others change and come unto Him. I am grateful for the opportunity and privilege to serve in His name and have these experiences.

With Elder Oliviera sporting matching ties. 
Spiritual thought today is simple but important. In life we often will have to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong as Pres. Monson said a couple Conferences ago and when that happens, that is when true growth happens and we become more fully converted. It is through consistently making those "harder rights" that we express our love for our Savior and truly obtain a change of heart by seeking His will not ours.

Have a great week! I appreciate all the love and support.
Elder Davis
Read the Book of Mormon, then reread it again and again and again, it will bless your life!