Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas Week

Elder Davis with Elder Pereira out searching for "Lost Sheep"

Hey Everyone-
Holy cow, this week was great! It felt like the fastest week of my mission thus far. When I started my mission, it felt like a day was a week but now it feels like a week is a day. It passes by super fast. I hope everyone had a MERRY CHRISTMAS and is doing well!

So I was super blessed to be able to talk with my family this past week! That was awesome! It took a little time to get through but we finally got connected! That hour was pretty much pure happiness and joy! I am so grateful for them and their support.

Christmas here is the same as at home in many ways but different too. They mostly celebrate on Christmas Eve with a big dinner and then around midnight, like a few minutes before its Christmas, they open gifts. So on Christmas Eve we went to a member’s house and were allowed to stay there until about midnight to celebrate with them, which was great. We had a ton of BBQ and food – every celebration here involves good food! haha We stayed there and talked and ate and then talked and ate more until we had to leave. The people here are night owls – like to stay up late! Haha It was good though. I love the members and their kind and good hearts. They will do anything for the missionaries!

Churrasco on Christmas Eve
At Sis. Diogo's home with the APs and traveling assistants.  She feeds us almost everyday!

A shirtless Brazilian elf!
This past week, we have been working super hard to find some new people to teach. We are trying to rebuild our teaching pool. Elder Periera, one of the traveling assistants is here with us this week and part of next week. He and Elder Passos are training assistants to President – that is all they do is travel the mission doing training and working with all the district leaders. We have been working a lot with less active members trying to strengthen them. As we have visited with them we have also gotten a lot of references so that has been a great blessing! It seems we always arrive at their house in the moment that they needed us. I can see how the Lord has guided us to certain people at certain times. It was super awesome to be able to arrive at their house and have them say how they are so glad we are there. How blessed we were with the spirit this week. Was such a great feeling - I really love serving the Lord. So that was really all that happened this week –just a lot of contacting.

With the APs - Elder Passos, Davis,Vieira, Xavier, Pereira  & Almeida  

Working hard 

Almost daily customers at Acai Formosa Ice Cream Shop - so hot right now!

Elder Vieira, Elder Davis & Elder Pereira

After church with one of the member families and the APs

I would like to share a message with you guys super quick about the tender mercies of the Lord. There are so many small miracles that He performs in our lives and blessings that sometimes we don’t notice. So this past week I have been studying a lot about this and I have made a more focused effort to notice the Lords hand in my life more. He does a lot of things for us that we don’t notice sometimes because we take it for granted or think it is a coincidence whether it is running into someone who talks to us and brightens our day or we are guided to read a certain scripture that gives us strength. It is the small things that make a big difference. He also blesses us through things that don’t happen to us. He protects us and guides us and sometimes we do not recognize how often He does that. So I challenge you to always be aware of the spirit. Be attentive for the spirit and you will recognize that He is there in your life as you recognize the blessings. He will help you see the good in the world and recognize the blessings that we are really receiving. I promise you that you will start to feel more close to the Lord as you look for His hand in your life and see the blessings. This will have a great impact on how you feel and view your life and the world. It has for me! I love you all and wish you all a great new year! Até mais!

Elder Davis

Miscellaneous pics:
Co-inhabitant of our house

Sister Reis had Elder Davis' name at Zone gift exchange

Elder Davis had Sister Januario's name for the Gift Exchange.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Feliz Natal!

Elder Vieira, Alex and Elder Davis at Alex's Baptism

Feliz Natal! (Merry Christmas!)

This is going to be short. The first internet place we went to decided to randomly close early for lunch. So we had just barely got on and started to upload pictures and had to leave. It took a while to find another place then upload the rest of the pictures so now we have just a few minutes. It is a busy day today.We have a ton to do so this will be short. There is going to be more pictures than email! I will write a longer email next week.
The Zone making Churrassco

One the bus going to a Multi-zone Conference

Elder Oliviera, Vieira, Sampio and Elder Davis
Highlight of the week was Alex got baptized! It was a great day and the spirit was strong. He is strong in his desire to follow Christ. I know this is a great new beginning for him! I am excited to see him continue to grow! We have another baptism coming up next week on Christmas Eve. Her name is Tainara.
Elder Davis at the Church in Hortlandia
I wish you all a Merry Christmas! May we all remember the true meaning of Christmas and draw near to our Savior. He is our perfect example and will always give us the light we need in this life. As a gift to Him may we #lighttheworld with His love and His gospel. I am so thankful for Him, for His love and example, and His atonement for me and for everyone of you! Have a wonderful Christmas!

Um abraco,
Elder Davis

Horse we pass on the street near our House

A lot of bugs here - this big,cool looking grasshopper (I think) just hopped right up on my shoe

Monday, December 12, 2016

Sound Understanding


So this past week was crazy haha! I know I say that every week but every week is so busy. It is good to be busy though! I was transferred to Hortolândia Sião! (Sião means Zion in Portuguese). The missionaries have added Zion to the name because it is known as one of the best areas of the mission and it is pretty awesome! My area is Jardim Amanda in the Zone of Hortolândia. It is "da hora" (of the hour). Everyone talks highly of this zone and especially this area. It isn’t a really big area but it is a great area for the work. The members are the best and are always helping with missionary work. We have already received one or two good references just this week from members. When I got here the teaching pool was pretty small so we have a lot of work to do. But all is going well!

Like I said in my previous email my companion is Elder Vieira. I do have a few pictures of us but I am not going to have the time to get them on the computer so I will have to email them next week. He is good guy and has been out 6 weeks. I will be finishing his last six weeks of training. He is doing well and has a strong desire to work and learn. He is kind of a quiet guy. Coming from me that is a big statement, because I don’t talk very much either but compared to him I am talking all the time. haha. But I was the same way so I am sure once he is comfortable he will open up a little more. We get along well and I am excited to serve with him.

My district is awesome. In the district there are 8 sisters and 4 elders including my companion and I. We are one of the biggest districts in the mission with 12 people.haha We have a ton of sisters but they are the best! They are really good missionaries and are super funny, the elders too. I definitely was blessed with the best district in the mission which is good for my first time as a district leader! ;) But all is good! I am super excited! We had a district meeting this past week and my lesson/training went well! My Portuguese is pretty solid now!

Just a little bit about our area. So the house we live in is on the second and third floor above another house. They are two different houses with different entryways, ours just starts on the second floor. We have two bedrooms and two baths so it is one of the nicest houses in the mission. I think they used to have two companionships living here at one time. We sleep on the third floor which is great because we get a really good draft of air coming in so we don’t sweat to death at night. It has been insanely hot here lately. haha.

I am in Piracicaba today because we have leadership mtg tomorrow and then on Wednesday we have zone mtg and then Thursday we have a multi-zone mtg. So a lot of meetings this week but we are going to try to get some teaching in too. We have a couple baptisms coming up, Alex, a teen of 18 yrs old in the next week or so and then on Christmas Eve Tainara a girl of 23 yrs.

Something I have been thinking and studying about are the sons of Mosiah who served missions for 14 years and how when they met up with Alma again he was so excited because they “were still his brethren in the Lord” and that “they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth” (Alma 17:2). They had become men of “sound understanding” through righteous study and living thus they were able to become valuable instruments in the hands of the Lord to bring many to repentance. To all my missionary friends and those who are not full time missionaries too I hope that when we met again we will find that we are brethren/sisters that are strong in the ways of the Lord and have become men/women of sound understanding. I love you all. I am so thankful for my Savior and for this time I have to be a representative of Him and for the experiences that He blesses me with. May we all #lightheworld and do our part. Thank you all for your love and support.

Elder Davis

Monday, December 5, 2016

Love the People of Porto

At Stake Conference with Harrisson, President and Sister Bangerter
Hey Everyone-
THIS WEEK WOOOO! So yet another week has passed. Man does the mission pass fast. That is one fact that is super true. So today we heard about transfers since tomorrow is transfers. I am getting transferred to Hortolandia, I don’t know which area yet. I will find that out when I arrive there. My companion will be Elder Vieira. I know you guys are thinking "again?" Haha But, Elder Vieira, my trainer, ended his mission and returned home. So this Elder Vieira is a new missionary also from Brasil and I will be finishing his training! He has been out in the mission six weeks with another companion but I will finish the rest of his training. I am also going to be a district leader. I was a little surprised to be called as a District Leader because I have only been out 4 months but will do my best to serve the Lord and all the missionaries I work with. I will really miss the members here in Porto and it is hard to leave the people we are teaching as well as my comp. But the mission is always awesome so I am sure there are great things ahead.
Pirrasununga District

Our district running to catch the bus in the downpour after Stake Conference

Anyway, I will get on with how my week was. In our District meeting on Tuesday we discussed about following up with investigators. I thought about how this applies in our lives as well as our missionary work. Sometimes we think about doing good things but we don’t follow up. We don’t actually act. We need to do the second part and act on those thoughts, study the gospel, pray for answers and we will receive that which we seek. Sometimes if we do not get the results or answers the first time then we forget it and do not keep seeking our answers or result. We need to keep following up, keep working for what we need and seek. There are so many experiences and skills that you develop on the mission that transfer over into regular life. Wednesday we did baptism interviews for the Sisters in Pirassununga 2! Their investigators are awesome! One of the baptisms fell through and then we talked to her, answering some of her questions and she ended up committing to baptism again so that was a blessing! Thursday we had splits. I was with Elder Rubens and we did our baptism interviews here in Porto (Manoel, João Pedro, and Harrisson). They all turned out alright except Manoel, he didn’t end up coming to church so we couldn’t baptize him this past week. I am sad I will not be here for his baptism but happy he is making the choice to be baptized. Elder Sander will baptize him next week! Our baptisms were this Friday since we had stake conference this weekend on Saturday and Sunday. It was awesome! The spirit was strong and we were all touched by the spirit that was there. Marilene (the aunt of Harrisson) made a cake for everyone! It was so delicious. I told you I am a bit of a cake addict. Haha Anyway the baptisms all went well! Harrisson is super awesome and I know he will stay firm in the church. He truly wants to do what is right and has such a good spirit. His mom is not a member yet but his Aunt and her family are so he has support. I think he will be the one to bring his mom and dad into the church. João is super cool too. He has had a tough time in his life and now things are going well for him, I am so happy for him and I know that his baptism is the beginning of great change for him and many great blessings are in store for him. After his baptism he was speaking to me about the spirit he felt and how he knew this was the Holy Ghost testifying to him that he was making a good choice. I am proud of both of them and their courage to do what they know is right.
At the Baptisms of João Pedro, and Harrisson
Like I said, we had stake conference and it was really good. Our Mission President, Pres Bangerter, was there and actually spoke. It was really good. There was another talk that really touched my heart too that I want to share a little bit of it with you. This person talked about the importance of Sacrament meeting and how a lot of us have become casual about that meeting. Sometimes people stay for the meeting but are not engaged in what is happening. Or they stay and partake of the sacrament then they leave after. This is the meeting in which we actually participate in an ordinance, the only ordinance that we do more than once in our life – the sacrament. We should prepare ourselves and be totally engaged in this meeting. Our hearts need to be open and we need to be ready to receive inspiration and revelation from the talks and testimonies. We are responsible to be prepared. He told us, when we share our testimonies, which can be 1 minute or 1 phrase, we will strength it until it is like unto God and the talks that people give in Sacrament are through the Spirit. We will receive revelation and answers to our prayers through listening. I think we all have had times when we have been asked to give a talk or have gone up to bear our testimonies and we do not say what we planned but end up saying something else that has come to our mind. This is the Lord answering someone’s prayer and letting you be the instrument in the revelation. I know many times I planned to speak about this and that and planned to say this and share that but it never turned out that way. I always ended up on a different note sharing something different then what I was thinking and I know that to be the Spirit helping me help the people that were there. It is the same as we teach as missionaries. We need to always be worthy of the spirit so we can hear what we need to hear and say what we need to say. One of the great ways to start the week with the spirit is by attending sacrament meeting, being engaged, and taking the sacrament worthily. It will bless your life and get your week going in the right direction.
Harreson and his mom at Stake Conference

Irma Araujo with us at Stake Conference

A great member family from Limeira
Got to get going so I can pack for transfers. I love the Lord and love being a missionary. Thank you for all the support and love I am receiving from everyone, especially all the emails! Love you all and hope you have a great week! Listen to the Spirit the FIRST time, and act!

Um abraco,

Elder Davis

Monday, November 28, 2016

"Go and Do"

Oi –

So this past week was thanksgiving huh? Man do I miss my mom’s food! haha. I guess everyone that has gone on a mission has felt that one time or another. Thanksgiving-the time to give thanks! I was walking in the rain (which pretty much is everyday these days) and talking with my companion and then I remembered, "hmm, it is thanksgiving today at home!" Just saying that in my mind brought so many good memories flooding in. I have so much to be grateful for. Anyway, I hope everyone had a great time with their families and felt the spirit of the Lord as they celebrated! There is so much to be thankful for.

My week was an awesome week! So this past week was the 2nd to last week in the transfer. Transfers are Dec. 5th. We have been trying to finish teaching some of our investigators and strengthen them so they are ready for baptism. Our teaching pool has become a little small the last few weeks but we have a few pieces of gold left in the rough! Sometimes we are very blessed with people that are seeking truth and are prepared to accept what we teach, repent of their sins in the moment, and start to follow Christ in their lives instantly after we teach them. We are fortunate to be teaching two such people. João is a youth that was a reference we received from a different mission. He is super smart and we started teaching him at the beginning of this past week. So we visited him and the mother is really supportive of us (approval of the mother is hard and usually the mother is the hardest part of teaching an underaged person) so that was super awesome. Like I said he is very smart and he is already starting to apply the gospel in his life. We taught him about repentance and in the prayer he gave after the lesson, he expressed a desire to repent and be forgiven for his sins. Although that is something you usually do in private, we were glad to hear it, it showed he was humble and immediately wanted to begin following Christ. He told us that he wants to be baptized so we have set a date for this next Saturday, December 3rd. We are super stoked about that! He is such a humble, smart and great guy and with the gospel he will be that much greater! Harisson a youth that we started teaching a long time ago but then his parents changed their minds about letting him get baptized, have now changed their minds again and they are taking the lessons too. So they have decided to let Harisson go ahead and get baptized this Saturday. He has asked me to baptize him and I feel honored! Sometimes as adults we make the mistake of thinking we cannot learn much from kids/youth since they may not have as much knowledge or experience. But I can definitely testify that the faith and the spirits of children/youth are the purest of all of us. I have learned so much from Harisson and I am the one supposedly teaching him. He has always had faith that the Lord would help his parents come around once they learned of the gospel. We had to just keep trying and not give up. Teaching him has taught me to be like Nephi of Old and “go and do” and the Lord will provide a way. Like when Nephi and his brothers went to get the plates – it didn’t happen the first time. We might not be able to see how it can work out but it will. We also are teaching Manoel. He is a man of 30 years and has known the missionaries before but never really accepted the gospel. We started to teach him after he stopped us in the road and asked us to visit him. He is definitely one of those people who were prepared for us. It is incredible to watch him as he accepts the gospel and applies it in his life. The best thing is that he is seeing the changes & blessings the gospel is bringing to his life. He told us that before we met him and started teaching him, that he was fighting a lot with his wife but after we started teaching him, that he is getting along with her a lot better and he is starting to love her more! The Lord and the gospel really are life-changing. If we focus on the Lord and do the right things then the Lord will work miracles in our life! We are hoping to baptize him on Saturday but he works a lot on the weekends so he is trying to get that worked out. I know that the Lord will provide a way though. The Lord never gives us challenges or commandments to follow that we cannot pass. He always provides a way to live the commandments and pass our challenges.

I want to share with you a spiritual thought /scripture. It is Alma 34:31-34.
31 Yea, I would that ye would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you.
32 For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.
33 And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.
34 Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis,that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.

I would like to share my testimony of the importance of not procrastinating. I have been studying lately about repentance and how it brings us closer to our Savior. I know as we come before the Savior and humble ourselves before Him; He will help us get over our weaknesses and become strong. As we repent we will feel of His love and will feel the Atonement take hold in our lives and make us better people. He wants us to become like Him one day and we definitely can only do that through Him and His Atonement. I love Jesus Christ. He is my friend and my brother. Through Him, we can be clean of our sins but only through Him. He suffered for our difficulties and our sins, so when we are passing through hard times, we need to remember that He knows what we are feeling and will strive to help us but we have to reach out for help first. A lot of the time we are waiting for the Lord to help us and when He doesn’t, we blame Him for it. But in reality we only have ourselves to blame, we need to reach out and ask for help first. When we do our part, we can receive the help we need but if we do not do our part, He cannot do His. I know the Lord loves each of you and is aware of your challenges. Draw close to Him. Open the door to your heart and let Him in. He is always there for you if you reach out.

Love you guys! Hope all is well with all of you! Stay strong and know that the Lord loves you!
Um abraço,

Elder Davis

Monday, November 21, 2016

Giving Thanks

Elder Davis @ Porto Ferriera Church

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

So this past week, we spent a lot of time receiving and contacting references. We also traveled to Pira 2 area to help them out with doing 4 interviews of progress. We ended up marking 4 dates with them! Woo! We have 3 baptisms for December 3rd and 2 more after that! We also have been working very hard with less active families and have reactivated 5-6 families in our ward which is awesome. We have been studying and working on teaching well. President Bangerter has been working with us and has given us some plans and lessons of faith. Those have really helped us in working with families who have struggled to get back to church. I am hoping I can stay here in Porto Ferreira for one more transfer. I really love the members and would love to pass Christmas here with the ward and Elder Sander but more importantly I want to be here to see the baptisms of the rest of our investigators that we found together and are teaching! But that might not happen because I will have been here for 4 months by the time transfers come. But I hope to stay.

We are celebrating Thanksgiving today and are making churrasco with our zone leaders in Pirassununga! WOOO! It will be like a thanksgiving feast for us. I have the mashed potatoes and gravy mix from my package. Thanks for that! They are all Brazilian and are stoked to try garlic mashed potatoes. haha I am stoked for the churrasco! 
Turkeys @ a member's house chilling - no worries for them at Thanksgiving! 

I gave another talk in church this past Sunday. That makes 3 in a little less than 4 months so I average about once a month! When people don’t show up we know it is definitely going to be us speaking! That’s okay; it’s good for my Portuguese. Hopefully it is good for the members! haha Yesterday I spoke about the parable of the rich young man who asked what he should do to obtain eternal life. He was told to obey the commandments and replied that he had done that throughout his life and wanted to know what else he lacked. Then he was told to sell all he had and give it to the poor and follow Christ. He walked away sad because he could not do it. He loved his material possessions more than the Lord. I was thinking about this and sometimes it may not be just material possessions but sometimes we love our worldly distractions and even maybe our problems more than we love Christ. We let those take over our thoughts and what we work for instead of focusing on the Savior. Instead of having faith that all those other things will work out if we first seek the Lord. So when we have problems and think we cannot do the things the Lord has asked us because we are too busy with our problems and distractions… we need to think again. No matter what the problems are that we are having, we need to just put it to the side and follow Him. He knows our problems and difficulties. He suffered for our sins, our problems and sufferings. If you follow Him and do those things that are right, He will lighten those burdens for you or make you stronger so you can carry them. He will always do His part but that means we have to do our part too. We have to follow Him and show faith. If we don’t do our part, I can promise you that nothing will happen; you will not receive what you are looking for. We have to do our part. A lot of times we are waiting for things to happen and then are upset or sad when they don’t. But really it is our own fault since we are waiting and watching. We have to have faith and move ahead doing our part. The Lord wants to help us follow Him and do those things that are right but he cannot change our hearts. He can only do so much because we have that great gift of agency. So we have to want it, then work for it ourselves and be willing to give up what needs to be given up.

I am so thankful for many things; my relationship with the Lord, the gospel that guides me, my family, friends, life, my health, and now the great opportunity to be a missionary. As a missionary I have come to know Christ more in this short time than I feel I did in my whole lifetime before my mission. Each day as I study to learn of Him and then strive to serve Him, I see Him guide me to change people lives and help them have joy and happiness. Because of that I have grown in my love for Him and have developed a deeper personal relationship with Him. It is through serving Him with all our hearts that we come to know Him. I am thankful for His love and spirit. I know He lives and loves each one of us. I am thankful I can be a witness of Him. Love you all.

Um abraco,
Elder Davis

P.S. It is becoming harder and harder to think in English, a lot of times I can’t think of the word that I am trying to say so excuse the "awkwardness'"of my letters now. That is a good thing I guess.

Monday, November 14, 2016

A Marvelous Work

Franciana, Jean, Renato, a Ward Member, Nicolle, Elders Davis & Sander

Hey Everyone-
It’s been a great week. We had a few baptisms on Saturday which was awesome! We baptized 3 investigators, Franciana, Jean, and Renato and then one member’s daughter, Nicolle. She asked me to baptize her also. I love her family so I felt honored. Franciana, I have been teaching since we first got here in August so that was great to see her finally take that step. Jean’s wife is also a member so that completes a family which is a wonderful thing. We are hoping that in a year Elder Sander and I can see them go to the temple to be sealed as a family. Renato’s family are also members and he has not joined for 30 years and one day he just came up to us and said he wanted to be taught so he could be baptized. There is no greater feeling than to watch someone grow and change as they come closer to the Lord. It is especially good to see a whole family united in the gospel and know that this will impact their family forever. I love all of these people and am thankful I was able to be a part of the positive changes in their lives. I love going into their homes and seeing the blessings from the gospel happen.
Elder Sander, Nicolle and her family, & Elder Davis
We have been hearing a lot about the elections here. People will holler at me on the bus. I want to say I didn’t even vote! haha I never realized how much the world watches all that we do in America. Anyway I hope we as a nation can move forward together and work to find common ground and do good things. We are so blessed as a country and need to move on and work together.
The Zone with President & Sister Bangerter

Pizza Night!
I have been thinking a lot about the importance of free agency and responsibility. At times it seems when the people we are teaching are close to making commitments or big changes then Satan steps in and confuses them with other distractions or challenges. Then they get scared to make the change and you feel you need to say “stay the course”. What you felt and thought was true yesterday, is true today! But we cannot make people change, we cannot make people do the right things and we cannot make them accept the gospel. But what we can do is our part, our part in helping them along the way. We need to say everything we know to be true and then we invite but they have to know and accept. The plan of salvation is perfect that way. It only works when you do your part. No one can decide or act for you. Only you have that power and responsibility. As missionaries we will keep trying and helping but we cannot do everything for them. The Lord requires their heart and commitment. It is the same for us as members. We have to do the things that we can do with the best heart we can and you will be able to work miracles through the Lord! The Lord will force no one. It is all about choices.

I love you all and hope everyone is doing well. Thank you for the letters and for the support. It means a lot.

Uma abraco,

Elder Davis

Monday, November 7, 2016

Be in Tune

The entire mission at the riverfront in Piracicaba
This is going to be somewhat short today. This week we have been preoccupied with moving. We are moving out of our current house and into another for many reasons, one of which is so we can have another companionship live in our house with us in the future. I can’t wait until we are done – moving is definitely not my favorite.

Thursday we had interviews with President Bangerter! He is awesome and really gave some great counsel on how we can work more with less actives in our ward and area. We have been progressing with our investigators. Unfortunately we had to cancel the baptism of Harresson and Miguel but we hope sometime in the future they will be able to be baptized. So we are just keeping at it - working hard. Franciana, Renatu and Jean are scheduled to be baptized this Saturday! We are working hard and working through the Spirit. That is the most important part of all of our lives is learning to recognize and follow the Spirit.

I am reading a book by Pres. Henry B. Eyring. In it he talks about a time when he saw a man take out a notebook and a pen to take notes when he was listening to a 10 yr old give a talk in primary at church. This impressed him and has stuck with him. We can learn from anyone at any age. Sometimes we don’t think that we can learn anything from someone due to their age, circumstance or something. But whether we learn something or not is not dependent on them, it is dependent on our desire to learn and willingness to be in tune to the spirit. We can learn from anyone. We just need to be in tune with the spirit and listen with our hearts.

Another thing I have been studying is Lehi’s dream in 1 Nephi 8! I encourage you to read it again and evaluate where you are and where you want to be. It is always important to reflect and see if you are going in the right direction. And if you have strayed a little remember that no matter how far you are from the Lord, you can always return to His presence. That is what the atonement is all about. So each week as we recognize our mistakes and weaknesses we can repent. Taking the Sacrament worthily is a great opportunity we have each week. We receive His spirit and renew our convents through this sacred ordinance. So remember to keep the Sabbath day and make every effort you can to take the sacrament with purpose and thinking about your covenants!
Another picture of the entire mission. Elder Davis is about 5 rows up on the far right.

I attached a few pictures of the whole mission that we took a month or two ago - just got them. I love you all and hope you are doing great! Thanks as always for the letters and support! I appreciate it.

Com Amor,

Elder Davis​​​​​​​​​​

Monday, October 31, 2016

Simple Truths

The rainy season has officially started!
Hope everyone has had a good week! We are progressing with our investigators and things are going well. Our baptism for last Saturday got postponed. He will be getting baptized with his brother on Nov. 17th. We actually have 3 baptisms scheduled for that day if all goes as planned. There are 3 others that are progressing well and we hope that they will be baptized in November also.
Elder Mark Bassett of the Seventy

The main event of the past week was going to a conference in Piracicaba to hear Elder W. Mark Bassett of the Seventy speak. He gave a talk in this past General Conference about the Holy Ghost being key in our spiritual development and learning. In that talk he said we should not be seeking out the mysteries but understanding the simple truths we have been given. When he spoke to us he focused on a lot of the same things, like recognizing and teaching with the spirit. As we teach with the spirit we will know what to teach and as we help those we teach recognize the spirit, they will hunger for it and gain a testimony of the things of the gospel. He then spoke of the four principles of the gospel. He said we need to teach about faith bringing us to repentance and then repentance to baptism not just faith for baptism. So we have been applying what he counseled us and are having great results. His wife spoke about our testimonies. I liked her analogy where she compared it to a fire. As we add to it and nurture it, it will grow larger and brighter but if we do not use it or nurture it, it will go out. The winds of the adversary will blow it out if we do not nurture it consistently. Our testimonies are gained through the Holy Ghost and if we do not use them we will lose them. It is a guide and light in our lives that we have to add to and work on every day. We can’t procrastinate our day of repentance. It is important that we constantly repent so we can be worthy of that additional light and guidance. We need to partake of the blessings that we can receive today and always.

Love you guys. Thanks for your support. I will write more next week. Today is a little crazy. I uploaded a few pictures - one of us soaked - it is officially the rainy season! Another one of us on the way to the conference - Elder Sander was running a little behind thus he had toothbrush in hand haha and then one of Elder Bassett of the Seventy.

Uma abraco,

Elder Davis

Monday, October 24, 2016

Small Miracles

Hey Everyone-
It is transfer day and I am staying for another transfer. My comp. is staying too. That's good because we have a lot going on and I would hate to leave now. This past week has been absolutely crazy. I cannot think of any other way to express it in words other than miracles have been happening in our lives through the Lords hands. I am so happy and grateful to be a missionary and a representative of Jesus Christ. To be able to be a part of helping people change and seeing great things happen. It has been an awesome week.

So first off, Tuesday and Wednesday we had splits. I was in Pirassununga for those days with Elder Ferreira. Tuesday was a little “unlucky” of a day. I got really sick. Ended up having to go to the hospital and get some medicine through an IV. Elder Ferreira, my companion for the day thought it was pretty funny so he spent his time at the hospital taking selfies of us. haha. Wednesday I was still in Pirassununga, they didn’t have any appointments so we ended up visiting members and seeking out less actives. Elder Ferreira had a thought to go to a house close to the house we were visiting and the person that we were going to visit wasn’t there but her daughter was. They had been trying to catch her at home for months and had never caught her or the daughter. We ended up talking to the daughter for a bit and invited her to come back to church. She accepted. So that was great.
Hospital Selfie   PC:Elder Ferreira
Thursday I was back with Elder Sander and he got sick and we ended up at the hospital again. haha. We finally all got well and were able to visit Franciana again. When we first started our lesoon she immediately told us she wouldn't be able to come to church because she already had stuff to do. So we changed our lesson to talk a little about the Sabbath day. By the end of the lesson the spirit had time to work with her and she ended up changing her mind and said she would change everything in her schedule so she could be there at church. How cool is that! I love how the Spirit can come in, touch people’s hearts and completely change people’s perspectives. Friday we taught Heresson and Miguel again. We talked about the Sabbath day with them too. They are planning to be baptized this Saturday! We invited them to pray over a week to ask God about the truthfulness of the things we were teaching them and if they should be baptized. They have been praying and now feel they have gotten their answer. So they are getting baptized on Saturday!! WOO!
In Pirssununga with the family of Irmã Vânia
Sunday was CRAZY. I seriously cannot describe how crazy that day was. Small miracles happened that day Nine of our investigators came to church which was a small but great miracle! There were a few things in the Gospel Principles class that were taught unclearly so that brought up some questions but we got those worked out. Then in sacrament a member gave a talk about the Word of Wisdom and how we do not drink alcohol, coffee, or tea and we thought that was definitely going to bring up lots of questions with especially Franciana and her friend she had brought because they both do some of those things. But when we talked to them after church they told us, "I think it makes sense that my body is a temple so I will try the Word of Wisdom". LIKE WHAT! How great is that!! They said they would give it all up.  It was really a miracle. It was also on Sunday after church that Miguel and Herreson decided to be baptized. It is true that you are just the messenger and when the Spirit works with the people they will know and want to change. I LOVE being a missionary and teaching the gospel. Sorry got to run. May we all stay close to the Spirit so we can be instruments in the Lords hands to help others come unto Him.

Thank you all for your support.
Com Amor,
Elder Davis

Monday, October 17, 2016

Small & Simple Things

Oi família e amigos-

First of all I want to thank everyone for their birthday wishes. I opened my birthday package this week and it was fun to see the pictures of you wishing me a Happy Birthday! Even making a cake and eating it for me..thanks Johnston Family! Thanks to all of you! I love you and appreciate the support! The people here were very kind too. I have eaten a lot of cake this week! haha
Birthday Cake x 2
This week can be summed up in one sentence. We worked hard and taught a lot! We have been working with the references we received from members last week and have also found some other people that we are teaching too. We have a pretty big teaching pool now. Everyone is progressing and we are teaching alot.
Rainy Season!

Great things happened! Franciana, a woman we found ​​when I was companions with Elder Vieira, has had a hard time making it to church and that made it hard for her to continue to progress. Well she came to Church yesterday and was very touched by the spirit there. She loved it and wants to come every week. A member came with us when we picked her up and sat with her during the meetings so that was great. It really helped her. I could see the change in her and the spirit working with her. Harreson & Miguel, who were references from a member, are progressing well. We have taught them a lot of lessons and they are doing great. Erika was another reference from a member and she has come to church twice before we have even been able to teach her the first lesson! She is a young mother and really wants the gospel in her life for her child especially. Unfortunately her husband is not interested. We have found a lot of other people that we are teaching - Ana, Patrick, Carlos, Jose & Lucia and some others. We had a great experience finding Patrick. We were actually standing out in the rain trying to figure out where to go and I had this feeling to knock on a certain door but we ended up deciding to go to a different area but on the way back I was prompted again to knock on that door. So we did. We buzzed the intercom, introduced ourselves and asked if we could come in and share a message. He said sure. We taught him the first lesson and when we were leaving he asked if we could teach his sister too. How cool is that! I am grateful for the spirit being persistent. When we get those feelings and promptings we need to recognize them and follow them. It is amazing how many times we experience that. In another lesson I had a prompting to say something to them. The feeling was almost overwhelming and when I shared it, it happened to be something that they needed to hear that helped them. We have to listen and be willing to act on it.
Familia Araujo
We had noite familiar (family night) with the Family Araújo this past week. They are awesome. We had a great time with them. We also visited Ramon's family this week (he is one of the youth here in the ward) and we somehow ended up outside seeing who could catch a chicken the fastest. Needless to say I was the least experienced, never chased a chicken in my life! haha I uploaded some video and pictures for your entertainment. I love the people of Brazil and am thankful I get to serve the Lord here. (Couldn't get the video to work properly on here so only pictures are posted. Sorry. Contact me if you want to see it and I will send you a link to view it on Google drive.)

Finally caught the chicken!

Elder Davis, Elder Sander and Ramon

I wanted to share with you two scriptures that meant a lot to me this week as I was reading. The first is Alma 37:6-7

“..behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.

And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls.”

It is through small and simple things that great things are brought to pass. Sometimes we think things have to be hard or complicated to get results but changes begin with one small step/change or one small action like listening to the spirit. I experienced that this week.

The next scripture is Alma 37:37

“Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.”

We all need to communicate with our Heavenly Father at least morning and night. The word "counsel" stood out to me, it doesn't say tell the Lord all thy doings. We need His guidance. We need to express our thanks for all He has given us. We need to counsel with Him and listen. It is a small and simple thing with big results.

Love you all. Take care and have a great week!

Elder Davis

P.S. We are having a mission conference with a member of the Seventy on October 27th! That will be cool. Looking forward to that.

Monday, October 10, 2016

"Keep thy Soul Diligently"

This week was long but passed by quickly. I know that doesn’t really make sense but time on the mission is that way. You are always busy so it feels like time is going by so fast because you are trying to get a lot done but yet sometimes it feels like the week is pretty long. But it has been a great week. Sorry no pictures this week!

District meeting was good this week, we worked on a couple of the lessons and how to teach them effectively. We also talked about how to be diligent in following up with people we have taught. And as always we had great food after – that is a “given” here. I guess in a way it is a good thing that we walk so much and get chased by crazy dogs, it helps us work off all that great food.  I think I have not only become addicted to meat but also cake! haha

We are still working hard with the members here trying to build our teaching pool with references. When we go out contacting we teach a lot of first lessons but usually to find those who are really interested we need referrals from members. We started to apply the teachings of Elder Dallin H Oaks talk from General Conference and have been working with members to help them apply those things in their lives too. Elder Oaks taught us that Christ told his disciples to “Go ye therefore and teach all nations” (Matt 28:19) and “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). All of us have that responsibility to share our testimonies and what we know to be true. Elder Oaks said, “member missionary work is not a program but an attitude of love and outreach to help those around us”. So this past week we took the list of all the members in our ward, divided the city in sections and made our plan how to visit each member. Every day we worked in a different section of the city and only visited members. We shared a message about how important it is to remember & share your testimonies, remember how & what you felt when the spirit spoke to you of the truth, and remember how the gospel has blessed your life. We also shared some thoughts from Elder Rasband’s talk “Lest I Forget”. His talk was based on Deuteronomy 4:9.

“Keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons.”

We started visiting members on Wednesday of this past week and worked through Friday. In those few days we received 8 references. We called the references, set up appointments and have begun teaching them. It is awesome! We received a reference for a family with two boys. Unfortunately the parents are not interested but they want their sons Miguel and Harreson to be taught. They are very interested and things are going great. I am excited for the other appointments we have this week. During our visits to members we visited a sister who has not been to church in awhile. We felt prompted to share a certain message with her and after we had finished she asked “Who told you that I needed to hear that today”. That is the best when that happens! We can all bless people’s lives if we just listen to the spirit and then most importantly have the courage to say what the spirit wants us to say. As we have visited a lot of people who have stopped going to church I have learned that most of them just need someone to reach out and show they care. They need to feel they matter and belong. We all need to strengthen each other. Let us visit and lift each other up as Christ would.
I love listening to and rereading the General Conference talks. There is so much to learn and it is important to feed our spirits every day. I encourage everyone to do that and then be willing to change. For those who do not know where to find the Conference talks here is the link

I loved a talk from awhile back by Elder Eyring where he said that the learner or listener has just as much responsibility for how much he learns as the teacher does. If we listen with the spirit and have a willing heart the Lord can teach us through the spirit in any situation and with any teacher. There is always something we can learn. Have a great week everyone and thank you for the birthday wishes. I appreciate each of you and all you have done for me to strengthen me and help me grow. I have been blessed by each one of you.

Com Amor,
Elder Davis

Monday, October 3, 2016

Be Right in the Eyes of the Lord

Elder Cifuentes, Davis, Sander & Rangel
Hope everyone is doing well. Thanks for writing everyone! I usually get just a few emails each week but today I got about 15 which was awesome. I love the pictures so keep them coming! I love hearing from each one of you and appreciate the individual testimonies and personal thoughts you share. They inspire and strengthen me. Thank you. Warning: picture overload this week. I took a lot of pictures. (That’s for you Mom.)

Last Monday had a churrasco with our zone leaders Elder Xavier and Elder Ferreira. We ate so much meat I thought we were going to go into a food coma! haha  Everyone grills well here - I think they are taught that at birth. haha  Be jealous Dad - it was pretty good!
Grilling the good stuff!

Elder Davis, Ferreira, Sander and Xavier

Elder Ferreira in a food coma! haha

Yes that is jello - you can't get away from it. Even the people of Brazil love it!

In district meeting last week my companheiro and I taught the first lesson and shared different tips on how to teach it more effectively and how to make initial contacts. It went really well and the Lord really helped me to know what to say.
The one and only Elder Sander!
This week we worked a lot with the members. As you all know, the gospel is received and changes people lives when there are members involved and sharing their personal testimonies. It is really more effective than when missionaries who they do not know knock on people’s doors or approach them on the street. There are those who are searching that we find that way but usually it is people who have seen the gospel in someone else’s life or someone setting an example. So everyone try to help the missionaries find those who are searching for Christ and peace in this world. Don’t be afraid to speak up you will only bless their lives by doing so!

On Friday we were at Sister Celano’s visiting with her a bit and she had a little pizza party for us for dinner. She is so good to the missionaries. Pizza here is really different but really good at the same time!

With  Elder Sander & Sis. Bangerter
Last week we also had a multi-zone meeting with Sao Carlos. President Bangerter talked a lot about how to help others when they are afraid to commit or change their lives, when they get right to the point when they want to make a commitment to be baptized and change- then they back out because of fear. That really happens a lot here. We just had that happen with Franciana who we were teaching. She knows what we have taught her is true and had set a baptism date. But yet when it came down to doing it, she said she is not ready to make that commitment to change. I think we all have experienced that in some way in life where we are scared to make that step forward we would rather stay in our comfort zone or what we have done before. There is a reason that faith is the first principle of the gospel. Got to believe and trust in the Lord first. It was a good meeting. I got to see Elder Simmons from my group in the CTM. He is doing well! It is always great to see Pres. and Sister Bangerter. I love them! I love the missionaries I serve with and love serving here in Brazil. And I may have to admit you were right mom, the sister missionaries are kind of the backbone of the mission. They usually work hard, are usually wiser and more mature than us Elders (haha) but know how to have fun and make the mission a better experience for everyone. Saw Elder Alves and he is healthy again which is great.
Sao Carlos and Pirassununga Zones with Pres. & Sis. Bangerter

Loved seeing Elder Simmons from my CTM District
Elder Nascimento

Sister Silva and Sister Mendez

Elder Alves!
Elder Francato

Elder Costa
Elder Ferreira

Sister Jangers and Sis. Sabino

Surprise picture I found on my camera later from Elder Alves & Cifuentes

Elders Davis, Sander & Xavier
Saturday and Sunday were awesome. Conference was the best! Of course we watched in Portuguese so I got the majority of what was said but I’m downloading the talks in English so I can get it all. I noticed there were a lot of talks about repentance, the Atonement and true worship. I loved when Elder Eyring spoke about the Sabbath Day. We teach this also, and I know from experience as a missionary and before, that people do not recognize the gift that the Sabbath Day is. We will invite people to come to church and they won’t end up coming because they receive an invitation to do something they think is more fun. Let us not take or make invitations to do other things like to have parties, to bbq, play sports, or do anything that doesn’t bring the Lord closer to us and us closer to the Lord. It is a day set apart for HIM, not for us to continue to do what we can do all the rest of the days of the week. I know and testify that your life will be blessed with whatever you need if you keep His Day holy. Let us use the Lords day to show our love to Him, attend church and strengthen ourselves spiritually, serve others, visit people in need, and spread happiness to others lives. That includes doing home teaching, and visiting teaching. It is important and I know that it will bless the lives of those you are doing it for. We all need to give heed to the words of the Prophet and the Apostles. I testify that they speak the words of God. The things we are taught are not said so we can judge others but it is important for us to look at ourselves and make sure we are right in the eyes of the Lord. I love the Savior. I am thankful for His gospel and love.  Love you all. Hope you have a great week.

Com Amor,
Elder Cole