Wednesday, July 27, 2016

One Week Left in the CTM

Elder Davis' District with their teacher Irmao Louza


How is it going everybody? I am loving it here! But I only have 6 more days in the CTM! Then I am off to Piracicaba! I know it will be challenging but I am super excited. My companion will most likely be a native speaker so it will be Portuguese 24/7 but that will help me to learn the language so much better than I already know it.

This week has been good! We haven’t really done anything that differs from the normal schedule of every week. Some guys that we became really good friends with, left the CTM yesterday for the mission field, Elder Louza, Elder Bodine, Elder Callhan, and Elder Hair. I  really miss them. They were the best and helped me a lot when I first got here to the CTM. The last three are Americans and Elder Louza is Brazilian. I took pictures that I will send today. We did the traditional “trading of ties” thing where we trade ties with them and write on the back of them so that we could remember each other. I wish them the best as they go into the mission field! It has been awesome to meet so many good people from all over.
Elder Davis with Elders Bodine, Hair,and Callhan
Elder Louza and Elder Davis
Random diversions at night in their room

Sorry you didn’t get those pictures last week. I am not sure what is happening with that. I will try to send them again when I get to Piracicaba. I did get some this week with our instructor/teacher Irmao Louza and the district and a lot of friends I have made here so I will send those today. Don’t worry mom I am taking a lot of pictures haha. I know how you love getting them.

Elder Davis and Irmao Louza

Elder Machado and Elder Davis

Elder Araneda and Elder Davis

Elder Candido and Elder Davis

Elder Davis and Elder Andrade

Elder Silva and Elder Davis
Elder Davis and Elder Vicente

Elder Luzo and Elder Davis
We went street contacting/ proselyting this past Thursday, and I have a pretty funny story to share. So Thursday is apparently a really busy work day here in Brazil. So as we approached people to talk to them we had a lot of people just shrugging us off. There were however, a lot of people that were willing to listen and were interested. It is amazing how you instantly know if they truly want to listen and are ready to do so. I love the people here and cannot wait to teach them but anyway, we felt like we should go talk to this 20-25 year old woman that had just gotten off the bus. So we went to go talk to her. We talked to her about the gospel a little and then introduced the Book of Mormon. When I told her that we had a gift for her and she didn’t have to pay for it (a lot of people here sell stuff on the streets as ´presents´), she spontaneously reacted. She was so excited and said 'A present for me!?' and then proceeded to full on hug me before I could do anything about it haha. She was super friendly and so nice. As we spoke to her about the gospel we could tell that she was ready and looking for something in her life. She was so accepting of it and was so willing to do what she needed to so that she could know of its truth.

Tell everyone thank you for writing. I love getting mail and hearing how everyone is doing! I am sorry that I do not have time to respond to everyone all the time. We only get 40 minutes or so to read our emails and respond so it is not enough time to answer everyone. I am hoping that in Piracicaba there will be a little more time to write people. But please thank everyone for me.

So next week we will take a 2 hour bus ride to get to Piracicaba but here is the thing. Our P-day (the day to email home) here in the CTM is Wednesday and when we get to Piracicaba it is on Monday. I leave Tuesday so I miss both by a day. I think I will be able to email you saying I got there okay but I am not sure. So do not worry if you do not receive anything next week.

Just a quick spiritual thought before I end this email. In Alma 26;27 it says,
“ Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.”
When our hearts are depressed, when we want to give up and turn back, the Lord will give us success if we have patience with our afflictions and trust in the Lord/rely on Him. So remember don’t stress about what you have on your plate, the Lord will always be there to help you. Don’t give up. Success is closer than you think. Press on and He will bless you. I love and miss you all.

Until next time!

Elder Davis

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Month Mark

Elders Christensen, Davis, Bodine, Hair, Callahan, Woodward, Dickson, Hainsworth & Simmons


How is everyone doing? I hope you are all doing well! Everything has been pretty much the same for the past week except for few a cool experiences!

New Roommates
As I said in the last email, our roommates left this past Tuesday and thenWednesday we got new roommates! They are super chill and cool. I took a picture with them at the temple so I will definitely send that to you guys! They are great. They help us learn Portuguese and we help them learn English. We have been helping them learn to pray in English and it is great to see them learn.
For our physical activity every day, we pretty much just play some 3v3 basketball tourneys. One of the times we went out to play there
Elder Davis' District
was a massive dead rat on the court! It was so funny because all the sisters were super grossed out! I have to admit it was pretty disgusting but we just played around it. haha. We pretty much ball up every day. Elder Christensen is a pretty awesome player. He shoots threes like no other and can drive super well. That makes playing against him pretty fun!This past Sunday, our branch president President Sancho told my companion and I that we were going to give talks that day but I told him we were blessing the sacrament so luckily he gave us a 'get out of jail free card' on the talks. So that was sweet. I still get a little nervous about my Portuguese and I was already a little worried about saying the sacrament prayers. I feel my pronunciation is still somewhat bad. So I practiced a lot and prayed fervently for help and things went well.
Elder Dickson and Elder Davis
The words seemed to roll of my tongue, like I was a Brazilian. haha But seriously it is great how the Lord works. Have faith and you will gain a witness of a principle after the trial of your faith.
Pres. Sancho also told me about my new calling. Before this I didn’t have a calling but he called me as the new Zone Leader for our CTM branch! I’m excited! I don’t get to do as much as I would as Zone Leader in the field but I still get to help out with 9 other districts which is about 47 missionaries now and about 70 when I leave. So that will be such a cool experience to have.

That is all that really happened this past week. We are going to go proselyting again this coming week so that is going to be another great experience. I will let you know how it goes! Thanks everyone for writing. I appreciate all the encouragement, testimonies and updates. I wouldn’t send anymore letters to the
The Crew always smiling but never looking the same direction!
CTM though. You should start sending them to the mission home because I leave in 14 days and it takes letters about 11 days to get here. Thanks for the pictures of Raurc. He is such a cute little guy and thanks for all the other family group photos. I wish I could have been at that family BBQ. Aunt Adelle and Uncle Chad are the awesome. We actually eat a lot of meat here too and it is so easy to put on a few pounds so we play basketball in the mornings and workout every night before we go to bed. We do push ups, sit-ups, crunches, planks, and other core stuff - keeps us in shape a bit. Tell Uncle Kent I love him and pray for him always. I hope he feels better soon. I miss his jokes.

Love you all! Hope everyone is continuing to do well!

Elder Davis

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Três semanas já

So this week has been the same as the other weeks pretty much, just lots of class and lots of teaching 'investigators'. The one thing that was different was that we got to go into the center of São Paulo to proselyte this week! That was pretty cool!  They took us to one of the busiest streets of São Paulo (it was a street where one of the most famous museums in São Paulo is) and gave us 10 Book of Mormons per companionship to give to those with spoke with. We were supposed to share a quick message about the Book of Mormon, as well as talk to them a little about their life and how reading the Book of Mormon could bless their life.  If they were interested we got their contact information for the missionaries in that area so they could follow up and teach them more about the gospel. Before going I was worried about being able to communicate well in Portuguese. I was comfortable with being able to speak with them since I can form my sentences pretty well but the thing I was really worried about was understanding their responses and questions. In the CTM the teachers and everyone talk slow to you since they know you are learning and have only been here 3 weeks. However in São Paulo people generally speak pretty fast and slurred together. Anyway, I decided to prayerfully fast the day before we went.  I knew that if I asked for the Lord’s help then He would provide a way for me to communicate, share what I needed to, and have the spirit there to open the hearts of the people and help them understand. So, it started out pretty rough.  In the beginning as we started talking to some people, the majority kind of just brushed us off. They said “No thank you” or “Sorry” and kept walking. It was easy to tell they were not interested in talking with us.  Then there were the people who would listen but wouldn’t take a Book of Mormon no matter how much I explained how it would bless their life.  It was super frustrating but I knew this feeling was coming from Satan, trying to get us to give up so that we wouldn’t talk to anyone anymore and so we would not have the Spirit with us. So my companion and I stayed positive and kept at it! We kept moving along and sure enough things started to pick up. We got to talk to a lot of really cool people. One of the best experiences was when I had a feeling we should talk to this guy I noticed across the street. I told my companion and he said “Sure, lets do it”.  We started making our way over there but we soon noticed he had headphones in and was talking to someone on the phone.  So we decided to talk to the teenager behind him, who we hadn’t noticed until we walked over there. We went up to him and I instantly had the feeling that this was who we were really supposed to see and talk with. This guy was completely and utterly prepared to hear the gospel. We started to talk to him about where he was from, what he did and then told him we had a gift for him that would bless his life and many others, including his family and friends.  He was a little confused on what it was, so we explained that the Book of Mormon was another Testament of Christ and had him read Moroni 10:4-5. He then asked us who Moroni was. We told him who he was and the discussion segwayed into prophets and then onto Joseph Smith. We had just learned the First Vision in Portuguese like 5-6 days before, which was great timing, so we got to share the account of the First vision with him, which was super cool! He had some questions and we answered them and he was very interested so we got his name and number. Hopefully the other missionaries will be able to follow up with him.  He was totally ready to hear the gospel at that time and I am grateful that the Lord gave me that prompting to cross the street.
There is one other quick experience I wanted to tell you about. At breakfast one morning I was standing in line talking with another missionary in what I thought was total Portuguese, with some English words mixed in for the words I did not know. He is Brazilian and is learning Spanish. We were just having a basic conversation of how you doing, where you from and where are you going.  At the end of the conversation, he told me that I spoke Spanish pretty well.  I was totally in shock because I swear that I was speaking Portuguese with some English!  I don’t know if I remember my High School Spanish better than I thought, or my Portuguese is not as good as I thought, or it was the “gift of tongues”, or my mind is so overloaded  it’s just switching in and out of every language I know. haha  But what I do know is the Holy Ghost is definitely present in our lives and helps us communicate not only through words but the spirit.  The experiences I am having have been huge testimony builders for me.  I know the Gift of Tongues is real and if you live worthy of it, righteously ask for it, you will receive it.  
 Our Brazilian roommates left yesterday.  Brazilians here in the CTM only stay for 3 weeks since they are not learning a new language. I was definitely sad to see them leave.  We had some great times and became really close. 

 I didn’t send pictures last week and this week because I had only taken a few. I will send some pictures next week though! I hope everyone is doing well! Love you guys!
Elder Davis

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Semana 2


How is it going guys! How was your fourth of July? As you can probably guess they didn't do too much here for the fourth but the cafeteria put up some cool decorations for us and we had fries and burgers instead of the regular Brazilian food. Thought that was awesome of them! So we have an activity of physical every morning, whoops meant physical activity but in Portuguese you translate it that way haha. (I guess it is good my mind is starting to think that way and I have to stop & think how it should be said in English.) Anyway, every morning we go play basketball. We aren't allowed to play actual games but it depends on the instructor out there with us. We love hollering "cesta" when someone makes a basket- got to use the Portuguese everywhere haha. (Cesta means basket/bucket.) Too bad Wolfgang (aka Elder Schulthess) isn't here to tear up the court with me! There is an elder in my district, Elder Christensen, and he is pretty good. Probably the best player I have ever played with. So it is a lot of fun - we look forward to it everyday.

I got sick two days ago so that ISN'T fun. Everyone in the CTM is getting this bug that got spread around and I thought my companion and I were in the clear but I spoke too soon. I will be alright though! You know me nothing keeps me down too long.

I got a quad of Portuguese scriptures today at the temple. I am ready to spread the gospel! I am also getting this super cool leather scripture case today. They have a lot of leather things here that have CTM or gospel sayings on them! As you can tell I am pretty stoked about it. haha

This week was really pretty much the same as last week. The one thing you know in the CTM is that the schedule pretty much stays the same everyday, not too many surprises. It is just lots of class & study time with eating meals in between and physical activity in the morning. The only thing that was different from this week to last week is that we now have 3 Brazilian investigators that we teach per day so that is hard but fun. (For those who are not familiar with the term "investigator", that is what we call someone who is investigating/interested in the gospel and wants to be taught the gospel.) We are now down to two because one got baptized already. (Here in the CTM the investigators are just the instructors role playing/pretending to be people who are not members and are interested in the gospel.) Another new thing we did this week is that we went on splits. Two American missionaries with one Brazilian investigator. I got paired with Elder Woodward and that was fun! It was an experience trying to communicate, it was hard but super fun!

So something that I am super looking forward to this week is.......... we are going street contacting/proselyting!! That is going to be super sweet but hard at the same time. So they give us 10 Book of Mormons, 5 per missionary/10 per companionship, and they bus us up to the main streets of São Paulo to walk around and talk to people about the gospel & give out Book of Mormons to those wanting to learn more. I am super excited for it! It is three hours long so hopefully we will get some good opportunities to speak to people. I have to admit I am a little worried they will speak too fast but you just have to get out there and do it.

We went to the Police Station this past week to get all set up with our government ID´s. I felt like it was a good chance to go talk to someone so I left my seat and went and sat by this teenager. I could tell that in the beginning he really didn't want to talk to me but I talked to him anyway. I was nervous that I wouldn't know what to say but the Lord helped me! I talked to him about what he does for work, what his name was, how bad I was at Portuguese, who I was and what I did as a missionary, and where I was going for my mission! The more we talked the more interested he became. He ended up having to leave with his family since they were done but that was super cool to have that experience! I hope that I planted a seed that may bring him to be interested in the gospel later.

Thanks for all the cards and letters. I LOVE MAIL! I am jealous that you guys were at Hilton Head beach without me but more jealous that you ate tons of crab!! Makes me hungry just to think about it!  Good luck to Christiana on her teaching job in Utah.  Tell her I love her. And thanks Dad for sending me those pictures. Good times. Most of all thanks for sharing those scriptures in Mosiah with me. I have been reading in Mosiah too - it is one of my favorite books. I felt the spirit strongly as I read them and it strengthened my testimony so thank you for that. I want to share a scripture with you guys too it is Romans 1:16, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.." Do not be afraid to share the gospel. We all know how it blesses our lives and it will do the same for others. It can only benefit people and if you do it, the Holy Ghost will take care of the rest! You never know what that person is going through and maybe that is just what they need at that time! So I challenge you to just put yourself out there and share the gospel that has brought you happiness!

Love you guys!
Elder Davis