Monday, August 29, 2016

Como estão todos?

I hope everyone is doing well! Some great news this week! Elder Anderson, one of the Twelve apostles of the Church, will doing a mission tour in our mission next week. Everyone is pretty pumped! We will all be going to Piracicaba to hear him speak.
Elder Vieira
This week was pretty much the usual we spent most of it making new contacts and also contacting and teaching our current investigators. Had one of our old contacts give us a wrong address, so that was awkward when we showed up asking for someone who didn’t live there haha. Wish we could have taught him but he is just not ready I guess so you have to laugh and move on. So last week, we visited a member who is a recent convert that has been less active lately. She and her family haven’t been to church in a while so we have been visiting them often and trying to get them back to church. Last week they agreed to come to church the next Sunday and yesterday the whole family came for sacrament meeting. That was super cool. It is all about small steps and moving forward so every step makes an impact and is good! So remember the youth that I talked about a while ago that was playing soccer in the street and we kicked around with him a little but we weren’t able to teach him. Well, we saw him again but this time he was playing basketball. He’s a pretty good athlete! He plays like every sport. Anyway, he was shooting around on a basketball hoop that his family made (a full size basketball hoop too). So we went over and started talking to him. I ended up playing a 1v1 basketball game with him haha. It was cool! Then after, we shot around a little and asked if we could share a message with him and he accepted. We shared the first lesson with him and he said that he would like to learn more so we will be following up with him! That is a lesson to me that when you think that a door or opportunity might be closed or gone; think again because you never know what effect you can have through just talking and being friendly! During our contacting we also spoke with a woman that had lost her son in a car accident. He was a member of the church but he had never talked to her about it really. So we will be going to her house this week to teach her about the plan of salvation. As I listened to her speak of her son I thought “How blessed are we?”. We have the opportunity to know that there is a life after death and we are blessed with the knowledge that families are eternal. We know we'll live with them again if we live worthily. What comfort and peace that can bring.

Saturday we had a day of service. So we caught a bus to Siliba and helped out a member named Tiago. We raked leaves, leveled some ground, helped pick fruit and clean up and mow the lawn. It was fun and the family made some really good pizza after. They are a super cool family. I love the people here.

This week Elder Vieira and I also made pastels! I wasn’t so sure they would turn out but we didn’t do half bad. Actually they were pretty good. I uploaded some pictures to google drive for those of you who doubt my cooking prowess haha.

Hard at work making Pastels

The Delicious Pastels

Elder Vieira and Elder Davis 
 There are also some pictures of street art/graffiti that you see everywhere here. There is some pretty cool stuff. Also one with a young kid from our ward that wanted to take a picture with me and a family we have been visiting.
Street Art

Dinner with Sister Celano

Elder Davis and Ramon (a youth in their ward)

That is basically it for our week, but as usual I want to end by sharing a spiritual thought with you guys. In my personal study time this past week I read an article by Elder M. Russell Ballard. The title is “The Lord Needs You Now”. It is a really good talk and I hope you take a couple minutes to read it. He talks about the sin and temptations that are in the world and how we need to stand up for what we believe in now and make a difference. I especially would like to share this quote. "I know some of you worry about being misjudged, ridiculed, and even harassed if you stand up for Heavenly Father, The Lord Jesus Christ and the Church...My dearly beloved friends, don't worry about those in the large and spacious building… You are a great and important generation, and this is a great time to be alive! The future is bright. Say to yourself, “I am helping the Lord as I reach out to share my testimony and to teach the truths God has revealed in these last days.” I encourage you guys to stand up for what you believe in. Do not just be a bystander in this gospel. Don’t be afraid to let people know about your standards and about what we believe in. We made a promise at baptism to follow the example of Christ, to take upon his name. When we invite people to become baptized the question we ask is "Following the example of Jesus Christ, will you be baptized by someone holding the authority and priesthood power of God?" Those of us that have been baptized have covenanted to follow him by always remembering him and taking upon his name. We are to be a witness of Him. Let us hold to the rod of iron ALWAYS. Let us not be like those who partook of the fruit and then were ashamed because people were making fun of them and they lost their way. Let us not worry about what others may think or say about us. We need to be thinking about what our Heavenly Father thinks and what we think about ourselves. I know that I was afraid to share the gospel at times before my mission and I regret that. I would ask you to not make the same mistake I did by thinking "What if they dont want to be my friend anymore?”, “What if they think differently of me?". Have courage! You are here at this time for a reason and are part of a “great and important generation”. We all need to live up to that! I love you all and hope that you all have a good week!

Com Amor,

Elder Davis

Monday, August 22, 2016

Semana de Viagem

Elder Davis' District

I can sum this week up by saying we traveled a lot haha. My companion is the district leader so we have to attend a lot of meetings and do interviews, etc..this week there happened to be alot! Tuesday we had a district meeting so we traveled to Pirassununga. Wednesday was crazy. There was a baptism in Leme so we had to travel two cities down to Leme and interview a guy for baptism.  His name is Antoniô. He was super nice and loved to talk! While we were there we attended an activity with the members in Leme and the Sister missionaries there. It was called Noite da Amizade, “ Night of Friendship” It was basically a spiritual thought, some fun games, and then ate some delicious food (as always!). Thursday was crazy too! We had interviews with our mission president, President Bangerter. I seriously love him. He is pretty awesome! I feel like he is a long time friend that I have known forever but I have really only known him for 4 weeks haha. You can feel his love for you. He genuinely cares and makes sure we are all set and okay, always checking if we need anything.
Elder Davis with Pres. & Sis. Bangerter. (Pres. Bangerter is 6'7")
Friday was probably our hardest day. Estava quente! ( It was super hot). We were out making contacts all day. But we have 4 new investigators!! Woohoo! We met two families, the family of Franciana and the family of José Carlos, they invited us in and we were able to give them the first lesson. They have asked us back so we are excited to continue teaching them. So that is super exciting. We are still working with Rafael/Lucia and Ademir. We weren’t able to have lessons with them this week but will be contacting them next week.

Elder Davis &  his District at Talent Show
 Saturday, we had to travel to Pirassunuga again haha! There was a stake activity, a talent show,that we participated in as a district. It was super fun to see everyone get up there and show us their talents. We sang a song about what we do, it was pretty funny. It went kind of like this:

"Oi!" "Tudo Bem?" "Meu nome é Elder." "e meu Também!" "Somos da Igreja, Podemos Entrar?"

Just a little song - basically about making contacts haha. Although talent shows are not my thing it was fun! So that was basically our week last week. I am excited to be able to do a lot more teaching this week. Next Monday I will let you know how everyone is doing!

I want to share a spiritual thought with you. I have been studying the life of Christ a lot in the past few days in my personal study time. I love studying about Him. He really is the perfect example in all things. I was reading the parable in Luke 12:13-21 which is about a rich man that has a great harvest and is thinking about how he can store all his “fruits” so he can live a life of ease, eat, drink and be merry for many years. God then tells him that he will soon be leaving this life and his “things” will not be coming with him! I encourage you all to read it. But the meaning of the parable is in these two verses.

In verse 15 it says” And he said unto them take heed and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he posesseth.
And in verse 21 – “So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

I feel like we find ourselves too often thinking about what other people have, how great it must be to have those things, and how we supposedly “need” those things in our life. Instead we need to be thinking about how much we have. We may not have a lot of possessions compared to the richest people in the world, but in reality, we are the richest people in the world. Want to know why? We have the gospel. It is the one thing in the entire world that will bring true peace and happiness. It gives us the opportunity to have eternal life, to return to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Through it we have the opportunity to live with our families forever, to know that death is not the end. We have the ability to gain faith which comforts and strengthens us so we can know that we can make it through trials and everything will be alright. Let us cherish our covenants, let us cherish our families, our testimonies and our lives. Let us treasure things that have infinite worth and not focus on material things which are only temporal. Our spiritual testimony and our families are eternal. It is important to remember that in our everyday lives.

I love you all! Have a great week!
Com Amor,
-Elder Davis

Note: We just received the photo of Cole and the Bangerters on his arrival day as well as a photo of all the new missionaries that day so we just included it with this email.

New Missionaries on August 2, 2016 in Piracicaba Mission

Monday, August 15, 2016

Segunda Semana em Porto Ferreira

How is everyone doing? Hope everything is going well! Being here in Porto Ferreira is the best! I love it here.

So here are some of the highlights of my week! Our investigator Ademir came to church again on Sunday which was great. It was good to see him since we haven’t been able to catch him at his house in a while. We tried a couple times this week with no luck. His cousin Zelda has also shown some interest so we will start teaching her this week. We found two new investigators this past Wednesday! They are Rafael and Lucia (possibly their daughter too). We have shared with them the first lesson and it went well! They are great! This past week we have spent most of our time contacting. When I first got here we had no investigators so we have been doing A LOT of contacting. I took the lead in most of our contacting this week so that was super fun but also hard! We are going to start teaching an English class. We talked with the ward mission leader and he said it was alright. So we are excited! That will be fun, for the members as well as for everyone else! We have a district meeting every Tuesday so that's great to be able to get to meet all the missionaries in our district and get to know them. Had our first planning meeting which was good too.

To answer some of your questions, Porto Ferreira is small, pretty nice town. Not too busy and pretty laid back. The people are great, I love them. The weather has been great. Cold at night and hot during the day but not much rain just rained one day. The language is going okay. I seem to speak better than I understand so I am the opposite of what the norm is I guess. My companion says I speak well for only being out of the CTM for two weeks. I guess I am doing well speaking but I do not understand a lot of what is said. So I can start off a conversation pretty well but once it gets going and everyone is speaking pretty fast I get a little lost haha. But I know that will come with time. I have to be patient. I will keep going forward in faith. The Lord never gives us an obstacle without a way to accomplish it.

A funny story about language. The other night apparently I woke up in the middle of the night after my comp got back from going to the bathroom. When he came in the room I was half awake, half asleep and kind of out of it. I thought we were in a lesson for some reason lol. As he walks in the doorway, I ask 'Podemos terminar nossa lição com oração?' (Asking if we could end our lesson with a prayer.) He said ' O que?' (What?) and I then proceeded to start saying a prayer out loud in Português hahaha! I ended the prayer with Amém and then asked him 'Falou?' ('You spoke?') He was just like “dude you are weird”. And then I went back to sleep. Hopefully that is a sign my Portuguese is getting better if I am dreaming in it haha.

We also had a crazy experience this week. Unfortunately a lot of people here, like in many other places, turn to alcohol and drugs when things get hard. My comp says that many people here struggle with addiction due to a lot of things but mostly a lack of hope. Anyway we were on our way home from a less active member’s house and it was like 9 pm. To get home we had to go through a field to the street on the other side with lights. We start going through, trying to be aware my comp is looking left, I’m looking right, and this guy in front of us just stops for some reason then starts to go again. We finally get all the way through the field to the street with the lights, the guy is waiting for us and he has a gun. He is not speaking clearly but starts blurting out questions, mostly asking who we were and where we were from. You could tell he was on something. We told him “calma calma calma, nós somos missonários”. (Be calm we are missionaries.) After he calmed down a bit and we talked with him it turns out he was high as a kite on cocaine. He thought we were sent to kill him for some reason. He said he had stopped in the field to turn around and shoot us but decided to wait instead to ask us who we were. The Lord was definitely watching out for us and definitely blessed us by prompting him to ask who we were and then calming him down. Pretty crazy experience!

On a lighter note you know how much I love Brazilian food lol. I had some of the best ice cream I have ever tasted. It is called Bejô. It is made in São Carlos and is only sold there and here in Porto Ferreira. It is literally the best ice cream I have ever tasted! I love it. I am definitely going to put on some weight here haha. But I actually have finally found one Brazilian food/drink I do not like. I absolutely do not like Caju Juice! It is definitely the worst juice I have ever tasted in my life haha! But, I take one for the team and drink it when people make it for us. I just try to chug it so I taste as little as possible!

There were two articles that I read this week in the Liahona that I absolutely loved. The two articles are: Hold to the Rod by Daniel L. Johnson and Go Forward in Faith by Anthony D. Perkins. Read them! They are so good! In the article about holding to the rod he talks about the vision of Lehi and how we all kind of fall into 3 categories. Those who let go of the rod early on due to peer pressure or respecting the world's opinion more than that of our Heavenly Father. Then there are those who hold to the rod when things are tough (when they are in darkness). They seek God's help through prayer and scripture study etc.. but when things are resolved or things become more calm/ easy they then forget and let go of the rod. I liked his analogy where he compared it to "whitewater knuckles". When you are in the rough rapids you make sure you hold on tight to the rod but when you are in still waters you let go. The last group is those who hold fast CONTINUALLY, make covenants with Him and ultimately reach the tree of Life/the Savior and gain eternal life with Him. Christ ministered and taught for 3 years performing miracles and still few recognized Him for who He is. Let us recognize Him & His hand in our life as our Savior, and always remember Him and His sacrifice for us. I leave my testimony with you of the truthfulness of these things. I know if we continue with a steadfastness in Christ, have faith, immerse ourselves in the Doctrine of Christ, seek Him diligently in prayer - we will obtain eternal life with Him.

Love you all! Thank you for your support. Happy Fathers Day to Dad & all the fathers. Thank you Dad for being such a great Father. I owe so very much to you and your example. (Today is Father’s Day in Brazil.)

Com Amor,

Elder Davis

Monday, August 8, 2016

Bem vinda para Piracicaba

New Missionaries & Companions with Pres. Bangerter

So I finally got out of the CTM last Tuesday!  We traveled about 2 hours to our mission. We had lunch with the mission president, President Bangerter! He is pretty awesome and his wife is too.  You can tell that he loves and cares for every missionary in the field. He is really tall, he actually played baseball professionally. After lunch we had interviews with Pres. Bangerter and then a presentation by the APs and the executive secretaries.  Then we got on a bus and went to the nearby church to met our new companions and find out our zone and area! There were close to 30 missionaries going home and only 14 new missionaries coming in so there were a lot of changes in the mission. My trainer/first companion is Elder Vieira. I will send some pictures. He is Brazilian, obviously. He is from Fortaleza in the northern part of Brazil. He has this transfer and one other one before he goes home –
Elder Vieira and Elder Davis
so only has 3 months left.  He is super hilarious and a hard worker – so a pretty good combination!  We get along great. My zone is Pirassununga and my first area is Porto Ferreira.
 So we didn’t end up leaving for our area right on Tuesday because my comp.
is a district leader and had to stay to attend a leadership meeting the next day. So we stayed in the staff house for the night. Man, I definitely realized how blessed we are with the small and simple things …things such as being clean.  You don’t realize how different you feel when things are clean until you don't have that.  This was not due to circumstance or ability- that is something different – it was a choice made by those living there.  Anyway it was interesting and makes you appreciate what you have.   So the leadership meeting was the next day, we couldn’t go in though, only the leaders (my companion and other district leaders) so I stayed outside
Elder Hainsworth, Vieira, & Davis
the meeting with Elder Hainsworth and Elder Christensen (the other Americans that came with me). We stayed at the mission office during the time of the mtg.  I got your package mom, thank you so much for all the stuff. The card you sent me was exactly what I needed to hear! So here is the mail situation. So when the mail gets here to the mission office they do not send it out to us.  The mission office is like 3 hours away from my area. They are supposed to give it to the zone leaders when they go to the leadership meeting once a transfer and then the Zone leaders give it out at the Zone meeting the next week. So that means at best I will only receive mail once every 6 weeks. That is if the
Front of their house in Porto Ferreira
mission office missionaries are on top of it. You can send letters but know that I will only be getting it every 6 weeks if I am lucky. Email is probably best when you really need to tell me something.  They tell us not to give our actual street address where we live because the mail is delivered during the day to a box outside our house and most likely will get stolen especially if it is from the States.
After the meeting we finally went to the train station to leave for our areas and then had the interesting experience of having a guy, who was thoroughly drunk, yell at us in Portuguese for like 5-10 minutes straight, about how we are terrorists.  We just tried to ignore him which seemed to make him more irate.  It was pretty funny honestly. . .guys in white shirts & ties with missionary nametags…just your typical terrorist! He was so totally drunk. So anyway, we left for our zone.
Pirassungunga Zone
 We couldn’t go to our area yet since we had a zone meeting the next day so we stayed at the zone leaders’ house for the night. That was pretty eventful too because they had scorpions in their house. We found like 6 during the time we stayed there haha. The next morning we had zone meeting, I got to meet all the people in our zone so that was cool. After that we went proselyting for my first time! It was super hard since the people are really hard to understand but it was great. We found a lady that had taken all the lessons twice and had the baptism interview but never got baptized because the missionaries that were teaching her left for transfers and the new missionaries never came back so she never had the chance. So that was cool, we had to stay another night because the zone leader needed an interview for baptism for one of his investigators. The district leader does those and my companion is that. So we stayed there another night and did some proselyting and the interview. The family was super nice. The food here is so good too. Letting you know there is a good chance I am going to come back fat!  I hope not but the food here is SO good. We left for our area on Friday morning. When we finally got to our area, we unpacked and that was nice to finally be somewhere that was home for a few months anyway.  Our house is nice. It isn’t too bad. I sent some pictures. We actually have a kitchen with a stove and also a washer & dryer so no washing clothes in a river like you did Mom. We do have the typical South American electrical water heater for the shower, in the shower by the shower head - water & electricity right there together haha.

Washer and Dryer 


Elder Davis'  Desk

Living Room


Front room.
Purpose/Goal Board Signed by Missionaries that have served in that area
I am going to have a hard time taking pictures here since we can’t take our cameras with us while proselyting, we do not want to appear like tourists. Also it is dangerous to carry valuables with you – makes you a target.  I have already been robbed once. You just have to give in. I gave the dude the tiny amount of money I was carrying. It was like 7 reais. You carry a little so you have something to give them but not enough that it matters.
On Saturday we met the Bishop and had lunch with him. That was good, he's a good guy. We also got groceries  - which was great to have some food haha.  We went proselyting and that was the first time we got to go into our area! It was awesome. People here are very welcoming. We played soccer with some kids in the street and we met some great people.  Anyway, we met a guy named Ademir. He invited us in and we got to teach him the first lesson .  We invited him to church and he accepted! We kept going and knocked on another guy’s door  who talked to us for an hour about tithing and other questions but ended up sending us off after.  Sunday was the best. Got to meet all the people of the ward! The members are super great.  Ademir came to church and loved it! He noticed it was different from other churches. He invited us to come back and teach him more. So that was great! We had dinner at a member’s house that night and seriously that was the best brazilian food I have ever had! It was so so so good!  I think it is a given…I am going to get fat... That’s all for this week! Love all of you! Keep up the Lords work!

- Elder Davis