Monday, September 26, 2016

A Great Week

At Piracicaba River Falls with Pres. & Sis. Bangerter a couple weeks ago

Hope everyone has had a great week! First of all I send my condolences to Dad for the BYU loss! Tough year! I know he takes it hard! Haha Hope you still had a great trip to DC. It has been a busy week here. We have been working hard. I think I am officially no longer a night owl. When we get home we eat something and then most of the time go straight to sleep! We are usually down for the count! We have been trying to get to some of the outer lying areas a lot more. Our area is huge – 3 cities and riding the bus can be expensive so we do a lot of walking when we can. Last week though a member stopped by after going to São Carlos and brought us each a Big Mac! (There is a McDonald’s there I guess.) It was a great surprise! We inhaled them! We are working hard to get to know the members well and get them more involved with the missionary work. There are some super nice members here.

Elder Sander always working hard!

Out working in Santa Rita

Great surprise after a long day!

Elder Sander enjoying it!
So last week I did not end up going to Piracicaba – there was a change in plans and I stayed with Elder Rassmussen (a new American) in Pirassununga until our companions returned from Piracicaba. He is just out of the CTM for a week and I am kinda new still too so that was an experience! Haha. I practiced with him a little before we went out and answered some of his questions then we went to work! We made some contacts and he taught the first parts of the first lesson. He did great. It humbled me and made me think about all the people that were patient with me when I sincerely knew nothing. I am grateful for their patience then and now. I forgot to tell you that I ended up speaking on the fly at church a few weeks ago when someone did not show up. I think my Portuguese is pretty good for how long I have been out here but it was such a surprise I am not sure that it all came out the way it was supposed to. I think it went well but I am always thankful for kind and patient people!

Outer lying parts of our area

In some of our outer areas there are fruit trees everywhere
Wednesday we had Zone meeting. We learned about the importance of planning. We talked about how when we plan, we are not only planning with our companions but we are also planning with God for the day. Through our planning and prayers we open the door for Him to make opportunities for us. When we follow that plan, we will have opportunities, when we don’t; we will miss out on those things that He planned for us. It is like the blessings we can receive through the gospel. When we follow the prophet, follow the gospel principles/commandments, read and study the scriptures and say our prayers, we will receive a lot of great blessings that Heavenly Father has in store for us. But when we do not follow the plan and lack those things, we will miss out on all the great blessings and things He has planned for us.
In Piracicaba at the Falls

We taught Franciana again this week. Unfortunately most of her family has become a little indifferent with the lessons and are not as interested. So that is challenging but Franciana continues to invite us back and is excited about what we teach her. When we taught her this past week she marked a date for her baptism. She still has a lot of fear. She says she wants it but she is hesitant because it is a big change and she feels she is doing it alone because of how her family is now. It is tough when you are changing everything in your life and your family is not. We marked a date with her though (October 8th) and told her we would continue to teach and prepare her. She agreed, she knows it is true, it is just challenging for her to make this decision without the rest of her family. We will have to work hard and pray for her to feel the spirit as we teach. I know that as we teach her she will gain more and more strength and knowledge which will give her the confirmation that she is looking for. I am excited to see the spirit work with her as we teach her.

We had an interview in Leme this past week for a baptism the sisters were having. The sisters made some food for us at the church  since we had to travel there from Porto Ferreira. It was great to get to know them a little. They are pretty funny. There was this hat that had been left in the church, so they made us wear it in order to get our food. Got to do what you got to do right?  Haha.
Elder Sander rocking the hat!

Food was good... almost made it worth wearing the hat!

At the bus stop in Leme with the sisters
Elder Vieira sent an email to me with some pictures that he took before he left so I have included some of them. Also uploaded some pictures that I didn’t get uploaded when we went to hear Elder Anderson speak. Some are with Pres. and Sis. Bangerter and then a few are with the old zone and with Elder Vieira.
In Piracicaba to hear Elder Anderson speak a couple weeks ago
Got to go – we are having a churrasco today. Love you all and appreciate all you do to support me as I am serving the Lord and the people of Brasil. Have a great week.

Com Amor,
Elder Davis

Monday, September 19, 2016

Prayers are Answered

Elder Davis & Elder Sander

Here is the weekly email homies. Like I mentioned in the last email we had transfers this past week.
With Elder Vieira and Ayumi's family before he left
So yeah that was super sweet! My companion changed, my new companion is now Elder Sander. Elder Sander is only 4 and 1/2 months out but seriously is so so so awesome. He is basically fluent, there are a few things he doesn’t know but that is like everyone right? We all are always trying to learn more. He can speak pretty fast so it is really helping me learn how to speak a little faster and adjust to hearing it. It is awesome. I am getting to the point where I feel like I can actually speak the language and people understand it without too much effort sometimes! haha. But seriously I feel like I have learned so much in just a week with him. We have found a lot of people to teach. One day this past week we taught 4 lessons back to back in just a short time. I love working hard and being about the Lord’s work. I am super excited to do and learn more! We have two more families to teach and a lot of others to follow up on after the first lesson so that is awesome. We have been able to get lots of members involved to help us too. We recently started to take members with us contacting and to lessons. That has really helped because as you all know when you know someone in a ward, you feel like you have someone to talk to and that you belong. That is usually a fear of most of our investigators, they don’t want to go to a church where they do not know anyone but if we bring someone to the lessons then they do. We have an investigator that we have invited to become baptized, four actually, they all said yes but we haven’t set the date yet. So that is very exciting! We are getting to know the area a little bit more and we have had a lot of good contacts. We didn’t do too much other than contacting this week since our teaching pool was basically empty but we will have a lot to talk about next week.

At the bus is a long walk home!
This past week we also went out to Santa Rita, another little city that we cover. It is pretty far from Porto Ferreira so we had to take a long bus ride. We had lunch with a member out there. After lunch she asked us if we could help her with just a few projects so we of course said yes. I had a lot of firsts that day. Haha First time feeding & hosing down pigs (no kidding), first time moving cows, first time feeding goats (they’re crazy) and first time burying a dog that passed away. I love serving others, there is no greater feeling. I uploaded some pictures.

A  "thank you" cake from Joselira

It is getting really hot here. Summer doesn't officially start until December but it is so hot already! For kicks I uploaded a picture of our air conditioning unit! haha It is this ghetto fan that we found in one of the closets here at our house and when you turn it on it bounces all over the place and makes the most horrible noises. We laugh every time we turn it on. So enjoy your air conditioning everyone!

Our air conditioning unit
I have to end it here. Got to go pack, we are going to Piracicaba today. Elder Sanders has to go for a leaders meeting and I will be on exchanges for a day or two in Piracicaba with a new American greenie just out of the CTM. His companion is also a District Leader so he will be at the same meetings as Elder Sander. It’s going to be good couple days for my Portuguese. Going to be fun!

Pirassununga Zone
But I just want to testify to all of you that I know, without a doubt in my heart or my entire being that God hears our prayers. He knows us individually and our challenges. He answered my prayer with the companion that I have now. Elder Sander is a really hard worker and we are striving to do the Lord’s will. We pray together, pray where we should go, what neighborhood, and what streets. I feel the spirit in my life more and I notice the spirit’s promptings with him also. We do great wonders through having faith. So when life gets difficult, we need to keep our heads up, have faith and trust in the Lord. Ask for His help, I know without a doubt that He has a plan for each of us and it will be the best thing for us. So don’t have fear, just have faith!

I love you all! Thank you for your emails, I have really enjoyed reading and responding to them! Take care.

Com Amor,

Elder Davis

Monday, September 12, 2016

First Baptism & Transfers

The CTM District together again- Elder Davis, Hainsworth,Simmons,Woodward, Christiansen
& Dickson @ the meeting with Elder Anderson

Transfers are tomorrow. I found out I am staying in my area and zone, but will have a new trainer. His name is Elder Sander. He is from Uruguay. I am excited to see what is in store. A lot of the missionaries in my zone left so that is sad but hey, we are getting a lot of new missionaries so that will be cool to get to know them!
In Pirassununga
We have been working in Pirassununga (different city/area) for the whole week since Elder Xavier didn’t have a companion. Elder Alves was moved to a different hospital in another area, so we were in a trio for the whole week. The greatest part of this past week... I had my first baptism! On Sunday actually! So that was super cool! I baptized a daughter of a member who had just been reactivated by the missionaries here in Pirassununga. The mom had been less active for a long time, almost 20 years, but now she is back attending church.
Elder Xavier, Eduarda & her mother, ElderDavis & Elder Vieira
 I was kind of surprised when she asked if I could baptize her because I had not taught her the whole time, was only involved just at the end. But I felt honored I could be a part of it. Her name is Maria Eduarda Francisco Pedro and she is a little over 8 years old. It was a really awesome experience! I uploaded some pictures. Since I was not in my area I didn't have my own white clothes so I had to borrow stuff from another missionary. It was a little big but it worked. So no comments on the attire Dad! Haha.  I also got a haircut as you can tell. Also as you can tell it’s not exactly like I like it but you got to roll with it. At least it grows fast!

It was great to see everybody!
Elder Anderson’s talk was amazing! He spoke in Portuguese most of the time but in the end said a
few things in English. He is pretty amazing. He speaks 4 languages fluently, Portuguese, Spanish, French and of course English. He spoke a lot on how to teach like Christ taught. He taught with such power and spirit. I learned a lot. One of the things he said that I loved was, “This mission isn’t a sacrifice, it is a privilege.” That was a wakeup call for me because I sometimes think about the things I think I am sacrificing to be here, when in reality I am being blessed with so much that I could not be blessed with anywhere else. I am thankful for this experience. It brings challenges but many more blessings that I can't get in any other way or place. At the end of the meeting we filmed a video of the entire mission singing the mission song. It is going to go on the LDS website. I think they said they are creating a site where you can go when you get your mission call and look up information about your mission, see a photo of the mission and watch that video. So that was super sweet. Since the whole mission was there I also saw the guys from my CTM district. That was awesome to catch up with them and hear how they're doing. I got a few pictures with them. Also took a picture with some of the Elders who are going home tomorrow. They are cool – they'll be missed. I took some pictures with Pres. Bangerter but I will have to upload those maybe next week.
 Elders going home tomorrow.
Elder Duarte
It was great to see Christensen! Wished we could have played some Basketball!
Elder Silva
The district from the CTM plus one
Glad you got my package. That is hilarious that Dad almost lost it drinking the Caju juice! Dude did I tell you? Pretty nasty stuff right? When people make it for you, you can’t say no but I try to avoid it if at all possible. If I have to take one for the team I make sure to down it in one gulp because it is pretty awful! You do not want to smell or taste it more than you have to. Haha  I absolutely love all the food here in Brazil EXCEPT Caju Juice!

That is pretty much what happened this week! I will update you guys next week on how things are going! Love and miss all of you guys! Take Care and stay close the the Lord!

Com Amor,
Elder Davis

Monday, September 5, 2016

Bom dia!

Pirassununga Zone
Bom dia!

Week 5 of this transfer everybody! Woot woot!! A week from tomorrow we have transfers, I may stay, I may not, who knows?? I will let you know next week.

This week was crazy because we basically made contacts all week again! It is so much better to work with member referrals but we have yet to have any of those so we continue to go out and do our best contacting. We do a lot of walking! I uploaded some pictures of our area. We cover three cities - Porto
Ferreira, Santa Rita do Passa Quatro, and one other one I haven't been to yet. We met some cool people and taught some lessons so hopefully we will be able to return and teach them more. We have a few new investigators and some that are progressing a little. We tried something different this week. We started to try to set more appointments for a specific time instead of just saying we will return on "this day". We were hoping it would work out better than leaving the time so open. Sounds basic I know but here in Brazil they don’t worry about schedules too much and are pretty laid back when it comes to setting specific times to do things. It was worth a shot. Haha. Most of the appointments we set fell through; only one person was home at the times we had set up. We had a great lesson though! She is the woman I spoke about in my email last week that is mourning the loss of her son who passed away recently. He was a member of the church but she didn’t know it until after he passed away. Right now she is interested in learning a little more about what he believed in and what our church believes. So we started to teach her the first lesson, talking a little about how Heavenly Father is our Father and we are His children. Then we shifted to the Plan of Salvation after. We talked with her about how through Christ’s atonement we can live with our families after this life. After the lesson, I was thinking about how blessed we are to have the knowledge of the Plan of Salvation. I am thankful for the knowledge that I have that we lived with Heavenly Father before and can return to live with Him again, along with Jesus Christ and our families. This is possible through the Atonement of Christ and the Plan of Salvation. If anyone has questions about the Plan of Salvation please ask my parents. They would love to speak with you about it or refer you to the missionaries. The Plan of Salvation answers three questions; where we came from, why we are here on earth and where we go after this life! All three are important things to understanding our purpose and journey in this life and the life after.
Porto Ferreira
 We had another lesson with one of our other investigators about the Book of Mormon this past week. She has started reading but hasn’t prayed about it yet. So hopefully that will happen this week. We invited her to church and she said yes. She came Sunday with her family! That was awesome!

I am actually writing this from Pirassungunga. We came here yesterday to help the Elders in this area who are in our district. One Elder is in the hospital with abdominal pain so we came to give his companion a break. He has stayed the last couple days with his companion in the hospital and has not gotten much sleep or eaten much. So we came to help out a little and give him a break. Tomorrow Elder Vieira and I will travel to Piracicaba to hear Elder Anderson speak. We are pumped. It’s going to be great.

We also had a zone meeting this past Wednesday. I love our zone!  After the meeting we threw a little party for three of the missionaries in our Zone! They loved it. Everyone loved it! Man, cake is good! I miss it! haha.
Happy Birthday Sister Torres, Elder Costa and Sister Mendez
Quick note to you Dad. I heard you lost a battle recently with fire ants when mowing the yard. Rest in Peace Dude!haha Brings back memories for me for sure! You should see the bugs here dude! I don't even know what these monster bugs are but they are eating me alive!!  Pretty crazy.

Always turn towards the Light and all will work out.
Got to go but I wanted to share something from a talk "The Spirit of Revelation" by Elder David A. Bednar.  ( He talks about how spiritual revelation sometimes comes immediately and completely all at once like when a light is turned on. Then he speaks of what happens more commonly, which is when it comes little by little like a sunrise. We have to have faith and be patient. We will get answers as we are obedient, worthy and prepared. Ask for what you need and if you ask with a humble and honest heart, with faith and a desire, you will be given whatever you need that is expedient unto you! I know Heavenly Father loves us. He knows our problems, and I know that He will help us through anything if we prayerfully ask for it with faith and a sincere and honest heart. He gives us obstacles and trials to strengthen us and He will provide a way to overcome them. He will never give us something we cannot overcome. We all need to look to the Atonement, keep our testimonies strong & close to us. As we do this and strive to have the Spirit in our lives, He will guide us back to his presence.

I love you all. Have a great week!

Com Amor,
Elder Davis