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