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