Monday, February 27, 2017

Principles with Promise

With the APs  and Elder Sander at Leadership Meeting
Oi todos-
This past week went by super fast. We had a great week. Carnival started and everybody left the small city where we are because there is nothing to do in our area that fits the "carnival crazy" party requirements. haha It is pretty mild where we are. It was tough to find anyone in their house or get them to answer the door but we gave it a shot. Didn't get much done in respect to teaching but it's all good! We have transfers tomorrow and I am staying in my area! My companion is leaving for the zone that I was in before coming here (Pirassununga). We kind of thought that my companion probably would be leaving, so we made the best of the week. It was awesome. My new companion will be Elder Vasconsales.

With Elder Sander & Passos at Leadership Meeting. Passos finished his mission.
This past Tuesday, we had another leadership meeting in Piracicaba. It was nice to see President again and all the friends of the mission that are zone and district leaders. Got to see Elder Sander and Elder Passos. Elder Passos is returning to his house tomorrow, he finished his mission. He is from Recife which is about a 3 hour flight from Sao Paulo. I think people do not realize how big Brasil is. Recife is not even on the most northern part of Brasil but he said if you drove by car it would take like 35 hours to get to his house from Piracicaba. So it would be like going from Charlotte to Utah or something like that. Brasil is so huge!! The meeting was great. President talked a lot about teaching principles with a promise and how to better teach our investigators that in order to feel the truthfulness of gospel principles they need to live them and reap the promises that come with obedience to them. He also spoke about how we need to help others by showing an example. Some questions he asked us to personally ask ourselves that I want to share with you is "Can we expect others to do the right thing if we aren't doing it ourselves? Can we expect to have everything go well when we aren't doing all we can? Are we helping others through our example? If others aren't doing the right thing do you follow their example or are you their example?" We often are worried about what others are doing and what they shouldn't be doing but really we need to focus on our example and choices. We need to let them see us enjoying the blessings of obedience. We can all help others through our example and that almost always speaks louder than our words. We all know that when we choose how to act or be it should based on what Christ would have us do rather than what is accepted by others. But it is not always easy. We need to do our best to represent Him in every moment, every place and every word and action. It was a great meeting that inspired me to reach a little higher and be a little better.
President Bangerter

After Leadership Mtg.
Thursday we had a zone meeting to relay the info we got from the leadership meeting and that went well. A sister in our District, Sister Araujo is ending her mission this week so we had a little party for her and took a zone picture. We had a zone t-shirts made and got them this past meeting so of course we had to get a photo with the t-shirts on.

Zone meeting - in our new zone t-shirts

With Elder Miki from our Zone
Sister Burbank and I at zone Meeting
Sister Cardoso trying to prove she has "grown"and is a spiritual giant

Last week of lunches with this guy

After lunch we learned how to call and feed the chickens.  Picking up all kinds of skills here.
Elder Vieira using his super powers...haha

Which one of these is not like the other? Got bit by something and this happened...

So my spiritual thought this week goes along with what President said about obedience on Tuesday. It is D&C 82:10.

"I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise."

That scripture is a great reminder to all of us of the great blessings and promises that are there for us if we obey. I have a testimony of that - we have to have the faith to live the principle and then we will see the promised blessings come into our lives. Make it a great week!

Love you all!

Elder Davis

Monday, February 20, 2017

Make a Difference

Loving the Mission!
Hey Everybody-
Hope the past week has been great for everyone. Our week was the usual crazy busy week. We worked extra hard on Tuesday to get in a lot of good visits because we found out that I needed to go to Piracicaba on Wednesday. Adriano was one of the people we visited and we marked a baptism date with him that day. He got baptized this past Saturday. Irmão Lima, a member in our ward & the dad of his girlfriend, baptized him. Adriano is so awesome and will be a great strength in the church! He was super excited and happy. I am sure that he will be a blessing to everyone in the church because he has a pure heart with pure intentions. He is a selfless type of guy that wants to help everyone and likes to share what he knows to help everyone get on and stay on the path to righteousness!
Meeting with Adriano at the home of the Lima Family with Elder Costa our Zone Leader.

Getting the font ready for Adriano's baptism

Love this guy! What a great example he is!

At Adriano's baptism-with Elder Vieira, Adriano, Samara, Irmão Lima
So Wednesday we went to Piracicaba for me to take out my CPF for Brasil. A CPF is a number that is assigned to you that identifies you and is needed for basically everything you do. Kind of like a social security number at home. It was awesome because I got to see all the other Americans in the mission. It was great to talk with them and see how they were doing! There are not too many of us so we are kind of spread out everywhere. Also got to spend the day with President there so that was awesome. I love that man. He is a great example to me.
On the way to Piracicaba - a nice change from walking everywhere.

My district grabbing some food together on PDay
Unfotunately after getting home from Piracicaba my companion and I both got sick on the same day and had to stay home Thursday and Friday. But Saturday made up for it and was the best day because Adriano was baptized! I am so grateful that I got to teach him. He is a pretty incredible guy. We are still working with Kethlyn and Selena. Things are going good with them and they have set the first week in March for their baptisms so we are working towards that. There are a few challenges with their families but I have faith that it will all work out.
Setting up for ward activity

Faith Walk at Ward Activity

Adriano at Ward Activity
Celebrating Elder Vieira's birthday at  Irmã Diogo's home
We also had a ward activity this week which was great - kind of like a faith walk. Then on Sunday it was Elder Vieira's birthday so we went to Sister Diogo's house for dinner and to celebrate his birthday. The best present of the day for all of us was Adriano being confirmed. His example has definitely strengthened my testimony. No matter where we are on the path to Christ we can contribute and bless others lives. Whether we are just learning about the gospel and making a change in our lives as new members or if we have been in the church our whole lives, we all can make a difference for someone. He has made a difference for me and hopefully l have made a difference for him. We each are given gifts and talents that make it possible to make a difference for someone. We all grow when we share them. We need to not think others know more or have more experience or do not need our help. Everyone needs help and everyone needs to be strengthened. It is important to have pure intentions, share what we have and try to help others stay on the right path back to our Lord and Savior. By doing that we will stay on the right path. I hope that everyone has a great week!

Take Care,

Elder Davis

Monday, February 13, 2017

Blessed and Happy State

Zone Conference with Pres. Bangerter
So this past week was a blast but as always was super busy! My district is baptizing a lot so we are always on the run to other areas doing interviews. Anyway, this week we did get some teaching done too and started teaching a few new people . One is Maria. We actually taught her the first lesson with the Book of Mormon. In the new training we received from President, he has taught us how to make our teaching understood by everyone and more simple and clear. We have always tried to be as clear and understandable as we can and base things on where people are in their understanding but the way he has taught us is amazing and we have had great results this past week with it. We used it in teaching Maria and it really helped her as she is learning. She is reading the Book of Mormon to find out for herself the truthfulness of it so that is a great first step for her. We are excited to continue teaching her. We also visited Nelson again this week. His situation is a little more complicated because his family is not interested in learning about the church and do not want him making any changes so that makes it very difficult. Satan is definitely trying as hard as he can with him to keep him from making the change. When we visited him he opened up to us about the struggles he is having and questions he has. We answered the questions he was having and he said he would be at church on Sunday so that is great. We are going to continue talking and teaching him as he progresses. We have also been teaching a girl named Kethlyn for awhile and she was at church Sunday. She loved it. One of the great things about the mission is watching people come to Christ and change and become so much happier and at peace. It really gives me a lot of joy and happiness to see them happy. I have learned about the joy that comes from serving your fellowman and genuinely loving them to the point that their happiness is your happiness. When I started my mission, I had trouble with that because I am not an outwardly or overly expressive person in that way and I thought you had to really know them to care about them. But now I know that if I look at them and see them as Christ truly sees them, then it is easy to have a love for them as my fellowman. I am learning to definitely throw everything I got on the table and try my hardest to help them find the truth they are seeking! :) In this life we are all in it together right? So we need to do what we can for each other. This week we are planning a ton of Family Home Evenings with members to better work with them in our teaching. (For those of you who do not know what a Family Home Evening is - it is just where once a week members of our church spend that evening with their families to have gospel lessons, do activities together like sports or service things, talk about issues or challenges and also they usually plan their week as a family, etc...) 
Time to celebrate - got a new fan! haha With Elders Gomes & Costa -zone leaders 
This past week we had zone conference and all had interviews with President Bangerter. As always it was awesome. He is the best - really and truly the best! It does not feel like an "interview" -we always just talk. He is my mission president first and foremost so he helps me understand my calling as a missionary but he is also like one of my best friends who I can speak to about everything. I am definitely blessed to have him in my life, as well as each one of you that is reading this now. I think one of the best gifts in life are the people you are able to meet and share life with. So yeah that was basically my week this past week. It was pretty great. 

Thanks for the new ties and the Valentines package!

Elder Vieira repping  Y soccer - thanks for the shirt.

Spiritual thought for this week is the scripture Mosiah 2:41. It says:

"And moreover I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it"

As I think about how much I have learned and grown in the past 7-8 months of my mission, I am so grateful for the tough experiences I have had. I have come to know the true meaning of happiness in my life. Happiness does not mean we do not have challenges or obstacles or that we have all we desire immediately and easily. And most of the time when the hard times come, we may not understand why something is happening to us at that time. But as God has told us in the scriptures, his ways are not the ways of man but they are always for our benefit but require our faith. He is there for us. I can definitely testify He loves us and if we are striving to do the best we can to live as He would have us live, we can be happy. We have to use our agency to choose wisely because he cannot bless us if we purposely are making bad choices. Yes He is a loving God but He is also a just God too. And the great thing is He is forgiving and through the Savior's atonement & repentance we always have a second chance. I know that His ways are above ours and His thoughts are above ours too so at times we just have to go forward with faith and trusting in Him when we do not understand why certain things are happening. I have come to realize that if those tough things didn't happen, I wouldn't have gained a testimony of that principle or been able to learn to have the strength to get back up and continue strong in the church. We need to be happy and not take the challenges/burdens in our life as a bad thing or something to complain about. We need to take them as a blessing and learn from them. We need to show Heavenly Father that He can trust us and that we totally trust and rely on Him. We need to choose to be in that "blessed and happy state" and show those that are searching what it means to truly follow Christ! In a talk Elder Bednar reminded us of our baptismal covenants and he said "as a representative of Jesus Christ your life is no longer just about what you want but what God wants for you." I testify to you that the happiness we will feel in the Celestial Kingdom with Heavenly Father, Christ and our families is far above any other type of happiness we could feel with earthly things. I love you and thank you all for being the examples you have been for me. Thank you for all the help you have given me throughout my life too. There are many who have lifted me, taught me and inspired me. Thank you.

Love you all! Have a great week!
Elder Davis

Everyone knows as missionaries we always get barked at and sometimes chased. Well this guy is my favorite because he is literally too heavy he can't get up.  No chasing from him.
Random cat that we found in our house one day when we came home - no idea how it got in.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Search the Scriptures

Short email today. Got a lot going on so I'm going to have to make it quick. I am loving the mission. I cannot explain how happy I was Sunday when we had 11 people a church. We had a long week of hard work to get everyone we are teaching there but the Lord blessed us and they were there! It was great because we even had time to introduce everyone to the members and the ward leaders. Everyone made them feel welcome and that is huge in them progressing. So this past week we did a lot of teaching with Adriano and a two others named Kethlyn and Selena. This next week we will mark a date for their baptisms hopefully. Adriano is studying and always wanting to know more. He even had a dream about being baptized and some other personal spiritual experiences that he shared. He is probably the most prepared and ready investigator I have had yet. I am excited to see him grow and change.

The beginning of this month I started to reread the Book of Mormon again and each time I learn so much. As I read it it brings more peace, strength and understanding to my life. I cannot wait to study the scriptures each morning and I hate to stop once I get started. I can say that through studying the scriptures, personal prayer and pondering, my testimony of Christ has grown so much. I feel His spirit right there as we go out to do His work. In John 5:39 it says,

"Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."

Earlier in my life scripture reading was kind of a chore sometimes - now I love it. It is a blessing to start my day right with the Lord's words in my mind. It feeds my spirit. I want to testify to you guys that studying the scriptures consistently everyday is something that will change your life. It will bring you closer to Christ, it will direct you in the right path, it will help you feel of the love the Lord has for you and so much more. You really can turn to the scriptures to solve any problem that you are having. So I want to challenge you if you are not studying your scriptures daily to start to study your scriptures each day. Nourish your spirit. And as you read, really try to study it out in your mind, mark what you think is worthy of being marked and then go out there and apply what you learned. And don't forget to share it with a friend. We all need our Savior's spirit in our lives and we have the opportunity to bless our own lives and the lives of others through the scriptures, we need to take advantage of it :)

Have a great week.
Elder Davis
When it is really hot what do you do? Clean the ice out of your freezer and..

make snowballs for a snowball fight! Actually they were pretty hard - pure ice. haha