Monday, March 27, 2017

Power of the Priesthood

Part of the zone with Sis. Bangerter waiting for interviews.
How is everyone? Everybody surviving March Madness? I heard there has been a lot of upsets - always interesting! I apologize I am going to have to make this one a short one. Lots going on. This past week was a crazy week. Been working hard in our area as well as trying to keep up with the district. Tuesday we were in Interlagos to work with the Sisters a little and do some interviews with some of the people they are teaching. It went well and it was good to see how they have applied the things we have been taught by President. We always have something new to learn or improve on so it is good to get a fresh perspective and learn from one another. Wednesday we had splits with our zone leaders and that was awesome. They are great missionaries and zone leaders too. I spent the day with Elder Costa. He is a great guy and I always learn something when I am with him that will help me be a better missionary. Also I forgot to tell you a couple weeks back they have asked me to start teaching an English class here in this area so we have been doing that too for the last month or so. That would probably make my English teachers laugh to know that I am teaching English! :) Had great English teachers but it was not one of my favorite subjects! haha Thursday we had interviews with President which is always an awesome experience. He is such an inspired man who does everything by the spirit. I know part of the reason I am here in this mission is because I needed to learn from him. Every time I talk to him, it reconfirms that to me. He is seriously the best mission president ever. After interviews we got to watch the movie "17 Miracles" with President at lunch time there at the church. Every time I watch that movie I have to hold back the emotion. haha But seriously we need to heed their examples of sacrifice, perseverance, charity, love, and DEFINITELY faith and humility in our lives. They totally, 100%, depended on the Lord and the Lord was with them in every moment. We need to learn from that example and remember that as long as we are doing the right things and following the right path, the Lord will bless us in our efforts. We also had the opportunity this past week on Saturday to visit some other investigators of the sisters in Hortolandia centro area. I had an interview with someone they are teaching. She was so ready to receive the gospel and has progressed a lot. We marked a date with her for baptism on the 8th of April and she is so excited! It is such a blessing to see the changes that people make in their lives for the gospel and it makes me so happy for them to follow the promptings of their hearts to follow what is right no matter how hard it is. Its truly is a blessing to see that and it strengthens my spirit and testimony EVERY TIME!

Dinner with the Dos Anjos Family.  Their last name means "from angels".  It is pretty appropriate!
Dos Anjos Familia showing their Missionary Spirit!

Ricardo and Charles from English Class
Waiting for interviews with President
With Elder Ferreira
With Elder Walton
In Interlagos to work with the Sisters and do interviews
On Friday I had the opportunity to give a blessing to some sisters. I am always humbled when I get that opportunity. So before and after that I have been thinking and studying about the priesthood and what a privilege and blessing it is. It also made me think about the responsibility and honor that we have to keep ourselves worthy in every moment in our life so we can use the power of the priesthood to bless other's lives. You never know when we will be called upon to use our priesthood. So I have been asking myself "Am I doing the things I need to to be worthy in that moment to use the priesthood which was given me to bless not only my family but the lives of others?" Pres. Nelson in General Conference last year said we can be given priesthood authority but we still have to do things to access the powers of heaven to have the power of the priesthood in our lives. He talked about things that can block the flow of power from heaven such as disobedience to commandments, pride, being overly concerned with the things of the world and then he talked about the things that open the heavens and give us power which are seeking the spirit constantly through the scriptures and prayer, worshiping God with all our heart, might mind, and strength and then also serving others. He compared it to the account in the Bible of Esau selling his birthright for a mess of pottage. He then asked do we not do that when we make the choices to not do the things we need to to access the powers of heaven. It was an awesome talk and great counsel. It was called The Price of Priesthood Power if you want to look it up on It definitely strengthened my desire to not only always honor and live worthy of the priesthood I have been given but access all the power I can through through consistently making righteous choices.

I love you all. Hope you have a great week!
Elder Davis

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Counsel with the Lord

FHE with Ademir's family and Members
Hope everyone is doing great! We had a good week. Although we didn't have a ton of time in our own area we tried to make sure we used it wisely. We were able to have a Family Home Evening with a couple families in the ward and take Ademir and his family. It worked out pretty well and they really enjoyed it. But later in the week they found out that they had to move out of their old house. So they moved out last week. It was quick and so we have not been able to meet with them since then. We are hoping to catch up with them this week. He was also offered a job in a different area so they were thinking they would leave the area. They were really progressing well and had decided to be baptized. I love that family. We are hoping they stay but if they leave we hope they continue to go to church and meet with the missionaries. This past week we also taught Guilharme again and he went to church. We are working towards baptism with him also. But he does have some family that are trying to talk him out of it. They do no want him to change because they do not want to feel they need to change I think. But all we can do is teach and invite so the spirit can testify and then they have to make the choice. We also helped Adriano(our baptism from a couple weeks ago) move into his new house. He and Samara get married on April 22 and so he moved into a new house so it would be all ready after they get married. I love that guy. Transfers are April 11 so I hope that I am able to stay one more transfer so I can be his witness at his wedding. I am stoked for that but if the Lord sends me elsewhere I know that is where I am supposed to be.
At Adriano's new home.
Hugo, an awesome guy from our ward who is preparing for his mission. Goes on a lot of splits with us.
 This past week I also visited every single area in the district. Our district is the biggest in the mission( in area and # of companionships) so that took a lot of time(to walk to some of the areas would take 2- 2.5 hours just to get to one area). So we spent a lot of time on the bus. haha I challenged the district to find someone whom they felt could benefit from a visit from us. I went and talked with each companionship to see how they are doing in their area and then did the "gato gordo" (the new technique that we have for making contacts) together to see how it was going and to practice. Then we visited the people they had felt we should. It is good because we all have different talents and perspectives so by doing that we learn from each other and improve. But we had a couple great days. Thursday I visited  Horto B and things went well. On Friday I went to a couple areas Interlagos B, Anhanguera and Horto A. In Anhanguera I was supposed to do a baptism interview. Right before I got there the guy called the Elders and cancelled. He said he was having doubts and was not sure he wanted to be baptized anymore. I was already almost there and I had a strong feeling to just go visit him anyway and see what his doubts were about. So we went, prayed with him and spoke with him about a few things he had questions about, then ended up interviewing him and he got baptized. It was a pretty great experience. Made me super happy to see him make that decision. Not that its another baptism for them or the zone or for the mission but It made me super happy to see him make the decision to follow the straight and narrow path, regardless of the fear of change or difficulties with families or friends. He chose to follow our Savior rather than give into the adversary. That makes me happy. In Interlagos B area I was able to talk to an investigator named Vera about the importance of marriage. It went well and so she has decided to start the process toward being able to get married. So that was good step forward! Also had an interview in Horto A with a lady named Iris. That also was a great interview and we both left feeling the spirit strongly I think. It was awesome. Lots of miracles happened last week in the district which was sweet! Most of the missionaries in my district are sisters and I have a great respect for them. They work hard. There are only 4 Elders in our district - my companionship and another one. We work very hard too but the sisters set the bar high!! haha I am thankful for them all. The week was awesome. I learned alot and I hope I was able to help them learn a lot too. This next week we will have interviews with president so I am super excited for that!
With  Elder Little and Hugo in Anhanguera for baptism interview 

Walking to an appt and saw these random pineapple plants
With Sister Hanson and Adão in their area for an interview
I want to share a couple scriptures this week with you that I have been thinking a lot about lately. The first one 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."
And the second is Moroni 7:48
"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen."
I think that sometimes we take prayer a little too lightly. It is a great blessing to be able to speak and receive answers and comfort from our Heavenly Father. Christ was our example in this too. He prayed always in all things - when grateful, when he needed strength, for comfort. We should follow that example. Everyone should take advantage of prayer in every moment in our lives. God has created a plan for us and He knows what we are passing through. Jesus Christ does too, He suffered not only for all of our sins but also for our difficulties. We can pray to Him for any type of help and I know He will provide us with an answer to our challenges. It may not be on our time schedule but it will come in the right moment. We have to listen for our answers too, listen for that still small voice.. In 1 Kings 19:11-12, it says
"And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:
And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice."
It is so important to be humble enough to know that we cannot do this without Him. We need to know that we depend on Him, and we need to recognize the special opportunity we hold every time we have the chance to say a prayer. We have a direct line to our Heavenly Father but if we don't do it with humility or sincerity, it wont make it past the ceiling. I love you all and I testify to each and everyone of you that Christ lives. He is our Savior and Redeemer. Joseph Smith was called of God to restore His Church and we again have the authority of Christ here on the earth. We have a living prophet, his name is Thomas S. Monson and we will have the opportunity to listen to him share the will of the Lord on the first week of April. I invite you all to listen in! If you are not familiar with it, you can learn more about it by looking up General Conference April 2017 @

Some pictures this week from our district meeting thanks to Sister Cardoso who took my camera.
The Sisters in my district - Cardoso, Dimartini, Adão, Hansen, Ostler, W. Silva, Costa (in the back), and Ence.

Elders in my District - Elder Little, Hugo, and Vasconsoles.  Then Elder Costa (ZL) and me.

Chatting and having some refreshments before District mtg.

Love you all! Have a great week.
Elder Davis

Monday, March 13, 2017

Obedience brings blessings

Multizone Meeting with President & Sis. Bangerter
Hope everyone is doing great and had a good week. Man was this past week awesome but tiring! Elder Vasconcelos, my new companion is doing great! We worked sooooo hard this week! This past week we taught a lot of lessons! We had a multizone Conference one day but still got in a bunch of lessons for the week. He has been willing to work and work so that is great! We would come home and I would get my calls done to the companionships in the district and then we were out. We were beat! But the week was great. Where can I start? haha. I will just hit the highlights.Tuesday we had a lesson with a friend of a member named Guilharme! He is super awesome. He has a great sense of humor and is really humble. He is progressing quickly as we teach him. He came to church for the second time this past week! So that made us pretty happy! We will be talking with him tonight again, and we will be marking a baptism date with him! We also visited Ademirs family this past week (Ademir, Carol, Luciana and Gabriel/Antonio). We marked dates for baptism with them as 25th of march. Ademir and Luciana need to get married so we still have some things that have to happen before that but we are moving forward. Ademir is also striving to change some habits. He is truly ready to change and it's amazing me how much he loves his Savior and wants to change to not only help his body but also his family and do right in the sight of the Lord. We attended the baptism of a member's daughter and took one of our investigators with us so they could see what it was like. She was baptized by her dad and it was not in a font but a pool in a yard. That was a first for me. .Adriano who we baptized a few weeks ago asked me to be one of the two witnesses for his wedding. I felt honored and was super stoked about that. I am more excited to see them get sealed in the temple a year from now. It would be awesome if I could go! Campinas temple is about 15 minutes from my area now but is actually in a different mission.
Baptism of a Member's daughter
With Erico Dos Anjos and members of the ward and family that attended the Baptis

Getting set up for the Baptism
 Got to share this with you because I know Dad will get a good laugh. I didn't end up going to the Dr. for the dog bite. When I talked with Sis. Bangerter she said it would ultimatelybe a waste of time to go because unless you were showing major symptoms they would not give you any shots. There was another missionary that got bit and when he went, they would not give him a shot or anythng. They said just to watch to see if the dog died in the next ten days. haha Maybe after I graduate I need to come down here and be a PA. :)
With Elder Cifuentes (from my 1st zone), & Elder Sander at multizone mtg. (with Sis. Bangerter photobombing in the back!)
With Elder Azevedo @ multizone

At Multizone with Sister Janser (she was in my first zone)

With Elder Pontes

With Elder Soares - one of the new missionaries. Awesome guy!

With Elder Gomes (previous ZL) and Elder Sander

With Elder Waters
With Sister Dimartini and Elder Ricarte (ZL) - in life there is always reason to look up!
We had about 38 lessons this past week. We found a lot of new people to teach and that was awesome because as we all know that everything changes - we lose some and gain some so you have to always be working to find those looking for the truth. We were blessed to find a lot of good people to teach. It makes me so happy to find those people. To not only find more people so we have people to teach but to find those children of God who are just waiting for the gospel that will bless their lives and the lives of their family for eternity. I love thinking about Gods Plan. The experiences of life, even the small and simple things that happen to us, can bring us joy and make us happy. Each experience can be an opportunity to grow. Sometimes we may think why did this happen but we need to think about how we can use that experience to grow and to bless the lives of others. Life is good, we should enjoy it and make the most of the opportunities we are given. 

President taking a selfie with me and two sisters (Sis. C.Silva & Cardoso) from my district. 
Receive a missionary of excellence certificate = mandatory photo with Pres & Sis. Bangerter. Love them!
 Like I said we also had multizone this past week and it was awesome. I loved it. I always love seeing Elder Sander and all my friends but also love getting the opportunity to talk to President and give him a hug. He is literally the best mission president in the world! The assistants talked to us about a new weekly planning schedule that is "powerful". It was a great new way that we can look at weekly planning. It focuses on how we can recognize our investigators' needs and plan it all in an organized way so we can complete the will of the Lord. President also talked about obedience. It was pretty awesome.
President's object lesson about "hitting our targets"
The spiritual thought for this week is two things. First what my president talked about. "Obedience brings blessings but 100% obedience or perfect obedience brings and does miracles." Sometimes we think the small things are not of much importance but as we do the small things everyday, we will start to see the change in our vision of everyday life and we will also start to see the hand of the Lord more in our life. He is always there but if we are distracted, we will miss those tender and precious moments that will strengthen our testimonies and keep us on the path. Second, I know that God has a plan for each one of us. Sometimes I think, why did this thing happen to me or why didn't this thing happen for me. But the problem is that our thoughts or ways are not the same as Gods (Isaiah 58). His ways are perfect and glorious. He sees the whole picture. How we handle those simple and small things that happen to us affects the whole plan. I think of it like being in traffic - sometimes there is an accident or construction or something that makes you take a longer way or a different way you did not want to originally take. But by taking that way He puts someone in your path that you need to help that you wouldn't have found if it weren't for those challenges or obstacles. We should look at those small things as a blessing in our lives or as an opportunity to bless the lives of others rather than something to complain about. Our Heavenly Father lives, He loves us and watches over us. Christ lives, He is my Savior and my Redeemer. He suffered for my sins and for my difficulties. He knows what I am passing through and helps me daily. He loves each and everyone of us. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church of Jesus Christ. The one and only true church. We have the same authority (priesthood) that Christ had in his day, here on the earth again.The Book of Mormon is true and is the word of God. With the Bible and the Book of Mormon, we have the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and is a prophet in this latter days. He translated the Book of Mormon through the power of God and we have a prophet here on earth today in these latter days. His name is Thomas S. Monson. He receives revelation for each and everyone of us. He is God's mouthpiece and we should listen to everything he says and apply it in our lives. Each and everyone of us has worth in the sight of God and He will always be on our side walking with us. Remember that each and everyone is a child of God and we should follow Christ's example and help one another along the path. I love you all and have a great week!
Elder Davis

Monday, March 6, 2017

Gato Gordo

Working with the Zone Leaders - Elder Costa & Ricarte

Hope everyone is doing great! I am going to have to make this quick. Wow this week was crazy busy! I know I say that every week but every week really is! One day I had to go to a different area to do an interview and had to walk an hour and a half to the interview and an hour and a half back. It is was out there! haha I don't have to worry about putting on weight here - we walk it all off. This week was spent mostly on working hard to find new people to teach. We are working hard to really connect with people and understand their individual needs and concerns. So when we are trying to make new contacts we try to start conversations with people by asking them questions of what they are looking for in life or what they would like to have that they do not have. Here in the mission they call that the Gato Gordo (which translated is the Fat Cat - not sure why it is called that but yeah that is what it is called! :P ) So we did a lot of knocking of doors this week and were asking people what they felt they were lacking that would bring more joy or happiness in their lives. We get a lot of different answers some say something like a job, health, or more peace in their home. Whatever anyone says it is pretty easy to apply it to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel is so complete and as I study and share it I realize how really all answers can be found within the gospel. We are so blessed to have so many resources to guide us in choices but also help solve problems and be better. When we hear people talk about wanting better health we share with them the word of wisdom and the blessings of the priesthood. When people talk about needing a job or a better job we talk to them about blessings that come through tithing, putting the Lord first, we also share the ldsjobs website and the autoefficiency classes the church offers here. When they talk about wanting peace in their homes we talk about forever families and how to be one, Family Home Evening, also principles with promise and the organizations within the church that help families grow individually and together. The list just goes on and on.. We all know those things but we sometimes take for granted how complete the gospel of Jesus Christ is. If we live the gospel so many things in our lives will improve and become better. We really don't have to look elsewhere in the world for answers - the gospel has the answers. After speaking with them we invite them to church and if they come to church we know that they are serious about wanting to change and to find answers. Then we are able to teach them based on their individual needs and concerns. It is an awesome approach because it is focused on individuals.

It is still rainy season and rains almost every day. Sometimes the rain helps us out a little because as we were knocking doors people are very kind and want us to come in out of the rain which gives us an opportunity to talk to them. Double blessings! :) Brazilian people are super awesome. They are a very generous and kind people. I love that about them. One day we knocked doors all morning and didn't get in one door, which is not normal. But we kept the faith and kept on going. It wasn't until later that night it all worked out. Sometimes things are rocky at first but if we keep going forward strong with faith, it will smooth out and everything will work out the way it is supposed to! So that night we surprisingly found about 5 people who are not members but are family of less active members. They all came to church on Sunday and we also had 4-5 other people that went who had been there last week from our contacts doing gato gordo. So we had a pretty good group at church. We are teaching a family that is super cool. Carol, Luciana, Gabriel and the dad Ademir. So Ademir is really never really home but we have taught carol (14 yrs), luciana (the mom) and gabriel (9 yrs). They are all doing great with the lessons. They had questions about the need for proper authority in the priesthood and the restoration but they understand now that no one can just be a prophet or establish a church, you have to be called of God and have the AUTHORITY to do so. Anyway, it was a tough but great week. This next week we will have a multizone on Wednesday so it will be great to see all the mission friends and Elder Sander again.

This week's thought is a scripture about Nephi and the Liahona. There is so much we can learn from Nephi's example. 1 nefi 16:28-30.

28 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the pointers which were in the ball, that they did work according to the faith and diligence and heed which we did give unto them.
29 And there was also written upon them a new writing, which was plain to be read, which did give us understanding concerning the ways of the Lord; and it was written and changed from time to time, according to the faith and diligence which we gave unto it. And thus we see that by small means the Lord can bring about great things.
30 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did go forth up into the top of the mountain, according to the directions which were given upon the ball.

The three things that were needed for the Liahona to work are also needed for the spirit to work in our lives; faith, diligence and heed or attention. We need to have those things daily. We need to have faith in God which leads us to pray & search the scriptures to know His will for us. Then we have to be diligent in this seeking to know and to repent and be better. because sometimes it does not come right away. Then we have to give heed to it by following the promptings we get when it does come. Those three simple things will help us accomplish many great things. I want you all to know that I know that God lives, Christ lives. He atoned for our sins and was resurrected. He is always with us and will always love us. We have a loving Heavenly Father and He knows us each individually. One day, we will return and live with Him again if we follow the straight path which he has set for us. I know that to be true. Love you all and hope you have a great week.

Elder Davis

After 9 months of avoiding it I fell victim to one of the dangers of missionary work -dog bites! haha