Monday, April 24, 2017

Eternal Friendships

Elder Davis with Samara & Adriano at their wedding

Bom Dia!
This past week was great. Hope everyone else had a great week! So many awesome things happened this week. I have to begin with Saturday because it was Adriano and Samara's wedding! What a super day that was! It was just a few months ago that we baptized him and Saturday I got to witness him take another step forward by marrying Samara. I cannot wait until they go to the temple next year to be sealed for time and all eternity. He is such a great man, really a brother and a friend. I wish him and Samara the best! They are so awesome and I hope that they have such a great life together. I am so grateful for the opportunity and it is definitely a memory that I treasure.
Leadership Meeting

CTM group together at mission wide meeting

Catching up with Mission friends at Meetings
Walking on the footbridge over the Piracicaba River going to our meetings.

Monday night Elder Rasmassen (the other district leader) and I left to go to Piracicaba because we had a leadership meeting on Tuesday morning. President picked us up because we ended up getting in there at 11pm. We left around 8 and its only supposed to be 45 minutes to an hour bus ride but we ended up having to trade buses and then hitting traffic. It ended up being a crazy long 3 hour trip. So President picked us up at the bus station and put us in a h
otel with some other missionaries. :) Man was it good to be in a hotel after living the missionary life! haha Just kidding. It was awesome though! We had a banquet or you could call it a feast for breakfast! That was a "once in a mission" type thing haha. It was awesome. We then went to our leadership meeting and that was great! We talked a lot about making the meetings we do as a district and zone effective as well as the importance of leading by example, which is super important. If we do not show others that we are living the same principles that we teach and believe in, how can we expect them to do the same? We just can't. A great leader or missionary is one who is willing and already doing what he is asking others to do. So that was a great day that started with a lot of food for nourishment of the body and then our spirits enjoyed a spiritual feast! There was a mission wide meeting the next day on Wednesday so we stayed another night in Piracicaba in the hotel. Some of us went out and ate sushi that night for dinner! I LOVE SUSHI. It was all you can eat - that is a missionary's dream! haha I got to see Elder Sander while in Piracicaba which made it even more awesome! Wednesday at the mission wide meeting we received more training to help us work with members as well as more discussion on the importance of being examples. We practiced some more ways to improve our teaching and the way we serve. We practiced and they demonstrated rather than just talked which was awesome! I really loved it. We talked about being guided by the Spirit and how that is essential. We cannot teach without the Spirit. He guides our words and touches the peoples hearts to have that change of heart and confirm truth. Without Him, we are just speaking our words. We need the Spirit to touch peoples hearts and to do that, we need to be worthy of the Spirit and be seeking His presence. It was a super uplifting experience. Thursday and Friday I was back in my area and we visited some people like Liza and Hector. Liza is getting there, we are still working with her on personal study and seeking on her own to know the truth through scripture study and prayer. But she is a great person and I know the Lord will bless her as she puts forth effort. Hector is doing well and he is super excited to be baptized this Saturday. His testimony of Christ and the gospel is growing and you can see him getting a greater light in his life and so much happier. Everything is going well! I am excited to see him enjoying the church and the gospel of Jesus Christ so much! And then the week ended with a bang with Adriano and Samara's wedding on Saturday and Hector coming to church on Sunday! So it was a pretty great week. This next week, we will see Sister Marriott from the General YW Presidency! She is coming to Piracicaba this Thursday to have a meeting with us! WOOO! That will be awesome.

View of Piracicaba from Hotel

At a US hotel you usually find a pool and bball hoop - in Brazil you find a pool and soccer field!

At the hotel with Elder Rasmussen

Dinner after Leadership with Elder Sander and other district/& zone leaders

One last thing I wanted to share. I have been studying a lot in the scriptures and in Conference talks about the attributes of Christ. I know by striving to become more like him I will become a better missionary and better person. That is one of our purposes here on earth, to learn of and be more like Christ. I think in the past before my mission that I may have been a little prideful in some things I had done. So I am striving to learn to be more humble in my life and truly put the glory of God first, knowing all blessings and power comes from Him. What a blessing it has been on me and how I view things differently. In 2nd Nefi 9:28-29 it says,

"O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.
But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God."

To be learned is a good thing but when we become proud in those things is when it goes wrong. We start to depend solely on our own knowledge when we should be seeking and listening to the Spirit also. Submitting to the will and wisdom of Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father brings great knowledge and growth. "Lean not unto thy own understanding". Good counsel to remember. As we recognize our weaknesses and that they are all knowing in their power we open the door for them to help us grow. In Ether 12:27 it says

"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

It is that humility and the strength of Christ I hope we all seek. Love you all and hope you all have a great week!

Elder Davis

Another wedding picture

Important to take every opportunity to let Sister Cardoso know how short she is!

Monday, April 17, 2017

With all Energy of Heart

The Zone with a few members too - A lot changed this transfer
Hope everyone had a great Easter Sunday! We had a good week. This past week we have been working super hard to find people to teach. We are in that cycle when our teaching pool is small. We were out knocking doors and trying to make new contacts most of the week. We shared with everyone we could an Easter message testifying about our Savior, that He lives and the importance of the sacrifice that He made for us. We worked super hard and prayed fervently for new investigators but it did not happen for us this week. It ended up being a week of faith testing moments. We worked crazy hard to try to get people at church yesterday too. We passed by everyone's houses to get them in the morning but sadly no one ended up coming. But I have faith that the Lord will provide a way. We just need to keep doing our part and inviting. Our purpose as missionaries is to bring others to Christ but at the same time in doing that we find ourselves becoming more Christlike through our challenges and weeks like this last week. I like a quote from Pres, Eyring where he says when you help bring others to Christ you will find you have come unto Him yourself. I can see that happening in the mission. We are learning and loving the work more every day and growing as we do it. Even on those rough days. I know if I do my best, the Lord will bless me in my efforts. There is also a great scripture in Hebrews 10:35-36 that I try to remember on tough days.

"Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise."

Never lose your confidence in the Lord. Hard times will come and that means one thing -blessings are on the way if you keep the faith and continue to follow Him.

Christensen got transferred - going to miss him!
Sister Cardoso got transferred
Sister Pastore finished her mission and went home.
Elder Costa our old ZL also got transferred
This past week we marked a date for baptism with Hector (30th of April) and we are working toward that. He is super awesome. We are still working with Liza to complete the invites & challenges we give her like reading the scriptures and praying on her own. This week we had to go to some areas in the district to help them with some of their contacts. We went to Horto B and Horto A. Hortolandia B opened the area and so we knocked some doors, did some Gato Gordo (contact technique) and also an interview. I did the same thing that I did with Hortolandia B (Sister Adao and Hansen) the last transfer. We worked super hard and it went well. We also had an activity with the Hortolandia Ward to do the same thing on Saturday for 2 hours. Our purpose was to do a ton of contacts before church and invite everyone to come to church. I ended up working with Paulo, a member from that ward while my companion went with another member. I have not had the opportunity to do splits with members too much so that was a super cool experience getting to know him and working with him.
Churrasco at Richard's house with Elder Walton
Elder Furtenato (far left) who finished his mission came back to visit.
Massive Chocolate Easter Egg Sister Diogo and Carla made for me. They are so awesome!
I want to share one last experience that we had while knocking doors this week. One that I will not forget.I knocked a door and a lady answered. After explaining who we were and sharing a little of our message I could tell she was not too engaged. I asked if we could say a prayer with her and she said, " No, I don't need anything at the moment. Go and say a prayer with someone who is in need of something." I kindly tried to explain to her that prayer isn't a delivery service that we just use to "call" Heavenly Father and ask Him to "Deliver" blessings. The beauty of prayer is that it is a conversation. Yes we can ask for help through prayer but it is so much more than just that. It's an opportunity to express love to our Heavenly Father and gratitude for everything He gives us. She then continued on to tell me once again, "I don't need anything now but if I do, I will be sure to say a prayer." and then shut the door. It made me reflect on how Heavenly Father must feel when we do not take the time to communicate with Him. We need to always remember to speak with Him and show our love every morning and night. He is our Father in Heaven and has such a great love for us. We should be anxious to call to Him fervently in prayer and thank Him at every opportunity we have. In the hard moments as well as the good moments. Prayer is a sacred tool we have been given. It is literally a DIRECT LINE to heaven. We should take advantage of that and develop the best relationship with our Father in Heaven. When I have done that I have been blessed in all aspects of my life. When we come unto Him in prayer we anchor ourselves so when the strong winds and tempests come, we will be firm and strong. It also helps us to become more like Him.

"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." Moroni 7:48

What a great scripture to remember and follow. Excited for this next week, it's going to be awesome. Tuesday will be the Leadership mtg, Wednesday will be a missionwide multizone mtg, then Thursday is district mtg. and Saturday Adrianos wedding!

Love you all and have a great week!
Elder Davis

P.S. Just a side note, so I did eat the chicken feet last week. I sent the picture with the last email and everyone was asking whether I really did eat them. Well it was at an investigator's home and I did not want to be rude so I guess we can say I am not as picky about my food as I was before the mission. haha The taste isn't what gets you, it is the appearance (of course) and the texture. Definitely not a favorite and something I hope I do not have to eat again. haha

Monday, April 10, 2017

Happy Easter!

Before Daniela's baptism with Sister Dimartini, Sister Ence, Sister Costa, Daniela 
Hope everyone had a great week.This past week was good for us. It was the last week of the transfer so we were all wondering what was going to happen since I have been here in Jardin Amanda for four months now. Well, I wasn't transferred. But that will allow me to be here to be a witness for Adriano's wedding. I really do love Jardin Amanda - the area, the members, the district, my zone but change is good too. The Lord always know best. I do love the people here, they are so loving, caring and helpful. I am definitely blessed by being here and knowing them.

Zone P-Day
If you remember the last couple weeks I had been doing some interviews and working with some of investigators in the areas of the sisters in my district.  We had been talking with them about some of their questions and concerns.  We were able to help them get their questions answered and they decided to get baptized and asked if I would baptize them. President said it was okay (it is in my district but not my area). So I had the privilege of baptizing Daniela and Edna this past week.
Before Edna's baptism with Sister Silva, Edna & her Family, Sister Ostler
Saw Sister Sousa at the Baptism. She has finished her mission and is going home tomorrow
Like I said this past week was good. We have been visiting Lizoa, which is a girl that we teach English to as well as teach the gospel. She and her family are very receptive. They are also very kind, always giving us dinner or offering to help us in some way. We are working with them to get them reading and praying about the Book of Mormon in a regular way so they can know the truthfulness of it. Lizoa studies a lot and feels she doesn't have time. We trying to help her understand if she makes the time to speak with our Heavenly Father and learn about Him and Christ, there will always be time for everything else. Yesterday she committed to read and pray every day for the next couple days so we will follow up with her tomorrow. We have also been teaching Hector, which is a reference from one of the members (Lucas) and he is super receptive too. He is easy to teach because he is very humble. He recognizes that he does not know everything and God does so he is willing to pray with a sincere heart and real intent. I can feel the desire he has to learn. As we teach him I also learn from him through his example. In some moments we know a little more than others in some things, and then others know more about something else we don't know and in that situation, we should take an opportunity to learn together. Teach and receive. And then most importantly apply what we are learning. That is a challenge sometimes we have and see alot in the mission. We can teach and teach and teach and learn and learn and learn but if we or the people we teach don't end up doing anything with the information then it cannot benefit us or them. We have to use the knowledge we gain to better our lives, just having it is not enough. Its like we do half of the task and then stop. What would happen if we make the batter to a cake using all the right ingredients but then didn't put it in the oven? You think we would experience the sweet sweet smell of the cake and the delicious taste of doing the right thing (making the cake right)? No. We wouldn't. It would just sit there in the pan and eventually go bad/not be worth anything. It's a simple analogy but it is the same thing with us. If we do not apply what we learn and teach, it will never becomes true knowledge or wisdom that you gain through using it. And after time we will forget it. It needs to become a part of us and the way for that to happen is by using it. We need to apply what we learn each day and strive to be the best we can everyday. It is not usually easy to do that, actually it is super hard sometimes. Sometimes doing what is right doesn't always bring approval from everyone, it sometimes will bring opposition. I have experienced that here in the mission. But we can find peace in knowing we are doing what is right. Obedience brings peace and confidence. I like the scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants section 19 that tells us "Learn of me and listen to my words, walk in the meekness of my Spirit and you shall have peace in me". We have to know and then walk with him doing the things we have learned then comes the peace. Taking one step at a time is how we get there. I have an absolute surety that some day, we will return to our Heavenly Father's and Christ's presence and I want to be able to hug them and say with confidence that I tried to do all I could to follow their example. I am so thankful to be in the mission and to be serving my Savior and Redeemer. I have received so many blessings and grown as I have worked to serve the Lord and help others. We always receive more than we give! I am so thankful for the gospel and the blessings it brings into my life. I love the Lord and want to live up to the potential He has given me.
With Elder Ferriera

With Elder Christensen - the other District Leader in the Zone
Yes it is what it looks like. haha
Have a wonderful Easter! I hope we all honor the great gift of the Atonement that the Lord has given us by using the knowledge of the gospel to help us become more like Him every day.

Love you all,
Elder Davis

Monday, April 3, 2017

Walk with Him

With Christensen and the Office Elders
Bom Dia-
How is everyone? Shout out to mom and dad in Europe somewhere... France, Germany or Sweden not sure where today. haha As usual the week has been really busy. That is one thing you can count on in the mission being super busy. Everything is going well. I am going to have to make this a quick email today. We have a zona Pday activity so I only have a little time. Sorry about that.

Lunch with Elders Walton & Ferriera after doing interviews

Elder Costa  & Walton

I went to Piracicaba this past week with Elder Christensen. We had to go in to renew our visas. Elder Simmons from our CTM group was also there and we ran into other members of the church who were also renewing theirs. We stayed with the office Elders and were able to go out for dinner with them at Outback steakhouse, which you know I loved. haha I went on splits and worked with Elder Mitchell (one of the office Elders) while I was there. He is a pretty great guy.

With Elder McAllister getting the Visa done

Waiting to Renew our Visas
Dinner with office Elders
Working with Elder Mitchell

 Random wild hogs crossing the street

Hope everyone watched General Conference. It was so good! There were so many awesome talks about missionary work and following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.. I loved Elder Costa's talk about his conversion. At first he was not interested and then he was won over by the spirit of the scriptures and now he is an Elder in the Seventy! Wow! I wish everyone I was teaching would have been there to hear that talk. He was definitely inspired to talk to all the investigators of the church. Alot of people around the world who have questions will relate to him and his experience and will find answers to their questions through his words. I also loved Elder Rasband's experience of listening to the promptings he received as a missionary and stuck his foot in that door to ask for a second time if there was someone interested in the message they had to share. Then all the baptisms that followed after the daughter in that home listened and was baptized. It shows the importance of following the still small voice no matter how small or ridiculous it might seem, you need to recognize the guidance and follow it. As I listened to President Monson it was if he in reality was touching my heart. His talk was short but penetrated my heart so deeply. His words and spirit are always so powerful and I hope that I can always follow those words to the best of my ability. As I listened to him the memory of being twelve years old at Conference for the first time in Salt Lake and seeing him walk in came to me. I still remember that feeling I had. I had it confirmed to me then that He was a prophet of God that day and every time I listen to him since then I have a reconfirmation of that. We are so blessed to have a living prophet. Talks in the Priesthood session were so awesome too so if you were not there listen to them. I loved Elder Bednar's talk on the difference between the calling as a missionary and the assignment of where you labor, as well as Pres. Uchtdorf's talk counseling us that true greatness comes from humility and serving others as we get outside of ourselves and comfort zones. I loved Pres. Eyring's talk on Christ's invitation to walk with Him also. I loved so many things I could go on and on but I want to share one scripture that Pres. Eyring shared that lifted me. It is when the Lord was speaking to Enoch and said,

"Go forth and do as I have commanded thee, and no man shall pierce thee. Open thy mouth, and it shall be filled, and I will give thee utterance, for all flesh is in my hands, and I will do as seemeth me good. Say unto this people: Choose ye this day, to serve the Lord God who made you. Behold my Spirit is upon you, wherefore all thy words will I justify; and the mountains shall flee before you, and the rivers shall turn from their course; and thou shalt abide in me, and I in you; therefore walk with me."

I hope we all choose to walk with Him and ask as did the rich man "what good things shall I do that I may have eternal life?". Then humbly follow the promptings we get. I love you all. Have a great week.

Elder Davis