Monday, May 29, 2017

Let Him In

FHE with José and Aline's family
Oi família e amigos-
Hope everyone has had a great week. My week was good. Opening the area and basically starting from ground zero has been tough but we are working hard and getting there. At night when we get home we are beat but it is a good kind of tired! We are working hard to build up our teaching pool still and also trying to get to know the members so we can work with them more effectively. We had a great FHE with the family of José and Aline this past week. They invited the other elders too so they were able to come also. I love the Brasilian people and love serving them. They have such generous hearts. Our district and zone are great. This is supposedly one of the toughest areas of the mission but I have faith and hope that great things will come as we work hard.

My district with the LZs
This is going to be short today. But I do want to share my testimony with you. It is simple but I cherish it and am so thankful for it. I know Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He lives. He is our Savior, our Redeemer, and our brother. He is also my best friend and I hope He is yours too. He will always be there in any situation we find ourselves in to support, love, cherish, safeguard, protect and strengthen us but ONLY if we let Him in to our lives to do that. He will not force anyone to come unto Him. The choice is ours. His grace is sufficient for all people. He suffered for our difficulties, problems, trials and sins. He knows how we feel because He has felt that same pain. We can open up to our Heavenly Father in sacred prayer in any moment, even if it is just in thought, and from the moment you say "Heavenly Father" He is listening. It is quite incredible and maybe for some it is hard to understand but I know it is true. He always hears our prayers and will answer when we pray sincerely and with "all energy of heart". He is there to guide, love and comfort us. I know that through the Plan of Salvation and Gospel of Jesus Christ we are able to have true happiness and live with our families for eternities in the presence of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I look forward to that day.

Hope you all have a great week!
Elder Davis

Monday, May 22, 2017

First Week In São João da Boa Vista

The District in São João da Boa Vista

Bom Dia-
First week in São João da Boa Vista and man was the week good! Was a bit slow because of opening the area but we got to know some members and I am starting to get the hang of the area. We plan on making this zone SIAO (Zion)! This pást week we worked super hard on finding new people to teach. We have been working with members and going through the area book. One person we found in the area book was a guy named Wendel. He had been contacted by some missionaries quite a while ago but we thought we would follow up with him. After talking with him we set up a date to go visit him and we had a couple awesome lessons with him this past week. He is a great guy and is very spiritual. He is really sensitive to the spirit and is not afraid to show or express it as he feels it. He is a solid guy! He came to church on Sunday and loved it. He set the date of June 3rd to be baptized and we are working hard to get him prepared for that.

On the bus with Elder Ricarte, Sister Costa and Sister Silva leaving Hortlandia
 At the bus station in Piracicaba with those getting transferred from my zone
Some other great news Samara and Noé from JD Amanda (my last area) got baptized this past week! I am so very happy for them! I wish I could have been there, missed it by 4 days, but I am grateful I was able to teach them and watch them progress to this point. There is nothing like seeing people come unto Christ and make covenants with God that will change their lives for eternity.

We went to Poços de Caldas this past week! We did a division and I was with Elder Kleinkauff (he is Brazilian even though his name is German). He is one of the other Elders that lives in the house where I live now - there are two companionships in our house. We went to Poços to do a baptism interview for the ZLs and man did I think I was going to die! haha Poços is a city in the middle of mountains. I felt like I was mountain climbing all day long! Joking around they asked me if I brought rock climbing equipment. It is a super cool city though. The church was beautiful, it was set high up on the hill.

Poços de Caldas

The view of  the city of Poços de Caldas from near the church building.

The church in Poços de Caldas 
Dinner at a member's home in Poços da Caldas with Elder Ricarte (LZ), Xavier (traveling AP) Christensen (LZ) and  Elder Kleinkauff

I held my first district meeting and I have a great district. We are going to do our best to make this district the best district in the mission. Everyone was smiling and excited - that is always a great way to get off to a good start. I attached a picture of the district for you. I will take more pictures this next week of my area for you guys!

Just quickly I wanted to share some good counsel from King Benjamin in Mosiah 4:30.
".... watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives...remember, and perish not."
So important to constantly remember it is not only what we do that matters but what we think and say is just as important. That is what forms who we are and ultimately says who we are. We cannot claim to be something on the outside that we aren't on the inside. Let's be examples and witnesses of Him in thought, word and deed.
Love you all and hope that you have a great week!

Elder Davis
Actually have a Subway in our area - with Elder Castro, Elder Kleinkauff, Elder Bahia

Graffiti in our area

Monday, May 15, 2017

Off to São João da Boa Vista

The Zone on PDay

Bom Dia-
This week was super busy and it was the last week of the transfer. So I have even less time than usual because of the transfer and visiting everyone to say goodbye. Sorry I know the last couple of weeks I have not had much time to write. But I promise, pinky promise that next week will be a good long one! It will be interesting. I got transferred to São João da Boa Vista Centro so I am finally leaving Jardim Amanda after 6 months! I will be going there and opening the area with a new companion, Elder Bahia. If you do not know, opening the area means that neither of the missionaries that will be there will have served there before. Both of us will be new in the area. Usually there is one that has been serving there before but in this area they are moving both missionaries out and moving two new ones in. I am super happy to make the change and have the Lord calling me to another area to do His work. But I will definitely miss the wonderful people of Jardim Amanda. They have loved and supported us as missionaries and have opened their hearts as well as their doors to take care of us, help us to serve the Lord and to be our family while we are here. They will always be a part of me and in my heart. I have attached a few photos of some of the members but will upload more next week.
Last lunch with Adriano y Samara. Going to miss them a lot!
Last time at this table with Sister Diogo for awhile. She is a living example of "the widow's mite". She will give all to help anyone and serve another. All the missionaries in the mission rightfully call her Mae.
With Geldia and her family
With Rogerio and his family

With Irmão Paixão - love this guy!

With Charles, am awesome member of Jardim Amanda Ward
This past week we worked a lot with Sámara. She is a girl that is 22 years old and lives with 2 members. We got to know her a little time back. She has had a lot of difficulties in her life and her whole family was baptized in another church a couple years ago minus her. She didn't feel that was right for her. She felt like something was missing. When we started to talk with her about the gospel and about baptism, she realized in that moment that what was missing before for her was the spirit, power and authority of Christ, which is the priesthood. It was a pretty special moment as she could feel the spirit testifying to her of the truth. We have been teaching her a lot and she has read the Book of Mormon with an open heart and loved it. She reads over and over and over again the same chapters we leave her because she loves reading it so much. The date for her baptism is next Saturday. We already taught her all the lessons and the ZL did the interview on Sunday with her. She is super excited to be baptized. Sadly I will not be able to be here to do it since I will be transferred tomorrow but I am so happy for her!
At the house of Irmão Braz of Hortlandia Centro Ward who I got to know as I did interviews for the sisters in this area.  He had a churassco for me before I left.

The sisters were invited to the churrasco 

Irmão Braz with the goods!
It was a great day yesterday because it was Mothers day! WOOOO! Got to talk to my family! It wasn't the best video quality but hey, I got to talk to my family right? When you only get to do that twice a year anything is fine. Face to face with audio! That is just a present in itself. It made me so happy. Hope everyone got the opportunity to express their gratitude and love to their moms. The whole time I was talking to my family I could not stop smiling because I was thinking what a blessing it is to have a family so great. What a privilege it is that I get to spend an eternity with them. I love my family. I love my dad, my sister, my brother(Kaleb) and especially my MOTHER! WOOO! HAPPY MOTHERS DAY MOM! You're officially the best mother ever, sorry everyone but just so you know, I have the best mom in the world! That's never gonna change. Love you mom and I hope through these words you feel my spirit and love.
A surprise goodbye gift from sweet Miguel for Tio Davis (Uncle Davis).
With Elder Little - going to miss this guy!

PDay with the zone

As I have thought about families this week it has made me think about the beauty of families. Heavenly Father wanted us in families so we could love and support one another. We are all technically family, all sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father. So we are all brothers and sisters. We need to remember that. Not judge one another and focus on weaknesses but rather to look at each other and see the divine potential that is there. We need to develop the ability to see people as Christ does. Love them for who they are and who they can become, not focusing on their earthly weaknesses or strengths but seeing them for their eternal celestial worth. We all need help and should not judge others for a sin that is different than our own sin. We all have things to work on. We need to help and love our brothers and sisters. The church is like a hospital. We are all there for the same reason. To receive the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ and heal ourselves. We are all there to receive the "balm of Gilead" to heal our hearts and spirits. We are a family, so let's help each other. Two quotes from general conference come to mind, "The repenting sinner is closer to the Lord than the prideful righteous person judging them" and "The most important calling in the church is the one you have right now". So reach out and do what you can to lift another. Have a great week.

Love you all!

Elder Davis

Some of the Sisters of the District

With  Elder Rasmassen - the other DL
With Bishop Estevam

Monday, May 8, 2017

Happy Mother's Day!

Zone  picture with Sis. Bangerter while waiting for interviews with Pres.

I apologize but this will be short this week. A lot going on as usual - even crazier than usual! haha   Feliz Dia das Mães! (Happy Mother's Day) to all the mothers especially to my dear mother. I hope you all have a great week and are spoiled by your families. You deserve it. Also to all my missionary friends enjoy talking to your moms! Moms we love you and thanks for supporting us!
Lunch with Sister Araujo
Well we had a pretty good week. Teaching is going okay. We had interviews with President this week and that is always good. They seem to get quicker as the mission goes on and we don't get as much time with him. I enjoy the time I do get to talk to him though. Things are going well in the district too. Transfers are next week so we will see what happens. I have been here 6 months so I think I will be moving but who knows.

Miguel, a son of a member, who calls Elder Davis Tio (uncle) most of the time
Time is flying and I will officially hit my year mark next month but depending on Visa stuff they say we may be sent home a little earlier than the end of June. They are a little anxious about getting everyone out before Visas expire because Brazil is pretty uptight about it. I went to Piracicaba to renew mine about a couple weeks ago. Also it depends on people coming in and transfer dates so we will have to see how it goes as the time gets closer. I have thought about extending but there is slim chance of that happening I think because of the Visa hassle. Hard to believe it has almost been a year!
Elder Hugo - was transferred out of Elder Davis' district last transfer.

With Elder Almeida (former AP now ZL) and Elder Ricarte (ZL)

With Elder Mitchell - one of the office elders. 

Sister Pastore went home last transfer and was back to visit.
Attached are a few pictures that I did not get uploaded last week. Some are from a ward activity, others with missionary friends at the meeting with Sister Marriott and then one or two with members.
Ward Activity - Gospel Jeopardy 

Ward Activity with Ricardo, Alex, Ranna & Raihnner
I am so grateful for this time here in the mission. I am thankful for the experiences and growth I have been blessed with. At times I feel I have grown more in this past year than in the entire first 19 years of my life. I am grateful for the wonderful people of Brazil and the opportunity I have to serve them as I serve the Lord. I love this gospel and the Plan of Salvation. I love my Savior and I am thankful for His hand in my life. I testify of His love for us. He lives. He loves each of us. Share His love and light. Have a great week.

Elder Davis

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Let Him Make You Whole

The whole mission with Sister Marriott

Hope everyone is doing well. PDay got moved to today because yesterday was a holiday so everything was basically closed. This week could be described in a lot of words. Hard. Sweaty. Cold. Freezing. Uplifting. Challenging. I don't know which one to use so lets just use all of them haha. First the week started off super super super cold. To get an idea, imagine wearing 3 extra shirts, 2 pairs of pants and 2 pairs of socks and 2 blankets to sleep. Yeah. I never ever ever thought it would be this cold here. But it is only at night. During the day its pretty hot still. There is no heating in any of the houses so whatever temp it is outside it will be that inside too. But anyway this week was hard but also so uplifting. I had a lot of opportunities to improve, learn, love and feel loved. First we had a conference with Sister Marriott this past week. She is the second counselor of the general YW presidency and her talk was awesome. She had a southern accent because she is from Louisiana and so that was super cool. I felt right at home. hahaha I didn't get to talk to her for very long because they rushed her in to talk, she talked then was rushed out but I got to talk to her for a few seconds and I could feel of her love for each and every one of us. It was great. She said that our mission is the most enthusiastic and excited mission that she has ever seen or visited, so WOOOOO! She talked about a topic that I wasn't expecting. She talked about loving your companion. She said something that was pretty interesting. She said " If you don't love your companion or have love for him, first, go and pray. Ask for forgiveness. Second, in the prayer, ask for some of the love that Heavenly Father has for your companion. Third, Use that love to serve him, love him, befriend him, teach him and be taught by him." I loved how she said that we should ask for some of Gods love. He loves each and everyone of us and we can pray and ask for those feelings. We can pray that he helps us remove bad feelings and replace them with good ones but we have to have those real and pure intentions. We did a few exercises with her and then she had to leave but before she left we got a mission picture with her. The picture is of our entire mission with her. Every missionary is packed into that photo and there is a lot of us! haha

Another experience I learned from this past week was with a lady we found when knocking doors. So she visited the church before. We came into her house and planned on teaching her the first lesson but it changed when she started talking about her and her husbands sicknesses. They are older in age and have some sicknesses they are dealing with. In this moment I felt prompted to talk about priesthood blessings and then offer one to her husband then to her. Her husband rejected sadly but she accepted. We gave her a blessing and she told us that before we came, she felt worried, stressed, sick and some other bad feelings but after we came and gave her blessing, she felt at peace. And then before we left, she said "You don't have to go yet, its so early" We passed an hour and half there in total. She said did not want us to leave because she could feel of the spirit of God's love and peace. I testify that each and everyone of us can feel of that comfort that Mimarina was feeling. It was a great learning experience. I am grateful for all of the promptings the Spirit gave me. It is amazing how the Spirit works. God knows each and every one of us. He knows our problems and he trusts us as people, as members and as worthy priesthood holders to be there to help His other children. Each and everyone of us need to develop and use that spiritual sensitivity to recognize and follow the Spirits promptings. Sometimes we doubt whether or not its the Spirit or whether its our own thoughts. Sometimes we think we are just overthinking or its random. When we do that we neglect the Spirit and therein, neglect Gods plans. If we follow it the first time, we have the wonderful chance to bless a child of God that is in need of Him.

My spiritual thought for this week involves asking you to please take 3 minutes to watch this video
If I ever have any extra computer time on PDays I watch mormon messages and conference talks.This is one that inspired me a lot. It is called "The Savior Understands Me". Elder Holland testifies about how important it is for us to have a very personal relationship with Christ because Salvation is a personal and individual experience. I want to bear to you my testimony of the truthfulness of that. Although I cannot explain or comprehend fully the love the Lord has for each and every one of us. I know it is infinite, eternal and unconditional. We are NEVER forgotten. Our Savior loves us tremendously. He wants to help us so very much but we have to let Him in to do the healing and to do His part. We must be willing to be humble enough to accept the fact that we are weak, we are imperfect, we are sinners but with His help, with the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can return and live with our Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ in everlasting love and joy. Because of Jesus Christ and His atonement, I am able to be saved from spiritual and physical death. I love Jesus Christ and He is my Redeemer. Without Him, there would be no Plan of Salvation. He is the central part of Gods Plan. He will always love and help us and we are never too far from the path to return and feel of His love. Remember that He loves you. Know in your heart that He loves each and every one of us and knows of our challenges. In His time, we will receive the help and strengthening we are needing. We just need to do our part, and then wait with patience and have hope. Do your part and He will do His. Christ lives. He is my best friend and He is my Savior. Let Him love you. Let Him heal you, Let Him pick you up and make you whole. I testify of the truthfulness of these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Elder Davis