Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Week 20: Remember Jesus Christ




Jerry has been the highlight of this whole week. As he has been trying to change his life and repent and become more like the savior, miracles have happened. He received a blessing from President Barth about the Word of Wisdom and he has not had a cigarette since that night. He also has given up coffee. I am super excited for him. We can tell he is genuine because he gave us his last 2 cigarettes to throw away when we felt like we should ask him to. He will definitely be baptized in January.
We made pizza on Thursday. Elder Jacobs has a recipe that is really good. The crust tastes like saltine crackers and I put spiracha hot sauce (the rooster sauce) on mine and it gave it a wonderful flavor without too much heat. I was a great mix with Ragu sauce. The Guests have also commited to quit smoking by New Year's I think it will be done because they seem to feel whole hearted this time.

On Sunday evening we sang in an interfaith Christmas Cantata. It was a lot of fun and also has helped people open up to us in this Christmas season. Always remember Christ is the reason for the season.

One last thing that has strengthened my testimony of this work, we had a lesson with a family that was really interesting. We walked in and there were several temptations that Satan placed there to get us to falter. This was because Satan knew that the family we were teaching was super prepared for us to be there. It was the best lesson I've had on my mission. They were really receptive, and out of filthy temptations there was a special spirit that was felt that will help them recognize us a servants of Christ and it both edified us as well as them.

I've made a connection about Christmas. Our best Christmas memories are of family. This is not a coincidence. Christmas is all about Christ and His love for us. It is about His Gospel. The principles of the Gospel can best be learned in a family environment. Family life is most likely to succeed when centered in the teachings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is my testimony that the reason families are the center memory of Christmas is so that we can recognize this. We have the great opportunity to share the Gospel in our families. Let us do so around Christmas as we commemorate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, the center of the Gospel. I love each and every one of you and am grateful for the Gospel in my life. I love Christmas. It is a great time to remember Jesus Christ and His Atonement for us. It is a time we can change our lives through His sacrifice for us and improve just in time for the New Year and its resolutions. I know this work is true and that there is no other living and true church upon the face of the Earth. Nothing has sealed that testimony more than being out here and seeing what other Churches believe. There is nothing better than the Gospel. Keep it in your hearts and you will be greatly blessed this season. I love serving here in Chamberlain. I know I am needed here and that God is with us in this great work. He will not let us fail.

With great love,

Elder Davis

Monday, December 16, 2013

Week 19: Satan tries to break down our spiritual fortifications.


On Monday we made some french-fries and chips by using vegetable oil and some potatoes. It was a lot of fun and tasted very good. There's something about homemade things that is a lot better than fast food.
On Tuesday we found a new investigator named Mike. It's crazy, because he is just like my MTC investigator including his name! The Lord is helping us in this mission as we work diligently to serve him. The mission has 19 baptisms so far this month which is a record breaker for here
We also found a part member family as we were tracing and their names are Robert who is less active and Amanda who is catholic. Amanda wants God back into her life and wants that example for the kids. Her brother Robert didn't know there was a church building here in Chamberlain and he is from Beaver Utah. We have a Christmas message prepared to use as a possible way of getting people interested about learning more about the Restoration of the Gospel.

I have also been studying the scriptures more diligently and relating them to myself. I have received several blessings for doing this. Diligence results in blessings. When we are diligent through our trials and tribulations, the Lord blesses us with increased strength and resolve to do what is right. I love the scriptures and encourage each of you to read them daily even if it is only a single column or page. Read them as families and individually. It is likened unto personal study and companion study here in the mission field. Personal study strengthens us and prepares us for facing the challenges of the day. As I have read slower and appreciated the blessings of scripture and showed the Lord my willingness to obey Him and read daily, I have been blessed to find hidden spiritual gems in those pages and they have a whole new meaning for me. I have found answers to personal questions and found direction in my life that helps me on even the most difficult days. The Gospel is true. The Book of Mormon is true. I know these things by experience (John 7:17) and also by prayer and supplication to the Lord. There is nothing that is more important than the Gospel and I have the wonderful gift of sharing it with others full time for 2 years.

A gift that can be given to the savior this holiday season can be seen in the 2013 October General conference. It was given by Elder Ballard to reach out to even one person who you know and millions of lives will be touched as a result. I challenge each of you who are reading this to do so and I know that as you do so, the Lord will bless you with what to say and also give you the confidence you need. After touching someone's life, our lives will be enriched and we will truly come to appreciate the Gospel more in our lives and desire to share that with others.
On Friday we went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders and also had a zone training meeting. I got to spend the day in Pierre, South Dakota's Capitol which oddly enough isn't the biggest city. I was with Elder Goodwin who taught me many good skills that I can apply here in Chamberlain. We taught Brother Steckleberg whose baptism was the next day. We also met with a less active family where the kids are progressing towards baptism.

On Saturday we met with Jerry and helped resolve his concerns about the Word of Wisdom. He is quitting and we gave him a blessing to be able to overcome the "tug-of-war" as he calls it between God and Satan on that addiction he has.

Yesterday we sang in a Christmas Cantata which is an interfaith group that is spreading the joy of Christmas to others. We were at the nursing home and they really appreciated the music.
I learned in studies that the war Chapters of the Book of Mormon can actually have great worth unto us. Nephi promises in the beginning of the Book that he charged his descendants not to write anything in the book save it were of great importance spiritually. So I have prayed for understanding and received special insight as to what some of the things mean. The fortifications of the Nephite cities against the armies of Amalikiah are likened unto us protecting ourselves from temptations. The Lamanites couldn't get in save it were by way of entrance. We can't fall to temptations of Satan unless we let him into our places of security. He attacks us over and over again with temptations just like the lamanites relied on their great numbers to try to overcome the Nephite cities. Satan also tries to break down our spiritual fortifications just like the Lamanites tried digging through the embankments of Earth. We must continually fight against temptation by strengthening our testimonies. Reading the scriptures daily, praying often, and partaking of the sacrament, studying in seminary and Sunday school, and most of all relying on our savior Jesus Christ. I love you all

Elder Davis

PS: the war chapters are contained in Alma Chapters 45-62

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Week 18: Cheese, tuna and raisin bran flakes


So November 26 was the first day I got to drive here in the mission. We went on exchanges and I got to drive back to Chamberlain from Winner South Dakota. I was on exchanges with Elder Purser. We saw two deer in our driveway as I was pulling back up, but I was driving and didn't have my camera with me.
In the morning we cut potatoes into quarters for the Catholic Church's Thanksgiving dinner. Brother Guest that night had a very funny comparison for the Book of Mormon. He said it is like reading rainbow. "It's in the good book" "It's Book of Mormon" We got a laugh out of that one.
For Thanksgiving we went to Jerry's house and met his family. We also served at the Catholic Church. Ate there and then ate at the Guests. It was the most I've eaten in one day on the mission. Had dinner the next day at the Barth's and also at the community chili feed where we helped serve chili and also got to watch the parade of lights which was a bunch of floats covered in Christmas lights.

On the 1st we taught the lesson on meekness in Sunday school. Jerry was at Sacrament meeting again. To our surprise, the Barth's invited us over for dinner again! I guess they had to do something with all that leftover food.
So now the reason for no letter last week, On Monday we travelled to Rapid City for Zone Conferences. I ironed my shirt for the first time and did a pretty good job. I didn't burn anything. We stopped in Wall, SD at the famous Wall Drug store to get a homemade doughnut. It is like a giant Smith and Edwards. We went into Cabellas to see if Elder Walker, an Elder in Miller South Dakota who I came out with, could return some gloves.

On Tuesday it snowed heavily. It was 60 degrees and nice on Monday, but overnight it was 8" of snow and very windy. We had to stay another night because it was dark after zone conferences ended and interviews were over. Played some basketball game called 7 in a line where you make it or lose a point.
Back to the wind, we came out of Sam's Club with our groceries and it took 5 minutes in the wind combined with the humidity in the air to make my hands feel like someone had hammered on them! It was unlike anything I have ever experienced. The wind here is very cold because it blows in from Canada.

Thursday was the first real cold working day, it dropped to 1 degree not including wind chill. The Missouri River has frozen over completely with no holes like in the Snake River. It looks very beautiful. I guess in a week it will be solid enough for ice fishing. I've started eating a more healthy breakfast which consists of granola and Greek honey flavored yogurt. The coldest we have measured was in the evening on Friday. It was -8 degrees without wind chill.

Brother Guest has dropped from 25 cigarettes per day to 5. That was the first day he tried as well so it was a great improvement! We had the ward Christmas party on Saturday night. I received from a white elephant gift exchange tissues and an alien space hat that I'll never be able to wear around. Elder Jacobs got some permithrin (?spelling?). (I actually don't know if that's what it is. all we know is that it is a fruit). I gave some sunscreen as a present because it was very funny and it was Elder Paskett's which he had left behind and Elder Jacobs gave a Christmas tie.

Sunday's Christmas devotional was very inspirational. We will us it in teaching our investigators and also as a tracing approach. This is so that people will learn to trust us as representatives of Jesus Christ. President Anderson gave us the advice to go around doing so and also talking about Christmas traditions and what Christmas means to us. Also made some casserole, I wanted to eat something homemade and use macaroni and cheese at the same time. I came up with Tomato soup, macaroni and cheese, tuna (hamburger would have been better), raisin bran flakes, and cheese. It was surprisingly good. It was even better when heated up the next day.

Well I love you all very much.

Elder Davis

Monday, December 2, 2013

Monday, November 25, 2013

Week 16: We must act on the principles we learn or they don't do us any good.


This week has been really tiresome. On Monday our pipes backed up because of roots. It was fixed after we noticed it was flooded, but it did it again today so I hope there is a permanent fix for it instead of just a temporary.

We had dinner at a new pizza place in town called the upper crust pizza and wings. We went in ordered and then to our surprise, were told we weren't paying for the meal. Someone else, we don't know who, paid for us. It was good pizza with wheat bread crust.

On Wednesday we went to Mission and Rosebud to give a baptismal interview to Maxine an investigator who was baptized Saturday for the Winner Elders Perkins and Telford.  While we were there we ate at a Chinese buffet.

I made some eggnog that I forgot to whip at first so it was more like pudding until I whipped it and then it was really good. I plan on making some more. (Or I could just buy some at the store.)

On Friday in the middle of our studies we received a phone call from Carla Gould. She asked if we could help her move out. We agreed and got there and to our surprise nothing was packed. We helped her.

She kept ahold of things that she had never used and her apartment was full of things that were new, never been used before and other things. That got me thinking about the scriptures. If we read them and hold onto things we receive without acting on them and using them, then they pile up and never get used resulting in a big mess where nothing improves. We must use the scriptures to enrich our lives. Uplift our souls. John 7:17 shows the importance of doing in order to receive a testimony. We must act on the principles we learn or they don't do us any good.

For thanksgiving we are helping a catholic church provide a dinner to those who have no one to go to for thanksgiving. We are also eating at the Barth's. There will be plenty to do. I guess we don't have to buy a ham and root beer to put into our crockpot.

I love you all,

Elder Davis

Monday, November 18, 2013

Week 15: We are merely here to assist the members in THEIR missionary work.


Elder Jacobs came to Chamberlain and is the new District Leader.  We made some tuna casserole with chips, tuna helper, and cheese. It was great, but not as good as mom's.
 
We started home teaching back up with President Barth directing us.  We invited the Tottons and Sister Kindell to watch the Mormon message by President Hinckley, "Lessons I learned as a young boy." We are focusing on less active members this week as we try to help them return to the fold of God.
 
We had district conference Saturday in Pierre and stayed the night at the Saunders home. They are a senior CES missionary couple. It was nice being with other missionaries and discussing basic things anywhere from White water Rafting to the new scripture mastery verses in seminary.
 
On the way back from Pierre, we realized we had forgotten to get gas on Saturday and we couldn't on Sunday. It was a time where we prayed for help. We got back with plenty of gas to spare. I know the Lord has blessed us for helping to serve Him even though it was our fault for forgetting to fuel up.
 
I learned that transfers are interesting because Elder Jacobs doesn't know this area, but is the senior companion because he's a district leader which made it interesting to adjust to since I didn't really know the schedule for a district leader. It's been a great learning experience and has allowed me to gain new perspectives on what missionary work really is.
 
All members are missionaries. We are Full time set apart missionaries, but we are only part time in this area. The full, full time missionaries are the members who fellowship others, find others, and also help others receive the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are merely here to assist the members in THEIR missionary work. It's been a great week.
 
With great Love,
 
Elder Davis

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Week 14: We found someone’s dog following us.


Elder Paskett is being transferred to Glenrock, Wyoming which I heard is near Devil's Tower where Garrett wanted to go rock climbing. Elder Jacobs is coming from Bismarck and will be my new companion as well as the District Leader.

Results of bowling for 2 weeks in a row: first week Elder Paskett: 77 and 111 Me: 75 and 101, second week: (much better) Elder Paskett 145 and 136    Me: 107 and 82

So on Monday we found someone’s dog following us. We took it back and had to wait 20 minutes because they weren't home. They told us to put him in the kennel, but somehow he kept getting out. It worked out though because we wouldn't have had as much success that day if it hadn't happened. It also was the first day it snowed here. I came in the apartment and got drenched because my hair got frozen.

Also met someone named Art from Chicago who is working at St. Joseph's Indian School. He is very open and the spirit was very strong in the lesson we taught him.

So Mary-Joe called us "Men in Black" because of our coats. It was funny.

Jerry came to sacrament meeting!!! He said he felt at home and that he would be coming for a long time. He also wants to be baptized in December. On Sunday I learned the importance of the Sacrament in renewing our covenants. It helped me have a firm desire to share with others the truth and provide them the opportunity to do so as well.

Our job as missionaries is to provide others the opportunity to feel the spirit and choose for themselves. Even if we are rejected, we know we are successful if the spirit is there. That is why I have committed to not argue with others or answer all their questions through rebuttals, but to present my testimony of why the Book of Mormon is important. How it testifies of the Restoration and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as truth. Arguing just drives the spirit away. 50 references in scripture are not as meaningful as people receiving that answer for themselves through revelation. It was a great epiphany that came to me as we taught two lessons in a row where we were rejected for having more scripture even though the spirit was definitely there.

I know that everything is true. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. All the persuasions of men can never sway me from this knowledge because I have received it from my Father in Heaven. I love it here and want to bring the truth to as many as will listen to our voice.

With great love,

Elder Davis

Monday, November 4, 2013

Week 13: Her mom was laughing as she saw us pull the pumpkins out of the car.


The Guests are doing well. Angelic is down to an average of 1 and a half cigarettes per day. (I don't know what the half means, but it must be not smoking an entire cigarette).

 I watched the 100 years of scouting broadcast with Elder Paskett. It was interesting. I thought it would have been fun repelling down from the catwalk like some of the scouts did. I also didn't expect the applause, but since it was a multi-religious thing I guess it is normal. I really liked the song about mom getting her Eagle. That was right. Exactly right. I wouldn't have got it without her.

Meet with the Barth family. We invited them to invite their friends to a pumpkin carving activity. We said we'd get the 3 pumpkins if she would invite them. We got the pumpkins, came back, and enjoyed the stunned look on her face. Her mom was laughing as she saw us pull the pumpkins out of the car. It succeeded in getting people to young men’s and women's mutual.

President Anderson has said that he would like us to start going on splits with ward members to help with home teaching and visiting less active members. Haven't done it yet, but the home teaching assignments are finalized. It should be soon that we do so. It'll be a first for me. I never went on splits with the missionaries, and now it's weird to think that I will be doing so in the opposite way. I'm the missionary and others are coming with me. It'll be exciting.

For Halloween, we thought about carving a pumpkin with President Monson's face on it, but didn't get the time to do so. The best pumpkin I saw was painted by the Barth's daughter. She painted a minion from despicable me. It made me laugh and looks just like one.

We also are trying to figure out how to help with the boy scouts, but we don't want to fill out any applications especially since we won't always be here in Chamberlain.

It's been interesting this week. Valentine Nebraska Elders ran into some Anti-Mormon literature. We have been reading it and finding answers to their attacks on our religion. It has strengthened my testimony knowing that there are no real attacks made, against the church, that can't be answered in scripture to the truth of the Restoration.

Sunday was the best. We taught Jerry and he cried as he prayed at the end for a dear friend of his. The spirit was very strong there. We were also able to testify of Heavenly Father's love for each and every one of us to Patricia. She feels a lot of what we are saying and teaching her is true. We plan to invite her to be baptized next time we see her. Jerry told us that he felt that he needed to go to our church; the answer came to him that day when he missed it. He also said that he was looking forward to being baptized because he knew it was God's will for him to do so.

It's been a great week and we plan to go bowling later tonight. It will be very fun, a great time to relax before we get to work again.

I love you all

Elder Davis

Monday, October 28, 2013

Week 12: I've definitely noticed... there is a reason for everything


 
We made tacos on Monday. Also took some pictures in Oacoma of Elder Paskett wearing a cowboy hat. It was really funny. It was funny also when we received possible service at the food pantry and they thought we were coming to get some food for ourselves. They didn't need help though. Had an opportunity to offer service to the Boy Scouts of America here in Chamberlain. We have to fill out an application and it will help that I'm an Eagle Scout. (Thanks mom for pushing me so hard to get it).
I've definitely noticed this week that there is a reason for everything that happens to us as missionaries and if we pay attention, it applies to everyone else as well. Being in the service of the Lord with all my focus is giving me unique perspective on what life really is about.
Ran into someone on Sunday who said, "I appreciate what you're doing, but right now my Gospel is being preached by Payton Manning and the rest of the Denver Broncos." We had to smile at that one.
Look up D&C 129. It talks about how you can tell if an angel is from heaven or from the devil. That was a question a Former investigator named Paul had. Funny thing was that Elder Paskett and I were just having a conversation about it the day before. Also, Paul told us how he's studying Hebrew and the Monster energy drink symbol means 666 in Hebrew. No wonder it's so bad for you.
The Guests have officially started to not smoke. They are really going to try. Angelic is going cold turkey and Ben Guest is trying to use chantex when it comes. We gave them a list of inspirational scriptures to help them in their trial of this next week which will be very rough for them.
Jerry is praying for a baptismal date in December. We gave him 4 dates and he is going to pray for one of them so that it is more of a personal thing for him a personal goal to work towards rather than a forced one.
Made cookies and experimented on some recipes. The result was delicious snicker doodles that I accidently made while trying to make chocolate chip. (Too much cinnamon in an experiment actually turned out to be a good thing.)
We had a live district meeting in Winner on Friday which was my first one. It went well. I got Elder Paskett addicted to the snicker doodle cookies.
President Anderson came to Chamberlain for Branch Conference on Sunday. He interviewed us and we had a potluck. We brought our cookies and I guess everyone liked them because there were only 2 left out of about 20. We also were asked to give an older lady a blessing for pain for the third time she had cancer. She is not afraid of dying; she just doesn't want pain until then. Her granddaughter is a member and asked President Anderson for the blessing.
This morning we waxed the car in 37 degree weather. It was great. I love it here in South Dakota and am grateful for the experience of a mission.
I love you.
Elder Davis
 
 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Week 11: Kimchee is really disgusting


On p-day tried to make scones, but ended up with a lot of hush puppies at first. Then I realized I don't need that much oil and made some pretty good fry bread with some biscuit mix we received from the Barth's. Got some "ELDER"berry jam to try, it’s really good. I'm still going to try to make scones again, this time better.

So many more clouds here and when it rains, there is a mist above the river that is really interesting. A lot of times as well it just mists with the moisture already in the air and then getting us wet as we walk into it.

Had a lesson with Jerry where we read from the Book of Mormon. He prayed afterwards and said he felt the spirit. It was great and perfect. Also met with someone studying to become a catholic deacon, He reads a lot and didn't accept the Book of Mormon because he wouldn't have time to read it. It was a great lesson though and the first on my mission where it felt more like a discussion and not just a lecture from us. We have resolved to make this every lesson that we teach.
 
Jerry was also able to teach us something that we'd never thought of while reading the Book of Mormon fulfilling the promise that as we teach by the spirit, both missionary and investigator will be edified together. Had a lesson after our weekly planning session with the Stivers, they are less active and his wife is from Korea. It went well and felt like home teaching visit.

On Friday we had Zone training in Pierre and we met someone there that was a member from Utah up hunting. It really is a hunting state here because we have seen a lot of people coming in to hunt pheasants and supposedly Chamberlain is the pheasant hunting capitol of the world. Had a great meeting and afterwards got my winter clothing.

Tried Kimchee on Friday, It's really disgusting.
 
One of the highlights for the week was a lesson with two new investigators named Ron and Amy. They go to an evangelical free church meaning it’s non-denominational with no head of the church, just local leadership. They went well as we answered their questions in a discussion about religion environment where we had several opportunities to testify and they had opportunities to feel the spirit. They did so after we testified of how we knew the Book of Mormon was true. They said, "Wow, this makes us want to pray with you now." It was very enriching and we have high hopes for them. We are planning on making cookies for p-day today using a mixture of different ingredients such as oatmeal, chocolate chips, and cinnamon. We'll see how it works out.

I love you all and am grateful for your love as well. Thanks for all your help and support.

With love,

Elder Davis
 
 


PS.  A bit from a letter to Dad.
                Jerry got to the book of 2 Nephi and is still reading strong. He's understanding more as well as he's praying for help in understanding and is throwing out profound statements at us that I never would have thought about as such as Arising from the dust 2 Nephi 1-2 being arise from the filth of the world. He is ready to be baptized, and we are going to invite him for November 23 next time we meet with him.

 
 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Week 10: Pray often and sincerely express gratitude for blessings.


Got a haircut this week.

Jerry is doing really well. We asked him to pray before he reads and he says it’s helping him to understand the Book of Mormon more. He also has read 8 chapters in 3 days. He really is getting close, but he just needs that extra push to get to church and not stay home because it’s easier.

We met a lady who shared an experience of dying and coming back to life with us. She said there were a lot of warm voices welcoming her, but she said not now and went back. It was interesting. She was interested in family history and thanked us for the records on familysearch.org. She got over 7000 names in her personal records now because of the interest the Church gave her in finding out about her ancestors one day while she was in Salt Lake City. Unfortunately she wasn't interested. 

I started taking Elder Bednar's advice when he says, "read through the Book of Mormon with a question in mind and highlight all the references to that question. By the end of your life you should have around 80 or 90 books."

We had exchanges this week so I went with Elder Perkins while Elder Schneringer went with Elder Paskett. Jerry is actually up to 1 Nephi 18 by now and is going strong in reading. Now he just needs to ask our Father in Heaven if it's true.

Saturday was a highlight for the week. The River City Band Festival is held in Chamberlain so it was an actual Marching Band Competition in both the field and on the streets. It's very interesting the way the whole town of Chamberlain and the surrounding areas view band as a major thing like football.

I know that prayer is the way to receive answers to questions. If you really pray sincerely with the prayer meaning something to you, then it will be more than just "talking to a wall" as one of our very logical investigators says. I know that prayer is where we can express the desires of our hearts to our father in heaven. I know that it helps make days go by easier and will lead to great blessings.

Pray often and sincerely express gratitude for blessings. I love all of you.

With Great Love

Elder Davis

Ps: It's started pouring here in Chamberlain. Last night we had a little leak in our house so we put a bucket under it and it filled up to around 6 inches of water, and that was with a small drip in our house. It wasn't with outside. It's still raining today, but we are dry with umbrellas and it's died down quite a bit. The street gutters here turn into fast streams really quickly and I think they don't really have a shortage of water ever. The highest fire danger sign I've seen is a moderate danger of fire. Also the clouds here are amazing because of all the moisture that's in the air. I really enjoy looking up at them now.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Week 9: Now you can do it


So, I've really come to see what a blessing it is to be separated or "set apart" from the world to be able to be spiritually minded 24/7 for 2 years. It's Wonderful! (Exclamation point). Yes we did get to watch conference and it was the best I've ever had. I liked Elder Ballard's talk about missionary work. I also got to see Adrian Ochoa speak again since when he came to Blackfoot with Elder Nelson. I won't forget to "Look up!"

On Tuesday we did service for the library doing my old time favorite crushing boxes. I was grateful that for that short time period I was able to have a box cutter again.

We're trying to update and organize the area book so that when Elder Paskett leaves I will still know where people are that aren't in the area book yet from when Elder Parrish was here. It's going great.

So I must be working hard because my pants tore open on the seam, but I was able to sew it shut with the help of the advice from the cook book and also from Heavenly Father's help. It looks as good as new. I likened this to repentance. When we sin we tear open a spiritual gap between us and our Father in Heaven. It is only through the healing power of the Atonement. (Needle and thread) that we are able to be healed spiritually and close the gap between us and Heavenly Father.

Elder Persher has replaced Elder Cannon as Elder Young's companion. We don't see each other often because of the large area, but we do have a nightly call to become more unified as a district.

riday was very rainy. The most rain all the time that I have ever been in and I was also outside for most of it. I also learned that a lot of people are envious of the commitment we have to living our religion. We explained why and wanted people to accept commitments to read the Book of Mormon, but Russ said no. Had chili for dinner with the Guests and also made hot chocolate to warm us up after the cold rain. The jackets work really well in keeping us warm and dry.

Conference this year seemed really short and I wanted it to be longer. It seemed like the talks were very short. I think it’s because in comparison, we've been talking about the gospel all day every day for a while now. Found out I've lost 10 pounds since being here. I loved Elder Uchtdorf's talk on skiing. Now you can do it.

Not much else has happened this week because it’s been a busy homecoming weekend for everyone and also with their fall carnival. As it gets colder, we have less success on the reservations, but more success here because people are nice and let us in. It will be interesting to see what happens in the future.

Guests: doing well. Angelic is still praying for a baptismal date and Brother Guest is becoming more open as we involve him more

Mary-Joe: She is letting us meet with her again because her medicine for depression is starting to work. She is getting much better than just a month ago and wants to learn more.

Jerry: is going back and forth on progressing and not progressing. We are following up each day to help with this and also helping members to fellowship him so he has more motivation besides us as missionaries who only stay in the area for a short period of time.

Other than that, we haven't been able to see anyone else, but we have set up to see many people this week. We also have many new investigators who are really interested.

I love you all

Elder Davis

Monday, September 30, 2013

Week 8: Follow promptings!


So, Elder Scheringer is being called to be District Leader and Elder Cannon is leaving for Grand Forks North Dakota. It will be sad to see him go.

So I've lost a lot of weight!!! I've come up with the best weight loss program ever....

Live the Word of Wisdom and become a missionary in the South Dakota Rapid City Mission. We walk everywhere to save miles for Zone conferences because they are so far away. Pierre is about 200 miles round trip. We walk up hills and down hills and all around. I'd estimate that we walk at least 5-7 miles depending on the day. It’s getting much easier though, we can walk a mile in about 15 minutes including hills and our backpacks. Also, exercising in the morning helps as well.

So I heard that conference priesthood session was going to be broadcast into homes for the first time ever. That will make it much easier, but doesn't change much here because you need a dish or the internet to view conference anyway. It's not on the radio or TV... Another culture shock for me :)

We committed Angelic to pray about 3 dates to be baptized and she seems like she really wants to. She is progressing. We help a lot with their house, and I've compared their house remolding to their spiritual progression because it is looking a lot better both ways.

So the wind is picking up. In lower Brule on Wednesday, no one answered and our appointments fell through, but it was because the wind speeds were 30-50 miles per hour all day long. It felt like I was back home. It's really going to be uncomfortable in the winter though because it’s so open, the wind has nothing to block it, and we are out all day long instead of a few hours. But our limit is -20 with wind chill so no big deal for me because that frequently happens in Idaho. How do you tell wind chill? We have no idea.

On Thursday we helped brother Guest put in his new door. None of us knew how to do so it was interesting, but according to Brother Guest, "It's just common sense right?" He reminds Elder Paskett and I of Tim Allen in Home Improvement because he says," its easy honey. All you have to do is..." very complicated explanation. He also uses whatever tools are lying around if he doesn't have the right ones. Everything works out though. His uncle who does doors for a living said it was the best job he'd ever seen and that it looked like a professional had done it. I also found out what "green treated" wood meant. Also got into a Book of Mormon bashing contest with our District Leader to help us find scriptures and also for fun during our lunches.

One of our new investigators, Laurel, answered us with "I'm going to pray about this because I feel the importance of prayer." When we asked her about if she believed God could appear to Joseph Smith, she said, "yes, but you have to be careful because it could have been the other way too, Satan tricking him." We rejoiced at this because it gave us the opportunity to testify of the importance of prayer and not taking our word for it. It was great. She promptly committed to do so.

Sunday was interesting. We asked President Anderson if we could go to another worship service. He said as long as it didn't interfere with our other meetings. We did so today at the Zion's Lutheran Church. It was very different and felt off. It was very hyped up and showy. It felt like a show. It was also very scripted. I could follow along in a program what the preacher was going to say, except the sermon, and with the prayer. Afterwards when we went to our Church, I felt peaceful, wanted, and like I belonged there. It really helped cement my testimony more. It also taught me that the spirit works through the still small voice. It was like a brick wall hit me so powerful, yet peaceful the difference was.

Follow promptings. They are very important. The Guests left sacrament meeting because of their kids being loud. Sister Felicia received a prompting to visit them after church. She did. The Guests told us that if they hadn't visited them, they would have stopped trying to come to church for 2 years. I am very grateful for promptings and am also very grateful for the involvement of the ward. Get involved in missionary work as much as possible. We need members to help us because we can't do the work alone. I know that the Lord helps missionaries and members. They are not exclusive. By helping the missionaries, you help your close friends. I have seen this so many times so far and will continue to see it. I love it here and am grateful for the opportunity to serve the Lord.

 
With Love,

Elder Davis

Monday, September 23, 2013

Week 7: My jail days are over

This week has been interesting. The whole week I have been exhausted, but I have also felt peace in my life. It's interesting to see how even though I'm exhausted I can still be happy. The unthinkable happened on Tuesday: We receive a media referral from Mormon.org. Very interesting. They are in Platte South Dakota, but we don't have an address and haven't been able to make contact yet. We'll keep trying though because they requested a missionary visit.
 
We met with Jerry this week and he really is starting to progress. He has questions about things we give him to read and went from 3 verses per day to 3 chapters. This was all because of a member who bore testimony there. He has felt the spirit as he has read and is accepting everything we teach him. He is striving to quit smoking. The next step for him is to come to church where he can feel the spirit even stronger.
 
My jail days are over for now because Steven was released. He plans to take his girlfriend to the temple and has really changed. We will stay in contact with him via email. If you have the chance, you should watch the documentary Between Heaven and Earth. It is a great tool for explaining temples. Has great quotes from those not of our faith. We used it to teach the Guests and now their desire to be married has grown and Angelic wants to get sealed. On Thursday, I was interviewed over the phone by President Anderson who wanted to know how I was doing in the 12 week program for new missionaries.
 
We went to Lower Brule (the reservation) on Thursday. We were led to houses while tracking and found two new investigators. Ronald breeds pit bulls and taught us as well about native beliefs. I like discussing others' faiths and relating their beliefs to ours. It is much better than, "Bible bashing". Sioux beliefs coincide closely with ours. The white buffalo calf is their messenger and resides within them much like the Holy Ghost resides within us. They pray to God, their word is Tunkashila. (I definitely spelt that wrong). Prayer is central in their lives and we were able to testify that it is central to ours as well and that God does answer prayers.
 
A man called out to us as Mormons and said he respected what we were doing. He compared what we were doing to an experience he had in the desert. There was a broken down car with an overheated engine. He offered water and they said no so he left the water with them anyways, said he was coming back and if they didn't use it he would pick them back up. He came back and the jugs were still full. That's a lot like missionary work. We ask to share a message, but are rejected, but we try to help people come closer to Christ.
 
Made a flyer for general conference. It says, "Come hear a living prophet's voice." It will hopefully catch people's attention and draw them to the Gospel. Had a Pow Wow on Saturday that we went to for an hour. It was a lot of fun and we were able to talk with one of our potential investigators named Brent Charger. The rest of the day consisted of painting Brother Guest's deck. We are planning on getting members to help more in his service rather than just us to help fellowship him back to church and reactivate him into the ward with his wife Angelic. I've also come to the conclusion that all missionaries paint something for service at least once in their mission.
 
On Sunday, we had the lesson in Priesthood/Relief Society/Sunday school. branches are really interesting. Anyway, It went well and was actually on the talk I gave for my farewell. Also had a Baptist yell at us out a door that we weren't Christian and that it is through faith and grace alone that we are saved. Also that we can't add or take away from the Bible. Revelations as a source for that. It annoys me that people don't think we are Christian especially when we meet their definition of what a Christian is. I also am trying not to Bible Bash as it is called because it takes away the spirit very quickly.
 
I love you all
 
Elder Davis

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Week 6: You are essential in missionary work!

This week was interesting. We made "pure wine of the grape" aka grape juice with a blender it was really good. We then added sprite to it.
 
We went to the Akta Lakota museum today. It consisted of a lot of history and native American artifacts, games, and beliefs. It was interesting to see how much of their beliefs coincide with Book of Mormon events.
 
I was thinking about making a smoothie with all sorts of fruit juices, but I'll have to figure that out how to do it. good thing I have 2 years to do so.
 
When we do service for others, we get into "normal" clothes. It felt very weird to me. Church clothes are my normal clothes now and are very comfortable. I also am looking around town and mistaking words for things for example in the library during service I looked at the Book of Knowledge thinking it was the Book of Mormon.
 
I also felt how much a member is necessary in missionary work. We went to see Jerry with President Barth. As Pres. Barth testified of the atonement the spirit was very strong. Stronger than if we had been the only ones telling Jerry about it. Jerry especially needs fellowship's to help with his progression. That one visit made him want to read the Book of Mormon and keep commitments after we had been pounding him for weeks he finally did it after that one lesson. You are essential in missionary work.
 
We met with a Jehovah's witness named Todd. He asked us about what we believe in war and that our answer was not a message of love. We'll have to really listen to the spirit if he decides to take the missionary discussions.
 
On Wednesday we left for Pierre to stay overnight there with the zone leaders Elder Luis and Lowe. This was in preparation for the Quad Zone Conference in Rapid City on Thursday. Elder Snow of the Church Historical was there to address and teach us. We learned much on how to involve members and strengthen investigators.
 
FRIDAY THE 13TH!!!!!!!
This is very funny. Our day was very funny. We locked ourselves out of our apartment. Brother Guest helped us break back in. I really appreciate honesty. It is better for us that a person who is trying to be polite but is not interested says so right at the start instead of saying come back later. 5 times later they say no and it was a big waste of time. It would just be more polite to be outright about it so we don't waste time.
 
Several highlights of the week. Mary Joe asked us if Mormons could have animals.  Ran into a potential named Toad who wants us to cast evil spirits out of his house.  Its finally cooled down.  It was sudden.  An overnight change from 80-90 degrees to suddenly 60. It feels more like Idaho now as the weather is getting drier and colder. I like it.  Talked in Sacrament meeting about the Atonement.  Made some orange juice. Blenders are my best friend right now. I'm experimenting which could be very dangerous. Just kidding on the dangerous part.
 
The funniest door slam/ approach was on Sunday. There was a house with a football party going on. As we approached the door, someone yelled, "OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. ITS THE MORRRRRMONS!!! As we knocked they asked," come to join the party or just to get a beer and then shut the door on us. I couldn't keep a straight face.
 
Well, I love you all and will contact you more next week on preparation day. Tell Enoch congratulations for me.
 
With love,
 
Elder Davis

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Week 5: My first exchange


It’s hard to think I've been here almost a month now. It feels like it’s only been a week or so. After emailing Tuesday, there was a rain shower. It was only sprinkling, but we went back to the apartment to put our stuff away. As we were there, I prayed to know if I should bring my jacket outside with me. I really didn't want to because it’s the weirdest thing here; it was still really warm and humid even though it was a cold sprinkling rain. Anyway, I prayed to know if I should and I had an answer to put an umbrella into my bag. I didn't know why since for most of the day it was only a slight drizzle and was quite a relief from the heat. The answer came through.
 
In South Dakota, rainstorms are weird. The weather here during storms changes more than it does in Idaho. When it was drizzling, all of a sudden within a second we were being dumped on with huge rain drops. I am grateful for the power of prayer because that umbrella kept us pretty dry in that weather. On our way back for the night we met Bruce coming out of a restaurant. We talked with him and his wife is a member. He knows it’s true and agreed to take lessons. We plan on inviting him to be baptized the next time we see him. He lives in Kansas, but works up here so he'll be here for a while.
 
Wednesday was my first exchange. Our district leader Elder Cannon went with me in Chamberlain while his companion Elder Young went with Elder Paskett out to Lower Brule. We met with Steven, a potential we had tracked into trying to find someone else from 2 years ago who evidently had moved. The Lord works in mysterious ways. We met with two people from South Africa Ludvig and Victus who thought we were wolves in sheep's clothing. We asked them to pray and helped resolve their concerns. Unfortunately, they researched anti-Mormon literature on the internet and threw the Book of Mormons out of their house. I'm still praying for them and we'll stop by later to check up on them.
 
Friday was our first zone training meeting. There was a special spirit there as we travelled to Pierre and met with other missionaries. We received instruction on how to better involve the Ward in missionary work. Believe me, without the branch, our work is impossible. Everyone is a missionary. Look up on LDS.ORG work of salvation broadcast and watch the short videos. They are very inspiring and teach how faith plays a role and how members and missionaries need to be united. We also received a book on how to adjust to mission life and reduce stress that has helped quite a bit especially in sleeping better. Later that night we visited a home. A movie was playing downstairs in the basement and sounded very violent. I can't believe how fast the spirit left as I entered and heard the movie. It was very shocking, probably more so than ever because I'm used to feeling it constantly as a missionary.
 
I don't know how I was ever able to watch movies with that much yelling and gunshots, and other action without feeling very uncomfortable. It shed a new light on how much violence is very bad. A lot of times you hear people say, Oh it's just violence in this movie, but it really damages your spirit and it was only after knowing the spirit so well in my life that I was able to recognize the sudden change. It made me very sick in the stomach until the spirit returned after we left. Needless to say it was a very brief visit.
 
Lastly, last night we met with Aaron. He is very logical. He's been searching, but we weren't able to get through to him. Nothing he's said though ever caused me to doubt the answer I received from my Father in Heaven that this work is true and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is His kingdom once again established on the Earth.
 
With love,
 
Elder Davis

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Week 4: Elder Pathway - "the pathway back to our Father in Heaven"

Sorry for not mailing yesterday, the Library was closed for Labor Day and there are no other computers we are allowed to use. So anyway.
 
Monday night we committed Jerry to baptism on the 12th of october. He expressed a deep need for fellowshipping which we are trying to involve members in as much as possible.
Tuesday: First time I have ever forgotten my name badge (it won't happen again) It was so hot 110 with almost no wind. After an hour we had to go back to change shirts. I left the badge on my other shirt. Had to turn around after nearly being at our destination. There's a lot of walking here because Chamberlain is a very small town. Smaller even then Blackfoot or even better, Firth.
 
So I earned myself a nickname based on the way that I teach. Each lesson I teach, I use "the pathway back to our Father in Heaven" so I got the nickname of Elder Pathway. Has a nice ring to it don't you think? It's true though, the pathway is strait and narrow. It's the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Strait by the way means difficult or needed. The Gospel is both so I thought it was interesting they used strait not straight.
 
Wednesday: Another reaffirming thought that we can be placed in the right place at the right time. Tracted in a small subdivision of Chamberlain called Oakoma. Like Rose is to Blackfoot. We got frustrated so we were heading back to Chamberlain when we passed by the post office right as Devin was heading there. He previously had told the Elders NO WAY I'M EVER GOING TO LISTEN TO YOUR MESSAGE. Recently, though, he had some very humbling circumstances that led him right to us. He prayed for the first time and felt very giddy. I know hw recognized the Holy Ghost and is trying to repent. I also am striving to avoid the dreaded, "how can I do this for two years?" day that Elder Paskett said will eventually come. I don't think it will as long as I maintain a possitive attitude and keep relying on the atonement.
 
Thursday: Weekly Planning! I actually like it this time as I truly felt concerned for our Investigators and how we can help them. I love missionary work and know that It doesn't have to be only two years, anyone can be a missionary. I challenge all of you to talk about the Book of Mormon with friends and give them a copy. Yes, they should be non-members. Also learned why we don't listen to screaming, rock, or other musics. Even two seconds of that chases away the spirit and I felt it leave big time as we briefly passed an area with blaring music.
 
Friday: I learned today that when we teach something that has personal meaning and relevance to us and to the investigators, the lessons are very powerful as the spirit fills the room. This was done with Don and Terrance. Two possible investigators who seemed really interested and definitely felt the spirit as we testified of Jesus Christ as our savior and the atonement.
 
Saturday: Interesting how we plan to see people and then run into them on the street. I know God is helping prepare people to receive our message. Also the opposite is true. When we meet with people who just want to prove us wrong, the spiritis gone. One such person was Ron. He was willing to listen, but also was more interested in converting us. It was hard not to get angry because He would ask questions and not let us answer fully. It's also frustrating because people believe that we can't add or take away from the Bible because of Revelations and Dueteronomy. I wanted to leave Him with 2 Nephi where it talks about people saying we need no more Bible but felt it was wrong timing to do so.
 
Sunday. Did a 24 hour fast. The food was fine, but going without water here was the toughest thing. All of our appointments fell through, but we did receive several promising opportunities set up for Wednesday on exchanges.
 
Monday: P-DAY!!! Made a paper chessboard. Played with Elder Paskett who also likes chess. We have plans to make a giant chessboard using Dasani bottles as pawns and other stuff for the other pieces. It will be a fun P-day activity since there's not much to do here in Chamberlain. It's a lot like Blackfoot, but with a lot more hills we have to walk up.
After P-day, Tracted and got three potential investigators. Ludvig, he's from South Africa, said no at first, but then we ran into him on the street and he asked us if we believed in Christ. He said he'd been thinking that he couldn't deny us the chance if we believed in Christ so he said to come back.
Todd is a Jehovah's witness and will be very interesting.
Finally, Tom Thompson who walks his dog every night. We met him street contacting. Gave him a Book of Mormon and he is actually reading. It will be very interesting to see what happens.
 
I love you all and this week has strenghened my love for others. Also, After a week of 100 degree weather with 3 days being 110, 98 degrees feels amazing. Never thought I'd say that. Love you
 
Elder Davis

Monday, August 26, 2013

Week 3: First week in the field


This week has gone by quickly, but it feels like I've been here for months. My first area is... Chamberlain South Dakota right by the Missouri River! I have a new companion. His name is Elder Paskett. He is from California. It is humid here. I sweat more in a single hour than I have ever sweated in Idaho or Utah. (This could also be because we were doing a service project). Drinking lots of bottled water, Dasani because it’s Elder Paskett's favorite.

Elder Paskett and I get along great. He loves German pancakes and we both appreciate the cookbook. We made some with chocolate chips and it was very thick and very delicious. Apparently my first week here was very lucky because of all the appointments we were able to get. It’s a small town and we walk everywhere until we travel to other towns in a car. It’s my best friend at the moment. This is a relatively new area (4 months) and Elder Paskett opened it. I also learned that all of Elder Paskett's companions including his MTC companion have been from Idaho, small world.

So we were able to meet with several investigators. Mary Jo is a woman whose daughter is LDS and left her mom because she was involved in Meth. Mary Jo has changed though and actually contacted Elder Paskett and Elder Parrish in the street asking to know more about the church her daughter has joined. She has a lot of questions and is really depressed. She has many health concerns including a recent abscessed tooth. We extended an invitation to be baptized on October 5th and she accepted.

Angeleec and Ben Guest are a non-married family who we've been teaching for a while. Ben is less active and went to church last week although they are conscientious about bringing their kids because they make a lot of noise in a church of about 10 people. It's not a big deal, but they think it’s a problem.

Steven is a less active who is in jail. I feel like dad because I get the opportunity to teach in a jail. We've been trying to contact the Sheriff to see if we can visit him religiously other than visiting hours like the other churches are able to, but we haven't been able to see him and every time we try he's busy. But we will eventually get to it. It was more of a Q and A session, but we were able to help with a lot of his concerns as we answered by the spirit. I don't even know why I said some of the things that I did. It's wonderful to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord. The days go by fast as we try our hardest to work for the Lord in his vineyard. I'm also sleeping better as I work hard as promised, but it is very tiring work. I'm looking forward to a nap later today during p-day.

The highlight of my week was when we went to Fort Thompson and Lower Brule. They are two different Reservations and look a lot like Fort Hall. They also have a lot of wild dogs there and we don't know just what will happen every time we go there. There is nothing dangerous though, just very interesting occurrences. We tracked into two new investigators Carl and Marsha. They agreed to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it.

Bryan is a Native American investigator who we consider "Golden". He agreed to be baptized on the 12th without hesitation. The only problem is that he draws the attention away from the lesson and onto talking about things that are superstitious and supernatural, but we are getting better at staying focused on the lesson.

Joy (Native) was the best all week. We entered her home and taught her about the Book of Mormon. I don't remember much, but we were sent there when she needed us and she didn't even know she needed us. The spirit was very strong there.

Finally, we tracked into Trevor and his family and taught them the Restoration. They readily agreed to read the Book of Mormon and pray to see if it was the word of God. They said to give them two weeks which I am concerned about, but I know the Lord will answer them and He will guide them during the course of the two weeks so I am no longer afraid.
 
Saturday was the hottest day at a total of 110 degrees. There was a lot of wind and no humidity though so it was great. Yesterday was very hot with 108 degrees and not a lot of wind. Very sweaty and we walked everywhere to save on miles. It was very interesting, but again last night was the best sleep I've had throughout the mission so far. I love it here in Chamberlain and have high hopes for the area. Hope to hear from you soon. 

Elder Davis

PS.

 It's very hilly here, but with no mountains. It looks a lot like pocatello, but there is no mountain line in the background. I also tried sending pictures, but I probably can only send one at a time which will take a very long time so I'll just mail the SD card to you or something. If you have any better ideas, email me. Also, the roads here are red and have loose rocks. It's not a very up kept area in terms of roads, but that's probably because of the winters that they get here I'm guessing. Tell everyone hi. Love you all.

With lots of love

Elder Davis