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