Monday, December 29, 2014

Week 73: We had a great Christmas.

Don't have much time today so I'll make it quick. I was able to have a great P-day. We played lightning and I won 2 games so I guess I'm improving.

We had a great Christmas. Were fed in the morning by a part member family and taught them the Christmas story.

We also were able to skype our parents. It was great talking with everyone.
We found several new investigators. 2 were really good. We were able to teach them a lot about how to find God and see if he really exists. They have real intent.

Snowed over Christmas and yesterday several inches, I stuck my hand into it and it came up to my wrist. It also has drifted a lot since then.

Sacrament was great. It was the last Sunday before the ward split takes effect. We will still be serving in 8th ward after the split.
I'm glad I was able to serve here for the short time it was there. Now there will be many new opportunities.

I've loved this week even with its many difficulties in getting members to come with us to appointments because they were out of town visiting family. Still had a great week even though many cancelled on us because of the season and the hustle and bustle. I am grateful for the love of my Savior and I know that he will help us in every situation we are in. I'm grateful for the new start that comes from his Atonement. I love Him and am glad I was able to celebrate His birth.

Keep up the good work.

With love,

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Week 72: Friday night we had a miracle.

This week has flown by. It seems my mission is really going by fast.
On Tuesday, We helped a new family move in to the ward. They moved from Texas. They had two U-Haul trucks to unload. They bought us pizza afterwards. The other Elders came and helped us as well as some members who had a small break from work. Good thing we don't have to worry about prior obligations as missionaries except lessons. Unfortunately ours cancelled, but that allowed us to finish helping them move in. They won't be here until January to stay because of her job. Part of it was hard, especially moving a futon up the stairs.
One night we went to see the Rummel family. They asked us if we had a dinner appointment that night and we did not so they offered to feed us. It turned out to be inspired because they had wanted to feed us for quite a while and hadn't had the opportunity. It was great getting to know them better and hearing some of their stories about how he rafted down a river on a mattress. They have great stories.
Friday night we had a miracle. We were out tracting using the He is the Gift pass along cards. On one of the doors we knocked, we shook hands and introduced ourselves and they invited us in because our hands were cold. So we were able to share with them the video and they realized that the best gift they could give Christ was to learn more about and use His Gospel. So they invited us back to share more with them about the Restoration. It was a great night. Later we even had a missionary potluck with the ward missionaries of our ward.
Afterwards we went with Brother Burley Glasscock to see the Middleton family. It was a great lesson where we were able to resolve some of Mosely's concerns. We read Alma 32:28-30 with him and discussed faith and how we need to allow room for truth. How we learn the truth through experience and also how he needs to read the Book of Mormon and if it feels good, invites to learn more of Christ, and enlightens his life then it is of God. He accepted the challenge to read it even if the only time he has is while he is in the bathroom.
Sunday went amazingly well and also had many surprises for everyone here in Casper. I learned much in sacrament meeting. It reminded me of things I had learned and had forgotten. Namely that we need to offer our will to God and that is the only gift we can give Him because he gives us everything else. We also discussed in class how to have a better Christ centered home. This has inspired me to do better and let Christ make up for the difference that I cannot. The blessings of the Atonement are not available only once, but they are conditional on our commitment to serve Him and to "steadfastly believe on His name". If we continue to apply his teachings we can receive help even in the darkest of times. I also learned about diligence and how it is not only persistent effort, but also energetic effort. We should look forward to the blessings with the right attitude. This Sunday really helped me. I feel refreshed and better about the work here. I feel that even though I'm not perfect that the Savior still loves me and wants me to be successful no matter how long it takes.
So the big change occurred at 6 pm that night at a stake-wide meeting. There had been several rumors going around about what the meeting was about. (They were correct.) The ward boundaries have changed. And not only that they have added two new wards here in Caper! It is exciting and also interesting. We are still waiting to find out where we will all be assigned and who will be in what ward. All I know is that the boundaries which take effect in January split our current area in half. So there are going to be a lot of changes here.

I am looking forward to Christmas where I am able to talk with my family and share more experiences with them face to face via Skype. This week holds many exciting things ahead.
With love,

Elder Davis

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Week 71: Each time I turn to Him, I feel the peace that His Atonement brings.

Monday was great! We went to Jump Craze. It's a trampoline park here in Casper that is a lot like I-jump in Idaho Falls. Although we only jumped for an hour it was very good physical exercise.

We got back in with Ashley and Ben. We decided to read 3 Nephi 11 with them. They had a great experience and Ben actually told us he has never been baptized but wants to do so.
We helped the Turman family get into the spirit of Christmas by showing them the "He is the Gift" video. It is a great video. Each time I share it the spirit enters the room very powerfully and very quickly. Even when we have people watch it on their smartphones and we can't see the video or read the words that are displayed throughout it, the spirit continues to touch us. It is very powerful. Many people are willing to listen to the message because it is about Christmas. It is an easy way to show things to people and introduce them to the Gospel because it is non-threatening.
In our mission people have even shared it with ministers who have delighted in the video and have been eager to share it with their congregations. There are amazing success stories shown with it.

On Sunday I tried a new practice during the sacrament that was recommended in the Ensign. I thought of ways that I could remember Christ better throughout the week. As I have tried to always remember Christ, my ability to resist temptation has increased. The thought of our Redeemer promptly pushes out negativity from Satan. I have had more power to testify of His love for all of us and have felt that love more powerfully. Each time I turn to Him, I feel the peace that His Atonement brings. It is wonderful! As families, we should do the same thing. Think of ways to keep Christ centered in our lives throughout the week.

It finally snowed this week on Sunday. It kept snowing all day Sunday and throughout the night until this morning. It looks beautiful here with all the pure white snow. It reminds me of how beautiful our lives can be as we look to Christ our Savior and allow Him to purify and perfect us. That's just one example of the many ways I picture Christ and remember Him. There is always going to be a lot of snow during this season so I get to see the snow and the purity each day as we go out to work.
I also have an opportunity to remember Christ often because of the many prayers which we give each day, Morning, Evening, before meals, in lessons, before and after studies. Each time we pray, we pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Doing so gives us an opportunity to reflect on what he has done for us.

Scripture study each day helps as well so there is at least one time during the day where we learn about Christ and His attributes. That is one of the main purposes we should daily study the Scriptures. So that at least daily we seek Christ. It is amazing that out of the 239 chapters in the Book of Mormon 233 mention Christ Got that from the Ensign as well, Elder L. Tom Perry talks about ways to strengthen our faith in Christ.
There are many more ways I am seeking to constantly remember Him. There are also many ways you can as well. Discuss ways to do so in your families. I can promise that as you do so, your appreciation for and understanding of the Atonement of Christ will increase. There will be greater protection from Satan and an overall happier atmosphere in your homes.

I'm always grateful for the chance I get to share with you how my week has gone and the things that I continually learn. I'm looking forward to hearing from you about your experiences as well as you share the Gift of Christ with others. Remember that the best way to do so is in our own lives as we set the example for others.

With love,
Elder Davis

Monday, December 8, 2014

Week 70: So we got to crawl around in a space barely big enough to lay on our side

We played volleyball for the first time since the MTC on P-day. It was a lot of fun. I also was able to exercise my mind in a really great game of chess with Elder Harper. We were also able to go to lunch with Brother Rummel at the college. He then took us to the Tate Geological museum where we saw many fossils and also saw the largest on display wooly mammoth skeleton in North America. Later we also ran into someone on the street who told us to come back. He wasn't there when we returned, but his wife was and she readily accepted the Restoration and set a baptismal date of January 24th. This was very exciting! The Lord is blessing us with our efforts. Her name is Hanae (Hawn-nuh) and she is actually the daughter of the Reardon family who we are teaching as well.

We also had a very great Zone Training Meeting this Friday on how we could use the He is the Gift Christmas initiative to help further the work in our areas. There are many neat things to do on including links to I'm a Mormon videos and also ways to share the video with others. There is also a great link to the Christmas story which is a great way to learn and read about the Nativity. I would encourage everyone to go to this site and invite their family and friends to do so as well.
We had another great lesson with the Middleton family. Mosely said that he was "filled" when we came by. That is the term he used to explain learning by the spirit. He also knows the importance of praying to receive an answer. We taught the Plan of Salvation. He had questions about the 3 kingdoms because it was different than what he had always been taught. After showing him different references to the 3 kingdoms, he decided he'd pray about it.
On Saturday we helped Brother Atkinson place some insulation in the crawlspace below his sun deck. So we got to crawl around in a space barely big enough to lay on our side to whack the insulation with the stapler.
Sunday was great as always. I was able to see again the importance of the sacrament in renewing our covenants. I was also glad that I had prepared for the ordinance this week. I look forward to Sundays each week for the simple fact of partaking of the sacrament. It truly is the reason we go to church each week. The Christmas Devotional was also very good. I learned much from Elder D. Todd Christopherson's address on how Christ went below all things to succor us all and how we too must descend below at least some things to learn how to help one another in our trials that we face. It was inspiring to help me understand that in order to develop Christ like qualities we must have opportunities to not only serve others, but to learn from weaknesses and go through disappointing trials and tribulations. This is one reason Christ said, "In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." We can have good cheer even in the midst of such trials. I have had another great week. I love sharing my experiences with each of you. I hope you all have a great week this week as well.

With love,
Elder Davis

Friday, December 5, 2014

Week 69: On Wednesday we discovered another miracle.

We had an interesting P-day this week. It involved transfers. So the van didn't actually make it to Casper so those who were being transferred had to leave for Gillete where it would be. Something about the van getting stuck in the Black hills somewhere due to snow. The great news though is that we got a car to share with the other 8th ward Elders. It is such a blessing to have a car. After transfers we played a variety of games. Elder Abarca and I threw bouncy balls all around the gym trying to kick them against the walls. We then played basketball. I finished P-day off with a half-finished chess battle with Elder Harper which we will finish later today.

Later in the night we ended up getting a new investigator. Her name is Barbara and she had a lot of questions due to things she had experienced in the past that were not entirely true to our church and what we believe so we are clearing up many of those misconceptions.

The next day we also received another new investigator. This was a very pleasant and unexpected surprise as we were trying Donnie's house. There we met Ashley who wants to be baptized and is interested in learning more. She is staying with Donnie temporarily while they work to get the gas turned back on in the house where she usually lives. It was a great blessing because it exposed her to the church and gave her the opportunity to learn more.

On Wednesday we discovered another miracle. We decided to try back a potential contact that we ran into tracting last week. We had brother Muldowney with us and were able to get in with Elizabeth. She was golden. She accepted the lesson and knew that it was important. The spirit bore witness to us that she had been touched by the spirit. She knew the importance of prayer and reading the Book of Mormon to see if it was true. We invited her to be baptized and she said she would be. She also said that if it was true that she would have to come to our church. We were very excited and then her boyfriend came in. He didn't want to learn more so we weren't able to get back in, but we will still stop by and try to see if we can teach her more. She is ready and we know it.

Thanksgiving went very well for us. We were able to teach the Turman family about gratitude and how when we are grateful for the Atonement, Christ can help us through whatever trials we face in life. They recently had a death in the family so it was a very good message. They thanked us and more on that will be later. The funeral was on Saturday.

Thanksgiving dinner was at the Postal family's home. We ate turkey and they also had friends from Louisiana come. They prepared a turkey creole style along with the regular turkey we ate. It was very good. We had many pies and pumpkin rolls for desert. And we also played pool with brother Postal and also the other Elders in the 8th ward. So we had dinner with Elder Beazer and Elder Hubbard as well. Later we were able to teach a part member family the Bohannons and also see the Reardon family. The messages were very great and because it was thanksgiving focused on Thanksgiving and gratitude. There is a great spirit whenever we express how grateful we are.

District meeting went very well. We talked about ways that we can apply trainings that we receive into our proselyting efforts and daily missionary lives. It was very inspiring and gave us many ideas to use while teaching others and in our personal and companion studies. Our new district is Elder Abarca and Elder Jugler (DL) Elder Newman, me, Elder Beazer Elder Hubbard, Sister Sutton and Sister Curley.

We have been focusing all our dinner appointment lessons on the importance of the spirit and having it with us daily. We invite the members to find ways in their own lives to keep the spirit with them strongly, act on promptings received, or find one way to improve and invite the spirit into their lives more frequently. Then in the next dinner appointment we promise to follow up with them and offer our help. It really is a great lesson to teach.

Now though for the month of December we will be focusing on the He is the Gift initiative. You can find out more about this at Share the video with as many people as you can and talk about the true meaning of Christmas as often as possible. Invite the missionaries into your home to teach you about the initiative and how you can help with the work. This is a great time that we can reach out to those who need to hear the gospel and need the spirit in their lives.

So after District meeting we ate dinner at the Morris family home and then went out with Brother Sorenson. After trying many people we decided to see his friend Kevin Linaman. Kevin's wife Theresa was there and as a result she also became a new investigator. As we shared a message about gratitude the spirit was invited into the room so that when we asked her to read from the Book of Mormon she agreed and eagerly wants to learn more. We will see her later this week and show the Restoration video.

On Saturday we went to the Turman's funeral. Elder Newman was asked to give the opening prayer and I was asked to give the closing prayer. Sister Turman was continually thankful for all that the ward was doing for her and her family at this time. We also had the opportunity to go with Brother Spencer Larson to give a blessing to someone in the hospital who was very grateful that we came. He wasn't a member, but after the experience he might be someone Elders can try in the future. Later at 5 we had a barbeque with the other Elders in our ward. It was great having bratwurst and elk burgers. (The elk was in our freezer when I got here.)

On Sunday I had the great opportunity to bless the sacrament. I love doing this because it gives me the opportunity to serve others. That is one of the reasons I loved the branch in Clearbrook so much was that we were able to do so every week. I have really come to appreciate the opportunity I have to do so because we don't get to do it very often in the wards. We also had a great 5th Sunday lesson on gratitude. It was a great reminder that we need to live in thanksgiving daily.

I am so grateful for the lessons I have learned this week. It has focused a lot on how faith is the source of all confidence. I learned the reason we set so many goals as missionaries is because when we work towards a worthy goal we exercise our faith. I also have learned that faith is the source of all confidence and that we should strive to have firm and steadfast faith in Christ our Savior. The experiences of this week have been amazing and I am so grateful for the spirit which is able to take away the natural man and help us become more Christ like. I have continually experienced this as I have relied on Christ to help with my many weaknesses. I am continually trying to improve my faith.

With love,

Elder Davis

Monday, November 24, 2014

Week 68: D&C 127:4

We had a service project this week. We helped a sister move out of a different ward. She is moving to Boise. Wednesday was fun trying to line up 7 or 8 cameras to take a district photo all on timers. It took some tries, but we were able to get the pictures we all wanted. We also were able to visit with a member family the bishop wanted us to go see and we received several referrals from them. One of the referrals took us to see Laurie Baker. Her husband is a non-member and has had bad experiences in the past with missionaries so he wasn't too keen on meeting with us and went into the other room while we shared a message with Laurie.

Later that evening we tracted into a Muslim. He agreed to have us come back later to teach him a little bit more. He wasn't there later, but we met his brother who told us he was working. Apparently he works in the oil field here in Wyoming and is really busy. We also have found many other people through various scenarios such as street contacting people and also helping people take their groceries from their car into their homes.
In our lesson with Matt B. this week he admitted that he wasn't as diligent in searching for an answer as he needed to be. He also said it wasn't a high priority right now, but we are still working with him to hopefully help him have spiritual experiences reading from the Book of Mormon.
We had a great planning session on Thursday as we discussed the needs and concerns of our investigators, less active members, and potential investigators. We have some great lessons planned out that should really help them to progress in the Gospel especially if we listen to the promptings of the spirit while we are teaching them.
On Saturday we were able to meet with the Turman family. Right before we came over their son had passed away of heart failure. We were able to support them through this hard time. We shared a message about hope with them. We also were able to talk with Rex Campbell a returning member about repentance and forgiveness. We shared Alma's experience in Alma 36 and were able to help him see how much forgiveness is necessary and how repentance helps us to receive that forgiveness.
We ate dinner at the Speth family this week. She said she is related to Jason Wistisen back in Blackfoot. It seems to be a very small world especially the closer I get back to home here out west in the mission in Casper.
I've been studying diligence recently and I found a great scripture about it. It is in D&C 127:4 (And again, verily thus saith the Lord: Let the work of my temple, and all the works which I have appointed unto you, be continued on and not cease; and let your diligence, and your perseverance, and patience, and your works be redoubled, and you shall in nowise lose your reward, saith the Lord of Hosts. And if they persecute you, so persecuted they the prophets and righteous men that were before you. For all this there is a reward in heaven)..
I am taking the opportunity of a new transfer to double or at least try my hardest to work better and do better as a missionary.

With love,

Elder Davis

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Week 67: It's been another great week here on the mission.

It's been another great week here on the mission. We have had a lot of miracles and I am grateful for them. I am especially grateful for the first family that we are teaching on my mission, The Middleton family. They are all listening and all seem to enjoy meeting with us and are searching for the exact answers that the Gospel can answer for them.

Jennifer Middleton was very interested with the idea of the three kingdoms. So we taught her the Plan of Salvation. She said the Pre-earth life makes sense because matter can neither be created nor destroyed so we had to have come from somewhere. We also taught her why there are three kingdoms. Because God will place us where we are comfortable going and we would be more miserable to dwell with God in a state of filthiness than we would be to go elsewhere (Mormon 9:4) and showed here where in the Bible it talks about the third heaven and also the different kingdoms.
After that lesson we had exchanges with the Spanish Elders. Elder Newman went with Elder Juglar and I stayed in our area with Elder Abarca. Elder Abarca is from Costa Rica and it was great serving with him for the short time that we did. He has a strong testimony and his English skills are really good for only having been out for three months learning English. We had fun and taught several great lessons. One of the great things that seem to keep happening here is running into people who need help carrying things into their homes. They then invite us back to share our testimonies with them. We ran into someone like this while walking back to the apartment to be picked up by Brother Atkinson to go teaching with us. I learned a lot from Elder Abarca and enjoyed being with him.
Thursday night we were able to teach Mosely with his wife Jennifer. It was a very powerful Restoration lesson and it boosted my confidence that people are searching for the truths of the Restoration and also that there are people prepared to receive the Gospel. Mosely has been in several churches and wondered why each has a different interpretation. So it was great sharing the Restoration with him because it addresses those very concerns.
Friday we had a great Zone Training meeting on remembering our duty and the blessings that come from missionary work. We received great counsel on how to deal with the challenges that are facing the work in this section of the mission. Afterwards we were able to get in contact with a deaf couple that we are planning on seeing later in the month. They are really busy right now, but were very excited when we gave them an articles of faith card and they saw we believed in God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost.
I received great insight this week as we were talking with the Rummel family about the importance of the sacrament. My mind went back to how we blessed the sacrament each week in Bagley and how much of a blessing it was to participate in administering that sacred ordinance. I love doing so and am thankful that I had the opportunity to do it often. It is the most important reason we come to church. That is one of the many reasons I love the Clearbrook branch so much. I got the opportunity to serve everyone each week by participating in the Sacrament.
We also grilled Bratwurst on Saturday for lunch. It was great because the weather had warmed up enough to do. They were delicious!
I'm so grateful for the Gospel. One of the greatest blessings I have learned from my mission is how to rely on the Atonement of Jesus Christ to work through weaknesses. Weaknesses I didn't even know I had. I am grateful for His supporting hand in my life. There are many discouragements, but every time I have sought His help, He has been there to support me if I am humble enough to accept His help and know that I can do nothing of myself, but that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
I love serving the Lord. I know it is the best thing that I can do in life. I know that He can make great things from each of us and that we can learn from our mistakes and use our experiences to bless the lives of others.
With love,
Elder Davis

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Week 66: The Lord knows where we need to be when we need to be there to do His work.

Hello again.

It's started to get very windy here in Casper Wyoming. There were several days where the wind reached constants of 40 miles per hour.

On Wednesday we had the opportunity to watch the "Meet the Mormons" movie. President Anderson traveled around the mission showing it to the missionaries in the Zone and also interviewing them. It was a great movie and really a great way to share the gospel with friends. It was very inspirational. I really liked several things from it. One is from the humanitarian. He said, "I'm not perfect, but I'm perfect in one thing. I'm perfect in trying." We can learn a lot from that statement. As long as we are diligently doing our best, the Lord will provide for the rest.
On Friday we had a great district meeting on the importance of having great studies. It has helped us as we have strove to do better at teaching towards the needs of the people in this area. Later in the day while tracting we ran into James as he was coming out of his house. We briefly testified of the Restoration of the Gospel which led to him asking us questions and having a great discussion. He invited us back and we say him yesterday. He is now a new investigator. He has many questions about how we are saved. Later we had brother Sorenson come with us to a lesson with Jennifer Middleton where we read the introduction to the Book of Mormon with her and answered questions she had.
Saturday reminded me of something I had learned earlier in my mission and had forgotten. The Lord knows where we need to be when we need to be there to do His work. We had a great day planned out, but plans suddenly changed and I was a little upset until I saw the reason for the change. We tried the Yeadon family. They were home and a family member, Sister McCoy needed a blessing. They had called someone to come, but he didn't make it so we showed up at the right time to give her a blessing. This is the second time this has happened on my mission and it comforted me that plans can go wrong, but that the Lord will help us when they do according to His will.

We also later tried another less active member we wanted to see, but she wasn't there. Someone else (Ben) came to the door instead and invited us to visit with him. We were able to answer many of his questions and testify to him of the power of the Book of Mormon in changing lives. He actually was searching for a way to get his life back in order. We were very grateful that we listened to the spirit and talked with him despite it not being in our plans. Earlier in the day we had studied how we need to pray to recognize unplanned opportunities and have the courage and sensitivity to the spirit to follow through on those plans. It was great to see this blessing unfold as we prayed in faith. I was grateful for the reminder and humbled by it as well. I challenge you all to pray for those opportunities as well. You may not recognize them immediately or even until later in the week. I didn't even make the connection between that great day and the prayers in the morning until I reviewed my journal and started writing this paragraph. I love the way the spirit works. It has been a tremendous blessing to learn more about how it feels and how to follow the promptings. I know that all of us can have tremendous influence in the lives of others if we do the simple things like pray.
Sunday went well. Matt Burecker went to church. And then for some unknown reason he left after they passed the bread. We are being optimistic and thinking he had to go home for some unknown reason, possibly to help his wife with his 2 year old son. We will find out later when we see him. Later we went back to see James and he had many questions and tried to have us Bible Bash, but we didn't and testified instead because it has more power. We did use scriptures, but I have learned that if we don't testify and just try to "prove" with different Bible verses they have their own interpretation of the verses and don't listen. Our job is to invite the Holy Ghost and let them feel that and decide for themselves. He agreed to have us come back again on Friday and while his wife was there as well.

Also today the Neal family brought us a grill. It was neat because I was thinking of having some Brats to cook and would have had to boil them, but out of the blue the Neal family at a dinner appointment asked us if we could use a grill so we got one and it will be much better to cook them now than boiling them. The Lord continues to bless us while we serve Him. And it finally snowed today.

I love my mission so much. I have learned so much from it. I am so grateful I decided to serve despite all the stresses that come with it. It is the best thing I have ever done. It has helped me to learn to rely on the Lord more for help and to study every day. I am so grateful for the examples in my life that have gotten me to this point. I am also grateful to see the many blessings that enter into the lives of those we teach as we help them to apply the Gospel in their life. That has been the best part. Seeing how they have truly repented and come unto Christ and are transformed through His Atonement and seeing the happiness radiate from them. I love it. And I love all of you.

With love and appreciation,
Elder Davis

Monday, November 3, 2014

Week 65: He talked about integrity of our hearts.

Got my bike tire fixed on Monday, Brother Longhurst was very kind and helped shape up the brakes and fix the steering alignment. P-days here are very nice. Even without a car we have a lot of fun being with the Zone Leaders. Currently they are Elder Edwards (Previous District Leader of mine while in Bagley) and Elder Noble (my MTC companion).

We tried several people throughout the week. On one attempt to see JD we ran into another Less Active member named Carole Cole. She really likes meeting with the missionaries, but her husband is very anti towards us so we can't actually meet with her in her apartment. It was great because the Lord placed us where we needed to be, when we needed to be there despite appointments falling through.
We did a lot of tracting on Tuesday and ran into an older gentleman who plays guitar. We came in and Elder Newman told him he played the guitar so the man wanted him to play amazing grace. It was interesting talking with him because he wanted proof that God exists. We simply testified and did our best to explain that we know God is there because of what he has done in our lives and what we have seen in the lives of others. Just like the wind. You can't see it, but you can definitely feel it, especially here in Casper.
On Wednesday we headed off to Rapid City for our yearly quad zone meeting. There were missionaries from the Casper, Gillette, Pierre, and Rapid Zones all in one place. Elder Nash (a general authority from the 70) came. We learned a lot about how to find people to teach. We also learned about how the church is an institution of Principles and not programs and that we should seek revelation through the principles and basic doctrines. We also were able to get a lot of advice on common concerns that missionaries face in this mission. He was very powerful and the spirit was very strong.
He talked about integrity of our hearts. D&C 124:15,20. He helped us to learn how to walk with greater integrity and not just when we were under close supervision. He also promised us that if we would apply the principles we learned, we would see much more success and the work would skyrocket. The long drive back to Casper was a great time to reflect on what we learned and make plans to apply it.
On Saturday we attended a baptism for the other Elders in the 8th ward here. Brother Logan Slater, (previous Zone Leader in Pierre) came back to the mission to perform the baptism and confirmation. It was great catching up with him.

Sunday was really great. It always happens to be a good day when we fast because when we fast coupled with prayer, our prayers are answered and the Lord is very close to us. Isaiah testifies of this in Isaiah 58. It's a great chapter that focuses on fasting and how it blesses our lives. The Clems came to church and that was a great blessing. They had been not coming due to illness. So we were very happy to see them there.
After church we got a distressing phone call from Lori. She told us that she didn't want to be a member of our church and that she didn't want to meet with us anymore. She then hung up before we could ask why. But the Lord blessed us as well. We found a family. The Middletons that have been prepared, Jennifer went to an LDS church for 3 years and her husband Mosely is very open. We taught a very powerful restoration lesson to Jennifer with Brother Don Atkinson. It was great because she agreed that if she found that it was the truth, she would be baptized. Many miracles are happening here in Casper and I love serving the Lord here.
With love,

Elder Davis

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Week 64: Last week we went to our church building and played a game of lightning that lasted 2 1/2 hours

P-days here in Casper are very fun. We have so many missionaries here that we can play basketball games such as lightning and I even learned how to play chair soccer which was really fun. After I emailed last week we went to our church building and played a game of lightning that lasted 2 1/2 hours because it was the revenge type where if the person who got you out gets out, you come back in. So it took forever and we finally had to agree that everyone came back in and only got one life this time so when they were out they were out. It sped things up pretty quickly, but by then we were all exhausted.

Here is a brief description of some of the people we are teaching.
JD: he is a less active member who is blind. He likes having us over and discussing religious principles and sharing his love of dogs with us. (He remembers people by the dog they have).
Jane: Less Active lady who is starting to get back into the swing of things and is trying.
Lori W: A new investigator that we found tracting. She met with us once, felt the spirit and agreed to be baptized.
Jackie: A lady we ran into outside her house while she was pulling weeds. We gave her a Book of Mormon and she was very excited to read from it. Coincidentally she also had finished the last book she had read so there was nothing holding her back.
The Reardon Family: We taught them the Plan of Salvation and the spirit was very strong. They are enjoying meeting with us.
Matthew: he is looking for another religion that he can take his family to. We gave him a family proclamation to emphasize how our church is very family oriented. We plan on seeing him again tonight.
We also met the Rummell Family. They are less active only because a medical condition keeps them from going to church. So we visit them. He has a lot of really interesting stories and has found a lot of geological artifacts that he has in his basement "museum" that he showed us the last time we went over there.
It also is great because we get fed every night by the members here. This gives us an opportunity not only to be fed, but to strengthen the families that we end up seeing as a result of dinner. It is a great area. We share the area with another set of Elders so there are 4 elders in the Casper 8th ward. On one of the dinners we met the Jones family who has family in Blackfoot. We also met the Rentz family. Apparently they are related to Elder Lete and they thought it was quite the small world that I had been companions with him last.
The highlight in tracting this week was when Elder Newman pressed a doorbell and at the exact same time the garage door opened scaring us both. We thought we had accidently opened the door, but it was a lady who came out heading for work.
Sunday was amazing. The priesthood group in the ward is bigger than the entire branch in Marshall. We had many great lessons.  There was a beautiful musical number and we also had the opportunity to work with the Ward leaders and coordinate the work. Dinner was great as well. We were at the Postal Family's and afterwards for desert we made caramel apples.
It's been a great week. I love you all.
With love,
Elder Davis

Monday, October 20, 2014

Week 63: It's been an interesting week. Half was spent traveling around the mission on the van.

So I had a hectic week. Monday packing; Tuesday Drive down to Brookings. Then get on the van and ride all the way up to Fargo ND and then all the way over to Bismarck ND to spend the night. I had a great conversation on the van with Elder Duvall. He got transferred from Chamberlain to McLaughlin SD. Wednesday spent all day travelling over to Dickinson ND and down to Rapid City SD and then on over to Casper WY. It took all day long. And now there are mountains here in Casper!!

Very dry here, I felt like I stepped out of a swimming pool. No humidity and very windy.
Started Casper out with Less Active teaching, we met many this week. We talked with JD a blind member. He was fun to teach and he knows everyone here by their dogs. Also Elder Cunningham served here in this area. I am in the Casper 8th ward and in the East part since there are two sets of missionaries in this ward and a whole lot more in Casper.
Sunday was really fun. We had Stake conference and it was a broadcast of Elder Bednar and Elder Scott speaking. I learned a lot and it has helped with several of the lessons we taught. There are many people here that are ready to receive the Gospel. The Reardon family I met last night and we taught them the plan of Salvation.

It's been an interesting week. Half was spent traveling around the mission on the van. After a long ride I finally arrived in Casper. The first thing I noticed was the willingness of the members to come out with us teaching. Elder Newman has a lot of stress running the area and he is doing really well. There are many less active and investigators here. There is a lot of work; the only difference is in how to go about the work. It's been an adjustment to the weather, boundaries, and no car. But Despite the challenges it is a great area. We have already found many potentials. A family, the Reardons, already accepted baptism if they find it is true. It was amazingly spiritual to teach them the Plan of Salvation and show how the Book of Mormon helps answer questions of the soul.
We actually ran into people who want to read the Book of Mormon and who had coincidently already finished another book they were reading. And they said we could come back if they weren't busy. It's been amazing being here. Had a short emailing time so I'm glad I could write about my week. It's been very exciting.
With love,
Elder Davis

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Week 62: It's been an amazing, exhausting, exciting, crazy, excellent, inspiring, mind boggling week.

It's been an amazing, exhausting, exciting, crazy, excellent, inspiring, mind boggling week. We have had much success and we have many unexpected results.

I am being transferred again to Casper Wyoming. I will be serving with Elder Newman in the Casper 8th ward. I am super excited for this. Elder Lete is going to be training a new missionary and Elder Rucker from Redwood Falls (Part of the same Marshall branch) will be joining them for the Transfer in a tripanionship due to the lack of available missionaries. So Elder Lete will have his hands full with three proselyting areas for one transfer, Montevideo, Redwood Falls, and Marshall. Transfers never go as expected. Just when you think you have them figured out they throw in a curve ball.

Anyway, So Monday was very exciting. We challenged Brother McDonald at Foosball. Of course we lost every time because he was professional at it. I didn't even know the ball could move as fast as he made it go. It was at the other end of the table and then suddenly like a laser it happened to be in our goal with a very load scoring noise. We picked up a few tricks from him though and occasionally we were lucky enough to actually block his shots by moving our guys back and forth. It was an experience.
On Tuesday we were inspired to go tracting in a trailer park. It went very well and we talked to many people. One of them invited us back after we were walking back to the car and his dog Zeus walked up to us and started getting excited. I love these contacting scenarios because people are actually open to hearing what we have to say. It is also a way that we can be in the right place at the right time. An account of the lesson we had for him later in the week shall be given hereafter in the letter.
On Wednesday at the food shelf we were able to have a good day of service. Later in the day we had our first Bible study course class, but no one showed up except Brother Hale so we showed him the video scripture legacy. The class succeeded though because we were able to get in with a less active member because of the poster that she made for us to advertise for the class.
Thursday was where a lot of the fun and crazy things started to happen. Elder Lete and I were driving past the fire station and saw a lot of people there. So we decided to be good missionaries and be seen in the public. It was really interesting. It was a celebration of the 195th anniversary of the Marshall fire department. So they had many fire trucks to look at and also had demonstrations of how to use a fire extinguisher and finally they set a propane tank on fire and demonstrated how they would deal with that sort of problem. It was really interesting and very neat. Later in the day we also had a cat follow us around. So we naturally had the idea to use it as a tracting approach: Is this your cat? The one door we went to with the cat ended up being the owner’s neighbor and not really liking cats so that quickly ended that idea.
We got back in with the new investigator on Friday and talked with him about the Restoration while his family also listened in. He has a lot of potential. It was great being able to testify to his family.
Sunday was great. The testimonies were very good and filled us with spiritual health. I also was grateful to bear my testimony to the branch. We also were able to have a great lesson with Brother McDonald on the 2nd coming and how keeping our covenants prepare us for the second coming. He was very involved and had many questions that Elder Lete will answer next Sunday in his meeting with him. I really liked helping the people in this area. It has been a really neat experience to see how less active members become happier as they partake of the Sacrament and return to activity. After church we also had dinner with the Hales. They fed us Korean food because Brother Hale served in Korea for his mission. It was very good. I really liked it. kim bop and tok kal bi were the things we ate. It was very spicy as in taste not hot. Curries are some of my favorite foods. Some of my cooking adventures this week: applesauce and caramel apples. I made applesauce because I found a recipe for it at the food shelf and we were at the Gregersons for their Family Home Evening where we shared a lesson with them and made caramel apples. It was really good. I really like caramel apples.
I am looking forward to the future. I am grateful for the experiences I have had that are preparing me for the future. The Lord loves each of us. I am sure that he has prepared me for what lies ahead. Today will be mostly packing and haircuts, etc. and tomorrow will be a lot of traveling. I might not even get into Wyoming until late Wednesday, but we will see. I loved serving here in Minnesota it has taught me a lot. I am also grateful for the opportunity I had to serve with Elder Lete. I have learned a lot from him as well. I continue to reiterate this simple truth: a mission has been the best thing that has ever happened to me so far. I love you all so much.

With charity,
Elder Davis

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Week 61: General Conference was amazing!!!!!!!!!!

It's always fun when you have a dinner appointment with young kids. There are many highlights. We helped them dress up and act out the story of Ammon and King Lamoni using a Burger King crown and a beard that we found lying around in our apartment. Our focus was on teaching about scripture study and prayer due to the recent challenge by the branch presidency. It worked out really well because now the kids want to study the scriptures and act out the stories. They wanted us to come back and do the story of the stripling warriors next.

Many people this week have felt the spirit as we testified of truth. Although initially opposed, the spirit bore witness to them that what we were testifying of was true. I love the feeling that comes as we seek to rely on the spirit and allow our words to be instruments for the Lord to do His work. One such person was Webb. As we testified he decided by himself that he needed to read the Book of Mormon and asked for a specific chapter that he could read. So we gave him Moroni Chapter 10.
On Tuesday as we were trying to find people that other missionaries had previously talked with or been referred to, we were at an apartment complex and we got in the elevator. Right before the doors closed, Elder Lete had the inspiration to hold the doors. Then a lady and her dog came and we got into a discussion on the ride down. She is Jehovah's Witness and agreed to have us over for a discussion. I know that the Lord works in mysterious ways but that they are very edifying and have great results.

On Wednesday night we had a great dinner by brother Kidwell. He made some fried zucchini and some fried green tomatoes with pork chops. It was delicious. We also helped him to feel the spirit again and he was able to be invited to General conference by a friend in a different apartment complex. He was super excited because it would be his first time going. We are excited for him as well.
We've developed a great first lesson format for our first Bible Study class this Wednesday. It involves the Because of Him video, explanations of the New Testament and the Books that are in it, and also why we need Christ in our lives. It will be great even if only a few people show up. But we are really excited to accomplish this suggestion for finding people who may be interested in the Restored Gospel.

General Conference was amazing!!!!!!!!!! I cannot explain everything about it, but it was great because it answered all of the questions I had and gave me great insight on how to help people who we are teaching and also confirmed many of the things we had been learning about earlier in our studies. So it was an amazing revelatory experience. If you missed any of the sessions, I would recommend going back and seeing them. They had a profound impact and it was a really great conference. It was amazing to see how much the conference discussed things I was most in need of improving. The Saturday sessions we watched at the Gregerson's home. And the Priesthood and Sunday sessions we watched at the church. I also really liked how they allowed speakers to speak in their native languages. It was very edifying and they were better able to get their messages across without stumbling. The prayers were also inspired and allowed the spirit to testify very strongly of the messages that were shared. It really was a significant conference.
My favorite talks were Elder Robins about where do we face, President Uchtdorf about taking personal responsibility and not blaming others by asking the question ,"Lord, is it I?" and Elder Jorg Klebingrat's on how to stop the adversary from chipping away at our testimonies and our confidence in doing what is right. I highly recommend watching all the sessions and applying the counsel into your lives. They are the prophets of the Lord. They testify of truth and the counsel they gave is very much needed. I have seen the effect when not followed. All the suggestions they gave are things that I have seen on my mission help others come closer to our Savior. Without ding those basic things, Prayer, Scripture study, Sacrament, Family Home Evening, etc. Things fall apart. I have seen the happiness of people improve as they took the suggestion to do better and follow the counsel of the Prophets and there is a significant change. Keep up the good work and remember that even though times are going good, they can always be going better. I love you all.

With love,
Elder Davis

Monday, September 29, 2014

Week 60: Mouthwash, vitamin C, and repentance​.

Hello everyone. It's been a great week this week. I have learned one of the greatest lessons of my life and I am so happy to have received the opportunity to know more fully how much Christ loves each of us individually and how ready and willing he is able to give us help if we humble ourselves, accept His help, and resolve to act upon it.
We taught the stop smoking 15 step program to brother Kidwell this week and he has cut back substantially. Sister Dietz has also stopped smoking as a result of illness. She was glad that the Lord has helped her through the sickness and took the opportunity to finally quit. She looked a lot better as a result as she came to church. She also asked us for ways to keep it that way. So we told her to pray, rely on the Lord and take lots of vitamin C within the recommended safety levels.
We also located all of the different churches here in Marshall. There are 20 different Christian churches including ours. We are taking the Zone Leader's advice and will eventually show the pastors the Mormons Next Door presentation to help the community understand us better and also ask them if they would like us to show it to their congregations. We also had the opportunity to see Brother Kidwell gain the willpower to crush his cigarettes that he had rolled himself. He has a lot of faith and has a strong desire to re-enter the temple in the future. We have started the process of volunteering at the Avera Hospital here in town. So we will finish the application on Tuesday and hopefully start volunteering next week.
Saturday was a very good day. I learned that Satan slowly works at us to move away from good habits and spiritual growth until we eventually become blinded to the truth and are unsure of our confidence. I learned that the only antidote for this poison is humility and trusting in the Lord. We need to accept His loving help after which "He doth immediately bless us." When I chose to honestly look at myself and how I was doing spiritually, I was shocked and I needed the Savior's help at overcoming weaknesses that I didn't recognize within myself. I was painfully made aware of these shortcomings. As soon as I tried with all my heart to call for deliverance, as soon as I was sincere, the spirit testified to me that I need not worry anymore. That God is in control and that he will help me. I am grateful for this experience. Satan slowly works people away through cunning devices and then leads them to believe there is no way back. But there is always a way back. We need to heed the Savior's call to "Come and be perfected". We can "take His yoke" upon us daily. As we do so, our "burdens will be made light." It is interesting to see the contrast between God and Satan. As we turn to God he doth "immediately bless us." (Mosiah 2:41) The Spirit immediately comes back into our lives as we constantly strive to do the right things, stay in the right habits, and accept God's will in all things.
Sunday was a great day. We were blessed to have five Less Active Members show up for church. One of them even agreed to give the invocation. (Opening Prayer). Many have told us how great they feel in returning to the church and how much they appreciate the opportunity to partake of the Sacrament again. It shows forth in their countenances. There is definitely a recognizable difference in how happy they are. The entire church block was focused on what is called the Call to Spiritual Nourishment. It was given by inspiration from the Sioux Falls South Dakota Stake to its members. 1. Read and ponder the scriptures daily 2. Have heartfelt kneeling prayers each day 3. Give Christ like Service 4. Live worthy of a Current Temple Recommend. It was a very inspiring meeting. The Branch also started a twelve week challenge to implement these four steps and further the work of salvation in the branch.
After Church we had an amazing lesson with the McDonalds. Brother McDonald testified of how the Sacrament has helped him and how thankful he was at receiving it again. His wife Karen once again felt the spirit as we testified of the role of the Sacrament. As we read from the Book of Mormon, she continued reading silently to herself as if she was searching and excited for more. She felt the spirit and was "hungering and thirsting after righteousness" she continually wanted to learn more. Thus we took the opportunity to testify of the Book of Mormon and being able to pray over anything to see if it is true. They both decided to pray to know if the verses we had read in 3 Nephi 18 about the Sacrament were true.
After the McDonald's, we saw Sister Heather Dougherty. We needed her help as a Graphic Design student to make a flyer for our Bible Study class we will be starting on October 8th. The flyer turned out great, but even better it gave her an assignment and developed a connection to the church again. We will be seeing her next week and her husband Sheriff has only had good experiences with our church since he has been investigating with previous missionaries. It's been such a relief to be able to rely on Christ and see Him accomplish His work. We are lucky enough to be a part of this great work. I am glad to be serving here. I'm excited for the future. I hope everything is going well back home. Have a great week and I love you all.
With love,
Elder Davis

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Week 59: He felt the spirit and immediately quit coffee and set a date to quit smoking.

I'm excited to email again today. Each week seems to reveal to me new insights on things that I need to improve on, things that I have learned, and things that I continue to appreciate and strengthen my love for. Looking back on the week is perhaps one of the best times I have. It helps me see all the good that came from our efforts in the week. The best part is always on Sundays as we go to church where we can see the results of continually inviting others to come unto Christ. Also seeing Less Active members change as they rediscover the testimony that has developed within them at the time of their baptism. Also seeing the difference it makes to teach them and help them apply the Savior's teachings in their lives and feel the result of doing so. And to visually see the great improvement in how happy they are. It really has been a blessing to be a part of that.

At one point during the week we were studying Preach My Gospel and came across a story of a guy who offered to give the missionaries a ride. As they were doing so they taught him the Restoration and asked if they could meet again with him. He agreed and as a result was baptized. Well later that exact day as we were walking back to the apartment, that same scenario came to us as a bus driver offered to give us a ride back to our apartment. It was amazing. We invited him to learn more, but he declined. Although nothing seemed to come out of it, I was glad to experience and know that God was approving of our efforts to find people to teach here in Marshall.
So Elder Lete is really great at relating to people. An example of this came from our teaching Less Active member Bother Castillo. He is really into anime and Star Wars. So Elder Lete was able to explain things in the Gospel to him using the show Naruto and Dragon Ball Z, something I would never be able to explain at this point. So after Elder Lete did that Brother Castillo understood and had a greater desire to start living the Gospel. It truly goes to show that God gives us experiences in life before our missions to help prepare us to relate to and teach the people we will help in specific areas.
On Wednesday night we had a dinner appointment with Sister Paultene. She was a little busy so she ordered pizza for us. It was Papa Murphy’s. I was super excited about this because it was the first time in my entire mission that I have had papa Murphy’s pizza and it brought back memories of home. So it was great and tasted really good too.
Several of our visits with Less Active members have gone really well. Brother Kidwell initially opposed the Word of Wisdom, but when we read it with him, he felt the spirit and immediately quit coffee and set a date to quit smoking. Sister Roberts has seen a great change in her demeanor as she has returned to church and shared the Gospel with her friend Elizabeth whom she took with her to church. And Brother Castillo has accepted the challenge to pray daily and meet with us often. We promised a boost in self-confidence and a deeper relationship with God. On one night we had a great lesson with the Gregersons on the genealogy of the Old Testament. Well it was actually more of a timeline of the Abrahamic Covenant. She was super happy to have little "aha" moments every once in a while like when there were 8 souls saved on Noah's ark relating to baptism. It was fun to teach and resulted in a great discussion with a giant picture on the chalkboard of lineage.
On Saturday we received a call from Fey, a potential investigator, asking us if we could get anyone to help her transport a bed from the furniture store to her apartments across town. We called Brother Savage. This turned out to be inspired because not only did he help us, but he and his son were influential in fellow-shipping Fey's son Talon. They invited him to church and as a result, he came!!!
It was great because we were unexpectedly called upon to teach both Gospel Principles class and Primary so we weren't able to fellowship him ourselves. But the branch took over at that point. The Savage family invited him to sit with them during Sacrament meeting, they showed them where his class was because Brother Savage has a daughter in the class, and the young men got his phone number and he is invited to activities on Wednesday nights. It went very well and at the end he asked us where to go next and we told him it was over. We think he was willing to spend all day at church if that was the case. It turned out to be another great day as well because two less active members we have never met showed up and participated in Gospel Principles class. And on top of that, the Ivanov family gave talks. They have strong testimonies and have only been members for less than 2 years. The Spirit was very strong during their talks and we were able to use those feelings to powerfully testify later in the day to Brother McDonald.

Bother McDonald is less active and his wife has received the lessons several times before, but this time there was a spirit present that came through pure testimony of the Book of Mormon and studying the scriptures having the power to bring their family closer together. Right in the middle of the lesson, Brother Jones and his son Luke showed up for home teaching. They were able to testify to them both of the importance of prayer and finding out for themselves. Previously Brother McDonald's wife has been uninvolved and not listening, but as the lesson went on, she felt the Spirit and her heart was softened. We were very glad to have been able to be instruments in the Lord's hands to provide the situation where the spirit could be present and create the desire to change.
Now today we have a lot of fun activities planned. We are going to go over to the YMCA and see what we can do there in terms of recreational activities for P-day. We are also going to have another trip to Subway to try to possibly set up appointment to see the workers there. They keep asking us questions about what we do and other things, (Only possible because we go there every P-day for lunch before we go shopping).
Hope your week has gone as great as ours has. I love each of you. Continue to keep up the good work. We are all in this great Work of Salvation together. I am excited to hear from you about your experiences.

With love,
Elder Davis

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Week 58: Without the sacrament and the Savior we would have no chance of returning to our Father in Heaven.

Hello from Elder Davis!

We are starting the preparation phases for a Bible Enrichment Class held at the Church. We will start this class on October 8 and hopefully this will help us meet people in the community and allow them to feel the spirit of the church building and meet some of the members here in Marshall. We are super excited about this idea because neither one of us has actually done this before and it will be fun. We are going to base the lessons off of the New Testament Bible videos and will incorporate some of the information from the seminary manual on the New Testament.

We also found out how long it took to bike to the church. There are bike routes and trails all around Marshall so it is a lot easier to get around to places. We hope to be able to use these to learn the area better and also to save miles. It might be close to time we don't bike though because the weather is starting to cool down.

The food shelf continues to be a great contacting opportunity. We ran into a lady who had lived in Iowa next to the Elders. She has had some discussions with them before and hopefully will call us later. On one of our lunch appointments, sister Dennison made us egg rolls and pad Thai. It was very good. We also were able to teach her about the importance of scripture study. We left her with a quote from President Packer, "A study of the Doctrines of the Gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior." She liked this because she majored in Philosophy and Psychology. We also have started texting a thought of the day to sister Gregerson who then posts it on Facebook. In this way we are able to help her spread the Gospel online. It is a great idea that she came up with.

We also helped the Gregersons mount a TV to their wall and ate dinner at their house. They asked us to try contacting some less-actives in the Granite Falls area so we did so before we ate. We also helped Sister Gregerson by giving her some suggestions on how to improve her studies and make them interesting to her.

Friday was Zone Training Meeting again. It was a great meeting. We had to take a big detour because US highway 14 was under construction and there was no detour. When we got there it was nice to see who had been transferred into our zone. Elder Perkins just got transferred to Huron so he is now in our zone. We had a great talk. The subject of ZTM was on how sacrament meeting was important. There was a lot of insight. President Joseph Fielding Smith said, "Sacrament meeting is the most sacred, the most holy, of all the meetings of the Church." Sacrament meeting is also the only meeting in the entire block of meetings that we get the opportunity to attend as families. By partaking of the Sacrament EACH WEEK we are renewing our covenants and being cleansed. Elder Oaks has pointed out that none of us has remained clean after we have been baptized we have all sinned since then. Thus without the sacrament and the Savior we would have no chance of returning to our Father in Heaven.

The best part of this week was church. We learned much about Sacrifice and how it helps us love people. We also had the opportunity of teaching the lesson in Elder's Quorum again. There were a lot of things that I needed to learn from church and I am glad that I was able to receive revelation on how to work better as a missionary and also how to improve myself and rely on Christ.

We met later in the day with Brother McDonald. He had doubts about whether the church was true. We showed him Preach my Gospel and he was very interested in it. He also listens to a lot of other preachers and watches many religious videos including his recent, "God's not Dead", "Heaven is for Real", and "Son of God".

It's been a great week. I love continuing to learn. I hope you have a great week as well.

With love,

Elder Davis

Monday, September 8, 2014

Week 57: Everyone can learn something from every day if they look hard enough

Hello again,

I've learned a lot from this week. It seems like I do more and more each week. I think it’s because as Elder Lete says, "Everyone can learn something from every day if they look hard enough, not just missionaries." Something that helps me with this is writing in a journal every day. I have been searching for ways to improve my entries and setting goals on making them more spiritual instead of a routine list of events that occurred in the day. So I came up with the following suggestions.

1. Start writing earlier before I need to go to bed so that I am not rushed in recording the information 
    for the day.
2. Pray beforehand and ask specifically for the help in recording the important impressions, events, and other thoughts that the Lord knows will benefit me at a later date. That way I am confident that I have recorded everything that I needed to and that it will be preserved. It was important to many of the Nephite prophets that their records be preserved to come forth at a later date and help those who were at that time dwindling in unbelief (See book of Enos).
3. Write the impressions that come to my mind throughout the day in my planner (or somewhere else) so that I will remember them and be able to refer to them later on at night.
These three simple suggestions have dramatically improved the way that I feel about keeping journals. I look forward to writing in them every night now. They also serve as a way to help me review with the Lord in prayer the events of the day and what I did. It helps keep us accountable to him for the impressions that he has sent us throughout the day.
This morning I made pancakes on the griddle that we found in our apartment. It has helped and made it easier to have good breakfasts in the mornings. I added some frozen blueberries and it was a great treat.
We took the car in on Wednesday to fix the damage that previous Elders had caused. It was there until Friday so we had to walk everywhere for a while. As a result of all the walking, I resolved to protect my planner this transfer by making planner covers to protect it from rain, sweat and other things that all my other planners had received. Hopefully now they won't be completely worn out by the end of the transfer. As a result of all the walking we did, we ran into a lady who had stopped her car and parked it on the side of the road. As we walked up she looked a little distressed so we were about to ask her if we could help when she called out for our help. She needed us to get some grasshoppers that had somehow made it into her car. We did so and she was very thankful. (She apparently was deathly afraid of bugs). So afterwards she asked us what we did. Elder Lete replied, "We're missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints." Then something miraculous happened. Her face lit up and she smiled and was very happy. (This doesn't happen all that often when we say we are missionaries. We often get another response.) She then said, "You see. God sent two angels to help me. Where is your church?" It was great.
Thursday was our crazy day when we saw all of our Less Active people that we are teaching. Well we had appointments for all of them. One of them forgot and didn't even answer the door. But we taught them all the Word of Wisdom with different responses from each. One of them denied having a problem. The second one admitted it freely and then asked for our help in overcoming the issue with smoking. The third one we were at his house for dinner. The conversation over dinner somehow turned to coffee. We later brought up in the Lesson the Word of Wisdom and he flipped out on how some people interpret the commandment differently than others do. We finally just had to testify that he could know for himself through prayer. He was upset because he loves coffee, but he felt the truth of what we were saying and knew that he had to start living it.
On Friday we got our car back and also had exchanges. Elder Smith stayed with me in Marshall this time. We searched for a lot of people who weren't coming to church and receiving the blessings of the Sacrament in their lives. As we searched for one, we ran into Sheriff. He was investigating the church when the sister missionaries were serving here. He agreed to have us come back on Sunday after church.
Saturday consisted of fixing my bike (aka flat tire) and also trying to find people to teach. We ended up in the farmer's market looking around and got to sample some pretty crazy jams. Strawberry-Pineapple, mango-jalapeno, and several others were there. Elder Smith tried the Mountain Dew Jelly, but I didn't even want to risk it...
Later in the day Elder Lete and I saw Brother Jim McDonald. He hasn't come to church since we've been here and we were trying to touch base with him. We also had dinner at the Lembke family's home and were able to get a list of people from them to pray for.
Sunday was a great day. The Sacrament meeting was great. The testimonies were very strong and refreshing and we also had great meetings afterwards. We were also able to talk with President Burgess about what we had done throughout the week and asked for his suggestions on who we could reach out to. As we have followed his direction we have received much success because as branch president, he holds the keys of missionary work in the Marshall Branch area. We met again with Sheriff and answered some of his questions about the church. He agreed to come to church every other week when he is not working at his job. We started biking again and it feels great to be able to use a bike to get to places. I'm glad I was able to get it fixed with the help of Elder Smith's wrenches and screwdrivers.
I always appreciate the opportunity I have to email. I'm glad that some of my experiences have helped and I hope they will continue to do so. I am grateful to be serving a mission. It's been and continues to be the best experience in my life despite challenges that arise. I am glad that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ all these trials can be resolved. I wish you all a great week.
With love,
Elder Davis