Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Week 29:The power of fasting


Hello again.  I'll start off this week with a humorous example of why we don't just let cars warm up while we aren't there.  The keys got locked in the car while they were in the ignition because we bumped the lock button as we were getting out very briefly to run upstairs to our apartment.  We won't do that again.  The result was a sheriff getting us back into the car by rolling down the windows.  "Of course" to quote Elder Smith, "the one time this happens to me it has to be on our mission."  We were okay though and it didn't cost anything, the perks of being in a small community.

There is something funny that happens when you switch an area.  Elder Slater described it to me as Missionary Veil.  I've started to forget street names in Chamberlain even though I spent 6 months walking them.  It is driving me crazy to try to remember one of them, but I can't so I took it as a sign from Heavenly Father to move on from Chamberlain and focus my work here in Bagley.  As I've done so, a lot more has been accomplished and I feel a lot better about the people here. Charity is being developed as I diligently serve the Branch members here.

I learned this week the power of fasting.  All the days in my mission that have been the best in terms of spiritual lessons, help with adversity, or just finding people to teach have been when I was fasting.  The Lord really does help people who fast recognize answers to their prayers more and also it shows the Lord our love for Him.  I am grateful for a loving Father in Heaven.   As I taught while fasting this week, I once again felt the spirit move through me to become His lesson, not Elder Davis's lessons.  Because of this my understanding was enlightened and I felt the truths of what I was teaching as I testified.  If you ever have doubts about a testimony, bear it.  I know that as you do so you will feel the power behind what you are saying and the Holy Ghost will confirm to you what you have believed all along even if it is lying dormant within you.  Your testimony will be strengthened.   So I ask this question in preparation for Fast and Testimony Meeting next Sunday.  Will you bear your testimony of something in the Gospel on Fast Sunday?  I promise that if you do, faith will be strengthened and you will feel the love of God in your life.

On Friday before district meeting I got my hair cut.  I had a great conversation about the Book of Mormon with the hair stylist in Walmart in Bemidji after she asked "What's the occasion" referring to our clothes.  It was spiritually edifying and hopefully perked some interest.

Saturday was spent all day in serving others.  It was exhausting.  And Sunday was spent all day studying as Elder Smith was recovering from a 24 hour bug.  He's okay now though.  So I finished the Book of Mormon for the second time and it was a very spiritual read this time as I took the time to slowly study, ponder, and learn from its precepts.

I love each and every one of you and am grateful to be serving the Lord here in Bagley.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Elder Davis

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Week 28: You know you are in a big city in this mission when you have a Walmart in your town.


So on P-day we ended up playing dodge ball and HORSE with the basketball. I wasn't too good at the basketball or the dodge ball part. Elder Nixon told us about his crazy trip to Ecuador. He also made an impossible shot at the hoop by chance. It hit the back of the rime bounced straight up into the air and landed in a swoosh. It made the day. Our oven is interesting because it doesn't have a heat setting. It is a gas oven and stove. They really heat up quickly. (I burnt some Pillsbury cinnamon rolls) We talked with an investigator named Deana. Her main interest is the Book of Mormon and how it closely matches the prophesies of her native Ojibwe tribe religion. She was found by Elder Christensen and Elder Smith when they prayed to know what house they should knock on.

On Wednesday we went to Thief River Falls, a town Northwest of Bagley. It has about 8,000 people. The joke is that "you know you are in a big city in this mission when you have a Walmart in your town." Anyway we offered service with President Nicewander to Sister Oce. She owns a curiosity shop there. We tore down drywall and also sanded drywall and sheet rocked. I looked like a ghost afterwards before I dusted off. After that we traveled to Detroit Lakes and then on to Fargo, North Dakota for Zone Conferences. The Conference focused on the importance of the Book of Mormon and also on how we as missionaries set the example for investigators in their efforts to repent. We spent the night in Fargo with Elder Walker and his companion. We woke up and did 500 pushups throughout the apartment. Elder Walker contributed over 200 and I did about 100. Needless to say my arms were pretty sore the next couple of days from all the service we had been doing and also from the pushups.

It was a great week and the time is going by fast. I know that as we serve the Lord and put him first we have greater happiness. I love you.

Elder Davis

Monday, February 10, 2014

Week 27: It's cold here


It's cold here, but not as much wind. It looks a lot like Island Park. My new companion is Elder Smith from Eagle Mountain Utah. I seem to be getting a lot of companions from Utah. To get here, I spent 10 hours riding in vehicles, 8 in a 15 passenger van and 2 in a car. It is still a Chevy cruse 2013 and is blue this time instead of silver, probably because there is snow everywhere in drifts. Bagley is a half hour away from Bemidji which has the population of Blackfoot. Bagley has 1,300 people in it.
The last week can be described in one word: Different. I am in a different area, different companion, and a different perspective on the work. I look forward to the challenges ahead and am grateful to be here in Bagley. To start off, I thought a new area would be just the same as an old one just doing the same things with a different branch and companion. I guess that's not the case. It is a lot different and the majority of the people are Norwegian or Swedish.

We had lunch with our Elder's quorum President in Bemidji because we had to go there to get the car estimate. I guess before I got here they were sideswiped one day by someone who then drove off. They came out one morning and there it was. We think it was probably a snow plow.
We visit Val Chevalier who is a less active member not by choice. She is in a retirement home and we bring her the sacrament each week. It was a very spiritual experience having her explain how we don't know how much it means to her that we do that. The sacrament is very important. It helps cleanse us and give us strength to face the week and is a spiritual (battery recharge).
On Saturday we spent the day serving President Nicewander who remodels houses and then rents them out for a hobby because he is retired. It was a lot of fun working on a house and cleaning up. I love serving others because we are serving God by doing so. (See Mosiah 2:17).
Our church house is 14 miles away in Clearbrook. This is the first town where I've seen people in pj's at 4:30 pm. It was very surprising.
Leaving Chamberlain was harder than I thought, but I am slowly learning to appreciate it here and grow in charity for the branch and people here in Bagley. I love each of you.

Elder Davis

Monday, February 3, 2014

Week 26: I'M BEING TRANSFERED TO BAGLEY MINNESOTA!


To start off...I'M BEING TRANSFERED TO BAGLEY MINNESOTA!  I'm super excited, but it will also be very hard to leave this area and all the great people that I've met. The branch members have been great and I will definitely have to come back and visit them again or keep in contact with email at the very least. I got the call while we were at the hospital going through orientation for new volunteers. I was able to help with bingo at the nursing home today at least before I leave on Tuesday. I am going to miss Elder Jacobs. We have become very great friends.

I made Jell-O for the first time this week. It ended up really well, but I don't think I should have made as much as I did. I made 12 cups of it. We were thinking about using it at the baptism but it froze in the fridge so we had to keep it for ourselves. I also made some pie crust and used pudding for the filling. It was banana cream pudding with a twist: I used chocolate almond milk so it looked like chocolate pie and was really banana pie. This was a little surprising to Elder Jacobs and me because we were expecting it to be very chocolaty. We also travelled to Winner to have Michele's baptismal interview done.

I also made banana bread for the first time. On Thursday it snowed again a small amount, just enough to cover something very nasty and very surprising, BLACK ICE. It was over everything. I have never experienced the effects of freezing rain because we just don't get that type of weather in Idaho. It was icy everywhere. I must have fallen down at least 5 times. It was even on the curbs where I expected the yellow of the curb to be free of ice. It wasn't. The ice was so clear I didn't even see it until I slipped. Luckily I had no injuries just a bunch of laughs.

The highlight of the week was Jerry's baptism. This also happens to be the highlight of my mission. Sophie Felicia sang a song in the middle that had everyone in tears. Sheri, Jerry's ex-wife was in tears throughout the whole service as she felt the spirit of her daughter and Jerry's baptism. She will hopefully begin to be taught about the Restored Gospel very soon.

Jerry's confirmation went great. After it he bore testimony and thanked his second family, the branch, for supporting him and helping him receive the Gospel. It was very powerful. We taught the lesson last minute on the Plan of Salvation and it went really well. Jerry participated by comparing Glory to happiness. This was something I have never thought of before. We will be very happy and at peace in the Celestial glory.

I've loved serving here in Chamberlain and now I get a new experience in Bagley. I'm excited and I know the Lord will help me.

With lots of love

Elder Davis