Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Week 33: Elder Smith burned his 6 month tie on Tuesday!

Monday was St. Patrick’s Day and of course being missionaries we all forgot that it was and forgot to wear green. In fact, we didn't even remember until I got a picture from Dad with his hair dyed green. So of course we all got pinched after that. We also washed the car and it looked brand new! I can't really explain it, but there is a lot of salt here that gets everywhere. I think they know about it in Utah, but not in Idaho. Oh, and the winters here are a lot longer than in Utah. Woke up on the first day of spring to a beautiful day of 35 degrees!! And no wind! I was thinking about wearing a short sleeve shirt. There were people walking around in shorts and t-shirts. It was nice. Then we went to bed and woke up to 0 degree weather and a 1/2 foot of snow covering everything. Yeah spring lasted about a day and now it's almost April and looks like it did when I got here in February, only less snow and warmer (0-15 degrees).

We taught Mia the 15 step stop smoking lesson which she will start tomorrow after we meet with her tonight to review and give her the supplies. It involves mouthwash, vitamin c, and grapefruit juice. Oh, and of course prayer. We also helped President Niswander move a 400 pound commercial kitchen hood from one trailer to another so he could take it to Fargo and install it in a restaurant kitchen he is helping to construct. It is called Five Dragons and Slapshot Pizza. It is located in Fargo and serves pizza and Chinese food, interesting combo. I want to go there sometime.

Elder Smith burned his 6 month tie on Tuesday with the new Elders Elder Walker and Elder Wilde. I know both of them and they both came out into the field with me from the MTC. Today will be our first P-day with them which is very exciting. Don't know exactly what we are doing yet though...

President Sparhawk asked us to give talks on Sunday while we were at Seminary on Wednesday. Elder Smith spoke on Reverence and I spoke on judging others. My assigned subject was inspired for me: Judging others. I needed this lesson in my life. I learned that on a mission we are working on weaknesses we never even knew we had. They are there, we just aren't aware of them. In this way have I seen the promise in Ether 12:27 come alive. I unfortunately have done a lot of judging--Including myself. This is something I am working on.

Quin, Mia's soon to be husband, is warming up to us. Before, he would do everything he could to find an excuse to not meet with us, but now he is casually talking with us and even came into the church and talked with other members (although he didn't attend). I am grateful that the Lord is softening his heart.

So we also had dinner with the Osmonsons and when it was over we had to get Hunter's (16) jeep unstuck out of the snow. The result was a ride "Off-roading" in a blazer. We drove up snowbanks and tried to climb them as much as possible without getting stuck. The result was having to be pulled out 4 times. We weren't driving, Brother Osmonson and Hunter were. It was a lot of fun. This was also while Elder Smith did laundry at their house so we wouldn't have to pay for it.

As always I love you. I look forward to emailing because it helps me to share my experiences and insights I receive from the Lord to help others who are reading this. Thanks for all your prayers, support, and all that you do.


With love,

Elder Davis


Monday, March 17, 2014

Week 32: It's interesting to be in Minnesota.

This week has been a lot of service. On Tuesday we spent half the day scrubbing the floor in the senior citizen's center with magic erasers. It was a tile floor and very dirty. The grout was normally white and then I guess over the course of 5 years had turned Black, Very black. The erasers worked wonders though, but we had to use 14 of them for a floor that was only about the size of the fridge side of the kitchen back home. We also got a lot of contacts from that and people are beginning to trust us more. We should have more service with them later this week. It was exhausting, but we got a free meal out of it and a lot of smiles!
On Wednesday our plans to go to Thief River Falls were cancelled because we couldn't find a ride back to Oklee where we usual meet a member to take us the rest of the way. We also couldn't get a member to pick us up so due to mileage limitations we stayed in Bagley. Luckily though, President Niswander needed our help again. We cleaned up from all the dry walling, sanding, painting, etc. We also learned that his sewer had frozen. Unfortunately we spent the rest of the time (3 hours) sucking up water from the sewer and dumping the several hundred gallons into the yard. It still didn't get unfrozen. So the next day we also had to help him. The frost here in Minnesota is 22 feet deep under the ground in some places which means the frost might not ever be completely gone this year even in the middle of summer! It's been an unusually long and cold winter here.

Two more hours the next day and it still didn't unfreeze so he had to call in someone with a steamer to do it. After those two hours in the morning we went over to Andre Chevalier's old house and helped him move to his new house about 5 miles away in Ebro. It was a long day Thursday and Wednesday.
We are still adjusting to the daylight savings time change. It is making us a little more tired in the morning when we get up because we aren't used to going to bed an hour earlier and also waking up an hour earlier, but we are working on it.

After District Meeting on Friday we had a random stranger come up to us and talk to us about how the missionaries had come over to his house and how his daughter went to school in Logan and now works in South Dakota in Brookings.
Elder Nixon and Elder Edwards are leaving this transfer. Elder Wilde and Elder Walker are replacing them. I came out with both of them from the MTC so it is very exciting. It's sad to see the others go though. Elder White is the new District Leader.

It's interesting to be in Minnesota. They have a different way of saying things. They call rolls buns. We had a lady we tracked into offer us buns. We thought they were hamburger buns so we were a little confused when she came out with rolls.
Saturday morning was amazing! Mia Thompson texted us wonderful news about getting married to her boyfriend. This is leading her closer and closer to baptism and she is looking forward to it. I love the power of prayer. It helps in any situation and many prayers have now been answered.

We had a great lesson with Deana this week as well on the Plan of Salvation. She believes in reincarnation. I never actually thought we'd ever run into someone who believes in it, but there it was and so we will have to clarify things with her when we go over the resurrection. It's been a very rewarding week. I love you all.

Elder Davis 

I've learned from my studies of Galatians and Ephesians that I shouldn't go back to old habits after being loosed from them through Christ. This led me to take an inventory of what is keeping me from fulfilling my purpose. I am striving to change. I am recognizing answers more to my questions in prayer. One day the Bible felt better than the Book of Mormon. Wondering why led me to take Moroni's challenge. I received a confirming answer to my belief: that it is TRUE! Again. I love being able to experience conversion over and over and over again. It is the best part about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I love serving.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Week 31: There are 2 parts to the Atonement or the Grace of Christ.

This week I learned that Canadian Quarters don't work in laundry machines.  We went to the bank to get quarters and one of them was a Canadian one.  Funny story to tell I guess.

Much about me has changed.  I recently looked back on some of the things that I was doing in High school and before my mission and am wondering why I ever would do such a thing.  I am glad that my focus and my desires are becoming more Christ like.  I still have a long ways to go yet, but I am starting to realize the true purpose of life.  That is to progress to become like Christ.  I have learned a lot.  We all have weaknesses, but that shouldn't stop us from working at them constantly and consistently to rely on Christ and become better.  I use Christ's Atonement every day to help overcome weaknesses and bring others truth.

There are 2 parts to the Atonement or the Grace of Christ.  The forgiveness of sins and Strengthening and enabling power.  Christ gives us strength when all other sources cease to be a comfort.  He helps us all the way, not just when we think we need it.  This has helped me a lot to overcome any problem that comes.  There still are a lot, but they are less of a burden and more of an opportunity to learn.

We've been teaching Sister Ose temple preparation class so that she can go to the temple more prepared.  She is excited to go and we are glad she is so willing to do so.

We have a new investigator named Marie Hagen who has agreed to be baptized.  She has come to Church twice and really enjoys it.  She is really prepared to receive the Gospel.

Friday was Zone Training Meeting.  It was a little different because it was the same amount of people as Zone Conferences.  Previously in my mission, we only had multi zone conferences because the Pierre Zone was so small (8 sets of missionaries).  We traveled and had Zone conferences in Rapid City.  Here though, we just traveled to Fargo and there was only one Zone.  So Zone Training Meeting was just the same size as the Conference.  It was very enlightening and has helped us in preparing for how to teach people and find people to teach.

On Saturday we ran into someone who was able to tell us the exact date he was saved.  It was interesting.  He asked us when we were saved by accepting Christ as our personal savior and we replied "Everyday".  It was interesting that he wanted an exact date from us.  Afterwards Elder Smith told me he was thinking about telling the guy the day he was baptized.

It's been a great week.  I love each and every one of you.


Elder Davis

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Week 30: I really enjoyed working with Elder Smith and the Spirit

So On Monday we took some pictures in Bemidji of Babe and Paul Bunyan. They have some giant statues there that I guess are famous. I guess Bemidji is the origination of the Paul Bunyan legend. I also grabbed some Idaho Potatoes because I wanted a good baked potato meal. It was great. I smelled inside the bag and smelt the Idaho soil that I haven't smelled for 6 months and it smelled great and reminded me of home.

To help people progress this week we have prayed and come to the conclusion we need to follow up better. As we have done this and emphasized the importance of the Book of Mormon and used it more in teaching, our investigators are progressing and our teaching is getting more powerful. Our teaching seems to be more directed towards their needs and edifies all who are present. President Sparhawk is taking more responsibility and fellowshipping our investigators at church without even being asked to. Later, they commented on how wonderful it was that he had done so and how it made them want to come back. I have been studying how to better my prayers. As I have applied the suggestions I've noticed the difference it makes and prayers are more refreshing and edifying. Elder Smith is doing quite well at taking on the responsibilities of the area as senior companion despite the stress. He truly cares about the people here and it shows in the way he not only teaches them but also in how he talks about them with me. I appreciate that in him and am seeking to emulate it.

Wednesday was very windy. It was -10 by the end of the day with 40 mph winds. We had dinner with the Osmunsen family and had to stay overnight because the drifts were impassible and our car would get stuck because it is front wheel drive. It was nice and warm inside and we had no problem. We stayed inside most of this week because of the cold weather, but we also had a car where we could get out to specific teaching appointments.

Jessie Tollufsen asked us this week to share a message with him about oranges and deliciousness. We decided to read Alma 32 with him. It was a great lesson and helped him understand the importance of nourishing faith by reading the scriptures.

Saturday was another day of service at President Niswander's house he is remodeling for the purpose of renting out. We sanded and textured the walls and ceiling in the living room. It took all day from 10 till 4:30. It was worth it though.

Sunday was great. Despite it being -22 outside we still had church and Mia came with a friend!!! We were super excited. Afterwards we had a lesson with Mia and Marie (her friend) discussing faith and reading from Alma 32 again. It was a wonderful lesson. I really enjoyed working with Elder Smith and the Spirit to help their understanding grow. We will be teaching them again on Thursday. Marie wants to come back to church and have her daughter baptized. We will invite her to be baptized as well probably in the next lesson. I have learned to rely on the Lord and on the Spirit when teaching. I know that when we rely on the Lord he will not let us fail because this is his work and we are his servants. I love it here.

Last night we had steak at President Niswander's house and it was very good. Also, a funny thing we have done is throwing boiling water out the window into -20 degree weather and watching the resultant cloud as the water evaporates before it hits the ground. We tried dying the water orange with Hawaiian Punch mix and throwing it out and incredibly it turned the water cloud orange as well. It was a lot of fun for being stuck inside during the weather.

I love all of you very much,

Elder Davis