Monday, April 21, 2014

Week 37: She is waiting for the long awaited time "for the restoration of all things".


We finally got around to bowling on P-day. I got an 86 and then I got a 113 in the 9th frame before our time ran out which was a little disappointing because I figure on average I would have gotten about a 125 or so the highest score I have ever gotten in bowling. (No we weren't using the bumpers). Elder Walker had the idea of putting them up and seeing who could get the lowest score, but that didn't happen because nobody Else wanted to do it.

We went on Exchanges Monday night until Tuesday night. I was with Elder Walker and Elder Smith was with Elder White in Bagley. Bemidji is very beautiful. We missed the blood red moon though which was a little disappointing until I learned that it appeared at 2 in the morning. I guess I value sleep more than I value seeing the moon. I might have stayed up to see it or set an alarm would have been better if I knew exactly when it was going to be, but I didn't because of course we don't get to watch the news.

We watched a short 3 minute video this week at easter.mormon.org. It was called because of him. It was really good and we based our lessons of the week off of it. You should watch it if you haven't already even though Easter is already over. But it is still good to reflect on our savior Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for us. We had a great time on the exchange doing what is commonly known, at least to Elder Walker and me, as buzzer tracking. We came to an apartment complex, rang the buzzer for specific rooms and asked if they wanted to hear an Easter message. It resulted in us getting in with Nancy. She had just suffered a heart attack earlier in the month and her daughter was in the hospital. She said she had been praying all day. We said we'd be praying for her and her daughter Dawn. We had a great lesson that resulted in her wanting to learn more. We left her with a passage from the Book of Mormon. Alma 7: 11-13 to help her find peace in times of affliction and committed her to pray to know how much God loves her. It was probably the best lesson I've had on my mission so far because it focused directly on the savior and we were the answer to her prayer.

While we were also finding Less Active Members across Bemidji, I saw something I'd never seen before, a gigantic Grey Squirrel. They were huge and looked like a small cat. I was surprised and a little impressed.

We tracked in Thief River this week again. We ran into a lady who looked like she was 15. Both Elder Smith and I had the thought to ask her if her parents were home. She gave us a look and said, "I'm actually offended by that. I'm the adult in this household and then after about 5 seconds of awkward silence she shut the door. Elder Smith just couldn't stop laughing at that one.

We also tracked into a Messianic Jew. We spent 40 minutes on her doorstep with her telling us her life story and how Yeshua or Jesus had changed her and led her to be this denomination. She didn't leave much room for discussing the Gospel, but there is a lot of potential because she is waiting for the long awaited time "for the restoration of all things". We wanted to say it had already happened and was still happening, but it didn't work out.

So we had a dinner appointment with the Crepeau family. Brother Crepeau is a big fisherman and gave us fish burgers to eat with Walleye. It was amazing. Probably the best fish that I have ever had. It is supposedly a great delicacy here and people pay almost 20 dollars a plate at restaurants for it. We got a whole lot for free. He talked to us about his fishing trips in Lake of the Woods. It is a huge lake that is in Northern Minnesota and Canada. It was estimated to have 900000 acres of water. It looked like an ocean in the pictures.

Mia's Baptism was the highlight of the week. President Sparhawk gave a talk on Baptism. Mia was baptized by Elder Smith and then I gave a talk on the Holy Ghost. The spirit was there very strongly. It was Clearbrook's first convert baptism in over 12 years. Also, it was probably according to President Niswander Clearbrook's first baptism brought in by the missionaries. That was very exciting and has seemed to boost the member's attitudes towards missionary work. I am excited for the future here in Bagley and the things that will be able to be accomplished.

After the Baptism we helped Mia pull out some bushes in her front yard and cut up onions, tomatoes, and lettuce for her so she could make Indian Tacos for the potluck on Sunday. The onions were very strong and I still had the smell underneath my fingernails the next morning.

On Sunday, I made pancakes, sausage, and scrambled eggs. I think what I'm going to do now every Sunday is cook eggs and pancakes because of the extra half hour we get in the mornings because we don't exercise on Sundays. It was really good. In Church President Sparhawk asked us to bear our testimonies about Easter. We also had a lot of people who I've never met in church bringing the number of people up to 40. They all left after sacrament though. I guess it’s true here too that some people only come on Easter and on Christmas. After Church we went to Wilton to have dinner with President Niswander and his family for Easter. It was fun. We also are going to have an awesome P-day today taking pictures with Paul Bunyan and Babe his ox with a giant Book of Mormon that we made to be Paul Bunyan's Book of Mormon copy. It looks great. I'm super excited.
 
With love,

Elder Davis

Monday, April 14, 2014

Week 36: She is getting baptized this Saturday!


I am grateful that deep clean P-day is over. It was exhausting. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be though because we keep the apartment clean week by week so that we can have fun later in the day with the Elders in Bemidji and not worry about coming home to a mess or not having the spirit completely in our apartment. Today will be exchanges after P-day is over so that Elder White, our district leader, can interview Mia Sargeant for baptism. She is getting baptized this Saturday and is being confirmed on EASTER!! That's awesome and a day that she will always remember.

On Tuesday I decided to make some butter from whipping cream. It was good. We are still using it. I also decided to make for breakfast some Carmel rolls. They turned out great! It involved the rest of the whipping cream and brown sugar.

We finally made it back to Thief River on Wednesday to help the work up there. We ran into a Pastor for a Lutheran church who was legally blind and had a golden retriever for her sight dog. It was interesting to talk to her. On the way there, because this day was 70 degrees and very nice, we saw a lot of mini lakes in fields around the highway due to all the snow that had melted. I thought to myself, no wonder Minnesota is called the Land of 10,000 Lakes! After we came back we cleaned out the baptismal font so that it will be clean for Mia on Saturday. We also learned that it takes about 4 hours to fill up and that the water in Clearbrook where the font is, is clean, but it is also colored green. I laughed at Elder Smith's face when he saw it because he is the one going down into the water to baptize Mia.

On Thursday we helped out at the senior center. We sorted apples, cleaned floors, scrubbed down the kitchen sinks, and helped bleach the chairs to kill the germs so that we could set the table for lunch. We were fed again by them so we didn't complain at all. It was a lot of fun and now more people in the community are noticing us and saying hello.

Friday was another Zone Training Meeting in Fargo. It focused on helping us as missionaries have greater and enhanced personal and companion studies. The part of the day that is the most important is the hours from 6:30-10:00 where we prepare for the day and study for the needs of the day. I have often found that when we study well and seek inspiration, we learn in our studies exactly what we need to know to have a successful day. It has made a huge difference having that study in my life. It helps me love the scriptures and use them to gain inspiration in my life to deal with the challenges that come. It has also helped me know our savior Jesus Christ more personally and appreciate his sacrifice for us. I have been changed not because I am serving a mission; I have been changed mainly because of my studies of the scriptures. Anyone missionary or not can experience this change as they read daily and study from the scriptures. I saw it with Jerry and I am continuing to see it throughout the mission and with the people we work with.

We notice that investigators we study for, understand clearly the doctrines while others feel rushed, confused, and lost. To help others progress we must study. A lot of attention is going into chapter 2 of Preach My Gospel. As a result, I feel better about each day and the challenges that lie ahead and I am more confident in the work. It is the spiritual nourishment that we need each day much like food for physical nourishment. I've studied much about covenants to help Mia understand their sacred nature. As I have searched for definitions and ways to apply this in my own life I have been greatly blessed. I feel better each day and as we work hard my sleep has been sweet. (Ecclesiastes 5:12). I also have realized that afflictions are for our learning. I have gained many attributes as a direct result of a weakness I've had to endure. After ZTM I rededicated myself to the work in obedience, service, longsuffering, and patient perseverance. I want what the Lord wants and this was the only way to accomplish that: to consecrate myself. It has required sacrifice, but the result (change) is worth it.

Saturday was spent most of the day raking leaves for President Niswander. It was exhausting and actually provided a great workout.

On Sunday we spoke again in sacrament meeting and taught temple preparation class. Our talks were focused on what we learned from General Conference. I spoke on Elder Bednar's talk and also on the importance of learning not just learned from conference. In other words continue to study the talks and apply them into your life. General Conference does not mean anything unless we apply it into our lives and allow it to change us. I know this to be true. I am excited to get the ensign next month and also to be able to print talks off from LDS.org. After Church we met with Mia again to review with her the Baptismal interview questions and resolve any final concerns she has to being baptized. As we talked with her, I felt the power of the Spirit. She didn't quite understand tithing, but as we testified with power and authority using experiences from our own lives, the spirit was able to enlighten her mind and she gladly accepted the commitment to pay tithing after she is baptized. I have a testimony of tithing. It has helped me to be frugal with my money. The Lord blesses us in both seen and unseen ways as we pay tithing and show our faith in Him. He blesses us with more faith and an increased knowledge of spiritual truths.

I am very grateful to be serving a mission. I know that the work we are doing is true. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. I love Him. I am grateful for all of you. I love each of you so much. I know that as we work together to serve the Lord, great miracles will be performed for the benefit of all our brothers and sisters.

 With great love,

 Elder Davis

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Week 35: April fool’s day was funny


Monday was spent all day in Bemidji while our car was being fixed. Shopping in the morning was very nice because it wasn't rushed like it usually is in the afternoon. But that's what happens in a town of 15,000 people in the city limits and almost 80,000 spread out outside it in the country. (I learned that the other day from President Niswander). It answered my confused question of how Bemidji was so big for being a town the size of Blackfoot.
We had fun this past week at P-day couponing different restaurants like Arbby's for the cheapest food and the most value. It was great and we also did the same thing for district meeting on Friday after the meeting. I made curry that night as well as homemade biscuits. When I combined the two it was very good.

April fool’s day was funny. The weather played a cruel joke on us. March 31 no snow 55 degrees. April 1 a lot of snow and 10 degrees. I think I mentioned this last time, but it still is worth mentioning again. The rest of the day was spent helping the Niswanders. We learned how to put up baseboards and trim.
Deana is doing well. She is reading her assignments. The last one was on the tree of life because she was interested in visions. She liked it and understood most of it. We answered the rest of her questions.

On Thursday night we traveled to Bemidji to stay the night so that in the morning we could pick up our car. It wasn't finished until later that night though so we were once again stuck in Bemidji for a while until the car was finished at 5. President Niswander also took us to a home sport and travel show where there were a lot of exhibits that reminded me of the Eastern Idaho State Fair. We were able to talk to many people and discuss the Gospel a little bit with them. It was very nice.
Elder Walker received for his birthday a cd with the Bible on it. The person reading the Bible was none other than the actor who played Darth Vader and whose voice is also Mufasa. It was pretty awesome listening to his voice. I was imagining him reading the Bible on the Death Star to the emperor. That was a funny thought.

General Conference was amazing. My favorite talk was Elder Bednar's. I also really liked Elder Scott's because he helped us realize how to teach people better. I will be printing off a lot of talks when they become available.
In between sessions on Saturday, Mia Thompson got married to Quinn Sargeant. They are now living the law of chastity. The day after the wedding we saw them, and they already look happier. We can tell that the spirit can more abundantly bless them in their home now that they are living the law of Chastity. Their happiness gives that away

My favorite story from Conference Was Elder Uchtdorf's from the Priesthood session. "Don't even think about it." It really made me laugh.
I appreciated Elder Ballard's talk as well. It has inspired me to share a little bit of what I have been learning from Preach my Gospel. I was in Chapter 2 How to study effectively. I learned why conference was so good. There was an activity relating how Joseph received inspiration to pray. I learned that like Joseph before his prayer, before conference my mind was continually searching for answers and God was able to illuminate statements that helped my needs because of it. Just like Joseph was touched by James 1:5 I was touched by several statements made from all of the speakers.  We have decided as a companionship to study the general conference talks often. They will help us in our efforts. Especially Elder Ballards and Elder Scotts. I've been studying in 2 Timothy. I've learned that our afflictions our there for our learning and growth just as Elder Bednar explained we need our loads. I never would have learned things I now know or acquired traits I now have if it weren't for some form of affliction to bring me closer to and rely on Jesus Christ.

So the weather is now beautiful. 60 degrees and I can wear a short sleeve shirt with no problem. I really am excited because now Elder Smith and I won't have to suffer from Spring fever anymore, (this is mostly because today was deep clean P-day). The P-day that happens every 6 months after conference that every elder is afraid of which requires most of the day. It wasn't as bad as we thought though and we are done early so we can go bowling in Bemidji. (We didn't go last week because of time, but we can now this week). The Lord is truly blessing us in the work. I know that as we work together and as you share insights from your study of Preach my Gospel as Elder Ballard suggested, we will accomplish miracles. I look forward to this.
I love each of you,

Elder Davis

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Week 34: At church, we had 3 investigators show up.


Dodge ball again for P-day last week and today I think we will be bowling and also getting haircuts.

That night we had a lesson with Mia and had her crush her cigarettes. She has now quit for at least 6 days and is struggling a little, but still hasn't given in to the temptation. The stop smoking program is helping her. She says the grapefruit juice brings back memories of her dad and that the cinnamon mouthwash has a good taste like big red gum for almost half the day after the morning.

Wednesday was another service day with President Niswander. We helped pull tile off his bathroom wall so he could re-tile it. It reminded me of when we did so when we lived in Chubbuck and redid the bathroom shower. Some of the tile was really annoying because it didn't just come off, it was stuck hard to the wood and had to be chipped off. It was hard and we felt like stonecutters.

I tried making biscuits this week, but they turned out more like cookies because we didn't have any baking powder so they didn't rise in the oven. Other than that though they turned out pretty good. Needless to say I have bought some today and will try again. They should work out a lot better this time. Mia gave us some of the grapefruit juice to try. It isn't Ruby Red. It is raw, unsweetened white grapefruit juice. It was very bitter. I also made tuna casserole for dinner again and it was very satisfying. (So far it's the only meal that I can say that I cook really well. And that's because it is easy.)

District meeting this week was really funny. To emphasize how we can't force the Gospel to someone, Elder Smith chucked a watermelon at Elder White. He then tried pushing it into his mouth. They had come up with this ahead of time. It was very effective because the whole watermelon (or whole Gospel) is good, but not all at once. It is overwhelming. But you don't need to get the whole Gospel to know that it is good. Just one scoop of Watermelon will tell you if the watermelon is very sweet and desirable. It's the same way with the Gospel.

On Saturday we helped again at the Geary house. I learned how to stain wood. Elder Smith learned how to lay flooring. It's getting pretty windy here now that it's warming up for spring. Yesterday was great, 50 degrees. Even with the wind blowing it felt amazing.

At church, we had 3 investigators show up. Alvin, Leslie, and Mia. Leslie bore her testimony. After the meeting we had a great Sunday school lesson on how historical finding help show that the Book of Mormon is very much possible. The only true way to know however is to pray and read for yourself to know if it’s true. We had two lessons after church. One with Deana, and the other with Jessie. Deana had questions about the purpose of life and said she really understood Alma. 34:32 and how it means that we prepare to meet God in this life. Jessie wanted to read the book of Enos and was impressed by many of the things there. He believes the Book of Mormon is true and loves learning from it. He likes it when we visit with him as well.

I have really enjoyed this week as well as others. It has flown by fast. It was Monday. Then it was Tuesday. Then it was Friday. And now it’s Monday again and it happened seemingly in a day. It's interesting how much time blurs while you are on a mission. Days become weeks and weeks become months. There have been many occasions where I have lost track of the day of the week temporarily. Also, I can't believe it's already April. Time went by fast after I changed companions for the first time, but now that I've changed areas, time is flying by faster than it ever has been. I love it out here.

I love all of you.

 

Elder Davis