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