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