Monday, January 26, 2015

Weekm 77: I was then put into a trio companionship

This has been a super crazy week. My address will be different until further notice. I have no idea when I'll be back, but it won't be more than 3 weeks. I'll explain later.

Tuesday night Elder Nicholas and I found a Part Member family who were very open to us visiting with them. They ended up cancelling later though since their kids had the flu, but they invited us back later.

Wednesday was a very good district meeting where we were able to talk about the importance of having a great planning session and ways to draw closer to God through planning. Later we saw the Rummels and gave them a Restoration pamphlet to help them learn it better. They love having us over and give us treats every time we do go over.

Saturday was crazy. Elder Nicholas had been struggling with an illness for 2 months and it finally got really bad here since we had to walk everywhere. Since he only had 4 weeks left President Anderson decided it would be better for him to be treated at home without the demands of missionary work to impede healing. So on Saturday at noon his parents picked him up. I was then put into a trio companionship with Elder Harper and Elder Bessire I will be doing a lot of splits in order to continue working in the 8th ward. They are the 3rd ward Elders. I went on splits at 2 with our ward mission leader Spencer Larson. It was a good lesson. I then went with brother Grande for dinner and service moving his couch to the dump. At the dump they had a speed limit sign labeled 23 miles per hour. I couldn't get a picture because I didn't have my camera, but I thought it was pretty funny. Sunday I spent most of the day at church. Went with the Zone Leaders in the morning and stayed with them through their sacrament meeting until I could meet up with Brother Larson again. Then I continued through our Sacrament Meeting and classes. Then I had dinner with the Larsons and met back up with the 3rd ward Elders to try seeing some people in their area.

This has been a very interesting experience. I am one of the only Elders that can say that I've met my companion's parents before I went home or he went home. It is very different on splits as well because I am used to having 3 people me, my companion, and the member. I have never been on splits before where I separate from my companion and am just with a member. So for almost 18 months I have constantly been with a companion. Now it is weird not having one. It is strangely lonely, even with 2 other companions. But this is a great opportunity for me to learn and get to know the members in the 8th ward better. So despite challenges I am focusing on what to do for the future. It is really helping. There are a lot of opportunities to do some good.
Thanks for everything you all do

With love,
Elder Davis

week 76: We were able to finally get in with the progressing investigator

We were able to finally get in with the progressing investigator the Sisters gave us as a result of the boundary changes. His name is Devin. He is very knowledgeable about the Restoration, Plan of Salvation, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He could have taught us. The only thing that is holding him back is smoking and attending church. We are excited to be able to work with him to overcome these obstacles.

We had dinner at the Mosley's on Thursday night. As we were talking with him and telling him where we were from he told us he had a companion, Elder Nielsen, in the MTC who was from Blackfoot and owns a meat shop there. It is a really small world here in Wyoming. I've run into a lot more people who know where Blackfoot is, did clinicals there, or went to school in Rexburg or lived in Idaho Falls or Pocatello for a while before moving here. Dessert was also very interesting. His kids really like root beer floats. So we found a root beer float cake in Albertson's and we had that with Root Beer Floats. Dinner was pulled elk sandwiches. It was really good.

District Meeting went really well. We had a get to know each other activity which involved playing signs and answering questions when caught and having to go to the middle. The questions ranged from what did you like doing back home to what type of shoes did you wear. Some were a little ridiculous like that, but others were really good questions that helped build district unity. In our district are the following. Me, Elder Nicholas, Elder Jugler (District Leader), Elder Abarca, Elder Van Buren, Elder Nixon, and Sister Sutton and Sister Sumsion.

Friday also was a meeting day. We had Zone Training meeting and learned a lot on how to be successful in our work by using Role Plays to practice teaching for our investigators. We also talked about some success and concerns we were seeing in all our areas and got suggestions from everyone on how to overcome those problems.

A lot of this week has been sorting through records to get oriented in our new areas. We printed out a ward roster so that we could see members and help them become more missionary minded. Especially with dinners we have been testifying of the first vision, asking for referrals, and challenging the members to give out a Restoration pamphlet to someone they know. They have responded with enthusiasm and promised to prayerfully choose people to share with. That has been a big focus this week because the Bishop [would like us to meet all the members and help them adjust to the change. We have been finding success through this despite our investigators being sick and not able to meet with us.

We were called on Saturday to see if we could help someone carry some items into Sister Adam's home. We called Brother Gosman our Elder's quorum president who picked us up and we helped her. One of our appointments afterwards wasn't there so we took the opportunity, since we had a member with us, to go see the Brauchies. They are a returning member family. They live far away from our apartment so we needed a member to take us there. It turned out great and we were able to teach about the importance of having daily scripture study. It gives us a feeling of uplift that comes from the Holy Ghost. When our days are going wrong or we feel upset, disappointed, or saddened we can turn to the scriptures. The Book of Mormon especially is a perfect vehicle of the spirit. The Spirit is a comforter which helps us get rid of those negative feelings and replaces them with positive. That is why it is essential we read EVERY DAY. It invites the spirit strongly into our lives to help us make correct decisions. I love starting the day with my study of the scriptures. It really is what makes our day go well, when we seriously ponder and reflect upon them. I have received Revelation from them that isn't even on what they were saying there on the page, but they invited the spirit which allowed me to receive answers to problems, questions, needs for the people we see, and the Lord's will for me. I LOVE THE SCRIPTURES.

Glad I was able to write and share my experiences from this week. It's great having the time to reflect back upon the week. I also have had a great experience with accountability through prayer. Preach my Gospel teaches much about this in Chapter 8 how do I use my time wisely.
It Says

      The principle of accountability is fundamental in God’s eternal plan. We will all stand
      before the Lord at the last judgment and give an accounting for what we have done with
      the opportunities He has given us...with the idea that you will account for your the Lord through prayer...In your prayer at the end of the day, give an
       accounting of your work." (Preach my Gospel)

I have had great experiences applying this counsel in my prayer at night and as I have focused on gratitude I have had a wonderful and edifying experience. I love serving the Lord and continuing to learn as much as I can and overcoming many of my weaknesses as I turn to him humbly (Ether 12:27).

With love,

Elder Davis

Monday, January 12, 2015

Week 75: My new companion's name is Elder Nicholas

So I realized from my last letter that I did not give my new companion's name. It is Elder Nicholas. He is from Corrine, Utah. This is his last transfer on a mission so I get to end up serving with him and learning a lot from him while he is here in Casper.

On Tuesday morning we started out the day well with a great study together and then we headed over to the church building for a Zone meeting where we exchanged teaching records for the new areas that we have. We gained several people to teach and also one investigator who is really close to baptism. Some of the others are hard to get to seeing as it would be a 7 mile round trip to walk there. So we are still figuring out which members would be willing to take us there and give us a ride back to our apartment.
Wednesday went very well. I introduced Elder Nicholas to JD, one of the less active members. JD talked a lot about dogs and how much he wants to have a blue Australian shepherd. We also were able to have a great discussion about obedience with him and how we receive blessings conditional on our obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel connected with those blessings.
We also talked with the Atkinson family on how we can better do missionary work here in Casper. We got some great suggestions and shared an uplifting message with them. As we were trying people we didn't have appointments with we were inspired to go try the Allred family. We did and coincidentally it happened to be one of the weeks he had off from work. He works in the oil rigs and has 4 weeks on and 2 weeks off. We talked about how we could do better at missionary work and also talked with him about his conversion story. The spirit was strong and he promised to come to church. We didn't see him there though so we will try again to see him to ask why.

We were also inspired later in the night to go see Justin Hankel. The way it happened was great. We were walking to see someone else and there was a truck that got stuck. We went to help him out and decided to just go try Justin because we were closer to him. The resulting lesson was amazing. We came to see him right after he had been going through some hard times. As we taught him there filled in his life a sweet spirit which he was able to recognize. He invited us back. We have high hopes for him. He is very open and willing to act and recognizes that the message and spirit we bring is of God and will greatly improve his life.
On Thursday we took an hour to go research on the internet for some of our investigators on and As we were walking to the library we were going down a hill and we slipped onto the soft snow and slid all the way down on our coats just like if we were sledding. It was a lot of fun and we laughed about it for a while.

On Friday we decided to try out the bus system to see how well it would help us get around our large area without a car. So we did and were able to get to the area where some of our new people to see were. We saw Brenda Hillan a less active sister and found out where Devyn Young lived.
Church was great. We met many new people. We also received a new Ward Mission Leader. Spencer Larson. We also taught the Reardons. They were confused by why we kept coming over and didn't want to continue, but after we listened, asked questions, and testified, they changed their minds and will let us keep going over. It was a very powerful lesson where we were all able to be edified. They are still hesitant to take action by changing churches, but they recognize the spirit and like it when we come over. So we'll see what we can do about that.

It's been a great week. I have had so many blessings. I am glad to be serving in the Lord's vineyard. I am looking forward to the coming weeks.
With love,

Elder Davis

Monday, January 5, 2015

Week 74: Seems that I get to see a lot of change on my mission

Hello everyone.

So have a bunch of news to share. First, elder Newman is being transferred. He'll be heading to Pipestone MN. This is where my last District Leader served when I was in Marshall. He'll be 45 minutes away from Marshall.

Second, we will be serving in the 8th ward so we just got a lot bigger area because there are no longer 2 sets of missionaries. The new bishop is Bishop Bertagnole. We ate at his house a week before the change occurred.
Third, the 8th ward is combined with the Spanish group and meets at 1:00 pm. This is a big change from the rest of my mission when we always met at 10:00 or in the case of here 9:00. Now we will have time to remind people about church before it begins. (Many of our Less Active members have expressed a liking to the later time).
Much of this week was spent trying to see many of the Less Active and active families that will be leaving the 8th ward.
Wednesday we took district pictures and had the last district meeting before the changes occurred. This has been a crazy week with changes. Change in Wards, change in companionship, change in the district as well. Elder Hubbard apparently will not be in our district anymore. His companion Elder Beazer also is leaving for Minnesota. He will head up to Cass Lake right next to Bemidji. So he'll be in one of my old districts as well. Small world.
On Friday we had a great experience. We were trying to see people in the night time and we had impressions to go see potentials. Nothing was working out so we went to try one more. I suggested someone and then we headed down the street towards her house and then Elder Newman stopped us and said we probably shouldn't see her. This put us right in front of a house where a member was talking with his friends. Then he talked with us and invited us to go with him to dinner. It was great because we didn't have a dinner appointment that night.
Saturday was spent saying goodbye to all of the people Elder Newman wanted to see and the rest of the day was spent packing. I got a lot of study time in that day. Sunday was the same, seeing people in between packing. The Atkinson's invited us over for dinner. We had a great chili with chipotle and dark chocolate. We had a short church at 3 pm 45 minute sacrament meeting and that was it. There they announced the changes and we sustained the new leaders of the ward. There were powerful testimonies and strong spirit. We are now one of the smallest wards here in Casper, but we have a strong missionary spirit.
Seems that I get to see a lot of change on my mission, Bagley went through a branch presidency change, so did Marshall, and now here. I'm glad to have been able to participate in these historic events.
So on New Year’s Eve, we proselyted as normal. We had an awesome district meeting, and then just went to bed. But we also were able to go to dinner with brother Gosman and his wife at Johnny J's restaurant. It was a fun time and they took both of us sets of Elders. Didn't do much else on New Year's Day besides what we normally do every day.
This week my study of D&C has truly helped me become a better missionary. I loved D&C 58. It spoke to me. D&C 59:7 inspired me to include more gratitude in my prayers. This has helped me see how blessed I truly have been and invites the spirit to have a more edifying and enriching experience. It has also helped me to open my heart to the Lord's will (D&C 58:52).  I also learned to confess God's hand in all things, including our afflictions. (D&C 59:21) It has helped me face adversity with more faith, strength, hope, and humility. I am grateful for the experiences I have had and I look forward to the coming week. 
With love,

Elder Davis