Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Week 85: We learned of the sacrifices of the pioneers in coming across the plains pulling handcarts.

We started biking again this week. We headed downtown for a lesson. Normally it is a 30 minute walk, but this time it happened to only take about 7-10 minutes on bike. It helped that it was all downhill. Coming back up however took some time as it was all uphill. Took 15 minutes, still cutting our time in half. I am super grateful for both the bike and for the warm weather that we are receiving. It is providing a great boost to the work almost like a new life. This time of year is a great time to reflect upon the savior with all the newness of life. Pointing to our eventual eternal life and Resurrection thanks to our Savior Jesus Christ.

Tuesday we walked with JD and talked a little bit with him in the morning. We were able to show the video "Obedience to the 10 commandments". He really likes videos. It gives him a chance to hear from the apostles. He loves the apostles when they speak for they have the spirit with them very powerfully. He basically invited himself to general conference by asking us if we'd let him know when it was coming.
Wednesday night we were able to teach the Reardons the Restoration again. They did not understand it the first time. We made sure that this time they understood it very clearly. We read the words Christ told Joseph about other churches. "My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join.

 19 I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”
We then asked, "So what does this mean about all other churches." She responded. "They are wrong." She didn't quite understand so we repeated later "What does this mean about the church you are currently going to." She wouldn't answer, but the spirit bore powerful testimony to her and we could see that she knew her church was not correct. She now has the desire to read and pray for herself to find out if the Restoration is true. I am very grateful for the spirit guiding us in that lesson to teach them what they needed to know.

Friday we helped a family in the Spanish group move. They bought us lunch and Elders Baum and Van Buren got into an eating contest to see who could eat the most tacos. They bought 4 12 packs of tacos from taco bell and Elder Van Buren and Baum each ate 12. I thought that was crazy since I was full around 5. I wouldn't win in an eating contest.
We had a very powerful lesson with Corrine on Saturday. She had invited her mother so we started out with the Because of Him video to bring the spirit and review the Gospel of Jesus Christ for Corrine. Her mother felt the spirit very strongly and the lesson went really well. We taught the 10 commandments and also the word of wisdom. Corrine was very excited to keep the commandments even though she loves tea. She decided to give it up because the Lord promised very strong blessings for obedience to the commandments. We are very excited for her.

At the end of the lesson Corrine's mother wanted to know why Corrine needed to be baptized again. So we told her it would take some time to explain and asked if she would meet with us again. So we are now going to teach her mother as well. It is a great feeling being able to be here to help the Lord make a difference in people's lives as they feel the spirit.
That night we had a potluck dinner for the ward. We got to know several people and it was very successful. Sister Chapman showed up. She didn't make it to church the next day but at least she was able to receive fellowship from the ward at the dinner. Hopefully she will eventually decide to stop making excuses and actually make it to church one of these days. We know how much it will bless her and she does too, but for some reason she never decides to show up.

Sunday night the Anderson's had us over for dinner. She prepared a dish from Guatemala for us to enjoy. It was very good.

Monday was amazing! We had the wonderful opportunity to go to Martin's Cove to help with the handcarts. We brought them out to prepare for the treks that will happen soon. They estimate that over 22,000 youth will show up this year for trek. There is definitely a great feeling there that is strengthened the more you learn about the things and events that occurred there.
We learned of the sacrifices of the pioneers in coming across the plains pulling handcarts. Some even walked the whole way from winter quarters Nebraska to Salt Lake City barefoot. Many made it okay but two, the Martin and Willie handcart companies, started late and as a result were caught in heavy winter storms and the Wyoming wind. The story of the Martin handcart company's trouble when it really got bad began not far from where I am currently serving in Wyoming. It is about ten miles West of Casper where they tried to cross the river at Bessemer Bend on the Platte River. It was very cold in October and after the dangerous crossing an early snowstorm hit. Many died. Fierce winds were merciless and they had nowhere to dry off or get warm. There was intense suffering.

They were eventually rescued but still had to make the 50 mile journey to Martin's Cove to find shelter from the piercing wind. Once there it was -11 without wind-chill and they had to cross the Sweetwater River to get to the protection of the cove. Four men volunteered to carry them across making the trip several times. It was storming again. They finally reached the cove and were stuck there 5 nights and 4 days waiting for the storm to pass. The tents frequently fell down. 56 died. If not for these sacrifices and the Cove which God had prepared for them, all 400 would have died there. It is an amazing story. I have gained profound respect and reverence for their sacrifices. Martin's Cove is often referred to as "Wyoming's temple" because the spirit that is there is very strong just like that of the temple. I definitely recommend visiting.

It made it real for me.
The rest of the Zone left and four of us stayed behind to wait for another tide that was coming. In the meantime we explored Devil's gate not far from the cove. It was a really neat experience and was very beautiful. We also got to see Independence Rock before we got to the Cove in the morning. That whole area is rich with history. I love this area.

I am grateful I got the chance to write today and share some of my experiences. It has been a great week. Hope to write to you again soon.

With love,
Elder Davis

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Week 84: Friday evening we gave several people blessings.

Last Friday was Zone Training Meeting. We went over many things but the most focused on is the new initiative the church is doing called #BecauseHeLives. It is similar to the He is the Gift initiative. The website comes up March 28 and is HeLives.mormon.org.

We've gotten into the habit of going to Lunch with our Ward Mission Leader before Coordination meeting every Saturday and getting Little Caesar's pizza for him. This time we decided to try a new thing by asking if we could get Barbeque sauce instead of the regular sauce. They agreed and it was the best pizza I've had there the whole time I've been here in Casper. (The members are very nice. One member Barry Jones owns Little Caesars and gives us free pizza all the time.)
Wednesday we were on our way to see JD and we found a stray dog. He wanted to help us get it back to the owner so we looked at the tags on the Black dog and the name was Sirius Black. We found the home it was supposed to be at and returned him.
On Thursday we went on exchanges with Elder Wendell and elder Nichols. I went with Elder Wendell and stayed in the 8th ward area while Elder Rucker went with Elder Nichols in the 9th ward area. They were very fun. We were able to teach temple prep to Terry Young and help him continue to prepare for the temple. It was very spiritual and he felt the spirit testify to him of the truths we shared. We also were able to have dinner at the Brauchie home. They fed us salmon. We shared the Because He Lives information with them.

Friday evening we gave several people blessings. Sister Bennion requested one after we ate dinner with her and brother Uresk. Then as we visited Sister Hillan we asked if she needed one. She was sick with something that made her voice very raspy. It was a great night and the spirit was very powerful in preparation for when we taught sister Ashby and invited her back to church on Sunday. She sees the need, but was busy this week but agreed to come next week.
Sunday was great. It felt great to partake of the sacrament. Last week Elder Rucker was sick so we didn't make it and it felt very strange not being able to partake of the blessings of the sacrament. But it made it extra sweet this time to renew the covenants I made. There were several less active members who showed up as well. Elder Rucker and I were invited to give talks by the high counselman brother Andersson. We gave corresponding talks. Elder Rucker talked about the importance of inviting people to hear the gospel and not just prepare them or think that we need to prepare them before inviting them. The Lord prepares people infinitely better than we ever could. We just need to invite. I talked about overcoming the fears associated with inviting people by trusting in the Lord, remembering the blessings, no being judgmental, and by having a positive outlook. It was a great day.  We also were able to find out more about some members in our area. It has become a great thing to walk everywhere especially in the nice weather we have here now. It is refreshing in the morning and the evening to step outside into cool, but comfortable air.  

Today we had a great P-day so far. Brother Rummel invited us out to go hiking with him on a ridge near the Red Butte. So we did so and it was a great experience. Elder Wendell and Elder Nichols came with us. We visited several places and got some great photos of Casper, the valley, and the mountains. It was great to go hiking even a little bit. It has been a while since I've done so.
It has been a great week. I hope you also have a great week. Continue in the faith.

With love,
Elder Davis

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Week 83: They agreed to be baptized.

Monday (2) was great. We had great times with soccer and basketball. The Lord is really helping me to improve and play as a team. We had a little rotation tournament where we would play half-court and rotate out so that others in the Zone would still be able to play without it being too crowded. It works extremely well and helps us keep the rules while still having fun.

Later in the day we were in an awesome lesson with Devin and his wife Kerry. They agreed to be baptized. The date they are striving for is April 11th. The spirit was very strong there. It started out warm Monday but by the end we had over a foot of snow by the next morning. We had fun putting on our boots and trudging through it. It is all gone now and today was a beautiful spring morning. We also were able to grill some chicken and Elk stake with the district leader before we met for and area meeting to discuss the needs of the Casper 8th ward and the work. It was great. We also cooked rice, mixed vegetables, and pierogis.
Tuesday we shoveled a lot of snow, Especially for Loraine Bennion and the Rummels. Brother Atkinson brought his snow machine so it was easier to shovel the foot of snow out of the way.

We had some more splits that evening with Brother Sorenson and Brother Morris. That way we got a lot done. Melvina Hunt went to the Family History center the next day after we committed her to go and they were able to help her get connected to her family. She was super excited and I know that doing family history work will help bring her back into activity.
Wednesday was also great. As we walked downtown we decided to take a different route than normal and ran into a lady whose car was stuck. She thanked us a lot as we pushed her car out of the snow and helped her on her way to work. Next time someone knocks on her door hopefully she will remember and let them in.

Brother Rummel shared with us this week the story of Chief Warshake. Apparently he was a Shoshone chief who was converted and as a result provided safe passage for many of the pioneers through that territory. It was a neat story.
Thursday we helped Brother Atkinson put up drywall in the basement of his apartments. He really appreciated it and took us out to lunch at Pizza Hut for thanks. Afterwards we helped Brother Neal try to pull his son out of a drift up on the mountain. It was too slick and as a result we weren't able to do much. So slick that as I stood on the road the wind blew me down the mountain road. It was fun, like sledding.

Had a lady we talked to ask us if she could come to our church. It was amazing being in the right place at the right time. Had a great week more on it later. Very limited time. I love you all very much!
With love,

Elder Davis

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Week 82: Stay diligent even when things look bleak.

Nina, one of the less active sisters we teach was excited to talk about family history work. She didn't want to come to church, but she agreed to go to the family history center here in Casper at the stake center. So at least she will be in a church building and feel the spirit it brings into her life.

One of our busiest nights was Tuesday night when we went on splits. Brother Sorensen took Elder Rucker to see Sister Susan Chapman and I went with Brother Morris to see Sister Brenda Hillan. Elder Rucker's lesson went really well as he taught her the Restoration and she committed herself to come to church, (unfortunately she never actually made it). Sister Hillan went great. She also said she was coming to church but didn't make it. I have no idea why they don't do it. The spirit is always strong in their lessons, but they never show up.
There was a blue and gold banquet here at the church building. As a result, at dinner with the Bertagnole family we had a lot of Twinkies decorated as minions for desert. Apparently there were a lot left over and they got stuck taking them home.

We have found a lot of new people to work with by going through our records. Patty Frimin is an example. She was an investigator in 3rd ward before they made the boundary changes and she is very excited to meet with us. She even offered to feed us dinner which is great because most investigators who feed the missionaries get baptized. She has a lot of potential.
Saturday was exhausting. We had 3 moves that we helped with. We helped Sister Barbara Tomlinson, Brother Logue, and Sister Albliwi move. It took all day and by the end we were exhausted and ready for a good night's rest. We did sleep really well.

Sunday we were able to share a great message with the active Woolston family at dinner involving building a tower out of cups. Foundation of 12 apostles, teachings of the church after that and topped off with the Godhead. It was a neat lesson and their children loved it.
We have a lot planned out for this next week. We received many assignments from Bishop Burtagnole to help the work progress. We are also looking forward to a great P-day today.

Thanks for all you do. I appreciate it a lot.
I think the best thing I learned this week is to stay diligent even when things look bleak. The Lord provided many things for us to do when we didn't know what to do. We also were always in the right place at the right time. You can be this way too as you pray and ask the Lord what you can do for Him today. I'd encourage it because it always makes the day better if at the beginning you promise in prayer to do whatever the Lord wants you to do.

With love,
Elder Davis