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

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