Monday, September 10, 2012

The Last LETTER


Good morning to all!                             10 Sept 12
This will officially be my last email from the mission field. That is a very weird fact for me to handle. I still remember going into the MTC, as if it were yesterday. My mission truly has flashed before my eyes and I don't really know how I am handling it all yet. Of course, I am excited to go home and see all those dear loved ones that I haven't seen for two whole years. But there is truly a part of me that wants to stay here. They say it is a sign that you truly served a good mission if you still want to stay. I know that my heart is still attached to Utah. I never thought that would happen when I first got here. I always figured that I would come here, serve, and go home to Washington without in major change in my love for a place. But I am truly attached to Utah. As crazy as it sounds, I love Utah. I love the people here, I love the scenery, I just love Utah. This is truly where my heart is at this moment in time. This whole week, I have just been going about things trying to stay busy and focused. Nothing really hit me about going home until yesterday. I finally realized that it would be the last time driving on some of these streets. The last time that I will see these people that I have truly come to love. The last time that I will be in the chapels here. The last time I will sleep in my bed. The last time I will study with my companion.
Yesterday was probably one of the roughest days for me. I went through the meetings in the morning fine and with a smile on my face. But in the evening as we went to our weekly coordination meeting, as I said goodbye to all those members that I had worked with for 6 months, I just started to break down. The people that I have associated with multiple times a week, I am just leaving behind. I was able to go up and give President Stilson, a member of the Stake Presidency a hug, and it was humbling what happened. I didn't really know what he thought of me and my service here, but as he gave me a hug, he started to choke up and cry a little and he said, "Thank you for your service Elder. I love you. Please know that!" I was caught off guard by that and I was very humbled that this older man was able to portray the love that he had for me in just such simple words. I truly knew that he meant it too.
I really don't know how much sense I am making, but basically I just want everyone to know how much I love my mission. I haven't been perfect, and have made my share of mistakes, but I am so grateful for the chance that I had to serve here in the Utah St. George Mission. I have gained more experience here then I could anywhere else in the world. There is no replacement for my mission, nor will there ever be. I love the people that I have come to know. I love my companions. I love the leaders here. I just flat out love my mission. I will forever be changed for what I have done here for the last two years.
Am I sad that it is coming to a close? You bet! I am sad because I know that I am leaving behind something that I have worked so hard at for the last two years of my life. I have put my blood, sweat (a lot of that in St. George last summer), and my tears (a lot of those through out my whole mission) into it. So of course I am going to be sad to leave all these things behind. But I know that there are so many great things that lay in store for me. I have truly done what the Lord has asked of me, to go a serve a full-time mission to help others to come unto to Christ and to know the truth. I am now moving forward in my life to find out what else the Lord needs me to do. I hope to be able to live my life that I will be able to maintain the strong relationship with my Heavenly Father that I have obtained over the last two years. I know that these lessons will help me with the rest of my life. I love my Savior, Jesus Christ, more then ever. I know that He lives and He has suffered for us. I know that this is the Lord's true church upon the earth. Joseph Smith was a true prophet. He did in fact see God, the Father, and the Son, Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon truly is the word of God. It changes lives, because I have seen it change mine. These things can change anyone’s life, if they will just learn of them and let them into their hearts.
Last of all, I want to just thank everyone again for the letters, emails, and support that they have given me over the last two years. I really appreciate it. I know that there are blessings in store for you all as well! Well I thanks again and I love you all! See you all in a few days! Cuidanse!

Live it, Love it, Preach it! (Even after the mission!)

la ultima vez del campo misional,

ELDER D


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

FEELING LOVED AND APPRECIATED - ONE WEEK TO GO!


Greetings to all!                           ONE WEEK TO GO   4 Sept 12

Well this is a really weird email. It is basically my last one. I will have a little time next week, but not too much. Who would have ever thought that this day would come? I definitely didn't think I would ever be to this point two years ago.
         This week was really good for us. We were able to see the blessings of the Lord a lot. It has been so up and down the last couple of weeks, but we have truly been putting in the work and hoping to see the blessings. This week we really saw those blessings.   On Tuesday, President threw a curve ball at us. We found out on Monday that we were having a meeting with him the following day. We had to change appointments and had the meeting where everyone was interviewed. It was a lot of stress that they put on us the day before. It was nice to have an interview with my mission president. President Leonard kept saying, "Well Elder Davis, in two weeks we will be doing this all over again." He is truly an inspired man and I am so thankful for his guidance.
       One of the main blessings we had came from a 15 year old girl named Lizzy. We have been trying to meet with this girl for 2 months now, but we just never have been able to get a solid appointment. Then we finally did. We asked her why she wanted to meet with us, and she said, "Well I want to be active in the Church and to have my mom be active in the Church.” (Her mom is a less active member of the Church.) “I know that it will be a better life for me and my family." So we were a little caught off guard by that statement and so we were thinking, "Is she a member already?" But we asked her if she wanted to be baptized and she said that she had been thinking about it and it was something that she wanted to do. The Lord just continues to provide us with the opportunity to teach those he has prepared for us.
        More blessings that happened this week – Two Baptisms! One of them was for a boy named Kayson. Kayson is actually 8, so we didn't teach him too much, but he is the son of one of our investigators. He is the son of the family that gave me the compliment from last week. It was a really nice baptism and they had a lot of support. I even was able to give a talk and say the closing prayer.
Baptism: Elder Chad, David, Elder Noriega
       The second baptism was for David. I have taught him since I first got to this area. It was a nice feeling to watch him be baptized. I was even able to baptize him. I still remember the wonderful feeling of walking down into the water with him and to just see him come out of the water smiling. As we walked out of the font, David just gave me a big hug and said, "Thank you so much! I appreciate everything you have done. Thank you for sticking around and not giving up on me." It was such a special feeling to know how much I have been able to help this man in his life. It is a very humbling experience as well. He is a very humble man and is ready to make those steps necessary in his life to do all that God has asked him to do. He has had to overcome a lot of struggles to be baptized, but now he has his sights set on the temple and being sealed to his wife. This experience really helped me to see how much my missionary service has meant to me, as well as others.
       I really had been worried that my efforts in this area didn't reach up to the "standard" set by other missionaries, or even my efforts for my whole mission. But I truly felt on Saturday, that the Lord had accepted my efforts as a missionary. I know that I haven't been perfect. I have made mistakes and have had to make those changes in my mission. I know that I was truly sent here to this mission and all the areas that I have served in, because that is where my Heavenly Father needed me to be. I know that I have been able to touch the lives of many. I know that it may not have even been a big thing to me, but I may have changed someone's life forever because of my actions or words. I just continue to hope and pray that I will always be able to remember those that I have met here on my mission, and that they will always remember me as well. I know that I have learned things here in my mission that I wouldn't have been able to learn anywhere else. This is truly where the Lord needed me and I will forever be indebted for my mission and the life changing experiences I have had here.
            On Sunday, we were able to have the confirmation of David. It was great! His brother-in-law was actually able to do it. After that I was able to bear my testimony. I thanked David for his willingness to follow the Savior, and I also thanked the members of that ward for their help. It was kind of funny the reaction that happened. I mentioned that it was no secret  I was going home soon, but that I had grown to love it here in Emery County and was grateful for all the people I had gotten to know. After that it seemed that everyone that bore their testimony welcomed David into the ward and then made some comment to me, thanking me for my service and wishing me luck in the future. I definitely wasn't looking for any response like that at all, but it happened. The funniest thing was that the High Councilman over missionary work got up and said a bunch of stuff about me and that I would be back to Emery County soon, because I had been set up on a bunch of dates. (Of course it was a joke Mother. Don't worry!) Then after the meeting everyone would come up and wish me luck, invite me to stay at their house when I come back, and I even had some more moms come up and remind me that they have some daughters I could date if I ever came back there. It was such a weird meeting, but pretty funny that his one little comment sent and eruption out towards me. It did make me feel quite loved by all those members here in this stake. I know that they truly have seen a difference and have enjoyed having me serve here for the last 6 months. The Stake President even said, "Well Elder Noriega, you are going to have some big shoes to fill here." So I am happy that I have been able to make a lasting impression here in Emery County.
        It is a weird feeling to know that this is all coming to an end, but I know that it has been for good. I know that I have tried to serve the Lord the best that I could my whole two years. Yes, I have come up short, but I have been able to grow and learn from these things. I am grateful for the opportunity that I have had and I grateful for all the support from home that I have had from everyone (family and friends). Well Mom, I am glad you could get the kitchen done and I am glad that Pops is continuing to improve. I love you all so much! I will see you next week!

 Live it, Love it, Preach it! Even if you only have a week left in the mission field!)
del misionero que regrese a case en una semana!    ELDER D

 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Making the Best of the LAST TWO WEEKS!!

Enjoying the SCENIC VIEWS!

Buenos tardes!      27 August 2012
            This week has been pretty good. We have seen quite a few blessings and miracles, but we have seen the opposition come as well. We just keep on riding the roller coaster here in Emery County.  We were able to find a few new people to teach this week. One is a 18 year old kid named Cody. His father is actually a member of the Church, but just doesn't attend.  Cody is very open to meeting with us and learning to find out what church is the true church on this earth. He knows a little bit, but has great potential. We are really looking forward to helping him continue to progress and learn more about the Gospel here in the next few weeks.
            This last Tuesday was a really successful day for us. We didn't have too many planned lessons, but the Lord provided us with the opportunity to teach several people. We started off by giving service to one of our investigators. We helped him straighten some stuff up around his house and jacked up his car so he could fix it. It was quite fun actually. It was weird too, because when we went inside, he had the BYU channel on the TV and President Monson was speaking. He then just says, "I freaking love that man!" It was super random, but he then explained to us that he has been really enjoying learning more about the Gospel and going to church. Then last week when he got home from church just watched the BYU channel the rest of the day. It is good to know that hearts can be softened through the Gospel.
            We also were able to have a really good lesson with an investigator named Shorty. He asked us a question about life after death, so we were able to explain the whole Plan of Salvation. Later that evening we were able to have an amazing lesson with a less active family, the Bell's. They are trying to get everything in order so their son can go on a mission and be sealed in the temple. We reviewed the Restoration and the Spirit really filled the room and testified to them. As we were quoting the First Vision, Sister Bell even started to cry. I am really starting to love that family as well.
            We did experience a lot of good things this week, but the trials were still there as well. We found out that half of our area had been cut out. We used to cover all of Emery County in Spanish, but this week we found that we only cover half of it in Spanish. So that took away one of our most solid investigators. We also struggled because of school starting again - trying to deal with the "dead hours" from 8 to 3.
            We also had a good lesson with our investigator named David. He is definitely ready for his baptism next week. I am so excited to see that happen. I have worked for 5 months with him, and to see him finally be ready for that step is amazing!
            I also received my flight plans this week, which was quite a shock and a weird feeling. But don't worry, I won't focus on that and I will work hard for my last 2 weeks. On Sunday I received a really good compliment from a family that we visit. They told me, "you have brought us closer to the Church then any other missionary has in the past." I thought that I really didn't deserve that compliment, but that is how things go sometimes. That comment made me start thinking of how many other lives that I may have changed or touched because of my mission. It might not even have been a big thing to me, but to them I may have changed their lives. I know that I was truly called to the Utah St. George Mission because that is where the Lord needed me to serve. He knew that there were people that I needed to meet and visit to help change and grow. I know that I will forever be grateful to my mission and for the lessons about charity that I have learned.
            NEWS FROM HOME: Well it is good to hear that the ward members have been a real big support in this last couple of weeks.(As we have returned from the Uni of Washington Hospital, ward members have checked on Darin and have brought in excellent meals - one less thing to worry about.  Thank you Snake River Ward!)  That is good to hear that Sis. Kelly was able to come and help you out.(Sister Kelly and I talked about her daughter's options at BYU Idaho and she gave me some suggestions to help Chad on his college decisions.)  I have still been thinking about a Church school mom, but I am still weighing all my options. I will be able to decide in a few weeks, and I have not applied for a PELL Grant yet, but I will do that shortly. (Chad's brother in law, Keith, and his father spent all day Saturday doing home repairs for us and added the needed trim to the bathroom, which has been in a half finished state for a year!)  It is good to hear that Keith and his father have been able to help with those things around the house. It is always nice to have that help and support. (We also shared some job options with Chad when he returns home.)  I don't know about the job, but I wouldn't care about working physically. It will help me get back in shape, but I will make that decision in a few weeks as well. (Also Sister Rickords from our ward met with Chad's mission president's wife at a wedding recently.) But that is good to hear that Sis. Leonard and President Leonard think highly of me!
Sorry that this is so scattered and short, but I will email you next week! Thanks for everything!



Live it, Love it, Preach it!  de Castle Dale, UtahELDER D

Monday, August 20, 2012


Buenos días!                     20 August 2012

Well this week has been a pretty good, but also a week of learning. I will let you in on some of my thinking for this week and why I learned so much.
We have been working hard and having a lot of trials in our path. It isn't an easy thing to constantly find new people to teach and help come unto Christ when I have about 4000 people to talk with in all of Castle Dale and Orangeville. So it is hard a feat to go about and find those people when I have been here for about 5 months already. The main lesson that I have learned lately is diligence. There have been so many scriptures that I have read lately that have just emphasized the importance of being diligent in missionary work. We have been trying a lot to find those people that are ready, but just haven't been able to pin them down. We keep working and learning from each day. It was kind of crazy because through all of this, one of the less active members that we teach asked about trials and how to overcome them. She is only 26, but she has been through cancer and chemo and a bunch of other stuff. We just told her that there is something that the Lord wants her to learn, and maybe she continues to have trials because she just hasn't learned the lesson that the Lord wanted her to learn yet. This lead into a discussion about humility and submitting to the will of the Lord. She said that she would commit herself to diligently reading from the Scriptures and to pray to find out what the Lord wants her to learn.
This week I also went on exchanges with the zone leaders. So once again, I went up to their area, Helper. It was nice to get away from Castle Dale for a little bit and to meet some new people.  I was with Elder Ware, actually goes home the same time I do, so it was a weird thing to be with him, because it will be the last exchange we go on.
As for our investigators, David, is still doing really well. We talked a lot about his baptism and the blessings that will come after that. He only chewed one time this last week, so he will definitely be prepared for his baptism on the 1st of September. We have also been working with a few other people, and it is progressing slowly. We should see some big results in September.
Another learning opportunity I had this week was I had been praying to really understand why I had stayed here in this area and why I wasn't transferred for my last transfer. I hadn't really gotten an answer on why I was still here, but on Sunday that answer came like a ton of bricks. While we were sitting in Sacrament Meeting the High Council speaker was speaking on prayer and answers. The impression just came into my mind so clearly, that I was there for someone special. I wasn't told who it was or what I was supposed to do for this person, but I was there for someone. It was a very humbling experience, but it just reminded me how powerful the Lord is and that He will respond to us in His time and when we are prepared for the answer. I guess that I wasn't prepared to receive the answer until then. I know that I am truly here to help my brothers and sisters. I am not here just to get a bunch of numbers, but I am here to help everyone come unto Christ and partake of the fullness of the Gospel that has been restored to the earth. I don't know exactly who I am supposed to help, but I am here to help someone, if not all the people here in this area.
Another thing I have been dealing with lately, is all the people reminding me of how much time I have left. It is frustrating because almost all the members here know that I am getting short on time, but they always bring it up. It is hard because I just want to work and enjoy the time that I have left.
NEWS FROM HOME: (Our Bishop came to Uni of Washington Hospital in Seattle to visit with us while Darin was there.) It is good to hear that the Bishop has been really charitable and has given you so much love and care in these trying times. He seems like a wonderful man. I can't wait to meet him. (We have also acquired a new dog, a small miniature black lab, Princess Sheila) Well that is very interesting that you have gotten a new dog. I don't know how I really feel about it or not, but I guess I will cross that bridge when I get back.
I am grateful to everyone for their help and support! I miss all of you very much, but I know I am supposed to be here. This is the Lord's work and He will keep it moving forward!      Live it, Love it, Preach it!

de la viña del Gran Rey Jesús!      ELDER D!


Greetings and Salutations!                 13 Aug 2012
Well things here have been back and forth again. We have had to battle our missionary labors against the Castle Valley Pageant again. Let's just say that the Castle Valley Pageant won a lot of the days. So we have been really trying to work to the best of our abilities, but it is hard to find people to teach when everyone is at a community event. It makes me wonder what the missionaries do up there when there is a football game or a basketball game?

We have had some highs and lows this week. I will start with the highs and end with the lows. We have had some really good lessons, when we could get them. We had one with a lady named America. I have mentioned her before, so we had some lessons last week with her and it just seemed that she wasn't too excited to be baptized or anything like that. So we had a lesson just talking about the blessings of baptism and the example that should could be for her family. We shared with her Doctrine and Covenants 31:1-2, and it really hit home with her. So she is completely ready to be baptized. She is going to California this week to visit some family, and is going to get married, and when she returns we should have her baptism!!!! I am super excited. I have taught her the whole time I have been in this area, and Elder Noriega taught her before as well, so it is definitely nice to know that our efforts are paying off.

We also had a really good lesson with a guy named Shorty. He is an old Vietnam vet, and has a lot of questions. We have really been talking a lot with him about war and forgiveness. He has a lot of questions from the 10 Commandments, with one of the being "thou shalt not kill". He feels that he has betrayed that commandment, so we found some examples of times where God has said that when we fight for our land, families, freedom, etc. that is of God. So we finally got down to his deeper concern, which is really how to know if he has been truly forgiven or not. So now we got to put in some more studying to find an answer to his question. He is really close to accepting all these things, which just got to keep up with him and to make sure he is praying and going to church.

We also had another good meeting with David. We unfortunately had to change his baptismal date. He was supposed to be getting baptized at the end of this week, but he couldn't get the time off. So we set it up for the 1st of September. He said that he is all in on this one and will not change it again. So we reviewed the things that he needs to do to be ready for his baptism, and one of those is to give up chewing. We then said he should start now and just give us his can of chew. He looked at us for a little while, and then he pulls out his can and say, "you are right. Here you go gentlemen." So I know that he is going to experience trials over the next couple of weeks, but he will be so blessed for his sacrifices. I can definitely say that I have developed true charity for that man!

Like I said before, the Pageant kind of made things a little slow for us. But it is over now and has produced some really good things. The last couple of nights, we knew quite a few people that we have been trying to visit that went up there. So we are hoping that their hearts were softened to be able to receive the message that we carry. I definitely am still sleep deprived from these two weeks, but I guess I can just gain it all back later.

Well now onto to some of the lows. This week we have experienced more rejection then ever. We have gone to so many houses and talked to so many people, but they just wouldn't even give us the time of day to talk to them. I just wish that people would understand that even though we are missionaries, we are still normal people. We still have feelings and emotions just as everyone does. People really don't understand how hard it is for us to go on a mission and then to have people not even listen to us, hurts. If they only knew how much this message could really bless their lives, but they don't even give it a chance. It has been frustrating to see that happen a lot in the last couple of weeks. But we just keep on moving and knocking on some more doors. I know that the Lord has someone prepared here somewhere, we just have to put in the work and find them.

We were able to speak yesterday in the Orangeville 2nd Ward. It was pretty good. We talked about missionary work. Elder Noriega and I took different approaches to try and help that ward be more missionary minded. I think it worked for the most part. I am happy to know that I can help others. After we spoke, there just many people that kept coming up to us and thanking us for what we said. It just made me realize how great the blessings are that I have received since I have been on my mission. I know that I truly was sent to this mission for a reason. I know that I have learned things here in Utah that I could have never learned anywhere else. My mission has set up a foundation for the rest of my life, and for that I am eternally grateful for my decision to come on my mission. I know that anyone who will go on a mission and is willing to put in the time and sacrifice will reap the same blessings and rewards.

Well it is good to hear the Pops went through his treatments again and that he is released from the hospital. I hope he can recover well. I am really surprised to hear about Joli! It was a shock for me, but I will definitely add her onto the list of people that I am praying for constantly. Life is full of ups and downs, but that is why we are here. We are here to learn from these constant battles in our lives! I am so grateful for the trials and challenges that I have lived through, they have helped me become who I truly am! Well I am grateful for all of you! Take care! Until next time.....

Live it, Love it, Preach it!
de tu hijo amado!
ELDER D

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Birthday Pics!



I am figuring out this computer thing while at the hospital.  Here are some of the birthday pics Chad sent home.  He is grateful for all the birthday wishes and the folks in Castle Dale greeted him with birthday cake too!  SWEET!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Transfers - Staying in Castle Dale! Happy Birthday!

(Parental Note: Elder Chad had a birthday this last week and says THANKS SO MUCH for everyone who remembered him and sent him best wishes! He sent pictures, but since I am at the UofW Hospital, transferring pics is a little difficult. I will try and add pictures tomorrow...  But didn't want to delay getting this letter posted.  Thanks to everyone who has sent their love and support to him and to us while Darin is going through this Cancer treatment!  XXOO) 

Buenos días!         6 August 2012
Well this week has been a little rough on us, and because of that it made things seem to take a little longer. We have been trying hard to find people to teach this week, but there were a few circumstances that kept us from doing that. Once again, I just want to thank everyone for the birthday wishes last week. I really appreciate all the support.
My new companion is Elder Dennis Noriega. He was born in Mexico, but his parents came to the United States when he was still a baby. So he has grown up in the United States. He lived in Phoenix for most of his life, but has lived in West Valley, Utah for the last three years of his life. We have clicked pretty well, we seem to be always laughing and enjoying everything, so I believe it will definitely be a good transfer. Don't worry Mom, my Spanish is still getting the practice it needs. (I had mentioned that I would have liked to see him end his mission in an “all Spanish” area to keep his Spanish strong.)  Elder Noriega and I have been speaking a lot more Spanish then English. So it will be good for my Spanish to get that refresher course.
This week was difficult to find people at home. There was a county fair going on from Wednesday to Saturday. That was going all day and so many people were there and not in their homes. Also, there is the Castle Valley Pageant going on as well. So we have been knocking on a lot of empty homes lately. The Castle Valley Pageant is one of seven church pageants. It only happens every other year, so not quite as large scale as the other ones. It is a story of pioneers that came from the other side of the mountain (Manti) to this area (Castle Valley). It talks of the letter written by the Prophet Brigham Young sent to the people of San Pete County to go and settle the other side of the mountain. It gives accounts of a few different families and their hardships. It includes the gospel principles in a very subtle, but clear way. It teaches the importance of eternal families, temple marriage, the plan of salvation, and the Savior's healing power. I have been very impressed with the way the community has come together to put it on. The one draw back is that we have been staying up late to help with the Pageant, but still waking up at the same time, so are bodies are pretty exhausted. I really don't know how I was able to stay out so late and wake up so early back at home. I guess it is just part of getting old, right? (OLD, at Twenty One?  Not quite OLD yet!) Well we still have another week of the Pageant, so my body will just have to wait until it can recuperate.
We went down to the fair to try and contact some people and we saw that there was this Frisbee toss thing going on, so we did it. We were supposed to throw it into this circle and the winners got a prize. The ten closest throws won a $50 gift certificate for anywhere in Emery County. And I actually was in the top ten, so I won a gift certificate. That will definitely help with some groceries! On Saturday, we were also in another parade. So that makes a total of four during my mission. I am pretty sure it will be the last one of my mission as well. We were able to drive a member's "Rhino" for it. It is just basically a utility vehicle that you drive like a car. We were able to throw candy and to be recognized in the public eye.  This week has been a little rough but we are ready to get back to work this week and find those that the Lord is preparing for us. It is like a clean slate for us. So pray for us and wish us luck!
NEWS FROM HOME: (Chad’s father entered the hospital today for his second round of cancer treatment at the University of Washington Medical Center.) Well I am glad to hear that Pops is doing better. I have been praying a lot for him. I know that he is being watched over. I know that our family is being watched over in general. I know that Pops is a warrior and that he will go through these next treatments like the champion and hero that he really is. I know that he will endure these trials and receive the reward that is prepared for him!
I love you all so much! I am praying for you!   Live it, Love it, Preach it!
ELDER D

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Two weeks of letters and birthday boy!!

Buenos días!      July 30, 2012

Well this week has been an interesting one. It was good and we were able to accomplish a lot. There aren’t too many crazy stories with our investigators or much this week, but I will give you a run down of this week. At the beginning of the week we still were striving to do the work, but there were community events still going on, so we ended up contacting people.  I got signed up to hit in little home run derby. It was an interesting thing to see a pitch after not playing baseball for over 2 years.  I only got 5 cuts, but I took 1 lefty and hit a fly ball. Then I hit the other 4 righty. I hit 2 to the fence, a grounder, and a home run. I did have the award for longest hit home run.
        We were able to do some service for a guy in one of the wards here. He is remodeling his home, and was taking out an old brick wall to extend his home. It was pretty fun to help destroy some walls. What 21 year old guy wouldn't want to have permission to destroy some walls and cabinets? It was good to get out of the white shirt and tie.
      This week I was just thinking about my mission and about how fast time is passing by, and I was really seeing if I have had success.  I had this grand epiphany that success doesn't come through the numbers that a mission produces, but it is through who we become and how we act. I know that the real key to success comes through becoming more like the Savior, Jesus Christ and developing that true love, charity, for those that I am serving. I know that I am here to baptize, but I know that my true success of those that I teach and baptize will reflect in my personal growth as well. I am grateful for the lessons that I have been able to learn on my mission. I know that I would never have been able to learn these things anywhere else in the world. The mission is the place where anyone can grow and learn more about themselves. I know that I am just speaking from my own experience, but I know that my life and future would be completely different if I never came on my mission. I know that I will never regret this decision to come here and to serve others. I know that I haven't lost any time by coming here, but I have gained vital experience for my future.
       BIRTHDAY WISHES:  I just want to say thank you to everyone for the birthday wishes. I am glad to know that I am still in everyone’s minds. I appreciate that support. Mom, just so you know I did receive the birthday package and the cards that you sent. Thank you the ties and the jokes. I have been sharing those with a lot of people. 
     This week we were blessed with another baptism. The baptism was for a 9 year old boy named Logan. He is quite a funny kid. We have been working with him for about 2 months. We actually started teaching him in Ferron, but he moved to Orangeville, so we were able to start teaching him again. So it was really meant for us to teach him. We are still working on getting his family to be active in the Church again. His dad is definitely going to take some work, but it will happen. Another good thing that happened is with the less active guy we are teaching, Jeff. He is so humble and so willing to leave everything for the Lord. This week we presented him with a program to help him quit smoking and he just went with it. We have done this program before and it isn't the easiest, but it does work. So he just went with it and is going to follow through with it. I have really grown great love for those here in Castle Dale. It is crazy how attached you can become to people in just a few short months. I know my love for these people with continue to grow as I go and find new people who are prepared for this Gospel.
     The big thing from this week was transfers. I know that you are waiting to hear my fate for my last 6 weeks.. . .. .. . . . I am staying here in Castle Dale. I will be getting a new companion named Elder Noriega. He is from the Salt Lake area. That makes my fifth companion from Utah on my mission. Pretty crazy to think that i have had more companions from Utah then any other state.  I am feeling good about the transfer, and I know that we will have fun and be able to accomplish the work of the Lord. Well I am appreciative of all the support for me, and for my family. Especially for my father in these tough moments he is going through. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers, he will really appreciate them. Thank you for everything. Until next week....

Live it, Love it, Preach hello padres!
p.s.  I will write a short one and then my long one. Thank you for the birthday wishes. I did get your package and the cards. Thank you so much! I should get more cards in the coming week just because of transfers they stopped all the mail.
REGARDING HIS FATHER’S TREATMENT AT THE U OF W SEATTLE, THERE IS A WEBSITE AT CARINGBRIDE.ORG/VISIT/DARINDAVIS.   I did read the stuff of that website. It is quite surprising and it really is hard to hear of all the things that he is going through and I am so far away. I know there isn’t anything else that I could do if I was there, but I have been praying for him so much already and you as well mom, but I will definitely have to add a lot more emphasis especially now that I know how severe these things really are! I love you both so much and am so proud to call you my parents!
Ethan did tell me that they had dinner with you guys that is good. I am glad they are both working. tell Verna that I am still the same, just going to need some time to adjust back to "regular life". I did hear that you got a new dog, is this true? What happened to sage? What kind of dog is it?

love,   Elder D

 SECOND LETTER
Good Morning Vietnam! (or where ever you are reading this)  July 23, 2012

It has been a pretty good week here in the great state of Utah. It is pretty crazy that the have a state holiday to celebrate the 24th of July, or Pioneer Day. There has been quite a few festivities going on for that.
We continue forward and to see the blessings of the Lord in our area. Our investigator Arturo continues to progress so well. We had some really powerful lessons with him this week. We were able to start teaching him about the Plan of Salvation, and he just received everything with gusto. As we were teaching him, he just kept shaking his head in agreement. We asked him if he had in questions, and he just said, "No, everything you have taught me has helped fill in a lot of holes. Everything just makes sense to me." It was such a great feeling to know that everything we were teaching him is just clicking for him. We also talked to him about how he can set the example for his kids and family. He is the head of the home, so everyone looks towards him, and by him choosing to put these things first in his life, they will follow in his footsteps. It is just so great to see the changes that the Gospel brings into everyone’s lives.
We also started teaching another guy named Jeff this week. He is actually a member of the Church, but has wandered away in "forbidden paths"(See 1 Nephi 8). He actually came to us with one of his friends in church and asked if he could meet with us. It was pretty shocking and humbling at the same time. He truly knows that he needs to make changes in his life, and rather then trying to grin and bear it himself, he is going to include the Lord to help him. We are just the ones that will help guide him on the path back to righteousness. He knows this is the path that will lead him to true happiness (See Mosiah 2:41). We were also able to do some service for our investigator Jason and his wife, Nola. They were the ones in a bad car accident about a month or two ago, so it is hard for them to do these simple things. It was just basic yard work stuff in the beginning. I mowed their front lawn, and Elder Linville just picked up some garbage and pulled some weeds. The backyard was a completely different story. The weeds around here have really taken off. (Mom, I am sure you can relate to how fast weeds grow if you don't take care of them.) Basically their whole back yard was full of 3 to 5 foot tall weeds. So we went to work. Elder Linville resorted to using his hands to pull them, Jason chose to use a tree lopper, and I used a machete. It was pretty crazy to use a machete. I felt like I was in the jungle chopping down a bunch of vegetation. It was pretty fun though, and it was a good work out. The next day my right arm and back was pretty sore.
We had a really good lesson with an investigator named Chance. His wife is actually a less active member of the Church, so we are really teaching them both. But it was a very intense lesson, and it was completely focused on them and what they wanted to get out of meeting with us. Everything kind of lead us back to the Book of Mormon, and how if they really wanted to feel peace and joy in their life, and to know if these things are true, that they needed to read and pray about the Book of Mormon everyday. It was a commitment that they were happy to accept. I know how much the Book of Mormon helped change my life, so we have been focusing a lot on helping more of the people that we teach to understand how important the Book of Mormon is to finding out the truthfulness of the Restoration. I know that it truly is an inspired book and that it came from God. I have seen it change my life and the lives of others. I would invite any and all to find a copy of it and to read it. I know that if they will do that, that they too can know that it is true!
This week was a huge growing week for Elder Linville. I had to do a lot of things to help other areas and so he had to step up to the plate. I had to go to Price to do a baptismal interview for another companionship, so I left Elder Linville here with a member to go and teach. When I came back Elder Linville was so excited. He told me about all the wonderful experiences that he had while I was gone. I can say that he truly is ready to take over this area, or to go to another one. He has grown a lot in these last 11 weeks, and I am sure he will continue to grow the rest of his mission.
On to the community events that have been happening around here. We were in the public for quite awhile this last weekend. On Friday, the city of Orangeville had a "Lamb Fry". It was actually really good. I have had lamb a few times on my mission, but each time it gets better. I really enjoyed it this last time. After the "Lamb Fry", they had something called a "pig chase". Basically what happens is they take a piglet, or semi-grown pig and let it loose and have a bunch of people chase it down. Then the winner gets a cash prize. Well we weren't planning on participating, but I was talking with the Stake President and asked him if he was going to do it, but he said "No, but you are going to do it, right?" So we couldn't make the Stake President a liar. So we did participate, and I almost caught the pig, but I just missed grabbing his leg. It was a pretty fun experience though, and the crowd sure liked seeing a bunch of missionaries chasing down a pig. Then on Saturday morning, we were able to be in a parade. The float that we were on was about missionaries; past, present, and future. It is kind of weird to think that it is my third parade that I have been on during my mission. Well it was a good thing for us to be in the parade. The only bad part was that the float that we were on was sandwiched in between the high school cheerleaders, and the high school drill team. So of course anytime we stopped the crowd always gave us a hard time about that. But we were definitely able to use the parade to our advantage. We had a bunch of people come up to us and talk to us about the parade. So hopefully it will bring some referrals our way. Well I know that this work is true and I have been called of God to come to these people! I know that Pops starts his treatments today, so I will be praying for him more then usual, and I am sure he could use the prayers from everyone else as well. I hope all goes well in Seattle. I love you all and hope that you have a great week!
 
Live it, Love it, Preach it! It is the only way!

de Castle Dale, Utah a su computadora!

ELDER D




Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Elder Chad's BIRTHDAY is July 25th! Have you written a missionary lately?

Buenos días!               July 16, 2012
          Well this week was a very solid week, and we were able to see the hand of the Lord a lot this week. We really received a lot of blessings and miracles this week. I think that it is like that quite a bit, we think that we are at a point where we don't know where to go, and then the Lord provides the way. He will always continue to move His work forward!
         Most of the blessings that we saw this week came in the form of new people to teach. We found three new, very solid people to teach. One of them is named Misty. She just recently moved back to Castle Dale after living in Price for a while, and she actually went to church and requested that we come and visit her. So we did, and it went really well. We were able to invite her to read from the Book of Mormon, pray, and to be baptized. She accepted the challenge to do all of those. Her baptismal date is still pending, because she said she really wanted to read the Book of Mormon first and to know of its truthfulness before she commits to a date.
          We also found a 10 year old boy named Kaleb that lives right next to us actually. I taught his mom twice when I served in Wellington a year ago. It is a pretty crazy situation. They happened to move their motor home right next to us, so we went and contacted them. It went really well and Kaleb really wants to be baptized as soon as he can, but we just got to get permission from his grandmother.  We are actually teaching his grandfather as well. His name is Shorty. His wife (Kaleb's grandmother) is actually a less active member of the Church, and they were married in the Church up in Salt Lake. He has quite a few questions and he kind of issued us a challenge to teach him. He said that he thought baptism was a good thing for his grandson, but didn't know if he could do it himself. He said, "You boys got a lot of work to do, if you want to get me in the water." So I thought it was pretty fitting and I have never really been one to turn down a challenge!
          There are just so many miracles and good things that have happened this week. Last week, I mentioned the amazing contact that I had with Arturo and we set up a return appointment. The return appointment turned out amazing! We taught him about the Restoration of the Gospel, and he just soaked it all in. Throughout the whole lesson you could see he felt the Spirit. As we taught about the First Vision, he just started smiling from ear to ear. We likened Joseph Smith's question to the same one that he has; which church is true? We explained that Joseph Smith decided to pray. Then the First Vision came about, and Arturo just started smiling through the whole thing. We then explained that God had given us physical evidence to know the truthfulness of the Restoration, the Book of Mormon. Then Arturo, looked at me and the Book of Mormon that he had in his hands and said, "So Hermano Davis, you are telling me that all I need to do to know what church is true is to read this book(the Book of Mormon) and to pray about it, then God will give me my answer?" I testified to him with all my heart that he could know of these things for himself by doing those two things. We then invited him to be baptized and he said that he would definitely be baptized when he receives his answer. I have total confidence that he will read and pray and to receive his answer. The Lord has truly guided us to visit with Arturo. I really don't want to think what would have happened if I would have just kept driving last week.
      Another amazing thing happened with a kid named Logan. We have been teaching him for a while, but he wasn't making the greatest decisions, so his dad wouldn't give us permission to baptize him. This last week we made sure that Logan knew the consequences for his actions and if he really wanted to be baptized, that he would behave. We talked with his dad this week, and he said that Logan was behaving a lot more and he gave us permission to baptize him on the 28th of July!
         I also went on exchanges with the zone leaders this week. The zone leaders serve in the Helper Stake, and the town of Helper is pretty ghetto. We knocked on a bunch of ghetto trailers, talked to some Hispanics, and even went into the dirtiest house I have ever been in on my mission. I felt like I needed to burn all my clothes afterwards. We also had Zone Conference on Friday. It was pretty amazing and interesting at the same time. It really gave me that boost that I needed to keep moving forward and become better everyday. Between the two zones, 13 missionaries go home in the next two transfers. Many of the missionaries I have served with; it is a weird thing to get old in the mission. I hardly even knew half of the missionaries that were there.
          This week we were also blessed with more RAIN! It rained basically off and on from Thursday until last night. We were hit with "flash flood" warnings all weekend. It has definitely been good for the area! Most of the forest fires have been put out, or they soon will be.
         Well I have talked about one of our investigators, David, for the last couple of weeks, but he still continues to amaze me. He has really been weighing the Gospel heavily on his mind. He is completely committed to go forward with his baptism. He is making sure that his work is done so that he can come home for the weekend to go to church. He has taken his Book of Mormon with him so that he can read it during the time he has off. We also gave him a blessing this week so he can overcome his addiction to chewing. We could really use some extra prayers for him as well!
        NEWS FROM HOME: It is so crazy that Matthew (Rickords) is leaving (on a mission to North Denver Colorado Mission). I am sure he will be a great missionary and a fun one at that. I am glad to hear that the things for Pops' treatments went through. I know that you will both be taken care of why you are up there (in Seattle) -- even if Pops receives "spa like treatment" for his birthday.  J  (CHAD’S BIRTHDAY IS COMING UP ON JULY 30th and I asked if he had any objection to sweet treats for his birthday.) Speaking of birthdays, for mine I am not really physically fasting from anything. I really don't drink any pop (soda) anymore, so if you could just leave that out. But cookies or whatever you send would be fine. I am sure I could share some with my companion or district. (Okay, friends and family – any treats or birthday wishes, cards, letters, etc. -- SEND THEM TO CHAD!!!!  Make this birthday one to remember!)
      Well the Lord truly has lead us this week and we were able to see His hand a lot. May God bless each and everyone of you this week!

Live it, Love it, Preach it!      
de la viña del Gran Rey Jesus,       ELDER D




Monday, July 9, 2012


Aloha!   (Aloha?)                    9 July 2012
 This week has come and gone, and I continue to watch my mission flash before my eyes. It was a week full of trials and a lot of learning. There were many set backs from people not showing up to appointments, people just being completely rude, and many other things in general. This week was full of a lot of contacting. I felt like I was back in St. George just knocking doors, but here we went off of lists that we were given. We contacted so many people this week! I think the most frustrating part of it all is that we have wonderful contacts and the people seem really interested and want to learn, and then when we ask them if we can come back they say no. I have gotten more excuses on why they can't meet with us this week, then in any other week of my mission. I just don't understand why they can be so nice and cordial in the doorways or on the sidewalks, but they won't ever let us get past that point. 
We also had the 4th of July this week.  We were out in the public = we went to a parade in Huntington, and then we went to a little fair thing, people selling things in a park. We were out contacting people and we got a few referrals. We also had a "boxing match" in one of those inflatable rings. It was pretty funny; I know that we were really tried after it and because of all the smoke in the air. A few people got it on video, so maybe I can get a copy of it I will send it to you. The rest of the day we just visited with members and went from barbecue to barbecue.
This week we saw a really big blessing from the Lord. RAIN! There hasn't been measurable rain here in this valley since February. On Thursday, the heavens opened up and there was rain! I think they said there was about a half an inch. It is pretty substantial when you think how long it has been since there has been rain here. I say it is a blessing because last Sunday, there was actually a regional fast for rain in this area, and it obviously worked. We are just hoping that it can continue and we can get some more to help suppress the fires and to help the crops.
I was also able to go on exchanges with Elder Johnson. He is a brand new elder, but he is super prepared for his mission. These missionaries coming out now are much more prepared when they come on their missions. I know that I wasn't nearly as prepared as all these missionaries are now. 
This week was a big learning experience for me. I kind of had a spiritual intervention with myself. I feel that every time I start to get to the point where I want to be on my mission, I get knocked down a few steps. I felt like I was finally getting to the point where I needed to be, and then I crashed. I know can re-evaluate myself and see where I need to improve.  The main two were stress and frustration. I have been bogged down with a lot of stress lately, in my area, helping my companion out, etc. I also had the realization about coming home, and it wasn't that fun. I thought about all the big decisions that lay ahead of me and I got super overwhelmed. I have spent so much time becoming this missionary and in a few months it will all be gone.  I was just looking into everything to see how I could better myself or to change things to help the area. I eventually came to the conclusion to do something to purify myself and to finish my mission strong. I started something called the "40 Day Fast". Don't worry I am not going to really fast for 40 days like the Savior did, but I will be "fasting" from the things that would be keeping me from being completely the missionary that I want to be. I have already started to see the change in my outlook and I believe that this will help me be on the right track.  I will sprint to the finish of my mission and end where I want to be.
This week I haven’t talked much about our investigators, but they are still doing good. David is still progressing really well, but the biggest thing is that he doesn't know if he will get the time off of work to come back on the weekend for his baptism. So if you could please pray that he will be able to get the time off of work. Thank you!
I do want to talk about one experience this week. It was with a Mexican guy named Arturo. We drove by his house and I saw him outside, but I figured it is late and we need to start heading home.  I felt the distinct impression that I needed to go and talk with him. So I flipped the car around and we pulled up in front of his house. We started to talk and I asked him why he wasn't baptized with his daughters. (He has two daughters that were baptized about a year and a half ago.) He said that he just didn't feel it then and he didn't have a bunch of time. We started talking about how Jesus Christ set up one church and that there needed to be one true church on the earth.  He just looked at me funny and said, "You are right. But everyone comes and says that they have the truth. So I don't know which to choose." I testified to him about how God knows everything and that God loves him and wants him to know which is the true church on the earth.  I committed him to pray about the things we talked about and left him a pamphlet that it explained to him how to pray and he said he would do it. We have a return appointment with him on Tuesday.
I am so grateful that I followed the prompting of the Holy Ghost to go and talk with him. I know that the Holy Ghost was definitely there to help testify to his heart. I know because the Holy Ghost has testified to me that this is the true Church on the earth today and that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and has atoned for my sins as well as the sins of the world.
NEWS FROM HOME: Mom, I did get the essays Mom, and the transcripts. Thank you so much! I also received my license extension 2 weeks ago. So that is all taken care of. It is also good to hear that the treatments are basically scheduled (for Chad's father); just let me know when the actual dates are. Transfers are still not for another 3 weeks, so I don't know what will happen. I think I could stay or I could go, but it just depends on what the Lord wants. Well I am out of time, but I love you so much and am so grateful for your support. This is the Lord's Church, and I know that this is His work!

Live it, Love it, Preach it!    del misionero en Utah!

ELDER D