Monday, January 31, 2011

Chad's First Baptism!

Hola Padres!!!!                            31 January 2011
        Well it’s that time again; these weeks just seem to go by faster and faster. We had another really really good week. Everyday this week seemed to be just jam packed with stuff, but isn't that how it is supposed to be on a mission? We have been super busy and still continue to set records every week.
We were so busy this week, we even needed to split. So Elder Hernandez went with a Returned Missionary and taught some lessons.  I went with a 16 year old priest that didn’t speak any Spanish. It was a pretty interesting night. Having to split in this area is pretty impressive, because the area used to teach just a few lessons a week and didn’t ever have enough people or need to split. But this week we taught a total of 28 lessons. Put another record on the board! I know that records aren’t what my mission is about, but it is just nice to be able to look back and to know that I am becoming better and better every single week. Well one reason why our days were so busy and full was because Hernandez had to do a bunch of baptismal interviews. Our district had 12 baptisms planned for last week and we got 10 total! So it was a really really good week in the towns of Hurricane and La Verkin. Well out of those 10 baptisms, 2 of those were ours!!!! Yes, we had two baptisms. Surprise!! It was so weird, because Hernandez and I didn’t know if it was going to happen for sure, so we didn’t tell anyone. The baptisms we had were Mino and Tony. (the same boys that we have the picture with playing the game.)  They had the date set up for a while, but just didn’t know if it was something they really wanted to do, but they chose to do it. The coolest part was that they chose us, Elder Hernandez and I, to be the ones who baptized them. Hence the picture of us all dressed in white! It was a really cool experience, because most of the time being in Utah, there are family friends or relatives that are usually the ones to do the baptizing. So I was pretty stoked about that opportunity to baptize someone. It was the first time I had been in a baptismal font since I was baptized. Weird huh? Well I seriously think that Elder Hernandez and I were put here specifically for these kids, to help them and be here to baptize them. It is such a crazy experience to be a part of this. I still am kind of blown away by everything right now. But it was the cherry on top of the transfer. It has been truly a transfer of miracles. Elder Hernandez and I both have titled this transfer our "Miracle Transfer". We have seen some of the most random blessings and things happen here.
Well with the talk of transfer, it’s that time again, to start another transfer. So that means transfer calls, and new companions, and new areas.  I get to stick around the wonderful town of Hurricane. It is pretty weird because I thought I was getting transferred out of here to go to St. George or something, but that isn’t happening. The sad part is that Elder Hernandez is getting transferred to St. George to open up an area there, so we are no longer companions.  L  My new companion is Elder Lora. He is from the Dominican Republic. That makes him my second straight native speaking companion. The cool thing is that Elder Hernandez actually trained Elder Lora, so that makes us brothers in the mission. (Elder Hernandez adopted me as his other son, because my trainer isn’t the greatest missionary.) So the weird thing is that Elder Lora is technically an English Speaking missionary since that’s where he was called.  We never thought that this was even a possibility, but it happened!  I am pretty excited to be with another native companion, and hopefully we will have another transfer full of miracles.
So, a lot of changes happened back at home in our ward?  So the Snake River Ward? It is a fitting name. Do you still meet in the Burbank Building? It will be a different experience coming home to a different ward, new people, and a Bishop that I have never met. Well I am glad that President Montierth has good comments about me. I would hope that there wasn’t anything less then good things being said about me back home. (We met up with President Ross Montierth at a church meeting and he greeted us warmly and was pleased to know Chad was doing well on his mission.  He said he wouldn’t expect to hear anything less!)
Mom and Pops, glad that you still get out to some social events and got to watch some basketball. (We attended the Burbank vs. Riverview, Coyotes won!!) Dad is always a talker, so I would expect him to talk to Trave. (Trave is Coach DJ Traver, Chad’s BB coach.) It’s good to know that he reads my blog! Shout out to Trave right here!
Well this has been another crazy week and I really enjoyed the pictures of Bry and Chay. They were pretty funny. (We sent pictures of Bryson in pony tails and Chay getting her hair French braided and crying as she needed to sit still.)  Well to explain the pictures I sent: the first one is my last District. The next one is Elder Hernandez and I. The third one should be our photo of Mino and Tony's Baptism. And the last one is Elder Hernandez and I again.
Well I hope you have a good week and that you will be blessed! Remember when you can’t stand up any longer; sometimes you just have to kneel!     My little thought for the week!

Live it, Love it, Preach it!    Te amo! Tu hijo amado!  Elder D


Monday, January 24, 2011


Hola Mis Padres!!!!!                      24 January 2011   
     This week has come and gone pretty quick! It feels like yesterday that I was writing an email home. We have been working really really hard lately! We are always trying to make our best better! We had a really good week again. I continue to set highs in a lot of categories. I set new ones in lessons taught and people who attended Sacrament Meeting. We taught a total of 27 lessons and had 12 people at Church! We have really been seeing the little miracles and blessings that have been provided for us. We will have someone cancel on us, and then we will get 3 completely different lessons to fill the space of time that was for that investigator. It is crazy how we can have a plan for a day, start to finish, and then our day will be completely different from what we have had plans.
My Spanish skills are continuing to increase and it is still a tough thing and slow to see progress. I still understand better then I can speak it. I am pretty sure that it will be that way for a little while. It is just kind of tough because of all the English I am surrounded with. But being able to learn Spanish is truly a blessing. I found out what the hardest thing for me to do right now is, talking Spanish on the phone! Man, it is one thing to talk with people in person and be able to understand a lot just from their expressions and hand motions, but when you remove those and put it just trying to listen, way hard!!!!!! Especially because everyone always sounds different on the phone from what they do in real life, or at least that’s what I think. But I am getting better at it. I just try to keep it as simple as possible and not try to stray outside of the things I am comfortable talking about.  I am completely comfortable with almost all the Gospel topics, but I struggle hardcore when the conversation moves outside the realm of the Gospel and the few topics I know how to speak about. The joys of being a missionary!!
Well we have been on computers a lot more lately. We are now allowed to use as a missionary tool. We are all supposed to put a profile on there, these profiles are pretty basic. They just include our names and our conversion story and a little about ourselves. It is extremely weird to be told that we need to get on the computer a little more. Our mission president is huge on this thing. He stresses it every time we have a training or something. Technology is really helping the missionary work move along. The word on the street is that within a year, they are going to get rid of our area books (notebooks with a bunch of papers in them) and give every companionship an iPad to contain all our papers and stuff.  I don’t know if that will exactly happen, but that is the word on the street.
So what is an email without talking about the weather?? Well it has been pretty nice here, mostly in the upper 50s everyday. The only thing that happens is sometimes it gets pretty windy every now and then. We got some like 50 MPH gusts last Wednesday.
Well Mom, I have a confession to make..... I am really starting to enjoy the food. You always said that it would someday take me over. Well it happened! The food has really grown on me. Spanish rice, beans, and tortillas!!! These are the things that everyone eats with every meal. At first, I really struggled with it all and my taste buds were rejecting it. But now, I am eating it and enjoying it! J
On Friday, I experienced  my first Zone Conference. It was pretty good. We finished all our trainings and then had a nice lunch. After lunch we went into the Chapel and just listened to a few talks from the Office Staff. I really enjoyed it. Well this week has been really random, and filled with random moments. We seriously would have something planned and then everything would change because we had a random moment to teach someone else or a chance to go here or there. Just a little things that have been coming up, that is missionary work for you!  (Chad LOVES the word Random!)
It sounds like you all have had a really good week. Kiel Munger is now married!  I am glad you were able to attend.  So you went to a Spanish Session huh?? I don’t even think that I could do that yet. You beat me to the punch on that one! Maybe when I get home we can all go to one, I will listen and you can use the headphones. Haha. Well I am glad that you really appreciate all the hard work that has to be done to understand and speak a language.
     You will have to also let me know about all the Ward changes that are taking place. (It was announced that we will be getting a new Bishop next week and many stake changes.  Special meeting at at the stake center.)  Tell Bro. Phil that he isn’t off the hook yet, he could be in the Bishopric still or the new Bishop. It will be so weird to come home to a ward where I won't even know everyone. It will be crazy to see all the changes that will have happened in two years! I probably won’t even recognize the place. When are the overpasses supposed to put in? Well make sure to keep me posted! (An overpass is planned for the Burbank area that will add a “roundabout” for traffic and not allow traffic onto the highway at one intersection.  Pretty major changes for little Burbank!)
 I love you guys so much! Have a good week!
Live it, Love it, Preach it!!    Tu Hijo Amado!     Elder D

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mid-January! 18 Jan 2011

Hola My Beloved Padres!!!                    18 January 2011  
    Well I guess I will start and answer the question that is weighing heavily on your mind, and that is why there was no email yesterday..... Well since it was a holiday, I don’t really know which one because I am not exposed to that. I think it was like Martin Luther King, Jr. Day or more appropriately Civil Rights Day. Because of the holiday, the places that we usually email from were all closed, so as a mission we changed our emailing time to today. So don’t freak out. Your email is coming.

Am I A French Fry?

Well this week was another extremely good week here in Hurricane. I am really starting to enjoy my time with our investigators and my companion. Two of our really fun investigators are Mino and Tony Flores. Their parents are less active, so the boys were never baptized. There are 12 and 10. They seemed cautious about talking with us and learning. But we have been going over there three times a week for the last three weeks and they are beginning to open up to us. Last Monday we spent the whole evening over there. We had dinner with them, and then taught the lesson. It was about the Plan of Salvation and I was able to use the pictures that you laminated for me Mom. But we stayed after our lesson and had a game night. We played a game where we had to guess what card we had on our head by only asking questions. (See the picture of us with the headbands and cards on our heads.) It was pretty fun. And….I was the winner of the game.  J
The WEATHER here has been pretty up and down. It went from snow to like 55 degrees in a week. It is pretty random. I think that my emotions are sometimes tied in with the weather. When it is cold and overcast, I don’t really want to do anything but be inside and do nothing. It is fine when we are inside teaching lessons, but it sucks to have to leave and go back out into the dreary scenery. On the other hand, if it is sunny and nice outside, I am usually pretty happy and content with everything that is going on. Even if our day isn’t successful, I still enjoy the weather outside.
Our missionary work continues to be better in most aspects, but we still are struggling to find new people to teach. We seem to always be going to the same people week after week. This would be okay if everyone we taught would want to progress and do the things we asked, but there are only a select few that do anything we ask. We have been trying to change things and try different ways to find people, but I am sure it will all happen through diligence.
Well the one funny story I have this week is that I almost went to jail. The story goes like this:  we were parked on the side of the road waiting for an appointment. The Sister Missionaries in La Verkin teach the sons of some of our investigators and they were in a lesson. So not to be rude, we waited patiently on the side of the road to talk with the sisters. While we were waiting, this lady drives by and pulls into her driveway across from where we were parked. She got out and opened her garage, but didn’t pull in. She backed out drive past us, then turned around and drove past us again. Then about 5 minutes later she comes back by drives into her garage and then comes out with her husband and they are pointing and talking about us. She starts to walk down the driveway while on the phone, calling the Police, and then heads our way. I roll down my window and she asks, "is there a problem?" I was like"ummm... no. We are the missionaries and we are just waiting for an appointment at the next house." Then from that simple statement, the situation completely changed. Only in Utah will the words "we are the missionaries" get you out of a crazy dilemma!!!
Lately it has becoming harder and harder to tell which day is which. They are basically all the same with a few different parts in them. The only days that are any different are Sundays and Mondays. So unless its one of those two days, the day feels like any other. Thank goodness I have a planner that keeps me on schedule! I never thought that I would say that I was happy to have things planned out for me.  I have always liked to just go with the flow and take things as they come. But things change as a missionary I guess.
Well I was able to watch a movie about Thomas S. Monson this week. It was extremely good. It is called “On the Lord's Errand,” and I strongly recommend that you watch it.
I do have some bad news this week too.  Ricardo, who was supposed to be baptized next month when he got off of probation, will have to wait a little while longer. He has to wait until April to be completely done. That means I will most likely not be here to see his baptism.
Yesterday was extremely good! I was able to go to the St. George Temple for the first time. I enjoyed it a ton. Experiencing different Temples is always fun for me, I think I am up to about 6 different ones now. We also spent most of the day in St. Geezy. We went to Deseret Book and the DI. Let’s just say I am about 6 ties richer!! I am slowly but surely getting closer and closer to 300!! So if you want to send me some ties, I would appreciate that very much!!!

Elder Davis and Elder Hernandez

Elder Hernandez is really bringing out the best in me. He is making me more obedient and a better missionary. And you finally get to see him. (Second Picture attached) He really is a short, skinny, Spaniard. So you can write him a letter, his first name is David. (We asked Chad for his companions first name so we could address a letter to him!)
Nice to hear about the (Columbia Burbank) basketball team's big win over RV. That is always a nice thing to hear! I do miss basketball and all those little things, but I am also enjoying my time out here .  I will be able to enjoy all the rest of those things when I return! Well this letter seems extremely long, but you only get one chance to hear from me a week!  I love you and hope that your week goes extremely good!!!

Live it, Love it, Preach it!!!!      Tu Hijo,      Elder D

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Most A M A Z I N G Week E V E R ! ! !

Hola Padres!!!                       10 January 2011  
Well this week has been absolutely ridiculous!! This has definitely been my most successful week on my mission, along with most spiritual, and most exhausting!!! We have really stepped up our work here. We taught over 20 lessons this week, 23 to be exact and my previous high was only like 15. Man, missionary work can be extremely tiring! Everyday this week when I have gotten home, all I have wanted to do was just climb into bed and go to sleep! I have really been learning a lot this week as well. I have been learning a bunch about Church History and watching different movies that help build my testimony a lot. I have watched Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration a few times lately. It is a really testimony booster. You can purchase it as well it is in this Doctrine and Covenants case, it comes with quite a bit of stuff. So you can look for it at the Bookstore.
Well back to the missionary work. Well we broke a lot of records this week. Like total lessons in a week with 23, and total lessons in a day with 8, people in Sacrament meeting with 9. So the work here is really starting to increase and I am really starting to get the hang of how missionary work is supposed to be done. My Spanish is becoming better and better everyday. I think it is definitely paying off to have a native companion. He is definitely a stud missionary and is helping me grow a lot. It’s so funny because when we go places I speak Spanish to him and he speaks in English back to me. It’s pretty crazy because people see a white guy speaking Spanish and a Spaniard speaking English. That is the one thing that is helping me a ton. I understand pretty well but I just don’t speak all that great, so that’s why I speak Spanish and he just answers me in English. We both benefit from the conversations.
Well I haven’t had to eat too many interesting foods on my mission so far but that changed this week. I ate tacos de lengua aka tongue tacos! Not going to lie, they were pretty good. If you didn’t think about what it was that you were eating, you wouldn’t think about it all.
Well I am definitely enjoying this week and all that has happened. I also have seen a ton of progression in Ricardo. He is definitely ready to be baptized. We just have to wait a few more weeks for him to be off of probation. The only bad thing is that I may not be here depending on if I get transferred or not. Hopefully I will be here to see the day that he is able to make that special covenant with our Father in Heaven.
Oh so by the way, I did receive my CD player, Speakers, and CD's. I really love having the chance to listen to music in the apartment now. The only problem was when I went to pick it up; I had to pay for it!!!! So there are more rules for the mail then just sending it USPS. You sent it Parcel Post, so I guess that doesn’t have the ability to be automatically forwarded without me paying for it on this end. But if it is sent First Class mail or in the boxes that they have, it will be automatically forwarded to me. Sorry for any inconvenience that this things may have caused you.  (So to anyone who mails a package, do not send it parcel post!!)
Well yes Mother, the 435 is the same as the 509, they are both area codes.  Its kind of hard to explain to you what all these sayings mean when I am 1000 miles away. But I am sure that there are other things weighing on your mind besides just the 435. Well I love you a ton and thanks for the picture of Chay Chay. So one quick question? Has Bry taken over my room yet? My guess is yes, and I hate to say it but I TOLD YOU SO!!!!!!  (Chad was so sure his sister and her kids would take over HIS ROOM , especially Bryson our 4 year old grandson .... well, they have moved back in with us and it isn't just Bryson who has taken over his room.  We hope they find other housing SOON!!!)

Live it, Love it, Preach it!!!

From the gran ole city of Hurricane, Utah!!! aka the 435!    Elder D

Monday, January 3, 2011

Ringing in the New Year!

Hola Padres!!                    3 January 2011 
          Feliz ano nuevo!!! Well I guess I will continue to start my emails off by talking about the weather, because that is the one thing here that seems to always be changing. So the last few weeks it has been all about rain, well it’s a lot different here now. It rained one day this week and then just all of the   sudden dropped like 20 degrees and was in the teens. So that night we ended up getting snow and ice everywhere. More ice then snow. Then it was just plain freezing for about the last 4 days. We were always wearing our suits, long sleeve shirts, and sweaters. I even had to put on my Under Amour leggings when we went tracting this week. Talk about a difference in weather. And then this morning we woke up to about 2 inches of this random white stuff on the ground. I guess its called snow??? Not too many people know about it down here.
Well I guess this week I can talk a little bit more about my new companion since I have actually met him and spent some time with him. Elder Hernandez is from Barcelona, Spain. He is about 5' 5" 125 pounds or so. So just a little guy, but he is extremely funny. He has only spoken English for about 8 months. He learned it here on the mission. He has been out for about a year. He used to play semi-pro soccer in Spain. So he is going to make us all look silly when we play soccer now. He is an extremely good missionary. I call him a prodigy, just because the only leadership calling he hasn’t obtained yet is AP. He has had all the rest of them before he even reached his year mark. So he is a prodigy in my eyes.   We talk a lot in English, even when I try to talk to him in Spanish, he always will answer me in English. So my Spanish will improve a little bit, but we speak a lot of English, only because he is trying to learn it well.
This transfer I am the designated driver, which has taken some getting used to, but I am back into the flow of it. It’s very interesting to see how fast you lose a skill if you don’t use it a ton. Just think if I would have going to Africa or South America and not driven for two years. Man I would have been a terrible driver.
Well this transfer is going to be completely different from the last one. Elder Hernandez is a completely different missionary then Elder Perez. A lot more is going to be required of me and as a companionship. I first thought it was going to be a lot “work first, and don’t play later”. But we are finding a way to completely enjoy our time together, but still find a way to accomplish the work and succeed with what was happening here before. This companion will really set me up for greatness and set me on the right way on my mission. I have been discovering a lot of things about myself that I need to strive to do better. I am definitely finding that true obedience brings blessings and miracles. We have been getting in all these doors that I have knocked like 45 times before, but with Hernandez, we have been getting in and teaching lessons and more lessons at that. We have been way underachieving here before, but now we are set on the straight path. We are teaching way more lessons then ever before. We taught the same amount of lessons that we taught all last week in just 1 and a half days!!!!! So we are striving to go above and beyond what we had accomplished here before. (which won’t be hard)
New Year's Eve was pretty legit. We went over to Bishop Lewis' house to have our district activity. We had pizza and breadsticks, and then the real fun started. We were allowed to watch Toy Story 3 by our Mission President, so we were able to enjoy that in the theater room of Bishop Lewis. We all enjoyed watching Toy Story 3, just because almost no one had seen it except for me. So after watching the movie, we decided to head home. I ended up finding someone special to spend New Year's Eve pillow!!! I was in bed and out before !
This week I met some extremely random and peculiar people on my exchange with the new ZL Goodman. We knocked all these doors and so many random people answered. There was this one door where we knocked it and this guy poked his head out and said, " You know what guys, we are good. Thanks though." So we just asked him a few questions and then he just repeated himself again and started to shut the door. So to not be rude, we just were standing there waiting for him to shut the door completely before we left. And right about as it gets closed, he throws it all the open again and says "is that gonna be a problem for you?" Man, talk about an awkward situation! We just said, "No" and did our best to hold in our laughter! As we left, I was basically dying right there in the street.
I also learned my least favorite phrase that you can hear as an English missionary. It is "Well I really respect what you guys are out doing, and don’t have any problem with you or your church, but I wish you the best of luck!" I guess that they don’t have enough respect to let us out of the freezing cold and come in to tell us that! J The other thing I wonder about is, if people around here just say that they are already a member of the Church just so they think we will leave them alone. Do they not realize that by saying that and us thinking that they are a less-active member we won’t stop by again??
Well I am extremely excited and looking forward to 2011 and all that it will hold for me! I hope that you all enjoy the New Year as well!!

Live it, Love it, Preach it!!       With love from the 435!!       Elder D!
(we have NO IDEA what “from the 435” means….)