Friday, July 29, 2011

Hello Price, Utah!

(I tried to add pictures, but it was taking a long long time.  Hopefully I can add them later....  The Mom   )
Hola Mis Benditos Padres!               26 July 2011
      It has been a pretty crazy week with a lot of change going on, but I am thinking that I am taking the changes pretty well and am starting to adapt to the new area. The worst thing about getting transferred to Price was the traveling to get there. I left at 9 in the morning from St. George and I didn’t even get to Price until that night. It was a pretty crazy drive, and you know how I am with long trips! (Chad often gets car sick on too long of trips with windy roads.) 
I am pretty excited about this area and new companion and everything, actually. My new companion is Elder Robert Nathan. He is from San Diego, California. He has been out for about 16 months and we are getting along great and that isn’t a lie. We just hit it off from the beginning. We live with another companionship of Elders and I don’t know how much they really like us, because Elder Nathan and I together are pretty crazy. J  This is actually Elder Nathan's second time being in this area, so he knows it backwards and forwards, so we are having a great time, but doing a ton of work. We have done service almost everyday here. Whether it is helping someone move, mowing lawns, or washing cars, we have done it this week.
The big thing I noticed from this area, is how bad my English has gotten. My mind has been working in Spanish for so long that I am having trouble switching back to speaking English more then Spanish. It is weird, when we are in lessons or I am trying to pray in English, there are long pauses where I am trying to figure what a word is in English. It is even worse when it comes to me trying to teach in English. Everything I have taught up to this point in my mission has been in Spanish and to the needs of Spanish speaking people, and now I am trying to teach the same stuff but in a different language. It is so weird how fast our minds change to one thing or another. I remember back in the MTC when I thought that I would never learn Spanish or the Gospel in Spanish, but now I am pretty sure that I know the Gospel better in Spanish then in English.
I did get to experience Pioneer Day down here in Utah, and it is a huge holiday equipped with little carnivals, parades, and contests. So to go along with that, we snuck our way into a parade for Wellington Pioneer Days (it is one of the towns our area covers). We rolled down
Main St.
in a nice green John Deere lawn mower and trailer. (Uncle Doug from Pendleton would have loved it, he collects John Deere items.) It was a big hit and everyone seemed to enjoy it. We were able to meet a bunch of people and talk to them about the Gospel through it.
Sunday here was pretty crazy, we had so much to do. We went to a bunch of Sacrament Meetings. We also taught a Sunday School lesson for someone, and I had to give my first talk of my whole mission! Can you believe that? The last time I gave an official talk in a Sacrament Meeting was when I gave my "farewell" talk in Burbank. That is weird. I had to speak in the Spanish Branch. It was pretty weird, but I was told they were grateful for the stories and experiences I shared. To top of our Sunday, we had two more correlation meetings for the two stakes that we cover. So we were just a little busy.
I didn’t get a card for Dad this week, it slipped my mind and I was running low on funds, but I will send one, but it will just be a little late. (The joys of having poor parents! The mom is off to the bank to put some money in his account.)  I did manage to get a member to send a text message to him for me though, I know it doesn’t make up for it, but I did my best! (The text message made his father's day.  Big D turned 50! Hearing from his son was icing on the birthday cake!)  Well my birthday is coming up and I am excited to see what happens on my first birthday in the mission! So far I have only gotten one card, it was from Grandpa and Grandma Swoboda, but there is a catch. I think they sent me the wrong card. The envelope was addressed to me, but on the inside the name was Dallin or something like that and it was talking about some random stuff, so I don’t know if you could talk to them and see if I got the right card or not. Thanks! (The mom was in Tacoma for two weeks with her sister, but sent off a small birthday package and the Anderson’s sent one as well. We did not get his actual address as we had hoped to have something delivered to Price, but that is that way it goes!  We had plans to do lots of fun things because we knew others who would help deliver and decorate, but he was transferred from St. George. Bummer. Well laid plans are often changed!) 
I am anxiously awaiting to see what happens next week, but you will hear from me before then!! This is the Lord's work and I am loving every second!!!

Live it, Love it, Preach it!!!     Con amor,     ELDER D

Monday, July 18, 2011

LOOKOUT PRICE, UT, Here Comes Elder D

Hola Padres!!!  July 18, 2011
     Como estan? Espero que tuvieron una semana buenisma y toda paso bien! Well this week was pretty crazy with a lot of random moments, but it was a good one. I have been really starting to understand how much this Gospel means and why it is so important. The importance of it is beyond words that I can express and it is not something that can be given from one person to another, but this understanding needs to come from within after time and effort given to understand it. It is more then I thought when I first came out, but now I am beginning to truly understand why we need this things and these sacred ordinances that our Heavenly Father has given us. Without these oppurtunities that He has given us, we cannot return to live with Him again in His presence. This letter is start off on a real Spiritual note, but it is a good thing to have in my life and I am forever grateful to this knowledge that I have.
    This week I had a crazy experience with this Mexican guy. He had us come in and he was telling us his life story. (I dont know what it is, but everyone just opens up to us and tells us every detail about their life.) So he was telling us how he was a chicken fighter in Mexico and how that he was really successful with it and that this one fight went bad and they ended up having a shoot out in the streets and he was shot five times and still lived. He was also kind enough in taking off his shirt and showing us all this bullet wounds and this huge scar that he got from when he was cut by the Mexican Mafia. So if this 75 year old guys story isnt crazy enough right there, he continued and told us that he was really good friends with the "Bad Spirit" aka The Devil. He was not going to say his name at any costs, but it was crazy to hear his stories about the things that the Devil told him or helped him with. He then told us that he "defriended" the Devil, but he still comes around every now and then trying to bring him back. The whole rest of the day I was just in shock and awe in what happened with that guy. I was really questioning why he told is all these things in the first place, but I guess that is what we are here for, to just listen to others.
    This week I also went on my first official exchange with someone in my district outside of the Zone Leaders. It was a different thing, but it worked out for the best. I was even able to go to Olive Garden for dinner that night. So I was pretty happy on the day that I picked for the exchange. I missed that kind of food so much, but my craving for that is quenched for another year I believe. This week was a lot of first's - first exchange, first time meeting someone who was friends with the Devil, and my first baptismal interview in Spanish. It wasn't really any different from an English interview, just that it was in Spanish. The cool thing is that I am able to understand basically everything now and I am comfortable talking with anyone now. My spanish is always improving, and I am grateful for this area, and the people that helped me to increase my spanish to where it is now.
   Another random moment this week is that I met a niece of the Broadhead's. She was working at this ice cream place that an RM took us to before we went home. It was random to be talking, yes, I'm from Washington and yes I know where Walla Walla is, and I do know who the Broadhead family is. Just another random coincidence here in St. George.
     Yesterday in the Branch, I basically had a farewell. They announced from the pulpit that I was leaving, even though we didn't know for sure yet, and they made me come up and give my testimony. After Sacrament Meeting, everyone was coming and shaking my hand and all these Sisters that I always ate dinner with came up and gave me hugs, it was a little awkward but it was a good feeling to know that I was loved and that I will be missed in that Branch. I will definitely miss that Branch, but I will come back for a visit sooner or later.
     The announcement that I was leaving was confirmed with a call from President Leonard last night. I am officially leaving St. George and heading northeast, to the budding metropolis of Price, Utah. I will be there in a bilingual area, and I will be the only missionary up there that will speak Spanish, so that will be just another one of the little challenges that I will have. My companion is Elder Nathan. He is from Southern California, but I will let you know more about him next week when I meet him. So tomorrow I hop on a van and then 6 or 7 hours later I will arrive in Price. This transfer will be a little different, but I am ready for a new challenge and a new area. This is the Lord's work and He calls His missionaries where He needs them, and I guess I am needed in Price for some reason.
     I hope that you have a good week and that you will continue to enjoy the days that we have!
Live it, Love it, Preach it!  Con muchismo amor  ELDER D

Monday, July 11, 2011

Worried about Pops at Home but still working hard!

Preface:  Darin’s Father has been battling kidney cancer since last year.  Recently he has a growth in his lung that had doubled in size and he is scheduled for surgery on August 2.  Trying NOT to worry Chad too much, we didn’t tell him 6 weeks ago when he had the biopsy done.  But we promised to tell him this time if the news was not good.  We wrote and told him of our concerns and also talked with the Mission President to alert him in case Chad was not as focused or if he was overly concerned about his dad.

Buenos Dias Padres!           11 July 2011  
     I will enlighten everyone with my typical email from the week so that it will be able to be posted on the blog. This week was pretty difficult for me. I was all over the place emotionally. It was pretty tough to stick to the every day grind, while trying to balance all these crazy emotions and trying not to think too much about Pops. It was hard, some days I was just in this "blah" mode where I really didn’t want to do anything but to just sit there and think about everything that is going on. (Which is exactly what we didn’t want to happen as we informed him of his dad’s health concerns.)  But luckily I have a really good companion that helped keep me going and doing what I needed to be doing. He wasn’t too pushy, he just understood that it would help me more to go and do the work I have been called to do,rather than sit at home and have a bunch of time to think. So I was blessed that once I started to work, I had a clear mind and worked hard. (That’s our Chad boy!! J )
The weather is always a big subject right? We have the weekly weather report from down here, it was unusual for this part of the country, or that is what everyone told us. There has been constant humidity here the whole week. This area is usually extremely dry and hot, but this week it was still hot, but just add the humidity. So we were trying to stay positive, but it sucks when we are outside dying from heat and humidity and sweating more then usual. (See picture of sweaty backpack the elders carry around.)
I talked about Martin last week, and we have even better news this week. He is going to get baptized, but not only him, but his wife, or future wife, will be getting baptized together. They aren’t married, but they will be getting married here soon, and then baptized. His wife has been saying how she has noticed a really big change in Martin in that last few weeks that he has been meeting with us, so she is now listening to the lessons too. It is going to be pretty crazy! It just goes to show how the Gospel really does change lives.
I had a weird experience this week. We were knocking doors and this lady comes up to us and she asks us if we were the missionaries. Before she even said a word, she just started crying. We were like "uhh... what are we going to do?" Well she told us this crazy story in between her sobbing and then she asked us for a ride. (We were with a young guy that is going on his mission in September and he was driving us around.) So we gave her a ride to this shelter thing, and she asked us to say a prayer with her. So I said the prayer and the whole time this lady was crying again. The weirdest part was when I got out to hand her duffle bag to her, she said thank you.  I stuck out my hand to give her a handshake, but she just wasn’t having that! She bypassed my hand and just went for a full on hug! So here I was with this 60 year old lady, just awkwardly wrapped around me, while she was crying! This was seriously one of the most random moments of my mission so far. The whole rest of the night, I was in shock and awe. The kid we were with took it better than we did.  He was like "wow, it is amazing that we were there to help her out, even after the door we knocked didn’t open." So I still have a lot to learn, and I am being taught by everyone, everyday.
Lately I am starting to become a little bolder and more upfront with people as I talk to them. When I first started my mission, I used to think "oh when I have more time out on my mission I will be more bold or more upfront." But I have been realizing that the time to start being bold is now! My mission is almost half way over, so why should I wait to try and be more upfront with people? So it is a good thing that I am finding out at this time. Well that is pretty much my report of this week. transfer calls are this Sunday, so I will have some more news with that this upcoming week. I am pretty sure that I am leaving this area, but I have heard of crazier things happen here. I guess we will just find out this Sunday! (The mom is anxious to know if he will remain in St. George or be elsewhere so I can be sure to get his birthday package to him by the 30th of July!)
Well take care and have a good week!
 Live it, Love it, Preach it!    Les Amo     ELDER D

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

HOT HOT HOT July Fourth!

Hola Padres!                July 5, 2011   

        Como estan? Well another crazy week has come and gone and it is that time again. Well I know that this is a day later then usual, but that is what happens when places shut down on the holidays. The main thing that I can talk about is ... the weather, I am sure that you are all thinking "wow again with the weather talk. How can it get any worse or hotter then it already is?" But let me tell you it does get worse. This week is has not been below 100, and it reached at least 115 this week. So it has been hot, but I think I am starting to adjust a little bit. If you can really adjust to 110 degrees.  I am still trying to make the best of it. We still go out and do the work, but we are just a little hotter and a little sweatier throughout the day.
Well you know that along with being a District Leader, I am required to interview all the baptismal candidates before their baptisms, and that is one of my favorite things to do. This week has been a crazy week for interviews. I interviewed some people that were so prepared for being baptized and to become a member of the Church, that if you met them on the street, you probably would have thought that they were LDS already. They were not just the "set" given answers, but they understood everything on a deeper level and really knew what was going to happen and why these things were so important.
Everything has been up and down in this area for the last few weeks, so we decided to try a few new things and put our trust in the Lord a little more. We have had a really big group of people to teach for a long time, but they have not been following through with the words that they say, so we gave them a little space. So it came time to find new people to replace them, and that is where a lot of faith came in to play. It is usually pretty difficult to find new people that are genuinely interested and really prepared to hear this message, but faith is more then just words, it is action. So we took action and we went to work to find these people that have been prepared. Then things just happened to start clicking and coming to us. We were receiving phone calls from different people saying that they had a neighbor for us to teach or the new someone that lived around the corner, or we just happened to be in the right spot at the right time. One of these new people is named Martin. I know that he has truly been prepared for this message and the Gospel. He came to Church and we talked to him, and he said that he would love to meet with us. So we have met with him a few times and he is learning and understanding at an incredible rate, it is truly amazing to see this work moving forward. We are still going out and teaching a bunch, but that is just what comes with being a missionary. We are here to help others come unto Christ, and by helping them come unto Christ, we teach them about Him and His teachings and how they can grow. It is really a simple statement, but it is a really big one.
I am absolutely loving this opportunity. I know that being a missionary is one of the greatest things in the world, it doesn’t matter where you go or what language you help others in, but the fact is that this work is ordained of God.
Sunday night Elder Leguizamon got sick, so we didn’t go out and proselyte because he was in no shape to do that.  I was inside for the night reading and reading and pondering. It was really cool. It gave me some time to reflect and really learn a few little things from the Book of Mormon. (Isn't it AMAZING what a mission can do for a young 19 year old boy?  Help him mature and develop wisdom far beyond his years.  -- the Mom  )
Holidays always seem to change everything a little bit. We had a good 4th of July. It was P-Day still, so that was a good part. I also played basketball for the first time in 4 months, so I am definitely feeling the effects of that today. But after that, we went to a barbecue and hung out with a few families. Then we were permitted to stay out until , so we went to the Temple and watched all the fireworks that they lit at the rodeo just down the road. It was a different feeling to be watching fireworks as a missionary and not be at home doing crazy things with all of the friends. I will on have one more 4th of July and then I will be back at home. That is a weird thought. (Time really does go by FAST on a mission!)
One big thing from this week as well was that I had surgery. It wasn’t a big surgery; I just had an in-grown toenail removed. I don’t really understand how I got it, but I guess it just comes after walking everyday for 10 hours a day for 5 months. It just comes with the job description. Well I feel a lot better that it is gone, and I don’t feel any pain there anymore.
I am really starting to feel that I am truly becoming Elder Davis and not just "Chad" anymore. It may have taken a little while, but it is a weird thing. I am truly separating myself to focus on the work at hand. After all, I have only two years to be Elder Davis and I have my lifetime to be Chad. It is even extremely hard to answer to my first name. When I went to the doctor this week I was the only one in the waiting room, and the nurse came out and said "Chad" a few times and then she finally said "Chad Davis" and then I was like "oh that is me!" It is just a strange thing to hear someone else use my first name after I am becoming so used to everyone calling me by Elder or Elder Davis.
Well Mom, for my birthday, I am pretty sure I will be in another area, but I am not absolutely positive. This is my third transfer here, and usually in this mission you don’t stay in an area for longer then that. Nothing is really for positive in the Utah St. George Mission.  I will let you know by the 17th of July whether I am going to stay here or be transferred. But to be really honest Mom, there isn’t anything I really need, or want for that matter. (Spoken like a truly humble missionary.  I love you Chadboy!)  I mean I am addicted to ties, so you can go with that as a default. But you can just go with what you want and I will be appreciative for anything I receive for my birthday. (Chad's birthday is July 30th!!)
(To preface this next paragraph -- Chad's father has been battling kidney cancer in his lung. Three months ago we were too worried to let Chad know about the possibilities. Tests showed no cancer cells.  However three months later (last Friday) the doctors confirmed the growth in Darin's left lung has doubled in size and he will have to have surgery to have it removed. We told Chad this time....)    Well now to the tough part..... I am glad that you at least told me about what is happening this time with Dad. It is kind of bitter sweet. I am glad to at least know what is going on, and at the same time it makes me feel a little worried, but I am glad to have this knowledge. I will be praying and waiting to hear how everything goes. So is the surgery going to be back in Spokane again or is it going to be in the Tri-Cities? Well I have a lot of questions, but I guess they will just have to be answered with time. (The surgery is scheduled for August 2nd at Kennewick General by Dr. Dizon.)
Well thanks for everything and I hope that you all have a great week!  Live it, Love it, Preach it!   Con Muchismo Amor,  ELDER D