Monday, July 2, 2012

Manti Pangeant 02 July 2012

Well Good Morning Everyone!                     2 July 2012

Well this week has flown by that is for sure. We had an interesting week here in Castle Dale, Utah. It just wasn't really your typical week for a missionary.
Elder Davis At Manti Pageant
The first thing is first, that we did in fact go over to the "Mormon Miracle Pageant" in Manti. It is also known as the "Manti Pageant". It is always a wonderful experience. I really enjoy going over there and to feel of the Spirit that it brings. It was pretty crazy to see a bunch of people there and to talk with them. I probably met about 20 people that either live or have lived in the Tri-Cities. It was quite crazy to talk about that and where they lived. I always saw a family that was in the branch that I served in down in St. George. He was the Ward Mission Leader when I was there. So it was a familiar face. To answer your question, Mom, about the housing and things like that - What usually happens in all the elders end up sleeping in a spare house of the Pageant President, but this time we just slept in their basement, due to some other things that happened. For instance the house that we usually stay in was being used by a Girl's Camp that had to leave their camp due to fires.
Smoke from Wildfires in Utah

FIRES in Utah - That has been a really big thing here lately. Everything has been so dry; this area has experienced the biggest drought in 22 years. There has been so many forest fires going on here in Utah. I also heard there have been some pretty big ones in Colorado. It was pretty crazy, because to go over to Manti we actually drove up this canyon and it was really pretty and then all the sudden we just see huge flames coming over the mountain. It was weird to put your hand towards that side of the car and feel the heat and then put it on the other side and feel the coolness. The road that we were traveling on actually got closed while we were on it. Then as we got to the summit of the mountain, we were able to look down and we see huge areas of smoke right where we were driving towards, but it was on the next mountain over. It has been such a big thing around here that we actually had a region-wide fast for moisture in this area.
Now onto to some of the events with the people that we have been teaching here in this area. One big thing we did this week was help a less active lady named Michelle quit smoking. We did the "Stop Smoking Program". It helps people quit smoking in just 7 days! She has been doing so good and she still hasn't smoked! This one little step will be able to keep her on the "strait and narrow". She has come a long ways since the first time I met with her. She has been reading her Book of Mormon and praying everyday for the last two weeks and she can definitely see the difference all these things have made in her life.
Another thing this week is that we picked up another investigator. Well technically we taught him in Ferron when we still covered both of the stakes, but his family moved to Orangeville this week. We were able to start teaching Logan, again and he went to church with us this week also.
I think the biggest miracle this week was with a guy named David. I mentioned him last week in my letter, but this week it provided another wonderful miracle. We happened to catch him just after he got home from a long week of work in Moab. At our appointment, we had one of the most amazing lessons on my mission. He really is prepared for the Gospel. We were talking about the Plan of Salvation and how through this wonderful plan that he and his wife can be sealed for time and all eternity. He really enjoyed this part and he is still preparing to be baptized on the 21st of July. As we started to end the lesson, I had a very big impression that we needed to talk to him about the Word of Wisdom. Well it was obviously directed by the Spirit, because it turns out that he has chewed tobacco for over 30 years. So we told him for him to be baptized that he would have to give up chewing. He at first looked at us with concern, and then he said "Okay. I will do it. I won't drink tea and when I come back on Saturday I will be done chewing for good." David is such a good man and I know that I was sent here to teach him. I felt that connection the first time I visited with him 3 months ago. Now he is preparing to be baptized on the 21st and he won't let anything get in the way of that. The Lord truly can change the hearts of the people and they can receive the answers to their own questions.
This week we also were able to teach a combined Young Men and Young Women's class. We talked about preparing for a mission and the temple. It was a really good opportunity to help them understand the ways to prepare for a mission, or the temple, and how to set the plans and goals to make it there.
One surprise I did get this week was a letter from President Lott. It is pretty weird to call him President Lott, rather then Bishop Lott. He sent me a really wonderful letter and it was really what I needed that day to help me keep moving forward. I really do love that man and am so grateful him and the role that he played in my life and helping me get on my mission. So President Lott if you are reading this, thank you! (Next time you see him Mom, just let him know I am grateful for him in my life. Thank you!)
NEWS FROM HOME: We just had a “Swoboda Family Gathering” in Creswell, Oregon.  My father and his children and their spouses and children – 35 were there. It was good to hear that you had a good time with the family down in Creswell. It was awesome to see the pictures of all the family and it is nice to see them again. Family is such an important part of our lives. Mom, it is was good to hear that Aunt Cheryl was there looking out for you and Pops. I will have to have Pops send me an email about what she said to him. She always has been one of my favorite aunts on that side, along with Aunt Debi. They are such great people and are always willing to help. I am grateful to hear that Aunt Cheryl was supportive of me and of my decision to stay on my mission. (Some have said Chad should come home to help with his dad- who has stage 4 noncurable cancer- , but we feel strongly that Chad will be able to finish his two year mission uninterrupted – the mom)
It is quite crazy to hear about Trave. (Chad’s high school basketball coach has a new job as varsity coach at Southridge High School in Kennewick.) It is good to hear that he is moving up to a big time coaching job and maybe it will continue that way. He always was a really good coach, I will have to go and visit him when I get back. If you see him tell him I said "Hello". It is good to hear that Joe Sloan is moving back into the ward. I really liked him as a teacher, and now I will have to make sure my Spanish is on par for when I get back, because he will understand me and everything I say.  J
Well thank you so much for everything and for the support! I love you all so much! I know that this work is true and this Church really is Christ's church. I know it with every fiber of my being!   
 Live it, Love it, Preach it!   de tu hijo amado!     ELDER D

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