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!

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!

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

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!