Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday, August 29, 2011

Reports from Montana

Good Day to Everyone,

Well this last week went pretty good. We were definitely busy but for the first time most of it wasn't computer/online stuff. We were able to teach a transfer high 17 lessons and talked to a lot of people through tracting and street contacting.

Transfers were this week. We are no longer covering Blue Creek and Central wards. They have split Blue Creek into its own area and E.Wahl is being doubled in and training and be our district leader. I'm really excited to have him around. We are helping out a lot with the new missionaries coming in this week. It will definitely be a busy week. I'm going to be starting my football/gospel blog this week so check back frequently. Well I'm sorry this email is so lame but I've got a lot on my mind and the sisters are offering me a crepe. I'll try to write a letter this week when brain can think. There are just so many Elders here for the transfers that I can't think with all this commotion around me. I love you all. Go BYU!!!

-Elder Davis

Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

820 miles and 13 hours and 7 minutes later I'm back in Billings.

Oh what a busy week! As you can see from above that's the amount of miles and travel time we covered this week. We took off Wed. with the Iveses (the senior couple over cars/housing) and headed off in the big mission van to Missoula. We stopped in Bozeman and they took us to Applebees which was nice of them and then we rolled (hold on I just got a letter from Grandpa Gwynn..reading) ok I'm back now. Thank you grandpa for the letter. Ok back to the travels, so we got into Drummond (just outside Missoula) about 9:00 and spent the night with the Elders there. Drummond is a small town that's up in the mountains. It's pretty up there. Pine trees all over.

The next morning we headed into Missoula (for the first time on my mission) and had zone conference. We then ran into some complications when we realized we had somehow forgotten the flash drive back in Billings and President couldn't find his computer cord. Luckily after some prayers we were able to get into the family history center and download it and then President found his cord. feew! After that things went great! The zone conference went really well and it was great to be able to see a lot of Elders and Sisters that I served around in Kalispell and then others in Missoula like Elders Mower, Wells, Holbrook, Ika, and Sister Mace to name a few. News from Kalispell the 9 year old M got baptized on the 6th! Also 80+ year old T has stopped drinking coffee and has a testimony of the Book of Mormon now! Everyone kept telling me Kalispell wasn't the same as when I was there which was good to hear I'm missed. haha

After zone conferences ended we booked it over to Townsend. Pres. gave us permission to go out to the M's and stay out there. We got out there about 8 and ate some food that they had prepared for the less active/investigator dinner they do at their house every Thurs. It was great to talk to Brother M (who is the new ward mission leader) and Sister M about life in Townsend and how excited they are to keep helping with the missionary efforts. Especially W. He's really excited to get things rollin' and I'm excited to see what he can do. They had an update for me on Sister D. They said she's doing better and is eating on her own now so that was good to hear.

So after staying at the M's we went into Helena Fri. morning and were able to see some more missionaries that I look up to and love. Namely Elder Butler who has been my district leader and zone leader in the past. He's leaving after this transfer and it's going to be tough to not have him around. The zone conference there went great too and it is always good to be back in Helena. Our presentation went really well at both zone conferences and we are really excited to see if we can get online proselyting to a new level with all of it.

We then left Helena and headed down to Butte where Elder Garcia had served. We ate dinner with a family there and then went and visited his old ward mission leader who owns an ice cream place. I was able to try a fried ice cream which I don't think I've ever had before. It was pretty good. After that we made the long trek back to Billings and got back at about 11. Needless to say my mission has trained me to be able to travel long distances. It's not that bad especially when you get to see so much of the pretty country of Montana.

So I don't know if I had mentioned last week but K, J, and another girl from Kalispell were coming down to do baptisms for the dead this weekend. It worked out to be the day for the rest of Billings to go to the temple too so Elder Garcia and Elder Handcock went to a session while Elder Miner, who baptized K, and I went to do baptisms with K and J. The Billings Temple is so pretty especially in the summer time. It was really neat to see J get to come into the temple. You could tell she was nervous but after a while that was gone and she seemed really calm like a veteran. Those temple workers do such a great job of being very nice and showing you everything though so that I'm sure helped. She even got asked to do some more names after we were already done because a lady had just brought more in so she got to do 20 names. I wasn't able to baptize her because she is a female and I'm a missionary which is weird because Elder Lanham said he was able to go with the Heffelfingers and baptize all of them. Oh well. It was just good to be there. I did get to do confirmations though and was able to confirm her. There is a part of the temple where you can sit right as you walk in and there is a big sky light that looks right up to the spire and the angel Moroni. Pretty cool stuff! I'm sure most of you saw the pictures we took on Facebook. If not go check them out.

Ok now to the missionary work work. We found a new investigator named D. He really wants to be baptized and he likes the fact that we really prepare people for it instead of just throwing them in the water. He's recently made some changes to his life thanks to some encouragement of a member friend. We set a baptism date with him for Sep. 10th. He was at church this week and we'll see tomorrow night how he liked it.

Sister M was also at church for the third time. I think we're getting really close to setting a date with her and hopefully we can help her son to see that he can make some changes and things will work out for the best.

We also had a good lesson with Brother W. He knows he needs to come to church but is really nervous. We're going to do a church tour with him this week to help calm his nerves.

Overall a slow week though but not too bad considering the amount of time we were out of our area. We're really looking forward to this week and getting some really good work done because this is a week we don't have any other extra stuff taking us away from the area. We want to get a good start into this next transfer too. I can't believe transfer calls come this Friday. Things will probably be hectic around here but I don't anticipate anything happening to us.

Good to hear everyone is doing good. Good to hear you're making it to a BYU football game! How come when I was at home Mom and the girls would never go and now that I'm gone everyone goes? haha I told the senior office couple, the Karlinseys who are big BYU fans that you were going and they said oh man without you? I said yep. They said oh sad well we'll watch it for you! haha I want to be a senior couple someday so that I can be on a mission and serve the Lord but still get to watch BYU football. hahahah.

As far as the future of online work Salt Lake seems to be committed to this but just want all of the bugs and kinks worked out for the most part before they let it really go. It really has a lot of good advantages and I just hope we can continue to work and find out how best to use it.

Well I better get going now. I hope all of you have a great week! Also Thanks to those that emailed me. God Bless! And cheer for the Billings, Montana team in the little league world series!

-Elder Davis

PS I'm attaching a picture Elder Mower just sent me of the chicken in that house we taught at in Kalispell. It doesn't look quite as dirty as when I was there. Hopefully the smells not as bad either.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Monday, August 15, 2011

Busy as a Honey Bee!

Hello Children of the Lord!

What a week! This week had to be one of the fastest weeks of my mission! I can't believe it's Monday! I hope to deliver a better email than last week. Last week was cut short because we had to go to the hospital to give a blessing. We've been giving a lot of blessings lately. We've been to the hospital five times in a week. On one hand it's a downer to see the struggles these people are going through but on the other hand it's a blessing to be able to serve them and give them a blessing. I truly feel some of the most spiritual experiences have come from blessings on my mission. One blessing in particular this week that was pretty neat was Sister D. I was able to give her a blessing early last week before she went into surgery. She is in the ICU right now with an infection they found so definitely keep her in your prayers everyone. We went again this morning to give a blessing to another person and we turned the corner and saw Brother D. I was able to talk with him and see Sister D for a few minutes. She is still pretty out of it but is slowly coming around. With all of the blessings we've given it's tough to know whether we'd like to hear after what happened with these people or if it's better to just not find out. With all of the people in the ICU we've visited who have been in pretty bad shape sometimes I think the last option is best and then again it'd be neat to hear the potential stories of the healing power of the priesthood.

On to a lighter note, zone conferences. We had one here in Billings on Wed. and one in Lovell, WY on Friday. Pres. talked a lot about the Book of Mormon and invited us as a mission to reread the Book of Mormon with him by Dec. zone conferences. I'm really excited for this and have already started to do so. I grabbed a fresh copy of the Book of Mormon so that I can go through and do all new markings. I'd invite and encourage all of you, especially my family, to read the Book of Mormon with me and finish by the time I get home. Who's with me?!!

Our presentation/training went really well. Everyone said ours are the best because they entertain and teach. I'll have to see if there is a way to send them to you in an email so you can see them. We went to Lovell on Friday. Wyoming is flat and brown is my first impression. hahaha That was the same impression of southern Wyoming too. Lovell has 6 wards there despite being a small town. The stake center there is huge though. It has two chapels in it. The best part had to be seeing Elder Wahl who I haven't seen in a while and Elder Lunt whose mom by the way is doing better. Cancer is gone.

We had a great finding week in our area when we had time to be there. We were able to find three new investigators and we did a lot of tracting and street contacting on Sat. Our mission is really pushing more finding and talking with people about the Book of Mormon. On Sat. alone we were able to give three Books of Mormon away while tracting. I think that's the most we've ever given out. We are now walking around with Books of Mormon in our hands so that the people we talk to have more of a visual and it might spark their interest more. So far it's working great!

One of our new investigators we think might be an alcoholic. We've taught her on her door step twice now and she always smells of alcohol but retains what we've taught her well so far. It was funny though because she looked at Elder Garcia's hair the second time we taught her and gave him a funny look. She asked why his hair was old (combed over). We just laughed! She then touched it and said wow and it's really thick! hahaha

Well I appreciate the little updates about BYU football. I hope they have a great season and hopefully they'll make the Fiesta Bowl or the National Championship game so that I can watch them! :) HaHa. Well I better get going! I love you all! Next week should be full of more exciting news as we are off to Missoula Wed. for conf. Thurs. and then off to Helena for conf. on Friday. Have a great week! Bye now!

-Elder Davis

Monday, August 8, 2011

Monday, August 8, 2011

Week 3 In Billings

Well Hello there Everyone,

Week 3 in Billings has come and gone. Man how time flies! We had a good week this week both in preparing for zone conferences and in finding and teaching. We started teaching two new families this week. One of them was the ones that just showed up to church last week and the other showed up after church and talked to the Bishop. I really hope they progress because you see how the Lord is leading them.

The crazy story of the week has to be on Wed. we came into the office early to study and then jump right on the computers at 10. Well we come in and Sis.Karlinsey who is one of the senior missionaries says oh I was just about to call you. Listen to this message. We listen and it's a member who called into the mission home late last night and said that there was one of our mission blogs with porn on it. He assured us on the message that it wasn't the elders who had posted it but that because of something called a hotlink it had been changed. So at this point in time we are really lost and confused. So Pres. has us jump on his computer and we call the elders whose blog it was and get their info so we can get on and get rid of it ASAP. Pres then called the man who had left the message and we found out more of the story. So if you take a picture from online and don't save it to your computer but just put it on your blog there is a hotlink attached to it that shows where it originally came from. Well if the person who originally posted it doesn't like that you put it on there they can change the picture while keeping the same address and all of a sudden your picture can be changed because they are hosting the picture and its link. So there was a man who these elders took a picture from and he didn't like it so he went on and changed it to a bad picture and then posted it on this website called reddit where people just post funny things or things they find interesting. This is where the member saw it. The sad thing is it received 60,000 views. The good thing was the man who posted it didn't mention anything about the church so most people probably didn't even connect the blog with missionaries or the church. What a headache though. So we learned all about hotlinks and how we need to not do them anymore and yeah. End of story this is a pilot program and this is what we have to do is learn from mistakes some times and correct them and move on with the work!

We had a good lesson with the Ms this week. We watched the Restoration with them. they said that they really enjoyed church so that is a plus but then they weren't there yesterday. :( . We did have Bro.W there though and he's a less active member who is just starting to come back to church and he's been reading the Book of Mormon like crazy and just finished yesterday! We met with him last night and he's doing great. Hopefully we can get his wife on the same page as him.

Sadly enough I've got to get going. There is a man in the hospital who is dying who wants a blessing before he passes. Maybe if I get some time I could get back on here since I didn't get much time. I hope all of you have a great week. I love you all. God bless!

-Elder Davis

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Monday, August 1, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy

Hello Everyone!

Greetings once again from Billings, MT! What a busy busy busy week it was. I can't believe it's already week 3. Ok so first things first the bad news of the week. We are now in a car share :(  Elder Whitlock crashed his car in his area and their area is pretty spread out so whose car gets jacked to become their new car? Yeah that's right our car! It's a bummer because it limits us to being in the office or being out in our area and not bouncing back and forth like we were able to do the first week. We'll survive though. We now get the truck M-W and ever other Sunday.

Ok moving on to better things. We had leadership in Helena on Tues. We had to leave at 5:15 a.m. It was a nice ride because President brought his Galaxy, which is like an ipad, that he just got and we messed around on it and watched Mormon Messages and showed him how to use it. Once in Helena we had a great meeting. We gave our online training presentation and it went really well. We focused on fine tuning our online efforts and just getting rid of some of the riff raff that some missionaries have been caught up in. Some are just getting to lax with all of this so it's a good time to refresh them on what is expected and who they are as missionaries and what they are representing and how we always have to remember that. President said it was exactly what our mission needed at this time which was a great complement to hear. On our way back from Helena Pres. drove and talked about a lot of church history stuff and artifacts and ideas of ancient Book of Mormon thoughts that others have come up with. Man he sure is one smart guy. I've always known this but it's nice to see him open up with other stuff like this. I learned some pretty neat new stuff. I really look forward to traveling with him more.

The next day we had leadership in Billings. It's essentially the same meeting but luckily tweaked just enough to make it not too bad to have it again back to back days. Our presentation went even better the second day I felt.

Teaching wise the week started slow. We had a lot going on but over time we were able to get things going. We did a lot more walking and talking with people on the streets. We found a lot of good potential. I think this next week is going to be a great teaching and finding of new investigators. One case where we were walking around we came across a man who was having a yard sale. We talked with him and another guy that came to buy some stuff. We got a return appointment with one of them. The man had this cool mountain oil painting that he was selling for a buck so I bought it. I figured it would be a good mission memory and keepsake of the time we talked to people about the gospel at a yard sale in Montana! haha

Walking wasn't the funnest this weekend though. It was Hot! The hottest it's ever been for me in MT. It's really not to bad but when you're walking and in missionary clothes it's no bueno! You just sweat like no other and then you smell. Luckily it should be cooling down.

Had a good week at church. We had 3 investigators and 3 less actives we are working with there. Also a non member and his family just came to church and we are going to meet with them this next week. The ones that were the neatest to see was the Ms. They are a mother and son we've been teaching. We had a really good lesson with them this week. We soft committed them to baptism and they've been reading the Book of Mormon quite a bit. Really good potential there!

Didn't get to see the Ds this week because they were headed back to Townsend and will be coming back for the surgery this week so I'll see them then. Oh I did get to see Sister P and R though. Elder Kuck had them meet us after our meeting in Helena. It was so nice to see them again! They are so awesome! You asked about sending the Ms a thank you card. They had their son T living there too. Elder Mower who had served in Townsend too and I always joked that Sister Moss was the younger version of Sister P. haha

Well I better get going. We had to get blog of the week stuff posted and numbers reports sent out so my pday is slipping away. No meetings this week but next week we'll be here in Billings for zone conf. and then down to Wyoming next Friday. Hope everyone has a great week! I love all of you and good luck with school and work! Talk to you soon!

-Elder Davis

PS I got the package with the CD. You're right Mom, it has some good songs and others that aren't that great. But thank you for it.