Happy Six Months to Me! I Ripped My Pants: Transfer 5, Week 1‏

image3(3)image2(5)image4(3)image1(4)Buenos Dias! Como han estado ustedes? Esta semana salió bien para
nosotros y yo viernes tuve mi día de mi primer seis meses! Órale!

Good morning! How have y’all been? This week went well for us, and on
Friday I hit my first six month mark!

So this week was actually pretty good. Last Monday we had transfers,
and before transfers we decided to go get some golf clubs from
Goodwill and go to a driving range here. I figured that I might as
well practice for when I get back and go on the PGA tour. Augusta
National here I come.

On Tuesday we meet with an investigator that we have been working with
for a while. He’s an older guy named Jose and he has trouble reading
and understanding, but he has a deep desire to learn about the gospel.
He works everyday but Tuesday, so it’s really hard for us to get
lessons with him and it’s almost impossible for him to come to church.
We promised him that if he would make an effort to try and read and
pray this week, and if he prayed specifically for the Lords help to
help him get work off on Sunday’s, he would get it. We are going to go
back and see him tomorrow!

Wednesday we had district meeting for the new district. It’s super
weird changing districts and switching people, because right as soon
as you get used to somebody, they leave. Plus, my new/former
companion, Elder Mugleston, is the district leader, so he’s got all
the responsibility for the district and he has to do a lot of stuff
for the district that before, we had never had to do as a
companionship. But it’s going to be a good transfer and I’m excited.

Thursday we didn’t do much, but we had weekly planning. Before this
week, we had kinda sluffed weekly planning, and placed it as a thing
of naught, but this week I was reading in Preach My Gospel about it
and it’s REALLY important to do it and do it right. So, since I
decided I was going to be more obedient and better this transfer, I
went through each step of weekly planning that it says in PMG and we
hashed everything out very deliberately and it really helped us a lot
to prepare for this week, and to hopefully get a lot done this week.

Thursday night was super interesting! So we have been working with
this guy named Nyth. He was a referral given to us by the wife of our
branch mission leader because he was a former piano student of hers.
He is half Filipino and half Native American and he is a blacksmith
that makes swords and stuff. He used to be a Seventh Day Adventist,
but he got kicked out of their church for asking too many questions
and challenging too many of their doctrines. He is very open minded
and very analytical and he’s a great guy, but he has a lot of
questions and doubts. So we had a lesson with him and his fiancé at
our branch mission leaders home, and we were there for two and a half
hours trying to answer his questions and change his doubts and help
him grow his faith. It was a very long and challenging lesson, and we
walked away tired, but I know that the Spirit was helping us. And I
know he has his agency to accept or reject the happy message of the
restoration, but I know that we did what we could to try, and we were
lead and guided by the spirit.

To add insult to injury, that night when we were physically exhausted
and ready to go home, as I was about to unlock the door to the
apartment, I dropped the keys. So, I squatted down to grab them, and I
heard a loud popping sound and my pants that were once tight, were no
longer tight. I had ripped my pants. And it was depressing. Everybody
made fun of me. Luckily, I ripped only busted the stitching on the
seam on the butt, so I should be able to re-sew it pretty easily.

Friday was my six month mark! That morning we went and did service for
the homeless shelter like we do every Friday, putting food boxes
together, sorting food and accepting donations and stuff. So we worked
there for a couple hours then we came back and got dressed and went
tracting for a bit. After that, we went to celebrate six months with
the other missionaries in our zone that came out with me. Elder
Wilcock, Elder Hansen, Sister Hudson and I, all came out together so
we decided to celebrate. So, on the mission we have traditions. And
one of the traditions is that when you hit different milestones on
your mission, you have to burn something, and the traditional burning
item for six months is a tie. So, the four of us got together with our
companions and we decided to all burn a tie together (Sister Hudson
burned a scarf). We went to a members house that has some land and we
went out back to burn our stuff. It was raining pretty hard, so we
figured it was appropriate for Oregon. It was a lot of fun to
celebrate it all together, but afterwards all my clothes smelled like
burnt plastic.

That night, we went over to Miriam’s house for dinner. She always
makes THE BEST Mexican food ever and she has taught me how to cook
some things. Also, so had her birthday earlier in the week on Tuesday,
but was going to have her party on Saturday, so we helped her make her
cake. So the traditional celebration cake for Hispanics is tres leches
cake, which directly translates to three milks. Basically, it’s made
by making a layer of cake, injecting that cake with evaporated milk,
frosting it with heavy whipping cream, putting some fruit (in this
case, durazno, which are peaches), frosting it again, putting another
layer of cake, injecting it again so it’s moist, and frosting the
whole thing. So we ended up making a really moist, almost sopping,
milk cake. And it was the biggest pain in the rear to make.

Saturday morning we had SPC which is stake presidency counsel and we
had breakfast with the stake leaders and talked to them about what we
can do for each of our areas. Despite it being at 7oclock in the
morning, it was a good meeting and we talked with the stake president,
President Brady, about how we can improve our Spanish areas. He is an
awesome guy and I’m super glad to be working with him. After SPC we
went to go do service for a place that gets donated bikes, fixes them
up, then gives them to homeless people or kids that need bikes.
Originally, only one set of elders were invited to help, but they
basically invited all the missionaries in the stake and the guy that
runs the bike shop was super overwhelmed and started getting emotional
when we all showed up because he had never had so many volunteers
before. We did all the work he had for us and he was telling us that
that had had some work piling up and they weren’t expecting to get it
all done for another couple weeks, but we got everything done he
needed. He was super grateful and told us that if we ever needed a
bike to let him know and he would get us a nice bike for free. I love
doing service because I love the joy it brings people to know that
we’re here to help and to give back and that we care. Mosiah 2:17
says: “And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom;
that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow
beings ye are only in the service of your God.” I believe that will
all my heart. I know that through our service, we were able to bless
so many lives, more than we even know, and that makes me feel good.

After we had service, we went tracting for a bit, then we went over to
Miriam’s for her party. Their was like a million little kids there,
who were the kids of the friends she invited over. We ate pasole,
which is a soup made from corn and then we had the cake we made and
dang it was good. The effort was totally worth it.

Sunday we had a regional stake conference where Elder Grow, Sister
Oscarson, Elder Hamula and Elder Renlund spoke. It was a great
conference and I learned a lot of things. Elder Grow talked about the
patterns of faith we need to follow in this life to emulate the
Savior’s example and remain true to the faith. He talked about how we
can apply the “Sunday school answers” of reading, prayer and scripture
study better to help us in life. Sister Oscarson talked about how we
need to ALWAYS maintain our standards and become true disciples of
Christ. True disciples have the integrity to always do what they’re
supposed to, and not just do what they’re supposed to on Sunday’s.
Elder Hamula talked about how we need to “fear not” and be comforted
because if we remain faithful to the Lord, everything will be alright.
Last but not least, Elder Renlund spoke to us about how everything we
do in the church or any knowledge we have, goes beck to the
Restoration and how we can apply the restoration and the first vision
to explain our doctrine. We can’t explain doctrine we have, without
first establishing the idea of modern revelation through the first
vision. Overall, it was a great conference, and I’m so grateful to
have been edified by a living apostle and other general authorities of
the church. I know they are men and women called by God to lead us and
guide us, and they truly do receive revelation and inspiration from
God.

After the conference, I made chilaquiles, which Miriam taught me how
to make and I brought them over to her to see how I did and to see how
it went. She made fun of me because even though I put two jalapeños,
they weren’t spicy. I’ll get it next time.

Yesterday afternoon we went to Mollala to celebrate the birthday party
of our branch president’s daughter and it was awesome. We ate ham and
turkey with beans and tortillas and salsa. I’m convinced that you can
make just about any white people food Hispanic if you add beans and
tortillas and really spicy salsa. Then we had tres leches cake again,
but it wasn’t as good, because I didn’t make it 😉

But this week was good and I have learned a lot as I’ve been striving
to improve and get better! I’m so grateful to be a missionary and to
be serving the Lord!

Love y’all!
Elder Davies

Ripped pants
Six months, baby!

 

Turning Point: Transfer 4, Week 6‏

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Elder Buhler and Elder Davies
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Last lunch together as a district
image1(3)
Elder Cepeda, I and the best family in Oregon City, the Chavez.
image2(3)
Hitting the driving range on PDay

Hello Everyone! Hope everybody is doing well! So I titled this email
the way I did because though a lot of reflecting and a series of
different events, I have realized that there are some things I need to
change and turn around about my mission thus far.

So last week was a fairly good week, I would say. We didn’t have as
many lessons as I would have liked, but I really do feel like I
learned and grew a lot this week. Tuesday we were going to have our
weekly Book of Mormon class that we usually have, but we found out
that nobody was going to be able to come, so we ended up not having
it. So instead of our class, we decided to work and go visit some less
active families in our branch that need help getting back into church
and read scriptures and stuff. After that, we went and played
volleyball at the stake center like we do every Tuesday (I’m getting
really good, so watch out Misty Trainer). On Wednesday we had to go to
Tigard (30 minutes away) to go to a doctors appointment for Elder
Buhler and that took up a big block of time out of the middle of the
day, but it was alright. However, afterwards, we went to go see a guy
named Jim. Jim is a older gentleman that is neighbors with our branch
clerk and he recently lost his wife and he’s going through a tough
time. Jim is a great guy and he was a math and computer teacher for
several year here at a school in Oregon City. He’s really kinda lonely
and he LOVES it when we go to visit him. He’s got a ton of great
stories and I really love chatting with him and just listening to him
tell stories. He also has a lot of faith, and is very receptive to the
Plan of Salvation and we’ve been trying to slowly work in other gospel
topics as we’ve been talking. He’s awesome and I really love him and
want to see the gospel bless his life.

Thursday. Here’s where the mood begins to change a little. Thursday we
had a meeting with all the Spanish missionaries in the mission about
how we aren’t doing so hot right now and how we need to step it up as
Spanish and do better. Our mission president lovingly, but firmly told
us that we need to change our attitudes and change our current
strategy so that we can be more successful as missionaries. After the
meeting, Elder Cepeda came on exchanges with me and did a lot of
talking about the meeting and such. It was very nice and relieving to
be able to talk openly with him, because he’s one of my best buddies
out here and he’s real and genuine and a good guy. But through our
talks and the meeting, I realized two things. One, that I haven’t been
the most hard working or obedient and two that I’m very dissatisfied
with the results of my efforts. On my mission, I have become
complacent and okay with being average. I have been okay with people
when they tell us they aren’t interested or aren’t reading or praying
or anything, but I’ve been disappointed by the number of investigators
we have progressing. And at first I blamed it on my situation and my
former companions and how I was trained, but really all I have to
blame is myself. It’s my fault that I have become complacent and it’s
my fault that I haven’t been more obedient or hardworking. And I want
to change that. I want to change that so badly. I want to see the
gospel bless people’s lives. I want to see the joy people get when the
read the scriptures or pray or come to church. I want to be a good
missionary, but to do that I have to change. And I realize that. So
from now on, I have decided I’m not going to be like that anymore. I’m
gonna be a hardworking obedient missionary, who actually changes
people’s lives. I’m not gonna be embarrassed or ashamed of who I am or
of the gospel. I’m going to be bold and loving and I’m going to do
what I’m supposed to do. I’m gonna be a good missionary from now on
and work hard.

On Saturday we were supposed to get transfer calls but they didn’t
come on time, so we were a little freaked out because we didn’t know
what was going to happen. We had church Sunday and had fast and
testimony meeting and we saw miracles. As a companionship, Elder
Buhler and I fasted for a family, so that the parents would get
married and stop dragging their feet so they could get baptized and
they came to church. It was amazing. We also got to hear about the
Super Bowl, and I’m super sad the Panthers lost (#KeepPounding), but
there’s always next year. Sunday night we also got transfer news.
Elder Buhler is leaving OC and he was very sad to leave because this
is literally the best place ever and I’m staying and I’m getting my
trainer and former companion again, Elder Mugleston. At first I felt
super deflated and a little disappointed, because it never happens
that you go back with a former companion, and never your trainer, and
we didn’t get along the best when we were together. But since then,
I’ve had a better attitude, and this is gonna be a great transfers.
We’re gonna work hard and be obedient and do some miracles here in OC
and I’m excited.

I love you all and hope y’all have a great week!

Love, Elder Davies

Elder Cepeda, I and the best family in Oregon City, the Chavez.
Hitting the driving range on PDay
Last lunch together as a district
Elder Buhler and I

Never be Ashamed: Transfer 4, Week 5‏

 

cowboy icecream
Hola a todos de Portland!

So the major highlights from this week was that we had stake conference this weekend! We were told we didn’t have to go to the Saturday night session and so we worked instead, but we went to the Sunday morningsession. We were supposed to translate into Spanish for the people in our branch but nobody showed up, so we didn’t have to end up translating. I feel comfortable translating to English from Spanish because I feel like it’s easier, but I was super worried about translating from English to Spanish, so I was practicing in my head even though we didn’t actually have to translate. It’s really tough, but I feel like I could muster the ability to do it, if I really wanted to. Anyways, all of the speakers were really good and it was a super great meeting. One of the member of the temple presidency came and he gave part of his talk in Spanish and it was super good, but he talked about how it’s super important to go to the temple and do temple ordinances because the work for the dead is really important and it really seems like family history and temple work has been a topic that has been coming up a lot lately, so I guess I probably need to pay attention, right?
Well this week was good! We have an investigator family that we have been working a lot with this week, that the English sisters here found and asked us to help them with. The mom speaks both English and Spanish and she wants to go to the English ward, but he mostly only speaks Spanish and is super interested and wants to come, but they want to go to different congregations and they have a 19 month old baby who has autism or Down syndrome and they have to take care of him, so they don’t want to bring the baby to church and be a distraction. They are currently living in a hotel and have been for the past month because their apartments got condemned after and huge landslide here. They are super frustrated, but patient, and they are going to be moving out of the mission soon, and we want to baptize them before they move because it’s super hard to switch missionaries and much easier to switch wards. But oh well. The Lord has a plan, so we’ll see what happens.
We got the chance to do a lot of service this week and service is always really awesome because it puts everything in perspective. Every week we go work for a community center that does stuff for homeless people and one of the things we do it make boxes of food for the homeless people to take so they will have food and it’s been really humbling to do that. We also help receive and sort food that they receive from other food banks and stores and such. At first I was a little bitter because they got some really nice food stuff from stores that as missionaries, we probably couldn’t afford, but then I realized I was just grateful for the fact that I have money that I can buy food with, and it was really just a humbling moment. We also got to help a lady build a firepit in her backyard while it was raining and it was so much fun. We were digging in the dirt and the mud and putting gravel down and placing big concrete blocks, then we quick-creted it all together, and it was really fun. That’s the service that I like to do. We kept joking the whole time that we were all earning our Eagle Scouts again. It was fun.
We also had our Spanish district meeting this week where all the Spanish missionaries in the area get together and we have a district meetingesqe thing, but it’s in Spanish. I like them a lot because the whole meeting is in Spanish and it helps so much more to learn the language if you’re immersed in it. It was fun to see all my Spanish buddies again too.
Last but not least, we had a baptism yesterday for the branch. It wasn’t ours, but it was for the other elders in our ward who are in Mollala. The baptism was for a family named the Reyes family. I don’t really know them that well, but I’ve seen them at church acouple times. It was a nice baptism. We were asked to be the witnesses and I never realized how much of a job that actually is. We had to make sure no hair or feet or arms or anything flew up and so it was cool, but I never realized what that was like. We also gave a short lesson about the Restoration while the family was getting changed. It was funny because we were talking and kids were running and playing everywhere and the parents were just paying attention to us. It’s funny because in American culture everybody would have been freaking out, but Hispanics were just like eh. But it was good and afterwards everybody went to one of the members house in Mollala for dinner. Like, everybody went to this house for dinner, and they were a lot of people too. But it had been raining a lot and the field they had everybody park in was super wet so half of the people got their cars stuck in the mud and we had to help push them out in our suits. It’s okay, we didn’t get that dirty. But they had a crap ton of tamales and spaghetti so that’s what we had. It was awesome because it felt like one of those big Mexican family parties and it was cool to be a part of.
So I want to share another quick story. So lately we’ve been kinda stuck with the investigators that we have and we were getting a little discouraged, so we decided that we need to do some finding. So, confession about me: I hate tracting. I hate going from door to door and knocking and asking people if they want to hear about the gospel. I don’t like it because I hate getting yelled at or doors slammed in my face or people just not caring at all and I don’t like how the majority of my tracting experiences have been negative. Anyways, we decided we had to do some finding and the best way to do that is tracting. And I was a bad attitude, but I told myself “We have to do it, it’s part of being a missionary, so suck it up and do it” so we did. I picked an apartment complex that we haven’t knocked and we decided to knock it. So me, with my bad attitude, was just ready to endure what was about to happen and not really do it whole heartily or happily, but I did it anyways. So we were walking to this complex and I thought that we should start on one side rather than the other and so we did. The first door we knocked on was a Spanish family and the dad already had a Libro de Mormon and had talked to missionaries before but lost touch. It was a blessing to me because the Lord was like “Jeremiah quit being stupid. This is my work and you have to knock doors. All people aren’t bad. There are people that need the gospel out there and you need to find them.” So we, me feeling embarrassed from being stupid and having a bad attitude, kept going and kept knocking. Nobody answered the next couple doors and then we knocked on a door and a guy answered. He was a white guy with tattoos and piercings and usually that’s bad news for us. But he was wearing a cross necklace and so I immediately started talking about how it’s great how he has a belief in the savior and how it’s important to have that faith, especially with all the stuff that’s going on in the world now. He then showed us his cross tattoo on his chest and we talked about Christ. He kinda listened and then stepped out and lit a cigarette. At this point I’m like this dude is rude and is doing it on purpose, but he then asked us if we smoked and when we explained moved so the wind wouldn’t blow smoke in our faces. We talked about the Restoration and left him a Book of Mormon and he said we could come back. It’s the little miracles and things that happen on your mission that humble you so much. I was so grateful for that opportunity to go tracting. So I was thinking of the reason why I don’t like tracting so much and I came to the conclusion that it was because I don’t want to be yelled at or rejected and I don’t want people to judge me for what I believe and why I’m not their door step. But that’s why I’m here to be a missionary. I’ve been thinking a lot about Romans 1:16 which says “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.” I realized that I was acting like I was ashamed of the gospel and I’m super embarrassed now. As a missionary, I need to spread the gospel message of Christ church and not be ashamed and that’s what so important. I don’t want to get to heaven one day and have to admit to being ashamed of the greatest things in the entire world. So I have repented and and working on being better and liking tracting more.

I love all of y’all and I hope y’all have a great week! Remember, never be ashamed of the gospel. Be so proud to have it in your life.

Here’s a picture of me with a cowboy statue at a McDonalds in Mollala. Mollala is the best.

Zone Conference and Missionary Broadcast: Transfer 4, Week 4‏

 

Hey everybody! I hope everybody has a good week! We were super busy
this week at meetings and stuff.

So on Wednesday we had a worldwide missionary broadcast from Salt Lake
where the general authorities talked to us about missionary work and
they basically went over all the different points in Preach My Gospel.
Some of it was a little repetitive and stuff we’ve been hearing all
our mission, but the other part was super helpful, and hopeful I can
take some of the stuff I learned and apply it to the missionary work
that we’re doing! On Wednesday nights we eat with the English wards
and we had dinner with the guy that basically built the Portland
temple. He’s the brother of our branch clerk and he’s a really awesome
guy. I’m super grateful for the opportunity that I get to meet all the
different cool people out here!

Thursday we had a zone conference and it was totally an accident that
it fell on the day after the missionary conference, because we
basically talked about the exact same thing that we sat in a 2 hour
broadcast on the day before for. But it was cool to see all my friends
from other zones and other areas that we don’t get to see much. After
zone conference we drove to Mollala (30 min drive) and ate with some
members and then went to play indoor soccer with the kids from the
branch at the church. It was fun and I’m super out of shape.

We went tracting the other day and found a house that has a
confederate flag out in the front, so I can testify that there are
good people here.

Our roommates moved out the other day! We were super sad because we
were really starting to get used to them and we were having fun with
them. Now it’s just me and Buhler here. It was starting to get super
crowded here, but it was fun to live with other elders.

Saturday we had a regular day and then had dinner with Kreitel for his
birthday here in OC. He’s still my favorite comp because we had so
much fun together when we were comps. But it was super nice to see him
and also the Sopers.

But it was a good week! Hope everybody is doing well!

Love y’all. See y’all next!

I love Mollala: Transfer 4, Week 3‏

deerimage1(2)
Hey y’all! I’m back again. Hope y’all had a good week! So this week’s
email is gonna be kinda short because it was just a regular week, but
it was good too.

So, the work is going well! For once on my mission, I actually feel
somewhat fluent and that’s such a good feeling. Like, I know that I’m
not completely fluent because I still have a lot more vocabulary to
learn, but Elder Buhler and I have been trying to talk Spanish
together as much as we can and I have been taking the lead in lessons
and on doorsteps and talking to people and I have actually had people
ask me where I’m from because my Spanish is so good. And I still have
a lot more vocabulary to learn, but it feels super good to know that
my hard work up until this point has paid off. It’s a weird to
explain, but it’s such a cool thing. But learning Spanish has
seriously WRECKED my English because I’ve gotten to the point when I
can naturally think in Spanish and it screws with my English so bad.
Because I’ll just be talking in English and I won’t be able to
remember the word or I’ll accidentally say the word in Spanish and I
won’t realize then people will look confused and I realize and go back
and correct myself. Or I’ll talk in English and use the grammatical
form for Spanish and it won’t make sense in English but it makes sense
in my head. I don’t know how to explain it, but learning Spanish has
messed with my English. I just think it’s funny.

It’s also interesting because the entire time while I’ve been on my
mission, we haven’t really worked with English missionaries much, so
they just think we stay at home and eat tacos and wear sombreros and
stuff. But this transfer we’ve been working a lot more with the
English missionaries and we’ll go visit a Spanish speaker that the
English people found and we’ll talk to them in Spanish and the English
missionaries will be like “wow were so impressed by y’alls Spanish. We
always see y’all talking in English and stuff and we never thought
y’all could actually speak Spanish so were impressed.” Booyah, English
missionaries.

But all this week we just met with our people. Nothing really too
crazy or special happened. We had a fairly regular week. On Saturday
we did service for a park out here and we pulled up blackberry bushes.
One of the things I hate about Oregon is there is a MILLION different
types of sticker bushes and they are all super invasive. Like, why
couldn’t there be an invasive type of flower that’s easy to get rid
of, rather than a dang sticker bush. I swear, Oregon is like when the
wicked witch cast the spell of the thorny rose bushes for miles around
the castle in Sleeping Beauty. Everything here wants to poke you.
Goodness gracious. I got stuck so many times. Anyways, Saturday we
pulled up ivy and blackberry bushes in the mud in a park for like 4
hours and after we went to eat at a Mexican place that a member owns
after with all the missionaries in our district. So since we got
Mexican food, it made getting stuck with briars not so bad.

But other than that we spent like half the week at Jiffy Lube and at
Les Schwab getting our oil changed and tires rotated. Both places were
super busy and we had to sit there and watch crap like Wendy and The
Real and The View. It was awful. I pray I never have to do that again.
But that was really our week.

We’ll do something super crazy and interesting this week so I’ll have
some good stuff to write about next week. Anyways, I love y’all! Have
a good week!

More puppies
Dogs we helped wrangle
Jackrabbit

Puppies: Transfer 4, Week 2‏


Hello everyone! Hope y’all are doing well.

Things are going well here in OC! We have a really solid teaching pool
and we have some solid investigators and we are seeing a lot of
success and miracles.

We found a guy this week named Kevin. He’s a super golden investigator
and we’re really excited for him. So we knocked into his wife and she
wasn’t really interested, but we left a Book of Mormon and he took it
and the next time we came back he came and talked to us. So basically,
he’s going through a lot of hard times in his life, and he hasn’t
really gone into too many details with us, but he has been to jail a
lot and he was into gangs and drugs and he currently has an ankle
bracelet, but he really wants to change his life and he doesn’t want
to go back to that, so he wants to talk to us so he can get into
church and religion and find more peace in his life. Anyways, we asked
him to read and pray about the Book of Mormon (we ask everybody, but
nobody ever does it) and he read the introduction, the testimony of
the witnesses, Joseph Smiths testimony, and the first couple chapters
of Nephi. We were seriously so blown away. It was amazing. And he was
asking us questions and it was an awesome lesson. He told us that he
wanted to come to church with us, but he couldn’t come yesterday
because he had to go see a judge or something, but we’re super excited
for him.

Tuesday night we had dinner with a family and they have a bunch of
puppies and we got to play with the puppies and they were SO CUTE.
Tuesday night we also had Book of Mormon class and we read a chapter
from Mosiah and we discussed the chapter. It went well.

On Wednesday we had interviews with president and he told me what was
going on with Spanish and his plan for me. He said he wants to keep me
Spanish till I’m fluent and comfortable because he wants me to go to
English and train (somewhere in the future, not soon) but come back to
Spanish but he doesn’t want me to go to English and lose all my
Spanish so I’m going stay Spanish for a while. So thats good. Also, I
asked him if we could go to the BYU basketball vs Portland game this
week and this is how the conversation went:
President- So, Elder Davies, do you have any questions or concerns for me?
Me- Well President, I have one question. If we can find members to
take us, can we have permission to go to the BYU basketball game next
week?
President- Well, quite frankly, no.
Me- But president, it’s the Lords team…
President- You’re telling that to a U of U (University of Utah) guy
Me- President, I can testify that if you sincerely ask the Lord for
forgiveness, he will forgive you.
President- *Chuckles* That was a good try, but still no.
Me- I figured it was worth a shot.

So that’s how that went. I got shot down. Wednesday night the Soper family
came down to take us out to dinner! It was awesome to see them again!
After dinner we had ward correlation down in Mollala and we talked
about the work in the branch and stuff.

Thursday we met with an investigator who was a blacksmith who makes
swords and stuff. There is a lady in our branch who is a piano
teacher, and she taught him and she gave us the referral to go see
him. He was a cool guy, and he makes swords and knives and stuff. We
shared a quick message and left because we had another appointment. We
also met with another investigator who is infamous throughout all the
Spanish missionaries in the whole mission. This guys name is Jose and
he is basically the holy grail for the Spanish missionaries. He’s like
50 years old and he’s an old Mexican cowboy who has a big orchard and
a huge farm. He’s been investigating the church for like 3 years and
he is basically already a member. Like, he could have been baptized 3
years ago because he has a super strong testimony and he lives all the
commandments, but he isn’t married. Like, he’s living with his
“girlfriend” and they have like 7 kids and like 4 grandkids, but him
and his “girlfriend” aren’t married. And he wants to get married so he
can get baptized, but she doesn’t want to, so the missionaries have
been working with them for a long time. He told us that his wife
doesn’t really want anything to do with the church, so that’s the
struggle. But he reads, he comes to church like every week, he has us
over all the time so he’s an awesome dude, but he needs to get
married. So the missionaries before me set up a date for him and his
wife to get married at the end of this month, so hopefully they follow
through. And the good thing was that before we thought his wife didn’t
want anything to do with us, but she came to church by herself
yesterday and we were SO EXCITED for that. Sometimes I think God has a
sense of humor, but we’re slowly working with them to get them to get
baptized.

Friday morning we went to go do service for a food pantry in
Milwaukie and it was super weird going back to M-town. But Elder
Buhler woke up super sick, so we went on a split with some other
missionaries so Elder Buhler could stay and get some rest with another
missionary who was sick, while I went with his companion. So we went
to this food pantry and put together food boxes for homeless people
for like 2 hours. It was nice to do service for people that really
needed it, and it was also super humbling to see how little these
people had. Sometimes we forget that.

Saturday we had a missionary meeting with the stake leaders in the
morning and they gave us breakfast and we talked about how they could
help us in our respective areas. Later that day, I got a SUPER bad
headache and so I just crashed out for a couple hours and then we went
out and tried to visit some people but we didn’t really talk to
anybody, so that all we did Saturday.

Sunday we had church bright and early at 9. We were late because it’s
a struggle to take showers in the morning with 4 dudes and we had to
drive 30 minutes to Mollala, so we were a little late, but the service
was good. We met in the primary room (childrens church), so it was super small, but we
packed that room. We had twice as many people in church that we had in
Milwaukie, and what I love about here is that there are families here.
In Milwaukie, we only had like one actual Spanish family, but here, it
was all families with kids and stuff and I really liked that.
Yesterday was testimony meeting and it went super well. And we didn’t
have to translate into English, so that was different too. But it was
a really good service and Jose AND his wife came so it was awesome.
And then we had Sunday school and we didn’t have to teach so it was
super different than what I’m used to, but it was good. The teacher is
Hermana Casas and she always feeds us on Tuesdays (she’s the one with
the puppies), but she’s a really good teacher and makes everyone get
involved in the lessons. After that we had priesthood in the kitchen
because all the other classrooms were taken, but it was a good lesson!
The priesthood teacher was Hermano Casas and he did a great job too
and we talked about the lessons on Howard W Hunter.

After church we went and visited some people. We went to go see Jose
and tell them that we LOVED seeing them both at church. Then we went
to go knock some doors and nobody answered, so we were getting
discouraged, but we visited another investigator named Eddie. So Eddie
is like 21 and he doesn’t really have any friends and he came from the
streets in California and his family has a restaurant and all he does
is work for his family. So because he has no real friends, whenever we
come over he just talks for like 2 hours and tells us all of his
problems and stuff. And I feel bad for the dude, because he’s had it
rough, but he has a lot of faith and we see a lot of potential in him
and we are excited to see him have his life changed by the gospel.

But that was really all for my week. But I’ve been enjoying here in OC
and I have learned a lot, especially how to cook Mexican food. One
day, I made sopes, which is basically a deep fried thick tortilla with
beans and stuff on it. It was so good. But that’s really all.

I love y’all! Have a great week!

Puppies
Sopes

 

First Week in Oregon City: Transfer 4, Week 1‏

 


Hey y’all! Sorry about last week. Transfers are always really weird
when it comes to moving and sending emails and stuff, but here I am
now!

So I got transferred to Oregon City which is basically right next door
to Milwaukie. Oregon City is a smaller town than Milwaukie, which I
really like. Apparently there are a lot of Hispanics here, and we have
been staying pretty busy and gotten to talk to a lot of people.
Luckily we don’t have to start over because there is a lot of work
here.

So my comp is Elder Buhler (Like Ferris) and he’s a cool guy. I’ve
known him for a while because we went on exchanges, but now we’re
actually comps. He’s a good kid and a hard worker, but he’s very
easily excited and he has a lot of energy. His Spanish is good because
he lived in Mexico for like 5 years. But we don’t have as much in
common as me and Kreitel.

About our week, because it was a wild one. So, I have been here a
couple times on pday (I don’t know if you remember, but we would hang
out with the OC Spanish elders a lot a couple months ago) and so I
kinda know my way around and I have met one or two of the members. So
the stake here has one Spanish branch, called the Mollala branch. So
there are two sets of elders in the branch, we’re here in Oregon City,
and one out in the sticks in Mollala. So the area is geographically
bigger, and the branch has more people in it, but there are more
Hispanic and they are less Americanized than in Milwaukie. It’s weird
to explain, but let me try to describe. So, in Milwaukie, our branch
president was an American that learned Spanish on his mission and ur
counsellors were Hispanics but they were very Americanized and all
preferred to speak English over Spanish, but here, almost everybody is
very unAmericanized and only speaks Spanish. Last Monday, we went down
to Mollala to meet the branch president and he’s AWESOME. He doesn’t
hardly speak English, but he’s SO funny. When we went over to their
house they told me that they play this game of chance all the time
where there’s someone who thinks of a number and they go around with a
small shot of water and the people have to guess the random number and
if they guess it then the person splashes them. But they really just
wanted to splash me so they didn’t actually guess a number and just
got me wet. But we played a couple more rounds and it was fun.

And we have been visiting the people here and I have pretty much been
speaking Spanish the whole time because Elder Buhler and I have been
trying to speak it a lot more and we use it a lot with members and
investigators. My Spanish has been seriously getting so much better
since I’ve been here. AND WE HAVE BEEN GETTING AUTHENTIC MEXICAN FOOD
EVERY DAY AND ITS AWESOME.

But yeah. On Tuesday we met with an investigator who’s an old guy and
his grandson walked in with a Grim Reaper-ese necklace on that like a
super evil Catholic idol that all the cartels worship and stuff.
Apparently he was just wearing it because he thought it was cool, but
you could definitely feel the darkness and the evil that was there,
and it really creeped us out a little. But we started talking about
the gospel and the Book of Mormon and he eventually took it off but it
was definitely a weird experience. We’re gonna go back tomorrow.

We also met with a lady from Nampa, Idaho who is visiting one of our
members and she is SUPER golden. We taught her two lessons this week
and they went really well. She’s like super ready. She’s gonna get
baptized, (I’m calling it) so it kinda stinks we can’t baptize her, but
at least we taught her and planted a seed. Totally counting it as one
of my baptisms.

For New Years, we went over to a family’s house and we thought we were
just going over for dinner, but they ended up inviting like two other
Mexican families and it was a party. We had Mexican food and a festive
Mexican party drink. I have been eating so many tortillas and I love
it.

And other than that we have just been knocking on doors. But we’re
currently living with a set of English elders right now because they
don’t have an apartment and it’s a lot like my first transfer. It
really kinda stinks at first and I had a bad attitude, but it’s been
fun to hang out with them and we play card games and stuff.

Well the other English elders were living with are Elder Hansen and
Elder Carl. Elder Hansen came out with me and I like him a lot. He’s
from Utah, and he’s a cool guy. Classic country boy. He was a dairy
farmer and a big hunter so we’ve been talking and he’s a cool and
funny guy. We get along really well together. Elder Carl is a guy from
New Hampshire that really likes computers and programming and robotics
and stuff.

Yesterday was Sunday and it snowed here. Not a lot, but we woke up
to about half an inch and you would have thought the second coming was
happening. They cancelled all the sacrament meetings and we couldn’t
drive anywhere so we were stuck in the apartment all day. It sucks. I
have cabin fever. So yesterday we sat around and played card games and
such with the English elders. I also got an ink pen Browning deer
tattoo since we were stuck here all day. I figured it would make all
y’all at home proud. It’s dope.

Anyways, I love y’all all and hope y’all have a wonderful week.

Love, Elder Davies

Christmas in Milwaukie: Transfer 3, Week 6‏

Hello all! I hope everybody had a wonderful Christmas. Mine was good, but bittersweet. Yesterday was transfers and SUPER busy, so I’m shooting off this quick email today. I promise I’ll be more interesting next week.
So last week started off pretty normal. Last P-Day we didn’t do too much, we just went around town and went shopping then went to play basketball, and that’s really all we did. Tuesday we the 22nd and it was my mom’s birthday (Happy Birthday Mom, you da best! 😉 ). Wednesday was a fairly normal missionary day, just going around and talking to people. What was cool was that that night we went to go see a guy that had dropped us about 2 months ago and he was more open and willing to listen to us! The Lord works in mysterious ways! Thursday was when it got fun! So Thursday was Christmas Eve and we couldn’t really do much missionary work that day, in the morning we went and had donuts with the Sopers and then we went down to Mollala to hang out with a Spanish family and they fed us lunch. We had chorizo (beef) and beans and rice and tortillas and we made tacos and stuff. We also played some games with the other missionaries. It was a lot of fun! I also loved getting to go to Mollala because it’s rural and country and that’s my favorite. I love getting to get out of the city for a bit. But anyways, we came back and we went to go hang out with the Sopers because they are the best family ever. They have the tradition of getting the whole family together and spending time together and eating clam chowder. It was really good and it was so much fun to spend time with them. Friday was Christmas!! Woo! So on Christmas we couldn’t do any proselyting at all because that time is supposed to be spent with families, so we got to spend time with members all day. On Christmas morning, we got up and we went to eat breakfast with a family in the stake and all the missionaries from the zone (stake) were there. It was fun! They had biscuits and gravy, which were good, but like Alan Jackson, I can confidently say, they weren’t like momma fixed ’em. But it was a fun time, and we got to see all the missionaries from the zone. After we ate, we went to the church and we got to Skype our families. I was nervous at first because I hadn’t seen my family since August, but it was SUPER good to talk to them and I miss them so much. After I got to Skype my family, we went over to the Sopers and spent the rest of the evening with them. They are the best, and there is so other people that I would have spent my Christmas with. We exchanged gifts and had dinner, and the rest of the night we spent talking and having Nerf gun skirmishes. It was an amazing Christmas, and despite spending it away from home, it was one of my most favorite Christmases. I’m so grateful to the Salazars for having us over for Christmas Eve lunch. I’m grateful to my family for being so loving and supportive of me and I was so happy to see them. But I am also the most grateful to the Sopers for being so loving and welcoming of us and sharing their holiday with us. They are really some of the most caring and generous people I’ve met.
On Saturday we got transfer calls, which were the bittersweet part. Unfortunately, I have to leave Milwaukie which I love SO much, but I get to stay Spanish and I am serving in Oregon City, the area next to Milwaukie. Saturday night, we ate with the Sopers (again, they are the best people ever) and they made me a lot of comfort food because I was going to be leaving. They made ribs and cornbread and collards and cheesy mashed potatoes, and also one of my favorite desserts from home. It was so good and so kind and thoughtful of them. On Sunday, I was asked to speak in sacrament meeting about whatever I wanted, so I spoke about how member missionary work is so important and how the members need to carry on, especially when the missionaries come and go. Towards the end I got super emotional because I care about these people SO much and I love them and I am going to miss them a lot. I feel like a part of my heart will always be in the Mount Talbert Spanish Branch in the Milwaukie Oregon stake.
But I have met some really incredible people so far and I am looking forward to getting to serve in Oregon City area. I love being a missionary, and I have definitely seen the work of angels on my mission. I have grown to love the people here so much and I am excited to see what the rest of my mission holds!
Have a great week! I love you all!
Love, Elder Davies

Mission Christmas Party and Visitor Center Singin: Transfer 3, Week 5

 

Hey y’all! This week was slow for us missionary work wise, but we had
a lot of stuff going on.

Last Monday we had a regular pday and the whole day we just ran around
town and did last minute Christmas shopping, sending stuff home and
etc. On Tuesday night we had a lesson with a family that had talked to
missionaries last year, but for some reason or another stopped seeing.
They we’re really receptive to our message and they told us that we
could come back and we’re going to see them tomorrow. On Wednesday we
went to go see our investigator with cancer. She is always really
sweet and she has a great heart and we want to see her progress so
bad. Thursday we had a regular day, and the people we normally have
dinner with bailed on us because they went to go see Star Wars so that
night our entire Elders Quorum went to go visit the people in our
branch that are struggling, especially during the Christmas time and
we had some really great visits. Friday we had a mission wide
Christmas party where we all got together and we all got to hang out
as a mission! It was a lot of fun! We made our own version of the 12
Days of Christmas and we each had to come up with a day for the song
and as Spanish our addition to the song was eleven Virgin Marys (it’s
funny if you know Spanish people). After all the fun, we went and had
a devotional about Christmas and  it was super wonderful and spiritual.
On Saturday we had a fairly regular day until that night when we went
to the temple visitor center and we put on a Spanish Christmas program
where we sang Christmas carols and read things about Christmas. We
were also supposed to wear our ugly Christmas sweaters and I borrowed
a super shiny Christmas sweater that Sister Soper made with tinsel and
ornaments and stuff on it. Let’s just say that I looked dang good.
Sunday we had regular church and we taught Sunday school and I
translated sacrament meeting and after we had a lesson with Randy, who
has been investigating for a long time but hasn’t really progressed
that much, so we’re trying to get him going. It was a good week, but
everybody has been nuts because of Christmas and Star Wars, so we all
just need to slow down and remember that Christ is the real reason for
Christmas.

I have really come to love the new #HaNacidoUnSalvador
(#ASaviorIsBorn) video because we have been showing the videos to
pretty much everybody we have been coming in contact with. I love the
video because it tells the Christmas story found in Luke, but it is
told through kids from all around the world. If you think about it,
kids are the most pure and innocent of us all and they are the ones
that have the strongest faith. The scriptures tell us that we need to
become like little children, and that’s why I think that the church
decided to use children to tell the message of the coming of the Savior
into the world. This week, let us remember the real reason for
Christmas and let’s rise above all the stress and commercialism and
let us remember how the Savior humbly entered the world over two
thousand years ago. But let us not only remember Him this time of
year, but let us remember Him all throughout the year and everything
that He did for us. It’s not bad to have trees and presents and Santa
and stuff, but let us remember the true meaning for Christmas.

I know that He lives. I know that He came into this world to save us
and He did. I am so very grateful to Him. Let us remember the true
meaning of Christmas.

I love y’all and I hope y’all have a very merry Christmas!

Love, Elder Davies
Christmas party Selfie.
The Spanish elders at the Visitor Center.

Funeral and Nativity: Transfer 3, Week 4‏



Hello everyone! Don't worry, all is well here. I am fine, and I
haven't drowned yet. All of the crazy weather hasn't affected us,
really at all. We keep hearing everyone talking about floods and
tornados and massive thunderstorms, but all we've seen is just a
little bit of rain. Either the Lord is protecting us, we're oblivious,
or the weather is trying to pull pranks on us by only being wild when
we're sleeping or in church. It's like Toy Story, but with rain.
 
This week has been super crazy busy. Everyone seems to have lost their
minds because of Christmas. People just seem a little crazier this
past week than the whole time I've been here.
 
So last Tuesday was Pday because we had Elder Arnold from the Quorum
of the Seventy come and speak to us the day before, so Tuesday was the
last time I have updated you folks. This week we spent a lot of time
at the stake center working on the stake Nativity program our stake is
putting on. The entire gym is decorated to look like Bethlehem and
it's decked out. So as missionaries we helped put everything together
and arrange everything and we have also been spending a lot of time at
the actual event talking to people and telling them more about the
church and such. During the afternoon the stake brings in retirement
homes to see all the nativities and there is also entertainment always
going on. During the evening, the event is open to the public so
people can come hear a choir sing Christmas carols or something like
that while they enjoy the beautiful scenery and talk to missionaries.
We have spent a TON of time there this week just talking to people and
if something happens with the entertainers, we are the first ones they
ask to fill in to sing Christmas carols. And sometimes we get to dress
up. It's a party.
 
So on Friday we were asked to be pallbearers at Rosa's funeral. I
guess that's just what happens when you're in a small branch, but
honestly, I appreciated the experience, despite the circumstances. So
Friday morning at 11 we went to the church and helped unload the
casket from the hearse and brought it into the church for the viewing.
We had the viewing until 12:30 and we started the funeral. Really, the
only people that showed up to the funeral were the family of Rosa,
Hermano Alba, us, and one other family from the branch. It was a nice
service and we went to the cemetery. It was raining REALLY hard the
whole time and when we got there the Caucasian cemetery people didn't
want to proceed with the burial because it was raining and the ground
was muddy and they wanted to put it off until later. But in Hispanic
culture families are very important and they would not abandon their
family during their funeral for anything. So they told the white
cemetery people that they were gonna do the funeral come Hell or high
water, and we did. We brought out the casket, dedicated the grave,
they put the casket in the ground, covered it with the concrete box,
put the dirt in the grave and put the sod on the grave site. The whole
process took quick a while, and we were soaked and shivering, but I
was glad that I got to be apart of it because they taught me what
families really mean. The family was not going to leave until it was
all over no matter the circumstances or weather. It was kinda
beautiful to see honestly. I can't explain it, but I really
appreciated getting to stand in the rain and see that.
 
So this week we saw crazy weather, singing at nativities, and being a
pallbearer at a funeral. Honestly, it was a good week! I hope y'all
had as good of a week as I did. Love y'all! Have a good week!

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