Tuesday, May 31, 2016

week 101- The Last Week!

 (Harrison's last email as full-time missionary in El Salvador!!)

2 John 1:12

In other words:  

Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Week 100 Corn, ankles, and hammocks

This week was pretty awesome. We got to go back to Hno Riveras place and start to plant all the corn and beans. It was nice and cool because we started so early in the morning and just some good relaxing work.

 About 10 am or so we ate some mangos for breakfast and then the brother asked us if we could climb some big trees and cut down all the branches (corn doesn't like shade). We climbed up and began to machete away at the branches, but all of a sudden we were getting bit by a swarm of wasps. We got down as fast as we could and from the ground found the 6 wasp nests that were in the 2 trees. We knocked them down and then went to keep planting for about 1 hour more. When we came back to finish cutting off the branches we assumed the wasps would all be gone. So we climbed the trees, began cutting again, and then all of a sudden got bit a few more times and got out of the tree as fast as possible.  My comp Elder Tineo in his rush to get down put his weight on a branch that wasn't strong enough to hold his weight and it snapped on him and he fell down on his ankle. 

We piggy-backed him the 40 minute walk back to the brothers house, and organized a quick division so I could do a couple visits and he could stay resting his foot. Needless to say, we weren't able to work 2 days last week because he couldn't walk, and the 1 other day we did work we walked miserably slow.  haha But I give him lots of credit for going for it anyways. 

The branch pretty much thinks of us as the gimp companionship now because we both have hurt our ankles. haha He is getting better and we hope to work every day this week!

Other than that, we saw lots of blessing this week. The attendance rose by 3 more and even though less members showed up, the Lord blessed us with a truck-bed full of investigators to compensate. My goal when I got into this area was an attendance of 80 before I left in sacrament meeting. We are going to work like crazy this week to try and give it one last push and see if we can't achieve it. 

Hope everyone is happy at home. Thanks for all the emails!

Love Elder Davis

Monday, May 16, 2016

Week 99

This week has been sweet. It started out kinda tough when I rolled my ankle playing soccer on Monday. Then I tried to still go buy the groceries and placed it bad on the road and it just kinda gave out and I ate pavement. haha Somehow with the help of my comp we got home and it was super swollen already. I rested Monday night, but we had important appointments Tuesday and we couldn't give it another day to rest, so I asked my companion to give me a blessing before bed. When we woke up Tuesday it still hurt and was still swollen but I wrapped it up good and we went out to work. We walked brutally slow but were able to make our appointments. Wednesday I was walking at a decent pace, and even though the swelling continued, it didn't hurt anymore. Its such a miracle to be able to be able to receive a priesthood blessing and see just how fast God heals you when you need it. 

Friday we woke up at about 4 am to go help Hermano Rivera clean up the corn fields because its almost time to plant again. Super fun and tiring work, but it just feels good to be out in nature and get in some physical labor. 

The work is going well. We are having quite a bit of success activating people. Then those that we have been helping come back are telling us about other less actives that we are going to find and teach. It's like a never ending chain of people and blessings. 

Today we went into San Salvador with an investigator and bought some souvenirs and such. It was a fun day, just bargaining with a bunch of people who think they can charge you double because you are in a white shirt and tie. haha

Everything is awesome!
Love Elder Davis

pics: in the corn field 

and Ricardo (an investigator) that bought me a cake when he found out I was going home soon- such a good guy 

Monday, May 9, 2016

Week 98 Progression

This week was full of miracles! Since the beginning of this change we have been doing anything and everything we could think of to help our branch grow. President promised us as a mission that if we were willing to give up anything and everything for the Lord he would consecrate our efforts and we would accomplish things that have never been done in this mission. 

At the end of last week it would appear that our efforts had been in vain. The best family we had went south, we ended up having to drop the majority of our investigators, 1 less active family we were working with stopped accepting us in their home, and the overall branch attendance dropped to where we were at about 2 months ago. We put in a big self analysis and searched for anything we could change. In our prayers we told God we were willing to make any sacrifice and change anything about ourselves and how we work to please him. 

Saturday morning we were cleaning the chapel and decided to put up 15 more chairs in the sacrament room than what we normally put. It didn't seem to make sense since the week before we hadn't even filled the normal amount of chairs, but we went for it. 

This week after 3 weeks of not giving up through trials, the Lord decided to let the blessings flow until there was not room to receive them. We actually saw that promise come to pass almost literally when there nearly wasn't enough space in the back of the pickup (we pay this less active guy to fill his pickup with people from this nearby town we are working in) to hold the investigators and 1 inactive family we brought to church. 

One lady shouted at us to come to her door on Saturday when we were walking by. She told us she was baptized in the church 10 years ago and hasn't gone in a very long time, but that she decided to get over her pride and go the next day. She didn't even give us room to talk, just promising to get active again. haha

On Sunday the branch attendance was 70 people! Can't tell you how grateful we are. God has been so good to us and we are more animated than ever to keep working. 

Another truly amazing experience happened in Elders Quorum. During sacrament a recent convert was called as branch secretary, and 3rd hour he was to receive the melchizedek  priesthood. As we walked in to the class he told me the mission president's counselor that had interviewed him said he could choose who he wanted to give him the priesthood and he asked me to do it. The room was full of such an amazing spirit. I can't describe just how happy you feel when one of your converts makes such great leaps in the gospel. They become like your kids. You are always worried about them, always praying for them, help them learn how to tie a tie, buy them their first white shirt and then all of a sudden they are self sufficient and you don't have to be hovering over them and you just trust them to make the right choices. I just love being here. 

Everything is great. I'm happy and working hard. Hope you are all doing well. 

Oh and it was cool talking to you guys yesterday. You all look good!
Elder Davis

Pics:  Elder Tineo and I

I have a few pairs of socks I should probably throw away. hahaha

Monday, May 2, 2016

Week 97

Thanks for all the birthday wishes!

This week was awesome and filled with good stuff. Tuesday Elder Durbin and West knocked on our door about 7 am with a little cake in their hands singing Happy Birthday. Finished a killer exercise by eating 1/4 of a cake haha. Following Latin American tradition, I got the cake shoved in my face haha. Fun morning. The Elders here in Sensunte are awesome. Then Tuesday night my comp Elder Tineo invited me to pupusas de piƱa. May be the greatest thing since sliced bread. 

Thursday we had a super awesome multi-zone conference. Waking up at 4 to get there on time was well worth the effort. The mission as a whole has progressed so much over the past 2 years and now the Lord is asking even more of us. I wish I could stay another 6 months just to see the progression of the work (in case you didn't know, getting permission to extend your mission is very difficult), but I'm just going to work with all in the time I have. 

We have been going through some trials in our area. I don't know if I told you guys that we opened up a new town about 30 minutes down the road from Sensunte. We have been working there so much and have a big investigator pool, but it is tough to get them to progress. As far as anyone here knows, missionaries have never dedicated much time to try and work there, and the other churches have strong roots and aren't afraid to down talk 2 white shirt foreigners haha. 

At church on Sunday we both felt pretty down. We had done everything we could think of to get people to go, had put into practice various new ideas, but didn't get even close to the turnout we were expecting. Throughout sacrament meeting we were praying and seeking guidance and forgiveness if we hadn't done something we could have done to help more people. As I prayed the scripture in Ether 12:27 came to mind about how God gives us debilities to make us humble and search his help. Later that night I read this quote from Presidente Monson,

"We all have treasured memories of certain days in our lives- days when all seemed to go well for us, when much was accomplished... It's not difficult to be happy on such perfect days. Our mortal life, however, was never meant to be easy or consistently pleasant. Our Heavenly Father who gives us so much to delight in, also knows that we learn and grow and become refined through hard challenges, heartbreaking sorrows, and difficult choices. These and all trials present us with the real test of our ability to endure"

The more I think and look back on things, the more I realize that the times I have learned most in my mission, the times when I feel like I have been pushed to become the best missionary I can be is when things weren't working out great. 

My comp and I have new goals and plans and are super excited to push forward this next week. Whatever it takes we are going to push the work forward. So excited for next week!!

Hope everything is going well with you guys! 

Love Elder Davis

Monday, April 25, 2016

Week 96 Cambios

Thanks for all the birthday wishes! Tomorrow I am going to treat myself to some delicious pupusas and I may even put a match in them to serve as a candle:) 

Last week started out good when we got to watch a Disney movie on Monday about these little people in this girls head (in Spanish its called Intensamente, but not sure in English) it was pretty awesome actually. 

Then Tuesday we had changes, With the new way they are doing changes, I sent Elder Bingham off on a bus, and then I had to stay with a member until about 5 pm when my new comp finally showed up. Hermano Carlos (the member I was with) had to work so we couldn't go visit, so instead I spent the day learning how to be a carpenter. Actually he did all the real stuff and I just plained the wood for hours. But it was fun and I learned a little at least. 

Then I got my new comp, Elder Tineo from Peru. I got to know him a little in San Miguel and was super excited when I saw him get off the bus. I asked God for an obedient and hard working companion for my last change, but told Him I would be fine with whoever, and he blessed me with what I asked for. So far we are having lots of fun, doing lots of exercise, laughing a lot, and teaching really well together. His teaching and working style blends well with mine so we are getting a lot done! 

We work in this little place called San Fransisco every other day and the 3 churches there realized we were taking a little group of people to church with us every week and all decided to hold anti-Mormon meetings and make up a bunch of garbage about the church. Talk about opposition, but we are pushing forward.

I'm doing good, super happy, working hard, and trying to make the most out of every day.
Elder Davis

Monday, April 18, 2016

Week 95

This week started off really nice when we went to the temple on Tuesday. Somehow we got the 
2:30 pm session which meant that we didn't have to wake up early, but weren't able to get home afterwards so we had to spend the night in Cojutepeque (because there were no more buses). 

While in the changing room I ran in to Elder Azpilcueta, an old comp. We caught up, and all was good, but then he passed me the bad news. A youth from my first area (everyone just called him "Chico") was killed 2 weeks ago. He was super relax and wasn't involved in anything, but he crossed gang lines to go to a friends house and they didn't like that much. When I was there we challenged him to find a friend to take to church, and he did. We then started teaching his friend in his house and he enjoyed doing it and started going out with us to teach. He tried to teach me beat boxing while walking the streets, but I never got it down haha. He was a true friend, and excited to go on a mission when he turned 18. If you would pray for the Diaz family and especially his dad Mario I would appreciate it. 

As I entered the session it was hard to hold back tears as great memories came flooding back. The session began and I was praying for comfort and understanding. Throughout the session I received a powerful witness of the plan of salvation. I know where Chico is and  what he is doing. I love this gospel and while I'm still sad for what happened, I am happy to know that one day we will see each other again. I just have to keep strong and try to be worthy of that every day.

People need this gospel in their lives. There are so many hardships that only the revealed truths of Christ´s gospel can help cure. What happened has helped me once again see the importance of sharing this doctrine with all who will listen. 

Just got the call that I'm not having changes!! Elder Bingham does though:( 
I'm going to miss that guy. I'm super stoked to have my last change here in Sensunte!! 

Have a great week!!
Elder Davis

1. Johnathan and I

2. A picture that 4 different youth sent me-they saw it on a Mormon meme page on facebook and recognized me. haha It was when President Vasquez took us to the movies.