(*Mom Note: This was in the draft folder from March and I didn’t post it somehow! So it is here….consider it a flashback to good times in Hartford! Elder Davis puts great detail into most of his letters and I appreciate how vividly they read!)
March 20, 2017
Hello! I am so blessed that I get to send a letter to you all! I was looking back over the emails my cousin Gregg Davis sent home on his mission and saw the amazing experiences he had, and I hope that something that I say this week will prompt you to become better or to change for the better.
On Monday, we discovered that our phone was missing……thankfully, the church has a landline and I had some numbers in my planner for the district, so we got it figured out. We also stopped by Campus Customs, which is one of the Yale stores, and I picked up some souvenirs for my family (Soon to come!). We got some great donuts at a place down town called Donut Crazy. You can look it up online and see some pictures. We got to email at the Woodbridge chapel, and then went to an awesome trampoline park called Launch in Milford, which has pros and cons to SkyZone. INSIDER LOOK: The pads are softer at SkyZone, but the dodgeball courts are cool. They raise up in the middle and then have a platform where you can stand on the ends. In the main area, they also have little raised platforms where you can jump onto or over, which is also cool, and it divides up the jumping area nicely. Both were awesome and most of our Zone came for a little bit, so we had a fun time! That night, we went to the Sanford’s and had dinner with them. They got married 7 weeks after Luke got home from his mission in Taiwan, and obviously they knew each other before he left, but they have told us some pretty funny stories about right after he came back, what her life was like while he was gone, etc. He is studying Mechanical Engineering at Yale and is in the ROTC, so he’ll spend some time in the Air Force and then he can get a job after that, but his schooling is a little less because he’s in the Air Force. They bring Argenis and his sisters every once in a while, but they take care of us pretty well. Acshi Haggenmiller was also there, and his parents are from Peru, but his ancestry is German…He’s pretty cool and always raps on us about how our missions are easy, but it’s all in teasing and we have a fun time with him. He’s at Yale and graduating this year and hoping to get into a robotics program somewhere. We had a great dinner with them! That night, we also got a call from a lady in the ward. She asked us to come and pick up some food from her. She was in her bedroom and unlocked the trunk. There were a number of things in the car and we asked what was ours, and she replied,”All of it”. We are currently taken care of, but the Lord truly watches over us. We are seeing lots of blessings here in New Haven, and this is one of the many ones.
Tuesday it snowed like the dickens….It was really crazy, so Zone Conference was postponed, and the day before, Elder Greding hurt his foot in the last few minutes at Launch, so he was bedridden for the day. I cleaned a good amount and did some laundry, but we got some appointments scheduled, and then the craziest things happened. The Woodbridge Elders decided to walk to our apartment! Keep in mind, it’s about 5 miles from here to there, and it was raining/sleeting with un shoveled sidewalks. An hour and ten minutes later, they were on our doorstep. Pretty crazy right? Elder Greding was still elevating his leg and recovering, but we played a game of Settlers of Catan with them and then made double cheeseburgers with bacon and a sunny side up egg. They were messy, but delicious 🙂 We brought them home, but stopped by CVS on the way home and Elder Greding got an ankle brace that he said felt like Jesus came and touched his foot! Suffice it to say, he is doing a lot better!
Wednesday morning, we stopped by Brother Hailu’s in the morning. He needed a path to get out of his house through the snow, so our task ensued! The night previous, it had rained on top of the snow, and made it really icy on top and on the snow plowed on the roads. We walked halfway across his driveway without making an indent in the snow. It was pretty solid. Brother Hailu had a pick that we used to break up the snow and then we could shovel it a little easier. A path was made, and he fed us some rice and vegetables, which was delicious as always! We also went over to help someone else shovel, and there wasn’t a ton, but we freed his garbage cans so that he could bring them to the curb. Sister Taggart brought us out to Fairfield, which is in our area because of the YSA, and we ate at a really yummy noodle place called Mecha, and then the best ice cream place I have ever been to! It is called Milkcraft. They are making one in West Hartford too soon! It is made with Liquid Nitrogen, so they make it right in front of you and have different combinations. I got a Bubble cone (the idea is from Korea) with Vanilla ice cream, covered in Maple Syrup and Bacon. It was so creamy I can’t even express it! So good! It was a fun trip and was good for us to get a nice treat! We were able to meet with Sergio before his trip to India for three weeks. We talked a lot about commandments and what they were living in the Book of Mormon times. He definitely is taking a more intellectual route, but we are answering all of the questions he has, and he is studying, and actually has to read a book about B.H. Roberts, an early Mormon, so we are praying that that will give him some more insight and continual determination to learn more! He is awesome and we love going to see him. After Sergio, we picked up Edet to see Travis, but Travis must have turned in early for the night, so we went to bring back Edet, but on the way, we listened to Juan A. Uceda’s talk about prayer. Edet loved it! Maybe the Lord changes situations to bless us, even when our initial task doesn’t happen.
Thursday was Zone Conference in Bloomfield. I got to go back to good old Hartford! It was awesome! I honestly thought that I would miss it more, but I was surprisingly calm while we drove through it. We vacuumed our car down the street from the Park Place Towers, and then visited down stairs at the front desk with the receptionists. Zone Conference was awesome! I was given the assignment to play the opening and closing hymns and prelude, which was a joy! The main topic was “Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts”. We watched an hour and a half from the Worldwide Mission President’s Traning Broadcast. They emphasized how important Teaching Repentance and Baptizing Converts is to our work. They read statistics from a survey of Mission Presidents and determined that they should teach this again. Elder Bednar remarked that Elder Neal A. Maxwell once told him,”David, never be afraid of repetitive teaching”. That is exactly what they did. So much did they emphasize Teaching Repentance and Baptizing Converts and how to do it, that we couldn’t walk away from there and remember anything else! It was very healthy and really valuable. They had new converts talk about their experiences and how they came to the church. They also emphasized how important the young people are and how we often overlook them in our efforts. As we focus on them, they are so open and will be the foundation of the church over the next 50 years. It was an amazing realization, especially since we are in a YSA ward, don’t really have any YSA investigators, and are on the Yale Campus.
After lunch, where I discovered that one of the new sisters in the mission, who is serving in North Brookfield in the Springville Zone, was in my Writing 150 class at BYU, we had breakout sessions, the Elders and the Sisters. The Elders talked with President Miller about Priesthood Ordinances. He described a lot of the Ordinances and did trainings on them, teaching us the correct way to do them, and vital principles about each, which can be found in Handbook 2, and then answered questions we had about them. It was eye opening, and very helpful. Then the APs gave a training on District Leaders. They shared a statistic found in the mission, after sending out a survey about how missionaries rate themselves on obedience, that missionaries follow their District Leaders more than Zone Leaders, and more than the APs and STLs. Interesting. They emphasized how important it is for the District Leaders to set a righteous and loving example, because the culture of missionary work comes from them. We talked about the responsibilities of District Leaders and how to set a righteous example. They also reminded us that even though we may not have the specific assignment as a leader, that we can live leadership qualities and prepare to be a leader if we ever get the call. It was a great training, especially since a lot of new district leaders and zone leaders will be called in the coming months since all of the leaders are leaving soon. Elder Hanlon, the new vehicle coordinator, gave us a training on Tiwi, our wonderful black box in our car that monitors our speed, acceleration, deceleration, and suspension. If you are too aggressive or if you go 7 over the speed limit, it will give you a warning, and if not heeded, a violation. Elder Hanlon explained that we as missionaries create ripples that we do not see. When we drive, we subconsciously judge people and form an opinion. Our actions affect not only ourselves, but the outlook of the church by investigators, members, non members, and can cause positive or negative thoughts about missionaries to any one of those groups. Tiwi allows us to not only be able to stay safe, but to make sure that we protect others around us and create positive ripple effects to those around us. It was an inspiring talk that really helped us to watch how we act and to look at Tiwi as a real blessing from our Heavenly Father. Sister Marison gave a training on bed bugs and ticks, which was a little scary and gross, but informational 🙂 President and Sister Miller had loving and touching closing remarks, and then Zone Conference was over! It was powerful and full of the Spirit. We left edified and longing for more. Traffic was bad in Hartford on the way out, so it took us quite a while to go back and we didn’t get back in town till about 5:30. We got into North Haven, set up an appointment, got Chick-fil-A and then weekly planned.
Friday we saw Abdelnasar in the morning and had a quick chat with him. He wasn’t able to read, but we set up a return appointment and he said he would read two chapters before then. We promised blessings, and had a good conversation with him. We then went home and finished studies and then headed up to District Meeting. We took some funny St. Patrick’s Day pictures afterwards and had a good time. Afterwards, we had some appointments drop, but decided to tract. We found a street that turn out many potential investigators! We found three or four potentials in one afternoon, and we are super excited to be able to teach them! We had dinner that night with the Iguasnia’s and had a spiritual lesson about prayer. We talked about our prayers and why they need faith, and it was a good eye opening experience.
Saturday we focused on family history in the morning and I got the “My Family” booklet updated. Afterwards, we went street contacting. We first met a lady from China and she was interested in learning more about family history, but was only there for a day from Ohio State. Once we circled around the church again, we saw two members of the family ward trying to shovel the front of the church. Like I said, the snow was ice. It was really bad. They had a pick, so Elder Greding used it to loosen up the ice. It was fun, but Elder Greding got some nasty calluses on his hands from using the pick. We finally got it cleared out though, which was good. We saw Travis and had a great lesson with him. We talked about the Plan of Salvation and he had lots of good questions. He accepted it all and we invited him to prepare questions for church. After Travis, our lesson fell through and we got lunch at Moe’s Southwest Grill. It was really nice, and they have all you can eat salsa and chips and big burritos. We went by Elvira’s and also helped shovel her out, and then gave her tips for her talk on Sunday. Our dinner was with the Domans, DJ and Jessica with their son Eli. He is playing football at the University of New Hampshire and getting his MBA. They are expecting their second in June, so they have a big life. They are a really cool family and he shared some funny stories from his mission in Korea. That night, we saw Edet, his fiancee Minteria, Minteria’s son, and Minteria’s son’s friend, and we taught them all the Restoration! It was cool to see Edet and Minteria come together like they are doing. They will be married in April, so he will be baptized on April 22nd, and she is now interested and open to hearing about the gospel. Her son is very sharp, as well as his friend, and they answered many questions we had for them. It was overall a great experience and we hope they progress.
Sunday was long as usual, but church was great. Elvira and Sister Doman gave talks on the Holy Ghost, and Sister Perry gave a talk on resiliency and how that comes from the Holy Ghost. They all did great! Elvira talked about how she is having hard times and that the Holy Ghost helps her get through her tough life. Sister Doman bore a heartfelt testimony on the Holy Ghost and it’s role in her life, and Sister Perry used lots of analogies using science. She said the toughest drone out there is made out of bendable fiberglass to make it squishy. When it hits a wall, it squishes a little bit, allowing it to bounce and continue flying. The Holy Ghost does that for us and our trials that we have each day. It allows us to bounce off of them and to utilize our struggles to not be stumbling blocks, but to be stepping stones. Trials are heavy unless we put them on the ground and use them to get higher. A million dollars in $100 bills isn’t bad, but I would drop a million dollars in $1 bills. It’s just how you see your struggles. Travis, Minteria and Edet came, and Argenis WAS confirmed! Brother Sanford did it, and it was really special for all of us. He is now the newest member of the New Haven Ward! We had classes throughout the day and then the YSA branch, which was good as well. After church, we went to dinner at the Sanford’s again, talked about their marriage stories, hung out with Acshi again, ate Corned Beef and Cabbage, and Potatoes, which were delicious! That night we had correlation to cap off our week.
It was a good busy week with lots of small things that can’t really be described in a lot of detail, but there has been a lot of tender mercies. The small things are where it counts. If we pay attention to them and use them, they are more valuable than the big ones. Look for the small blessings this week and write them down. Make sure you do what you need to do when you need to do it. That is a small thing that has huge effects. Study when you are supposed to study, work when you should work, play when you should play. Time flows a lot better when that is done. You also are able to do more. So start the day with scripture reading, and then work, study, play, and eat in the right increments. Heavenly Father’s blessings and tender mercies will be seen more and more and they will bless you when you see them. Put you binoculars in focus and look in the distance every once in a while. Love you all!