4th of July, the power of planning and the sword of the spirit

Hello everyone! This week was great, especially the Fourth! Hope you all had a very American Fourth of July! That’s the only way to spend it .

Monday was exciting! Our District went to Revere Beach and we played soccer, frisbee, football, went clamming (you stick your hands into the sand, search for about 30 seconds, and you’ll probably get a clam! We had a lot of fun, and the water was cold! It was super awesome though. Revere Beach was the first public beach in the U.S and it’s still going strong. It is very shallow, so you can walk out pretty far and still just be up to your knees. It was a relaxing afternoon, and in the evening, after some unsuccessful tracting, we had the impression to go see a potential in Salem, which didn’t work out, but right before the end of the night, as we were driving, Elder Peterson saw one of our investigators! We only talked to him for a minute, but we left him the commitment to read the Book of Mormon and if he did, than he would be able to find a job. Don’t worry, it was by the Spirit!
Tuesday was the Fourth!! We did a ton of LA (less active member) stop bys in the morning, and then we got to see Justin, our 12 year old investigator! We taught him about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and if he is able to come to church for the next few weeks, then he’ll be able to be baptized! We had dinner with the Madsens, who are ward missionaries, and Brother Madsen makes some mean pizza! That evening, we street contacted in Beverly, and then sat at the beach and watched the fireworks from the beach! We could see the ones from Marblehead, Swaampscott, and Beverly! It was a very American day, filled with fireworks (legal ones), illegal personal fireworks set up by others, motorcycles, people grilling, and ‘Murica.
Wednesday was a lot of stop bys, but we picked up an investigator!!! We were knocking, and a sign on the door said go to the back. There was a teenage girl sitting on the back porch, and after a short conversation, she said she would come to church!!! She wasn’t able to come this week, but it was a testament to me how prepared the rising generation is for the gospel. Older people are usually set in their ways, but teenagers are open to hearing our message. YOUTH!!!! You have a huge opportunity and responsibility to share this gospel. You got this! That evening, we had dinner with the Hahns. He’s a chemical engineer, and Elder Peterson, my Russian speaking companion, (don’t worry, he’s from Washington State), wants to pursue Chemistry, and I studied chemistry, so we avoided the,”Your choice of career path isn’t too smart” talk! It was an enjoyable evening, and their kids are in the same order our family is in. Boy, Boy, Girl, Boy, Girl, so it was like a flashback to where our family was about 8 years ago! The families out here are amazing and really are solid.
Thursday was exchanges. Elder Black, our dying District leader (his last transfer) came to Lynnfield. Our “prepare to learn” was on finding investigators and talking with everyone, so Elder Black went hard! The first 12 people or so we talked to were all spanish speakers, so he gave out a ton of cards. The more we talked to people, the better the feeling. It was like a groove we just had to get into, and once you are there, you can get out, but it feels better to just keep talking to people. We stopped by a media referral names Beverly half way through the day, and after a pretty good lesson, we set a return appointment and picked her up as an investigator! As we were walking out, a guy called to us,”Are you guys mormons?” He had never talked to mormons, but wondered if we were christian, and if so, what the differences were. After about 15 minutes, we had to head out, but we said we could come back the next day. The Lord blessed us to be able to pick up both of them as investigators because we had been willing to talk with everyone. It is a difficult prerequisite, but if we do it, everything goes better. Later that night, after dinner, we went back to see an investigator, and she was busy, but we introduced ourselves and set up an appointment for Sunday! She has two daughters who are also investigators, but we haven’t been able to meet with her since she is so busy. Right before we exchanged back, we got Lobster Rolls from McDonalds. Yep, they have those out here…..it was decent, but probably not the best thing ever, so watch out for those Lobster Rolls!
Friday morning was District Meeting! We got the assignment to teach, and our topic was  finding investigators through our own efforts and talking with everyone. We came up with a list of about 20-25 ways to find people, which showed us that there are definitely more than one or two ways to do it. Now we have to implement it. I am thoroughly convinced that the adversary despises planning. It gives us somewhere to go and it gives Heavenly Father time to prepare people. As we take the time to plan, we set up how we will accomplish our goals and make them a reality. That afternoon, one of the investigators from Thursday canceled, but the other one was still there. We were able to share the Book of Mormon with him. In the scriptures, it talks about the sword of the Spirit as our offensive weapon in the armor of God. The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God, and as we share the scriptures, we can use it to not only defend, but to move the church forward. The guy we were talking to thought that the Book of Mormon couldn’t be real because there was only just the Bible, so what did we share?  2 Nephi 29. The more we know the scriptures, the more we can use them, and the more truth we know!

Saturday morning we ran for exercise. It was hard in the beginning, but the more we ran, the easier it got. Apply it to the gospel and you have a parable! We spent a lot of time working on Elder Peterson’s My Plan, which is a program where missionaries set plans for what they will do after their missions to give them goals and direction. We also did our weekly planning, and used the computers. It took a while, but now we have everything written down and set forward. In the evening, we went to see a lady named Sister Bain. She was baptized about 2.5 years ago, and her friend helped her learn about the church. She has a lot of health difficulties, but has faith and an eternal perspective like no other. We were able to talk about the Plan of Salvation and as we did, she shared insight that we hadn’t seen before. It was a learning experience not only for her, but also for us! She hadn’t had a visit in a while, so it was much needed, but what was a miracle was us calling her. We had just been looking through the ward map earlier that day, and we were looking for LA’s to stop by around our dinner appointment. She was marked as active, and so we almost skipped over her, but a feeling came to go see her. We knew she lived in an apartment complex which would make the chaperone rule difficult, but the Spirit directed it, so we took a shot. She was excited to have us and had a place where we could meet. This work is truly directed by the Lord and as we follow the Spirit, we can be the Lord’s hands.
Church was great! Studies were also good. M. Russell Ballard gave a talk in conference called “Return and Receive”. He laid forth the principle of aligning our goals with higher goals. As we make larger goals, we can make smaller goals to support them. Our goals should all be in line with our Heavenly Father’s goals for us though of Returning to His presence and Receiving all of His blessings for us. I know that as we align our will with His, we will truly be happy. That is where Joy, Peace and Happiness come from in this life. The Gospel the direction for us. I love you all! Keep anxiously engaging in great causes (D&C 58:27) and look for the Lord’s hand. As Sergio says, God appreciates when we look for His hand in our life. We see Him more when we do. Love you all!!
-Elder Davis

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