The Search for Happiness…through stress.

September 25, 2017

Like moving through a forest full of dark trees, our lives are not easy. We may pass through trials and sore afflictions, but it is all for a better future. If we are on the right path, it will always be uphill, once said an apostle. Our life may be difficult, but it is so we may grow.

Tuesday morning, we met with an investigator. He is very much like Sergio! He is a theological seminary student and is very learned in the ways of the bible and religion. We met him a few weeks ago, and we decided to meet again tuesday morning. We sat and talked for probably an hour about religion, our beliefs, especially about the Restoration and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We taught a lot and did our best according to his questions, but like an apologetic (or a defender of the faith), he asked probing, difficult questions. They definitely hurt my ego and pride and pointed out many ways to improve. It was one of the most difficult lessons of my entire mission and it hurt more than anything. His intent wasn’t to tear us down though. He said,”If there is anything that we get out of this, it is that you have helped me to see where I can improve, and that I have helped you see where you can improve.” A learning experience it surely was! Often when we need to stretch and grow, God doesn’t give us the easy stuff. He sticks us in the middle of the pizza oven and lets us simmer there for a while until we have risen and baked a little. It is more like the refiner’s fire. I hope you have felt this before. It does not feel good, but it is the biggest blessing in the world.
Tuesday night, we were stopping by Less Active, and on our way out, we
As we were driving home, I got some promptings that were a bit confusing, but eventually led us to McDonald’s of all places. (***Mom note:  I am sure there is a story here that he ran out of time to tell….)
Wednesday was painful as well. The morning was tough and we didn’t get out the door as we planned, but it was a good lesson in the long run of how to organize our life. It also prompted a question. How do we get out the door when we need to?! That evening, we had dinner with the Gregersens. He is a prominent scholar and teacher, and so he shared a theory with us. When we have a question, don’t look for answers. Sit down for a few minutes and write down questions (not answers) based on the question we have. Why is getting out on time important? Was Jesus on time? What are blessings for doing so? As we did this, we were able to find important questions to help guide out search for answers. Taking a step back often allows us to see a better perspective and gives us a better outlook. Because of our hard morning, the question came to the surface, and because of that, we were able be blessed with a way to find answers.       (www.halgregersen.com is his website).
Thursday was exchanges! I went to Lynn with Elder Melendez and we had a FULL day. We, or he, with his really good spanish, extended his baptismal date on the first lesson with a former investigator. It was a big blessing to have him as a good example of Preach My Gospel in action. We also had thick, yummy burgers made by a member. He had a 5 gallon barrel closed on the top with a chimney made of metal tubing to let the heat out. He burned some wood, and over time took out the logs and put them in an empty grill. The fire would burn and eventually it was self sustaining. He then put coals in with the logs and fanned it with a dustpan to get it roaring. So much work, but it was a great example that the best things in life come from hard work.
Friday was District Meeting, and it was held in a library 🙂 We talked about the importance of baptismal dates and giving them to our investigators. Baptism is central to our purpose and it is imperative to extend baptism to them so they have the chance to progress. We also talked about central themes to each of the five lessons. Joseph had Faith in God, and because he excercised his faith, you can exercise your faith and come to know that these things are true. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ in the Plan of Salvation, we can Repent and return to live with our Heavenly Father. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is centered in Baptism, since that is the gate we enter to receive the Father’s blessings. You can keep it going with the Commandments and Laws and Ordinances, but as you can see, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is central to everything we teach in the gospel. Pretty amazing thought.
Saturday was spent weekly planning. It took a very long time, but we got it completely finished. Everyone we work with is in our planners and it feels so good. Like a member told us last week,”The easiest way to save money is to increase quality”. The easiest way to save time is to do the hard things, and to plan out or get what needs to get done when it needs to be done. The more through you plan, the easier your life will be. I have a testimony of being thorough. That doesn’t mean it is any easier, but it makes it easier to endure. I would invite you to do the same, because it has made my life in the mission so much more rewarding and fulfilling.
Sunday was awesome! We had dinner with a family where the wife is from Oceanside (California connections!) and the LaPierre’s son (Jaime) is from Rocklin. He doesn’t know the Cline family, but it is cool how small this world is. The Lord loves you and so he will give you hard times with happiness in between. Read this month’s Ensign and learn about happiness and how to pursue it. Love you all!!!
-Elder Davis
DanversMAElderMerrillElderDavissurprisetextfromSalem
I recieved a surprise picture of Elder Merrill and Elder Davis from a member of the church who was in Massachusetts on vacation on Thursday!  I assume they were headed back from volunteering at the Farmer’s Market where they unload trucks of goods for sale.  I love Elder Davis’ mug.  
DanversMAMarlaJohnsonElderDavisElderMerrill
This is Elder Davis, Marla (from last week’s letter) and Elder Merrill.  The Lynnfield Ward is serving their family while they are in Beverly for medical care.  

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