Principles and Sergio

February 12, 2018

This week was really great and I learned a lot of different principles from some amazing experiences.
Experience: On Monday, we went to a member’s home for dinner, but it had completely slipped their mind (it happens to all of us), nevertheless, they took the food on their plates, removed the part they had started to eat, and gave it to us for dinner. To add to it all, they had made steak that evening, but felt like it was more important for us to eat than for them, because we are missionaries. There was a lesson that I learned, thanks to a talk the Zone Leaders gave us this week. James E. Faust quoted Spencer W. Kimball telling a story of a Rotary International Meeting directed towards the District Presidents. He said,
“In a hotel in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania long years ago, I learned an important lesson when the president of the Rotary International said the the district governors in the assembly:
“Gentlemen:  This has been a great year for you.  The people have honored you, praised you, banqueted you, applauded you, and given you lavish gifts.  If you ever get the mistaken idea that they were doing this for you personally, just try going back to the clubs next year when the mantle is on other shoulders.  This has kept me on my knees in my holy calling.  Whenever I have been inclined to think the honors were coming to me as I go about the Church, then I remember that it is not to me, but to the position I hold that honors come.  I am but a symbol. ”  (In Conference Report, Oct. 1958, p. 57.)”

In all of our callings, the help or respect that we gain isn’t because we ourselves have merited anything, but because of the symbol that we represent. Bishop, Prophet, missionary, home teacher. These members taught us that it isn’t so much about what you have, but what you give. 

Experience: Tuesday was exchanges with the Zone Leaders! We scheduled to go out a little before lunch to do some stop bys, but there wasn’t much time. We went and the person didn’t answer…We were ready to go, but Elder Fife moved on to the next door, knocked, and a young man answered the door. Elder Fife introduced us, explained our message, asked if we could come in and he said,”Yeah sure!” As we got to know Chad, the young man, he said that even though his family was all very strong Jehovah’s Witnesses, he was open to learn more. Over the 15 or 20 minutes that we were there, we were able to share the message of the Restoration with him. He loved the part about prophets and also that we had the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ. At the end, his brother, Herman, came downstairs. Herman was interested too and even took a copy of the Book of Mormon! I know that the Book of Mormon has the power to change our lives and we were so excited to share it with Chad and Herman! Later that day, after some other small miracles, we drove to New Haven, so that Elder Fife could do a baptismal interview for one of their investigators. The New Haven Elders had said before that there wasn’t a man in the home of their investigator, so they would need to find a chaperone. As we pulled up, I wondered if they had called Sergio, since he is reading and writing most of the time. Parked in front of the Elder’s car was Sergio car with his Yale sticker on the back! It was such a cool tender mercy! The interview went well, their investigator, a young boy, did a great job, and has even been working on helping his mom to be more open to taking the lessons. Sergio was very surprised to see me, since we’re not even close to New Haven, but it just happened to come together that way. God is a God of miracles!

On Wednesday, it snowed in the morning, and then rained for the rest of the day. Luckily, our car was safe to drive on the roads, so we could still visit people. One of the stop bys that we did was to the Bernardis. I’ve talked about them in the past, but Mrs. Bernardi has been going through some serious health struggles, but has been beating them. Mr. Bernardi is actually taking care of her at home, and despite all of the work it takes, he loves it. When we came over, she was in more pain than usual. As missionaries, we often do not solicit blessings, because a blessing is based on the faith of an individual and the faith of the people vitally concerned for their well being. The Bernardis had expressed to us their strong faith in the Savior and in his ability to strengthen them through anything. We told the Bernardi’s about the priesthood and how, through their faith and the power of God, they could be strengthened, if not healed. We gave them both a blessing and still have yet to hear from them, but we have no doubt that the Lord has strengthened them because of their faith.

On Friday, we stopped by an investigator who we weren’t really sure about. She had been sick for a long time previous, and we had always caught them at a bad time. They asked us to come over on Friday, so here we went! The downstairs door leading to their apartment was closed a locked….but we heard voices from inside. We knocked hard…and Johnny, who was conveniently on the second floor, talking to his neighbor, came down and invited us in. His wife was still sick, but we were able to share our message with him. By outward appearance, he looks like a very rough man. Tattoos, tank top, long dark hair, but on the inside, he loves Jesus and his wife and realizes that those are the two most important things in his life. He is prepared and we can’t wait to talk to him this week. We also went to Frank Pepe’s for lunch with Sergio 🙂 He came up from New Haven and we had a good time. I tried the White Clam Pizza, which is supposedly the best pizza in America. It was pretty good. It was really salty, but what can you expect! Frank Pepe’s is very very good though, and we had Foxon Park Sodas, which are made in New Haven and are the best part of going to Frank Pepe’s. Yes! After lunch, we asked Sergio if he wanted to come to a lesson with us, and he said yes! We went to see Guy! Melissa was busy, so she wasn’t able to be in the lesson, but we talked about the Plan of Salvation. We asked Guy if he had ever thought about where he came from before he even existed in his mom’s belly, and he said that he honestly didn’t know. We testified that he lived with his Heavenly Father before this life, and that he has a specific purpose on this earth. Guy honestly had a realization moment that was amazing to be part of. As we taught the rest of the Plan, he started to understand more of why he is here. The purpose of this life is to repent, gain knowledge, and become like our Heavenly Father. That gave him a purpose for this life. Sergio also testified of receiving answers to prayers and of the difference that knowing where he came from has made for him. Guy’s understanding was changed, and it was through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I’m grateful for the gospel, which brings about a better life and understanding for us and our loved ones.

On Saturday, we went to teach an investigator the Plan of Salvation too. He also gained a lot of understanding of the gospel. It was the first time that he had ever heard of the three kingdoms of glory. I’m grateful for the scriptures and I know that as we study them, the mysteries of God will be unfolded to us.

On Sunday, I was sick and super tired, but going to church made it all worth it. In Gospel Principles, we taught about the power of Repentance. The biggest takeaway was that when we are moving away from Heavenly Father, the only way to return is through repenting and changing our course. As a great follow up to the lesson, we talked about retaining a remission, or forgiveness, or our sins and how to do so. I can send the paper another week for your reading leisure. That evening, we were knocking around a Media Referral. Media referrals are always sent for a specific reason. There is ALWAYS a prepared person around them. So through all of the rejections, we knew there was someone we needed to find. Eventually we came to the last house (right?) and met Olando. It took much persuasion and many scriptures, but we eventually taught him of the Book of Mormon and WHY it was important. It was a miracle to us, and we were both more bold than we’ve been in a long time. It was truly a blessing.

I’m grateful for the experiences we have and the principles that come from them. Keep looking for the lessons and reasons for everything. Love you all!!!

Love, Elder Davis


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