Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Week Eight!


This week's been way good. Lot of success with investigators progressing. We're learning to use the members a ton and they make a difference! If the missionaries ever need help from you guys, SAY YES. Members are such a live saver and sometimes they're exactly what our investigator needs to hear, not only us. So yeah they've been way helpful and we've tried to have one at every lesson.

Thanks for the Spanish advice. It's rough, but I'm basically just throwing it to the wind and going with it. Trying and usually failing but it's part of the growing experience.

It's been hot here. Humid and foggy as death. But today it's nice and clear and windy so not too bad. We got to drive over the Skyway bridge when we went to Tampa yesterday! Cool bridge!

I'll keep you guys in my prayers!

So lots to tell about the baptisms and Elder Anderson!

Baptisms: Two down!! So the whole story is this. Alex and Neftaly have been taught by missionaries for over a year and have never gotten baptized. So Elder Casey and I (and the Spirit) got them to the point of them wanting it. So we had set the date and they were ready. But they needed the permission from their mom and she wasn't giving it to them at all. She believed they weren't ready because they don't read everyday and know everything and they were already baptized. (catholic) So during their spring break they basically spent the entire week with us going to lessons and we were even on bikes the whole time. They really saw what our work is like and through the lessons we know they came closer to Christ. So that week on Thursday we fasted with them for the permission. They went and asked again after and she still said no and they're too afraid to try to be bold and talk to her about it. So me and Elder Casey fasted again on Sunday that her heart would be softened and she'd be understanding. So Monday night we went to their house just to have a normal lesson. We talked for like thirty minutes and then we sat down at their table and were literally about to pray. Their mom walks in the house and starts making dinner in the kitchen we're in. (She never has done that) Me and Casey looked at each other and we both knew and felt that this was the time to talk to her. So we did! We talked to her about how baptism is only the door to rest of the journey in this gospel. It's only through baptism that they can progress further in knowledge. And we told her about the Book of Mormon too. And after about twenty minutes...she said YES! AND she said she would have to come to it and she works all the time, she checked her schedule and the one day she didn't work? The 24th. The day we chose. AND she said they only could if she could learn more about it herself. DUH WE SAID YES! It was such a great experience for us and especially it gave Alex and Neftaly a testimony of the power of fasting and prayer. So Elder Casey baptized them last Sunday. Guess who's confirming them and giving them the Holy Ghost next week..................OH ME! IN SPANISH! So yeah that'll be fun! And we have another baptism next Sunday with Viviana, she's the nanny of a family that Casey baptized like the week before I got here. And then we have another baptism the Saturday the 6th in between conference sessions. (Which we watch in Spanish in the chapel with ward members and investigators. Weird cause it's 12-2 4-6 and 8-10 sessions.)

So Elder Anderson came! We had to wake up at 4 am because Elder Nitta (DL and our driver) needed to get there by 630 to practice a musical number he did with another elder. So we got to the church in Tampa (Odessa actually I think) and sat there for like two hours before other missionaries started trickling in. Got to see almost my whole MTC district which was cool! They're all the same...cause it's only been three weeks....But then we went into the gym and got situated (200+ missionaries) to take a huge pic with him and he walked into the gym! Little old man! Ha ha but we got the pic with him and then we made our way into the chapel. And as everyone went in we got to SHAKE HIS HAND! Hand of an apostle! And Pres. Summerhays and a member of the 70 that was with Elder Anderson. WHOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAA. It was awesome. All the leaders there talked and their wives and then him last.

Some cool stuff we talked about:

Sis. Summerhays: "You don't know everything, but you know enough." talking about teaching anyone and everyone through the Spirit.
Elder Munts (spelling? guy from the 70): "Anybody, Any place, Anytime." Talking about finding people.
Elder Anderson: "We bring ALL people to Christ." "Tithing is key for retention of members." "We represent Jesus Christ to a world that is losing its faith in Him." "In our lifetime we will see the Book of Mormon become a powerful evidence and tool that will keep everyone that believes in it safe and true." "We testify of Christ with actions." "We are meant and allowed to always progress in this mission and all of mortality." And then one girl got up when he was asking for some input and said this, which he said he wanted to write down because it was so profound! Look for it in his conference talk ha ha: "Using the Atonement helps us understand how far we've come and how weak we are."

So yeah that's what went down this last week!

Live Hard,
Love Hard,
Laugh Hard,

Elder Bryson Davies

Monday, March 18, 2013

Week Seven!


Okay so lots o lots o lots o questions to answer! Jeepers you guys know how to ask em. So let's get em answered!

Neighborhood here is cool. We're kind of by just a lot of businesses but also we're on the Riverwalk so if we want to go there and play volleyball or basketball or whatnot then it's right there. This last week we had bikes....DEATH. My bike's all tiny and stuff, but it's all good. I'm getting used to it. We've biked SO much this week. We biked like 25 miles on one of the days about. Because some days we have to go to south Bradenton, then into Palmetto (across the bridge of death, which ALWAYS no matter what way we go the wind is against us), and then back to Bradenton, and then back to Palmetto. We try to plan better but some people bail on us then some people can only do it certain times. I lost 10 POUNDS this last week. Gonna be Swarzanegger by the time I leave even Bradenton! Lots of exercise during bike week.

Language is getting better each day...almost each day. Whenever we're talking about gospel stuff, so like the entire morning, Elder Casey basically talks to me in only Spanish. And when we go to church everybody only talks in Spanish because...they're all Hispanic. So I'm getting better and better at understanding what they're saying. But my ability to speak is very not good right now. But I'm trying more and more. Sometimes I just feel inadequate when they speak in perfect Spanish to me and then I feel like I shouldn't even try to speak back. But that's something I have to get over and get out of that comfort zone. It's not too bad during lessons, because honestly more than half are in english. Because like I said most of them are with teenagers or kids our age so they prefer English. We're teaching a few older couples where we only speak Spanish though. It'll be cool though because instead of a person that goes somewhere where they speak strictly one language the entire mission and then they come home and have to get straight back into english and lose the language they learned, I'm able to learn how to teach and everything in both so I'm able to be comfortable and used to speaking in both. But sometimes that makes it that much harder to feel comfortable and learn fast. But it's coming little by little. Except I'm gonna come home speaking english with a swagger accent and Spanish with a Mexican/Cuban/Dominican accent.

Baptisms are alright right now. We're for sure having 3 on April 6 with a woman and her two daughters. Then we can possibly have two kids this Sunday, if their mom gives them permission. She's very very Catholic and has been the only thing holding them back and they've been taking the lessons for like over a year. So we know it's happening with us so we need to talk to her about all of her concerns and try to resolve them. We can also have another on the 31 of March, she just needs to come to Church twice in a row, which she already missed yesterday so we had to move her date back a week. We could have another kid and his mom on the 31. He wants to but he has to get Sundays off of work and come twice. And his mom needs to receive a confirmation that this is true which we hope is happening/happened. But yeah that's all for now I think with those!


I'm calling my two month mark this Wednesday so yeah. Pretty cray. Going by.....decently speedy...kind of...ha ha. OH before I forget! Next Monday we're having a mission wide conference with Elder Anderson! Apostle! So that's something I'm looking forward to.

We have a few days that are set with families for dinner each week. The Sedillo's, the Calvillo's, the Sanchez' basically take a night each week. We've had amazing food. Everything is so good when it's made by actual Hispanic people! We've had basically everything they sell at Taco Bell...but homemade by a Hispanic man and woman. SO GOOD. I always feel fat when we leave those because they give us so much and then I usually have like two plates. It's a rough life. Lots of rice and meat. But there's like a billion different ways to eat rice and meat. Oh at a dinner on Saturday the Hermanas and Elder Casey and even the family made me eat a serano chile. Didn't think it would be that bad. Yeah I DIED. I couldn't even swallow it because I couldn't stop gagging it was so hot. I couldn't feel my mouth for about ten minutes and a felt like I was gonna barf everywhere. And it was before the meal so I felt like I couldn't even down anything else without puking my guts out. I couldn't stop the tears from coming. It's the life. That was actually the second time I had to do that with that same pepper, just different families. The things we do to be iniciated into the Hispanic world.


The weather here has been no humidity and pretty cold, but today it's pretty darn humid and it's only gonna get worse according to Casey. As Summer gets closer, so does deathville. That just happened.

So that's basically all for here! Good luck on all races, life adventures, and all other activities in your totally not as cool as mine lives! Ha ha keep up the good work!

Live Hard,
Love Hard,
Laugh Hard,

Elder Bryson Davies

Monday, March 11, 2013

Week Six!


Finally got to my P-Day! That was a while, but it didn't seem like that long really. This week has gone by pretty fast looking back. And even the days are fast. It seems like we just get out and then we're coming back to sleep. But anyways first things first:

Flights were good. We were only in Atlanta for like 45 minutes so didn't get to see much of that. I slept awkwardly basically the whole flight to Florida which was like 45 minutes? yeah it was cool stuff. We got off the plane and went to the terminal where Pres. and Sis. Summerhays were waiting. That was pretty cool. They're basically awesome! So nice and loving. Then we did what I told you where we went to the mission home and ate and did some paperwork stuff and had a lesson. Then me and my two comps went and slept at the assistants to the pres. apartment that night. They're pretty cool. Oh and it wasn't even hot that day so no huge rush of humidity. People were saying it was a "cold" day because it was 60 degrees. Today it's like 80. Normal. But then the next day we went and did some orientation at the church and got our companions! Mine is............ELDER CASEY! He's way chill and awesome. He's from Draper too! He's been out for about 9 months so he's still pretty young. But he knows spanish well. He speaks to me whenever we're planning or prepping or out seeing people he mostly speaks in spanish. So I'm getting so much better at understanding almost all of it......most of the time. Old people are hard.

A day in the life:

6:15 wake up and work out.
8:00 Personal study
9 comp study
10 language study
11 lunch
12 First twelve weeks (a new training program)
1 start our day!
Appointments (hopefully)
9-9:30 Come back and Plan
10:30 sleep

yep it's pretty much a ton of studying! And on Wednesdays we have weekly planning which takes three hours where we go in depth and use PME to focus on each one of our investigators. We don't start the day until 3 pm those days. We usually have appointments set up, or we just plan to visit people, but it's important here to have our backup plans legit because a ton of people flake out and just aren't home when we show up.

It's way funny how many of our lessons have actually been in Spanish....I'd say like.....2-3? Ha ha but I'm still learning! Because I still have to understand and communicate and teach those people that only speak spanish and basically everyone in the branch yesterday only spoke to me in spanish. And most of the kids we teach it's just polite to speak to their parents in spanish. Crazy thing is I just talked back to them! Most of the time...I understand everything they say, I just can't really respond that well. But understanding is huge and I'm improving so much. But yeah we mostly have our age ish investigators, or  kids and they were raised speaking both but they go to english schools obviously. So it's so much different here. The lessons we teach and how we teach them is completely different then I could've ever thought. They're so much more chill. Like the kids our age we just talk to normally about whatever, and then we just slip in a simple, but powerful still lesson. It's hard to describe. But it's nothing like go into a home, sit down, how's life, here's a deep deep lesson. It's so much more just laid back. Like it might be different everywhere else, but that's just the way the it is here and it's the best way to do it to really make them care about what we teach. Elder Casey focuses a lot on developing that relationship with investigators, and I agree completely. It's important stuff. Oh and we've gotten 6 baptism commitments this last week.

Yeah it's true! 6! pretty crazy awesome! But yeah. cool stuff happening. Those are happening within the next couple of weeks. 24th, 31st, and 6th I think. OH DUH. I'm in Bradenton. It's south of Tampa a ways. We are the only spanish missionaries in our zone, so we cover Bradenton, some of Palmetto (north) and a little bit of Sarasota (south). This week we had the car so it was way nice to just drive everywhere. This next week we're on bikes (we trade off with the english missionaries in our district every other week). So bueno. We had to ride them one day on like thursday. My bike....turns out it's pretty tiny. Not like impossible to ride tiny, but I'm working with it. Just have to try to adjust a lot of stuff. But let's see what else..............haven't seen any freaky wildlife yet because I don't think much is around this area. Our apartment is in the Watermark complex. It's right next Manatee River I think is the name. We drive over that river like everyday. Cool. We have like bugs and stuff in our apartment, but that's apparently just florida. I've had to kill a few cockroaches which is the nastiest moment of my life. But other than that life is great! I'm still constantly overly unhealthily tired, but that's not gonna go away for about two years. Elder Casey's gonna be my trainer for 12 weeks. And I'm gonna be in Bradenton until three transfers, so like until July ish. But he might want to extend his time here because we're starting to baptize all these people he's known and worked with for a while and he wants to see entire families get together and such. Presidente Gonzalez is our branch pres. It's spring break here so lots of baseball games and peeps here. I guess there's the Spring training field here where a ton of MLB teams come and play? We drive past in basically on the daily. Well don't know much else to say.....! I'm totes in Florida.

Live Hard,

Love Hard,
Laugh Hard,

Elder Bryson Davies

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Week Five...Pics of the District

Week Five...Part Two!

Well right now we're just doing some laundry getting ready to pack it all up! Thought we might as well email too! Don't really know what to say though.....I leave Monday! That's a pretty cool fact.

Oh I might be able to send more pics later when we switch out our laundry, but we'll see. So far today we had personal study, breakfast, class, language study, and lunch. We took a lot of pics with our maestros y mi distrito, so hopefully you can see them before who knows the next time I'll get the chance to send them! We're skipping TALL (the language learning thing on the computer) and gym so we can start to pack all of our stuff hoy, because tomorrow is a muy busy dia. It's Fast Sunday so we don't get the first two meals, we have CCM conference for two hours, testimony meeting which means we're obligated to bear ours since we're leaving, we're singing Oh Mi Padre to the tune of come thou fount which is pretty sick for our farewell song (my district). Then later in the night hopefully we can have a mini adios fiesta with all the leftover food we all have. The hermanas were wanting to receive blessings from us as well which is way cool because we're basically family, but we have five elders y four hermanas so I'll probs sit out and let one of the other elders who have never done anything like that experience it. So we'll see how tomorrow goes! AND then we're off! Estoy tan animado! Pero it's gonna be freaky, but I'm ready I feel. Espanol-wise? No way. But confidence-wise I'm just super pumped and excited and hopefully I can keep it up!

Well don't know what else to say, pero I'll try to get on later to send some sweet pics! I'll be calling sometime Monday morning! Ha ha that narrows it down to....yeah basically not that much....but before my flight! I'll probs call with quarters first to make sure, then I'll call with the card. Dad's phone. AWESOME.