Wednesday, June 24, 2009


So I know I always say I have no time... but this week I have even less because I had a lot of problems with my email this week.. SORRY!
So the week went really well and I really learned a lot. We had divisions twice this week with our zone leaders and I learned a ton. Divisions are when we trade companions for a day to learn from each other and only the leaders do it and because my comp is a district leader we trades companions and so one of the zone leaders came to our area with me and I really had to step up and lead all of the lessons and conversations so that was good. He also taught me a ton about tricks and tips for lessons, but also for the mission. SO that was really good. Then the next day our other zone leader (we have two but they are a companionship) came to my area with me to interview our baptism candidate. Yes, we had a baptism this week!!! yah!!! I’ll talk about that in a minute. But so he is American (the other was Mexican) and we talked a lot about the “mish” and he goes home in 2 months so he really passed on a lot of really good advice to me. He says I have the potential to really be a good missionary and leader and that I have been given certain talents for a reason and I need to really step up and use them. I need to work with everything I have to really leave the mission with no regrets. He really helped me out and motivated me a lot and I’m really applying a lot he taught me.
So our baptism on Sunday! So I got to baptism our investigator, Sandra Lizeth Campos Valenzuela. It went so well and her husband has a baptism date for the following Sunday. I hope he can get ready in time! Sandra is so so strong and really wants the best for her family and has such a strong testimony. She has made a lot of changes in her life and she is so happy and excited and it is the most amazing feeling ever to know I was able to help her in that. Her husband is more doubtful, but he is just a little lazy to change. Because change is not easy and it takes work, and although there are many people who know our message is true and feel the spirit and receive and answer, they just don’t want to change. Sad I know. But we are working with her esposo a lot and he is progressing but he still has a few more changes to make. Also Sandra’s baby was really sick last week on Sunday and we gave him a blessing and by that night he was completely fine and happy and Sandra really gained a lot of faith from that. Sandra is about 30 I think with one baby, and we have been teaching her for a little less than a month. Oh and here is something was special about it all, all her family was baptized 8 years ago and she is the only non member so it was a big deal to get her baptized. We also reactivated 3 members of her family through her baptism. Her other sisters are already active. It was very exciting!
Oh and I gave my first priesthood blessing in Spanish! Crazy! It went so well and I don’t know that I have ever felt the spirit that strong in my life! It was a huge testimony building experience! It was really special to me and I really felt like I was able to be an instrument in His hands! I love the Lord and this work!
I’m all healthy and safe and continue to work hard! I LOVE YOU AND THANK YOU FOR THE SUPPORT!
Elder Andrew Davidson

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

So I have like no time to write once again... so I’m going to be real brief. Sorry!
First of all we had Zone conference this past week so that was a lot of fun to see all of the missionaries and we learned a ton so that was good. It was also nice to be able to respond to all of the questions and participate in the conversation without being afraid. Well my Spanish is always a little worse in front of a lot on missionaries, I’m not sure why. I guess I’m just not very confident with my Spanish yet. I’m still learning though and everyone tells me I’m learning really fast so I guess I’m doing okay with that part of it. Also I’m friends with the Zone leaders now and the other district leader so it made conference a little more fun to since I know most of the other elders now.
My comp and I have continued to put a lot of stress on obedience and have continued to have extreme success here! It’s been going so well and we have got so many less-actives back to church and I love when they start to see the blessings poured back into their lives once they are active again! It’s one of the greatest joys in life! I love being here and being on a mission!
So one of the coolest things so far in my mission happened to me this past week! So on Saturday at night we get called and asked to speak the next morning... and I was just like wow... I get to speak for 15 minutes in another language tomorrow with no time to prepare. But the old me would have been all upset about how rude it was of them and how inconsiderate of them. But I was just like; wow... well I have to speak tomorrow whether I am happy or sad so I just accepted it. So in the morning I wrote down a few scriptures I wanted to share on a note card and that’s all I had time for. Then I spoke on Sunday like I always wanted to! All I had was the note card with some scripture references and I talked for 16 MINUTES! Crazy! In another language! I have never been able to successfully give a talk in English like that let alone Spanish. And I was calm and not that nervous during the talk and never really struggled for words and could say what I wanted to. In the end I left out a few things I wanted to include but it went so well! I was so grateful to my Heavenly Father after because He helped me out so much! For me, it was a little miracle. And it turns out there was an ex-mission president there who is an area authority and came up to me after and said I have great Spanish and had a great message. He is from Mexico but his wife is from NJ but they have lived here for 30 years together, as in Mexico. So that was fun! It made me very excited and gave me a little more confidence in the whole language thing.
So life is good, I am safe and healthy! Juarez is CRAZY! But exciting! I love the work and the gospel is true!
Elder Andrew Davidson

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Hey everyone!
SO this week has been good! I have never felt the spirit as strong as I have this past week! It has been amazing and we have been striving to live worthy of its guidance every moment of everyday and it has made a huge difference in our teaching! Especially with the less-actives because we have really been working a lot with them the past month, that’s why we have not baptized in a while. But this Sunday we got a lot of them out to church finally. One family had been inactive for 8 years! Crazy! And it was fast Sunday and it was by far the most amazing fast and testimony meeting I have ever had in my life! So in the beginning there were not many people getting up, so I had a great plan!
First, I made a deal with 4 different people that if I went they would go, and two of them were my converts and I REALLY wanted to hear them share there testimony. So then I went up and spoke and then they all came up! It was great! I also felt really good speaking; I was not nervous at all and never struggled with my Spanish at all while speaking. Then after they shared their testimonies there was a 6 person line and sacrament meeting went 20 minutes over! It was so great and I really felt like I was able to help the ward out a lot.
Oh and since my companion is a district leader now the zone leaders came over in the morning and studied with us and the senior zone leader studied with Elder Juarez and the junior zone leader studied with me. It was amazing! I learned so so very much and he taught me so many great principles and scriptures and more than anything we talked about how they all apply to the mission and how we can all be better missionaries because of it. I have really been allowing the spirit to help to me grow this past week and has been one of the most amazing weeks of my life. I love being on a mission and I love being here and I know that this is where the Lord needs me to be!
So we had a lesson with a investigator yesterday and it was our second time there and so were read part of Moroni 10 and invited her to pray and I bore my testimony with all I could and then my comp did and it was so powerful and I KNOW she felt the spirit! Also she was mentioning a lot of the sacrifices of a mission and so I brought it up that yeah, we leave a lot back at home to come here, but we are here because we want to share the joy and happiness of the gospel and we have been privileged to share it with her. We are not here to get baptisms or to get memberships. We are here to serve the people and if we can share just a faction of the joy, peace, and comfort we feel with the people here, we have done our job. We do not leave everything we have and knew for personal gain, but we are here for the people and we only want to help anyone that will allow us to. She took it very well and I think it helped her to see how very real the gospel is and how much God loves us because it all comes down to that. Anyways it went very well.
Oh and also people on the street are coming up to us and contacting us! We have really been able to notice a completely different spirit we can carry with us when we are being obedient. People come up and say who are you? What do you have that seems to make such a difference? It’s great and my companion and I really have learned a lot from the experience.
Like I have mentioned before, it all comes down to the very simple point of obeying the commandments and then receiving blessing in every form. Larissa shared Mosiah 2 with me in her last letter and I feel like it perfectly describes this principle. Especially verse 41. I know we are not perfect and never can be, but we can repent and learn to be humble and we can be far better than we ever thought we could be through our reliance on Him we can become that person that we thought we could never be. It has been crazy to me to realize how real the guidance of the spirit is and how it’s really can help us to guide every part of our lives. And no it does not mean we have to become this "molly" Mormon who is perfect, but we can just strive to be our best in the situation we face every day. We can do our best to develop the Christ like attributes that we lack the most of.
I have a hard time with patience sometimes, as everyone who knows me already knows. But I have come a long way on it since I have diligently but my effort into being better at it. I’m not perfect and far from it, but I continue to grow and become better at it every day. I am quicker to apologize when I get frustrated and do my best not to allow my pride to interfere with my humility. No, I am far far far from perfect or even good, and make many mistakes every single day. And sometimes it’s hard, but I try to do my best day in and day out, but most important I am working to allow the Lord to make up for what I lack.
Sorry to go off on a random tangent, I guess I should tell more crazy stories about the crazy things we see every day! ha-ha I love Juarez!
Oh and so my English is just getting worse every day. I am officially losing my pronunciation in English and can sound stuff out anymore.... sad.... Sometimes I can’t even answer my comps questions about English anymore. Sad huh? Spanish is going well though. So that is what is important, right? Also when people talk to me I always respond in Spanish, it’s just what comes out first. Some guys here who don’t know Spanish and were visiting us kept getting frustrated because I kept responding in Spanish to their questions... ha-ha. My comp thinks it’s hilarious so I guess that is good.
Oh and just so people know I think it’s best to send birthday packages to the package office address for the mission. I think I will change by then and please remember it takes a month to get packages through them. Sorry to mention it early but I don’t want to forget to mention it. And my birthday is in less than 3 months away! Crazy!
Sorry I don’t have more time and thank you Larissa for the letter, I love it and the pictures! Oh and I think last week I forgot to mention I got letters from Linda, Sandi, and Kendra! Thanks! Thanks for all for the support and love! I need it!
Elder Andrew Davidson!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

June 2nd 2009

June 2, 2009
So I actually have no time this week. I used my time to right personal emails to mom, dad, and Danielle so sorry about that. But the week was good; my comp is now District leader of our district so that is cool. He is learning how to be a leader but I am too so that is cool. We have had a few meetings already and it has been good to get to know the other missionaries and see what kind of leaders the missionaries are. I feel like I learned a lot from their examples. It’s also been good because we have really been striving for obedience with exactness, like shower for only 10 minutes and all the little rules. And we have really seen many blessings because of it! It has been amazing to see how straight forward the principle of obedience is and blessings you receive when you follow it! The scriptures say it like a million times but I feel like sometimes we fail to understand it. But the truth it’s very simple and not always easy, but ALWAYS worth it! Always! I really want to share a story about our new investigator but I don’t have time sorry, I’ll try next week. We just really have been seeing the blessings from working hard and being obedient to the best of our ability! Oh and I put my first baptism date, as in I invited them to get baptized all on my own!
Also I had a full 25 minute conversation on the bus alone with another passenger. I understood everything he said and he understood what I said and we just talked a lot about random things and then he asked a lot of questions about the mission and such. He is way excited to have the missionaries visit him and was fun to talk to. He was a little shy and nervous because well we are in Juarez, but I lead the whole conversation and asked all the questions for the most part! It was really exciting! Because I talk to people a lot but the conversation is always with my comp too, so it was cool to have it just be me and him and my comp and sitting somewhere else talking to someone else on the bus. I guess that sounds silly, but it was really exciting after when I realized that I just talk without any trouble in Spanish. Exciting huh? It a really weird experience learning a new language and not speaking English and having my mind think more in Spanish.

Oh and I got a letter from my buddy Steve (room-mate at BYU) who is serving in NY, NY and part of CT I think, but it’s crazy how different our missions are, yet we are sharing the same message! And he gets to go places on p-day... ha-ha. I was a little jealous for that... but it was good to hear from him. Thank you Linda and Sandi for writing! I love hearing from home!
Anyways, all is well; we are working hard and being very obedient! I am learning a ton and am very exciting to be here in Juarez! Thank you so much for all of your love and support! I need it!
Elder Andrew Davidson

May 24th 2009

So another week gone already! So first off I didn’t change areas and neither did my companion, which was really surprising to be honest because he has been in this area for a while. But I feel like he is going to change in a like 2 weeks to be honest. My Spanishl is coming along well. I’m rarely nervous now during lessons and such and I’m not afraid of questions anymore.... haha Because before it sucked when people asked me a question and I didn’t understand and just had to look at my companion to help. But things are getting better every day and I feel a little more comfortable. I still get frustrated a lot with myself because I want to be completely fluent. Which I guess it’s good because it helps me to always give all I can to learning the language better. Oh and there are a million slang words in Spanish, like seriously! WAY WAY more than in English. But I’m learning a lot of those too. So the worst part about the language thing right now is that I’m forgetting a lot of English. I know that sounds silly to say, but seriously. If I am trying to talk in pure English it’s really tough and I have to talk slower and I’m forgetting a lot of words. Like I know them in Spanish and not English... to be honest I hate it. It’s really frustrating when I can’t remember a word in English. It is my language! haha I guess languages are a “use it” or “lose it” kind of thing. Most days we don’t talk in English so I lose it. I can still write okay because I have never written too much in Spanish. But I always want to write in Spanish in my journal because we just spoke Spanish all day. Sorry to say so much about that, it’s just frustrating right now. But I guess it’s good because it means I’m learning Spanish. I just never thought I would really forget words in English. Because it’s just something that is so engrained in you, you know?
Oh so some people here use Gooses for guard animals! Crazy huh? Because they are mean and vicious and I guess guard your house. Every time we see it I always think it’s so weird so I thought I would mention it. They are really mean by the way; one chased me and bit me! haha But it’s better than dogs because they are slower, BUT faster than you think!
So these past 3 weeks have been really eye opening. I have learned a lot about life the past few weeks. I don’t remember if I mentioned this last week or not, but this week we had to deal with some problems even more. We just help a lot of people with family issues and life problems and alcohol. Alcohol is the worst! It literally kills families and we are helping a number of people with that right now. But it just kills me to see how sad and hurt their families are and we really have been working hard with their families. I think I just understood so much less when I first arrived so I was much more ignorant of the problems people would talk to us about. But it’s been a very hands on life-lesson learning kind of experience. Sorry I don’t have more time to tell more detailed stories about it but I guess it’s better to not tell the sad and bad stories that happen here. When we were helping someone dump alcohol down the drain and clean up and such my comp and I talked a little about alcohol and how bad it is. Because before he was a member he drank a lot and he just could not believe that he used to waste so much money on alcohol and he was just like "how could I ever have enjoyed that." I mention this because there is a lot of pressure to drink in high school and college and a lot of people get harassed for not drinking. So after this whole experience with dealing with the MANY problems that alcohol causes I remember something that president Gordon B Hinckley said about alcohol. I don’t remember the words exactly but he said, if we never drink for the first time, we will NEVER drink for the second time and we will NEVER become an alcoholic or an addict. I understand that there is a difference between drinking to get drunk and a glass of wine. But alcohol is HIGHLY addictive and harder to quit than smoking, at least in about 12 cases that we have been helping people with. It is just not worth the sacrifice to drink, it’s just not worth the money first of all and everything that comes with. People say they do it to have fun, but if you can’t even remember the night how can you tell me you had fun? Sorry, I guess I sound like an angry person today, I’m not. I just have developed a very strong opinion against alcohol over these past 3 months here. It is just pure foolish to get involved in it, just flat out foolish. The problems that come with it are just not worth it, and anyone who says it’s all in "good fun" is just ignorant. Also many people think, oh I’m going to go drink and it will affect nobody but me - wrong. It hurts SO many people around you and especially your family and your close friends. Okay ill stop my frustration with alcohol, I just don’t want anyone who reads my emails to get caught up in all of the MANY problems that come with alcohol.
I’m very grateful to be here and to be able to learn all I have been able to learn. I have learned countless life lessons that are really going to help me to be a better person after my mission. Obviously the whole gospel side of it, but also the life lesson’s and stuff about family and marriage and such too. I feel like I am going to be a MUCH better father because of all I have been able to learn so far, I still have 19 months to go!
I guess I just don’t want anyone to miss out on the amazing experience of a mission.
Oh and on Friday it rained SO SO hard! Like it was just dumping rain! And at first we were like ah! And hopped under a close roof because we were like 4 miles from the house and were in the street. But then I was like oh I’m a missionary! And we just kept on going and walking through the street. I loved it because everyone thought we were nuts but it was an easy opportunity to show our devotion to the work and how little everything else matters right now. We were soaked though, like I could have jumped in a pool and hoped out and it would not have been any different! It was fun though to just be trudging along the best we could in the rain.
Oh and I was like 30 feet away from a gun fight! Cool huh? Like I said I feel like I have been much more exposed to life these past few weeks. A police man died and so did a teenager and the cop was only 22 years old. It was really sad and kind of scary to be honest. I have never had people yell at me to "get down - get down" before. It was just like the movies. I was really sad though, and even sadder when they explained to me that they just clean up the bodies and that’s it. Nothing happens, no investigation no nada! I was really sad after they told me that. It was like 30 shots fired too, crazy! I live in Juarez!
Oh and people here drink cucumber flavored water... it’s really gross... haha But there are a lot of people here who really like it. Anyways, life is good and I love it here and love the people! I love that I get to be here and love more than anything that I get to serve for these two short years! I’m doing well and healthy! No worries! I love the work! Thank you for your support! I love you all so much and can’t wait to hear from you soon! Oh and PLEASE send pictures! They are the best! Please could someone in the Davidson family take pictures of the graduation party for Emily, Aubrey, and Katie and send them. Thanks! Congrats!!!
Elder Andrew Davidson