Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Arriving in LA

Sister Jenna Davis was able to call us this morning from the SLC airport. It was nice to hear her voice and sense her excitement to arrive in the California Los Angeles Mission. She arrived in LA at 9:40 am PST. Please note her new address below her picture.

Here are a few pictures she sent us her last week of the MTC.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sister Davis's Last E-Mail from the MTC

Some missionaries in my zone tried out for a musical number the same day as me.  They sang "Brightly Beams" at a fireside and it made me think of Trevor.  The sister next to me is my roommate Sister Porter.

I only see Sister Hillman if I go by her room.  Next week will be different though.

Me, my companion and sisters in our district.   To my right, Sister Castellano going to Independence, MO.  Next to me left is Sister Brox going to Kennewick, WA and to my far left Sister Hollingshead going to Eugene, OR.

Family and Friends,

I can't believe that my next e-mail will be from California! I cannot wait. Of course to be in the field, but also to get out of this cold weather. We started visitors' center training this week and so far it has been awesome. We had the opportunity to visit temple square earlier this week to just observe and tomorrow we will be the missionaries :) Being in a classroom with all girls all day has been an interesting change. I miss our Elders so much. Is anyone surprised that I bond more easily with 19-year old boys than I do girls my own age? Just kidding. The sisters here are amazing and of course Sister Hillman is now in my classes! In this week's training group the sisters are going to Kirtland, Heide Park, London South, and Los Angeles. I was so glad to find that there are other sisters going to L.A. next week. I was beginning to think I was flying solo. The sisters going to my mission are Sister Bell from Seattle, Sister Cole from Phoenix(both spanish speaking), and Sister Kim from South Korea. Her companion actually left last week so we are now a trio(Sister Castellano, myself, and Sister Kim). I don't know that she will actually be leaving with us on Wednesday because her Visa didn't come through and she has to go back to Korea. At least I think that's what she said... She didn't know any English before coming here and she is doing very well, but I can't understand her 90% of the time :s We started in the referral center this week as well and it is a lot different than I was expecting. Apparently I will be chatting live with investigators throughout my mission. We started yesterday talking to actual people and it was good, but also a little scary. When people go on and click on "chat live with a missionary" or whatever it says, they end up talking to us! Along with the missionaries here that are called to do it on a more regular basis. Anyway, I wasn't really expecting to be chatting on my mission I guess. I feel like I'm breaking a rule. Our trainer shared a lot of neat scenarios with us and it's actually a genius concept. Our whole purpose is to get the missionaries into people's homes, so we answer their questions and start teaching them the lessons. Then, once they give us their address and information we let the missionaries in their area know, but continue to teach them online until they get there. And apparently in some cases by the time they do, the investigator has already had most of the lessons and a testimony of the Book of Mormon! Isn't that cool? The only problem is that people get on just to cause problems. We have only done one day on our own, but I can tell that it is also going to be difficult to talk to people who are interested but not, if that makes sense. We had some people yesterday that had a lot of questions, but didn't really want to talk about the doctrine. Some just want to talk about polygamy and baptism for the dead etc. Hopefully it will get easier to distinguish if they are trying to waste our time or not. People also get on and ask random questins like. "How do magnets work?" to which I relpy, "this isn't cha cha." Just kidding. We have scripted responses for things like that and if people are being inappropriate. The more I learn about being a visitors' center sister the more excited I am about it. I'm heading out this coming Wednesday at 5 am and I have mixed feelings. The MTC is my new comfort zone and I'm a little nervous to go out into the "real world" but I can't wait to share the gospel with people and learn more from experience. It seems odd that I have been out for almost a month now. Thanks for all your letters! Keep in mind that my address is soon to change. Love you!

Sister Davis

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Weekly Update

Family and Friends,

I have a couple of jokes to get this e-mail rolling. #1: Why were the Lamanites’ legs sore?... Because of all the Nephites! Get it? Knee-fights? I thought that was pretty clever. #2: What do you get when you throw noodles into the ocean?... Apostacy! Get it? A pasta sea? I wish the great apostacy was explained that easily. Well in other news, our district left today. :) The MTC is not the same without them. But this means that we start visitors’ center training tomorrow and that means Temple Square! We also get to work in the referral center a little bit each day which I am excited for. Tomorrow I will be singing “Consider the Lilies” for the musical number in the new missionary orientation and I am especially excited because if I am not mistaken Braden Thorkleson will be among them! I hope my future companions aren’t disturbed if I burst into song every now and then because I really do feel that my testimony is communicated most fully through song. I was so excited to come to the MTC and sing “Called to Serve” with 2,000 other missionaries. I hate to say this, but the first few times we did it, it was a little weak :s This last Sunday sister Nally had us imagine that we really were as an army marching and we started off very quietly as if we were miles away. We progressively got louder until we were at full voice and as we repeated the final chorus we stood and everyone was singing at the top of their lungs! There were key changes and everything! It was powerful. My companion and I have had some great experiences with prayer this week. It is very exciting to pray together and find that you received the same impressions for one of your investigators. I’m a little scared to speak first sometimes because I’m afraid she’ll have different ideas, but I have gotten over it mostly and it has been a blessing. We taught our “progressing investigators” for the last time and two have committed to baptism which is great. The inactive lady we were teaching said that she would come to church with us, and the other two non-members  are still reading and praying about the Book of Mormon. I am excited for Los Angeles where the commitments as well as the disappointments will me non-hypothetical. I have been told by more than one person that the scriptures come alive at the MTC. It is really true. Suddenly I know where to find things and I can apply them way more effectively to my own life as well as to the lives of the people we have been teaching. For sacrament meeting the branch presidency selects a few missionaries to speak then and there, so we prepare a talk each week. I may or may not have finished mine this week, but I was lucky enough to be called on. It went well though. Probably because it only needed to be 5 minutes long ha ha. I have to run again, but thank you all for the letters. I got some Valentines from some wonderful Aunts and some yummy caramels from home that were enjoyed by many. If anyone is looking for a wonderful talk to read look up Elder Bednar's "The Character of Christ." It completely changed my attitude and made a bad day better. Love you!

- Sister Jenna Davis

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day from Sister Davis

Alma 28:14

The Sisters in our District

For Matthew and Aubrey
Family and Friends,

Happy Valentine's Day! I hope all is going well for all of you wherever you may be. This week has flown. Our Tonga district left and some Elders in the zone bade them farewell with a pretty impressive display of the Haka. That's what I hear anyway, I had to miss it you see. Our Elders that are heading to Haiti have been held up and the New Zealand missionaries are expecting their temporary reassignments sometime this week. I'm glad that I don't have to deal with visa issues. We got a new neighboring(next door) district and they are heading to Ogden, UT and New York City! One of the Elders heading to NY gave me some family names to take through the temple so my companion and I had the opportunity to do that today. We have had an interesting week in our district. An Elder was transferred in earlier this week, which is uncommon for English speaking districts, but we welcomed him and didn't think much of it. He has had some challenges adapting to life here at the MTC so we have all been trying to help him out, but last night he ran away! It was kinda crazy. The security guards had to ask everyone what was going on and they eventually caught up to him. They were all using code words into their radios and yelling "do not engage!" Into their radios. I didn't think he would still be here this morning but he was! I wish I could help him more, but being a sister missionary it is hard. I can't give him a hug or write him a note etc. So what I am getting at with this story is to ask you all to keep Elder Bihner in your prayers. I don't know what the Lord's plan for him is, but I am sure he will be happier if he serves his mission. Speaking of praying for people, one of our investigators has been battling cancer for 3 years so keep her in your prayers as well. Lawanna Westbrook. Oh and our Branch President, President Conners had a hip replacement. Anyway, so I decided that some of the best talks ever given have been given here at the MTC. So far we have watched two life changing talks from Elder Bednar- funny ones! And one from Elder Holland. He is so bold that they haven't released it for general members to view it, otherwise I would tell you all to read it. If I were to go home today my life would be changed forever because of what I have learned about the gospel and discovered about myself. But, I that won't ever happen because I am so excited to learn and experience more. I had a very tender moment this week as we talked with our teachers about how we will measure our success as representatives of Jesus Christ and as missionaries. While I obviously hope to have some success in the general sense, I realized that my mission will be a total success if all I accomplish is to provide another example(second to Matthews) for Christopher and Isaac to prepare to serve the Lord. I know that they will be powerful missionaries and bring people closer to Christ. The teaching experiences here at the MTC have been truly amazing. I was worried before I came about role playing with member actors who probably knew more about the gospel than I did in the end. They aren't completely acting though because they are portraying either themselves before they were converted or in our teachers' case someone whom they taught and were there for every step of their conversion. It isn't fake, and the spirit that can be there in the lessons is real. Our teacher told us a cool story about how someone he taught can always tell when he is portraying him with his missionaries in the MTC because he can feel their prayers. I have already seen miracles in my companionship, district, and otherwise. I wish I could write more, but time is scarce. Thank you for the letters. I really appreciate every one of you!

With lots of love for Valentine's day,

Sister Davis

Ether 12:  27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I  give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my  grace is sufficient for all men that  humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
Sister Davis asked that I (dad) say thank you to Aunt Mary Jo and Grandpa Dorman for their letters.   You can find her MTC address below her picture on this blog.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Talofa from the MTC!

Our district - 53A and our teachers (the ones without jackets).  We started color coordinating and it is spreading throughout the zone.

Left:  Sister Khahtri, Sister Tiakia, Me, Sister Castellano

Me and My Companion

Family and Friends!

Talofa from the MTC!  Talofa is Samoan for Hello. More than half of my zone is Polynesian and the moral of that story is... I want to be one! They are so funny and loving. I'm pretty sure their hearts are larger than the average human. I get honorary Polynesian points for having a loud laugh so that's nice :) Our district is the only English district in our zone. The rest of the missionaries in are zone are heading to California- Spanish speaking, England, Tonga, Samoa, Figi, and New Zealand! Pretty neat! Everyone in our district is either heading to Eugene Oregon or Kennewick Washington apart from me and my companion who is going to the Independence Missouri mission. We have 5 elders and 4 sisters. My companion, Sister Castellano, is from Corvallis Oregon and is my age exactly. Well, I'm a few hours older. We are wondering if we are twins that were separated at birth. Her parents were sealed in the Seattle temple as well and she has a dog named Charlie just like me! Hers is a girl too. We find something more that we have in common every day. Sister Castellano's boyfriend is conveniently here at the MTC heading to the Phoenix Arizona mission, which isn't weird at all... actually it is. But they are both obedient so that is a relief! We run into him almost every day so I've gotten to know his companion Elder Absher. My roommates are so funny. I'm glad we have the same p-day because we don't have much time to get to know them at night or in the morning. Sister Porter is our coordinating solo sister and she is from California heading to New Zealand and learning Samoan. Sister Khattri is from india and is going to Figim as is her companion Sister Tiakia(pronounced Tseeahkeeah) who is from New Zealand. Everything Sister Khattri says is funny especially with her Indian accent, and Sister Tiakia has been kind enough to label me a "skux" which is slang in New Zealand for attractive, so the equivalent of a hottie in America. OH yeah. I love them all so much already and can tell that I will miss them dearly when we all go out into the "real world." I really feel that life is not going on outside the MTC. It's kinda cool being "off the grid" so to speak. I haven't felt any homesickness yet. I miss everyone but not in a sad way. I am just glad that I have so many loved ones that are supporting me. I have heard the MTC described as spirit prison. Mostly by people who have been here for months so I guess I can't relate really, but so far I disagree. Our district describes the MTC as spiritual Disneyland! Way better description. I feel that I have learned so much already. At the same time the more I learn, the more I realize what I don't know. It is a difficult feeling to describe. Sister Castellano and I are working hard to have the spirit with us every step of the way. From planning, to studying, to teaching, and in our inventories. Well I'm out of time, but I hope you all are well. Love you!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sister Davis's First Letter Home

Dear Family,

My p-day is on Tuesday so I won't be e-mailing until then, but the newbies have permission to write a quick letter to our families just to let them know we aren't dead.  I love the MTC so far!  It can be a little scary but mostly just cool.  I had dinner with Sister Hillman day 1 so that was cute.  Today we ran into my companions BOYFRIEND!  Not a big deal.  Her name is Sister Castellano (Italian) from Oregon.  She is going to Independence, Missouri will have 3 more semesters at BYUI.  Her boyfriend is going to Phoenix Spanish speaking.  She didn't think she would run into him with 2,000 missionaries here.  But I figured it was bound to happen seeing as here are 15,000 at BYUI and you run into people there.  We were both surprised it happened he second day.  Also, Sister Castelleno and I share the exact same birthday.  Crazy huh?  Well, this is all going to get repeated in my e-mail so just know that I am enjoying myself and that I have learned a lot already.  Sorry I was a little stressed on drop-off day.   Gotta go!  Send me a little $ for a flat rate or two before I depart please and thank you.

Love you all!

P.S. My roommates are going to Fiji and New Zealand.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Arriving at the MTC

The evening before we had a little gathering with Brad and Suzie, Kelli, and Jenna's cousins Garrett and Austin at the Rodezio Grill.

With Garrett, Austin, Isaac, and Emrie

With Aunt Kelli

and Uncle Brad, and Aunt Susie

Sister Davis and her good friend Melinda Fox near the MTC

The family saying goodbye, for now

Sister Davis enters the MTC!
Sister Jenna Davis arrived at the Provo, MTC on Wednesday around 1:00 pm.  We had a few minutes to say our goodbyes and we were joined by her good friend Melinda Fox.    After our parking lot farewell, we got in line for the "curb drop" off where Sister Davis was wisked away be a couple of elders.

Arriving at the MTC

Sister Jenna Davis arrived at the Provo Missionary Training Center.

Setting Apart

Sister Jenna Davis was set apart as a fulltime missionary by President Charles Andersen on January 30, 2012.