Monday, March 26, 2012

Sister Davis's Weekly News

Family and Friends,

It has been so wonderful to hear from you. I just want to give you all a little shout out in case I don't write back as soon as I would like to. Things are going well here in Los Angeles and Malibu. My companion and I have just about made the rounds in visiting the people in our ward and I really love them all. Some of the less active and part member families would be such a strength to the ward, they're just incredible. Keep them in your prayers. Things are going well in the Visitor's Center as well. The spirit is strong there and sometimes people who have been investigating for a long time will come and feel a real urgency to be baptized. Exciting stuff! So as far as new discoveries go, I decided that a mission is kind of like a "mini life." You leave home and embark on this journey wide-eyed and oblivious, but excited! You're finally going on the mission that you've dreamed of for most of you're existence. Someone or other along the way has told you that it would be hard, but totally worth it. You chose this path, but once you get here you realize that nothing really could have prepared you for this experience. Anyway, so you learn, you grow, you witness miracles, and you fall on your face! AND repeat... your experience here is completely dependent on your willingness to live by the rules which I believe also affects who you are when you go home. Then(from what I hear) just as you think to yourself "ya I got the hang of this," it's time to return home and progress in new ways. Perhaps this is why people say that it will lay a foundation for the rest of your life. It's like life condensed into 18 months! You have to figure out if you're just going to coast through and survive until it's time to go home, or if you're really going to make something of it and of yourself. In my mind the ultimate goal is to return home to a loving father(and mother) who are ready to embrace us with the words "Well done." With a mission our parents only really know what we shoot home in an e-mail once a week and I know for myself that mine would be proud of me regardless of my accomplishments, but our Heavenly Father sees everything. He knows us inside and out. Similar to our fathers here, he will never stop loving us, but wouldn't it be nice to be able to reply in that embrace "I've done all I can do." I'm certainly a work in progress, but this is my goal for my mission. With hard work and love I know it can be done. Love you all! Your support means the world to me.

Sister Jenna Michele Davis

Monday, March 19, 2012

Story of Sister Brown

[picture: weeding at the temple]

She was explaining to us that she was very upset when her favorite dog died about six weeks ago. She said that she cried which was supposedly surprising because she didn't even cry when her husband died. "In fact I laughed when my husband died." She said. Feeling uncomfortable to just move on from such a statement I inquired further. I was expecting something normal about remembering all of the happy and humorous times like I had experienced at grandma and Trevor's funerals but her reply was surprisingly very different. She got up out of her chair and began to explain in detail with a lot of motions and sound effects(she's 74 by the way) how when the coroner came he failed to lock the gurney appropriately and when he went to open the hearse doors her husbands body went rolling down the hill into the creek. At this point she is doubled over and red in the face because she's laughing so hard. My companion and I were completely shell-shocked but I managed to utter a convincing pity laugh. Can you believe it? She went on to tell us how she later took his urn to Kentucky Fried Chicken because she was worried the dogs would get into it. Weirdest conversation I've ever had.

It's Monday! Sister Davis CLAM e-mail 3

Family and Friends,

I hope everyone had a good St. Patricks day! It was definitely not a holiday I was expecting any kind of package for, so I was surprised to get a very festive one form Kevin and Dee's family that was mostly edible :) Muchos Gracias! I really don't have a lot to update you on this week since we just had temple p-day on wednesday, but things are going well here in the CLAM. The majority of our tours have been in Spanish it would seem and so far I can introduce myself and bear half a testimony. Most of the time I just stand there and smile, but although I can't really tell what my companion is teaching apart from an occasional word or two, I can tell that she is a very powerful teacher in her first language. It's a bit of a trade off because I have to do a lot of the talking when we're in our area which kind of freaks me out sometimes, but I think most trainers are supposed to make us newbies learn from experience that way regardless. We had some appointments fall through this week which was disappointing for me, but we are confident that the Lord is preparing people. Even in Malibu! It has been a different experience than I was expecting proselyting there. The cameras and intercom systems can be a little intimidating... Face to face contact is preferred. We are trying to get the members excited about missionary work because I'm sure it will be the most effective way to connect with people in the area. Hopefully as they get to know us they will be more willing to allow us to help them share the gospel with their friends and neighbors. I think the ward is excited to have sisters. I guess they haven't had any in 6 or 7 years. The Bishop and RS president think that we will be able to get into the homes of a lot of the less active/part member families easier than the elders because the majority of them are women. I hope that proves to be true. Hopefully I'll have more to share with you all next week but for now, "Come what may and love it."

Sister Davis

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sister Davis's 2nd CLAM E-mail

(Pictures: At the temple with my Zone. We go once every other transfer :(
At the temple with my companion)

Hi everyone :)

It has certainly been an eventful week for Sister Davis here in the CLAM. I had the opportunity of meeting the first member of the Church in Sri-Lanka who now lives here. He brought his non-member in for a tour and it was great. She said she wasn't really interested, but I think she really felt the spirit so hopefully a seed is planted. She was definitely under the impression that we are like nuns so I cleared that one up! I'm pretty sure she isn't the only one that thinks that. Anyway, as far as our area goes I think we are beginning to see the light. We really didn't have a lot to go off of when we were flushed in, but we have been working hard with the Bishop and other leaders to get the ward figured out and we have countless less-active and part-member families to work with. I guess the ward hasn't had sisters in six years or something so we're hopeful that some of the less-active women in the word will be more open to meeting with us than they have been with the Elders in the past. One of the Less-active women we met with this last week actually trains and tends Patrick Dempsey's dogs. She says he and his wife are really great. Ha ha. So that's my random "land of fame and success" story for the week. That and we drove past Randy Newman's home yesterday. Well, all we could really see was the gate and walls but ya know. Everytime we tell someone that we are serving in Malibu we get a "Oh I'm sorry," "That area hasn't had a new investigator in who knows how long," or "Good luck knocking on the doors of million dollar homes and convincing the owners that they need anything, let alone divine guidance." Ouch! I really appreciate my companion though because from the beginning she has just smiled and said in her thick spanish accent, "Oh we love our area!" Needless to say I have adopted the phrase. We do love our area. Besides the fact that it's beautiful! (We drive down Pacific Coast Highway most days. The view is phenomenal). The members in our ward are great and we have seen some success already. We have a new investigator that we met knocking doors(go figure) and we are meeting with her this week so we'll see what happens! It has to be one of the most amazing feelings in the world to feel that you should go a certain way and then you meet someone that needs you. We got a referral this week from a woman that supposedly wanted a Book of Mormon. We of course were ecstatic, but she wasn't home when we went by. We talked a lot with a woman who runs her house? something like that. Anyway, she doesn't actually live in our area, but she said that she believes that everything happens for a reason and that perhaps that book was for her. Naturally we were like... YES :) I feel like I have been doing a lot of hand offs to other missionaries but hey, the work goes forth and everyone plays a part. Referrals are vastly important as any Visitors' Center sister will tell you. I had my first really good experience in the call center this week, which was good because if you know me you know that talking on the phone to strangers is not my thing. So I called a woman in Mississippi who was willing to chat with me and it was awesome! We talked about her beliefs and I just related those to what we believe and long story short, by the end of the conversation she was excited to meet with the missionaries in her area and start reading the Book of Mormon. It really is exciting to get people started and the great part is that I can follow up with her to support her, answer any questions, and just find out how things are going. There is never a dull moment here at the VC. The other day a man came in claiming he was the Messiah and proceeded to condemn us all when Elder Hardy (The senior couple Elder who was working the front desk at the time) refused to publish his prophecies in the Church News. To each his own I suppose.

I have to say that my first week I was really homesick as well as MTC sick(my district and Zone there was just too good)... My apartment smelled like Aunt Lisa's house. The same mormonad that's in Grandma's downstairs bathroom was on my cupboard. Everything at the Visitors' center made me miss my siblings and nephews and I was just a wreck I'll be honest. BUT I have truly received the assurance that the Lord needs me right here, right now. D&C 100:4 "Therefore I the Lord have suffered you to come to this place; for thus it was expedient in me for the salvation of souls." When I read that this week I knew that that was the case for me. I don't know if any of you have read The fourth Missionary by Lawrence E. Corbridge, but the idea is to turn yourself over completely. To set aside our desires(even the righteous ones) and completely surrender our will so that we can do only what he would have us do. It's really an amazing talk. I have 18 months to serve a mission, and that isn't a long time. I want to make it count. I want to be obedient and worthy so that I can have the spirit and share the gospel with others, but that isn't all. I want to become something. I want to become someone by serving with all my heart, might, mind and strength. Especially my heart. He talks about how while the fourth missionary is not perfect, he struggles, and he works to do the Father's will and forget himself because it is really the only intelligent way to serve a mission. Wow. I'm here right now and in all reality I don't have that much time to make a difference in the lives of these people or in my own as far as full-time missionary service goes. I really want to make it count. Sorry, this is sounding a bit like a journal entry or something, but this talk really turned my attitude around completely so if any of you are wanting to become better, but struggling to know how READ IT! I think it can apply to everyone. I am really growing to love all of these sisters I'm working with here at the center. I wish you all could meet them. Until next week!

- Sister Jenna Davis

P.S. Random fact- If you go on to and click on "Find a church close by" there is a video and the Bishop that speaks at the end is the the Bishop in the ward we're serving in. That's the building I got to as well. Enjoy :)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Arriving Pictures

The pictures of Sister Davis and the new CLAM missionaries arriving in California have been posted on the California Los Angeles Mission blog.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Happy P-day!

I think this blog will be a blessing because if every p-day is like today, I won't have much time to send snail mail. Well! I guess I'll start from the beginning. I arrived in California at 9:30 am on Wenesday and met my temporary companion(she became my permanent companion) Sister Aniuska Bustamante! She is really wonderful. She is from Madrid Spain, she's happy, she's obedient, she's beautiful, and I love her. I find myself thinking in her accent and saying things like "why you no look?" instead of "why didn't you look?" I really wish the CLAM was still a bilingual mission because I already new English and it seems like everyone down here speaks spanish. I'm sure it was inspired though. The very next thing I did my first day was take driving test which I was not expecting, and it's a miracle that I did as well as I did running on like 3 hours of sleep. After that my companion took me grocery shopping and she ran into a fence so now I am the driver for our companionship, not to mention I get to pay for half the damages(sorry mom and dad). Next we had a big meeting where we found out about our areas. Get ready! We are white-washing Malibu! It's my companion's first english area and she doesn't feel comfortable speaking it a lot(I think she is pretty good at it). Anyway, I thought the mission president was kidding, but alas he was not. It's been kind of rough because we work in the Visitors' Center 6 hours a day and then with personal study, two hours of companionship study for the new twelve week training program, language study for my companion, and the hour that it sometimes takes us to get to our area when there's traffic, we really don't have a lot of time in our area. I was getting really antsy the first couple of days because we didn't go to our area at all due to trainings and the visitors' center was really slow. I think I was overwhelmed because I was underwhelmed if that makes sense. It was a big adjustment, but not the one I was expecting. I wanted to talk to people! I felt like I wasn't doing anything to help the work progress and it was stressing me out mucho. Now we have been to our area twice and I feel a little better. The members in the Pacific Palisades ward are really great, but I am saddened to report that the ward is about 50% active. From the sound of things we will be workng a lot with less actives. I know that my companion is stressed because our area book doesn't seem to have a lot in it and she keeps saying "What were those elders doing?" I guess we don't have a lot to go off of, but we are going to do our best. I am grateful for the tender mercies of the Lord. I was feeling pretty low on I think my third day because we hadn't been to our area and I just didn't feel like I was doing anything like I said before. It was our first day in our area and we only had time for our dinner appointment with a member family and to knock on a few doors. No one answered but there was a man walking his dog that we talked to and at the end of the conversation he said that he would be willing to meet with us and read the Book of Mormon! (My first contact!) Turns out he was visiting his sister and actaully lives in the Ventura mission. I am still so grateful that my first contacting experience was a good one and hopefully all goes well with Maurice and the missionaries in Ventura. Thanks to our lovely call center I can check in on him and follow up on how things are going/answer any questions he has. Then yesterday I was able to have another wonderful experience on my first tour with a non-member in the VC. Her name is Zazi and she is from ethiopia. We talked a lot about Christ's life as we looked at the Christus and listened to the audio in that room and then we were able to watch a short film about Joseph Smith and we taught the Restoration. It was amazing to see her feel the spirit and listen to her talk about the feelings she had here. She is in another companionship's area so we introduced her to them and she wants to learn more! She doesn't want them to come to her house though so she is going to come here and receive the lessons in the

visitors' center. I am beginning to see what amazing things can happen here for people like Zazi who would probably never have let the missionaries in without the experience that she had here. I'm out of time, but I love you all and I'm grateful for this opportunity that I have to talk about the gospel every day and share my testimony so frequently.

Sister Davis