Monday, July 30, 2012

With Sister Seamons from Rexburg

Friends and Family,

Well, it's another great day at Byu-Idaho. I mean the Los Angeles mission :) Every day is a great day at Byu-Idaho and in any mission. We had some good experiences this week that were a little unexpected. I don't know if you will remember Zach who we transitioned to the singles ward, but he actually ended up dropping the missionaries. He said that he wanted to be a member, but just couldn't agree with one thing; the church's standpoint on gay marriage. In my experience this is an issue for a lot of people. It turns out that he didn't really like the singles ward because the dating scene was a little overwhelming for him. Anyway, yesterday we were near his home and I just felt like we should stop by and see how he was, maybe make sure that while he may not want to be baptized, he is certainly welcome to come to our ward. It wasn't in our plans so we wrestled with that for a few minutes, but ultimately decided to go. it was such a good experience. He told us that if he hadn't met us and studied with us and the other sisters that he knew he wouldn't still be sober and that he definitely wouldn't still be praying. He was having a difficult day and was really glad that we stopped by. We talked a lot about the Book of Mormon and how much it can help us, especially once we know for ourselves that it is true. It sounds like he will probably come to our ward sometimes because he really enjoyed it and felt welcome there. It was such a cool experience to feel the spirit with him and know that even though he isn't getting baptized right now, he is coming closer to Christ. We received a referral a while ago for an older couple and have only ever been able to reach them on the phone and once very briefly at their home. We invited them to church, but weren't completely expecting them to come. And they didn't... just kidding, they did! They stayed for the first hour and went home because she had worn pants and felt uncomfortable. They spoke with a few of our members who assured her that she was fine, but they left with a promise to come back next week looking more formal, and they said they wanted to stay for the other meetings. They seem a little wary of us as missionaries, but excited about the church. I think they just kind of want to slip in unnoticed. Hopefully we can figure out how to develop a relationship with them so that they will find the time to allow us to teach them. Richie is hangin in there! He wants this, but he is scared. Having grown up in the church I can't fully understand, but I think that the adjustment is a difficult one. Not only do people completely change their lifestyle, but they feel that they are expected to dive into this whole new culture that they are very unfamiliar with. Having friends in the church is going to be so important for him, but he is afraid to take those first steps to build friendships. Sometimes working with investigators makes me wonder if Heavenly Father gets frustrated with how we use our agency. We know that praying, studying the scriptures, attending church, and ultimately being baptized is what is best for them; but they have to know that for themselves before it means anything. I'm sure there are a lot of things that my Father in Heaven knows I need, but until I'm humble enough to turn to Him and ask I won't know. Isn't it amazing that we have the opportunity to choose, but at the same time we have a loving Heavenly Father that wants us to find happiness through the right choices, and will let us know what those are if we will only ask Him? I find it so comforting to know that I do not have to walk the path of life without direction, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to share with others that they don't have to either. I love you all!

Sister Davis

Thursday, July 26, 2012

This Week's Sister Davis LA Times

I introduced Sister Hara to Krispy Kreme and she loves and hates me for it. 

I get a kick out of finding people asleep in the Visitors' Center.

Some of us with the Hardys - One of the Senior couples serving here.

Hello everyone!

This week hasn't been too bad. Yesterday Sister Hara and I spoke in church and I kept thinking about how my dear friend Melinda was probably standing at a pulpit in Rexburg around the same time for her farewell talk! It was one of those, "We're all standing under the same moon" moments. Anyway, I'm excited to have yet another friend in the field to swap stories and ideas with. We received a disappointing call from Richie earlier in the week. He said that he had been talking to his friend that is investigating in another mission and how overwhelming it all is for both of them. He explained that he had a lot going on and just wanted to take a week off and start up again the following week. Lo and behold he called us two days later and said that he felt horrible and asked when we could have our next lesson. with how things are going he probably won't be baptized on his scheduled date, but I know he will get there. He knows that he needs a testimony of the Book of Mormon, but that can't come without reading it which he struggles with. He usually reads what we ask him to, but it frustrates him because he can't understand the language. I think we have to help people really have a desire. Especially for those who have never really been familiar with the scriptures because they can be hard for me to understand and I grew up with them! Our mission has been focusing on the fundamentals of helping our investigators learn to pray, read the Book of Mormon, and recognize the Holy Ghost. The meetings have taken some of our area time, but the trainings have been really helpful. I feel like a more effective and confident teacher in the lessons that we apply it all in. We are still struggling a little with everyone being MIA for the summer, but our ward's goal for the summer is to get more involved with missionary work. We received two referrals yesterday after our talks. One of them is only here for a summer program that will be ending in a week, but we are meeting with him this week so hopefully we can plant that seed. The other was from a less active sister that we visited once and she started coming back to church! I guess it just goes to show how far a little reaching out can go. She wants to have us go to lunch with her and her friend from Japan which is perfect because that's where my companion is from! Her friend won't be back from vacation(surprise) until late August, so I don't know that I will still be around, but Sister Hara will be I'm sure so that should be great. I hope you're all doing well and I appreciate everything you do.

Sister Davis

P.S. This is just one of my favorite mormon messages to show people. It reminds me to keep my head where my feet are, choose to be happy, enjoy each moment, and appreciate each difficult experience that I'm given to stretch me and help me grow.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sister Davis's Weekly Post


The Family with Sister Olsen

Friends and Family,

 I was so excited to see pictures of my immediate family with my one and only Sister Olsen! I knew I was going to miss her but I didn't realize how much. Things have been kind of slow going here at the Visitors' Center as well as in our area and those are the hardest times as a missionary without a doubt, but I read in D&C something the other day that really helped me. I have always wanted to be in exactly the right place at exactly the right time and that in and of itself can bring a lot of worry and stress. I'm sure you can all relate to that. While for me it is wondering where I should be as a missionary and if I really was supposed to come to this mission at this time, for others of you it might be that oh so familiar question of "Did I choose the right apartment complex? Oh no... What if I'm supposed to be living somewhere else this semester? Now I'm probably going to be in the wrong ward and I won't meet my eternal companion.. He/she will end up marrying someone else! My entire destiny will be thrown off and I'll end up miserable and alone!" Ok I'm kinda kidding... but I'm probably not too far off! Anyway, the point is that I am continually learning and re-learning(re-learning things is my specialty) that as long as I am living worthily and turning to the Lord I will always be where I need to be. D&C 6:14 "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, blessed art thou for what thou hast done; for thou hast inquired of me, and behold, as often as thou hast inquired thou hast received instruction of my Spirit. If it had not been so, thou wouldst not have come to the place where thou art at this time." When I read that I felt that it was for me and that I just needed to keep going. If I wasn't supposed to be right here right now then I wouldn't be. I have always had the desire to serve a mission, and when it came time to decide I was actually pretty stubborn about it. A large part of my testimony has to do with our desires. I know that the Lord can work with our desires and I personally believe that some of our desires have been given to us as gifts to help us accomplish the things that we need to in this life. For example; I can't explain why necessarily, but I always wanted more siblings and especially a sister. Every day for... years I prayed for another sibling and for a sister. I'm sure that Isaac and Emrie would both still have become a part of my family without those prayers, but I still felt that they were answers to my prayers and that my spirit understood that our family needed them. When people ask me why I wanted to serve a mission I share a lot of different reasons. I wanted to experience a full-time mission, not just hear about them. I wanted to change the way I had seen others change on their missions. I wanted to witness the joy of someone accepting the gospel and claiming the blessings that I have always had. Still, the root reason that I'm on a mission is that I have always wanted to go. There are so many reasons, but when it comes down to it, it has been another one of those desires that has just been there or that i couldn't really explain. I am so grateful that the Lord can take those desires that we have and out of our smallness bring great things to pass. I have to run, but I love you all! Have a good week.

Sister Davis

Monday, July 9, 2012

Friends and Family, Can you believe that this is my fourth transfer? Time has no meaning on a mission. Somehow I can go from feeling like I just arrived to feeling that I've been here for years in a matter of seconds. It has been kind of a crazy week with transfers. I said goodbye to some very dear friends that have been such a huge part of my mission so far, and I'm still getting used to the Visitors' Center without them. My new companion is Sister Hara from Tokyo Japan! I think she was a little disappointed at first because she had some misconceptions about Malibu. I won't lie and say that it's the easiest area in the world, but I think I have her pretty much convinced that it is going to be her favorite area. She has been out about a year so if she's anything like me she could be there until she goes home. We're a little bummed because everyone seems to be flying the coop for summer so it's hard to set appointments and teach people. Our area IS a vacation spot, so I'm not sure why people are gallivanting off to places like Kansas for heaven sake. Anyway, the beat goes on. Hopefully we can use the extra time that we have to find more people to teach. There was an older couple that came into the Visitors' Center and took a tour with some other sisters that really enjoyed it and admitted to watching KBYU on occasion. They referred themselves and live in our area apparently so I'm excited to see what might develop there! Richie is still around.. He wants to be baptized, but needs to be sure that it's the right thing. I agree! The only problem is that he doesn't see the connection between keeping commitments- reading, praying sincerely, etc. - and receiving his answer. He always says that if he doesn't talk to us or see us that he isn't as happy and I am racking my brain to find a way to convince him that it doesn't have anything to do with us. It has to do with what he does with us, and if he is willing it can take the same effect when he does it on his own. It's a process, but I know he'll get there. As far as what I have been pondering upon lately... The usual I suppose. Sometimes in difficult moments when I just feel so weak, I wonder why it has to be so difficult to become. I feel like I have the desire. I want to be a great missionary. I want to be so many things. Why is it that I couldn't just have been born "being." Of course it all comes down to the purpose of life; opposition in all things, learning, and progressing, but a member of our ward said something in church that really hit me and shed some light on it at a different angle. We remember and care so much more about things that we learn for ourselves. I guess it comes down to a sense of ownership and accomplishment. Like a teenager would treat a car that they bought and paid for themselves better than one that their parents handed them, we are more grateful and aware of what we have become because we did something. We know we have faith because that faith has been tried time and time again and we can still stand and testify. In fact we can testify more powerfully than ever before. It can be an overwhelming thought that we have to continue to become for an eternity :) BUT we can trust in our older brother who can see the end from the beginning and will not let us fail. Love you all! Sister Davis

Monday, July 2, 2012

Sister Jenna Davis and LA Times

Friends and Family, The week before transfers is always a little weird, especially for me because as of now I have only ever sent my companion home, so I always know there will be a big change. My companion - Sister Olsen - will be in Rigby Idaho this coming Wednesday and would probably be delighted to meet any of you. Besides that she has agreed to say only good things about me so... Anyway, things have been really picking up in the Visitors' Center since summer began and I've discovered that I love taking youth groups around(not really a surprise). I like to turn the snarky comments that the teenage boys tend to make and somehow relate them to the gospel. Never a dull moment! Taking them through the center and seeing them interact with their leaders has given me a greater appreciation for the leaders. They really can make all the difference, and I'm so grateful that I always had leaders that worked hard to get to know me and plan activities that were not only fun but also helped me become spiritually independent. In other news, Richie is doing well. We invited him to a baptism yesterday, which he attended, and I think it cleared up some of his apprehensions about his own coming up in August. He is pretty devastated that S. Olsen is leaving and we're all hoping that I don't get transferred because an entirely different companionship might not go over too well with him. I'm sure it would all work out though. We are working hard to help him feel at home in the ward so that once he's baptized he isn't dependent on the missionaries. We saw Zach at the center this week and he is planning on being baptized at the end of this month! We had our first real lesson with Elaine and it was great. She seems more curious than anything, but she took notes the entire time and asked really good questions. She graduated from Harvard which is a little intimidating, but she will certainly have no problem reading the Book of Mormon. She made a comment about how small it was which was nice because we usually hear the opposite. She is so compassionate and generous that I can't help but imagine her holding some kind of Relief Society calling. Every time we see her she just goes on about how she wants to do something for us. She is a marine biologist and keeps offering us jobs as ambassadors for her NGO group that's trying to put a stop to overfishing. The point is she is a sweetheart, and I'm praying that she will begin to see the gospel for what it is rather than just an interesting religion. She promised us that she would read the Book of Mormon and pray to know if it is true. I know that anyone that is willing to experiment will come to know that it is. Rob and Cade are back from their vacation so I'm hoping to have an update on them sometime soon. I feel like the lesson I learn and re-learn everyday is to have faith and trust in the Lord. Not a lot that we do in this day and age requires faith. In the past if people wanted to eat they had to plant seeds, attend to them, and wait and watch; hope and pray that the right amount of rain and sunlight would be present to help them grow. Now we go to the store. If we want information we get it from Google or ask Siri? Is that her name? Anyway, most everything we could ever want or need is within our reach no questions asked. Still, growing in the gospel still requires as much patience and faith as ever especially in missionary work. We have to trust(and it can be harder than it sounds) that if we get out their and do something, God will too. Well, I have to run, but I love you all and hope you're doing great! Sister Davis