Wednesday, September 26, 2012

We just learned that Sister Davis has been transferred to Marina Del Rey. A ward member sent us this message with a picture, and a secretly recorded video of Jenna singing a solo in church on her last Sunday in the Pacific Palisades Ward.

 Hi, Your daughter, Sister Davis, has been valiantly serving in our ward in the Palisades. She's lovely, and a blessing to us all. She wanted me to let you know she got transferred this morning to Marina Del Rey. That's a beach community closer to LAX. It's a nice/safe community. I took a picture of her when we were out for frozen yogurt last week. I also had my daughter video tape a little of her solo last Sunday. I'll send that separately. She sure has a gift for singing. Thank you for supporting her, this work isn't always easy!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

(Pic- 9-11 at Pepperdine. A flag for every person that was killed.) 

 Friends and Family,

Well, I'm repenting. This week has been full of tender mercies and I'm very certain that the Lord does not allow us to be tested beyond our limits. Nearly every day something came up for us to do. Whether it was a lesson or someone allowing us to render service we had something to do. It was so much better! One day we were going from appointment to appointment and the time just flew! Otherwise we always had at least one appointment. In my previous life I would have never imagined that I would be begging people for service opportunities. There's an elderly man in our ward who has suffered a few falls recently and we were able to go with a member a few days this past week and clean up. His son is also in our ward and when we offered to come help he didn't want to waste our time... Waste our time?! I hope my pleading wasn't too obvious, but finally he agreed and it was so nice to be there and feel like we were helping someone. It's funny how sometimes getting people to allow you to serve them is like pulling teeth. Anyway, we also finally spoke with some potentials(a couple) that we have been after for months now and have an appointment with them tomorrow at a member's home. We're excited to teach them and I certainly hope it sticks. It's been very difficult to get appointments with people this summer so now that school is in session hopefully our work will pick up. Speaking of that, we also met Isaac! Isaac is a grad-student at Pepperdine Universtiy who we met tracting. His father is a pastor, but he says he is not at all Christian. He is very well-versed in the bible and has come to the conclusion that there is no God, or if there is he doesn't like him. Can you say challenge? He has a lot of extremely difficult questions and I have learned a lot just trying to figure out how to answer him. Still, we know that the one way for him to understand the nature of God for himself is to pray, and to ask. I don't know that he is ready to do that quite yet, but we will continue to invite him. The great thing is that he is open to talking with us, and has a good friend that's a member who he met on a study abroad trip to Israel. He's extremely busy and we have only been able to meet him at the cafeteria where he is studying, which isn't the ideal setting for a lesson, but better than no lesson! He is curious about how we are different from other Christian religions, and so far seems to like the differences. He tells us that there is no convincing him about God because of the terrible things he saw when he was in the service. More than once he has stared me down and said " You can trust in God, but I'm keeping my gun powder dry." Long story short, he is a tough cookie... I know that he has had gospel discussions with his member friend since meeting us and he said that he would read the Book of Mormon. He has a lot of issues with the fall of Adam and Eve and the concept of agency so we gave him 2 Nephi 2 to read. I hope he does because I want to see what he thinks and I'm sure that he won't find the contradictions that bother him so much about the bible. Richie is still struggling and said he didn't know if he will feel like coming to church on Sunday. I'm singing for ward conference and once I told him that he said he would be there. I wish he was coming for other reasons. Sister Hara and I were both feeling pretty hopeless last week. We don't have a lot in common and often have a difficult time understanding each other. However, we are trying hard and when we were discussing all that has and hasn't happened this transfer we were able to look back and see how much we have grown in just five weeks. The only thing I can compare it to is a growth spurt in a teenage boy(maybe Christopher :) I feel like I have been forced to change so rapidly this transfer and honestly it's been a little painful. Sometimes it can be difficult for me to be grateful for a trial or smile through all the stretching, but I do know that it's never for nothing. Today I can say that I'm thankful for these difficult opportunities to grow and after a set of growing pains I hope I will be able to stand a little taller and be a little better. People are always willing to go to great lenghts for an extra couple of inches right? I love you all and pray for you always.

Sister Davis

Last Week's Post

Friends and Family, Greetings from the great and spacious building! Not really, but it feels that way sometimes. It's difficult to understand why if this church is true, and it is, people want nothing to do with it. Needless to say we had a trying week with many hours trying to speak with people who were too busy and "have everything they need." I have way too much time to think between the lack of interest in our area and the language barrier between my companion and I. It is so difficult to stay positive and focused all of the time, and if I'm being honest I didn't do very well this week. I struggle to understand what it is that I'm supposed to be learning and why it is so hard/ I'm so slow to learn it! I was about at my breaking point when Sister Christensen(a roommate) came to the rescue. She explained to me something she once learned about shepherds and how when a sheep consistently wanders off or tries to find a path of its own the shepherd actually breaks it's legs and carries it until it learns to trust in him and stay. Really? I don't know how people know all these analogies. I think I must be more simple minded, but I didn't like the concept. If someone broke my legs I'd just be ticked! When I found out we would be going full-field in Malibu I thought to myself that either a bunch of people would be coming out of the woodwork that we would need the extra time, OR that I was in for yet another lesson of humility. The latter has proved to be the case and I am clinging to the hope that I've learned because I feel that I'm reaching my limit. I know the scriptures teach that we won't ever be tempted or tried beyond our capacity to endure, but sometimes I wonder. I feel guilty thinking of my mission experience as a trial and am trying to change my heart. To be humble and submissive. Richie decided to "take a break" again this week and then called us and asked us to come over, but even with us teaching again I feel like he has kind of quit trying. We got a new Bishop this week and he seems like he will be great. It will be interesting to make some changes with working with him and the new bishopric. The meeting on Sunday of course consisted of testimonies from both bishoprics, newly called and released, and their wives. The theme that hit me from all of them was how when you are serving the Lord you get so much more than you give. I felt the spirit testify to me that that would be true in my life. I feel a little exposed sharing this, but in that moment I disagreed. I felt that after each long day of doing everything all that I could all I feel is my body falling apart and my fuse shortening. I want to experience the joy of missionary work. I want to see people come closer to Christ, but I just feel like my opportunities to really participate in this great work have been limited. It's especially difficult to see the success of other areas and missionaries and wonder "why not us?" I know that in order to be happy I need to lose myself in the service of others. Focus on other people. But, after seven months here I find myself having less faith that it will be the next person that rounds the corner and I just want to throw my hands in the air, look to heaven and scream "What people?!" This is all probably too candid and I may regret being this honest, but it's how I feel. Maybe I'll have some kind of positive conclusion for all this venting next week. Then again maybe not. I do want to say that I love you all, and I appreciate your prayers. Sister Davis

Monday, September 3, 2012

Sister Lagos

There were some areas closed recently in our mission due to gang wars. Malibu wasn't affected, but I do sometimes worry about the coyotes that roam the neighborhood streets?

Friends and Family,

This week was out of the ordinary as well! We were able to have yet another companion exchange and once again I got to go to Lynwood! This time I was with Sister Lagos from Santiago Chile. I learned a lot from her as well. She has been here since May and is an incredible teacher(most everything was in Spanish, but I could tell). I was impressed with her story of how she ended up coming on a mission. She was engaged, but prayed and felt that she needed to serve a mission. She said that she really didn't want to, but knew that she needed to be obedient. I'm lucky to be getting to know all of these sisters who are incredible examples and faithfully respond to the Savior's call to serve. Richie has been dealing with some difficulties with his family this week so it has been difficult to have lessons and he gets discouraged feeling that learning the gospel is one more thing on his plate. We have been trying our best to really listen to him and help him apply the principles of the gospel in his life in simple ways. I feel like a bit of a hypocrite when I talk about that with him though because I'm probably the queen of over-complicating things and making it more difficult for myself. At least I can relate right? We have been trying to contact potentials and begin teaching someone since I came. No one has accepted a return appointment until this past Monday! We had nearly visited all the potentials in our area book and I was beginning to lose hope that it was going to be a successful use of our time. Finally we found Pete at home and he said we could some back later in the week. He was raised Catholic, then decided to be Presbyterian, and is now Methodist. He read the Restoration pamphlet before our lesson and we were able to teach most of it in our first visit. He asked a lot of really good questions about what was different about our church and why we felt that others needed to know about it. It was a really good experience teaching him, but unfortunately he cut us short and kind of rushed us out the door. He did say that he would read the Book of Mormon and when we asked if we could follow up with him about it he halfheartedly said maybe in a couple of months... ??? It was somewhat of a disappointment naturally, but I did learn that our efforts are never wasted. We certainly aren't giving up on Pete, but if nothing else he has made a big step in opening up to learn more and being willing to read the Book of Mormon. If not now I'm sure that he will come to accept the gospel in the future, and I'm grateful that I was able to be there assisting in one of the checkpoints along the way. I still wonder sometimes why people don't just feel the truth of what we are saying! I received some good news from some other sisters this week! My friend McCall(hope you remember her) is finally meeting with the missionaries! I'm so excited for her. I feel like we've always been friends and while I did teach her numerous times at the Visitors' Center she seems like a friend from home. I do daydream about being transferred into her area though. I don't know what will happen with her, but I'm grateful for her friendship and I'm elated that she is taking this step. I think I've pretty much covered everything apart from a. lot. of tracting. I think we will be regulars at the frozen yogurt shop in Pacific Palisades. At least until it cools down.  Oh I almost forgot. I was awakened last night around 3:30 am by a loud noise and our apartment building shaking. I slept through the last earthquake so I'm glad I experienced a few seconds of this one. I hope the next one happens during the day! I don't feel like this is asking a lot... :) Love you all! Have a great week!

Sister Davis