Tuesday, September 24, 2013

September 23, 2013 I can't believe it! Two transfers down and I'm in a new area!

Hey everyone!

So, I know you are all dying to know where I've been transferred to... Well, I have been transferred to Reading, PA (pronounced "redding"). My area is Reading 1st West and I'm a missionary in the Reading 1st ward. I am also opening up this area meaning both my companion and I are new to this area and we're starting from scratch with our area book (no potentials or anything). Luckily there are elders that have been here so they know the area and have some people they want us to see. The missionaries that have been here before have had the entire Reading 1st ward boundaries as their area, but now they've split it into three areas! So, there are three sets of missionaries in this ward and it is so awesome but kinda different, too! 

Sister Davis and new companion Sister Whitaker
My new companion is Sister Whitaker from Riverton, UT and she is so cute. She also has brown curly hair like me. We have a lot in common and we get along really well. She has been out for 6 months now and she was in Harrington, Delaware before here. We are living in a house right now, which is awesome! A member in this ward bought the house for the missionaries to live in. How neat is that? We also live with another set of sisters, Sister Hyatt and Sister Handy, and they are opening the Reading 1st East area. So, it's nice to have them going through the same adventure that we are. Elder Stannard and Elder Eldredge are the elders and my district leader that have been in the Reading 1st ward and still are. I guess their area is now considered Reading 1st South. It has been an interesting couple of days trying to figure out new boundaries and getting to know the area. We only have one car and so both the sister companionships are sharing the car. This is also going to be interesting figuring out how we're going to share it... Lots of walking in this area.

So some fun facts about Reading:

Apparently Taylor Swift grew up in Reading. The Reading Railroad like in the game Monopoly is right by my house! I'll get pictures to you soon of that. That's about all I know now. 

Downtown Reading reminds me of a mini Philly just because of the row homes and how culturally diverse it is there. My ward is also very diverse and I love it! I finally feel like I'm in Pennsylvania. (The Doylestown ward was just white people.) The Bishop and Relief Society President are awesome in this ward! The Bishop definitely knows his role for holding the keys of missionary work in this ward. Now, hopefully, we'll start to build trust with the members so we can receive referrals from them! I'm really excited for this new ward and area! The elders said that they have baptized 9 people and have seen a lot of miracles, so I'm hoping we'll start to see some miracles too!

So getting up here on Wednesday was quite the adventure. At first we didn't have a car because the car we were supposed to have was Elder Stannard and Elder Eldredge's, but they wrecked theirs the week before... So, Elder Smuin wasn't sure that we would be going to Reading that night and that we might have had to stay at the mission home. Luckily, though, he found a car and so we started to pack all of our luggage up. Then we found out that we were sharing a car with Sister Hyatt and Sister Handy and so we had to unload all of our luggage and pack an overnight bag (literally a garbage bag) for three days until the service elders could bring our luggage to us! We were able to fit all of our bedding in the car though (including my memory foam) and some other things we needed. I wish you could have seen our car haha. It was pretty packed. So we finally made it to Reading and we went straight to the church to meet Elder Stannard and Elder Eldredge. After mapping with them for hours we finally arrived at our house. Sister Hyatt and Sister Handy were given a dinner appointment by the elders and so Sister Whitaker and I were left to find something for dinner. Because the elders moved out, they raided the cupboards and fridge so we hardly had any food. Fortunately, though, we found a small box of shells and cheese that didn't require any butter or milk or anything so I didn't starve that night! Oh and there were only two decent beds and the third is missing a frame and the mattress is pretty sunk in in the middle. So, Sister Whitaker and I have the beds and Sister Handy and Sister Hyatt are sleeping on the couch and the floor. I'm glad that I brought my memory foam, though, because I'm letting Sister Hyatt borrow it while she's sleeping on the floor. Hopefully tomorrow the beds will arrive. They brought us our luggage on Friday night, but no beds. Oh and there are only two desks in the house so Sister Whitaker and I are studying at the kitchen table. And of course there is only one bathroom... 
Sisters Whitaker, Davis, Handy & Hyatt

It has been quite the adventure, but I love all of these sisters and we get along great. The elders have also been very kind and helpful! I am super excited to be serving here right now and I can't wait until I start seeing miracles!

I hope you are all doing well! I love you!

Sister Davis :)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

September 16, 2013 What a Weekend!

My dearest family,

This week has been good, but the weekend was crazy!! First of all to start it off, we had a zone conference in Philly on Friday with Elder Bowen from the Seventy. It was sooooo good!! He talked about how to distinguish between the Spirit and our own thoughts, miracles (faith and obedience), and who we are (House of Israel/gathering of Israel). Afterwards, we met with a new investigator named Rameses. Our district leader and his companion found him a couple of weeks ago when they were street contacting in our area. They referred him to us, so we contacted him the next day. Rameses was very interested, so we set up a time for this past Friday to meet with him. We had a lesson with him about the Book of Mormon and answered some other questions he had. He wanted to go to church this Sunday, but he wanted to go with the elders who found him first. (They attend the ward after the Doylestown ward.) So we told him he could. We then found out when we were leaving that he has schizophrenia. The elders said he loved church and had a really good time, though :).

Fonthill Castle in Doylestown, PA
built 1908-1912 of concrete by Henry Chapman Mercer

Saturday night we got our transfer calls. You're never going to believe this.....both of us are being transferred!! I was shocked that I was leaving too! We were both very concerned for all of our investigators because we weren't sure why we were both leaving and who would be coming back. Yesterday we found out from the Assistants to the President that our area is being "closed" for this transfer because they need a car elsewhere and because they feel that our members don't appreciate us. So, for six weeks it is up to the members to keep in contact with our investigators! I know they can do it if they'll set the time apart to. They really are a great ward. I'm going to miss this area. I didn't think that it would be so hard to leave an area after only being here for 2 1/2 months, but it is really hard. I love the people here and my investigators. I just hope the Lord will keep them in good hands! Wednesday morning we have our transfer meeting, so I'll find out then where I'm going. 

This past week we met with Ava and Sebastian twice! One of these lessons was the Law of Chastity... My first one and of course it had to be with a ten and eleven-year-old. Luckily though, the church makes awesome videos, so we showed them a video that talks about the Law of Chastity. This is another thing that is super hard about being transferred. Without the missionaries here to finish teaching them, they won't be able to be baptized :(. Hopefully the Jarrettown elders will be able to teach them. (Their grandpa lives in the Jarrettown ward.) Oh just a little tangent, Brother Luce, their grandpa, used to live in Mona! How cool is that? Anyway, if the elders do finish, hopefully I'll be able to come back for their baptism. 

Casey came to church again this week and so did David! This is another thing that's hard. We were beginning to see miracles happen here. Now we have to leave :(. I hope the ward will keep Casey and David coming, as well as Dan. 

Sister Davis and Robbyn

It sounds like you are all doing well and have your work cut out for you with the garden and canning! The weather over here is starting to cool off. Fall is definitely coming. Brother Lowe said that they've said this is going to be a very cold and long winter....... :/ Oh boy....

Well, I forgot my planner today, so I can't really remember anything else big that happened this week. I hope you are all doing well, and I'll let you know next week where I've been transferred to!

I love you all! Can't wait to hear from you!

Sister Davis :)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

September 9, 2013 The Lord Really Does Bless Us with Tender Mercies

Hey family!

How is everything? It sounds like Megan's pageant was...good? I'm sorry it was a little hectic. And for that rain?! That sounds like the rain out here, not Utah rain!! I guess there have been some answered prayers out west. 

As for my subject title, I have seen some tender mercies that the Lord has blessed me with this week. Yesterday at church, we had two investigators and a less active come to church! The investigators we had there were Dan and David. Now we knew that Dan was going to be there, but David was a complete surprise. Saturday we went to his house to help him move some stuff out of his living room for his new TV, but we didn't mention anything about church because he told us he didn't want to come anymore. What a wonderful surprise it was to see him walk into Sacrament meeting yesterday. Having Dan there was also a miracle. We also met with him on Saturday and he said that adjusting to three hours of church was a little difficult for him, but he said he would come to church again. Talking with Dan after church, he told us that every time he has come, he has found something that hits home for him! Hopefully we'll be able to continue to help him build a testimony. That's one thing I think our investigators are lacking--a testimony. Dan and especially David are investigating more intellectually than they are spiritually. I hope that the Lord will continue to bless them with spiritually experiences as well as revelation for us to know how to help them build their testimonies. 

As for the less active [sister]... Her name is Casey and she has some physical and mental disabilities. We meet with her every Thursday night and read the children's Book of Mormon or we've also taught her lessons from the Friend magazine. We've invited her to come to church several times and she often says she will, but on Saturday night when we call to make sure she's still coming she always has an excuse for why she can't. Something happened this week, though, because she didn't have an excuse. When she first came into church she said she shouldn't have come, but after church she said that she might come again next week! What little tender mercies these are! The Lord really does bless His children when they are diligently working.

Diligence and hard work are the key words there. This past week Sister Jensen and I met with Sister Broadband, a therapist/psychologist who works with LDS Family Services. I've been having a hard time staying diligent and having the desire to serve the Lord and do His work. A lot of this had to deal with homesickness, my lack of confidence, and being shy and not knowing what to say to my investigators to help them. She gave me a lot of advice to deal with my homesickness and insecurities. After meeting with her my whole perspective has changed towards this work. I am more willing to work hard and find people. I'm not completely over my insecurities, but my confidence has boosted quite a bit and I'm able to talk with more people and put my two cents in every once in a while :). The Lord is also blessing me with this. If it has taken me three months to get this far, I'm excited to see where I'll be after 18 months!

As for Ava and Sebastian, we set a baptismal date for them for the 28th of September! Their grandpa was super excited, but their mom was indifferent. She didn't oppose, but she also said that the weeks that she and her ex husband exchange the kids always changes. (Ava and Sebastian go to their dad's place every other weekend.) So, their grandpa said he would talk with their mom. They also didn't make it to church yesterday, so that may push back their baptismal date as well... 

Mom, you are not going to believe this! I got a memory foam topper for free!!! When we helped David move his stuff on Saturday, he gave me one of his memory foam toppers. He wasn't using it and they were just sitting in a room unused, so Linda and David insisted that I take it home. I didn't turn him down on that one. Thank you sooooo much for the package too!! You guys are the best! Sister Jensen loved the puzzle and she says thanks. Meggie you are so grown up! You look so pretty in your pictures! Thank you so much for the food and especially the Nutella. I've missed that a lot!

I'll send pictures next week. After we're done emailing, Sister Jensen and I are going on a tour in a "castle" here. Sister Jensen has wanted to tour this place ever since she's been here and I promised her we could go this week because she might be getting transferred this next week.

Well, I hope all is well and that life is good! I hope you've been able to see the Lord's tender mercies in your life this week. I love you all very much! Thank you for everything you do for me and your love and support! 

Sister Davis 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

September 3, 2013 Happy Labor Day!

Happy Labor Day... a day late!

It sounds like you had a rainy Labor Day weekend. That's how it was here this weekend--kinda rainy. Happy Birthday Kelsie!! I hope you had a great day :).

I am so glad that you received Sister Pond's Facebook notification as well as the other emails from my mission. I was a little worried that you would be expecting an email from me yesterday and would wonder what happened to me. I forgot last week that Labor Day was this week, and we also didn't find out that our P-day had been switched until last Friday. Since there was no way I could tell you, I am very grateful that Sister Pond was willing to send that to you. Sister Pond is wonderful! This ward is great and has helped me to feel right at home.

Sister Davis and Sister Jensen in the Doylestown Ward

That's cool about Grandma's Relief Society thing [music program]and for Cody! Hopefully his visa will come soon! I have had two visa waiters in my district. The first one flew out with me and he left for Peru at the end of this transfer. The current visa waiter is serving in Brazil.

Someone did tell me that the church has produced a few new short clips. I haven't seen them yet, due to the fact that I don't have headphones and I have to wear them in the library... Hopefully though we'll get iPads. Those would be soooo helpful in our teaching! 

Well this week was quite interesting. Because we've had to go down to Philly so much this past month, we were SUPER low on miles. So, to save miles we walked on Tuesday and on  Saturday. That was not fun. I don't know how those missionaries do it that have to walk. My feet hurt so bad, I was hot and sweaty, and my knee was killing me. (A couple of weekends ago I was helping a family move and I did something to my knee. It doesn't bother me now, only when I walk for a long time.) But, I made it and we are definitely going to try to plan our miles out better this month. 

Wednesday we had Zone conference with four zones. It was really good and I learned some awesome new things about the doctrine of Christ and the invitation to be baptized. That night we met with Dan in the church building. Sister Nielson (who is wonderful) came with us. We first gave Dan a tour of the church because he was going to come to church this Sunday. He told us while giving him the tour that he felt good!  We taught him the Message of the Restoration and invited him to be baptized. He was a little taken back by this invitation, but he understood how important and serious of a commitment this was. He told us he wanted some time to think before he gave us an answer. Dan also came to church on Sunday and he seemed to have a good experience. He was fellowshipped very well and he participated a lot. We weren't able to talk with him after church, but our Ward Mission Leader gave him a ride home and said he would talk to him about it. 

This past week, we didn't meet with Ava and Sebastian, but we are meeting with them tonight! This will probably push back their baptismal date, but we're still really going to push for it to be at the end of this month! 

Yesterday for Sister Jensen's birthday we got to go to the Turdo home for dinner. They live at the very top of our area and are located right on the Delaware River. It was such a pretty drive. We definitely need to take that drive if we come back to visit Doylestown. 

On Friday we met with David to figure out what was bothering him. He basically told us that he has a problem with church because it is so family oriented and he doesn't have that "tie" with him at church. (His wife isn't interested.) He also has a problem with authority and rules in our church, and he also has a problem with violence and murder in the Book of Mormon. He was a correction officer and had some bad experiences with that that the Book of Mormon reminded him of. Basically, he doesn't have a testimony and he has been more into this intellectually rather than spiritually. Hopefully when we meet with him next week, we'll be able to help him build his faith in Christ as well as his testimony.

That's about all for my week. I hope you are all doing well and enjoying school! I love you all!

Sister Davis :)