Sunday, December 28, 2014

BAM! Christmas is DONE!!!

Wow I can't believe Christmas has come and gone! It's so weird! But we honestly had the BEST Christmas EVER! (My favourite one out of the two on my mission.) 

By some miracle we had a white Christmas! It hasn't snow AT ALL this winter until we woke up Christmas morning and there was snow everywhere! Does heavenly Father love Sister Tuiukuafe? I think so. She wanted a white Christmas SO BAD. (: After waking up Christmas morning my companion and I walked a bit like zombies into the living room to open our Christmas gifts (that's right family I DID have the strength to wait until Christmas morning before opening them). After opening them we decided to use one of them, the chocolate chip cookie mix from Katie, for our breakfast! It's Christmas, don't judge. After making/eating cookies we sat by the window for about 30 minutes and just stared outside watching the snow fall. Haha I'm being serious! We sat on the couch and watch snow fall for half an hour! So cheesy! But it was quit enjoyable. Then I ran down the hall to Sister Christensen's room and gave her a pedicure (that was my Christmas gift to her). After which we got dressed and headed for Temple Square for the Christmas program! We used the largest theatre in the North Visitor's centre for our mission to meet in. A lot of sisters came 20 minutes early though so we could run around the empty visitor's centre and take pictures! (We're not allowed to take pictures if there are guests around.) My companion was a narrater for the Christmas program so she sat down in the front and I went up in the control room for the duration of the program since I was in charge of the audio visual and Sister Ueno (from Japan) was in charge of the lighting so we were up there panicking together. (: Basically this was the outcome of the Christmas program...

The perspective of the audience:

The Christmas program went so well! The spirit was SOOO strong in the theatre. All the musical numbers were so beautiful and the videos and pictures were all so powerful. At the end President Poulsen and some sisters in the audience all recited The Living Christ from memory and that was realllly cool. (: It was a really good peaceful way to spend our Christmas morning (: (:

The perspective of Sister Davis and Ueno up in the control room:

WE SURVIVED THE CHRISTMAS PROGRAM!!! Somehow we managed to coordinate all the lighting and audio visual perfectly in sync with what was going on down in front of the audience! We're positive the only reason it worked so well was because we were praying like crazy up there! The spirit was SOOO strong in that control room haha! We also managed to switch off controls while I had to go down into the theatre to sing one of the musical numbers. We were really hoping it would all run smoothly so the sisters would really have an enjoyable Christmas program and it was a success! It was very hectic but the best way to spend Christmas morning! :D

After the program we all went to the South Visitor's Centre down where the mission offices are and had cookies and milk (yay for more cookies)! We then went upstairs and each zone met in a certain spot and we got to give all the sisters in our zone their Christmas gifts! It was so fun!!! When we all finished opening Christmas gifts the square opened up again and we resumed the work of salvation!!!

Long story short: We had a very merry Christmas. I'm glad I was able to call home Christmas eve instead of Christmas day because that just made things sooo much more helpful! (Besides it was already Christmas in Australia so it worked perfectly for Sister Tuinukafe's family.) We're excited that Christmas is over, though because we have a lot going on in the coming little while. Our investigator from England is officially in the states now and she will be flying into Utah this coming Sunday! We are SO excited to see her! AH!

Oh and probably the best Christmas miracle we saw this last week was our investigator in Hawaii got baptized on Saturday the 20th!!! We are so happy for him! Two of his children were also baptized with him as well and they all just seemed so happy! The Elders in Hawaii were extremely stoked as well- they kept texting us all day long in Hawaiian and Tongan things like "Merry Christmas!" and "We love you!" and "Thank you so much!" haha lets just say everybody was super excited!

This email is getting a tad long so I think it's time to bring it to a close but I hope all of you had such an amazing Christmas! I hope you have all been sharing The Gift with others and I hope that your testimony of Christ was strengthened this holiday season. I am so grateful to know that is was this same world that Christ came to and was born on. I love knowing that, and I love knowing the reason He came. I know that Christ wasn't just a great teacher, or a prophet, but that He truly was the Messiah! His coming was foretold by prophets since the world began! And He did come! It's just incredible to me. And I know He's coming again, that is what is even more incredible to me. I'm so excited for that day. Seriously.

Oh my goodness I just love you all! I hope you had a very Merry Christmas and I hope you have a grand start to the new year! 2015 is coming!? AH!? Can you believe it?! I'm so terrified!!!!

Ok bye!

Sister Davis
Strait out of bed opening the Christmas gifts...haha don't judge we were so tired!!!

Giving out Christmas Gifts to the zone!!!​(Don't mind the two creeping elves on the sign...that's President Harmen and Elder Skanky of the mission presidency...#templesquare)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

This week I cried a lot and saw Big Bird in person...#success

I'll try to do this chronologically...

This last Friday night was AMAZING!!! I went with some other sisters in the zone to see the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert with Santino Fontana (the voice of Prince Hans from Frozen) and The Sesame Street Muppets!!!! I SAW BIG BIRD IN PERSON! Everybody stay calm. There were a lot of children in the audience too but I'm positive I enjoyed it 10x more than all the children there. I mean even The Count was there and I was dying laughing! And big bird! Oh...did I mention we were on the 8TH ROW?!?! That's right. You'd think that would be too close but let me tell you, you cannot be close enough when Big Bird is on stage. Ah! It was excellent! I laughed so hard! And I was almost dying when Santino Fontana was singing...that man's voice.... Some sisters were teasing me saying that if he had proposed to me on the spot I would have said yes but we came to the conclusion that is NOT true because I'm obviously getting married in the temple. But if given the opportunity I would have totally given him the Book of Mormon and begged him to read and pray about it ;) ha! Jokes. He's old. And I'm a missionary. Lets change the subject.

Mission Leadership Counsel was amazing! We met in the Jubilee Room of the JSMB and went a little over our scheduled time because we were have some intense discussion about the mission. It was great! We finally all came to a census that the couches in the sisters lounge need to GO! So they will be removed soon and we're really excited because we are remodeling the lounge and making it a large study room! We all agreed that the lounge is an evil place. The A.P's gave me the task of doing the interior design of the large study room which my companion and I are now renaming the Hinckley Room! Haha(: So that's fun! This probably doesn't mean much to y'all but trust me, it's exciting stuff! We also drilled through lots of numbers and statistics to help find solutions to improve the mission. We will be having Zone Conference tomorrow so we'll be passing most of what we concluded in MLC onto the mission there! Zone Conferences are THE BEST! It's great to see the work pressing forward!

Our investigator in Hawaii is being baptized this Saturday!!! He had been praying about if he wanted to be baptized and when we called a few days ago he said that he and the Elders were planning on this Saturday as the day! So excited! We're really happy for him because his wife and children will also be baptized as well. This was the man we met on Temple Square months ago when he was passing through on the way home from his brothers funeral. We had taken him through God's Plan and gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon. So we are really happy for him because now he has the knowledge that he will see his brother again and he seems so happy. (: (: So we are so happy!

There has been, what we're calling, THE VIRUS passing around the mission this last week. We had a sister in our zone coughing up blood, but have no fear she is ok now. Another sister in the zone started showing the symptoms of THE VIRUS yesterday morning. As soon has we heard this we literally ran to her apartment, tore the sheets from her bed and informed her companion to start deep cleaning the apartment. Then we ran down to the grocery store and bought heaps of chicken soup and orange juice so she can be pumped full of vitamin c and liquids. Then we came back bearing our gifts of clean sheets, orange juice, and chicken soup. She is feeling a little better today but we are on guard with all sorts of things in case she begins to worsen! So yes, it was quite an exciting morning!

But alas, last night was the best night from this last week. For our Christmas gift from President Poulsen we were all assigned a family go have a Christmas dinner with, here in Salt Lake City. The family we were assigned to visit was The McConkie family. And yes, the father is the nephew of Bruce R McConkie. Needless to say it was a very spiritually powerful night. Brother McConkie definitely has the "McConkie voice" when he speaks and he always refers to you as "my friend". Haha! He told us the story of about how he had auditioned all those years ago to be the announcer for the choir, he was up against Lloyd Newel (obviously Lloyd was given the job) but Brother McConkie was so close!!! Haha! He also told us about how he is a lawyer for the church when it gets sued and shared with us some funny stories about that! haha some people's children...(: After dinner they brought us in the living room and said he wanted to share with us some of his favorite Christmas songs and then he turned on The 12 days of Christmas (the vocal point arrangement)!!! So funny! He was laughing up a storm he just thought that song was so cute and funny! After the music though he wanted everyone to share their favorite Christmas memory, which was tender. (I shared about the Christmas we spent in Alabama before Granddaddy passed away.) Lastly, before we could share our message he said he wanted to share a message with us! Haha so he went and grabbed a book he wanted to read from for us. It was a book written by his uncle, Bruce R. McConkie. (: The message he shared was really powerful, it actually made me tear up! When he was reading the spirit just filled the room soo strongly. He read about how we always have to remember that, midst all the millions and trillions of stars and worlds and galaxies in the universe, we have to remember that on THIS earth the Savior was born in a humble stable. And on THIS earth, He lived and died for all of us. So yes, it was a really special experience being in their home. When we left we all felt like we had just left the home of prophet!

This morning was pretty interesting and a little emotional as well. I'm not sure how it came up, or why (perhaps it had to do with us discussing wars and things like that in the Book of Mormon), but my companion asked me to please explain to her what 9/11 was and why it happened (my companion is from Australia). I think it was the first time I have ever explained 9/11 to someone before. So I explained what happened and why and how we remember it and she asked lots of questions. I don't think I ever realized how reverent I feel about those events until this morning when we talked about it. I also realized that I never really talk about that unless someone asks me to, which I find interesting, and I suppose it is that way with a lot of people in this country? But anyways, it was good because it really helped me remember how much I love this country, and it really strengthened my testimony of the gospel. It did leave me feeling a bit somber, but I suppose it should. Of course, afterward she asked me to say the closing prayer for morning studies and I just cried and cried all during my prayer haha(: Today isn't a special holiday for our country or anything but today I really feel a lot of gratitude for those people who established this country. And I am also so grateful for those who have died for my country, and those who are currently serving for my country. And I am also very grateful that my religion encourages me and teaches me to love and respect whatever country I live in and/or am from.

Well, I believe that is the bulk of what I wanted to share today. I guess there is just one more scripture that I'd like to include in this letter.

"And it came to pass that he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it - In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children - and he fastened it upon the end of a pole...and he called it the title of liberty..." 

(Alma 46:13/14; The Book of Mormon - Another Testament of Jesus Christ)

Love yous,

Sister Davis

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Nobody really knows how cool the mormons are until they visit their parking garage...

Ok the moment dad has been stressing about all week is finally here! (; Transfer news! Ahaha(: So I'm staying a South 2 Zone Leader, but my new companion is Sister Tuinukuafe from New Zealand/Melbourne Australia! Woo! Don't be deceived though, she was born in Tonga! (I know, Temple Square sisters are so exotic...except when they're that one white girl from Utah...what?) Anyways, yes we are companions and we are so excited! She's in her last transfers so I'm "killing" someone, AGAIN. (Disclaimer: "Killing" in missionary lingo means you're their last companion before they go back home.) We're over West Gate and Guest Services, like last transfer, so it's all busy and all exciting!

This week has been SO WEIRD! Last...was it Friday...I saw Pine View High School Concert Choir. We had gone to lunch at Cheesecake factory and we were walking through the JSMB when I heard this beautiful music and I thought, "Oh how cute, another high school choir!" And then Mamma Meek ran up to me and I was like "Whaaaat!?" (On the inside of course.) So we hugged and then I looked up to see my former choir-mates all around the balcony singing a Dan Forest arrang. and I just wanted to sit on the floor and listen for a good hour and cry because it was so beautiful and they were all so beautiful! Funny enough, it was their last song so right after they all came running down the stairs and I was swarmed by millions of smiling faces calling me by my first name, AH! Weird. Nathan ran up and tried to hug me and I had to jump back into ninja pose and say, "Woah! Nathan I love you dude but I can't hug you I'm a missionary!" ahahaha! I think it was Mckay who scolded him and laughed and showed him how to properly shake my hand hahaha awe man! Tommy was there too! And Shandon and JAKE! Jake made me cry. He didn't even have to say anything he just looked at me and I started to tear up. And Breanne was there and Aliesha and if I listed them all I would get a head-ache haha. It was great though. That night in the North Visitors Centre I ran into them again and Shandon asked me to demonstrate for him how to contact someone, teach a principle, give a pass-along card and invite. So I stopped like the next guy who walked by and they just stood off to the side watching hahaha and then I challenged them to go find someone they could do that for. Great future missionaries, I'm tellin ya!

Enough about that.

This last week we decided to do our Weekly Planning in the church office building. Our weekly planning sessions was on Sunday and the church office building is closed on Sunday but since we're missionaries we have access cards that let us in! So we went to the bottom floor near the cafeteria and planned for the week. While we were there security walked in and said, "Now you sisters aren't going to run outside and try to talk to the prophet are you???" And we were like "What!?" and he told us that the brethren were about to come out of the building and get in their golf carts to be driven down to the conference center for the 1st presidency devotional! But then he reminded us that we're not allowed to stalk them and try to talk with them. Haha(: So we looked back at the doors every once in a while to see if we could catch a glimpse but they must have smuggled them out while we were praying or something hahaha!

Two nights ago we had a neat experience at Harmons! So our beautiful, incredible investigator in Provo works here in SLC at the Harmons across the street. Well, we were running short on time to go home and cook dinner #zoneleaderlife so we decided to run and grab something there, and as we did we ran into her! It was such a tender mercy too because she was having a really hard day/week and we were able to talk through some things with her and just help remind her how much we love her! It was great though, right there in the produce section of Harmons we had a short powerful lesson! Haha(: Ok maybe not short, it was like 20 minutes that we were talking but you get the idea. We were so grateful for that though.

Alright last story. Transfer day, yesterday, was insanity. Sister Tuinukuafe started going a little crazy because our phone was going off the hook and I had to tap her on the back and tell her, "Don't worry will get used to it." And then she gave me this adorable sad face. haha! But part of the reason it was crazy was because one of the sisters in our zone who just got back from outbound was very very sick with a temperature of 102F. So the AP's located President Loos (who was the only Priesthood holder on the square at that time) and they told us we would ride up in his car with him to visit so he could give her a blessing. So! We met up with president in his office and walked down into the tunnels to go in the church parking garage where employees and missionaries park. Well long story short we got lost because president couldn't remember which section he parked his car in and the church's underground parking garage is MASSIVE. So we spent almost 20 minutes walking around laughing about how nobody in the world would even know that the Mormons have such a massive parking garage unless they came and actually saw it. President Loos told us that his first couple MONTHS here he got lost in it every single day haha! But we eventually found his car and drove up to the apartment and he was able to give the blessing. Ah it was just an interesting way to end our insane transfer day haha!

Sister Fuentes is returning from outbound today and her flight lands in less than half an hour!!! I am so excited to see her I don't think anybody understands! I just love her! And Chile! Viva Chile! Speaking of people I LOVE...Sister Garisau (my MTC companion) came back this week to visit the mission!!!! I was SO happy to see her, she is so beautiful! We talked a while and we've come to the conclusion that I WILL be visiting her in New Zealand after the mission. There is no question, it's going to happen!

Anyways, now I'm just rambling because I just love being a missionary so much and I love being on Temple Square so much and I love all the fun, exciting, hard, depressing, immense miracles and events that take place on a daily basis! 

I almost worry sometimes because serving on Temple Square 24/7 you kind of enter this spiritual bubble that cannot be penetrated so if you ever spend lots of time outside of Temple Square you can really feel a strong difference. But it's also a blessing because it helps you to very easily discern the good from the bad. I think that is why the leaders of the church encourage members to visit the temple on a regular basis. The more we do that the stronger the Lord's influence is in our lives and thus the more protection we gain through the ability to discern right from wrong. And the thing is, you don't have to enter the Temple to gain that spirit of the temple. Entering is ideal, but even spending time on the temple grounds can help you gain the spirit. Which reminds me of one more thing I want to share!

Our investigator in England was having a pretty rough week. She had a lot of things thrown at her and by others who have a lot of negative feelings toward the church. It's been interesting to hear about, though, because we can feel that each trial is strengthening her testimony. She ate dinner with some members the other night and afterwards she texted us to tell us about what a powerful spiritual experience it was and that it just reaffirmed and reminded her that she does know this is all true and that she does want this in her life. She also was able to recently visit the London temple. She spent time in the visitor's center talking to the sisters there as well. (: She told us about how she enjoyed visiting the temple and that made us so happy! We KNEW that if she made the choice to visit temple grounds, she would feel the spirit, and have a positive experience. So long story short: The church is true!

Alright I promise this letter is reaching it's end! Mostly because I don't know what else to say. (: But I love you all and don't ever forget that the first vision really did happen. It really did. Don't ever forget.

Love yous!

Sister Davis
My new companion Sister Tuinukuafe and I! She is gorgeous!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

I have a lot of feelings about this last week....

I found it very fitting and humorous that the Christmas season on Temple Square started off with me seeing Katie, Kori, Kallie and Kaitlyn. (: (: That was the best. My companion and I have been discussing it and we've come to the conclusion that Katie is trying to fatten me up before coming home with all of those treats! Ahha jokes...sorta (; Since seeing them, I've seen someone I know every single night on the square, it's an interesting experience to say the least!

This Christmas season we have a new assignment on the square that we call Sing-and-Smile. It's brilliant. Pretty much there are groups of sister missionaries assigned to sing Christmas songs at certain times in certain areas of Temple Square for a bit. A lot of sisters seemed a little hesitant about it but once we did it our first night we fell in love with it immediately! There is nothing more joyous in this world than singing! I think I've realized a part of the reason why I love to sing so much and I believe it has so much to do with the fact that I feel completely myself when I am singing. So anyways, we get to sing several times a week and we love it soo much!

On Sunday morning after Music and The Spoken Word we took our first VIP tour! I was so nervous! The guest we were showing around was the family of a state legislator from Florida. Wow what a neat experience! (It was a learning experience as well.) We showed them the Christus first, then took them through the God's Plan presentation. They have 2 adorable little boys and you could feel the spirit so strong as we were going through. Then we took them to the Tabernacle where we let the little boys do the acoustic demonstration with us (sooo cute). The last place we took them was the Temple Model and we explained what goes on inside temples. It always intrigues me how much people feel the spirit without even realizing it. You can see it in their eyes! Their spirit is just peeking out through their eyes shining sooo bright when you teach truths of the gospel. So it was a neat tour and they were such a wonderful family!

Another neat tour that we took this week was just about two days ago. We met this older couple looking at the Temple Model and began talking with them a lot about just religion in general and how it affects society positively. They asked us a LOT of questions about the 'Mormon' view of different things. We took them to the Assembly Hall (the only building they hadn't already been in) and explained to them about our church services and what we study from in the church. They began talking to us about how they are at a point in their life when they are wanting to get more serious about religion and overcome what they call their 'common man' or their 'common self'. We shared with them Mosiah 3:19 about the natural man and how we can overcome that through the atonement of Jesus Christ. We also shared the story of the conversion of Alma the Younger, which really seemed to strike a chord with them and they began to ask questions about the Book of Mormon a lot! They were really curious so we offered them a free copy and they accepted! It was really cool! After the tour we directed them to the JSMB to see the Joseph Smith which. We really hope they enjoyed that. They gave us their information so that we could keep in touch with them and teach them more.

I don't know if you remember, but a couple months ago at the MAP desk I met a girl who was raised a member of the church but had gotten caught up in drugs when she was really young. She came to Temple Square looking for guidance because she really wanted to be clean again. We were going to meet her every day but we never saw her again and had no way of contacting her. :( Well about 5 nights ago she came back to Temple Square! Oh my goodness I was so happy to see her! I didn't think she would remember me, but she did and she was back because she decided to leave her boyfriend (who was the one dealing the drugs) and get back in contact with her family. That was such a tender mercy to see her again because few days had past since I first met her that I didn't think about her and hope that she was ok.

Yesterday was a crazy day as well. One of our current investigators brought her friend to the square with her seeking a priesthood blessing. We had heard about this friend before but we had also heard that she was really hesitant about the church because of hard experiences from earlier in her life. But, she came, and we were able to have one of our senior Elders give her an incredibly powerful priesthood blessing. I have to tell you though, before we found Elder Burton to give the blessing, a young man (probably 22 or 23) who had just come out of the temple, stopped them and said, "Hey, is there something I can do for you?" AH! He was so in tune with the spirit! He talked to them a little while and offered that if we couldn't find someone, he would be willing to give the blessing. Wow! So prepared! I don't know what happened to that young man after he left but he is going places in life! haha(: It was a neat thing to see.

Alright last thing, I promise. This morning was Relief Society, as always, but this morning it was held in the Relief Society building. The mission met in the president's room and the General Relief Society Presidency came and spoke to us. What a powerful experience...I almost cried like 6 times! haha(: I had a lot of interesting thoughts and feelings during the meeting, which I won't share all of them, but I will share a small part of some of the things I wrote during the meeting. "Throughout the course of my mission I have learned, little by little, why I was called to Temple Square. But when I'm in meetings like this I almost feel like I know completely why. But I think most difficult part of being a missionary here is the feeling I have in these meetings when I wish so badly that Mary, Kathy, and Sarah could be here. (Investigators names have been changed.) I wish so badly that they could see what I see and feel what I feel." And it's so true. I love being a missionary on Temple Square, but it has challenges that no other mission does. Every time I'm sitting in a meeting like that I always think of investigators that I'm closest with and I just wish so badly they were here. Or, when they're going through hard times at home, I wish SO BADLY that I could just go be with them and talk to them in person. It's. so. hard. I just want to be with them but if I'm with any one of them I would have to be in either England or Provo or Kansas or New York or California...and I could only be in one of those places...which means I would only know one of them. So I am grateful that I'm here, where I can know all of them...but it's hard knowing all of them, but never being able to be with them to help them.

Nonetheless... I'm here. And I love it here. (: I love the Christmas lights I love the masses of people! I love the general authority leaders of the church. Haha! I love my mission! By the way, today is my companion's last p-day...and that makes me love the mission even more.

Ok I will stop writing now. I love you all so much! I hope you're having an amazing Christmas season! Thank you for all your prayers because there is no snow here yet and I just know that's because mom and dad you've been praying a lot for me. (; Haha!

Love yous
Sister Davis