Monday, January 26, 2015

1/26/2015 In Which ShelbyPooh Has Her Second Baptism and Attends a Baptist Church

Good afternoon everybody! :) or morning... haha ahhh this week was amazing!! Well Saturday was amazing, the rest of the week was really interesting! Monday again was a holiday, so we had our district meeting that morning and it was good! This week was transfers so a couple of the missionaries in my district were leaving so it was nice to get some pictures taken and everyone writes in each others "Bye-bye journals" haha But I'm also glad I got one last picture of my district because we got the news this week that we're switching districts!! :/ I don't really know why but I think it's because they took sisters out of an area and put Elders in and so now there wasn't any Sisters in a district so the Suwanee missionaries had to go with this other district. So it'll be me and Sister Twogood and SEVEN other Elders... Heaven help us. Haha jk but I really loved my last district so it'll be weird being with new people. But that's okay! 

So basically we're just continuing to do a lot of member stop-ins and practice lessons with them and trying to get in with some less-actives as well. But this week we were mostly focused on the baptism for Saturday and trying to finish Monica and Maddie's lessons and getting everything confirmed for the service. So Tuesday was our P-day and then that night we had their last lesson! It was kinda weird I was like... "Wait, that's it?" Haha like it's crazy when it was all done because I've been here teaching Monica for a while and when her lessons were finally done it was bittersweet. But then on Wednesday we had another sorta lesson with them and just went over the baptismal interview questions with them in preparation for their interviews on Thursday night! 

Thursday we had another wonderful morning at the food bank volunteering! :) Seriously everyone there loooves us and appreciates our service and help each week! They call us "their girls" :) haha So then we were trying to plan our lesson with Maddie and Joel, our other investigators, that day because we were in need of serious pondering and prayer for that lesson on Friday night. We had a couple of conference talks to choose from and some really good, solid team-ups from the ward that we were trying to figure out what they NEED and what Heavenly Father wants them to hear and know. So we thought about things, studied, and prayed and ended up going over to the Ketchem's house (My favorite Japanese/Filipino family) for some inspiration. I definitely think we were led there by the Spirit because we had a wonderful discussion with them and got really great ideas on how to make our lesson with them go well so that they can start getting answers and understanding and being more open to exercising faith that this is truly God's true church on the Earth. So that was good. And then that night we had Monica's interview with Pres. Joyner who's part of the mission presidency, and then Maddie's interview with the District Leader. They passed :) Haha 

Friday we did weekly planning and then tracted. Then we had our lesson with Maddie and Joel that night and decided to team-up with the Lowry's, for the second time with them. Brother Lowry is a ward missionary and the first time they came with us, I thought he was answering a ton of their questions and the Spirit was so strong, but then they still go off on "Well this is what we believe in and I don't understand why you believe this" and all that fun stuff. It's not unusual though, really. Haha with Maddie and Joel it's always been that way. But the approach we decided to take that night was having both Joel and Maddie tell us their "conversion" to Christianity story. We had found out from dinner with them that Maddie came from an Atheist family. So there had to be some point where she felt the Spirit and "knew" that she wanted to follow Christ and convert to a religion. They really opened up to us and it basically became a big testimony meeting. Ha cuz then they asked us some times when we were converted and what experiences helped with that and what motivates us to want to share our gospel with all of God's children. It was neat and the Spirit was definitely present :) Then we wanted to listen to a talk by Pres. Uchtdorf called "Receiving a Testimony of Light and Truth" and we really felt inspired to share it and thought it might answer some questions. They liked it for the most part but brought up some things they didn't get or bothered them and that's when Bro. Lowry took over haha He says things so much better than I could ever explain and again, when he talks and testifies the Spirit was just SO STRONG. I was looking at Maddie and Joel the whole time wondering "How can they not feel this right now???" Haha I mean seriously, and they still don't understand and don't think that works is as important as faith. That's really their main concern. It's hard with them. But... at least they are sorta slowly progressing... still... sorta.... 

Saturday was the best day! :D First we made a cake for Sister Twogood's birthday cuz that was on Sunday! That was fun and then we went to tract a little bit before the baptism. So we went to the church and started filling up the font and setting up. Also me and Sister Twogood had to practice a song :) Once again I sang at a baptism and am loving the opportunities I get to sing! But don't worry, if you wanna hear it, I'm gonna record it this time and send it home and so you'll have to hear it from my parents! ;) Haha But we sang "Gethsemane" and it sounded soooo good! :) Sis. Twogood did the Alto/harmony part and I did the solo and Soprano part. It was so fun! But there was a great turn out for the baptism and even Monica's non-member parents came to support her! She had been waiting for this day for a long time!!! It was so wonderful, and I had tears in my eyes, to see her go into the water and come up just crying because of the overwhelming happiness she felt! Then she watched her daughter get baptized and it was literally the most amazing thing to watch! Ahhhh that's what this is all about!! :) Seeing someone you've grown to love and watch progress in the Gospel and teach for a while, and then finally get baptized is the greatest thing!!! It makes you want it for everyone :) This Church is true!!!! Then we totally have a tradition here in Suwanee which is whoever gets a baptism, either the Elders or the Sisters, the others have to buy Arizona's for the four of us! Then at the end of the night, we meet up and drink our Arizona's as a celebration for our DUUUNNNK DAY!!!! :D It's like the perfect way to end a baptism. Hahaha 

So then Sunday was the interesting part of my week haha we went to Maddie and Joel's church for our church-swap! So we went to their baptist/Christian church with them on Sunday morning and then they came to ours. It was really interesting but also really sad, knowing how much knowledge and comfort we have from the Gospel really makes you wish everyone could have it. A lot of these religions are missing so much or just barely don't have the full truth. The Sermon was filled with praises to God but then so much hellish talk and damnation ha Anyway it was interesting but the difference between our church and their church was the Spirit. We had a great sacrament meeting and also a great Sunday school lesson, taught by Bro. Lowry, and the Spirit was so strong! Maddie and Joel didn't say much before they left, but we're hoping they liked it and felt the Spirit also. We don't know exactly if we're going to keep scheduling lessons with them. We're going to see if they are still willing and want to meet with us and see if they will be the ones to schedule the lessons, and if they do then we'll keep teaching them. But I think it's best to give them to the Lord more and see how much more He can prepare them if they are truly ready for the Gospel. So we'll see! And then that night we had a little celebration for Sis. Twogood's birthday with cake and party hats and everything :) 

So that was my week! I hope everyone's was as great and interesting as mine!! ;) haha and this email was long, mine are always long. ha but anyway I hope you all have a great week this week and that everyone is staying warm and safe! :) Thank you for the constant support, love, and prayers that come my way and for all the missionaries! This is truly a marvelous work. Do your part in it and the Lord will bless you and prepare people to be in your path :) I've seen it. I love you all!! 

Love, Sister Davenport 

My last District pic!! such good friends and memories :) 

Decorating her cake... yes I decorated it and it looked really weird but sorta unique and cute all at the same time! ;) 

Our selfie with Maddie. She is the cutest and was so happy!! 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

1/20/2015 In Which ShelbyPooh's Pday is on Tuesday

Hello everybody, it's so good to be emailing! Yesterday was a holiday so President wanted to make it a proselyting day so today is our Pday! :) It's kinda weird, it through off some things ha and literally me and Sister Twogood were so tired by yesterday... Pdays are much needed!! Haha you get physically and spiritually EXHAUSTED. It's crazy! But last week was pretty good! No baptism, Monica decided it was a little too fast paced last week but said that one more full week and she'd feel prepared and ready to be baptized! So this Saturday, it's happening!! :D 

So last Monday was pretty interesting... We went out to dinner with our investigators Maddie and Joel. They are the Christian/baptist young married couple who the sister missionaries have been teaching and seeing since about August. We thought that maybe they had dropped us when Sister Perrins got transferred haha but they finally got back to us and invited out to dinner. So we went to a pizza place and me and Sis. Twogood felt good about just getting to know them, talking about random things, nothing doctrinal or gospel related brought up, but just go out as friends! Well once we were finished I felt pretty good about sharing a non-threatening scripture with them from the Book of Mormon. Now again, these two have had many issues with the LDS church and many questions and have just been tough investigators. I shared Ether 12:27 with them, thinking it would be fine and a good message about how through Christ, He can make our weaknesses become strengths, and they have great faith in Christ. when out of no where Joel just starts this discussion/bash about how we believe that we're saved by grace but have to do works to get into heaven and all this other stuff! So literally it turned into a big heated discussion, and I have never been so bold in my life. Haha we were asking very inspired questions and we just kept going back and forth as to what each of us believes. It's never really a bad argument but man was it getting kinda heated :/ Finally we felt like we should ask them if they'd be interested in doing a church-swap. Meaning, we would go to our church if they came to ours. We've been trying to get them to come to our church but they've resisted. But.... they accepted the invitation to do the church-swap, thinking this could be good for us too to see what they believe and see if we can benefit from it too. Which we're okay with, we know that them coming to church will help them receive revelation and get answers to prayers but man.... it's been a tough, long, complicated few months with these investigators!! Honestly, I'm kinda worried and scared to go to a Baptist Church hahaha It's a rock concert!! It'll be interesting... hopefully we won't be called out and told we're going to Hell.... :3 so that's happening next Sunday. Also it's perfect cuz Monica and her daughter will be confirmed as well. The Spirit will be so strong. That's all. 

Anyway I'm kinda running out of time and basically on Tuesday we went to Zone Meeting which was great, and then went to go contact a referral from another missionary that Sister Twogood knew that used to live here, and he was basically anti'd but he said he might consider coming to the church once just because we were pretty girls. So yeah..... that was weird. Ha So then we've just been teaching Monica lessons and getting her and Maddie, her daughter, prepared for this weekend! Something sad that's happening though is that Monica's Aunt, Cheri, who is a member and part of the ward, has been battling uterine cancer for a while. She was doing pretty well and reacting well to the chemo, but only suddenly has been really struggling and her body is reacting the same way :/ It's gotten a lot worse and they only think she'll be here for a little longer. It's very sad, I've grown to love Cheri and she is so strong and has been a wonderful example and influence to Monica. It will be very hard to see her go, we don't know when that'll be, but it's given Monica a little push and that motivation to get baptized which we are so grateful for. It's been so long for Monica too, and now that it's happening, it'll bless her and her family sooo much. It's been quite a journey with her but I'm so glad I've been a part of it and have actually gotten to teach Monica and get her here to this point :) 

We stopped in on a lot of less-actives this week too, with not much luck in getting them to come to church again haha but we are definitely going to be working on that a lot this next transfer! We also got to go to Institute with the YSA this week, cuz we are over the YSA in the Stake as well, and we got to go to a wonderful fireside that our Bishop put together on Sunday night. OH! Goodness, by the way... I'm staying in Suwanee :) Haha me and Sis. Twogood get to be together for another transfer! :) Which is awesome, we work really well together, and teach by the Spirit and it's always so strong. Also I'm technically not a "new missionary" anymore ;) Haha I'm done with training! It feels great!! I'm a REAL missionary now. 

So anyhoot, I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying life :) This week will be an exciting one here in Suwanee Georgia! I'm grateful for everyone's support and prayers. I love y'all and hope y'all have a great week! Stay safe and be good ;) Pray for missionary opportunities and spread the Gospel! 

Love, Sister Davenport  

Me and Sister Johns at Zone Meeting... Love her! :) And so glad I got to see her often! 

Me and Sister Twogood, ya know, takin selfies ;) 

1/12/2015 In Which ShelbyPooh Goes to the Doctor

Hey y'all, how is everyone?! :D Week 4 is over and done with of my second transfer and then we have this week and then the next week which is transfers, and who knows what'll happen... I'm not quite sure!! Haha especially since we had this emergency transfer in the middle of this transfer, I don't know whether or not I'll stay in Suwanee :( I sure hope so! And with Sister Twogood cuz she's awesome!! And we've had so much success this week and our key indicators were awesome! :) Plus, we teach so well together and again, ward members give us great feedback with how well we do and say that we teach and are led by the Spirit so much, and that it is just so strong. So that makes me happy! :) We also had a doctor's visit this week.... But before y'all get all uptight don't worry, we're both okay. Keep reading. ;)

Last Monday was great, we played volleyball and basketball with some of the other sisters in our zone and it felt so great to get energy out and run around and play some sports! :) We have plans to do that again today and maybe go to the mall! :D Haha yay for sports and shopping! ;) Something cool though that happened last Monday night was that we were going to go stop in on a member who is just moving in. Little did we know that the house she was moving into was a less-active members home that me and Sister Perrins had tried to stop in on multiple times but no one was there. I thought I recognized the house but I wasn't sure... So we tried anyway and the less-active member named Vicci, answered the door and explained to us that that was her sister who just moved in! Her sister wasn't home but she invited us in anyway and we talked for a good hour. She became inactive a few years ago because her husband isn't a member and he doesn't want to go to church, and is kinda a hater, so she thought it'd just be easier. But the awesome thing is is that Vicci has such a strong testimony still!! We talked and the Spirit was so strong and she had tears in her eyes and it seemed like she would love to go to church, but something, and not just her husband, was holding her back. She is a wonderful lady though and has a great heart, but she even said that we could come back more to visit so we will see where that can lead to! 

Tuesday was a full day of tracting and trying to contact some other less-actives. We walked a lot that day haha and got lots of meaningful contacts :) Nothing too exciting though. And Wednesday was pretty much the same, we've just been trying to follow up with some potentials and get some tracting in. But we did actually find a lady who is originally from Mexico, her name is Aida, but we knocked on her door and she immediately recognized us and invited us into her home! She said she'd met some other Sister missionaries and they told her a little bit and gave her a Book of Mormon. So we kept talking about that but it eventually led into the Restoration and so we basically taught her the first lesson on our first visit! Haha it was great and we have a return appointment this week with her :) Then that night we had dinner at our investigator Monica's house and then had a lesson afterward. It was a pretty important lesson because we felt as if there shouldn't be any more procrastination with her getting baptized and me and Sister Perrins before she left, and now Sister Twogood, have all felt like January 17th was a great day for her to be baptized. She's so ready, but she just needs to have a few more lessons and an interview. So we told her that and committed her to that date, meaning this upcoming Saturday. And she said she'd pray about it but that she thinks that could be the date. So we were excited to FINALLY get somewhere with her for a date to be baptized. Well.... She still hasn't made up her mind but she did also have a meeting with our Bishop and he committed her to be done with coffee completely, so she got rid of it, and then how he thinks that she can be baptized on the 17th as well. We didn't hear anything from her about it, but a couple people from the ward yesterday at church told us that Monica was telling them that her and her daughter are going to be baptized next weekend!! So we are freaking out because it seems like it's going to happen this weekend... but she isn't letting us know for sure... it's kinda a weird situation right now. Ha and we have a ways to go before this saturday!! :/ but we know that if it's meant to happen, the Lord will provide everything in His timing and that everything will work out the way it needs to!!! 

Wow, sorry that was probably way confusing... Haha anyhoot, so then Thursday was our over 2 hours tracting with about 14 meaningful contacts day. We had a lot of success talking with people and handing out Books of Mormon that day! :) But then Friday we had to do weekly planning, and then had district meeting because we were also doing interviews with President that day. so it kinda threw everything off but that's okay! Then Sister Twogood had a doctor's appointment.... Fooled you guys right ;) Haha just kidding, but anyway so yeah it was Sister Twogood that needed to go to the doctor's. She's been having some weird chest pains and her ribs are constantly hurting her and it's hard for her to breathe sometimes, and this problem has been going on for a while. So the mission doctor suggested she went to the doctors office to see if they could find something. We were there for a couple hours, they did like 3 different tests and haven't found anything yet, but she has to go again this week for a couple more tests :/ it was a little crazy and disappointing because they still don't know what's going on. But I'm sure they'll find out eventually and she'll be fine :) she's been a real trooper. But it was weird at the doctor's because I was by myself in the room when they went to go do her tests.... and literally I haven't been alone or by myself for about 3 months!!! Hahaha not having a companion for an hour was really weird... ;) Anyway, weird/awkward/lonely moment of the week.

So Saturday we finished weekly planning and had a New Member Lesson with another recent convert. And Sunday we had a lot of meetings, church, and then went over to a member's house for dinner! We went to the Bettes' and Sister Bettes also invited her less-active brother and non-member sister-in-law as well. She really wanted us to give a good, uplifting spiritual message or discussion especially with them there and also cuz they are expecting a baby! Me and Sister Twogood felt really strongly to talk about God is our loving Heavenly Father, The Gospel blesses families, and the Pre-Earth life and the Creation. And basically we just had a discussion about those things and the spirit was so so strong!! Everyone was tearing up and bearing testimonies and it was just awesome. Sister Bette's was so appreciative of us with our message and her brother seemed very appreciative of us too and they seemed like they really felt the spirit. So it was a good feeling :) 

So that was my week, I hope everyone's has been good as well! I am grateful for everyone's support and love and prayers :) Hope you are all trying your best to make the Lord the center of your problems, your struggles, and even your best times :) I love you all! Have a great week and stay safe! 

Love, Sister Davenport 

1/5/2015 In Which ShelbyPooh Meets Her New Companion

Alright friends.... y'all.... I survived my first 5 days sorta taking over Suwanee... Barely. Haha Wow, it's been stressful and hard! My new companion is Sister Twogood! She's from Kaysville Utah and has red hair and has been out 8 months! :) She is literally one of the nicest people I've ever met haha and one of those people that is literally genuinely nice. She's great! She has been very patient with me these past couple days because I feel like I've been a chicken with my head cut off wandering around without my trainer. :( Ha It's been a weird adjustment, I feel like I need to be attached at the hip of my trainer but... I realize that that isn't good and now I need to branch out and grow my own confidence... Haha No need to fret though! ;) The Lord is on our side! 

Monday night was good, we got a new investigator! Her name is Julia Johnson and she's the one from Ghana but grew up in England! We taught her the first lesson that night and she seemed very sincere and open and took a Book of Mormon and said she'd read and pray about it. The spirit was very strong and she has a slight Catholic background. She brought it up once before the lesson, saying that her beliefs and ours differ in some ways, but after the lesson she said something about being Catholic but wasn't comparing or saying that our message wasn't true so that was good! We're hoping to teach her again this week. 

So Tuesday was a pretty sad day. We had our last District meeting with Sister Perrins but other than that it was a really good meeting! Then we went to go visit some members briefly so that Sis. P could say bye to them. It all happened so quickly, so it was really hard for her especially to say goodbye to people! :( But we tracted a bit and stopped in on a couple other members... it was really funny though cuz we went over to the Chamber's house to do a practice lesson on them. And we hadn't told them that Sister Perrins was getting emergency transferred yet when all of a sudden Sis. Chambers said, "Ya know, it was really weird. But I had a dream about you guys last night and you had both gotten transferred and I was so sad and the other Sisters came in and they were so rotten and I just didn't like them! It was so weird..." And so THAT'S when we knew we should tell them about what was happening hahaha but it was the funniest thing! And everyone already loves Sister Twogood, plus I'm still here so there really isn't a problem ;)  

Then Wednesday we continued to say bye to members, cuz we didn't have to transfer until 2pm, and then we had a small lesson with our investigator Monica. She took it especially hard because Sis. P was the one to first start teaching her and they had a very strong bond. So we didn't get much done lesson wise ha but it was a sad but good goodbye. We are still going to continue to teach her obviously, and are hoping that getting her motivated to see Sister Perrins again when she gets baptized will help her commit to a date!! ;) Cuz she'll be able to come when Monica gets baptized! So we'll see! Then we transferred at the church and I had to say my final goodbye to my trainer :'( it was really sad!!! Haha but it's all good, life goes on I guess. Then rest of the day we tracted and stopped in on members and did a couple practice lessons and got really great feedback! I'll get to what it is in a minute... But then for New Years Eve we went over to a members house to have Chinese Food and then played Minute to Win It games the rest of the night!! ;) It was very fun and funny then we had to go home at 9:00pm and just went to bed. Haha not much excitement for me this year, but I was definitely tired after a crazy day! 

So Thursday we mostly just tracted and tried to stop in on members to introduce them to Sis. Twogood. and that day we tracted for about 3 hours and talked to SO many people haha that was our trial-run for me taking over Suwanee and trying to get things figured out and what we should do and what not ;) "When in doubt, tract it out" as my trainer always said.... Hahaha It was a crazy, long day! Friday was also long and a little stressful cuz that's when we do weekly planning and as much as I took the lead on it when I was being trained, I always had Sis. P to help me and have my back when I wasn't sure what to do on a certain day or if I forgot something we were going to do. And don't get me wrong, it's not Sis. Twogood's fault, she just got here and doesn't know the area well enough yet or the members so it was hard to try to plan everything for the next week! But somehow we did it and so we're hoping this week's plans go well.... :/ Wish us luck and say lots of prayers for us! Ha But we did have exchanges too on Friday so we exchanged and I again stayed in Suwanee with Sister Davis! That was fun, we did a couple more member stop-ins and practice lessons, getting us prepared to teach our investigators this next week. A member also got pizza delivered to our apartment that night so it was good to get to know Sister Davis and she is our Sister Training Leader so we talked about some other things and the area and our investigators too and decided to do a Zone fast with all the Sisters for everyone's investigators yesterday! 

It was great too because during exchanges I got to drive for my first time being in Georgia!!! :D It felt soooo great, I felt like I hadn't driven in.... 2 months!! Haha sis. Davis' licence expired out here so I got to drive! Anyway so then Saturday morning we stopped in on a potential and she gave us a time to come back to teach this week! So we're hoping for another new investigator :) Then we exchanged back and went tracting again for the rest of the night haha I just gotta keep telling myself sometimes that we're being obedient and that there is someone prepared who we will talk to.... cuz sometimes it isn't that easy to think that way when you tract all the time ;) :/ ha but then we had a very nice dinner with the Tomberlin's and bonded really well with them, their family is mostly from Hawaii so they all have really cool names and me and one of their daughters who is 13, bonded over Vampire Diaries cuz she had a necklace on that is from the show! ;) Hahaha I miss that show so much but it was really cool and funny to talk to her and get to know her! She also reminded me of my little sister Taylor at home :) (hi Tay!)

Yesterday our church started at 1pm for the new year and so that's kinda weird but nice at the same time! In the mornings we can now do our studies and then we go to our meetings, then church, then only go out for an hour or two and then have dinner! Ha So we had dinner and then did some less-active stop-ins and weren't really successful but we are planning on doing a lot of that this week as well! We want to try to get to know the less-actives in this ward and try to help them as much as we can and if they are willing! So.... that was my week in a nut-shell. Haha I always feel like after I'm done with my big emails that they are really jumbled and probably confusing so I apologize if all of this doesn't make sense :/ But I hope everyone had a great New Year's celebration and that you've all made some really great goals you can accomplish this year! A commitment we've been leaving with members is to try to rely more on the Savior, even for the little goals we make. For the times where we think we haven't accomplished much or feel like we never can, or for those big dreams that you have, always turn to Him. He's there for us for ANYTHING and always will be! Aspire to make Him the center of your year :) because with Him we can do all things. So I challenge everyone to do that and make Him the priority and the one you turn to very very first. You will be blessed because of it :) I am striving to do the exact same thing as a missionary this year, so I hope it goes well for all of you! Have a great week everyone! Love you all!! 

Love, Sister Davenport 

Me and Sis. Perrins on our last night together... we went to Suwanee Town Center and took pics by the Christmas tree they have up! :) 

They even had fake snow falling by the tree!! (it was really bubbles! We loved it!)

The text about the emergency transfer... the assistants told our district leader that it was the truth and that it was really happening. :( (sobs)

Last District pic with Sis. P! 

Us and the Ketchem family, aka our Filipino Momma and her family! :) 

Me completing my training, early technically, and so I got a certificate from my trainer! ;)

Our last selfie.... :'( I LOVE SISTER PERRINS!!!! 

Me and my new Comp. Sister Twogood! :) 

12/29/2015 In Which ShelbyPooh's First Companion gets Transferred!

Well y'all..... we got some terrible news this mornin :( Prepare yourselves. So President Bennion calls this morning and talks to Sister Perrins.... She's getting transferred. No joke. To a place called Woodstock. Yeah. What happened is one of my dear friends from the MTC is going home :/ So she was in my district here in Georgia, along with at the MTC, so it's an emergency transfer since her companion needs someone else now that she's going home and so Sister Perrins is talking this other Sister's place while that Sister comes here to my district to be the new companion. Make sense? Ha Sister Perrins is going to be a Sister Training Leader in Woodstock. But honestly.... WE ARE SO SAD!!!!!!! :( :( :( Technically I'm not done with training, I have a few weeks left!! So I won't be the "senior" companion as we call it but I'm definitely going to have to take the lead in Suwanee with my new companion, who I don't know who it is yet, and help her get adjusted here. Crazy right?!?!? I don't know what the Lord has in store, but we gotta trust Him. So.... I'm freaking out a little bit, but I know this is supposed to happen. I'm going to miss Sister P so much :( My trainer is leaving me on Wednesday!!!.... But anyway... onto brighter and happier subjects.... my fantastic Christmas week!

I'm running out of time this week cuz we've gotta do a lot today since Sister Perrins is leaving at the last minute. So this might be a shorter one! We met a lot more potential investigators this week! Since it was Christmas, I feel like everyone was a little nicer and more open haha So we have a few more people that we're planning on following up with and feel like they might get somewhere!!! Which is awesome, we need more investigators!!! Christmas eve we followed up with this one guy, Colin, who we met and had a great discussion with at his door and gave him a Book of Mormon. He said his family was very sick and caught the flu, and it was Christmas Eve, but he said he'd love for us to stop by again and talk with him! :D So Christmas Eve night was fun though, we went over to the Nilsson family's house and helped Sister Nilsson prepare some traditional Swedish food and then we reenacted Christ's birth from Luke in the Bible with the kids and they loved it and we had so much fun! :) Then we went over to a members and had a very good meal and she gave us a hand-knitted scarf! Its so beautiful and soft and thick, so perfect for the upcoming cold weather season that Georgia will have apparently.... But then we went home and made some gingerbread houses that my wonderful family had sent to me! :) And we opened up some "Mormon Champagne" and read in Luke again and got in our Christmas pajamas and went to bed :) 

Then Christmas day was awesome! We got up at regular missionary time and opened up all our packages and presents!!!! I felt like a little girl, I was so excited!! :D haha It was a good morning and then we got semi-ready but stayed in our pjs and went to a members house for breakfast! Sister Watkins, who's house we went to, really likes to make the missionaries that serve in the ward their traditional breakfast items! So what I chose was my family's bacon wrapped tator-tots haha everyone loved them, they were soooo good! ;) then we opened more presents at her house! then we went and actually got ready and dressed and went to our investigator Monica's house to see her family and what they got! :) We helped one of her little girls put together a Barbie Dream House and it literally took 4 grown women to put it together haha it was a tough thing to assemble! then we shared a spiritual Christmas message and went to the next house! Ha we went over to the Johnson family's house and played a game called "Reverse Charades" and that was really fun and of course, shared a spiritual message with them :) Then we went over to the Mckenna family's house and they have a fun traditional game in their family where they put Christmas songs in a bowl and a bunch of musical instruments in a different bowl and you pick from each bowl and have to play that song with the instrument you picked and everyone has to guess the song!! It was really fun but really hard because no one really knows how to play these instruments they had very well haha I played the Accordion, which was interesting, for my first time and the Viola! I failed miserably but the game was very fun! ;)  Then we went over to the Garfield's house and had a little bit of dinner but by the time we got there it was almost time to Skype our FAMILIES!!! :D I couldn't eat I was so excited! Ha

Bro. Garfield had a way awesome set up in his house since he works from home and is very tech-y ha So I got to skype my family on a big flat screen basically :) I felt like I was in the room with them! It was so great to see them all and talk to them, I'm very grateful that we can Skype our families as missionaries out here. It really gave me a boost and helped me feel better about some things :) My family is the greatest! I enjoyed it so much and honestly can not wait until I get to do it again!!! Haha Then after we were done we stopped by one more house, the Bettes', to get another present. Seriously, everyone here in the ward loves the missionaries and gave us so much food, goodies, and presents it was insane! Haha but we are so grateful and love these people :) 

Friday and Saturday were kinda long days after that.... Me and Sister P felt like we had a "holiday hangover" goin for us... haha But we did get to role-play on our Bishop and our Stake President on the same night! So we got some good practice lessons in :) Ha then Sunday was a great day! It was our last Sunday with 11:00am church and now we're going to 1:00pm so that'll be fun I guess ha and we got to teach the Gospel Principles lesson this week, subbing for our ward mission leader who was out of town and the lesson went very well! After church we went tracting and basically tracted the United Nations haha we met a man who's African but lived in Seattle, where Sister Perrins is from basically, and he said he'd be interested in us coming back so we have an appointment with him on Saturday! Then we talked to a Ukrainian man who was pretty open and knew a family in our ward and we gave him a BOM! then we met a guy who had lived in Georgia his whole life, who wasn't interested, then we met a black man from Davenport, Iowa which was way cool! haha he was Baptist but very open and nice to us! Then we met a Colombian guy who wasn't interested but very nice, then an Indian women who wasn't Hindu surprisingly because there a lot of Hindus here, so she said to call her back in a month once she was done with school and said she'd be interested! So we met a lot of very nice people but they were from all over the world!!! Haha it was crazy!! But we felt great after and we hope these people will be solid and become new investigators :) 

So this week was very busy but very fun! Being a missionary around Christmas is pretty hard, but it's also very rewarding and a great time to be a missionary because the Lord blesses us and strengthens us in our hard times away from family and friends, but I've met so many incredible people and am glad to say that I definitely consider Georgia my temporary home and am so grateful for the people who have helped make it a great time for me! :) Next is the new year and I'm looking forward to 2015 to completely dedicated myself to missionary work to bring more people to the fold! Hope everyone has a great week and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! :D 

Love, Sister Davenport 

12/22/2014 In Which ShelbyPooh Prepares for Christmas

Ah what a great week! I hope everyone had the same :) and now guess what?! This week is Christmas!!!!! YAY!!! I am looking forward to this week! We've got a lot of good things planned and well, it's Christmas so why wouldn't I be excited?! :) I am definitely super excited to Skype my family! :D I wish I could Skype everyone that day.. :/ But you are all in my prayers and I wish you the Merriest Christmas this week and that you are safe and staying healthy!!! So last Pday we had a great day, we mostly chilled and wrote letters and even took a power nap! It was very nice. But then we went to the Post Office so that we could mail some things, get stamps, etc. and HOLY MOLEY I am never doing that again, especially around Christmas!! Haha I mean obviously I have to next year as well, but it was just packed!! And it took us forever to get everything done!!! I was definitely grateful that my mom is usually the only one I go to to do things like that so thanks Mom for always mailing things and going to the Post Office ;) Especially around Christmas....

Tuesday morning we had a very inspiring Zone Meeting. A lot of the training's were very inspired and the Spirit was very strong and helped me realize some things I need to do to be a better missionary. They talked a lot about our music too and what we are allowed to listen to but most importantly what is going to help us stay focused and keep the Spirit with us always as missionaries. Our zone leaders mentioned how President Bennion only listens to Church Hymns and sometimes not even necessarily by MoTab. But only Hymns in the Hymn Book and then a lot of companionships were saying that they changed the music they listened to to only Hymns and how many miracles they witnessed when they made the change. So me and Sister Perrins were both inspired to do the same. But we didn't really make the decision until later in the week and I'll get there in a minute. :) So then after Zone Meeting we did some service with a former investigator named Cheryl Bell and she is a very southern black lady haha but we helped her make some blankets and helped her sew for a couple hours and it was really fun! The Bell's are very nice people and right now we are just trying to be nice to them and let them know that we are here to help, because they did mention that they aren't interested and don't want to have discussions about our religion again. They are VERY Southern Baptist haha but maybe killing them with kindness will eventually soften their hearts again :) So then we tracted and tried to follow up with some potential investigators with a member that night, but..... no luck :/ it was a little frustrating. Haha but we'll keep coming back until these people tell us not too! :D That's the fun part about being a missionary is that we annoy people with SALVATION!! 

Wednesday we again tried to follow up with a potential but no luck there either. So we just tracted and keep giving out our He Is The Gift pass-along cards and people have really been liking them and have been open and sincere and willing to watch the video and share it :) Which is so great. Then we visited a less-active man named Joe Kitchens and his family was very nice and they are black. He told us that they were trying to find a different church to go to. He told us that he was baptized at age 11 with his family but they didn't go to church all the time and once they were able to get the priesthood, they had a hard time accepting it or something because of the past experience the church has had with blacks and the priesthood. Which made sense, sometimes I think it's hard for black men especially to accept what happened and then move on but I guess it just isn't the time for Joe to come back to church. :( He loves it but that's the only thing he really has a problem with. But he did say he would love having us come back and teach his daughters who weren't far in age from us about our church a little more, so that they can get some good Christian lessons he said or something. Ha so we'll see if that leads somewhere :) 

Thursday.... Oh where to begin?! Ha we woke up at 5:00am to get ready and so that we would be on time for our temple session at 7:30am! The session was soooo great and it was only Sisters who went that day :) So going with a big group of just Sister Missionaries was pretty powerful. But it was just wonderful and again, I definitely felt spiritually high after the session :) I LOVE THE TEMPLE!!! Then we went to the Mission Office in Lilburn where the party was happening and we had lunch in the annex by the stake center/mission office and got to mingle and meet a lot of the other missionaries in the mission! We had a Sister's Conference which was wonderful, and then choir practice for the devotional that night, and then got to mingle again! Haha it was definitely a party with all the missionaries together at once ;) But the devotional, actually it was more of a fireside haha, was very great too and the choir sounded awesome!! I love being able to still be in a choir and exercise my singing talents on the mission :) It makes me happy! I also got to meet Rebecca Hyde (?) and her family, who is my Dad's cousin! Right? haha oh man now I can't remember, I think that's right. But anyway, she came just to see if I would be there and so we got to meet and hopefully down the road I might be able to serve where she lives! :) 

Friday we had a looooonng weekly planning session. Planning for the week of Christmas was kinda stressful, but we're looking forward to it and plan on visiting with a lot of members and having a great Christmas Eve and Christmas Day! :) But during weekly planning is when me and Sister Perrins discussed our music and how we wanted to listen to only Christmas music that was in the Hymn book or that talked about Christ. So after that we tracted for about 2 and a half hours and it was like the 4 to the last house we were going to tract. When we knocked on the door it was a lady named Julia Johnson. She was born in Ghana but grew up in England and now is in Georgia. She recognized us and told us that her brother had been a convert for two years now, lives in California, and has been sending her some things to read about the doctrine. Then she said, "So when can you guys come back to teach me? Can I give you my phone number?" Me and Sister P were both kinda taken by surprise but we were so excited and just said yes, whenever, we'll call you and set up a time. So she was definitely a miracle that we witnessed and we both think that the music had something to do with it. It was so awesome! :) We're hoping we can meet with her tonight but she said she isn't doing anything this week for Christmas and her daughters will be home too so she wants them to be there as well! We hope it'll work out with her! And then that night we visited an elderly couple in our ward named the Adam's and they are just so sweet and read us Christmas stories and visited :) It was very nice! 

Saturday we did some service for a lady in our ward, Sister Smith, for her annual Forgotten Carols performance she puts on in her house every year for Christmas! We were invited and wanted to help her set up! so we helped her and then went out to lunch with another member ha and then tracted until we had our lesson with Maddie and Joel. That lesson was very last minute and we really wanted to do a team up with some members and felt really inspired to call up the Lowry's. Brother Lowry is a ward missionary and is very awesome and has a very strong testimony! That lesson was kinda planned at the last minute but we mostly talked about 1 Nephi chapter 8 and Lehi's vision and how it's basically the Plan and the Fall in reverse. They have a hard time accepting that we are not accountable for Adam's transgression and that we are not rotten at the heart. They are very knowledgeable with the Bible and they think that the heart can be deceived and that we shouldn't trust our hearts or the "feelings" that members of the church always refer to. So it was again a very deep discussion and we always feel as if get some questions answered, but then we always leave with even more confusion or more questions to answer :/ They are very hard investigators but we talked with Brother Lowry at church yesterday and we feel as if we need to be more bold with them and tell them how things are and see if they are even willing to accept them and exercise faith. So we'll see. But they did come with us to the Forgotten Carols performance, which was so fantastic by the way, I just love the music, and they really seemed to enjoy it! 

Yesterday was a good day because during sacrament they had a special ward choir Christmas performance and then we had wonderful lessons in Gospel principles about the Holy Ghost and then a wonderful Christmas lesson in relief society. Then we tracted and had dinner with a member and then did a member stop in and practiced teaching a lesson. So we are getting a lot of contacts and talking to lots of people but still aren't getting a lot of new investigators. We'll get there though, I know we will it just takes patience and time. The bishopric in our ward is very supportive and lets us know that they are on board with trying to get members and them find people for us to teach. Suwanee ward is really awesome and supportive to the missionaries! So I know good things will happen soon :) 

Today has been good so far too, we went out to breakfast at IHOP with a YSA in our ward named Michelle. She is very nice! Then we did our shopping and we have definitely loved the Christmas music playing in Wal-Mart. :) We'll miss that, and having He Is The Gift to give to people. But it's been a wonderful and amazing time to be a missionary! I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a great week off spending it with friends and family, and celebrating the true meaning and ultimate gift of Christmas, which is Christ :) I love you all and thank you for the continuous support and love and prayers. 

Love, Sister Davenport 

Ohhhh myyyy goooodnessss.... The Temple on Thursday was AMAZING!!!!!! I loved it so much and it really gave me a spiritual high for the rest of the week!!! Haha So the first picture is me and Sister Perrins in front of the Atlanta Temple of course :) And then we had our Mission Christmas Party/Devotional that night and I got to meet Sister Perrins' Trainer! We refer to this as a generation picture.... but both me and Sister P don't like being referred to as a "daughter" or "mother" and Sister Hooker (her trainer) doesn't like "grandma", but it's still a cute picture ;) haha and then at the party I was reunited with my MTC district and some of my zone!! :D It was great! We had lots of laughs and giggles and it was good to catch up again! You can tell we all love each other and have so much fun... we LOVE selfies! ;D 

12/15/2014 In Which ShelbyPooh Goes to the Atlanta Temple

Hey y'all guess what?! 2 months down today! :D Haha time is flying it's crazy! I know I'm supposed to talk about week 6 but lemme just tell you.... I am SOOOOO excited for this week!!! Cuz guess what again?!! I GET TO GO TO THE TEMPLE ON THURSDAY!!! HAPPY EARLY CHRISTMAS TO ME!!!!! :D :D :D I'm am so excited to go to the Atlanta Temple, it will be the best day and gift ever! Then we have our mission Christmas party/devotional that night as well! So it's gonna be a good day :) And HELLO Christmas is in like... 2 weeks! That's crazy!! I hope everyone is enjoying the Christmas carols, lights, family time, wonderful spirit, and hopefully the snow soon :) Also I have to mention that I went to Jimmy Johns this week with a member for dinner too!!!! :) I haven't been there since I stopped working there haha but it tasted so good and I'm pretty sure I impressed the people working there cuz I knew everything ;) Sister Perrins liked it too for her first time trying it!

So Monday after P-day was over we went out to dinner with some members at a place called Your Pie! and it's like a Subway but for pizza and it was really good and personal sized :) And then we went over to our investigator's house, Monica, for a little birthday party for her daughter Maddie. She has three daughters and a son but her son doesn't live with her. Her girls are so cute though! Hannah is 17, Maddie is 8 and will get baptized with Monica when she does, and Olivia is 2! Monica surprised us though because we had tried to have a lesson with her on Sunday night but she cancelled at the last minute. Which wasn't surprising because she's been doing that soooo much lately and we didn't think we were ever going to get in a lesson with her. But Monday night at the party she asked us, "when are you guys available again? I want to have a lesson tomorrow night, would that work?" Me and sister Perrins were shocked but so grateful because we hope that she'll now recognize the importance and want to get baptized soon!!!

So Tuesday we had zone meeting and then we tracted a little after that and then went over to the Nilsson family's house to help sis. Nilsson set up Christmas stuff! She has been so sick lately and taken many trips to the emergency room and so we told her we'd come by to help her with stuff! So we helped decorate their Christmas tree with the kids! :) It was so fun! Then we were helping out Sister Johnson with a song she was singing on Sunday for YW for their special Christmas lesson. She wanted Sister Perrins to play it on the piano and me and her sing a duet. so we rehearsed it but it was quite a tough song so we ended up asking another member to play it and sister Perrins was singing the melody with Sister Johnson and I was singing the harmony. It's called Wise Men Still Seek Him. IT's a very beautiful song! Then that night we had our lesson with Monica and FINALLY taught her the Word of Wisdom because she is obsessed with coffee. But the lesson went very well, the spirit was very strong, and she committed to drinking one cup a day and then after Christmas completely cutting it cold turkey! :D She's on the path to baptism!!

Wednesday we had a YSA in our ward come out with us because she's working on her mission papers and is preparing for a mission! :) Her name is Sam and it was fun to be in a three-some for a bit! We had a very successful tracting day and talked with a lot of good people and gave out a lot of He Is The Gift cards! Then after we were done tracting we had dinner and then made cookies to deliver to some people who had been on our minds lately and to invite them to a Christmas concert that was happening in our stake. We delivered some cookies to that one lady Suzanne who is Methodist and from Canada and was so nice! The one where I mentioned we "feast upon the words of Christ" ;) ha but she invited us in and we had cake and hot apple cider and she was so happy we visited! She is going back to Canada to see her family for the holidays and so she couldn't go to the concert, but we were glad we caught her before she left! then we also delivered some to the Disney Princess, Jacquie, who isn't interested any more in the church, but we still have a great relationship with her and hope eventually her heart might soften so we could teach her again.

Thursday was the food bank again! And we went with the same members who came with us last week and then they took us to lunch at Praise the Lard! haha Since Christmas is coming up too, the food bank had certain days they needed volunteers to sign up for, so since they are closed next Thursday which is Christmas, we signed up for this Friday the 19th to volunteer a little extra hours and help them prepare for their Christmas food boxes they hand out. So we're excited for that too cuz we'll be outside visiting and helping the people again like we did around Thanksgiving! :) Anyway so then we tracted and BIKED that day.... which was such a cold day, it was torture! :( haha the humid cold really is worse than dry cold! But it was a good tracting day again. Still no new investigators though, but we'll get some soon!

Friday was a basic day, tracted a ton that day though! Got a lot of contacts and gave a lot of cards out. And then for dinner, Sister Watkins took us out to Jimmy Johns and we helped her wrap some presents :) even though I'm a missionary right now I'm grateful for the little things I've been able to do to make it feel more like Christmas! Then Saturday was a rough day! we tried to stop in on a potential investigator to have a lesson with her but she wasn't there. Then we had a recent convert lesson cancel on us that day and then our appointment to teach Maddie and Joel got cancelled as well! :( We did go and visit a lady with cancer though and gave her goodies and we had a new member lesson with a recent convert and her family as well. So some things went well and then others did not! But we tracted a lot again and even gave out a Book of Mormon to a guy who was very sincere and nice! :) we hope he might contact us.

Sunday was fun cuz we got to go to Primary the second hour and help a member out with a special thing she was doing. It's called their "Hastening the Work" activity and the missionaries are invited in to sing with the kids and answer questions and stuff, it was fun! And then we went to young womens third hour to sing the song! And it went beautifully :) It was awesome being able to go back to primary and YW again though!! Haha And then of course we visit members that day and the members here are so awesome, we're hoping that we can get some referrals from some soon though!

Well I hope you all have a great week! Christmas is almost here so I hope you're all preparing but also making the time to spend time with family and read scriptures and remembering what the true meaning is :) Thank you to everyone for your prayers and support, I appreciate it so much! Love you all!

Love, Sister Davenport

Yes, in the photo below, Santa is holding a Book of Mormon

12/8/2014 In Which ShelbyPooh Goes Christmas Caroling with the Youth in Her Ward

Well everyone.... This next week is transfer week! :) I'm not worried though! I get to stay in SUWANEE!!! :D :D Yay!!! Haha I'm so glad I'm still a trainee cuz that means I get to stay in this area for another transfer! And who knows... maybe I'll stay here after this next transfer too :) there are some sisters who have been called as trainers right after their first 3 months so... we'll see I guess ;) Haha but how was everyone's Thanksgiving?! I hope it was great and I hope that now everyone has all of their Christmas stuff up!!! Bring on Christmas!! :D I hope you have all checked out the He Is The Gift video too on cuz if you haven't GO LOOK IT UP!!!! It's incredible. Gives me chills every time. But anyway. :) 

Monday night we visited a recent convert named Loralea and her family and conversion story is the greatest! She is darling and we did a little FHE with them :) Then Tuesday we had district meeting and like I mentioned before, everyone in the district didn't really do well with that one goal we had made :/ but that's okay! We know that in the Lord's time and as long as we keep the faith that He will give us those 16 investigators! Then we tracted and went to go follow-up on some potentials we met tracting the previous week. But no luck. :( So then we did a member stop-in and even got dinner from that! Ha cuz we didn't have a dinner that night but the member we visited offered to have us over so that was good! Then we did a role-play with another family in the ward that night! I am definitely appreciating role-plays more because they really have helped and prepared me for actual lessons! 

Wednesday morning we did service for an older lady who's husband passed away in October :( She was a "referral" I guess from a non-member but she didn't want to be taught to or didn't want us to share anything with her. But she is still grieving and we offered to still help clean out her husband's old things because it was really hard for her to do that. so we helped her and she was really sweet and we got to know her and we even sang Christmas songs for her! She really appreciated the help and we offered to come back again to help her because we felt bad for her :/ But we also had choir practice that morning!! :D Ohhhhh how I'm so so happy that we have a mission choir haha we are singing for our mission Christmas party/devotional thing. But I missed singing choral music, it was a blast and I'm excited for more!! Anyway so then we did more former investigator follow-ups/stop-ins, trying to see if we could get a new investigator from the formers. And then just tract that area that we go visit but we still haven't gotten any real potentials :/ It's been rough haha But then that night we joined Mutual and went caroling with all the youth at a rest home! :) It was so fun! I love singing and I love how I have so many opportunities to sing here on the mission! It was good to bond with the youth in the ward too! 

Thursday we volunteered at the food bank again of course! :) but this time we took a member and her daughter with us cuz they were interested and wanted to come! So it was fun having them there too, all we did was sort rice into other little bags ;) ha Then again we tried to visit some formers and tracted! That's basically what we've done this whole week cuz we're lacking in people to teach and the people we are teaching can only meet certain days or have been canceling on us :P haha it's getting frustrating but we know someone is out there somewhere who is prepared to hear the gospel!! :) But speaking of which we had a lesson with the young married couple, Maddie and Joel, and we had a lesson over at a members house. It was kind of last minute but it worked out and the member's who are the Paxton's were so welcoming to them. Brother Paxton is sooooo wise and really helped us with the lesson. We were focusing a lot on the Godhead because that's something that they have a problem with, having a baptist background. I'll have to explain more about Maddie and Joel in next weeks email hopefully but basically having the lessons over at the Paxton's helped so much because we all bore testimony and the spirit was SO strong! Yet they still have some concerns that we still need to address and try to get them to understand. They are a tough couple to teach! Very into their bible and ask a lot of deep questions! But the lesson was very good! And they keep wanting to meet with us so it just takes a lot of time and effort with them. Me and Sister Perrins always feel spiritually exhausted after teaching them haha 

Friday was kinda same old same old. We tracted, had lunch, tracted, had dinner, then visited a less-active woman named Kendall who is 30 but not married and is sooooo funny and cute! I enjoyed visiting with her :) Then on Saturday we tried to stop in again on a couple of potential investigators and we had a set time and lesson planned actually with this other couple but when we got there, they "forgot" and said they didn't have time. Then the other one we visited told us to tell her a little background of the Church on her doorstep so we told her the Restoration and then very nicely she told us she's not interested and not to come back. Haha soooo.... that didn't work out either. But then at 3:00pm we had a baptism to go to! It was Lukas Nilsson's baptism, the brother of Lena and Helene! He finally decided to get baptized and it was a great day for their family! Now they are working towards the temple :) SO COOL!! We love this family! After that, to make good use of our time before the ward Christmas party that night, we tracted. Haha and we actually gave a lot of people the He Is the Gift pass along cards and talked to a lot of people! So after we felt spiritually high for the christmas party! ;) We got all festive and everyone loved it! All three of our investigators even came to the party which was awesome! So we ate and had a great night :) 

Then sunday was typical as well except last night was the First Presidency Christmas Devotional and we could only watch it with an investigator, recent convert, or less active member and so one of our investigators Monica invited us over to watch it with her Aunt who is a member and her daughters! It was a great devotional :) Well everyone I know my emails are probably confusing and I don't give much detail about some families and our investigators so I apologize. Ha I will try better to explain more! But the work is going great in Suwanee, we just gotta keep on trying to find those that are prepared! I hope everyone has a good week and is safe because I'm guessing the snow will be coming if it hasn't already! ;) Try to share the He is the Gift message too with others, it will bring in the true spirit and meaning of Christmas :) Thanks for everyone's support and love! Love you all! Until next week

Love, Sister Davenport