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