Thursday, December 31, 2015

Bednar and Archuletta Christmas!!

Hiii so much to say this week wow. First: Family! It was so AMAZING to call and hear your voices on Christmas. Fastest 30 min. on planet earth and I know I cried and butchered my Korean testimony...but it was the best Christmas present ever and the highlight of my day. I miss you all and can't wait to call for longer in 2 1/2 weeks! So last week I promised exciting news and seriously Christmas as a missionary/in the MTC is the best. In the morning we heard from (surprise!!) Elder David A. Bednar and his wife. They passed out 150 cell phones and did a Q & A devotional with us. Elder Bednar had so many profound and powerful answers for us and I literally took 4 pages of notes (many, many goals) but my favorite part was something Sister Bednar said. She talked about when they used to do Q&A discussions as Presidents of BYU Idaho. She always liked to have each lesson/talk planned out with exactly what she would say, so for about 10 years she never would participate in the meetings. One time when Elder Bednar invited her to answer a question, she stood up and immediately knew how to answer as she started speaking. She promised from that point on to never decline his invitations for her to answer questions no matter what. Even when she is afraid and not sure what to say, she knows that as she takes the first step in faith, by walking to the pulpit, Heavenly Father will always tell her what to say to reach those listening in the audience. As soon as we became the oldest Korean district here in the MTC and I allowed it to really sink in that we are leaving for KOREA in 3 weeks, I started to doubt myself with the language and felt really unprepared to speak to people there. We are promised in the scriptures that if we open our mouths, they will be filled. No matter how afraid I might feel, if I have faith and love the people, I know I will be able to communicate with them. NOT perfectly and with many mistakes...but I know as I open my mouth I will be able to share this message. D&C 6:36 - Look unto the Lord in every thought; doubt not, fear not.

Next surprise of Christmas day....David Archuletta! As Demi said in her letter to, great way to get those crying sister missionaries (who just talked to their families) back into MTC focus. Ummm hi. Yeah! He sang mostly Christmas songs and a few hymns. The best part: so I said in an email a couple of weeks ago that we like to listen to "The Prayer" by David Archuletta from Probablyyy every language study and about 2-3 other times each day we play it. So basically picture me hearing my favorite song, live on Christmas day. Wow, Happiness. Also, he closed with "O Holy Night," my other Favorite Christmas song!! So I guess you could say it was a pretty good day.

Another super quick thought. We had a devotional on Tuesday by Elder Mervyn B. Arnold of the seventy where he talked about the "4th Watch." Jesus stood and watched the disciples as they struggled in their boat during the huge storm. Then as He walked toward them, it says "he would have passed them by," they CRIED OUT, to which He says, "be of good cheer, It is I." The Lord already knows what winds will blow against us - rejection, pain, sorrow, doubt, sickness. He will always be watching and waiting for us to cry out to Him. "Our blessings are conditional on our asking for them. As we pray, the Lord will always come to comfort us during our own storms. Then in the story, the disciples see Jesus walking on water and Peter leaves the boat to meet Him. Elder Arnold pointed out that Peter was the first and ONLY one who left the boat. He challenged us to always be the first one on our missions - to approach someone in the street, knock on a door, share our testimony. We can't just sit in the boat and complain about our circumstances or wonder why we aren't seeing change. Even during the overwhelming storm, as Peter left the boat and focused on the Savior he experienced a miracle and walked on water. Whatever storm we are facing, as we replace our fear with faith in Christ and be the first one to leave the boat, we will see miracles.

Have an amazing week!! As they say in Korea: 새해 많이받으세요!!   (HAPPY NEW YEAR - Receive many blessings in the New Year) Saranhamnida!

Davis Chamae

The Last Straw (Majority of the straws came from holding the door open for people....still counts! Still full)
Christmas Eve Party with the District
KTown – Christmas Eve

Presents under our HUGE Christmas tree

Hedgehogs!! And Christmas PJs

A gift from my favorite soon-to-be missionary – Allie Romney!

White Christmas!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Meli Keuliseumaseu!!

Happy Christmas Eve from the MTC!! Thank you, thank you for all the letters, emails and Christmas cards this week! Missionaries LOVE mail and it is so amazing to hear from all my favorite people on my favorite holiday. Christmas is finally here!! The MTC Presidency has been very secretive about our plans for tomorrow...but I have been told it will be incredible enough to make you all wish you were here. Stay tuned for the exciting email next week! Since every second of the day tomorrow is planned out from 7am to 9:30pm, we are celebrating as a district today on our free day. LOTS of chocolate, toffee, fudge, wreaths, cookies, candy, chips, salsa, guac, Christmas stories, lights, music...All of the above!! So excited. Also on the plan for today is our attempt to carol to the Japanese, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Thai, Cantonese missionaries in (very slow) Korean. It's funny because the word for "Glory" is "영광" (Yeong kwan). SO instead of the beautiful "gloria" chorus part in the song "Angels we have heard on high," it's more like ", kwan." That "K" comes in and throws off the whole melody. Hahah we all just sing it deep/off key and try not to laugh. But really it's not about how we sing, but the love and Christmas spirit behind it, right? Mom we just need those bells we (try to) play every year and we're set!

Family!! I can't believe you are in close, yet so far :/ Promise me you will go to Cupbop before you leave and get Korean BBQ and take a picture! We haven't had much snow these past few weeks and even though I am ALWAYS freezing, I was praying it would snow so you would be able to ski! Lucky you. It's blizzarding down here. I'm surviving. Merry Christmas!!

So this week we studied more Korean grammar forms and are really trying to be better at "SYL"ing (speaking language at ALL times). My companion and I made a goal to English fast for at least one meal every day. It has been so helpful in practicing and honestly realizing how much we still need to learn. Yeah, we're pretty quiet during those meals...veryyy far to go, but progress! It's so weird/exciting/terrifying to think I will be in Korea in 31/2 weeks. I love what you said in your Dear Elder this week mom about just looking up and focusing on the Savior. You reminded me not to look side to side and compare myself to others, not to look back and not to look too far forward at how far I have to go in the future. Remember to look up at the Savior who will always lift and guide.

We had a really good devotional this Tuesday by Elder Brent H. Nielsen of the Seventy and his wife. She told a story about when they were doing service in the Philippines. I don't remember exactly but basically as they were cleaning up, a Filipino boy came and took the ladder from her. Instead of saying, "I got it," or "I can take this for you..." he said "I will be the one." She told us that because of that statement she searched the scriptures for all the "I will" statements from the Savior. He promises, "I will make weak things become strong unto you," "Open your mouths and I will fill them," "I will lead you....enlighten you," "I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my spirit shall be in your hearts, and mind angels round about you to bear you up" (favorite scripture). And then in 3rd Nephi, the faithful people who believed that Christ would come are told they will be put to death if the sign is not shown. Christ says, "Life up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand and on this night shall the sign be given and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I WILL fulfill all that has been spoken by my prophets." The nephites must have been terrified, yet they had so much faith and to them Christ comforted and promised to come and be the one. No matter what our worries, discouragements, pains, loneliness (homesickness, feelings of inadequacy, doubts, fear) may be, Christ was born on earth, set an example for us, suffered and died for us so that He could personally "Be the one" for each one of us. All we have to do is remember Him, look to Him, come unto Him and we will feel His strength and love. 

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!! Jesus loves you! I love you! Family I can't wait to call you tomorrow!!! Chincha Kidayduemnida (really excited!) 

앙합니다 (Saranhamnida - love you!)

Davis Chamae

Christmas Tree filled with Special Ornaments

So excited to receive my first Christmas card and 
our annual family calendar! 설앙합니

Toffee, fudge, korean Raman and chopsticks 
(Elders made us leave the wreaths in the room)

My favorite things: Pita pit and Harry Potter

MTC entertainment - favorite Christmas song!
David Archuleta - The Prayer

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Friday, December 18, 2015

기대됩니다!! ("To be excited" - present form)

I'm alive! Sorry the computers were down yesterday so we are emailing today...but hello, hi! I have the best news ever. Legendary!! Wait for it...I CAN CALL FOR 30 MIN. ON CHRISTMAS!!! We found out on Sunday and I've being dyinnng to tell you guys all week. I will call between 4 and 4:30 on Christmas day, so be ready because I can't wait to hear your voices! So hi..what! First month down already and I'm almost halfway through the MTC. I don't know how time is going so fast! 

This week was great! Starting with seeing Brittface at the temple on Sunday. We're walking up, I see her car and then her head poked out the window = happiest moment of my life. Love you Britt!! Also that night BYU Men's Choir gave our Sunday devotional. The Elders in my district have had their version of "Savior, Redeemer of my Soul" on repeat in the classroom every day since. That and David Archuletta's video of "The Prayer" (my favorite Christmas song)...go watch it. Funny story this week! So we have TRC every Friday night, which is when we teach members or RMs a lesson in Korean. This week we taught about having faith/hope through trials with the scripture Romans 5:3-5 (read it - it's a good one!). Anyway, during our SECOND lesson, I gave her the scripture and asked what she learned from it. She gave me the most confused look, started laughing and said she had no idea! Then of course I realized I gave the wrong scripture...IN BOTH LESSONS. It was supposed to be about developing Christ like attributes through afflictions and instead it said something like "Every man is a liar"...I'm just smiling like, "what did you learn about hope from this verse?" Even better that the RM in the first lesson had just silently gone along with it probably SO confused. Ahhh Korean scriptures (not the first time)

Language news: we can finally form/conjugate sentences without staring at the blueprints in the book! There are sooo many verb conjugations through tenses (past, future), forms (negative, command, indirect question...), and linking forms to connect phrases. While it's slightly overwhelming, putting sentences together is actually really fun! I was really excited to learn how to testify this week (which is weird because two verbs in one sentence). My one sentence: "I know that through Jesus Christ's Atonement we can return to God." Which in Korean grammar reads like, "I Jesus Christ's Atonement through God to we return can know." It's kinda like an "I know" sandwich and then you try to make everything fit in the middle (math equation...ish). Also we learned how to count and tell time - which uses Chinese numbers for the hour and Korean numbers for the minutes…crazy stuff. You can pretty much always count on Korean to hurt your brain, but it's the best. It has also been so evident this week that the Spirit doesn't teach through words/lang. but through feelings. There are some lessons when my investigator will say something and I will listen so SO hard and have absolutely no idea what he said. Then I will get a feeling to share a scripture, have him read a hymn, or just start talking and somehow answer his question. There are still MANY times where we don't understand, say "yes, good!" and move on...but it is an amazing feeling when you recognize the spirit guiding a lesson and making up for our language barrier. 

This week I learned a lesson about charity. On Saturday I was having a hard time because I felt like ALL my study time was getting eaten up in preparing lessons for our investigators. I wanted to study the scriptures where I was at in Alma, or study the language where I felt I needed to learn (wow, noticing all the "I"s in this story as we speak). One of the Elders told me to read 1 Cor. ch. 13 (amazing - read it). Straight from the beginning it hits you with even if we have the spirit of prophecy, tongues of angels, or faith to MOVE MOUNTAINS, if you have not charity you are nothing. Charity is turning outward with Christ like love, charity "Seeketh not her own." Even if I have the strongest faith, the most powerful lesson and speak Korean will mean nothing if I don't selflessly love and serve the people. This mission isn't about me. We had a devotional on Tuesday by Lynn G. Robbins where he said the question shouldn't be "what would Jesus do?" but "what kind of person would Jesus be?" The Savior's greatest sermon wasn't on a mount, temple or synagogue, it was His life. As we study the Savior's life and apply those principles we can become more like Him. I' love that I have the opportunity this Christmas to really focus on the Savior, who showed the greatest example of Charity and love through His sacrifice for us. We can feel this strength every day as we remember Jesus Christ and what He suffered for us so we won't ever have to be alone.

Thank you to everyone for all the letters, emails and packages this week! Jujee and Pompa: The peppermint pretzels were devoured by the missionaries literally in 3 days and the cinnamon bears reminded me of dominos (just needed my lucky ice). Sam, Aaron and Alex: My favorite cookies (all the teachers want the recipe)! So good to hear from you guys I miss you. Johnson family: I probably cried when I saw the cinnamon rolls and ate 3 right then and there in the mailroom (maybe half joking). So happy thank you! Cousin Brittany: LaDuree macaroons from Paris are you joking? I'm so spoiled thank you and also for the Almond/hazelnut butter with my bananas. Family: We love all the Christmas decorations (feels like my favorite holiday!) and chocolate!!

I think I have "Pday" on Christmas Eve but I'm not for sure. So excited to talk to you on Christmas!!! Saranhamnida!!! 

Davis Chamae

Best “surprise” ever seeing Brittface on our temple walk!!!

Cute Britt making the Korean heart symbol.

Our trio!  Sister Mulitalo and Sister Feinga.

The Chamaenymder

My FAVORITE cookies from Alex, Sam and Aaron!!  Thank youuuuu!!!!
Macaroons from Laduree!  Thank you Cousin Brittany! I miss you and New York!

Always nice to bump into one of my ward bros - Drew Callister!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Thursday, December 10, 2015

"Fighting" to Learn the Language! 화이팅

Hiii hello! I love Pday!! Happy today because 1) we went to the temple this morning and 2) at the temple we ate REAL food (waffles and bacon) - slowly dying from bananas with honey and peanut butter. This week was great! We've officially grown up from the baby district in Ktown and got 3 new missionaries yesterday. Also sad/exciting news, the oldest district left on Monday to Korea...including Woo Chamaenym (We miss her!!). The MTC tradition is for the middle district (3-6 weeks old) to write a Disney parody for us to sing for the leaving missionaries. They did the Tangled song, "And at last I see the Light" (I don't know the name - floating know). Then we all sing "God be with you ‘til we meet again" in Korean and cry. Out of ALL 15 missionaries that left, only one is going to Seoul (represent!) The rest are in the Seoul South Mission. Also this officially makes us the middle district…WHAT? Time goes so fast!

So you asked why Sister Mulitalo took Korean for a year before her mission...Kpop. She's obsessed. I've been introduced to a whole new world of music that I need to listen to when I get home. Also a growing list of about 8 series of K-dramas (suggestions from an ELDER in the joke lol) that I "MUST" see when I get home. Soooo...extending the invitation 17 months in advance for Cupbop and Korean drama marathons!!

This week our district is focusing on exact obedience...specifically to the schedule (surprise! I'm always late). On Sunday we watched a talk by Elder Holland where he said that an obedient missionary will have the spirit in all things and be able to call down blessings from God....obedience = miracles. The hardest thing for me is going to sleep by 10:30 every night. 1) Because I've always have had sleeping problems in life/college (self-diagnosed insomnia) and 2) Because even though I am awake more hours of the day than ever in my life...I feel like I never have enough time at night to get everything done. My teacher promised us that if we sincerely try and ask, God will help us to be able to be obedient. Every night this week we have turned off our lights at 10:30 and every night I have been able to fall asleep right away. I know that I will be blessed as I try to be exactly obedient and I need all the miracles I can get learning this language.

So with that, another week of studying and Korean grammar/sentence structure continues to blow my mind. I've pulled out the 10 lb. grammar book this week...crazy stuff. I love it though! It's challenging...but fun! I get excited because it's kinda like a math equation (math nerd) putting all the pieces together with conjugations, tenses and forms. Good news! Our district made up dance moves to remember our favorite words. Also a cute thing we all say is this Korean word "화이팅" that sounds kinda like "fighting" (in a high Asian voice). It kinda means… "You got it! Good luck! When we are going into a lesson or learning something hard, everyone just says "fighting" and shakes their fists. Also, last night everyone found out I can't say my "ng"s, which is literally an alphabet letter in Korean. SO, the "hanger" and "hane out" joke is back. Ahh working on it! Fighting!

We had an AMAZING devotional on Tuesday by Bonnia Oscarson, general YW President. She talked about how God works miracles in the lives of His children to accomplish his purposes..."Is anything too hard for the Lord?" We have to have faith and with that always remember the source of our help. Also, she showed us the video of the current bush, which the gardener trimmed down its’ branches so it could become something stronger and greater. I know in my life (especially last year) there were so many challenges that were really hard for me to understand. What I couldn't see at the time was that all those disappointments and hard times would lead me to decide to serve a mission. I am so grateful that Heavenly Father loved me enough to cut me down. God can make so much more of us than we can possibly understand. I know there is a purpose in everything we go through and experience. The good news God cuts us down, He will never leave us alone as we build ourselves back up and become even better and happier than we even thought possible. 

I love you all!! Thank you for the letters and packages! Have an amazing week...Fighting!!

Davis Chamae

We love our temple walks with K-Town
I love Brittface!!! My favorite Great Harvest pumpkin bread - (sent in the package with her noodle handwriting)
Giant Christmas package, BEST MOM EVER!!   행복합니다!!
Thursday, December 3, 2015

Thanksgiving in the MTC

Hii I'm alive!! I feel like I haven't talked to you in a month...yet at the same time this week flew by! Time is weird here. As I read your letters I'm realizing how much has happened!! I've noticed that I tend to write some form of "Loved today" or "Best day ever!" every night in my journal...So I guess you could say I like being a missionary. Ps. I LOVED all the letters and packages this week. Thank you, thank you!! - It's like Christmas every day (literally. The Elders claim I set the MTC record for most packages...I don't mind <3 ) Mom we love our Christmas decorations, pictures and ALL the candy! *Funny sidenote - In Korean the words for "candy" (Sahtang) and "Satan" (Sahtan) are almost identical...and bc no one wants "MTC-15" everyone always says Candy is Satan...we love it though (reminds me of Demi's kitchen) Also I LOVE your idea of the "25 favorite family Christmas stories" - one for each day! Excited to read the book and eat our chocolate! Ps. we are going to continue the "Last Straw" tradition and I promise to cry at the same part of the story you do every year mom. So happy its Christmas season!!

LANGUAGE UPDATE: Literal leaps this week...progress! I'm finally able to contribute in the lessons. This started with memorizing my favorite sentence: "Irkojushigaesemnika" - "Will you please read?" (game changer). It's funny because at least 3 times in the lesson Mulitalo Chamaenym would provide this huge intro and testimony of the scripture, then look to me for the signal to say my line and proceed to hand them the book! Teamwork goals. Really though, I love learning Korean and am already seeing miracles. I constantly pray that the spirit will work through my lang. limitations in a way that my investigators can understand, feel love, and meet their specific needs. On Monday's lesson, we had originally planned to teach on faith/repentance but it turned into prayer. With no words or preparation, I stood up and went to the chalk board...somehow I was able to communicate (through acting and broken sentences) the steps of prayer and its importance. We asked Brother Quaktesu how he felt and invited him to pray and HE DID. Such a genuinely happy moment. I know the spirit guided that lesson and makes us capable of things we can't do on our own. We have also moved on from "scripted" lessons and yesterday I did a little party dance under the desk when I UNDERSTOOD our investigators story response to our question. 2 weeks!! Miracles.

Ok now I just want to talk about Thanksgiving because it was an amazing day! Of course, my heart hurt in the morning missing my family (wondering if you guys were running turkey trot, watching parade, playing football or making all the food), but then we opened our devotional with the song "Families can be Together Forever." In that moment I was so grateful for the promise of eternal families. Then Elder Dallin H. Oaks spoke!! It was incredible..the immediate spirit filling the room as he walked in (total surprise to us). He spoke about being grateful for adversity. Trials are opportunities to come closer to God and become who He knows we can be. Even when we can't see it, God's plan is ALWAYS better than our own. Then we had Thanksgiving meal for lunch! The onlyyy thing I like on Thanksgiving is dad's mashed I was really concerned going in (they have had fake, mushy potatoes at all the other dinners. Can't even talk about it) But Thanksgiving miracle! They went all out and had REAL potatoes, rolls, Apple pie with icecream and eggnog. It was amazing and I was full and happy. Next we had a huge service project where we put together meals for starving children in Utah. The MTC made over 350,000 packets (Miracle #2). Last we watched the movie "17 Miracles" and had a closing devotional with Mormon messages and musical performances...(ps sidenote - Mormon messages has a new video coming out every day for Christmas...what missionaries get excited about. Almost better than Thursday night Vampire Diaries...almost) Anyway in the end we sang the hymn "I Believe in Christ." By the chorus of the first verse every missionary in the MTC started standing until the whole room stood and testified of Christ. I don't know if I've ever felt the spirit so strong...almost tangible. So overwhelming I could barely sing. Powerful. Jesus Christ lives and loves us. I know it and I feel it. After...the MTC had a surprise for us...CHRISTMAS LIGHTS!! So happy it is officially my favorite time of year! Lots and lots of pictures!!

Definitely a different Thanksgiving than usual, but I spend the entire day happy and grateful to be a missionary. "Because I have been given much, I too must give." I love and miss you all so much!! Thanks for the letters and're the best!!

Davis Chamae

Christmas Decorations with Woo Chamaenym

Thanksgiving and the MTC Christmas lights


First talk in Korean

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

First Week in the MTC!

ANNEYOUNGHASAYO! Hello, hello! I made it through my first week at the MTC and it has been the longest but most amazing week of my life. I LOVE IT HERE! I will try to keep this email short.. but we all know I like to talk a lot. I literally write a novel in my journal every night.. so much has happened!! So this is a weird week because it is Thanksgiving.  Normally my P-day will be on Thursdays so I will email everyone then. But hii. First, thank you to everyone for the letters, Dear Elders and packages! Thank you SO much to Mackenzie and Sam for the cupcakes – they were amazing. The elders in my district all think I'm spoiled because they're the ones who pick up the mail… and I am! So much love from the Davis Chamaenym fan club this week.  I love and miss you guys every day!

So I guess I will start with the first day. So hard to say goodbye (mom those pictures and videos killed me, I miss you!)... but I was immediately busy, rushing to get my books and name tag before class. I was the first one to the classroom and was met by my teacher who quickly started speaking Korean at me and asking me to do things. SO overwhelming.  My first instinct was to just smile and say, "Si, yes" (but I don't even speak Spanish). Then I met my district and they are so fun. Party Kaja! There are six of us, four 18-year old boys who just graduated from high school. They're hilarious and we get nothing done in our "additional study time." Then there is me and my Companion, Sister Mulitano. She is Samoan, a volleyball star, so chill, hilarious, ALWAYS tired and the slowest walker on planet earth. I love her! We are always dying laughing...although I'm not sure if things are actually hilarious or if we're just slap happy from no sleep. We live with a native Korean who is from Seoul so she isn't in our district because she is already fluent. She is the cutest and gets huge eyes when she is excited or laughs. It was hard at first because my companion took a year of Korean at the University of Utah, so she could speak to her and I didn't understand. It is also a huge blessing because she has already taught me so much! Me always: "Woo Chamaenym, how do you say goodnight? How do you say tired? We are freezing.. how do you say cold?" (Ps I know we joked about the Snuggie, but I am ALWAYS freezing in the classroom mom.. so that would be awesome!) 

Speaking of the language, it is going to be very hard...BUT we have come a long way. It's funny because the littlest things are the BIGGEST successes to me here. I was so excited when I could finally read my name tag in Korean. We can also pray (simply), sing (slowly) and teach in Korean already! So far we have taught 3 lessons in KOREAN. The first lesson went pretty well considering it was only our second day. Of course, my two sentences I memorized were only 5% of the lesson while my companion chatted and laughed with the investigator. I'm literally just smiling and nodding like "We are God's children," "God loves us..." which was progress because all morning I kept saying "we are God's chair." Even though I felt like I couldn't understand any part of the lesson… it is amazing how even our simple, broken sentences could bring the spirit. I love the MTC because the spirit is so present everywhere we go! I keep saying I have tingles and chills on my arms and it's true. It is an amazing place and I am learning and growing so much. Our lesson last night did not go as well...he asked a difficult question right from the beginning and we were unprepared and all over the place. Mulitalo Chamaenym tried to explain at first but we were just lost. Of course, I don't speak the language and could hardly pick up what his questions even were. I just stand up, grab the dictionary and start pulling out random words trying to make a point. Literally..."school!" (draw a picture), "Test" (act it out), "Earth!"...we all know how terrible I am at charades. Sooo we definitely have a long way to go but I know that I can't do this on my own. Through faith I will see miracles and believe me – I already have! 

So everyone always says "just get to Sunday" and I was always confused thinking – I love it here! Well, Saturday night it hit me and I was really stressed with the language and discouraged. I can just say… Sundays in the MTC are amazing. We had some wonderful musical numbers, talks and discussions that confirmed to me that this is where I am supposed to be. We watched Elder Bednar's Devotional called the "Character of Christ" that is actually only shown at the MTC. It was about how Christ turns outward in love and service in EVERY situation, when the natural man (me) would turn in. This mission is not about me. Such a huge reminder that I need to look outside of myself instead of focusing on my problems and what I can't do. Our teacher shared Ether 12:6 with us yesterday and said to change the wording in it to "miracles." We will not receive "miracles" until after the trial of our faith. Learning Korean is going to be a faith exercising and faith building experience for me… but faith prompts us to act, meaning I have to take the first step. I have to work hard, humble myself, recognize I can't do this on my own, and trust that God will help me. With faith I will see miracles.

I am so happy here!! I miss everyone so much but I am absorbing everything I can from this experience, meeting amazing people and having so much fun (even when it's hard...we laugh 5 min. later). Just from my experiences in these 5 days I know that God knows each of us individually. He loves us and will ALWAYS provide strength as we turn to him. "The tender mercies of the Lord are over all whom He hath chosen because of their faith" (1 Nephi 1:20). I know this is where I am supposed to be and I am so happy!!!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING THIS WEEK!! I am so grateful for you all. LOVE AND MISS YOU!!

Davis Chamaenym

Meeting my new MTC family

Im Chamaenym making the heart sign
Mulitalo Chamaenym in our humble home
Thank you Sam and Mackenzie!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Final Goodbyes!

Pictures capturing the last few days...

Mesa Temple
Gilbert Temple

At the airport with my siblings

Saying goodbye to my best friend and brother

The last supper

Goodbye Jujee and Pompa

Final goodbyes are for dad...

And mom

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Hey Seoul sister,

I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to serve the Lord as one of His missionaries. The gospel has truly changed my life and I have never been happier! I'm so excited for what's ahead and can't wait to share my testimony with everyone I meet in Korea. See you all in 18!

Ps I would love to hear from you!! Here are the details


Provo MTC Address:
Sister Caitlin Elizabeth Davis
2005 N 900 E Unit 69
Provo UT 84602

Mission (Letters and Packages)
Sister Caitlin Elizabeth Davis
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Korea Seoul Mission
Jahamun-ro 152 1 dong
Seoul-si 03046
South Korea

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Good afternoon brothers and sisters. I’m so happy to be back in my home ward and grateful for the opportunity to share my testimony with you today before I leave on my mission to Korea.

I have been asked to speak on becoming truly converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ and I want to begin with a personal story. Many of you in the ward know that my parents are avid hikers and three years ago I definitely could not say the same for myself. My sophomore year, my parents took us on a hike for family home evening. I had an important dessert party later that night…therefore I felt completely justified in my sassiness, complaining and constant urging the family to finish the hike as quickly as possible. As we began our hike, my dad kept saying, “I can run up this mountain and finish it round trip in 35 min.” Well…not only did I want to get home, but I am really competitive. With zero hiking experience, I had to prove I could run it as well.  Even though it was my first time on the trail, my prideful self was convinced that I knew the path as I left the group and started sprinting down the mountain. I kept running, running, tripping and running about 10 minutes past the exit I was supposed to take. Eventually I stopped and realized everything was starting to look the same. Next imagine me running in circles in the wilderness, climbing through barbed wire fences, scratched, bleeding, sweaty…so angry and scared as the sun started to go down. At one point I was sitting on a rock—seconds after running away from a snake—when I just started crying and didn’t know what to do (I’m also really dramatic). Accepting the fact that I was lost and setting aside my pride, I knelt and said a prayer that I would find my way back to the car. Immediately I felt peace, chose a direction and started walking. I was led, yet again through the broken barbed wire fence, until I found a house and eventually our car through the gate. About 5 min. later my family came down the road, where I obviously pretended to have been waiting on them the whole time.

As I prepared for this talk, I tried to remember significant moments that have helped develop my testimony in Christ and the gospel. I realized my most meaningful memories were when I directly felt God’s love for me. There have been several periods in my life where I have felt lost and alone; wandering on different paths, unsure of who I am and where I should be going. Each time I have been led to my knees, sacrificing pride and sincerely praying for direction as I recognize my dependence on the Savior. Through these experiences I came to know that the Savior loves us. He will always provide strength and direction as we choose to come unto Him.

Elder David A. Bednar said,
“Strong testimony is the foundation upon which conversion is established…it is a point of departure; it is not the ultimate destination” “Conversion is an offering of self, of love, and of loyalty we give to God in gratitude for the gift of testimony.” (Converted unto the Lord – Oct. 2012)

We develop our testimonies by studying, learning and living the principles of the gospel, but conversion is a step further. It requires a change in our hearts as we commit to faithfully and obediently live the gospel for the rest of our life.  
Although I am grateful for each humbling experience that shaped my testimony, I never felt a conversion and refining change within myself until I opened my mind to a mission.

Honestly I never saw a mission in my path. I thought I had my life planned out perfectly with future internships, study abroads, getting my MBA and starting a family. Up at BYU, I was amazed at how many of my close friends chose to serve a mission and watched them progress as they prepared to leave. I remember always being so happy for them as they opened their calls, wondering what it would be like for me…but always thinking I was supposed to do something else. Last April, my mom asked me if I had genuinely prayed about a mission and for the first time I could see myself going. This idea really scared me and I pulled out my patriarchal blessing mid-conversation, hoping to find a clear answer within it. I found it centered on my future husband and family, not even briefly mentioning a mission. I was so relieved thinking, “Awesome! Don’t need to worry about that one!” Then I moved to New York to intern for the summer. It was an amazing growing experience for me and I loved everything about the city, except that it was loneliest I had ever felt in my life. Moving to New York was something I had wanted since I was 12 years old, and yet I could not figure out why I wasn’t happy there. I also could not see ahead into my future. I was not excited to go back to school in the summer; I did not want to live in New York any longer; I did not think I would enjoy staying home in Arizona. I just felt lost and confused. As I learned to rely on the Savior during my time there, the thought of a mission was constantly on my mind. I would consider it for a few days, come up with every immature/ridiculous reason not to go, make up my mind with a confident "no" and move on. However, just a few days later, the thought would pop up in my head yet again. 

One Sunday, I prayed to Heavenly Father and told Him I was going to sincerely open my mind to a mission for one week...and then make a decision and not look back. During this time, I promised to search the scriptures every night, pray, go to the temple, fast and ask for a blessing from my Dad. The first two days, my thoughts were completely flooded with doubts and I thought that was my answer. My mom reminded me that when Joseph Smith knelt in the Sacred Grove, he was overcome with "thick darkness" before he saw the "pillar of light." I remained open and two days later, received a distinct impression that Heavenly Father needed me to serve a mission. I am normally a very indecisive person with everything, but for the first time I felt peace, comfort and certainty. Exactly one week later I went into the Bishop’s office, talked through my process and told him I was going on a mission, again feeling that peace and comfort that this was right for me.

I know that Heavenly Father loves us enough to redirect our paths and lead us on our way to becoming more like Him. Sometimes we may not understand why things happen the way they do, but Heavenly Father cares a lot more about our progression than our comfort. This was not the path I originally had in mind for myself, but I have no doubts that it is the happiest and what I am supposed to be doing right now. 

In the Book of Mormon, King Benjamin taught his people that true happiness comes from putting off the natural man, repenting of their sins and coming unto Christ. After believing his words, they recognize all of their sins and cry unto the Lord to apply His Atonement and forgive them. Through their faith and trust in Jesus Christ, they are forgiven and experience a “mighty change of heart,” having “no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually” (Mosiah 5:2). In gratitude, they take Christ’s name upon them and promise to be faithful, obedient and diligent for the rest of their lives.

Elder Bednar said

“Any honest seeker of truth can become converted by experiencing the mighty change of heart and being spiritually born of God”

As we look at the conversion process of King Benjamin’s people…they believed the word, repented of their sins and promised to be diligent in keeping the commandments.

The first step is believing the word. We are lucky to have the scriptures and words of Latter-day prophets as a guide so we don’t have to wander in the dark. We have already obtained the word and must decide how to use it and apply it in our daily lives. Elder Bednar teaches that “obtaining a testimony of spiritual truth requires asking, seeking and knocking with a sincere heart, real intent, and faith in the Savior.” It is a completely new experience in earnestly studying the Book of Mormon, when compared to passively (half asleep) reading a verse or two at night. As we prayerfully read, ask questions, seek inspiration and have faith that we will receive answers, the prophet Moroni promises that God “will manifest the truth of it unto [us] by the power of the Holy Ghost” (Moroni 10:4).

The first missionary, Samuel Smith, left to preach the gospel in New York in 1830. In one of his first weeks, Elder Smith approached Phineas Young, handed him a Book of Mormon and bore testimony saying, “If you will read this book with a prayerful heart, and ask God to give you a witness, you will know the truth of this work.” (Ensign, Oct. 2007) Phineas bought the book and went home planning to read it, mark it up, and “expose its errors to the world.” He read the Book of Mormon in a week and was surprised to find that he had made no markings. He read it again the following week and was convinced that the book was true. Phineas then passed the book to his father, his sister, and eventually his brother Brigham Young, who would become an influential leader in the Church. We are counseled to “search the Book of Mormon and the words of the living prophets every day, every day, every day!” (Kevin W. Pearson). I know that as we sincerely study the words of Christ, we will find the direction and spiritual strength that we need to go about our days.

After we obtain the word and believe it to be true, this knowledge will inspire a desire to follow God’s will by repenting and forsaking our sins. Elder Robert D. Hales said, “If we seek the truth, develop faith in Him, and, if necessary, sincerely repent, we will receive a spiritual change of our heart which only comes from our Savior” (Healing Soul and Body – Oct. 1998). In the Book of Mormon, Alma shares his repentance and conversion process with his son Helaman. After being visited by an angel, Alma experienced “eternal torment” and pain as he spent three days realizing the seriousness of all of his past sins (Alma 36:12). Recalling the teachings of his father and the hope of Jesus Christ, he begged for forgiveness. As he was spiritually born of God, Alma’s soul was “filled with joy as exceeding as was [his] pain” and he “could remember [his] pains no more” (19-20). He was converted and spent the rest of his life sharing this hopeful message and bringing others unto Christ.

The repentance process is not easy. It requires a humble and willing heart. The Lord teaches that as we come unto Him, He “will show unto [us] [our] weakness that [we] may be humble.” Because we are imperfect people striving for perfection and because the Lord loves us, He will show us our weaknesses so we can improve and progress in becoming more like Him. This was the hardest part for me as I have been preparing to serve a mission. I recognized that as I spent more time studying the gospel and coming unto Christ, my flaws became more apparent. Being a perfectionist, it was really painful for me to recognize all of my faults and mistakes. It honestly seemed impossible to overcome and I felt inadequate in teaching others while I live so imperfectly. But then I realized that I can’t do it on my own and I won’t ever have to try. God will show us our weaknesses but he won’t leave us alone to overcome them, promising that if we are humble and faithful, He “will make weak things become strong unto [us]” (Ether 12:27). The gospel is for imperfect people striving to become more like Christ. “God cares a lot more about who are and who we are becoming than about who we once were” (Elder Dale G. Renlund – Latter-day Saints Keep on Trying – Apr. 2015) I am so grateful for the Atonement in my life. I’ve realized that sometimes the healing process is long and painful, but I know that without it there wouldn’t be any growth. The Atonement allows us to change and I know that Christ is there for us through every step, no matter how long it takes for us to truly come unto Him.

After sincere repentance, true conversion requires diligence, offering our whole beliefs, desires, and souls to living the gospel. Once they were converted, King Benjamin’s people renamed themselves the “children of Christ,” promising to take Christ’s name upon them forever. The prophet Jeremiah says, “Saith the Lord, I will write my law in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jeremiah 31:33). In order to write the gospel in our hearts, our heart must be open, sincere and willing. We have to turn from the world and align our desires with God’s will. In the Book of Mormon, the Anti-Nephi-Lehi’s were converted and found peace from their sins after sincere repentance. They buried their weapons of war to stand “as a testimony to God at the last day” that they had committed to change (Alma 24:15).  Elder Bednar taught that in order to become truly converted, we have to surrender our own “weapons of rebellion,” by repenting and turning from whatever is impeding our progression. Omni invites us to “come unto Christ…and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him” (Omni 1:26). As we choose Christ and prioritize the gospel in our lives, we will come to know of the blessings from obedience. It takes faith to turn away from the world and stand up for the gospel, but I know that this is the only way to true happiness. We can apply the steps of conversion in our lives every single day and eventually our beliefs, desires and hearts will align with the Lord’s. We will slowly progress to become more like our Savior, Jesus Christ.

I want to close by sharing one of my favorite poems.
One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there was one only.
This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Lord,
“You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?”
The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.” (Footprints in the Sand – Mary Stevenson)

I want you all to know that I have a testimony that this is true. I know that the Savior lives and that He loves us. Any trials, fears and pains we are going through, He understands completely and will always be there to carry us. Honestly some days I am so afraid of what is coming. I feel inadequate in my abilities to teach the language, terrified of war in Korea, and sad to leave my family and friends behind. I also know that because of Christ, I will never be alone. Through faith and trust in Him and the enabling power of the atonement, I will receive strength every single day.

I am so grateful for the incredible guidance and support I have had throughout my life. I was blessed with an amazing family and I know I wouldn’t be here today without their examples. Thank you to all of my friends who loved and supported me through every stage of my life. I’m going to miss you guys so much but I know that Korea is where I am supposed to be for the next year and a half.

I’m grateful that Heavenly Father loves us enough to refine us and lead us on the path of becoming more like Christ. I know that as we become truly converted to the gospel, we will find purpose and direction in our lives and be happy no matter what our circumstances may be. I am so excited to share this message with the people in Korea and I already feel so much love for them. I know that Christ lives, loves us and is waiting for us to come unto Him. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.