Friday, July 5, 2013

Another Week

Date: Mon, Jul 1, 2013 at 5:43 AM
Subject: Another Week

I don't even know how I should start this. So this week has been very different from my last transfer. My last companion had us working all the time but then I get a new companion and we don't do nearly as much and it's a little bit strange. I'm still a junior companion and I don't really want to step on his toes but we need to start doing work. However we get along very well. He's into the same kind of stuff that I am and so we end up talking a lot just about n'importe quoi. This week I get to see all the people in my zone again which I'm excited for because one of the sisters that came in with me is now here so it'll be really fun to talk to her. There are so many sisters coming in! This last transfer the people who just got there were with people that came in with them and everyone else was training. I imagine it's about the same now too but there is just a huge influx of sisters coming in. We also watched a broadcast that I imagine the missionaries there have talked about or shared or done something because they're working on changing the whole idea of missionary work. The way they put it is that if we continue in the way we always have then we'll get the same results so it's time to change according to the new times. It's really cool and I hope we can get the members here on board.
So there's a family here that reminds me so much of our family. They're name is Diaz (they're from Chile) and they're so funny. It's a mom, and then three daughters one a little older than me, one my age, and one a Ryan's age. They were talking about a band called Daddy Yankee the other day and I realised that I know that band. They about flipped out and started talking very fast at the same time. They are innactive but they love the missionaries. We're working on them.
Not a whole lot going on right now. IT just started something called soldes where everything goes on sale and so it's been super hectic around town and I just find myself feeling grateful I'm in a small town otherwise it would be absolutely crazy. Well I can't think of anything else but I am excited to hear from all of you soon about new things in your life. =)
Lots of love,
Elder Davis
PS... (I asked him how the church was going and if he understood the people better) I understand church now and actually just gave a talk last Sunday. The theme was Psalms 147:3. They aren't feeding us here as much as they did in Brive. Last transfer I got fead once and then once so far too. I've had some pretty cool stuff though. Like some french salami stuff which was very good and for salads here they do super simple stuff but it's super good. Like they take lettuce and mix oil with it or just tomatoes and oil and salt. It's really good. =)
PS... (then I asked him what he was making for himself) As for us we eat like college students. Rice, pasta, sauces. I figured out that sour cream and bacon make a tastey sauce...but that's just missionary food and if you took that somewhere where they cook seriously they'd get mad at you. ;) Oh and I will probably buy something today on my personal card so don't be shocked when a large some of money leaves (I don't know how large because I haven't gotten it yet but It shouldn't be more than a hundred euros if I can help it). Have fun at work. =)

Citadelle de Besançon

Citadelle de Besançon

Last Week of Another Transfer

Date: Mon, Jun 17, 2013 at 6:38 AM
Subject: Last Week of Another Transfer
Time goes by so fast. It seems like one minute I'm meeting someone new and now all of a sudden I may have to say goodbye to him. I've really enjoyed this transfer. I love the town and the branch here (except some just tell us how much they want sister missionaries). I wouldn't mind staying another here but my companion thinks that they're going to have me be a zone leader next transfer. The reason he's saying that is because the zone leaders came here and did an exchange and one of them asked me how I felt about my leading abilities. Apparently they give a letter of recommendation of what they think should happen for transfers so that the president has something to look at to get other points of view. Apparently they don't ask that question to people and the guy I replaced here was asked that and then went zone leader. However my comp has a tendancy to tell little lies to keep a joke going so I don't know how much he's told me about that and then talking to another zone leader about it was. On vira.
This week I discovered what real dark chocolate tastes like. Let me tell you, Hershy's got nothing on this stuff. It is the best dark chocolate I've had in my life but I found out that even though it's good you can't eat the whole package. When you do you really don't feel very good. However if I'm not careful then I'll get to buy groceries and discover I have no money. But I'm doing pretty good on money. I won't tell you how much they give me but have no fear, it's more than enough for someone who grew up looking for the cheap off brands. ;)
Did I tell you that one of the seventy came and talked to us? It was really cool. He talked about using members more and that if we continue to do the same missionary work then we'll keep getting the same results. Missionaries everywhere are going to start counting more and more on the members to help them out and start doing some work too. Just a heads up to try to help the missionaries back home when it comes time for them to struggle for it. You understand how hard of a time missionaries have once you get out there and do it.
From time to time I think back on the movie The Best Two Years (fun fact the main guy is actually less active now as well as the guy who plays Christ in the Finding Faith in Christ movie. Ok not so fun) and I can think of missionaries I know that fit those categories. It's really really funny.
So I'm running out of things to say as usual I'll probably think of them later. I got to go to the citadelle today. They turned it into a zoo which was really fun.
I love you all and can't wait to hear from you soon.
-Elder Davis
PS... (I told Nicholas about riding a Tandem bike in the church parking lot the other night and I asked him if he got the letters the primary kids sent.) That's awesome. I tried to get the mission president to let us get a bike like that but he said no. I'm glad that you had fun doing service. Here we just help people move. I did get the letters and laughed because everyone said something about rain, snails or both. It made me laugh. =)
(then I told him about What I said to the primary kids about how people's moods change in France according to whether or not it rains) Oh ok. I thought maybe it was raining there. Hahaha. The letters from the adults were fun. I meant to bring the ones from your coworkers to respond to them but I forgot because we went to the citadelle earlier. Sister Bernard was kind of funny because while everyone said something about how great it was that I was serving she talked about how Aaron's doing. Which was nice. I bet you two just have a feild day when you two talk.
(and here's an extra PS for all you science majors) So I have a rather strange request, how long does it take for the sun to make a revolution around the center of the galaxy that we are in?
See if you can spot Nicholas. I'll give you a hint... he has the BRIGHTEST purple tie - which.... in real life... is blue! 

An Interesting Week

Date: Mon, Jun 10, 2013 at 4:09 AM
Subject: An Interesting Week
So this week has been very eventful. It starts with the sun being out all week. The clouds went away for a bit just in time for us to do some work in the outer villes. The sun makes everyone happier but then it gets really hot. I think it was in the thirties this week. I also noticed that there is an inverse relationship with sn and amount of clothes worn. For those who don't remember back to the math they don't need that means the more sun the less clothes. Which leads to the story of the first little ville. It is called Dole and we were going around knocking on houses when we walk up to one with the door open. We don't want to freak out the people living there so we ring the bell and stand back. There's then a sound from the side of the house where we look around and here is the owner, sun tanning without any clothes on. Instead of freaking out that she's naked she seems to not remember that fact and just turns, sees us and goes inside to put on some clothes (I think). Luckily I am the junior companion so I was not in the lead and therefore did not get the full view of what was going on. I did see enough to realize how much she was not wearing though. After that we decided not to stick around and find out what happened next but we turned and just got out of there.
We also did work in a place called Maison Neuve which is a cluster of maybe fifty houses out in the middle of absolute nowhere. However we ended up passing through a field of long grass and suddenly realizing that not too long ago German soldiers made that same walk with much different news. It was kind of cool to think about that. I'm excited for tomorrow though. We get to listen to Elder Richards for Zone Conference (Second quorumn of the seventy). That's going to be very exciting.
I am really close to my six month mark now which is very very strange. It's flown by and it's weird to think that the sisters that go into the MTC then will be going home with me. Crazy right? I thought I was going to have more to talk about in this email but I seem to be running out of things. Hm. Well I love you all and wish you all the best. As summer is starting and you can have lots of fun soyez sage.
-Elder Davis

PS... As for French one of my favorite sayings is when someone says something and you want to say that they're right you say they have reason. For example "What way should we take?" "This one because of this." "Oh you have reason." You can say that to one person by saying "Tu as raison" or to a group with "vous avez raison." I will try to send you some pictures but I don't have my camera right now and we won't be in Besançon until Wednesday but there's a cool picture of the citadelle that we can see from our balchony that you might like. For food that's good, they eat a lot of salad with vinigrette and there's a cool little salad where you cut carrots, fennel and some lettuce into match stick shapes and then put in vinigare enough to coat everything which is very good. If I think of anything else I'll let you knowWednesday.
Love you, Elder Davis

Oh! Another good one is Sois sage for just one person and Soyez sage for more than one. It means be wise and is kind of like saying make good choises. =)

Another Week in France

Date: Mon, Jun 3, 2013 at 6:16 AM
Subject: Another Week in France

This week has been good. Full of laughs and sorrow. First starts with the news we just got last night. We have a lady who was ready to be baptised. She had a testimony, she read more than I did before I came out. she even was reading the Gospel Principles book and was talking about stuff we had just sat down to teach her. Then she wasn't at church yesterday so we give her a call. Turns out her husband thinks the Book of Mormon is Satanic and that she's following satan by wanting to join this church. The thing I can't understand is that when we're over there he's very nice to us. He's a member of another church but when we talk to him about his beliefs he just says that they follow the Bible exactly. So what do we do? We ask about things in the Bible that other religions don't seem to completely grasp. Baptism by immersion, authority, baptisms for the dead, Sunday worship (they worship on Saturday). And each one of those he has a dumb excuse from authority from just reading the Bible to that certain verses are translated incorrectly. You want to talk about a hard nut to crack I've got him. So we talk to her and she says she is going to follow what her husband is telling her. It was frustrating and incredibly sad.
Later that night though we had a short lesson with a guy that we found knocking on doors. Last Monday he said he was busy so we said "Another day can we come back?" This guy says yes but in his mind he's thinking something like we can come back when hell freezes over whereas to us that means come back Sunday. So we went back and when he opens the door you can see in his face that he's thinking "I didn't think you'd actually come back." But he said yes so he lets us in and tells us that he's catholic but we have five minutes. We explain to him the first lesson and then my companion starts headed somewhere that'll just end in arguing which goes nowhere. So in order to stop it I have to jump in there somehow so I start talking about the Book of Mormon and what it's about and the cool pictures in the front. In the end we leave him with a book and a prayer (we didn't explain prayer so he wasn't expecting this kind of prayer). I cracked my eyes halfway through to see his face and I had a hard time not reacting to the confusion that I found. But moral of the story he has a Book of Mormon. By their fruits ye shall know them. He has the fruit now.
And then the other story I wanted to share was about our apartement and how it's situated. So across from us is a nice little park with trees and benches and nice grassy feilds. However this makes for a local spot for high schoolers during lunch time (they get lunch time from noon to two here in France). Now as we were all high schoolers with all of the chemicals raging through our artteries you can imagine what's going on. This is very weird for two missionaries trying to have lunch on the fourth floor across from them. Luckily we have found a way to benefit from this and my companion and I have become very profitiant water ballon tossers. If we ever have a primary activity and one of them is that thing when you toss the balloon back and forth they better look out because we've become somewhat of an expert.
So that has been my excitment for the week. I can't wait to hear from you all soon to find out how your lives are going back in the states. Until next week,
-Elder Davis
PS... Here we're doing much more cooking for ourselves. The branch is really small (only about thirty people with twenty five regulars). Everyone who lives close is old ladies who have lost husbands so we can't visit them alone and everyone else is really far out of town. Bikes were just in Brive. They had been left from elders before so I didn't take them. It's actually very rare for bikes. I was on exchange there and the district leader who had been out a year had never riden a bike in France so it probably won't happen again. I'll talk about teaching in the big letter. There's been some great stories and a sad story this week.
I love you mommy and pass the love to the primary kids too.
-Elder Davis
PS.... You're going to have the best time with that group of people (at Girls Camp). There may not be a more fun and entertaining group out there. Tell the Hawes that I say hello.

A Better Week

Date: Mon, May 27, 2013 at 6:24 AM
Subject: A Better Week

This week has been very good. One of the most interesting things that happened to me was during contacting. I talked to a Jehovah's Witness about gospel. You know the secret so they don't spend all their time trying to convert you? Talk in the language they use for work and don't know a lot of spiritual words. He wanted to show off a bit of his english I think. To make me realize that other religions learn other languages and communicate things about church through it too but it really worked in my favor because then it was even harder for him to try to bible bash. We talked and I told him what we believed. Some things aren't too far from what they believe however there are other things that don't make any sense that they believe. The next day we actually found their church here in Besançon which was interesting. We also found a couple other potential people to talk to which was great. There is a noticable difference between people's attitudes on sunny days and on rainy days. Today is one of those sunny days which is great. This week we had a zone training and I'm sorry to have gotten your hopes up but I don't get to go into Switzerland for things like that. For two reasons, one is they just don't want Americans there for some reason and two is that it is super expensive over there. They also use the Franc instead of the Euro. So we had it here in Besançon. It was very very good and I'm in a zone with one of the guys I played four square against in the MTC. So I knew one of the guys. There's also a sister that came in with my trainer that's over here. She and my trainer have never been in different zones for more than a transfer so I know her pretty well. She's form Oregon too but she's up in Portland. And then there are three équipes of sister missionaries here and each one of them is training one of the sisters that just came in. I also realized that I'm about to hit my six months. That's really weird to me. It doesn't seem like that long. It's tradition to burn a tie at that mark but I don't think I'm going to do that. First because I like all my ties too much and also I was with a missionary who did that. It was terrible. He did it in the sink because they didn't have a balcony and so smoke filled the appartement. My clothes then smelt of smoke and you want to know something hard? Trying to teach the Word of Wisdom in a smoke smelling suit. The bright part of that experience was that they discovered that they needed to change the batteries in the smoke detector. I guess everything happens for a reason right? Well I love you guys and I'm sure I'll think of more things to write after I get off as that is the curse of the once a week emails. Just know that I think of you all. Family to friends to acquaintences. I think of you.
-Elder Davis
(Additional letters from this week:)
PS... And now the last one I just remembered, have Kristina and Chris got the letter I mailed when I got her package? I want to make sure that it didn't get lost somewhere.
And also I need to apologize for what I said about Jehovah's Witnesses. I didn't mean that to sound bad about them just that it's interesting meeting someone doing the same thing I am from a different belief.
-Elder Davis

Besancon - The Tooth Fairy Story

Date: Mon, May 20, 2013 at 7:03 AM
Subject: Besancon

Another week goes by and I find myself wondering where it went to. The beginning of the week was really great with the sun so everyone was happy but then the tail end of the week was on a down slope. We talk to tons and tons of people but everyone has the same answer that they don't need God. "Why should I follow someone who takes away all my fun?" is what people say if you can get them to talk to you for more than just a "No I'm not interested" or that "I'm pressed for time" except for the fact that they're just strolling along without purpose. I did have one cool experience so far though. Spoiler alert, if you're reading this to little kids I'm talking about the toothfairy and so you may want to change it a tad. We sonnetted a man's house who said that we were like little children who believed in the Tooth Fairy because we believed in Christ. I now have a testimony of the promise in the Book of Mormon that we will not be confounded before men because I looked that man in the eyes and said Sir, I believe in the Tooth Fairy. It is my mother. The one who has been with me through everything. I believe in her and will always believe in her even after death because I know that I will live with her again after this life. To this he had nothing to say and sent us on our way. I don't know what it is that he was thinking after that but I was glad to have been able to share my testimony to a man who is trying to get us angry. It's a little bit weird sometimes when you talk to some people and they have no reservations telling you what they think the purpose of life is and Jesus Christ is not in there. You also then find a love of the boogy man, for when you are climbing into bed and you hear a bump in the night, you certainly hope it's the boogy man under your bed. So that's my news really for this week. I love France with all my heart but there are times, and I think this happens to every missionary no matter where you serve, that you feel trodden down into the dust. There's a lot of sayings that are there to try to help pick you up (and nowhere has giving up ever come into my mind) but it's still very difficult. However you have no need to worry about me. I am where I am needed and I know that I will feel better in no time at all because I am doing the best thing I can right now. So here's taking it one day at a time. I love you all and love to hear about the things going on back in America. Until next week.
-Elder Davis