Thursday, January 31, 2013

On Tue, Jan 29, 2013 at 8:33 PM, Nicholas Allan Davis <> wrote:
So I had time to peek at the Dear Elder just enough to see about the cookies. Yes they were very good. I shared them with my district and they're much better than any of the cookies you'll find here (which you microwave so they're soft). I love chocolate chip but if you feel like expirimenting I guess I'll take some off your hands. ;) I was confused about the bread at first but then found out how much it helps. Thank you. =)

On Tue, Jan 29, 2013 at 4:40 AM, Nicholas Allan Davis <> wrote:
Good morning everyone! I meant to bring the letters that I have to answer all the questions but alas I have forgotten so I'll hand write some letters today. This week was good, there's been a lot of lessons about setting goals for myself so that's kind of neat. To set goals for the things you want to do and then follow them through to what it is that you want to get to. So now all of the missionaries that got here before we did have left so my district is the big man on the totem pole. That's kind of weird. When I think back to when I first got here all the Elders here already seemed much older than I was and now I'm that for other people. Tomorrow my district is being hosts to the new Elders coming in so we take them to their residence, get them all their books, and get them to their class after that. It should be kind of cool. There's only one person coming for the French branch tomorrow and she was supposed to get here with us on the nineteenth but her visa didn't go through (she's from Canada). I wonder how it'll work with her being six weeks behind us here though. I don't think I've told you this before but three times a week my district (the elders anyway) do a district bonding activity where someone buys chips and another person buys dip and we destroy the bag as fast as we can. We do that on Monday Wednesday and Friday. Last night our time for doing it was 2:35. That was really cool because it's a new record. It's funny because next to us the elders do shoe shining together and below us they do ab workouts but I think I like ours better. This week I've been really proud (the good kind) of where my French has been going. I can understand the things that the teachers say during our lessons and I can start to express myself. Of course I know that I'll be knocked back down once I get out there and hear that everyone speaks much faster and with a weird accent. One of my branch presidency just got back from Paris and talked to us about that a little. It snowed there! Granted it's not a lot but they don't get snow there except once every twenty years he said so nobody knows how to drove on it so everything was canceled. Before I left I'd hear the missionaries complain about the amount of sleep they'd get and I'd never be able to understand why but now I do. When you wake up at six thirty every single day your body feels like there should be a sleep in on Saturday (which has pretty much disappeared) but then the alarm goes off and it's time for you to get up. I understand why and I know it's a small thing I shouldn't complain about but that's what goes through my mind about every morning. I said that Saturdays have pretty much disappeared because all of the days are exactly the same. I think I probably wrote about this before but there is really only three days, P-day, Sunday and everyday. Two days a week the schedule changes a little but not very much at all. I'm glad I'm here though. Three weeks is going to pass by in the blink of an eye. I thought that the first three weeks went by fast but these last three will be even faster. My teachers are really funny, one of them went to Quebec for his mission and so he has a slight accent called Quebecquoi which I'm sure we picked up on a bit. We found a girl from France on Sunday and she was funny. First we didn't understand most of the things she said and then she remarked that we had that accent. Our teacher has told us some of the ways to say it in a really bad accent like that so we teased her a bit with that and it was funny to hear her opinion on that. And then my other teacher looks and acts exactly like the main girl in Girl's Just Want to Have Fun. I told her that but she didn't know the movie. She's really funny though. She's exactly like a lot of the people I know in Eugene. I'll probably think of more stuff to say after the sun comes out. At that point I'll make sure to write it in a letter. I'm sorry that my letters are so random. Oh! I need you to go on to the profile I started and upload a picture of me onto it. I started to make one but I need a picture to finish so I'd love if you could do that for me. I love you all. I can't wait to tell you of all the things that I discover in France. Until next week.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Fifth week I think?

Date: Tue, Jan 22, 2013 at 4:42 AM
Subject: Fifth week I think?

Good morning everyone! The deal is that I get thirty minutes in total on my email so if you don't use all of it the first time you can finish up later. Not a lot happened this week. I'm getting used to a French keyboard though so it's feels bizarre typing on an English one. The only differences are in the "a" and "q" placement are switched as well as the "w" and "z" and then the "m" and ";" but it'll be fine. I realized the other day that in four weeks from right now I'll be having my first full day in France. That is absolutely crazy for me. I don't know if I told you this but the people that came in three weeks after us are leaving the same day that we are. That is super crazy too. Especially when I see how far I am and then look at how far they are. They still don't quite understand me when I speak too quickly and we've been helping them out with memorizing stuff like our purpose and the first vision. But yesterday there were more moments when I started to talk about stuff that happened the day before that was actually only a few hours ago. Super crazy. So I decided that when I get home I want to take a violin class or a cello class (whichever one is suggested to do first). On the page I can go to to watch Mormon Messages the first thing to pop up is the song "O Emanuel" I think it's called? But it's played on cello and it's one of the most beautiful things you've ever heard. While I'm here I've realized how important music is to me and what music does to people. Another thing to have helped that is that we got a new MTC presidency and when he got up to speak he talked about his daughters a lot and then his daughters played a couple songs on violins and it was just so awesome. I discovered that on the top floor the people are speaking Russian and so if ever I'm feeling down on myself for the language I go up there and look at that alphabet and listen to them speak and then I feel much better about my French. ;) I still want to learn that language though, as well as German too. And probably Italian. Yah that's my list of first ones to learn for now. However I imagine I'll start to add more on to that over time. I can feel myself growing each and every day and it is the greatest thing. I love when I feel as though I'm learning a lot. I was given a good idea for my personal study too, I bought a journal that I'm only going to use for study purposes and as I read I can write down things that pop out to me so that in the time of need when I'm searching for a scripture I know I've read then I can flip through that and then find it. I'm really excited to go to France but when I get there I'm afraid I'll get a native trainer or something that speaks maybe ten words of English or that it's going to be exactly like "The Best Two Years" and the MTC taught me the wrong language or something. I know that I'll be ok though. I was watching a talk that Elder Bednar gave to the MTC and he said that "The Lord loves everyone equally but His missionaries he loves a little more equally." That made me laugh and so I know that no matter what happens I'll be fine in France. I am so excited to find the person there that I was always meant to find. To say exactly what they need to hear in their life. I love the MTC and how much I learn here and then all the people that are here too. Our district (the Elders anyway) have a tradition three times a week and that's that we get a bag of chips and a jar of dip for all of us and at night we work on just destroying it. We timed ourselves last night, three minutes and we had an empty bag and an empty jar. If you don't know about the power of getting something done when you put your mind to it that is an excellent place to look for it. I've also grown a love for Four Square. You may think it's just a game to play in the elementary schools but no, it's a viscous (not how you spell that) game where only the strong survive. It's fun though. If you do it right you also get a workout from it as well. All the islanders on my floor have left now so the only people up there are my district and then two Elders from the other French district that leave the same time as we do. It's a little bit strange. In a couple weeks I'll get my travel plans. I looked at a paper that had the times and stuff in the French Embasy but I can't remember the times that everything is and so I'll make sure to email about when I'll call from the airport. I am really excited for that. Even though that means that I'll be on a plane for thirteen hours all together I'm still really excited. Well I love you all and just want to wish you all the best.
Elder Nicholas Davis.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

In front of the Provo Temple

Lunch in San Francisco when they went to visit the French Consolate to get their visas.

Visiting San Francisco

We ended up getting a few extra emails from Nicholas on Tuesday.  The main one was after Devotional.  He is so anxious for all of us to read the talk that Elder Holland gave.  It had a profound effect on him.  However, I have since discovered that they don't post the MTC devotionals for the public.  So I have written to Elder Holland at church headquarters and requested the talk.  I'll share it with all of you if/when I get it.  In the mean time, enjoy his extra letters below.  

Date: Tue, Jan 15, 2013 at 8:46 PM
Subject: Holland

Elder Holland just spoke to us tonight for our Tuesday devotional and it was the most powerful thing I've ever felt in my entire life. I want everyone who reads this email to do one thing, member, nonmember, young and old alike find the talk that Holland gave tonight the fifteenth of January. For the people that this message gets forwarded to, if you do not do anything that I suggest the rest of my two years that will be ok as long as you look up this talk. Holland is my favorite apostle to listen to and whether you believe in the power and authority that he possesses or not you can't read this talk and not feel how important it is to me. I know that you will feel the power and authority that he has when you read it and if not then when I get back we'll talk and then you'll understand. He then dedicated three new buildings that had been renovated. That prayer was amazing to realize that all the buildings were dedicated like that. After the talk was finished I felt the Spirit so strong that I felt as though I was going to explode. Shortly after I decided that if I was to die by exploding because I was filled so much with the Spirit my physical body just couldn't handle it then that would be better than any other way I can think of if you were to give me all the choices in the universe. I'd like to finish by sharing my testimony that I know without a doubt that these men are called and inspired of God and that they receive revelation for the church but also by what people need. It is hard for me to even think of how people can come off their missions and then go innactive afterwards. I know that this church is true yesterday, today, and tommorrow. I say that in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Date: Tue, Jan 15, 2013 at 12:14 PM
Subject: I Remembered!!

So I remembered what I was going to say! I met a guy that knew Chris from France. His name is Durhman I think. My pad's back at my room so if that''s wrong I''ll write you in a letter.

Date: Tue, Jan 15, 2013 at 11:55 AM
Subject: Answers. =)

I'm sorry, I forgot to let you know that yes I am getting your letters. There was another thing that I thought of in the Temple but alas now it has left my mind. C'est la vie. I love you. =)
Date: Tue, Jan 15, 2013 at 4:56 AM
Subject: Half Way Through

Bonne Matin! The MTC has been pretty great this last week. Most of it the same kind of stuff though. I don't remember if I told you but I did the math and out of my nine weeks I spend three of them in the same room seeing the same four walls and then another three weeks is sleeping and the last is eating. So that's basically all we do, eat sleep and study. It's not bad though, I do love it here. I want to be a teacher here when I come back. I see the influence all these teachers that have been back a couple months have on me and I want to be that for some missionaries too. We moved into a new building with chair desk hybrids that role around. They're kind of fun though and it's not nearly so cramped now. Yesterday we started a game so that we will be better at "Parlez Votre Langue" which means that you speak your language all the day. We made it a game called Le Vrai Francais (The Real Frenchman) and the point is that everyone draws a slip of paper and someone has the slip saying they're it but you guess at the end of the day. The person with the most votes gets a reward and then the person with the least draws a punishment. The punishments are a French Hymn Solo outside, bare your testimony five times to someone in the bathroom in French, wear an ugly tie/dress, wear "the cone of shame," and something called French Croissant. French Croissant is when you go sit with a random group of missionaries and ONLY speak French as though they understand. Yesterday I got the least amount of votes and am therefore the first one to draw a punishment. I drew the French Solo so at nine thirty while everyone is headed to their room I stood in the middle of the breezeway and sang "Repands le Soleil" which is Scatter Sunshine. I drew quite the crowd. ;) Yesterday and earlier this morning all the other French and Haitian Creole speakers left for their mission fields so now my district is the oldest group. It feels really weird. Plus in a couple weeks after we really feel like the old group there's a huge influx and forty five French Missionaries arrive. That means Elder Karras and I will be getting a roommate or two very soon. I am lucky and homesickness hasn't hit me yet although that could be because there's just too much to do to focus on home. Where most language classes in school say they have to compress a years stuff into a semester here they compress five years worth of stuff into nine weeks (six for the few who just got here). So if you have time to think of home a lot then you are not working hard enough. The new French speaking Elders are cool. The other day we did a contacting practice so one companionship pretends to be regular people in a park while another one gives them a very short message. Elder Karras and I taught the new sister missionaries and it was so funny. We'd be talking and they'd nod their head like they new what was going on and then we'd ask a question like "Quand est-ce que nous retournons partager notre message avec vous?" and they just kept nodding their head. It was all I could do not to laugh. It's cool seeing that that's where we were when we got here just four short weeks ago. This Friday is the mark for a month left here and then Saturday is when I've been here a month. C'est bisarre. By the way, I'm pretty sure I've spelled a lot of these French words wrong. I'm super happy most of the time. The Lord has been with me. Good thing too because there's no way I could do this without him. Oh! I realised something as well, I switched my goals so now I'm trying to read the English Book of Mormon as well as the French. I realised that I don't understand most of what's going on so the promise in the scriptures that in the hour of need He will put the scriptures in my mind won't come if I don't know it and I won't know it if I only read it in French so while I'm still reading it the fifteen pages don't occupy the study time I have. My half hour's almost up but the thing that came to my mind the other day is cool and I'd like to share it with you. I have been born as Nephi of old, to goodly parents who love the Lord. I have been taught and I understand, that I must do as the Lord commands. I am as the army of Helaman. I have been taught in my youth. And I will be the Lord's missionary to bring the world his truth. I love you all and miss seeing you but not overwhelmingly so. =)
Elder Davis

Friday, January 11, 2013

If you'd like to write to Nicholas, his Mailing address:

Elder Nicholas Allan Davis
MTC Mailbox #208
2005 N. 900 E.
Provo, UT  84604-1793

To write to him online, here are instructions for

1.  Go to
2.  click the drop down menu  labeled "select mission"
3.  choose "Provo MTC - FREE"
4.  then click the button labeled "write a letter"
5.  You now see a rectangle that looks like an envelope with a stamp.  Put your name and address in the top part.
6.  In the bottom part, you would choose Elder for the title and then write in Nicholas Davis.  The MTC Box # is 208.  The Mission Code is FRA-LYON and the estimated MTC departure date is 0218.
7.  then there are boxes for your email address and then one large box for the body of your letter.  When you're done writing, you can check your spelling and "send Letter" at the bottom.

Nicholas will be at the MTC until the middle of February.

THIRD email from Nicholas received Jan 8th.

Good morning everyone! Life here at the MTC goes on exactly the same every day. The days really do seem to  run together though. I did the math and out of the nine weeks that I spend here I spend a total of three weeks in the same classroom. When you realize that sleeping takes up the majority of the remaining time outside then that is quite a significant time. The French is still coming along, we just got a new French teacher for our evening class and I think that she'll help a lot in learning more French because of her teaching style. She's also incredibly funny, she looks exactly like the girl from Girls Just Want to Have Fun. It's crazy. It's funny, the second thing she said in the entire class was to ask me if I knew who the kid from Boy Meets World is. This morning was pretty exciting, I had to wait outside for about fifteen minutes because the fire alarm went off for some reason. I hope that they explain it later today. I came up with a new goal for me, I want to read the Book of Mormon in French completely before I leave the MTC. I did the math and yesterday I had 42 days left and 619 pages to go. That means I have to read 15 pages a day. That'll be tough but goals are good so I figured it would help me learn and grow. I met a few sister missionaries headed for Eugene Oregon. It was pretty interesting. I didn't get their names though but I thought it was cool they were headed there. I also met a girl who recognized me from Eugene. She didn't look familiar but her name was familiar kind of. Her name is Sister Sarah Green but I can't think of where I know that. I talked to a guy who got back from Lyon a few months ago a little bit about Lyon. He said that he absolutely loved it. I've been afraid that the people where going to be really mean there because they don't like Americans or they don't like missionaries but he said that really it's the same as it is here. Some people are nice to you and some are mean. There are people who wag their finger at you and make "tisk" noises and then others who just put their hand up to shoo you away. He said that the entire two years he just wanted to give them a high five when they did that so he waited until his last day to do it and as he went up with the high five they put their hand down before he could hit it without even noticing what he tried to do. He was pretty disappointed so he advised us to not wait and just go for it. I think that sounds like fun. The teacher that I like (different from the one earlier) was telling us the other day that there's a sister missionary that he couldn't recognize if she passed him in the hall gave him a card. The front said "Good things come to those who wait." She was just about to head out and wrote down when she should get off her mission and for him to remember her in eighteen months. I know it's bad but we all about died of laughter. I feel bad because she was serious and took a huge chance with that but it was just so funny. As a joke we convinced one of the sister missionaries to write a card like that to him too. San Fransisco was abolutely beautiful! Clear blue skies, mid seventies. It felt like the morning in the summer. Certainly not the beginning of January. One of the elders who went with us who is from California, when I told him that he responded with "No, it feels like January." While at the same time in Utah it was going into the single digits. There was an elderly couple who went with us who said that when they woke up in the morning the news said it was in the negatives. It was really nice to go somewhere warm and eat real food that wasn't the MTC food. Everyone always says that the food here is really good and on the right day they're right, quite a lot of the other time they're wrong. My companion before he came out was a little hooked on Mountain Dew and so lately he's been getting some in the mail. He almost traded some of his super nice ties for some from a guy who had some plus a refridgorator (I can't spell if you haven't noticed) because his companion is diabetic so they were cold but it wasn't worth the amount that he was offering. No matter, he has them now. So far it is only me and him in our room but that's going to change soon. I hear they're putting in more bunk beds so there's six to a room. That will be interesting. My half hour is running out so I've got to go. Put my address on Facebook and tell people to write me. I love you all.

-Elder Davis
Nicholas's second email received on New Year's Day 2013

Oh how my God loves me!! Earlier this week I was feeling really down on myself because the language wasn't coming as fast as I wanted it to and I was just put into a bad mood and such. Not twenty four hours after writing that all in a letter to you everything suddenly turned toward what I needed to hear to make me feel better. From a talk I watched Sunday be David A. Bednar to a spiritual thought in class where I started to highlight the wrong scripture. The wrong scripture I started to highlight was Doctrine and Covenants 29:5 which is about being happy. It just helped me so much and it just amazes me that with the billions of people in the world that have much larger problems than me He still has time to pay attention to me and to what I need. So since Sunday I've been in the best of moods. We're teaching two people at the same time now and then also one of my favorite teachers here (who's not technically our teacher but he comes when we have time to ourselves to help us out) helped us for door approaches. So last night was the first time that I experienced a door being slammed in my face halfway through a sentence. It was fun though and I learn a lot from him. Have you been getting the letters that I've sent by mail? There's been a few and I hope they are going through. Christmas in the MTC was great. Greg Olsen the painter came and talked about some of his paintings which was neat. I was given some advice by a man in my branch presidency for big obsticals that I have to overcome. He said to never look more than a day ahead and never look less than a week behind. He told me that for the language so to create goals to achieve but then make sure to look back and see how far I've come. Just another one of the things that helped me more than that person knows. How's everything at home? I had a dream about Penny last night which was kind of interesting. Nothing really happened except that I came back and she wasn't afraid of me. I finally met someone here that served in Lyon and I'm excited to talk to him about the people and the work. I like my district. We've turned into a close group and it's weird that that happened in only a couple weeks. Friday I have to make an appearance at the French Consolate in order to pick up my Visa and hopefully my passport too. The class next to mine was here a few weeks ahead of me and the advice they gave me is to not smile and wave at the people behind the glass because they think that you're a terrorist or something. Oh well. They're also paying for lunch for us which is going to beat the food they serve here, that's for sure. One of the other Elders is leaving today for Washington DC who has had lots of fun with my district. He's speaking French and got here nine weeks ago so he spoke pretty fluently but the rest of his district already left so during class it was only him and the teacher which must help a ton. It's also really funny to see how the guys here (teachers and elders) try not to flirt with the sisters but they just can't help it. All the teachers do it because most of the sisters are their age and share something in common with them and the elders do it probably mostly due to the fact that they're nineteen year old boys. I think I've done pretty good but to someone who is trying not to only someone on the outside could tell me if I was or if I wasn't. Well my time's up and I've got to get back to my laundry. I love you guys and miss seeing you. I'll send home my memory card soon because I can't figure out how to put them on the 
email because the computers here are weird. Till next week.

Nicholas's first email on Christmas Day 2012

Hi everybody. So as I'm sure you've noticed my P-Day is on Tuesday and not Monday as Aaron's was. There are tons of people here and it's only going to get more and more busy.  Le langue est tres difficile mais j'ai comprends peu a peu. I'm am loving it here though.  There is a spirit here that is unlike any other I have felt in my entire life. So when I first got here they imediately grabbed me and my stuff and rushed me all over the place. My companion is more like me than I thought at first which is great. At this point in time it's really weird because I keep forgetting how to spell some words in english and some basic grammar stuff so I'm in this weird limbo between French and English. Before I came out here I couldn't comprehend that after a week or so my high school French would be used up and now after a week I speak it better than I ever had in high school. I can only God for le don de langue for that. I bought a French hymn book here and we sing from it and the songs are so much more beautiful in French. There are also a few songs only in the French one. My favorite is called Souvien-Toi. It is so beautiful. Look it up online or have Chris sing it for you. The message once it's translated is incredible as well. The other day I was told about something called the "Narnia Holes." They are the spaces behind the air vents and other things on the walls that people stash stuff. In my room I found a wrapped up jaw breaker. The room next to me found an old woman's jacket and then one of the other French missionaries who have been here for weeks found 40 cans of unopened soda. The room next to me also found that they have a mouse. At first they were going to capture it but now it's there "pet." His name is Claude. So something that came as a big surprise to me is that on the second or third day we were supposed to teach an "investigator" completely in French. The first lesson was absolutely terrible. We just read what we wrote down and didn't have a clue what she said so when we asked her if she'd pray for us what she actually said was that she didn't know how to start it but we thought she was saying no so we said ok and said the prayer ourselves. Yesterday was the second lesson and it went much better. I understood her and was able to figure out how to respond...however I have no clue how accurate it was. I would love to record my first lesson taught and then look back at it after my mission and just laugh at it. Oh so I don't remember if I said this but everyone, except me, is either from Utah or another country. One's from England and the other's from Germany while there are seven from Utah. And then me from Oregon. It's fun though. They are an excellent group of people. One thing I love here is that temptation has completely left me. At home it hit me every day about but here there's nothing. It is one of the greatest feelings I have ever been through. My time's about up so make sure to tell everyone that instead of emailing back then you should do it on Dear Elder so that I can spend my half hour writing instead of reading. Merry Christmas Everyone! I love you all.
Elder Davis. =)