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

Besancon Week 1

Date: Tue, May 14, 2013 at 7:32 AM
Subject: Besancon Week 1
To: Melissa Davis <>

Hello everyone you'll be happy to know that I made it safely to Besançon safely. It was quite the trip. I did an hour to Perigueux, and hour and a half to Bordeaux, four hours to Montpillier, stayed the night, two hours to Lyon, one hour to Dijon, and one more to Besançon. Lots and lots of trains. I have come out of it realizing something, Missionaries don't need a lot of the things on that list because missionaries before them have left them and I too will end up being one of those missionaries as well. As for the hair cut it turned out great. I would have had a strange looking pony tail in the back if I didn't have a companion to make sure I did ok. That's why you go two by two...for one to make sure the other dosen't look stupid. I think I missed the beginning of Survivor however I'm sure that Cochran is doing something fun with all that money. The problem with all those kids thinking that when I get back is that I'll be 21 and probably have to find someone a tad closer to my age and convince them that I'm that handsome returned missionary. As for Besançon I absolutely love it already. It reminds me so much of home (the scenery anyways, I don't know where there's any real French styled houses in Eugene) because there's hills that look exactly the same all around us with a big river running through that would be so great to go kayaking down. My new address is:
34 Rue Gabriel Plançon
2500 Besançon
We are on the fourth floor so i'll be trimmed in no time. The change of scenery during the train ride was interesting, it went from vinyard after vinyard after vinyard to feilds of golden flowers (I want to guess mustard plants as we are very close to Dijon). I really love France. Some of the people who have been here longer complain about things they miss from America sometimes (Taco Bell, Walmart, Little Ceaser's, clean roads, etc.) but those haven't hit me yet. Granted those things are great and there are times, when I'm hungry especially, when I miss them too but as of right now I absolutely love France. The people here are different than Americans in a way that intrigues me. The way that they think is different and so going from learning about different cultures to being in a different culture is something that I am loving every day and will continue to love it. When I talk to people about them as a person and see that they realize that I'm genuenely interested in them is absolutely fantastic. Oh which reminds me, Mommy I thought of why conversation does not equal fluency, French conversations consist of you asking what they like to do, give these coals a little poke here and there and then stand back as all of a sudden the fire roars to life and they just talk about themselves. You add in an "uh-huh" "oh wow" or even "qu'est-ce que c'est?" and they take care of all the rest of that conversation. It's perfect to get better at comprehension and getting over an aprehension of talking to people. There's a cool story in the mission news letter this week, I'm going to copy it here:
A truly remarkable person.
There was once a person who found themselves in circumstances of helplessness. They were too weak to stand up or feed themselves or even take care of their own sanitary needs. Another person who was filled with unexplainable love and kindness took the responsibility of caring for this person.
They brought them food that had been reduced to a liquid since they could not chew. They put it in their mouth and literally kept them alive. They spent all day and all night every day caring for them and talking to them and singing to them and resolving their sanitary issues. They taught them and encouraged them and did what they could to help them become happy and healthy.
This went on for weeks and then months and to some degree, for many years. The level of dedication and sacrifice was beyond any reasonable explanation. They often needed to tend to them in the middle of the night and they were forced to forgo most of their personal desires and dreams in order to keep them alive and progressing until they could care for themselves. They were not paid. They were not even thanked for a number of years because they were too weak to express themselves.
Finally, many years later, through the selfless, miraculous care given, they became strong and capable and filled with ability, hope and happiness. The caretaker was not perfect by any means but they were literally a savior to them. They never forgot the caretaker although they were some distance apart and busy. They knew it was not an adequate showing of gratitude for the priceless sacrifice offered but nevertheless, one time per year they Skyped and expressed their appreciation to
their Mother. 
Hopefully we will all express gratitude more frequently to our mother while we can, not because she is perfect rather, because she is our mother. Hopefully we will all show constant gratitude by using all that our mothers helped us to become in following the Savior and vigorously serving our fellow man.
Mothers are human beings who perform an inhuman service.
Thank you Mothers, thank you!
That story I thought was really neat and so I'll end this by saying I love you all and can't wait to hear what the other side of the world is up to.
-Elder Davis

Last Week of the Transfer

Date: Mon, May 6, 2013 at 1:36 AM
Subject: Last Week of the Transfer

This is the last week of the transfer. On Friday I'll know if I am to stay or if I'm headed somewhere else. This week's been pretty interesting, we played frisbee golf last Monday and that was really fun with my district. I found out that I'm am very good at hitting trees and not the baskets. The day after that we did our district meeting which was super powerful followed by a fun Chinese Buffet. My father here had to do his legality this week too because he's been out for a year. It's really good to see him try to figure it out because that way I can figure out how to do it when my time comes for that. Saturday we did a day of missionary work with the jeunes gens in Perigueux and the missionaries in the district. That was really neat because we helped to change some of their lives I think. Some of them may have had doubts about a mission but we showed them how great it feels. That was really special. And then Sunday I was chosen to give the prayer in priesthood and afterwards one of the members came up to me and told me that when I pray he feels good and that the spirit touches him. That was really special to hear. We then went and knocked some doors most of which had people that told us no. There was an indian girl at one house that had something wrong with her eyes that they just couldn't stand still so it was very hard to talk to her without being distracted. There was also some very old guys that were very nice to us and talked and said things along the lines of I applaude your courage and that we're doing a great thing here but that they're just too old to worry about changing religions. They were very nice to us and they were those kind of people that you just walk away smiling. I love people like that and love being a missionary. About every day it hits me that I'm a missionary in France. This thing that they've talked to me about since I was in Primary and I've been preparing for since then and it's here. After nineteen years of telling everyone I plan to go now I have gone and it is more than I ever expected. More everything, more exhausting, more stressful, more happy, and more satisfying than I ever expected. I work for the most powerful man in the universe here in France and I am watched over because of it. I send you all my love through this email and say that I can't wait to see you soon.
-Elder Davis

Almost the End of Another Transfer

Date: Mon, Apr 29, 2013 at 1:27 AM
Subject: Almost the End of Another Transfer

Another week come and gone. My exchage went well actually. I found out I'm much better than I was afraid of. There was some people I just went and talked to, they weren't interested at all but they just talked to me about whatever. I talked to a lady about traveling the world and halfway through it hit me like a truck, I'm having a conversation in french in france! I'm understanding the bubbles coming out of this lady's mouth and then responding in turn. It was a really cool feeling. There's a man here (the guy from Algeria who only has two teeth) that reminds me of Uncle Phil. He has the same point of views, the same way of explaining his views and the same way you just have to laugh at how crazy he is. I love going over to his house. Then there's another member here that is preparing for a mission and is a better missionary than any I've seen so far when he goes out with us. He's so awesome and I hope he is able to go on a mission. Yesterday church was really good. After the meeting we had a meal all together and then watched 17 Miracles. It is such a powerful movie. Takes you back to the play that our stake did all together. I thought it's be all in French but it was actually english with french subtitles. That was interesting. I'm so glad for the opportunity to be a missionary here in France. As I'm reading Jesus the Christ there are words that I've never seen before but they're latin based so since I'm learning french I know what James E Talmage is even talking about. Stuff just popping up all over the place. I'm also reading through the Book of Mormon in French (now that I can tell what is going on) and it's very interesting to read because there are some parts that use different words than it does in english so the point is the exact same but there's another word to reach it. It's fun making different bridges to the same understanding. The church is true even in french. So that was my week. Is there anything else you all want to know? This week was pretty quiet so there's not tons to write about. Just remember I love you all and can't wait to see you all again. Until next week. =)
-Elder Davis
On Mon, Apr 29, 2013 at 10:34 AM, Melissa ... <> wrote:
Hi honey. I can't sleep tonight. I'm so glad to get your letters. Tell us how you get around on a daily basis. Bikes? Walking? The train? And tell us about your apartment and the neighborhood you live in.

Love you,

Good evening. It's morning here, almost eleven. We get around by walking mostly. Bigger villes have metros and trams and busses but in Brive anywhere the bus takes us we can walk in about fifteen minutes. We only really ride the bikes to go to the church building because it's hard to contact people on a bike if you're headed somewhere. The train is only if we have to go to another city in our area or to one of the areas in our district for exchanges and meetings (and the occasional P-day). There's an old lady that lives underneath us who only ever gets out of the house to go to the doctor and to buy pain au chocolates for us (it's a roll with some strips of chocolate squirted in). They're pretty good. And then the only other people we really see is the lady that owns the cous cous place below us. She's really nice but then there are restaurants around us and other stores we can't go in to. So there's not a whole lot of neighborhood around us. =)

Monday Already

Date: Mon, Apr 22, 2013 at 1:44 AM
Subject: Monday Already

Good morning everyone. This week has been a great one. I'd like to first share something I learned that made me laugh in the Book of Mormon, in 3 Nephi 4:1 it uses the expression "sally forth." That made me laugh. I hope that it'll do the same for you. So on Friday we did more service (last week four out of the seven days were service) but this time we were laying down the foundation for the guy in our ward. This means we took wheelbarrow fulls of wet cement (not the kind of stuff I did with Uncle Phil) about twenty five yards down hill to dump in a big pit. This was a very bumpy road and If you've ever done this with very full loads of sand rock and water all mixed together you'll know that every bump in the road makes it feel as though your arms are being ripped out. Needless to say I'm still super sore from that. Then the next day we started a thing called Samedi Sportif. This is where we played soccer or basketball with the youth and young adults in the branch. I discovered I was better than I thought I was, however then you remember that I'm in Europe where rugby and soccer are like a religion and so just because I was better than the past the eight year old kids who came too were better than I was. But that was really fun. Something about chasing a little round ball in nice weather just means the best time ever. We were then trying to get a rendez-vous with a less-active and when we called he was like, how about some dinner? So we ate with him and it was so good. It was some duck and rice and some kind of awesome stew broth thing. It was great and I ate too much. Oh that reminds me, the lady that owns the restaurant below us invited us to eat cous cous there. It was to die for. It was a plate filled with cous cous and vegetables and great stuff, I'll attach a picture of it. It was so good but it was so much there. We were both a little prideful in our eating and were thinking that we need to finish but at the end I just couldn't eat anymore and there was still quite a bit left. Now imagine feeling like you're about to explode and walking up a few flights of stairs. After some time we made it and just about died but it was so worth it. And then Sundays are always great. There was a family visiting that is from Seattle and so I was talking with them. The little boy was so funny, I start talking to his mom about what brings them to France, how often they visit and stuff like that and their son just pipes in and starts answering my questions so I'm talking to him. He was so funny though, he talked about how he already saw the video about Joseph Smith in the states so he didn't have to pay attention. He then goes on to say he just wants to skip primary to young men's because he feels like he's ready for "heavier stuff." I told him that in young men's you continue to learn the same things but he kept saying that it was different where he lives so I gave it to him and I'll let him realiwe it for himself. He was funny though. and then I ended up keeping their little baby entertained during Sunday School by making my hand like a spider that chased his hand around the chair. Every time he'd pull his hand away real quick as though it'd bight him and laugh and do it again. If there's anything that will chase a frown away it's the laughter of a little kid as you chase his hand around with your spider hand. Overall a very good week. Tomorrow we're doing a three way exchange with my district so it'll be me, a guy who came in with me, and a guy who just got here. You know that saying of the blind leading the blind? It'll be something like that. Well I'll talk to you all later and have you figured out my riddle? Until the next week.
-Elder Davis.Inline image 1
PS: French Tongue Twister - So this one might be fun for you all. I don't know if it's really a tongue twister but it's funny, Le ver va vers le vert verre. I'll let each of you translate that yourself and then go around and say it to people. You'll get a lot of blank expressions which are the best! Love you. =)

Crazy Week

Date: Thu, Apr 18, 2013 at 1:54 AM
Subject: Crazy Week
So as you have seen, this week was a bit different. We had zone conference on Monday and then busy all week until today. Normally this kind of case would have meant the email comes on Tuesday. I learned an interesting word this week, it's the word for hurricane. The word for hurricane is ouragan and yes you guessed it, pronounced exactly like Oregon. When you meet some people and they're like "woa man where are you from?" about half the time (since they have no idea where most of the states are) they think you say that you live in a hurricane and get really confused. It's really funny though. So Mommy you asked about the countryside and stuff like that and it is exactly like Oregon. One section of five minutes you can practically swim in the air, the next it's a fine mist like those rooms in Six Flags for when you're getting overheated and need to cool down, then it's sunny and beautiful only to start pelting you with hail. However I love it here. The land is hilly like Western Oregon is and if you replace most of the evergreen trees with oak trees you have France. Sometimes we'll be on the train and I'll think, "this is exactly like the drive to the coast." I think it was last week but I forgot but I saw flamingoes. Real alive pink birds in the south of France sitting in a marsh eating the stuff they do. Now you may think you must have been going past a zoo or they're fake. however you'd be wrong on both accounts. They were real live pink flying flamingoes. Unfortunately I did not have my camera with me for that. I love service here. You never realise how much service is wanted from the missionaries until you become one and just want to help everyone any way you can. So we're out here cutting peoples trees that need to be cut back and even helping someone dig a trench for the foundation for the house they're building. We do a lot of work for our DMP too. He does something where planting things is his job so he works from home and we go over and help him plant tomatoes or cucumbers or repare his green houses. It's so much fun. And now going back to the helping build a house, I spent an entire day with a pick axe and a shovel trying to dig a trench around a huge hole already made (this will be their storage facility) through rock. We were about seven feet below ground level and right about there the earth is rock hard. If you ever want a quick way to have a sore lower back hack at rock with this pick axe for a day. It was great though. Something about seeing this huge pile of dirt that you've excavated at the end of it is just so satisfying. I would and will gladly do it again. This transfer is going by so fast. Today is my father's year mark on his mission and it's a little strange. He said that it happened in a blink of an eye and in another he'll be home. We keep joking about how he'll be married with a kid by the time I get back which is always followed by "figure that one out" as if you do the math he's only eight months older than me. Well I'll let you go now with this riddle I heard this week, I am strong and I am weak and I know every language having never learned them, who am I?
-Elder Davis =)

Hello Everybody!

Date: Mon, Apr 8, 2013 at 1:35 AM
Subject: Hello Everybody!

I loved conference. It was really good but sometime this week we need to watch the Sunday afternoon session. If we stayed and watched it it would have ended at midnight here and I didn't have the thumbs up for that. This week has been spent a lot on the train. It was for what is called the Bleu's Conference. Also called conference for new missionaries and come-back conference. It was so awesome to see everyone that I came in with again. Some of them were transfered to my Zone so I'll see them more now. It was great to hear stories about the other areas in France. One of the other Elders had to be emergency transferred because they were getting death threats. Before anyone starts thinking that France is crazy, that doesn't happen here in little Brive. It was up in Lyon but if you look at the map it looks like it may only take a few hours on train to get there, however there is no train from Brive to Lyon so we have to go down to Toulouse, stay the night there, go up to Lyon, head back to Toulouse and stay there and then take a train to Brive. So that's mostly been my week. Up in Lyon I discovered that the mail system sucks. There was a letter that probably got to Provo the day I left but then they sent it to the Mission office in Switzerland and then sent it to the one in Lyon so I got it two months after it was sent. That's the only one like that I've seen so far but it was a little frustrating. I am getting better at French. There's a family here that their goal is to feed the missionaries once a week (no joke) and so this last week it was funny because the hours and hours spent on a train my companion and I pretty much laughed the whole time about how this last week they couldn't feed us. However they made sure to get right on that yesterday. I love their family. There's this cool stuff that everyone gets called Syro. It's flavored syrop that you put with water to make flavored water and no joke everyone has it. We'll be porting and someone will actually be interested so we'll go in and as we sit down out come glasses syro and water with maybe some little crackers too. The French are very nice, for the most part, when you knock on their door. There's not a whole lot to write about this week. I had a great Kebab in Toulouse though that had melted cheese lining the toritlla that it was in. That's the most exciting food story for this week. Well I can't wait to here from you all again. Find out what's going on back in Eugene. à la prochaine.
-Elder Davis
PS... Oh and one thing that I liked about conference is that it gave the missionaries a new name, we're Soul Healers. President Roney has said stuff like that to us in that we're Gatherers of Souls or we're the Black Ops out here in France. Pretty cool when you think about it. I saw a picture that represents missionary work. It's the first vision but from a different perspective, you're seeing it as a person who's falling off the cliff but you're looking up and this person is jumping after you. You then see that he's attached to a rope that is connected to the rod of iron. You then notice that there's a tag on his shirt as he's coming after you. I like that picture but I don't remember what it's called. If you happen to run across it let me know. I may try to draw it too but let's just say I hope you can find the original. ;)

Second Transfer

Date: Tue, Apr 2, 2013 at 2:12 AM
Subject: Second Transfer
So the news...I am...drum role...staying in Brive with my father. I'm so glad that I'm staying here. The people and the city here is just fantastic. We just found a golden investigator. For anyone who knows the Preach My Gospel videos (if anyone, if not this doesn't really mean anything) then the two that are living together one being a less active and they're not married at the beginning then that is who we found. He was baptised in 2005 but then fell away and she is a non-member. We called them a few weeks before I arrived and asked them to come. Last Saturday they called and asked what time out of the blue. They were then invited to a soirée familiale (Family Home Evening) with the Villians. The Villians have us over about every Monday just about. There we just shared a message about Moroni and the Title of Liberty and that that was why we are on the Earth, to fight Satan for our God, our religion and our family. We then tied in that God is our loving Heavenly Father. We had a rendez-vous planned for that Friday afterwards and when we show up she comes flying down the stairs to tell us that she prayed (before the missionaries even engaged her to do this) to ask if this church was true and that she got a powerful answer. The only thing standing between her and baptism is the lessons, attending church three weeks, and them getting married. It is absolutely wonderful. The people here are funny sometimes. French people pretty much don't hug, they bise (that kissing on both cheeks) and in fact when you go for a hug they're kind of awkward and don't know what to do. The people who served missions have no problem though because they served with people who hug so it's one of the funniest things to see them give a hug to someone who's not used to it. It's about all I can do to not start busting up. The people who don't realize that missionaries aren't allowed to bise are a little funny too becase you offer them your hand and they're like no I don't mind bising and you have to explain that it's against the rules so it's a little like those movies when someone goes in for a kiss and they lean their head back and offer their hand for shaking instead. It's funny in retrospect. The Friday that the President called everyone to say stay or transfer was interesting because phones were ringing off the hook to know where people are going. In my district there are three areas, my district leader just found out he's training this next transfer and the other area is getting a guy from my MTC district so this is a bleu district. Everyone is still a blue with a trainer for now. It'll be interesting when we do the exchanges for this district because at some time I'll be put with the really new guy and if he's not a native french speaker we're in a little bit of trouble. I'm so excited to see how I do when I don't have an experienced shoulder to lean on though. It should be fun. My DMP and his wife are probably some of my favorite people. They make it a goal to feed the missionaries once a week but this last week they were going around with us and all of a sudden they take a weird turn and say that they're kidnapping us and then laughed maniacally. Turns out they wanted to buy us some rain ponchoes. They took us in as we're as a stubborn donkey and dragging our feet trying to say no it's fine or that we can pay or stuff like that and they just wouldn't accept any of those excuses. I love them though. There are people in the ward that gave us candy for Easter and so now we have like five little bags filled with chocolates. These are really the greatest people ever. Well I love you all. There are people here that remind me of people that I love back home which is really funny. You all are in my prayers daily. Toujours et à jamais.
-Elder Davis

Last Week of the Transfer

Date: Mon, Mar 25, 2013 at 2:46 AM
Subject: Last Week of the Transfer
So this week was pretty good. We found a miracle in a lady from Tahiti and a member that passed by at the perfect time to invite her to an activity with the sociatée du secours. And then she came! It was so awesome. We were also contacting and I found probably the only hippy in France. I never thought I'd find someone here that had the exact same mindset as Eugene but voila here she was. She was swinging these balls on the end of strings like fire dancers do but without fire. We walked up and started talking to her about those and next thing I know they're in my hands and I'm making a fool of myself as she's doing everything she can not to laugh at me. She wasn't super interested but she respected us and what we stood for which means some other missionaries will find her and teach her when she is ready for them. I also went to a member's home to eat with a less active and non member with a recent convert there too (lots of numbers that day) and one of the guys brought some spicy stuff that he likes. We actually ate at his house for lunch and he mixed it with ketchup and mayonaise for French Fries (you may be saying that no French person would prepare this in this lifetime and you would be right because he's from Reunion. That island off the coast of Madagascar) and I thought it was good so I took a little spoonful of it and actually thinking that it wouldn't get around to everything but just going to call it good. I start eating and it's all good, a little hot but what's life without a little spice. Well about halfway through I start trying to put moisture back on my lips so I start to lick them and next thing I know my whole mouth is on fire and I'm sweating like a dog in a Chinese restaurant. I then look at the sauce to discover it is habinero sauce. Ok so it's a little hot but I took it and I'll finish it as long as I don't draw attention to myself. No such luck for me, turns out I am bright red and my eyes are like niagra falls. Needless to say I finished it and if not for anything else that family will remember me because of that. It was fun though. I also figured that here in France I wouldn't have everyone tell me that I look like an actor. Of course there's a Frenchman running around with my good looks too. He's a French comedian named Dan Boony I think? I have no idea but I've had just about everyone in the Elder's Quorumn tell me that with one of the amis as well. Oh well. Maybe I can take advantage of that somehow. Oh so you didn't answer my question about my unicycle. I hope that's because you just forgot. Happy Birthday Amber. I sent you a card today so be expecting that. It's pretty cool and I liked it. There's also letters in the mail with responses to letters. On Friday I'll know it I'm being transfered to a different area or not. My trainer keeps joking that I'll be sent to a chinese branch or be made assistant or something but I don't think so. They wouldn't send a bleu there however I asked President Roney his pattern and he says to me "It's simple, I look at a picture of them and ask the Lord where they're needed...that's it." So meaning there is no pattern that one could follow and try to guess ahead of time. I'll know after his call on Friday though. Church on Sunday wasn't very bad, I felt I understood most of it. It is kind of like how I felt halfway through the MTC where I kind of understand but there's still lots I miss and it's hard to express myself. It'll get better though I know it will. Well I love you all and hope that all is well in the english world. I look forward to finding out all the other new things that happen to you. à bientot. =)
PS... So I think you'd all be interested to know that we just got word that the First Presidency gave the thumbs up for emailing friends other than just family so all of you who haven't gotten around to writing a physical letter you can also email at However as always physical letters are loved by missionaries everywhere.


Date: Mon, Mar 18, 2013 at 2:26 AM
Subject: France!
Yes I can receive pictures to this email and that's a great idea. My mistake, yes he's from Hermiston (however it's spelled) which is eastern Oregon. My routine is that I arise at six thrirty and then do half an hour of exercises. We then spend half an hour getting ready for the day and then an hour of personal study, two hours of companionship study (I have two hours while I'm still a bleu but after that I get one hour) and then an hour of language study. That takes up the time until lunch so after the hour of lunch the real work begins. We visit members and proselyte and stuff comme ça until about eight when we come back and eat dinner and at nine we plan for the next day and then we hang out and listen to talks or something until ten thirty when we go to sleep and it starts all over again. The ami that we have right now used to be Muslim but now he's just searching for himself I suppose. He's an ancien ami actually and he wasn't interested before but I think he is now because he asked us to bring a Book of Mormon in Arrabic for him which is great. Then we have another lesson today with a guy we called on a whim and then another with the friend of a family in the branch during soirée familial tonight. This week has just exploded with members wanting us to come over and people to teach. It's great. This week I had some cool experiences. First I got to give a blessing for my first time in French. It was terrifying but it was super cool and fortified my testimony. It was as though the window into his soul opened and I could see the worries in his life and knew the things to say to make him feel better. The power of the Lord is absolutely amazing. And then I was porting (which no missionary really likes doing) but the second house we ran across the guy was there until Sunday and had never met the Mormons before. He was one of those guys that has read the Bible, the Kurran and so we told him if he wanted to complete his study of other religions it was necessary that he read the Book of Mormon too. Now he's back in Paris though. We left their family with a prayer and we blessed them and also their son who is autistic and that was really special for them and since they're Catholic it was not what they were expecting. There really are people prepared for us, we just have to find them. Church is good. It's getting a little better so I can get the general gist of things but I still miss quite a lot of it. I hope I can either watch General Conference in English or I can understand what's said. since the time difference the morning and afternoon sessions turn into evening and late at night sessions. That ought to be interesting. It's weird to think that my first transfer is almost over. I only get sixteen transfers out here and they'll go by fast. Is it like that for you too? I got your letters this week and I think I'm going to respond in a written letter too. That was this week, I love you all and pray for your happiness. My mission president is very big on prayer, we all have a list of some of the things we should pray for as a mission to receive the blessing in Doctrine and Covenants 29. He told us the first day that God loves and hears everyone's prayers equally but he loves and hears the misionaries a little more equally. And then he went on to say other things about this mission to give us a healthy amount of pride. ;) Well I still want to hear about everything from you all. Lots of love.
-Elder Davis