Monday, November 25, 2013

Life in Belgium

Still loving Belgium.  I especially love the rain and overcast skies (not kidding).  We teach about 5 to 10 lessons per week, and this week we have a baptismal date.  

This week I'll be teaching the third lesson for the first time.  
Elder Bouquet and Elder Barr
My french continues to improve, but still has a ways to go.  I had my first exchange this week one with a Francophone Elder Bouquet. NO ENGLISH.  It was surprisingly not hard and he understood most of what i said.
My Diet:  Haribo and baguettes
I then had one with Elder Barr which was the funniest day of my whole mission so far.  We have so many stories of us porting but one of the funniest was I knocked at this old man's house and I did my whole intro thing.  Then I asked if he believed in God and he swore at me, hahaha.  But I didn't know what that meant in french so I said repetez hahahahah  Then Elder Barr grabbed me and pulled me away.  It was great.

Gaufre

I'm getting a lot better at contacting and porting.  I can now do contacting on my own and somewhat understand what they are saying.  I don't know if i've mentioned this yet but in Belgium they have gaufre.  They are really yummy waffels.  I have him layer mine with chantilly

 Missionary work can be so hard some of the time.  We got fruged aka no one showed up, and left us in the rain 5 times in one day.  At the end of the day it got better and we taught a lesson to a family that we found.  They were really nice.  We love to teach Africans.  They also already have faith in Christ and want to learn more.  Whenever we see an african on the road we have a spaz attack and then contact them.  They almost always listen to us.  
Plan of Salvation starring Mario

Monday, November 11, 2013

Belgique!

Charleroi Jumet Belgique
I am assigned to Charleroi Belgium.  I love it!  People are all very nice.  It reminds me a lot of Brooklyn.  First day I was here we got chased down by a drunk dude.  We didn't think he was following us still until we turned around and he was chasing us.  He stopped us and said he just wanted to escort us home haha.  When i first got here i couldn't understand the people here at all and I could only pick up a small amount of words.  Thankfully the belgians speak slower than the french, so it's a good place to start.  Im really self conscious speaking in front of kids because they all think I'm retarded.  They are all amazing at french and i speak so slow.  My french is getting a lot better and I'm learning to communicate better.  It's hard though and sometimes frustrating.  Other than that all the people are relatively nice and help me out with my french.  This girl and her friends on the tram today realized I could speak english so they asked me how to say impacted.  She said thanks and then I turned around.  She started to speak french with her friends and then she kept saying Il est trop beau!  Which means he is beautiful.  My companions started laughing and then they realized we speak french and they started laughing.  
My Ward Mission Leader is Patrick and he is the nicest person I've ever met.  I actually really like this town.  It's rained everyday and I LOVE the moisture.  My companion is Elder Bates and he's a really good trainer.  He's from Utah too and he speaks pretty good French.  He's very opposite of me and we always have conversations about hunting and meat and stuff.  W always stop midway to tell each other that we'll still be friends even though were fighting.  It's good fun.  We live with two other elders who are awesome.  One is from Scotland and the other is from the Philippines   Ill send a picture of them next week.  We all get along even better than i did with the people at the MTC which i didn't think was possible.  

Our apartment
I do like proselyting mostly porting which is door knocking.  People are far more receptive here and we already have about five appointments with people here.  A lot of them have really sad stories.  The most recent was probably the worst.  Her husband just committed suicide and she has two babies alone.  It was so sad because  you could see the stress in her eyes and I just wanted to give her a hug but that would be weird and i can't touch girls because I'm a missionary. 

Charleroi Jumet Belgique
 I have to say the absolute hardest thing for me on my mission is food shopping and managing money.  I'm so used to just throwing everything i want into the cart and not caring about the prices.  SOOOO difficult.  Almost everything i touched the other elders had to talk to me like a dog. No Elder Vance.... drop it.... good boy haha.    

Saturday, November 2, 2013

From the MTC to Paris!

I left the training center in Utah on Monday evening October 28, arriving in Paris the next day.  It was 10:30AM Paris time when I arrived.  We immediately had some pain au chocolat and met our new companions and the Mission President and his wife.  From there, we went to Consecration Hill which overlooked Paris.  It was very scenic and beautiful.  We wrote in our journals.  Afterward, we had baguettes!




My French Teacher


The French Paris Mission New Missionaries!


Biking through the MTC!

My other French teacher

Samuel Smith and I (Joseph Smith's brother and a great missionary)
 To the Family of Elder Vance

Sister Poznanski and I were delighted to welcome your son , Elder Devin Seth Vance , into the France Paris Mission on 29 Oct 2013. He and his MTC companions were enthusiastic and all arrived in good health.  He spent his first day eating some good food, visiting with me, contacting non-members in the heart of Paris, and sharing testimonies.  We enjoyed his spirit.
We feel very privileged to work with your him.  We also realize the responsibility we share with you to help him continue to grow spiritually as he faithfully performs his duties.  May the Lord inspire us all to sustain him in this challenging and exciting assignment.  We hope you will join Sister Poznanski and me in praying each day for your son , his companion, investigators, and all of us serving in the France Paris Mission.
The next morning, after a mission orientation, Elder Vance left for his first assignment to work in the Charleroi 2 Area with Elder Bates, who will be his trainer.  
Sincerely,
A positive, supportive letter from home every week does wonders to sustain a missionary’s morale.  Proverbs 25:25 states:  As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.
Franck Poznanski
President, France Paris Mission

Mission President Poznanski and Sister Poznanski

My nieces Adelaide and Zoe excited for me!





Devin in San Francisco

I traveled to San Francisco to pick up my visa.  It had to be picked up in person.  We had a great one day trip.



Saturday, October 19, 2013

Week 2





You may now all call me District Leader Vance :) So all of you have been wondering what we do at the MTC and here is an average schedule for the weekdays.
-breakfast
-3 hr french class
-2 hr study time (personal or language)
-lunch
-study time
-3 hr french class
-study time
9:30 return to the residence and get ready for bed

French Class
I'm going to have to say that Sundays are the best days because all I do is go to meetings. I learn a ton and then just read the scriptures for 10 hrs.  Very cool.  I'm getting fat because my jeans dont fit me anymore.....Oh my gosh, I never thought this day would come.  

My teacher prososed to his girlfriend this week (the one from my BYU class) and we like to poke fun at him because it's really funny.  We are now PVl-ing which means parler votre langue (speak your language).  It's hard but do-able.  SOOOOO thankful I took french in high school.  

Missionaries at the Provo Temple
I've only been a district leader for one day but I've realized a lot already.  One is you have to try and be a perfect example which I'm trying really hard.  You can't lead if you are a hypocrite or no one will/should take you seriously.  Also you have to have patience because as you all know I am not the most patient. Lastly it's so easy to want to be an authoritarian figure but you can't.  I just have to tell people the rules and follow them and hope that they will do the same.  Same as with Christ.  He didn't tell people you can't do that or what-not; he was an example to them.  Also when you're obedient and do the right things, you can clearly feel the spirit with you. It'll help you with everything you need. 

Creative Temple Shot
I think the most stressful part of the week is emailing because there's so much I want to say, but not enough time and I forget a lot of stuff.  I'm friends with everyone in the Branch.   I feel almost as close to my district as I felt with my family and friends.  Basically we couldn't even know more about each other if we wanted to, which I don't.  

We did our first contacting yesterday which was awkward for me.  Of course with my luck, I get stuck with both teachers and one was my companion while the other an investigator.  They are chatting away so fast in French that I have very little knowledge as of what they're talking about.  Then they just look at me....?  So I said I believe in God and then I forgot everything that I wanted to say and I kept saying I don't know over and over!!!! AHHHHHHHHH!  The next contact I did was good though because I did most of the talking and I wasn't just standing there in awe at their french.  At least mine wasnt as bad as my friend Elder Hales who said randomly in the middle that he's a missionary and can speak french, hahahah. 

Blue Tooth Group?
So glad I'm going to Paris because the accent is really important in the french language. So people who go to Quebec and to areas other than Africa and France have really different accents.  We had a shaving cream war last night, which didn't end well for them. : )

Toujours, Aîné Vance

Still Goofy!



Sunday, September 29, 2013

Week 1

Hello, I am Therese Vance, Devin's mother. I thought it would be fun to share with everyone pictures and emails from Devin while he is serving an LDS mission in Paris over the next two years. We miss him so much, and just wanted to share this amazing experience he's having with the people who know him. 

Bonjour!

I dont have enough time to email all of you individually right now.  The MTC is a lot of fun and I actually have 2 companions. Elder Buxton is from Penn. and Elder Wilgose is from England.  They are both really nice and funny.  My district and I are very close and they're all incredibly nice.  I've learned a ton so far and I can understand almost everything my french teacher says.  There is so much stuff I have to do but on the first two days I was feeling like pulling my brains out because they threw everything at me. I have to write a talk in french every week and we always have to pray in french which is annoying but helpful.  The beds are nice and I'm on the top bunk.  One of the sides doesn't have a bar so I'm scared every night I'm going to roll off and it's going to be awkward. Once I get settled I'll start sending you guys pictures so you can see where I am.  My P-day is on monday and we go to the temple in the morning.   Oh, and use dear elder because that will be a lot easier for me to respond to.  But overall the MTC is a lot of fun and I really enjoy it.  Au revoir!