Wednesday, June 17, 2009

June 16 MTC email

Dear Family

I noticed that I misspelled a lot of words. It made me kind of laugh. So here we are another week into my mission. I don't know about at home but it went past in a wink. Truly on a mission the days go by weeks and weeks go by in days.

Thank you for the money and I will be sending photos home through the mail now. I think you'll enjoy them. One is of my district, which is one of the largest they have ever had going to Thailand. Another is of my companion, Elder Brown, and me.

I haven't had the chance to weigh myself for a while so I don't know how much weight I gained in the last week. Thank you also for the package. You have no idea how happy I was to receive detergent and fabric softener. I have been struggling with wearing garments all week because I didn't use any fabric softener last week with my clothes. Although it is quite entertaining to see the shocking results in the morning ( yes the pun is intended). The food was nice too. It's nice to come home from class with a few snacks waiting for me.

The money system works like this. When I arrived I was given a blue card. That card is pretty much my life line. With it I get into my resident hall, get food from the cafeteria, pay for the washer and dryer. Then use the rest of the money for any other thing that I want. The card gets 6 dollars put onto it every Wednesday and you can save up the money every week. There is a pretty big discount for the missionaries. but still I bought a lot of things for class.

Did I tell you about the large amount of books they gave me when I walked into the MTC. I was given two dicanarys(yes i know that is wrong) two new Preach My Gospels. One in script Thai and one in romanized Thai. Then several other books for learning mission Thai and a set of scriptures in script Thai. It felt as though I was going back to school with all the books I got.

Well I was planning to tell you that the swine flu seems to be disappearing but a very interesting thing happened. On Friday morning two elders in our district walked into the classroom late during personal study time. One of the elders was as pale as his white shirt. He sat down for a few moments then suddenly got out of his desks and ran out of the room. The other elder followed. the elders spent the next two days in their rooms trying to recover. On Sunday one of the elders walked in to priesthood to grab and talk to our district leader. One of the two elders had been diagnosed with swine flu and has been in quarantine since. The next day we had another elder from our district report to quarantine, this one however was from a different companionship. Anyways to make a long story short,there are 2 elders from our district in quarantine at the moment and 1 from the Phii Thai's or older Thai's district and there are several elders at the moment from both districts being tested for the flu. never fear though. They handed all the healthy elders drugs in order to help fight the flu. So I get to take a pill once a day to fight it. All the commotion has actually made some funny jokes. So beside in the MTC how is the outside world fighting the flu? We heard news from our teachers that there were several deaths over the last weekend from it because people had immunity problems before they got the flu.

That reminds me my teachers are awesome. One is a native Thai. His name is Brother Saakha. He is a short man in his late 20s who joined the church when he was 17. He tells really funny jokes and makes class fun. The other teacher we have is Brother Duvall. He is a married RM from Thailand and is just as good as brother Saakha.

we started learning the Thai alphabet. Its a lot like learning Deseret. Every character has a specific sound. many have the same. I'll write a little when I know it better. oh ya the phrase I wrote in my first letter was " until we meet again".

hope all is well.
your son, brother, friend and owner

Elder Holt

searching for those lost in the darkness.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Letter home June 9,2009

Dear Mom, Dad Connor, Chip, Fish and Pigeons,

How are you all? I hope you received my email, I only had 30 minutes to write it. After the time is up the program shuts off whether I sent the email or not. Just say I called it really, really close.

As I have said, I have had an amazing experience here. My testimony has been built up. I am in awe of how the Spirit and the Lord works on us here. I know that no one here that I have met, is here on coincidence.

My teachers, Brother Duhan and a native Brother Saakha ( I think) are excellent teachers. Its funny how on the first class day, Thursday I think they spoke nothing but
Thai and we gave them all blank stares. By Thursday night however, we had been able to learn how to pray in Thai.

On Saturday we were shown the TA of the old TRC, where each week we have to perform some task in Thai. We all discovered that class here at the MTC works a little differently than in the world. Here we the students decide what to learn and be taught. We’re able to decide this during our weekly planning sessions on Saturday nights.

During Saturday night I had a spiritual experience that I hope never to forget. Sister O’Neil, a “Pii” Thai missionary from the other Thai district. Pii Thai means older Thais. They call us “nung” Thai or young Thais. Anyhow, Sister O’Neil invited us to join them in singing hymns. We arrived at 8:00 and sang in Thai until 8:30 then other districts in our zone joined us and we sang our favorite hymns in English.

It was then I realized that we had all truly enlisted into the army of God. We were inviting the Spirit into our lives and praising the Lord in song. It felt as though the army of Helaman was standing next to us and sing along with us. I will never forget the experience and plan to do it again next week.

I learned what the true meaning day of rest means on Sunday. No class, no cramming Thai, just spiritual enlightening through meetings and firesides. It was a great experience. They gave us the service call of cleaning up and taking down the chairs after the MTC fireside. It was pretty fun to do. They use a mat to cover the gym floor and it takes some interesting teamwork to fold it up and put it away.

On Monday, nothing really exciting happened until night. Our class was beginning to learn how to testify in Thai. As our instructor wrote the phrases in Thai on the board, we began to talk of home and of things we did before we came on our missions. We talked of girlfriend and boyfriends (well the sisters did) we talked of TV shows and music, we talked of video games and other worldly things. During our talking no one noticed that Brother Saakha our native Thai instructor sit down. He sat there until I believe the spirit could (I can’t read this word. Sorry. Aleen) allow what was going on to continue. He stood and quietly and softly stopped us. With the spirit with him he reminded us that we had been set apart from the world and we should never again talk of such things. His words penetrated every heart in that room. He went on to say many other things that still haven’t left my memory and soul. After he said these things, he left the room and us in our shame. At that moment, I felt the prompting that we as a district should apologize to the Lord on our knees. I suggested it and we all got onto our knees. I gave a prayer that I will always remember. In it we all covenanted that from that time forward we would always remember that we are there for the Thai people, not for ourselves and that we were set apart from the world.

I have never had a spiritual experience that strong before in my life. It brought tears to all our eyes.

On lighter notes I think you should send cookies through the next package as well.
I want you to know that I am here for a reason. Through the Atonement of Christ all man kind may be saved. I know that my redeemer lives. I am proud to serve the Thai people and the Lord.

I love you all
Your son, Brother and Friend
Elder Brandon Holt
Guiding those wandering through the darkness since 2009

Saturday, June 13, 2009

First letter home June 3, 2009

Dear Mom and Dad and family,

Sorry Dad if you take offence to the address but it always been ladies first. Well I don’t think the shock of the MTC hit me until I walked in the first building that I was directed to and they slapped a missionary badge on me and said, “Hey you’re a missionary now.” Sadly, I never had time to think about that until now. I’m a missionary learning to do the Lord’s work, and there is no place I would rather be!

After you left my host missionary rushed me to my dorm. As we walked in I got some unusual glared from the other elders. But I think it was mostly me and my nerves. We walked into my room where I met one of my roommate, who’s name I have forgotten because I haven’t seen him since, Anyways as I walked out an elder putting a medical mask on warned me “Elder get a mask. You’re in ground zero for the swine flu.” I thought to myself, just my luck.

I found out later that one of my other roommates was quarantined because he is one of the confirmed cases. I just found out as well that there are 4 more confirmed cases on our floor. I think I’ll get a mask!

Food is not so bad here, they have all you can eat. Ice cream that’s the best part.

The rest of the day consisted of meetings and orientation. They warned us of tomorrow, it supposed to be the hardest day. Yikes, is all I cay say.

I ran into Sasha. That was a pain, no hugs and for the next week or two, no handshakes either. That’s a real pain.

So ends the first day!

Love you guys,

Your son, brother and friend

Elder Holt

Fighting for truth since June 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

MTC Email June 9, 2009

Hello my family

How is the home life treating you? Well I survived the first four days in the MTC. I can now go on for the next 749 days. yes that is the correct amount of days. The MTC has been an amazing and spiritual experience, I hope it will continue to be as such or more. I have many experiences that i will share in the letter that i will send home today. Oh that reminds me my P-days are on Tuesday so you will receive letters and emails on that day. I am only supposed to write letters on p days but if i get the time(not likely) i will write on other days.

Well the food here is great for the moment. That may change at in 10 weeks from now. I hope you got my letter that said that i will leave on the 17th of august. Anyways back to the food idea. Its yummy and its all you can eat. Putting two and two together i have discovered a very interesting fact. since i last weighed myself last month i have gained 7 pounds. 3 of those i know i gathered in the MTC. so that outs me at around 181 pounds and if i keep at this speed i should be around 250 pounds before I leave the MTC. I think the church may have to buy two tickets for Thailand for me.

If you feel so inclined to send me a care package, I would like some goodies that are covered in chocolate, for example fastbreaks, twixs and snickers. I also would request so detergent and fabric softeners. That would save this missionary some money. Not that i have a lot. Also I would love to have some jerky, teriyaki, thai, salt and pepper, or original flavors would be nice. any flavor would work.

The MTC is an awesome experience. I love to walk around and here the many languages that the missionary are learning. They placed the Thai district in the same quarters as many of the other south east Asia missions so I'm also learning a little of Korean, Cambodian, and Japanese at the same time as Thai.

I discovered that our district is very well connected. First there is a Sister Young who is the niece of Steve Young, who has threatened us several times in letters he has sent to her. Next there is our district leader Elder McConkie. He is the grandson of Bruce R McConkie. Then there is me who being from Murray knows David Archuleta. I believe we have the greatest district in the MTC . There are 15 of us 12 elders and 3 sisters. I'm running out of time please forgive me if I talk about any of this again in the letter i send.

I know that I am enlisted in the Lord's Army and that I am a guide to many who wander in the darkness of the world. I know that my Redeemer lives and loves all of us.
I love you all
say hi to every one and chip

oh the Thai is coming along very well by the way it is difficult to learn but it makes sense

love you all

Elder Brandon J Holt
A guild to those wandering in the darkness since June 2009