Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Yes, there are spiders in Thailand

Hi family

I hope all is going well. OK well I don't really know where to start, so much has happen so I'll start with Mom's questions.
Let's see, first. When Elder Ito, the two sisters and I came to Lop Buri, we did what was called a white wash, which in mission language means that we switch everyone out of the area and we're all new to the area. So when we got there we had to spend the first half of week or so trying to meet everyone. By Sunday we had met must of the active members and most of the investigators the last elders left behind for us.
Lop Buri is called the city of monkeys because it has monkeys . lots and lots of monkeys that if you're not looking will steal your stuff take it to the top of the wat or Buddhist temple they live in and throw it off the top to see if it breaks or not. It's a lot of fun to watch.
Elder Ito is from Claton, Utah. I told you some wrong information last email. Elder Ito was Elder Young's companion before he got hit by a car.
Right now I'm sitting in a computer gaming place much like Hasters that me, Stuart and Kevin used to go to. There thankfully is no timer on the computer but according to the missionary hand book we should only spend one hour emailing. so that's my time limit. We are in the middle of Bangkok in a suburban city called Muantoan... I think. It's about a 2 hour drive south of Lop Buri. Our Zone conference is in a city called Bangket which is also in the Bangkok area. The whole Bangkok area is covered by 3 of the 7 zones in Thailand. There are 3 zones in the eastern area and the last zone is in the north that covers the cities of Chang Mai and Chang Rai
Well lets see, I got my bike as you probably could tell with the missing money. Its a Trek. After we had mudflaps and a basket installed on it, Elder Ito made the comment that it could be a Transformer. So based on that comment and it's color. I named my bike Megatron.
We live in a house. It's most unusal(that's spelled wrong). I have found that the Lord has blessed it with all creeping things of life.
We got to do some experiments. Here is our question we are trying to answer. At what temperature does a plate size spider's blood boil? We have had two found in our house so far. One last night in our bathroom and another last week. Our solution is to mix bug spray and fire. Takes care of the problem after several blasts. Other than that our house isn't bad. After a little cleaning it looks really nice. There are street dogs everywhere and it seems like they howl every hour on the hour during the night.
One of my first experiences in Lop Buri was meeting the members the night we arrived. We went to the branch building, which is just a building that the church rents, after we arrived that night. We discovered that they were practicing for ward choir and we were volunteered as we walked in. This whole time Elder Ito was having conversations with everyone and I didn't understand a thing. It was at this point that I thought "I wonder how I got here?" The great thing is the members tried talking to me and I couldn't understand them. Nor could they understand me. It was at this point that I realized that they had taught me the wrong language in the MTC. Anyways the members are very nice and are really helpful when it comes to learning Thai.
Elder Ito and I were to arrive when we did. Lop Buri has began to pick up when it comes to investigators. In the last 2 and a half weeks we were able to set 4 baptism dates with investigators. We have also been able to teach many new lessons.
One of the investigators that we have been teaching is named Phaa Somsawk. He is a construction worker from eastern Thailand. Here in Thailand construction workers live on site where they are working that way they can work faster.., I think. Any ways last night we were at a members house for FHE and I discovered that he knows a lot of English. So we had a nice conversation in English about how he learned it and where he has worked in the world. He has worked in places all over the world like England and Egypt.
Well let's see. While I have been here I have tried some interesting food. First I had Durrean, which is a fruit, also it is the only thing that made the guy on Bizarre foods throw up, and I liked it. Smells bad though. I have also eaten a spicy fish paste. The interesting thing about this paste is the fish is rotten. It was really spicy. I only had a small nibble of that.
I have eaten at places that would not be FDA approved like this one place where they bring out a grill in front of you and you cook your own meat. Its really good.
I have also learned the importance of drinking coke or pepsi. When you eat some things it may not be cooked all the way so you drink coke and it kills all the bacteria and stuff that will make you sick.
Any ways I hope I'll is well. Sounds like the Oquirrh Mountain Temple is going good. Connor remember this is one of the best years of school because you're the oldest of the school. Remember though there are many younger than you that look up to you. So be a good example to them.
I hope all is going well in the Holt Hotel. Say high to the newbies for me

Love you all

Elder Brandon Holt

PS I wanted to send you some pictures but i forgot my cord so i'll send them next week if I remember.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hello family

I'm am so grateful to finally be able to get some news from home.
Okay, first Mom I'm really sorry I wasn't able to email you Wednesday night. I think if I was able I would have only sent this message,"I am here" by night here in Thailand all 15 of us were barely able to form complete sentences, we were so tired from traveling. Sorry you had to wait so long to get this email. It's about 5:30 pm here in Thailand. It's been a busy week and we just now finally have a small break to email. love you

Okay to start, I have been chased by dogs, monkeys, crazy moped drivers and nearly hit by the crazy traffic in Thailand and I'm loving every second of it.
So let's see after I hung up the phone on Monday of last week I ran to my plane so i could bound. We took off about 9 and landed in LAX around 10:30 Pacific time. From there we had to travel out of the national terminal into the international terminal. ( I apologize for the spelling now I'm losing my sense of English) any how. Here was the first culture shock to us. Most people who were in this area were traveling to southeast Asia with us. Here is also the worst part of the trip. Because of our name badges they moved us to the front of the line. So as I was checking in, it turns out that there was a miscommunication between the airport and 7 of our tickets. They forgot to change it a week ahead or something. any ways I got to pay a $100 fee for the change no biggy. yet. Because of the problem our travel leader sister Akagi had to call the travel office. We then spent the next 2 hours trying to fix the problem and the result in the end was to pay the fee and get reimbursed in Thailand like I decided. but because of this there was mega frustration some tears, some yelling, some mashing of teeth so not calling home, some moaning and complaining, I decided that night that I don't want to ever go back to LAX. That was a pain. Any how everything in the end got sorted out and I learned a lot about some of the people in the district.
OK so next there was a 14 hour flight to Taiwan. I liked it the Chinese take good care of their customers on their flights. Anyways I never saw the sun on Tuesday and I never slept. It was nice.
We landed around 8:30 in the morning their time. Time for breakfast. Yay. Me and another elder, Elder Newman, broke away from the main group. Yes, we could do this and took the time to find some food. We found a place to change so money which i still don't understand. And got some rice and pork , yum.

We stayed there for about 2 hours and I wanted to call you but my card didn't work internationally. We got onto anther flight and spent another 4 hours which flew by, no pun intended, in no time.

Bangkok airport is huge. It felt like we walked forever to get to customs and our stuff. ( side note at this time they had given a note to Sis. Akagi to give to the elders that suggested we freshen up before we leave the baggage claim. Don't know why, I figured I smelt good although I did have a really good shadow growing on my face.) Again as we began to walk through customs they saw our badges and waved us through.

We met the office Elder and the APs and President and Sister Smith on the other side. I like them. Brother Saakha described him as a soft teddy bear. he was right.
anyways I took some pictures to follow the trip.
We next went through the crazy streets of Thailand. People here drive very aggressively but at the same time very polite. For example, the horn is never used in anger. It's just a polite way to let someone that you're in their blind spot passing them. I think I prefer it here. At the mission home we took pictures that I think will somehow get back to you with the mission president. We ate lunch then we took off and and took care of some paper work at the office and got interviewed.
By night we were so happy to rest our heads on a real bed that I don't remember much after I crawled into bed.

The next day we quickly got ready and took off for the church. We met our trainers there. Because of the huge group of missionaries leaving the mission that we're replacing, every missionary in Thailand was there. We got to see our Phii Thai's that left us 5 weeks before and meet their companions. Well because I'm running out of time I'm going to skip most of this and just say my trainer is ELder Ito. If the name is familiar it's because he was Elders Young's companion when he got hit by the truck. I met him too, he made a full recovery and no one would know that he was in a mess before. Elder Ito is from Claton Utah, he is on his last 2 moves in the mission which means he leave in November.
They assigned us to a city called Lop Buri, the city of monkeys, we opened the area. there our 2 Sisters that work in our district as well. so it's the 4 of us. Lop Buri is 2 hours north of Bangkok but still in the Bangkok province. it's about in the middle of Thailand. OK

I have to go I'll be looking forward to telling you more about my adventure next week

love you

Elder Brandon Holt

Friday, August 14, 2009

Pictures from Brandon's Farewell

Here are a couple of pictures from Brandon's farewell party.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Last week in the MTC

Hello family

I hope all of your week's have been busy and enjoyable

Well, I'm going to say it, I leave in 6 days. Our flight plans came in Thursday night and we threw a party. We leave the MTC at night. So I'll be making a phone call during the evening at the Salt Lake airport. Which means, Mom that if I read the letter right that you want me to call your phone. I don't have your number memorized so you will have to write me back really quick so that I can call. Okay so here is my flight path I don't have the times memorized but I can give you the idea. I leave Salt Lake around 10 PM and travel to LAX. We leave LAX around 1 in the morning their time and fly around, and I mean around, the Pacific ocean to Taiwan. We found out that it is faster to fly up to Alaska and down than to try and fly over the Pacific ocean. Any how from Taiwan we leave the next day at 5 in the morning and arrive in Bangkok around noon. So all in all we guessed that we have around 26 hours of travel time 18 of that being in the air woo hoo. Oh before I forget, Mom you wanted to send some goodies to eat..... Don't. They were kind enough to give us a 15 pound weight limit for the carry on and I think I'm going to have a hard time trying to take all the stuff I want to give away. Thank you for the thought though.

So I as well am amazed at how fast the last two months have flown by. I never thought they would go in the beginning. It sounds like you all have had great times in the last few months.
Sorry Mom for not getting the email to you, two weeks ago. I wrote it and it didn't send and because there is a timer on the program I couldn't check until the week later. I hope that goes away in Thailand. Don't buy another camera cord if you haven't already. Mine came with one it should be in my room with the camera box that I left home. But I couldn't tell you where it is now with Connor living in it now. Other than the things I asked for last week I thought it would be good to have two more garment tops I only have eight and think ten would be safe in case of emergency.
Thank you for putting money into my account I'm going to cash a little to have 100 dollars in my pocket in case of emergency. I spent a little here for dry cleaning and some other things that don't take the Blue card money.
Hosting was a great adventure for the day. We skipped gym to go to a meeting for it then they had us line up around the same place where you dropped me off. It was great to see all the new missionaries come in. I think they felt just as lost as I was on my first day. I had the opportunity to welcome in two new missionaries myself. The first one was from Oregon and had a large family. We took quick photos and sent him to get his tag. After he came back to me and we walked together to his room that he would be staying in. We talked about a lot of the things to expect the first week and I showed him the MTC on the way. After we got him to his room and made sure everything worked out, I dropped him off in the building where they give shots. Yea for needles ( here's a quick side note. They gave me my last hep A shot two weeks ago along with a Japanese esphlistusthingy shot that can't spell. Mom or Dad one of you need to call the MTC financial place and pay for the shot. Just hep A I think 66 dollars. I'll send home a slip if i can find it.)
Any how. The next Elder I got to welcome in was a surprise. I was sitting by the curb talking to the volunteer senior next to me when I hear. "Brand... I'm mean Elder Holt." I turned around to see now Elder AJ Clayton( I can't spell) who I worked with at the Desert Star for half a year and showed up for the drive in thingy that I did the last week I was home to say good by to friends.
We embraced each other and he said goodbye to his family. Then we started off again. It was awesome to see someone from home. Let alone be the first elder he meets in the MTC. One thing is for sure I've learned that the Lord doesn't let coincidences happen, it all happens for a reason. I think it made it easier to leave his family and GF behind.
Well I'm looking forward to the future and the phone call that I get to make home. I know this church is true. Being here has removed all doubt. I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. I have had it confirmed in my heart over and over again. I love you all and hope for your best and thank you for your prayers.

Elder Brandon Holt
searching in the darkness

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Last two weeks in the MTC

Hello family

Looks like my last email didn't get to you. Sorry, I sent it again today so it would.
Well we called it yesterday at five pm we had less then two weeks left in the MTC. That's crazy. I remember the first day thinking that the end would never come and now its almost here. Starting from now on we get do do some things differently. Like tomorrow. We no longer go to gym on Wednesdays. Now we get to host the new missionaries coming in. Remember the Elder that took care of my stuff the day you dropped my off. Well I get to do that now. I'm excited to see the other end of the drop off.
Tomorrow is also a really exciting day for us because we should get our flight plans. Or if they don't come tomorrow they'll be here Thursday.

That's what I have to look forward too. Here is what has happened in the last week.
Starting last Tuesday after I sent the last email. I went to the temple with my district and went through a Endowment session. Elder Brown has been working on a set of temple names since he has came to the MTC and finished all the endowments the week before. We had some extra time after the session and decided to take the names to the next step. We did the sealing's for some of the names. Mom, you're right the blessing given in the sealing are really beautiful. I don't think that I have felt the spirit so strong in my life then in the session. We were able to finish the rest of Elder Brown's names early this morning.
I don't think I was able to talk about it last email, but they have a very interesting system here on who gives talks in Sacrament meeting. You see they don't tell you who is giving one until after the meeting starts. And they are usually chosen at random. Well I had a funny feeling that last week was going to be my turn and sure enough it was. Most of us write talks every week in case we happen to be chosen that week. Thankfully I did. It was on humility and I talked about two different scriptures, Ether 12:37 and D & C 67:10 both have great promises in them that the Lord has given us if we are humble.

On Saturday Elder Brown and I taught the Second lesson for the first time in Thai. I thought it went really well. Our "Investigator" said he was able to understand everything we taught him and that we answered all his questions. I thought he was just being nice. but I see now that I am really beginning to be able to speak Thai. and I'm beginning to understand it better as well.

In the RC the last few weeks I have had some great success. I sent the missionaries to 4 or 5 people and called back a few too. One of the funniest experiences I had was as I was teaching the First Vvision to someone, they began talking about their church, which is the Pentecostal church, and trying to commit me to come next Sunday. I had to decline as I am to go to Thailand in 2 weeks and need all the time I have to prepare. She asked when I would return and if we could keep in contact for the next few years. Well I had to tell her that I couldn't but if by chance the spirit tells me how I would call her and go to her church when I return.

Mom I gave Elder Brown the address to my blog spot. His mom, I think is going to link his with ours as well as an Elder Newman's another missionary in our district.

Oh before I forget. I need two things ASAP. One is the camera computer cord to my camera. I think that I will be able to email photos rather then having to mail them in Thailand.

next Is 2 Martinellies sparkling cider. I would like to surprise the elders in our district when we get our flight plans.

Last few minuets I would like to tell you about my teachers. one this week the other next.

First is Brother Saakha. His American name is Allen. but his Thai name is Wirasak A. Saakha. Which means honored warrior. I have never known a man that has loved his people or his country more. He was a convert to the church when he was 17. He has an unbelievable testimony. I cannot express how this man has changed my life. I will always look back on the MTC and think of Brother Saakha. He truly is an honored warrior of the gospel.

Well my time is running short
until we talk again, love, teach, and feel the gospel

Elder Holt

3 Weeks left

Subject: 3 weeks left

Hello family

Well after today you will only receive 2 more letters from me when I'm at the mtc.

Well this week we had our nung Thais come in. They were both nice. I say were because one of the two elders went home the day after he arrived. None of us know why but they say he will be back in 6 weeks. I hope that's true. Thailand needs every missionary to share the gospel. The other nung Thai lives in his room. He now is a solo elder meaning he doesn't have a companion. But he is with Elder Brown and I most of the time making our companionship a trio. His name is Elder Phetvixan. His mom is Thai and his dad is Laotian. he doesn't really speak Thai, but he can understand it pretty good. He is from Salt Lake over by Raging Waters and went to Highland High.
To answer your question mom, there are normally 4 to a room. At the moment we have 3 but throughout our time we have had four.
Thanks for the package. It brought my body great joy not to have chafing under garments.....lol. Also the inserts seem to be helping a lot. So you chose the right ones thank you mom. Oh the pocket mask is good too. That was exactly what I was looking for. Oh and I forget to tell you to thank aunt Carolyn for her package that I got a little bit ago.
I sent home a package today. In it is the extra garments. Some talks that I think you would enjoy, some books that I really don't need here and my Ipod. This week it seems that Ipods have been causing problems in the MTC so we are now banned from listening to them. so i figured it would be better to send it home then deal with the temptation and if in Thailand I need it I'll send for it.
Man, Connor dragged a handcart 20 miles, I remember when I did my trek we only went 8 miles and I was going to die. Way to go. I hope your testimony has increased a lot.

The language is still coming along but I still have a hard time understanding it. I feel some very hard weeks coming up in Thailand. but I'll get through them.

I'm glad to hear that Allyson was able to get the job that she wanted. Wish her and Jed luck for me when they pass by. Tell them both what great examples they have been to me as I have grown up.

Thanks for taking the photo of me and Elder Johnson to his mom. I'm glad you enjoyed them. I'll be sending home the sd card in a week or two which has some videos that i hope you will enjoy, as well as several other photos that i have.

Well this week has been somewhat uneventful. But I still learned some cool stuff. For the upcoming task next week we are going to meet a "formal investigator" and try and commit them to come to church. Then we get to go back and teach the second lesson for the first time. That's going to make this week a stresser. but I'll be able to do it.

Sunday nights are really nice here at the MTC. After dinner there is a fireside with usually someone from the MTC speaking. After that they show different church movies and talks that were given in the past. This week about half of the Thai district, Elder Brown , our new companion, and I decided to watch a talk that Elder Holland gave. In the whole hour I don't think I have ever seen any apostle, yell, plead, tell, and beg the missionaries to stay on a mission like he did. He literally yelled at us for an hour. I got a lot a notes out of it and after it was over I was ready to serve the next 15 years of my life as a missionary in Thailand.
It got me thinking. I wish they would show these talks outside of the MTC. I wish that every young man who is between the age of 16 to 26 would be able to know what goes on inside the MTC. I looked back over the last 8 weeks I have been here and am in awe. Because I would have never learned what I know now without it.
To think there were times that I even considered not going on a mission. The thought scares me. I do not want to know where I would be right now.
We need to get the young men of our church to feel that burning desire to share the gospel more before they enter the MTC. We need to involve them more in missionary work. We don't have to be set apart to be a missionary to be a missionary. Dad we need to get the young men groups working with the missionaries. I know that they will gain the desire to serve more if they do that.
I cannot wait 3 weeks until I leave. The thought only fuels the desire to serve. we truly are here to learn how to search in the darkness for those who are lost in it.

I love you all. And hope you have a great week

Elder B-Random Holt
searching in the darkness for those who are lost