Friday, October 30, 2009

Hello Family in the land of fluffy white stuff

Sorry I haven't email yet today. Right now it's 8:30 at night and mom if you check your email you are probably worried, sorry.

Today has been a very busy day. We went down to the Mission Office in Bangkok in order to have our interview with President Smith. He interviews all the missionaries once a month and today was our turn. We spent about 6 hours in his office waiting for our turn. In that time I had time to read the email but not answer it. I also had a opportunity to talk to 2 of the elders that were in the MTC with me that I haven't seen since we first came to Thailand.

So Kevin Warburton is going to Albania. Wow I didn't think that the church sent missionaries to the Yugoslavia area in Europe. Wow he'll will have an adventure there. And that language will be a cool language to learn.

Elder Ito is getting ready to leave this moves so on our Preparation days we have spent a little bit of time looking for things for him to take home to his family. Its strange to think that next moves I'll have a new companion. Elder Ito has been a great help in helping me progress to become a better missionary.

I'm glad you agree to the idea with the new suit. But I have been thinking, I also talked to some elders about it, I think I won't get one quite yet. It may not be a good idea to get one now so soon in my mission but maybe in a few months. That way it will last longer. When I get it made it will be about 5000 baht. or with math (33baht to 1 dollar) about 150 dollars. So I may get one cut in April or so.

That's so cool to here that Richard is getting ready for a mission. I'll have to write him for sure but I think I'll send it to the MTC because it may not make it to him on time.

Swine Flu is back huh? That's interesting to hear. People here are always sick, if they can still walk they just put on a mask and go about life. They can also stop by a drug store and buy any kind of drug they want, no prescription needed. For your assurance I'm not sick yet( knock on wood) I think that the swine flu went through Thailand just before we left the MTC. I'm told that most flus start in the Thailand area because of the climate but I'm not sure.

With English Class we have had smaller numbers show up the last few weeks. I'm not really sure why.

Anyways this week has been pretty normal. for what normal can be as a missionary in Thailand. Yesterday we had switch offs with our Zone Leaders. I was paired up with our new Zone Leader, Elder Briant. He is a great guy I learned a lot from him the little time we worked together. One thing we focused on was inviting. We went through a lot of different neighborhoods and talked to different people and left them pass along cards.

Also yesterday because Elder Briant wasn't familiar with a lot of the members or investigators I did a lot of the talking. I also taught an entire lesson by my self for the first time in Thailand. That helped me see how much I have progressed in the last few months.

OK My time is up
I love you all

Elder Brandon Holt

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lots of rain

Hello everyone from home

As Dad's phone says, it is very hot. It has been hot all week. I also learned a very common saying here during the rainy season, "when the day is hot, It will rain" something like that I'm not really sure if that's the exact words but it goes something like that... I think.
Right now its raining a lot. I'm really glad I'm inside writing emails and not out riding my bike.

Well let's see. Last week for preparation day, Brother Aladin took us to see a wat that was being built on the side of a mountain. It was awesome. I plan to send pictures next week because I forgot to grab my camera today. To get to it we had to climb several hundred stairs. They were beautifully decorated and by the time we reached the top I felt like I just got done with a tear down work out in swimming oh how I missed those days.
Well I'm glad to hear that nothing has changed at home with the high school world. and Hey I heard that Murry won homecoming. Sweet.
Anyways we teach English class every Wednesday night to anyone that comes for about a hour and a half. The group that comes changes size every week.
Anyways I'm not really sure how ( I don't think Elder Ito Knows how either) but somehow we ended up at a funeral. That was a interesting experience. and I would go again if I got the chance. Any ways to sum it up, because I didn't understand any of it, it was held at a wat in lop buri and the monks chanted for a few minutes and then we left .
What was interesting was no one really seem sad. there was no crying, but instead there was a solemn quiet. All except the members of our church who visited with their friends and family that were there. Anyways we ran off really fast afterwords in order to make it back to our home.
Off, our Investigator from English is doing really good. We were posting up signs over Lop Buri yesterday to advertise for English Class, and he came up and said hi. He also showed us some places we could tape up signs. We are planning to teach him the rest of the Plan of Salvation tonight.
Lets see oh before I forget, Connor you might like this fact. I have discovered that Ska is Huge in Thailand. One of the few times I glanced at a TV as we were eating lunch one day, they were advertising a Ska concert. Also I heard a Band name that I think I recognize, "The Teddy Ska band" anyways Connor you should look them up and tell me if they are any good.
Well lets see, Ik have a request for a few items in this next pacage, First send more Poptarts I loved getting those and eating a few for breakfast and snacks at night. Also I would like to have a picture of Tessa and me. There should be a few either on my computer or in my junk drawer in what used to be my dresser. I think it could make a good object lesson. Last I would like to request a Triple combination of the Book of Mormon, D & C, and Pearl of Great Price. I am finding that I don't ever use the bible except in personal study and it takes up a lot of space in my bag. Oh and please send a copy of the November Ensign as well. I would like to know what was talked about.

The guitar in the picture is mine at the moment. We think that someone left it behind when they left, so it became the house guitar. The only problem is that when ever I try to replace the strings on it, a single string breaks. So I have bought a lot of strings for it.

Today we don't have anything really planned other then hanging out and buying a few things. Elder Ito is starting to buy things to take home to his family next month when he returns. We are planning to go visit a shop where we think I can buy a Acrylic ball to juggle. Hey Connor how is that coming along? Any ways that's about our day. And the rain just got a lot worse.

Oh I wanted to run a idea by you mom. So since I am in Asia and its really cheap to get a custom made suit. Plus the guy the missionaries buy from is a member so he gives us a huge discount, plus I was given a coupon for a really big discount, do you think I could go buy one?

Oh I almost forgot. I don't think that I have Scott Arata's address. Could you send that to me please?

Dad I was able to read the news ward letter. How long have you been sending letters to the missionaries? It's a good idea.

Well I think we're about ready to face the rain. Lots of rain from the look of it. :(
Oh for the question about my shoes. You see really no matter what we do we are never dry rain or no rain. so we just kind of go and dry out as we ride or teach or what ever.


I love you guys lots

Elder Brandon Holt

Off to fight the rain.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Monkeys are Evil

Hey everyone.

Ok this email may be a little shorter then the last because I'm going to add a few pictures in it.
Well last week there were a lot of meetings. Last Friday was Zone Conference where President Smith talked about how we can get the members to have the spirit of missionary work without crossing our authority. Mainly his plan is this, Because the Mission presidents are over all the branches that are not in the one stake in Bangkok, he is going to start training the branches on ward action plans, this is where we have no authority. For a short breakdown, I think Dad can fill you in the rest. The members come up with less active and people they want the missionaries to go see. Then at Correlation meetings the branch mission leaders will tell missionaries who to go visit. Hopefully through this plan we can get Thailand's baptisms up because the General Authorities are beginning to cut the missionary numbers down in Thailand. In the next 3 months we go from 150 missionaries to 110 or 100 missionaries.
Saturday and Sunday were conference. That was a very interesting experience. It was in Thai so I really didn't understand much. I had a really nice nap though. :P
It was nice when the translator had to stop for a few minutes in order to let the speaker catchup, because it would switch into English for a few seconds.
From the Expression of the speakers it sounded like it was a really good conference. :P

The rest of the week was spent trying to find new investigators and make sure all of the progressing investigators had a baptismal date. At the moment we now have 11 investigators that have baptismal dates.

One of the interesting investigators that we are teaching, is named อ๊อฟor Off in English. We found him as we were putting up signs for our English class that we teach every Wednesday night. He started talking English after we talked to him a little bit about the class. To our surprise he had been in America for several years and knew about the church through Dancing with the stars and American Idol, Good old Marie Osmond and David Archaleta. They really did help a lot. Anyways we taught him after English last week and he has been progressing really well. He told me about a program called Couch Its a way to get back to Thailand. anyways.

So you may be wondering why Thais have strange names like "off" or "fight". Well most people in Thailand have two names. First is their nick name like "off" or even "A" for brother Sakhaa. This is the name that every one knows them by. Even in the church you call them by their nick name Like Brother Aladin. Aladin is his nick name. then they have their real name that is not normally given out at first meeting. this is for all official business. Any ways I thought it was a cool thought.

Well my bike is doing well. I have had a few flats already but I just take it to a repair shop that's on most corners and pay a few baht to get it fixed.

OK for a quick description of the pictures. Most of them are of monkeys hanging around town, no pun intended. And if we are in them and look nervous, its probably because we are. Monkeys are Evil. They tried to still my camera.
oh and another is of my desk I think one is on a good clean day and the other is after a hard day of study but cleaned a little for the picture.

OK I need to go now.
I hope everyone is doing well.

Love you all.

Elder Brandon John Holt

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hey family. Happy B-day Connor

Hey ya family

It's been a very busy week. This is the first week of moves so we had to get back settled in and ready to go for another 6 weeks. After Moves meeting on Thursday last week I was able to take a trip to a Subway for lunch. Sadly to my shock and horror they didn't have the 5 dollar foot long deal. I was devastated. so I had to take the Sub of the day which cost 69 Baht. In dollars that about 2 but still it cost a lot. In Lopburi we normally eat a thing of rice or noodles for about 25 to 30 baht. Anyways it was nice to have a treat.

We returned home Thursday night and had all the appointments that we had to move because of the traveling that week. Friday was a busy day. Anyways we went back to Bangkok on Saturday because of whats called DLTM, district leader training meeting. Elder Ito had to go because he is the district leader. I sat outside with the rest of the other companions and chatted with them.

Every Monday we have district meeting to go over the plans of the week for the for missionaries in Lop Buri. This week we had to do a lot of stuff. It seems (well rumor has it I don't know the full or real story yet, but I think I'll figure it out at Zone Conference on Friday) that the General authority over south east Asia, noticed that Thailand isn't progressing as well as the countries around, for example Cambodia has been open to missionaries for less then 10 years and is getting a stake in the next year. Thailand has been open for 50 or 60 I forget and has only a stake. So he asked President Smith kindly but firmly(probably very firmly) what he plans to do to fix that problem. His solution: planning and lots of it.

We think but we are not sure, each district of missionaries did this the same time we did. We took all the numbers and results for the last 2 years of out area and found the average. Then we found the average of the last two moves. Then we predicted a few numbers and through a equation that Elder Ito used calculus came up with, and found the averages and of the next 1 moves, 1 year, 2 year, 3 year, 5 years. You should tell Jen this, After this I finally realized why I learned all that useless math in high school, for missionary work. What a coincidence. Anyways after the math we began to create a vision for this moves and set goals on how we want the branch here in Lop Buri to progress. I think we get to turn all this information in to the President on Friday during Zone conference.

So its been a crazy week this week. We have been working to get caught up to where we need to be with all of our investigators. Our goal is to have 12 of the people in a missionary hat trick. They need to be progressing, coming to church and have a baptism date to work forward to. after today 8 of our progressing investigators have all three. Its awesome.

So change of subject Last week when I said that I think it was coming to the end of the rainy season I discovered after I sent the email and left the computer cafe that I was wrong, really wrong. It started raining and didn't stop for three days. It rained a lot. And although rain gets the Thai people to stop working, for missionaries the work must go on rain or shine. So the next few days we rode in the rain. It only takes about 2 or 3 minuets until everything is soaked through. There were a few times I got off my bike and felt like I had just climbed out of a swimming pool. Its great.:P

That reminds me. Mom I need some advice what is the best way to get mudstains out of white shirts. I think I have ruined a few, I can't change the temperature of the wash water. I've tried bleach and stuff that we put on our collars to help keep them white( its not possible) any ways anything that would help would be nice. Oh that reminds me. Every missionary's house has a washing machine. No dryer though. For that we rely on good old air drying.

I got the package you sent last Thursday. I enjoyed the candy. I miss American candy. and I love the pictures as well. Remember if you send any in the future I can only pick them up at Zone conference or moves meeting. They can be anywhere from 2 to 3 weeks apart.

It's great to see the UEA curse is still going about. and to see that the car and Connor are still getting hurt. Jk Connor love you bro.

With the baptism thing I don't think its a policy to have missionary not baptize but it helps with the activity rate a lot.

Hey Happy Birthday tomorrow or yesterday I'm not really sure with the time difference, Connor. How's it feel to be 15? I was thinking about it the other day. In one year from now you will be able to drive and date. That's scary. I wonder how Mom's going to react to that?

Stop told me about you being in a band. But I don't think he understands what SKA is. Any how, where did the trumpet idea come from? That's really cool. And Nate's teaching you that's awesome. I hope you enjoy it. I had some friends in high school that played it and they loved it. It's also hard work but keep working on it. You will master it.

Stop speaks English as good as you and I, maybe a little better then me, but he speaks with Thai accent. I think he has scype maybe you can talk to him. You have to find the right time though. I think its a 13 hour time difference or so.

I can't wait until general conference this week. We watch it a week later because of the time difference.

any how
my time is running out I hope all is well
say hi to chip for me.

Elder Brandon Holt