Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Hello family

Well I have to inform you that before you read this email I will have celebrated thanksgiving twice. That's because the International Ward in Bangkok hosted all the missionaries in the 3 Bangkok Zones for thanks giving. Last Saturday we were hosted by the bishop of the Ward. I have to say walking into an American style home after 5 months was quite a culture shock. It was interesting because the first thing we noticed, as we walked into the house is that they had carpet and 3 leather couches. I love couches. Anyways when we walked in we weren't sure what to do because we have been so used to the Thai culture for so long we just kind of stood in the doorway for several minutes and soaked it all in.

The Spencer's are a really nice family. Brother Spencer works for a international company and has lived in Thailand for 3 years. They are originally from Orem, Utah but they haven't live there for some time. 20 years at least.

For dinner we had an amazing turkey with mash potatoes and gravy, yams, cranberry, stuffing, rolls, and yummy yummy yummy pie. I miss eating good pie. It was quite a treat.

On Sunday i was giving the great opportunity to speak. Brother Oat the 2nd councilor in the branch presidency told us on Thursday that the elders needed to speak on Sunday. He then suggested to rock paper scissor for who get the honor of speaking. I won.

To put the outcome of the talk on Sunday in a short phrase. Lets just say I'm glad I still have a senior companion. I was supposed to talk on fasting but after struggling for a few minuets I just bore my testimony and called it good. The language barrier is still there but its getting better.

one of our investigators was kind enough/ sarcastic enough to point out the words that i said. Hes a great guy we see him a lot I think I'll try to get him back somehow to show him how much i appreciate him. lol

On Monday we had Zone conference. This time Elder Prate the area seventy over Asia, was touring through Thailand. So he talked to us. He talked about the importance of complete obedience, with a little bit of how we should pray with our investigators, members, companions, and ourselves. The Answer is on our knees. In the past few days as we have taught our investigators and members we have asked them to kneel as we and they pray. It is amazing at the difference of the spirit in the room when we pray on our knees vs when we sit, stand, or lay down.

Well we get to celebrate thanksgiving again tomorrow when we make thanksgiving dinner for the Branch here in Lop Buri. That was really not what we were planning to do but after it was announced over the pulpit on Sunday, then Brother Oat kindly informed us that we would be making thanksgiving dinner, we really didn't have much of a choice. Truth be told I really am not too happy about it because with zone conference and thanksgiving last Saturday we haven't had a lot of time to look for and teach our investigators. But it should be fun to do anyway.....hopefully.
We also won't have turkey it was expensive here, so chicken will work.

Well that's about it for the week. I'm glad that everyone enjoyed and got a kick out of the pictures that I sent home more will be on their way soon. I also am planning on stopping in a photo place were I can get a CD made of all the pictures I have so far and send a copy home so you can see all of the photos and a few of the last videos I made in the last day at the MTC.

The dish with shrimp was som tum. It is an Eesan dish for east Thailand. Its yummy. This dish in the photo happen to be a lot hotter than I expected and by the time I was done eating it I had tears running down my face.

With the elephants I'm not sure if there is a place in lop Buri to ride them but we can take a hour ride on a train and find one in Ayutia. I'm not really sure what the price is but because we are foreign it won't be cheap.

I got the package this week, Thank you for the poptarts and pudding and cider. Its starting to get really cold in the morning. Cider will be good.

Ok I have to go
I'm really excited to read the rest of conference talks,

Love you
Elder Brandon J Holt (โฮล์ท)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hey I think the temperature dropped

Hello Family

Life sounds really good at home. snow and all. Well you guessed right I'm still in Lop Buri. I don't think I will move next moves either. I talked to one of the AP ( assistants to president) a few weeks ago when we did switch offs about moving. He says I probably won't move unless I need to fill a space somewhere, at my point in a mission. Usually what happens is first those who are จปอยู่( going home) move first then President Smith calls new Elders to fill any callings then if there are holes where there are no callings, President Smith will move Elders in my group or the Groups that came after us in to area. Any ways there is still a pretty good chance that I will move next time because 16 missionaries are going home. So I'm not really sure if I'm going to move or not.
Hey I got a new companion this week. His name is Elder Hawkes. He is from Fort Worth, Texas. He has been a Missionary for more then a year now. He came into Thailand since last August. He is a really great guy and helps me a lot with my Thai and teaching. He also just got out of the Bangkok area, so he is really happy to ride his bike and be in the country area again.
Well I discovered something about Bangkok last week after moves meeting. Its really really Crowded. There are an Infinite amount of people there. I really can't explain or compare it to any other city that I have been in. It was crazy.
Any ways I spent the day with several Really Really Trunky missionaries. Which means they really couldn't wait to get home. It was a fun day to go through some of the street markets and see what they had to offer.

The next day was moves meeting where I got to see everyone in my group except Elder Harris who stayed up in the North East to keep working in his area. Most of us got new companions and some moved as there area closed. There is a shortage of missionaries coming in the next few months. Our numbers in Thailand will go from around 130,140 to 92. So a lot of the areas will have to close and there will be a lot of people moving to different areas. I could be one of them, only President Smith knows.
Elder Hawkes and I became companions and headed back up to Lop Buri with the Sisters (neither of them moved).
The next day Elder Hawkes and I traveled around and meet some of the members and our investigators. I learned that I had a better knowledge of Thai then I thought I had a pretty good conversation with a few of the members.
This week we have focused a lot on finding new Investigators. That is something that is going to need to happen because we are coming closer to the point where our current Investigators are going to be baptized and then we won't have any one to teach. So Elder Hawkes and I have traveled to different มูบ้าน( Neighborhoods) and talked to a lot of people about the gospel. Hopefully some of them will be interested.

We should have a Baptism or two in the next month. We can't wait for that. Also the branch is getting ready to start practicing for the Ward Christmas program. I think they want me to play Joseph, but it will be 3 days after moves meeting so we are kind of worried that Elder Hawkes or I won't be here.

We're not really doing anything for Preparation day today. Just hanging out and cleaning the house which needs to be done really really bad.

Wow a blizzard I miss the snow. It is now the Dry season here in Thailand and the temperature has dropped a few degrees. Its really nice to go outside. I can't wait to send a letter to Richard. It's a blast to write to other missionaries. I have been writing to Matt Ruben and Alex Recsiek as well as some other missionaries that I met when I was down at UVU.

The Best way to describe how the language is to say its a struggle everyday. Some days I understand people better then others. But Its coming. I get to see that a lot when I change companions or try something new.

Wow Connor you're getting pretty close to what my times were as a sophomore in high school. I can't wait to see what these next months will do to you . oh and just a little advice, when the swimming gets hard sing my favorite song to sing while I was swimming, "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming swimming swimming." It helps a lot.

Hey so I remembered my camera this week.

The first few photos are of when we went to visit a Wat or Buddhist temple a few weeks ago. I'm not sure where the dog came from but its really cool looking. Next is during ลอยกระทง (liegratong) and with the family we went and floated boats and lit of these big lamps with.
Next there are a few when we went and saw the sunflowers, they were everywhere. We also went to a place to eat that was a floating dock on a lake. As well as ate true Thai Ice cream sandwiches.

Oh and the last few are special. you see I have a confession to make. I now have eating bugs and grubs. the pictures are of me eating a water beetle that didn't really taste very good. In fact after eating it it came back up. But before I ate that I ate a grasshopper and several larva. which where pretty good. the larva tasted a little like pop corn. yummy

ok I'm out of time for this week

I love you all Elder Brandon John Holt

November 10,2009

Hello family

First I must apologize, I was going to send photos in this email but you see my camera is in a van that is currently 4 or 5 stories below me.
Right now Elder Ito, Sister Josephson, Sister Webb, and I are in a huge mall in the heart of Bangkok. This is the biggest mall that I have ever seen. It's got every thing here literally. Its called Central World. and it's in a city called Ding Dang. Oh I don't think I have ever told you, Bangkok is like a state or county made up of several cities. Ding Dang is the heart of Bangkok and is very very busy. The church office and mission headquarters is in a city called Pakkret.
This last week has gone by really fast. It was a pretty normal week except that it was Elder Ito's last week. So at most places we went or taught in the last week we stopped to take pictures and Elder Ito said his goodbyes. The Investigators and Members in Lop Buri really love Elder Ito and it was sad for him as well as them to say goodbye.
Because of moves meeting this week we moved English class to Tuesdays. Also because of moves meeting we didn't teach anything. Its called showcase night. A night where the missionaries play games or do some easy activity in order to relax before traveling to Bangkok to change companions or whatever. Last night we watched a movie in English, with permission of course...... I think. It was Wall-e. I love that movie. Everyone had a good time and it was nice to relax for a few moments.

Today we came to Bangkok in order for Elder Ito to meet up with all of the missionaries that are leaving on Friday with him. We are just kind of sight seeing and window shopping for the day. oh and we might get hair cuts I really need one.

So with packages I usually get a chance to get them every 2 to 3 weeks so Ii should see the one you sent in either tomorrow or next week I think. As for one you send in December, I know that we are having moves meeting a week early in order to help those who are heading home to get home before Christmas.Sso that one should make it before then.

hmm with cooking I have done a little. We eat in at our house usually for breakfast and dinner Sunday night. We have a ok gas stove and a microwave. so I have made things from french toast to tacos. I normally make pasta with olive oil. Andrea got me addicted to it. Its also a good way to have energy.

Tonight Elder Ito and I are staying in a different missionaries home in Bangkok. Then, tomorrow is moves meeting and I will get a new companion. That's still a strange thought. There is a pretty good possibility that it could be a Native missionary. That will be interesting if that happens for the first few days to be able to speak. But who knows. Any way it happens it will be for the better.

801-773-4396 This is Elder Ito's phone number. He says he likes food and sharing stories and would be happy to come and tell stories about Lop Buri and Thailand. He gets back Friday night.

That's way cool that Richards getting ready to start his mission. My advice to him is this, no matter what happens in the MTC its easier on the other side, or once you get in country. To learn the language and to be more focused on the work.

As I think back I think that the MTC really was the hardest part of my mission so far. Because I was confined to very small quarters, I was so close to home, and I never saw any of my investigators. But it was worth every single second. I learned so much there.

Ok I think that's about it. Sorry again for not sending photos in this email. I'll try to remember next week as well as tell you about my companion.

Ok love you all

Elder Brandon John Holt

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Really Big Bats

Hello family.

This week has been a way cool week. I took a lot of photos, but I didn't bring the cord to upload them to the computer. I may have to do that next week.

Anyways I found out that even in Thailand they have a holiday that celebrates something about their dead, but I don't really know the details. It's called ลอยกะตง or pronounced Lie-Gra- cong That's a heavy O like in comb not the ah sound. Anyways its comparable here to the 4th of July. Crazy Fireworks, all kinds of festivals and shows. It's a party. At night and depending on how close you are to a body of water They have a tradition of making boats and placing a candle in them and floating them down the rivers and canals. Also they have these cool lanterns that they light that work like hot air balloons. You light a flame in them and then release them into the sky. and they float away. It's really cool. Elder Ito and I and the two sister missionaries, Sister Josephson and Sister Webb, had a opportunity to celebrate with some of the members here in Lop Buri where we did both things. I'll try to remember to bring the cord next week so that Ican send pictures home next week.
Today we went and saw sunflowers. A little ways from Lop Buri there is a place where sun flowers grow and covers fields and fields and mountains. Its awesome. It's also a very popular activity, for the missionaries close enough to do it, to do. We had a member take us to them . Pictures of those will also be sent home.
On the way back Brother Oat took us to see two things. First was a Wat ( a Buddhist temple) that was built in some of the caves in the Mountains of Lop Buri. These caves were infested with Bats. Really Really Big Bats. Brother Oat says at night they fly out to eat in a huge crowd. Kind of like in the Batman movie, as Elder Ito explained to me. As we were walking through the caves we couldn't see any of the bats because it was really dark, but we could smell and hear them. I pointed my camera up and took a picture to see how many bats and how close they were to us. I wish I hadn't. The pictures revealed that the walls above us were covered with bats and that they were only about 3 feet above my head. Needless to say we walked very fast out of the caves after we saw that.
After the wat we went to a Restaurant kind of place (you really can't call it a restaurant to American standards). Basically they built a make shift dock with drift wood and placed some huts on it. This is all floating on a lake. We enjoyed a nice lunch/ dinner here Of papaya salad with shrimp. Its called som tum. Its something that I have become addicted to. Its also very very hot/ spicy. I think this time I was crying by the time I finished eating it. I also have learned with Thai spice, Pepsi won't cool your tongue. Only ice can do that.
Also this morning, Elder Ito and I made the trip down to Bangkok in order to renew my visa. It needs to be renewed about every 3 months or so.

That's pretty much the excitement for the week. Most of our investigators have continued to learn and progress closer to baptism. If every thing goes as planned we should have a baptism at the end of this month.

Man, skiing already. That's something I miss. I didn't get a chance to ski at all last year. Oh well the mountains will still be there when I get back..... hopefully.

I remember the first time I went down to Ceder City, that was a blast. Stuart, Matt, Kevin, and I stayed at one of the Ceder City's swimmer's house for the night. It was a blast. We made friends that night that Stuart and I have always kept up with since then. We even had a few chances to hang out with them when they came up or we went down to compete the years after. Is the swim team going to be housed or stay in a hotel?

That's sweet about the mission calls that came. I think Elder Porter will be glad to here where Caleb is going, if he hasn't already. He is the other missionary in my group that knows the Becerras.

Not counting the crab I don't think I have eaten anything with more then 4 legs. Last week I did have the opportunity to eat Pig ears. That was chewy. I also found out where I can go to eat a scorpion. I may try that in the weeks to come after I build up the stomach muscles.

The interview was in English thankfully. It might have been difficult to do in Thai. I always like the one on one time I get with President Smith in the interview. It gives me a chance to ask some questions about mission work that I can't answer myself.

Well I have been thinking about it. Next week Elder Ito goes home and I get a new companion. It very well could be a native. Which would help me a lot to understand the language and culture here. But it could also be very stressful as well. No matter how it turns out all is well. The Lord will give me the best companion to help me progress at His speed.

Say good luck to Caleb and Stacy for me, as well as Richard. Will you grab his address for the MTC next week for me? I don't know if I'll have time to write him the next few weeks. but I want too.

OK time is up

I love you all.

Elder Brandon J Holt