Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Celebrating Christmas

Hello family

No worries about the missed email. Its ok because this week I get to send and read email and talk to you. Hey so I have some information that I think you would like concerning the phone call that I will get. That's right You will need to call me. strange huh? well heres the info.
So you will have to call this number xxxxxx. Now Mom don't get too excited and call early because its against the mission laws. lol. So I'm not really sure the time difference but I think the best time to call me will be around 9:30 Pm on Christmas day I think that would be Christmas morning around 7:30 Am for you guys but I'm not sure so you may want to check that before. I'll be waiting for you on the other line. I might also answer in Thai, because I won't recognize the number, so don't be surprised when someone picks up and is speaking a different language. lol.

Well here in Thailand people are kind of getting ready for Christmas. But nobody really celebrates like we do back in the states. There are a few places that have Christmas trees up, but its still not huge. There are also always shops to buy Christmas lights and stuff at because the Buddhist will use stuff like that to decorate their shrines. But you see what the real thing every one here is getting ready for is New Years. That's going to be a crazy few days. If I understood right they are going to take 3 days to celebrate it. Its going to be a fun few days trying to find some new investigators.

Well the Christmas program was a good success. Elder Hawkes and I were shepherds after all. The ward had several rooms set up and they broke the people into groups then they traveled from room to room and saw little skits and songs that we preformed. they had a room for the Angels, wise men, King Herod, shepherds, The Inn keeper, and Mary and Joseph in the manger. After everyone had traveled around Elder Hawkes and I ran and grabbed some homemade Ice Cream( mmmm Thai coconut ice cream) and then ran home so we weren't late for curfew at 9. But I hear after we left they had a drawing for presents that everyone brought and they were doing some other things as well. Looked really fun but we couldn't stay.

We went down to the north of Bangkok on Saturday for a District Leader Training meeting that Elder Hawkes had to go to. We also took one of our investigators down for a baptismal interview. Were going to have a baptism this Sunday. Its cool because the man getting baptized is the first investigator that I ever taught here in Thailand.

I also got your package on Saturday from the Zone leaders. It must have been sitting in their house for a few days because when I got it, it was infested with ants. That tends to happen sometimes here. Ants are really good at sniffing out food. So I'm sorry to announce that I opened that package. But I didn't unwrap anything yet, except the peanut brittle and the candy canes. but I was able to save the candy. Well actually, Sister ระเบียบ ( reb-Biab) helped with the peanut brittle. I thought it was too far gone to save so I was going to throw it away but Sister ระเบียบ stopped me and said that, " your mother would be sad if you throw away your candy." She then got all of the ants out for me. The peanut brittle is still good and yummy. :P Oh Sister ระบียบ is the wife of the investigator that is getting baptised this sunday. She is like our grandma here. She always spoils us with treats when we go over to teach.

16 ins of snow on the east coast. I'll take some of that. I'm sick of this 80 degree clear blue skies palm tree weather. I hope Ally and Jed made it safe.

Well I have one more thing I need to tell you before I go. President Smith has now switched our Preparation days to Mondays so I think you will have to write Emails on Sunday night so that I can get them here on Monday morning.

OKI love you all and I can't wait to talk to you on Christmas.

Elder Brandon J. Holt

Almost Christmas

Hey Family

Sorry, I may have forgot to tell you that I was going to have Preparation day on Tuesday this week. That's all right it will give me some time to send some pictures this week. (hopefully if this computer will let me upload).

Well so far it has been a crazy week and it will only get crazier as the week goes by. The reason we have preparation day on Tuesday this week is because moves day is tomorrow. There are some huge changes starting this moves. One is the sister area here in Lop Buri is closing down. Sister Josephson and now Sister O Nell, the sister that replaced Sister Webb( She had a family problem and had to return home for a few weeks, but she will come back we hope) are both moving to new areas and Elder Hawkes and I are taking over their investigators. So in the next week Elder Hawkes and I will have to sort through all our investigators in Lop Buri and decide who we can use time to see and who we can drop because they are not really progressing.

Elder Hawkes and I are not going to moves meeting tomorrow because President Smith is changing things up so that only the missionaries that have to go to meeting will go. So if you're not moving areas you can stay in your area and keep the work going instead of having to take the day off to travel to the north of Bangkok for a meeting. It used to be that everyone in the 3 Bangkok Zones had to go to moves meeting.

Since I'm not moving this moves and this is starting 4th moves in Lop Buri, I will most likely move next moves in 7 weeks from now, Unless something really crazy happens between now and then.

This week the members have been getting ready for the Christmas program on Saturday night. We helped them last night set up a lot of the decorations there were a lot. They really are going all out with trying to bring the Christmas spirit to Thailand. They have changed the lights blue in the cultural hall and have set up stage like things in other rooms. I think they are going to have people move from one room to another, doing a little skit in each room. It's going to be really fun. I think that I am a shepherd in one of the rooms but I'm not really sure. I'll tell you more about it next week and I may send pictures if I take any.

So Elder Hawkes and I have discovered a very yummy treat here in Thailand this week. Coconut. Yummy. They have them everywhere and they are pretty cheep and yummy. We got one for the first time here when we were inviting a guy and went back to give him a Book of Mormon. He was living in a shop where his sister sells coconut. This is how nice Thai people really are. She gave us a free coconut. We enjoyed the treat. The coconut milk is the best part too.

That's really about it for the week.
I'll be looking forward to next week

Love you
Elder Brandon J Holt.

PS I wasn't able to send any photos. The computer won't read that's alright I'm creating the DVD right now to send home.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Hello family

It has been a plain normal week of missionary work. This has been the first week in several weeks that we have not had to leave our area in order to go to Bangkok. So we have had the full week to prepare our investigators and members for the coming moves meeting.

We had the chance to talk to a teach two new investigators. First is a soldier in the Thai army -- There are a lot of soldiers here in Lop Buri because Lop Buri is a big military base -- It took us a little while to find his house because he lives in a community that I have never been to before but, after asking some guards at one of the entrances of the base they were able to point us in the right direction. It was a really really short lesson because he was in a rush to go to some army thing I'm not really sure what. We went in and gave him a Book of Mormon and he brought his family in then we left. We haven't had a chance to set a date for another appointment but we plan to call him in the next day or so.

The other guy is a older gentleman that one of our Zone leaders and I found during our switch offs last weeks. He had recently gotten out of the hospital after a car ran in to him and he lost his leg. He was out on the street walking with crutches. He told us he was so happy to be out and walking again. We returned and taught him the restoration and I think we are planing to go see him tomorrow.

We had to drop some of our investigators because most of them have hit the point were either they began to progress themselves or they can not be baptized. It has been a really interesting experience to see how teaching people the gospel changes their lives. It is also interesting to see that everyone has imperfections and trials that they must overcome in order to receive baptism. I know that these trials that we all have are given to us to help us to learn and grow. Have I ever told you that I love Missionary work? Well I do. I'm glad I'm over here. Although it is far away from my home land. I am happy to serve the lord and lead his children back to him.

Today we went to Ayutia( Im not really sure how to spell it in English) We traveled down on the train and then in tuk tuks as we visited a market and a ancient wat. I have some good pictures that I'm going to try and send today.

Wow 17 days till Christmas already, time flies when you're on a mission. I think I have decided that 2 years is not enough time to serve a mission and get all that you want to do done. Here is something to think about; tomorrow is the 10th of December, that is my 4 month mark in Thailand. The very first missionary stayed only 4 months in Thailand and then returned because the frustration he had at not being able to overcome the language barrier. I think at this point for me although I still don't speak very well and make mistakes all the time ( I'm reminded of that fact by both the members and my companion) I know that I will speak as good as I need to in order to help the work progress here.

with some of the questions, The sunflowers are awesome. They have a season of late October to the middle of December. A lot of missionaries come up to Lop Buri if they can to see them every year.

I have the SD card that you sent in the first package here, so no worries about that. I think it will be easier to send CDs back and hang on to the sd cards here. I may buy another one here. I'm not really sure on that yet.

With music, Elder Ito was kind enough to leave me his CD player and speakers here in lop buri. but no CDS that I can listen to. Here is what the missionary handbook says on music that we can listen too. " Listen only to music that is consistent with the sacred spirit of your calling. Music should invite the Spirit, Help you focus on the work, and direct your thoughts and feelings to the Savior. Do not listen to music that pulls your thoughts away from your work, merely entertains, has romantic lyrics or overtones, or dulls your spiritual sensitivity by its tempo, beat, loudness, lyrics, or intensity."
That's pretty strict. President Smith clarified it as this, if it has a drum set in it for example a lot of EFY stuff does, we can't listen to it, But I believe that classical, Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Christmas music is still good to listen to. I also agree on not sending my I pod. CDS are ok though.

well I think that's all I can think of to put in this weeks email.
I love you all.

Elder Brandon John Holt.
Ps. Sorry i wasn't able to get the computer to read my camera.
Oh and also P-day may be next Tuesday so please write emails a day earlier or I won't get them.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

6 months as a missionary That was fast

Hey family

Its hard to believe that 6 months ago tomorrow I was walking into the MTC not sure what I was doing yet. And look at me now I'm in the middle of Thailand teaching the gospel to those who know very little about Heavenly Father and the gospel. What a rush. To this day I still get chills when I realize that I am in Thailand, so far from home.

Sounds like a good week. With Jen and Nate moving in and all. Where is the house they found, what city is it in? what kind of neighborhood. How are they both doing and how is Kaylie doing?

Thanksgiving was a busy day. I don't think I ever realized how much work goes into it. First in the morning we went out with brother Aladin to find enough chicken to feed 30 to 40 people. (We had to use chicken because turkey can only be found in Bangkok and it is very very expensive, 2 - 3 thousand baht I believe. That comes to 60 to 90 dollars) We looked for little stands on the side of the roads, This is where the best and cheapest chickens are found, people who raise their own chickens. After that we went to the church to make mashed potatoes, stuffing and apple cobbler. The funny thing, we couldn't really follow any of the recipes that we had because we didn't have all the stuff. That's Martha Stewart for ya, always putting to much fancy into her meals. Anyways, after 6-7 hours of preparing and several runs to the local Carr Four, which is like the Walmart here, We had a dinner that would feed 30 people.

I think about that many people showed up. We had a short program, and everyone who wanted to was able to share what they were thankful for. Then we ate. Thankfully there were leftovers of stuffing and mash potatoes, Elder Hawkes and I returned later in the week and had a good free lunch.

This week was a normal week of teaching our investigators. It seems as each of our investigators progress they each have hit a problem or concern that they must overcome in order to progress towards baptism. This is something that I have learned to rejoice in, because if our investigators can build faith enough to overcome their concerns then the Lord will bless them even more and they will have greater faith than before.

There are many different types of houses that I have taught in here. Most houses have tile floors in order to make cleaning easier. Thailand is always dirty and dusty. I have taught in houses that have had couches and TV and most of the luxuries of what we have in our home in Utah. Then I have taught in homes that are smaller then my first room in the house and are made out of sheet metal and thick tree limbs and don't have more than a bamboo mat and a bed for sleeping in. It really is amazing here. I was talking to another missionary here who was saying that we really don't need all the conforts that we get back in our homes to be happy. with computers and TV and Air conditioners. People here live simpler and I think they are the happiest people I have ever met.

Today we had a Zone เถิว or in other words we went and saw things together as a Zone We went to visit the sunflower fields and monkeys again. It was fun. I'll send some photos next week.

Ok I have to go. I have enjoyed reading the conference talks. There have been many that have talked about the Holy Ghost and the power of personal Revelation. This is such an important thing to know about in the world we live today. Through personal revelation and the Holy Ghost we can learn of the love that Heavenly Father has for us.

Love you all

Elder Brandon John Holt.

Searching in the darkness for those that are lost.