Wednesday, February 17, 2010

chinese new year

Hello Mom and Family

Happy Valentines/ new years #2. Yesterday was also Chinese New Years which is really big here in Thailand because of the culture mix. There are many people who have Chinese roots. And there is also Thai new years in April, which happens to start the day after my birthday. Its going to be my biggest birthday party ever. The whole country is going to celebrate :D.
Anyways. Its great to hear the news from home. You are correct in the English translation of the สกลนคร is Sakon Nakhon. Every providence has a capital and the capital is named after the providence. That's where the elders usually are. Bangkok however works differently. I'm not really sure but I may get a chance to figure that out in the future. There is one area that is not the capital of a providence. Its very very small .
That's great the Clecklers are starting to learn with the elders. Its funny how the Lord prepares people to receive his gospel. For example many times elders here in Thailand talk to people and get rejected straight out. Sometimes people give us the opportunity to talk to them once then tell them that they aren't interested. But from those experiences the elders are able to plant seeds. There are also times like the Cleckers case were another religion can start the spark for people to search for the truth. Then there are sometimes where I have people come up to me and ask me who I am, what I'm doing, and can I teach them more. This has happened twice in Lop Buri. It was awesome.
This last week we started teaching six new people about the gospel. One of the lessons. we found out that a family had had past encounters with the elders. We started talking about the Book of Mormon. Then they stated oh I think we have that book all ready. --Normally when we hear this response it's because they have a bible or some book for a different sect of Christianity. But to our surprise they pulled out 2 copies of the Book of Mormon. I think they said that one had been given to them by the elders a few years back and got another from their father after he had passed away.
Well last week the branch president here asked me to prepare a talk to give in sacrament meeting yesterday. It was on sacrifice. I think I did a little better than the talk I gave in Lop Buri. It was a challenge to prepare because all the materials we have are in Thai. But it goes to show that my skills in reading and understanding Thai have improved a lot.
I'm glad you enjoyed the video. I'm hoping Brother Oat, the member who made the video, places the Blooper reel on as well its got some funny stuff on it of us as well as kind of shows the humor of the Thai members there.
Oh man its strange to think that Michael McBride will be going on a mission and that Reed Terry, David Nixon, and Noni Linchon are all back. Where did the last few years go. Well I'm really hoping the next few go by a lot slower. I have a lot of stuff to do here before I get back home.
Elder Blackhurst is going down to Bangkok the 3rd of march to renew his visa. I will most likely switch off for a day with someone in a different area to keep the work going. But Elder Blackhurst will pick up any package waiting for me.
I do have some things that could be useful for the next package. If you could send up some razor blades, some of those five blades ones that I got in the mail. They don't exist here in Thailand. and I'm on my last blade now. Also I left the CD player back in Lop Buri so that Elder Hawkes could have something to listen to there. And there's no CD player here but we do have speaker to plug into. So i was thinking If you could find my old blue CD player, could you send it too me. I would say it was in one of the dressers by my bed but, Connor moved into my room and I'm not really sure where anything is anymore :P
Well that's about it for this week. I don't have any pictures to send yet. Elder Blackhurst and I are going to take a look at the festival for the Chinese new years going on in the middle of town here today. Someone told us there was all kinds of different food to buy. Thai, Vietnamese, and of course Chinese food.
Before I send this email I want everyone to know that this is the true church of the Lord. That Joseph Smith is the prophet that brought to past the restoration of the church in this dispensation. The Book of Mormon is true every word. No man can get closer to our Heavenly Father then by following the teachings of it. Through searching, pondering and praying about it anyone can receive a testimony of its truthfulness.

I love you all.
The work is moving forward
until next week may the Lord be with you

Elder Brandon John Holt

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Elder Holt on YouTube

Here are the YouTube videos that Brandon mentioned in his last letter.  He is in the SECOND video from 4:29 to 4:54.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Transfer to Sakon Nakhon, 2nd area

Hello family

First sorry for the short email last week. I kicked the power cord and the power turned off on both of our computers. I felt really bad because we both had written really long emails home. Next sorry Mom if you woke up early to read this email and its not there yet. I think right now it is 5 or 6 in the morning.

OK on with the the email.

Connor woot woot. You're going to state. You'd better shave your head and I want pictures before and after. Oh man you're only a freshmen and you are already smashing my records. You might have broken my free and you beat my freshman time in back. I can't wait till I see you swim in a few years, but enough trunky talk.

Well to make things time manageable I'm going to start at moves meeting after switching companions from Elder Hawkes to Elder Blackhurst. Elder Blackhurst didn't have to come down for anything so he stayed up in the zone I'm in with another missionary. So I didn't meet him until the next day. After the rest of the meeting the missionaries that have to wait for the train (yes that included me) get some free time to do what ever. So some of us went in a group to go down into the deep part of Bangkok. I was switched off with one of my zone leaders for the day. I found and bought some new ties. Then we road the sky train ( the Thai version of the trax in the air) to get back to the train station.
We waited at the train station for about 1 hour or so and about 10 pm here we hopped onto the train to head up into the north east called the Essan. Because we had 1st class tickets we had a cot to sleep in, I was really grateful because I packed late into the evening and got less than an hour of sleep the night before because we had to leave our house in Lop Buri at 1 am to catch the train down to Bangkok. Needless to say I fell asleep as soon as I hit the cot.

The train ride took about 10 hours or so to get to the providence and town of Udon (อุคอรธานี). There we hopped off the train and went to the elder's house where the zone leaders stay as well as 2 more elders to always work. We took a few hours to shower and eat. This is also where I met Elder Blackhurst. Then from there Elder Blackhurst and I hopped on a bus for a 3 and a half hour ride to Sakon Nakhon. So it took about 13 or 14 hours of travel. Sakon Nakhon is the farthest area away from Bangkok.

Lets see question number 2. Well it is jungle but not the kind of jungle of a rain forest or of the amazon or Congo. I was thinking of it. It's kind of the Cottonwood Canyons forests but without the rocks or mountains. But there is a city here that's big. It's nice we haven't left the city yet. Our house is nice,and big. A few moves ago when Thailand had more missionaries there were 4 missionaries here. But now it's just me and Elder Blackhurst. Our house has some unusual characteristics but I don't really need to go into the details.

Yes the Dialect is way different in fact people here speak a different language. Its called Essan. Its a mix of Thai and Laos. But everyone knows how to speak Thai. One of the first people I talked to talked to me in Essan, needless to say I didn't really understand a thing.

Its a little bit cooler than Bangkok and Lop Buri. And for the last week its rained here but not in other places much. Its rained here every day.

About Elder Blackhurst he has been here for 10 moves so about a year and a quarter he will finish here in October. I'm his second companion that he has been senior over.

Well yesterday night we took a 3 hour bus ride back to Udon and slept over. Today we had a sports day in Udon with our whole zone. There were about 14 missionaries there. We played soccer and volleyball and basketball and tried to play ultimate frisbee but we were way out of energy by then and it was really hot. It was really fun. Each district got jerseys. Ours was Orange. Elder Blackhurst thought it was for his high school colors Brighton and I thought it was for Murray. But after we got done and cleaned up we had to travel back which is why this email is coming so late today.

Hey I have something cool for you to go look up on you tube. Back in October the missionaries in Lop Buri with a few members made a video to help the members get excited to go to the temple this April. Brother Oat, one of the members put it on you tube. He named it "Institute for life : the temple" or something like that.(It's titled: The Temple Institute for Life, Mom) Almost all of it is in Thai. and it has all of the missionaries and me giving our testimonies about the temple. So if you want to hear the crazy language that I have been speaking and how good at it I was back then, see if you can find it. It has Elder Ito my trainer on it as well.

Well it sounds like everyone but Murray is getting snowed in. That's about normal if I remember right.

Oh I should tell you a cool little fact about my area. You see Sakon Nakhon is really famous in the mission field for one thing. Its the only place in Thailand that missionaries are in, that you can eat ........ dog :D. (sorry chip) (you shouldn't read this when he is around). I haven't had a chance to eat it yet but in the next week or so I think I'll try it . I'll take pictures and send them home.

Oh and also while I'm thinking about it, if you would like me to send pictures of something that I have talked about in the past tell me and I will try.

OK my time is almost up.

I'm giving you homework this time. in January Liahona, Elder Holland has an article called The Best Is Yet To Be. You should read it. I really liked it.

I love you all

Elder Brandon John Holt

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

hey family

I'm still alive . I moved to a new area in the north east of Thailand.

Sorry I had the whole story typed out but I kicked the power cord and it shut down the computer so I lost the whole thing.

The area I am in is Sakon Nakhorn. My new companion is named Elder Blackhurst. He is from Cottonwood Heights.

Connor I think you may have beaten my time for 100 free. and nice job on the 100 back. You'll do even better on next year.

For a package. We have zone conference in 3 weeks that won't be in Bangkok but I should be able to get it there.
I would like to make a request for American deodorant. Thai deodorant doesn't work at all.

ok I love you all

and I promise to give you a better report of moves next week.

Love you

Elder Brandon John Holt