Monday, March 22, 2010

Hello family

Well for the moment the craziness of what is, Moves week is over. Yes I did get a new companion his name is Elder Jolly. Cowinncadently (OK that one is spelled wrong) He is from the same place and school Elder Blackhurst lives at, Cottonwood heights.
It all started on Wednesday last week. In the afternoon Elder Blackhurst and I hopped on a bus to Udorn, that's where the zone leaders live and met up with the other elders who are traveling down to Bangkok at the train station. There I switched off with Elder Booth and said goodbye to Elder Blackhurst. So I didn't go down to Bangkok. Elder Booth and I kept the work in Udorn moving while people were moving. we switched of Wednesday night, Thursday, and Friday morning.

On Friday morning the missionaries from Bangkok came back and I met Elder Jolly and Elder Booth met his new companion Elder Berrnet, From my MTC group.
I was way excited because Elder Jolly is the first companion that I have had that I knew before we were companions. I met him when I was with Elder Ito Way back when. He was in my zone.

In that afternoon we spent a little bit on the bus returning to Sakon Nakhon, then the rest of the day we spent the time seeing investigators and other people that we teach.

Saturday was a normal day for what missionary work is normal. but Sunday was fun.

Yes Mom I am aware of what is happening in Bangkok, it helped the events of yesterday unfold a little bit.

Yesterday morning we were the first ones to get to the church which, was strange because we came later then we normally do. So we had to unlock the church and begin setting up. After 10 minutes or so some more people arrived in this group was the Branch President's family, but not the Branch President. They have recently returned from Hong Kong where they went through the temple for the first time. woot woot. Anyways at this time it is about 10 minutes to 9. At nine everything was set up, and we had two of our newest investigators walk in, that was sweet because it was their first time. so we helped them get settled down with some members beside them. It was about this time where Elder Jolly and I wondered where the Branch President was, So we asked the Branch President's wife. She told us, "He is not coming this week. He has to go to Udorn and get ready to go Bangkok, (he is a police Officer) I thought you knew." I'm not really sure where I missed the memo. It could have been Elder Balckhurst forgot to tell me, It could have been that someone told me but, because of the lack of my skills in Thai I may have not understood it, or it could have been he forgot to tell us. It was most likely the second.

So at this point I went into panic mode. for these reasons.
1. We had no branch president
2. We have little priestood in this branch about 5 people give or take
3. Elder Jolly was new and had no idea what was going on
4. We had 2 new investigators
5. Brother Lek who was baptized last week was getting confirmed.
6. I forgot to eat breakfast and I was hungry

So thankfully Elder Jolly helped me sort things out. We quickly found Brother Hong who is the ward mission leader, we asked him to lead and confirm Brother Lek. We sat down at the sacrament table, and we had 2 members that had Aaronic priesthood pass the sacrament. And well I'm not sure how but everything sorted itself out before to much longer. Then it was a good Sunday. Brother Lek was confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Our 2 new investigators said that they love coming to church and are going to try to come next week. And I got lunch made by the members after church, Sticky rice, beef and bananas.
I think the Lord helped out a lot.

So concerning the events that are unfolding in Bangkok, we know about it and are taking measures to prevent anything happening to the missionaries. they have asked us to have a 4 day supply of food in every Elders house in case there is a day or 2 that we need to stay inside. I haven't heard much about what the Elders are doing in Bangkok but last year, this same thing happened and the elders stayed in for a day or 2. I'm far enough away that it doesn't affect us. Other than some of our investigators are cops and have been on edge for the last 2 months because they have to be ready to go into Bangkok if they are called, Other then that I can't really say much because of mission rules.

I did get you package and I loved everything that was in it. Elder Blackhurst and I made cookies and brownies that past 2 weeks. And the oatmeal is all gone . Thank you :)

I don't know the next time someone is going to Bangkok but it should be in a few weeks.

I had a strange thought last week. about a year ago I turned in my papers. And now here I am on the other side of the world.

That exciting that Spencer is going to the same mission as Richard.

I learned the other day that the Rice season is July to December or some thing like that. Its the wet season.

Ok I have to go

I love you all

Elder Brandon John Holt

PS Connor kick Kearns butt.
- Show quoted text -

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A small break in the weather

Hello Everyone

Well the weather here has been really strange this last week. On Tuesday they had a storm roll over and the temperature dropped to 65 or so. Everyone here threw on their cold gear as though it was going to snow but, for us Utahans we just went out in our short sleeves and ties like normal. It was a nice little break from the heat. 2 or so days later the heat came back. I think the hottest I saw it was 99 degrees. I don’t think it has broke 100 yet but, it’s going to happen soon.

This week it seems that someone has pressed the reset button on our area progress. Elder Blackhurst and I decided to drop a lot of the investigators that were not progressing at all or that we haven’t been able to get a hold of for more then a month. So we had a lot of time to go out a find new Investigators. This week we were able to report to our Zone leaders that we taught 6 new investigators. It was a lot of work but it was worth it.

On Thursday we talked to a lot of people and were able to get several return appointments for the next day. So Friday we went back out and did our favorite thing teaching. In the morning right out of the house we talked to a guy that had a stand on the side of the road selling pants and shirts. He liked what we taught him, and was willing to learn more if he has time. We hopefully will get a chance to teach him again tomorrow. Next up was a man who does the morning and evening announcements over the intercoms that are mounted on some of the telephone poles in the city.

I’m not really sure why but they have these speakers on the poles in the city. They make announcements about what is going on in the city every morning and evening. Sometimes, as we ride by them on our bike, they are playing music. Any ways he was really busy when we tried to teach him, but we were able to get an appointment with him later this week.

After that we taught a guy who is building a little store by our house. We stopped by him a few times before and when we had some extra time we helped him build a few things. Like smooth out the cement, and Hung a power cord over the street into a another building so that he can borrow power until they turn on the power in his store. That was quite an experience. He took this cord and had Elder Blackhurst take it across the street then we had to get it out of the street so the cars and scooters wouldn’t run over it. So he took a string tied to a stick and had us throw it over the power lines to lift the cord. Then we had to figure out how to hook up the cord to the power box without killing ourselves. It was fun. And no worries he asked the people if he could borrow the power for a few days. He also let us write the name of Elder (เอ็ลเตอร์) in the cement that we smoothed out. After all of this we were able to teach him. He was a really good guy. He wants to know more about what the gospel is so we set up another appointment for this week as well.

Last appointment we had a chance to go to was a at a construction site. We first invited a man and his older sister when they were making some cement for the building they were building, we made an appointment to come back and on Friday returned. They said that they were Catholics currently I like to here about Christ and other sects of religions. When we got there,it turns out that there was a whole family there ready to listen, We taught a short lesson about Heavenly father and about prayer and then they had to go back to work. They seemed pretty interested. We didn’t get the chance to set up a new appointment but we plan to call them back in a few days when we get time.

This Sunday we had Lek’s baptism. It went really well. After church we had a meeting where 2 speakers spoke, Elder Blackhurst was one of them, then one the side of the church there is a baptismal font. Lek asked Elder Blackhurst to baptize him. His wife was there to see it. Elder Blackhurst tells me that at first she was a little against the church, but this shows that she is opening her heart. I hope in a few weeks we will be able to teach her.

This week is moves meeting. We’re pretty sure that Elder Blackhusrt is moving but not yet 100 % sure. We should know tomorrow when the Zone Leaders give us a call. But we planned as if he is. So if he is moving, on Wednesday we will be traveling to Udorn Thani were I will switch off with elders there again and Elder Blackhurst will hop on a train and go down to Bangkok. That will be the last time I will see him. On Thursday they will have the moves meeting and on Friday my new companion will come back.

It’s going to make it another crazy week because we have to see all the investigators we can in 3 or 4 days. Plus I will have to introduce my new companion to everyone as well.

We didn’t get a chance to go bowling last week because the place was closed. But that’s alright we ate lunch with some members and spent the rest of the day doing some chores.

Well concerning the area, there is one branch here, it has about 45 to 50 active members in it. It’s mostly women as well. There are about 5 priesthood holders that are active. The branch president, the mission leader, the clerk and the past branch president. But our goal is to increase that number and times it by 2 in the next few months.

Our house does have a washing machine thankfully and we don’t have to use mosquito nets to sleep, although sometimes I get some good bites at night. It’s a pretty isolated area. The city is only a couple of blocks big and then you have nothing but rice fields for miles.

Ok I have to go

I love you and look forward to the next Email.

Elder Brandon John Holt

PS. Dad When did you lose your golf clubs, this is new news for me.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Yummy dog

Hello Family

Well in light of last week events I decided to follow the advice that Elder Blackhurst gave me, to write my letters in Word first then attach them in the email. That way if anything happens to the email I will still have everything because it will be in word. Although I really like this new email. It’s gmail.

Well this week has gone by really fast as Elder Blackhurst and I prepare for the next. Next week Elder Blackhurst is going to make the trip to Bangkok to renew his visa. He will be switching off with a zone leader. I on the other hand will be switching off in another area to help the work keep moving, I just wish it was in Sakon Nakhon. We will leave tomorrow and go to Udorn and from there Elder Blackhurst will ride a bus or a train for 8 to 10 hours to Bangkok and I will stay there. He’ll make the return trip on Wednesday night and we’ll leave Udorn and come back to Sakon Nakhon on Thursday morning. That’s a lot of travel in the week. It takes about 2 or 3 days out of our week and makes it way hard to keep things moving as fast as President Smith wants things to, but where there is a will, the Lord will provide the way.

This last week was filled with some great things. I think I will start with Thursday. The week before last the Zone leaders Challenged us to do 2 service projects each week. One that will benefit the community and one that will benefit a member of the branch. We have been searching long and hard for both opportunities all week. Finally on Thursday we told a member that on that day we would come over and serve him and his family even if it requires us to clean the house. So after we did the weekly planning we hopped on our bikes and rode 30 minutes to his house.

When we got there they had us wash the windows of their store, which hadn’t been washed in a long time. VERY long time. So we were glad to do it. It took us about 3 to 4 hours to wash everything inside and out. A little long for a missionary services but we were happy to get the job done. FACT: when you do not have cloth to wash windows, Newspaper is a decent substitute.

After we finished Elder Blackhurst and I were served the meal of a lifetime. Sticky Rice and you probably guessed it Dog meat. Yummy. Believe it or not it was really good. It had a similar taste to chicken, But it was a little more bony and had a lot of fat in it. If I get the chance to eat it again I’ll probably take it.

As we were eating I wondered where the dogs come from. Brother Nxng, for once in Thai, told us that the owners of the shop go around and work through different companies to catch the wild dogs that attack people and livestock and other things, then they catch them and bring them here to eat. So where in America they put problem dogs to sleep, here they just eat them. What an efficient way to take care of a dog problem.

Friday was a crazy day for us as we were trying to set up the last interviews for 2 of our investigators to get baptized. One named Lek had his interview yesterday. He had to make the trip to Udorn, which is a 4 hour trip by bus but, he has a really nice police bullet bike and did it in hour and a half to 2 hours he wouldn’t tell us. He did however say that he went close to 160 kmh and got pulled over 3 times, but because he is a police officer he got off every time. He passed, so he will be getting baptized on the 14th of this month. The other investigator will be getting interviewed on Saturday and if he passes will be baptized on the same day.

Today Elder Blackhurst and I did a thing that I think Dad might be a little jealous for. We went and played golf. Well really we just hit balls at a range because it was 95-100 degrees outside at the time. And we didn’t have a lot of time to play. But still I got to play golf in Thailand. It was fun. Elder Blackhurst played golf for the Brighton high school team, so he showed me up a little. That’s all right. He also impressed some of the employees at the range, who I think that they think he is a pro.

Sounds like the family is doing well, and life is getting busy like normal around this time of year for everyone. Please wish Nate a happy birthday. Man I can’t believe its polo season again. I’m glad Stu is a polo coach this year, I wonder how he and the Beckwiths are doing these days I haven’t gotten a letter from Stu for a while.

Well Life here is getting better. The language is getting easier to understand and we are getting more and more people to teach. I had a fun experience last week. As Elder Blackhurst and I were inviting we sat down with a group of police/soldiers that were guarding some of the government places and started a conversation with them. As we talked we found out that 2 of the men were catholic believers in a neighboring town and that one other man had had contact with the elders about 5 or so years ago. All the time as we talked none of them could believe that I had only been speaking Thai for 6 months. They kept telling me I was speaking really clearly. It’s not much of a compliment in English but in Thai I’ll take it.

Well last week before last we had zone conference were President Smith focused on inviting and the importance of always finding people to teach every week. He also told us that we are going to have a schedule mix up. Starting today we wake up at 6 am every day. Then get ready and leave our house at 7:30 am. We then work until 1:30 pm, where it is the hottest part of the day, and go home and study until 4:00. Then we leave the house and work again until 8:30 where we go back and plan and get ready for bed. We sleep at 10:00. He is working with his past experience of a missionary when he realized that nobody not even the street dogs are outside. I like it.

Well that’s about it. I never got a report on State, I can’t wait to hear about it. Also, Mom do you have a recipe for making root beer. We have root beer extract in our house and think we should put it to good use J Also I don’t remember if I asked you to send my cd player? We don’t have one here yet and can’t seem to find one to buy.

Ok I got to go

I love you all

Elder Brandon J. Holt