Monday, May 3, 2010

Almost Mother's Day!!

Hello Family

How has this last week been for you? Well I think i will first tell you the number to call because its not the same as last time. Each area i work in will have a different number because when you call, you call straight to our cell phones. sweet, no? That should get connect you to our phone. Ok so about the time. I'm not really sure what the time will be there but Elder Jolley and I just agreed my slot is at 8:00 am Bangkok time zone on Monday morning. So if the math on my watch is right that should be 6:00pm Sunday night at your time. I think its a 13 hours difference, but I'm not sure about the daylight savings thing so you may want to do the math before calling and not trust me. Also, because this phone call will be on our Preparation day, there won't be any email that day. So we can talk about this next week over the phone.

Well this last week has been busy because of all of the traveling. We worked up to Wednesday afternoon, then hopped on a bus and took off to Udorn, where Elder Berrnet and I would switch companions and joined the 2 sister missionaries and 2 other elders coming down out of another area and take the 10 hour train ride to Bangkok.

The train rides are something that I enjoy. It gives the us time to kick back for a little bit talk about our areas and other things with other missionaries then have a huge sleep over.... well if you are able to sleep on a moving train that is. To get onto this train we have to move quick( the conductors don't really like us that much because we slow the departure time) and get all of the luggage of the missionaries going down onto the train and packed away and out of the aisle of the train. I think it took us a total of 20 to 30 minutes to get on and find our beds and tie everything down. ( sisters have a lot of stuff, but I'm not complaining) Anyways, we left Udorn in the north east about 8:00 Pm and finally got to where we wanted to go at Don Mueng, a suburb of Bangkok, at 5:30 Am. where we hopped of and met the other missionaries coming out of the north and the east. From there we hopped into the back of song taws, Pick up trucks that have seats welded into the back of them, and went to the church in Pakkret to moves meeting.

In the meeting first President Smith talked a little bit about the progress of the mission. He talked a lot about key indicators or the numbers that we measure our areas by, and how important they really are. I don't know if you remember me telling you but over the last few months the number of missionaries has dropped from 140 to 110 people. Which at first may not seem like a lot but if you think about every area needs to have 2 missionaries in it, that means 15 areas were closed in the last few months and can't open until the numbers go back up. So the biggest thing that President Smith stressed is that we need to have steady and improved key indicators so that President Smith can go before the Brethren and be able to ask for more missionaries confidently.

After President Smith was finished those who are going home gave their one liners advice/ get back/ last thing to remember them by. This is one of the things that is always looked forward to. Its sometimes a real hoot as well. After that the new missionaries that came in introduced themselves in Thai if they are from America and in English if they are from Thailand. It always brings me back to the first time when I first came to country. That seems like forever ago but really its only 9 months ago. Anyways that's a lot of fun as well. After that President Smith told who was moving, where they were moving to and who is thier companion is. The crazy thing is that this moves meeting 2 people in my MTC Group went senior companion and will train 2 of the new missionaries. Elder Brown, my MTC companion, and Elder McConkie. so the rest of us will follow in the coming moves meetings. Anyways after that we had some more training meetings then it was over.

After the meeting. I had to run off with others in my group to go renew my visa, this was the reason that I came down. So we hopped back into a song taw and went to the government office. It always remind me of the DMV or the place to go get your driver license at. There are a lot of people and numbers being called. Thankfully being a missionary has its advantages. we went, signed some papers, showed our faces, then a member from the office stayed behind to pay the fees and we walked out. It took all of 15-20 minutes.

After that we had some extra time to eat and do whatever. But the normal places were closed because of the events in Bangkok right now so most of us went back to the church and waited until we headed off to the train station. This time was great because it gave me a chance to talk to my past companions. Elder Hawks in Lopburi and Elder Blackhurst who was my companion here in Sakon. They were both doing well. Elder Hawks is going to finish his mission in lop buri in July he will go home. and ELder BLackhurst became a zone leader. When the time came we took our stuff to the train station. got some food to eat at the local Burger King and then when the train came hopped back on for the trip back home.

Well in this whole event I was able to pick up both packages that you sent. thank you for everything. I needed the food, so I won't eat anymore rats for a while and the shirts as well. I'm planning to go buy some new shirts in the next week. Some of them have some good stains in them that will never come out. so they need to be replaced. so if you could place 50 dollars in my credit account that should be enough to buy shirts and have left over for anything else I need.

Also Connor thank you for " Ammon's guide to being an awesome missionary" I'm finding a lot of things that I have never see before in those chapters. Have you had the chance to do this before? If not you should consider there is a lot you could learn as well.

I also got Marie's invitation this week. That's exciting! I'm glad she is getting married to Chris as well. I had a chance to meet him before I left, he is a great guy. They will be very happy together. Although it was very strange to think that one of my best friends is getting married, we can't be that old yet can we? oh well. That's life.

Hey that's really sweet that Tom (Call) got his call. That's exciting for him. He is going English speaking right?

Oh I was also able to get the books as well. I'm hoping we will get the chance to talk to Vernon this week. I'll give them to him then. Thank you Dad also for writing you testimony in German. I think it will help a lot. When it comes I will give it too him as well.

Ok I think I'm out of time again. I wish I had more there is so much that I could tell you every week.

I love you all.

Elder Brandon John Holt

PS talk to you next week

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