Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hello Family

Hey Everyone. I’m doing great. Well this week is the week of moves. If it all goes according to plan moves meeting will be on Thursday, and outside of that I’m not really sure what’s going to happen. From the knowledge I was able to gain last week. It sounds like there are some District Leaders places opening up, in Ubon in the south east, In Chiang Mai in the north and In Non Kai or the providence above Sakon Nakon and Udorn. And of course there probably are a lot of places in Bangkok that are opening up but, I didn't want to try and figure that out. Too many areas there. My guess is that I will go into Bangkok but I wouldn't mind going to Chaing Mai or Ubon. I still can't figure out why but there are a few Elders that have predicted me to go into the Office. That brings up nightmares of when I worked at Spectrum. Oh the redundancy.

So after sending the email last week we got on a taxi and drove into the heart of Bangkok. I don't know why but I always get claustrophobic a little bit when I go there. There are a lot of people everywhere. And little places to walk. Anyways one of the most popular places for missionaries to go to is a little stand that sells Neck ties for 20 baht a piece. The Lady that sells them knows us so well that she gives missionaries a "special price" and for missionaries that go their first time an even better deal of 6 ties for 100. It a great place I bought about 6 or so ties to replace some of the ties that have stains on them for my messy eating habits.

After that we didn’t really have time to go looking for watches so I still don’t have my Rolex, But next time I’m in that area I’ll get one, and maybe a suit as well. So after eating lunch at Dairy Queen (that was a treat) we headed home back to the area that I was going to work in that night.

As I was in the center of Bangkok I caught a glimpse of the mall that was lit on fire a few months ago. Central World. A lot of the glass windows on the outside were melted. That must have been a really hot fire. Anyways they are in the process of rebuilding it now. Thankfully there is another mall close by called Siam that is just as nice, and just as huge. America has nothing on the malls here.

That night Elder Carlile and I spent the night inviting and trying to find people interested in learning the gospel. It was amazing to me there are so many people. We spent three hours walking down one street that was probably a half mile long if that and talking to everyone we saw. That probably shows that I have been out in the country too long. 55555 lol

Thursday was another day of training meetings. Sister Smith announced that they were getting too many phone calls from worried moms not getting emails on time. At that time it was up to 22, I’m sure before the day was up there was more. So in order to prove that we were alright she took a picture of us and put it on the web site. One thing you might want to look into mom is face book. Sister Smith has a face book page and says that she is always on it in the office. Connor should be able to help you find her page. Anyways ,these meetings are pretty sweet. They are taking place all over the world. I just got a letter on Saturday from Matt in Australia talking about his experience with the new curriculum. Really it is nothing new. It is a better way of teaching and understanding of how to use the spirit in our teaching. Everything that we learned was in Preach my Gospel but it was a new way of looking at it. I’m way excited to start applying it into my teaching.

After the meetings, that night we hopped back into the vans and took the same route to get back to sakon, dropping everybody off. That was a really long way home. It was about 15 hours both ways. So far that the van driver said that we had to pay 3 day payments, although we only need him for 2 we had to pay for 6. That cost a lot.

That route was fun because I have never been to any of those areas before. So I got to see different areas a little bit and see many of those that I knew. Something hit me that week. I know almost everyone older than me. Those who are in the leadership positions either are in my MTC group, in the group ahead of me or just behind me, or I have been companions with them or worked with them or close by them. That’s not a good sign. I’m getting old.

Speaking of Matt he should be getting home in the next month that’s strange. Not only that but Alex Recseck will be getting home in December. Oh man where did the 2 years go? All my friends are heading home.

Wish Jen a happy Birthday for me. That strange to think she is almost 30 that means I am almost a legal adult. I better stop thinking that way.lol

Well I’m pretty sure the next time I write I will be in a new area with a new companion. I’ll tell you all about my experience next week.

For I have to go.

I love you all

Elder Brandon John Holt

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

a long bus ride

Hey everybody

Sorry this letter came late this week. I'm still doing well and am well alive. Well let me explain what has been going on the last few days. It all started Saturday when Elder Peacock and I were inviting, the Zone leaders gave us a call. Because it was Elder Peacocks day to have the phone he answered and then handed me the phone. That's never a good thing, if they don't tell him or they only want to talk to me because it means its something important out of the ordinary. I said hello, it was Elder Degrafanite. I love how he talks so here is his dialogue "Elder Holt, you know how we talked about having those training meetings in the near future?" I replied yes. He said "Well I'm calling to tell you that they will be in the near future, as in next week." After that he explained that on Tuesday (yesterday) and Thursday we would be having meeting for the district leaders, trainers, and zone leaders. And they would be taking place in Bangkok. After hanging up I could only think of the headache that would come.

On Sunday after church the zone leaders called again and gave me an assignment and the path that I was to travel to get down. My job was to find a รดตู้ or a van that would carry 10+ missionaries down. Then on Monday morning I was to travel into the south of the Issan or the south part and pick up every district leader and zone leader in that area. Elder Peacock would be switching off with his old MTC companion in an area down there.

Funny think happened after I hung up the phone on Sunday is that all our appointments fell through all of a sudden and I had time to begin to negotiate a price with Private van drivers. It wasn't that fun and in the end it took another member who could speak Issan and Thai better then I could to make sure I understood everything clearly enough to be able to get a OK price. Then working through the assistants I had to try to bring the price down. In the end it cost about 9000 baut. Some of that had to come out of my personal money and MFS money so that we would have enough cash to pay.

On Monday Elder Peacock and I got on the van at 8 in the morning. Then went to a providence south of us called Yasotorn, where Elder Peacock hopped off and switched off, after that we went to Ubon, then Si Saket then Surin then to a place called Corrad. Then to Bangkok. All and all I was on that van for 15 and a half hours. After this I will never complain about the ride to Laguna again. Anyways we got into Bangkok about 12:30 that night. Thankfully the APs felt our pain and let us sleep in a really nice hotel. With an all you can eat breakfast buffet. yummy.

The next day was Tuesday. We spent all day in meetings. It was a lot like the MTC again. President Smith did a lot of training on the new program that was coming in. Its not really new. Its just taking the stuff that we know already and helping us do things better, ie, using the spirit more, asking questions, using the Book of Mormon more in our teachings. I learned a lot.

After the meetings we switched off and were paired up with elders that are in areas of Bangkok. Then we separated into those areas. I was placed in a area called Suppan Suun or translated Tall Bridge. I'm paired off with Elder Carlile who is a district leader in Chiang Rai the farthest north in Thailand you can get. Its been a lot of fun to be with him because he was companions with Elder Hawks after I left Lopburi so he has been filling me in a little bit with what happened after I left to Sakon.

Today is our preparation day and our plans our to go "shopping" in Bangkok. I need some new ties and I think I might buy a watch if I find a Rolex for the right price...lol
Anyways after today's activities Elder Carlile and I will be working in this area to invite and find some families tonight. Then tomorrow we will be going back to meeting all day.
After which We will be traveling the night back to our areas. Woot Woot another 15 hour car trip. I can't wait.

So next week is the week of moves and I will be moving this time. Its been fun to talk to other missionaries down here. They all make fun of me that I stayed 5 moves in an area. I still love it though I have seen great change in the area over the last 7 months. Talking to Sister Smith,she said that President Smith felt really bad that I stayed there that long. and that there was a mistake that was made that he didn't catch. But I still stick with my statement that I made, there was a reason whether I know it or not that I stayed in Sakon for as long as I did.

Anyways I should be able to send one last email from Sakon before I leave next week. As I came down an elder that I'm good friends with in Ubon predicted that I will be moving into that area so I can be a district leader there. In the end I don't think I really care too much where I end up just as long as its in a bigger city then Sakon. The country is nice to live in but its a hard place to do missionary work.

It sounds like it has been a busy summer these last few months. Now it's back to school. Here is a scary thought. Next time Dad gives blessings for school he'll give me one, but I'm not trunky.

That's way sweet to hear about Kaylie starting to walk and soon to be running. I can't wait to see pictures in a few weeks. I have a feeling that I will soon be hearing more adventures of Kaylie the girl and Chip the dog.

OK, I'm out of time for this week.
Before I go I read the talk that Elder D. Told Christofferson gave in the last conference. It talks about the importance of the Scriptures. They not only give us the teachings of the prophets but the standards that the Lord expects us to live in this life as well as in eternity. I am grateful for them and am learning the truthfulness of them as I teach with them more and more. I know that they are true.

I love you all

Elder Brandon John Holt

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Hey Family

Mom, I'm doing fine.55555 That's a scary thought, Mom you are learning Thai text. the number 5 is pronounces ha (I cant really explain the tone very well without speaking it).So they use it the same way we use LOL to say that we are laughing or what not.

Well Its been an average week. We have taught our usual families that are progressing. The Vietnamese family from France has gone back to France. So Elder Peacock and I are going to see if there is anyway we can get their teaching record to France so they can continue to learn. They were really fun to work with. We have two or three other families that we are working with right now.

Another family is named น้อย and ปลา ( noy and blaa) or little and fish. We have been teaching them for the last 5 or 6 weeks. They have two daughters. They are a pretty sweet family the other day we started teaching them about The Plan of Salvation and the Gospel. Blaa was really interested in the gospel after we taught a little about it. I think that she will progress nicely.

I have a interesting story to tell you. In the last few weeks the rain has picked up a lot. I don't remember if I have ever told you but, the rain hasn't been falling very often. well let me rephrase that it hasn't been raining like normal. To me it rains more then enough. lol. Anyways. In consequence many people who plant rice were not able to do it until the last few weeks. The other day we were out inviting. Moments before we had had one of our appointments fall through so we were a little sour about that but that's life. So we went back to work. As we were going through an area that I swear that I have talked to everyone before, we came up to a family that were getting ready to plant rice.

Elder Peacock whispers to me as we stop, "let's see if we can help them" I not thinking much of it said OK. As we started a conversation with the farmers. we figured out that they were getting ready to plant rice the next day. Currently they were moving the rice plants from where they first planted it to grow to take them to another field to plant again. As much as I can figure out they first plant the rice to let it grow roots and grow a stalk. then after a few weeks they pull the plants out and replant them in a new field ( like the ones that I sent photos of). Anyway the Rice farmers were standing in one of the fields that is full of water as we are on the side talking to them. as I was trying to talk to one of them Elder Peacock was trying to talk to another person in the field and moved to the path that goes between the fields so that he could talk to them. Or so I thought.

Elder Peacock asked them if he could help out. and like most times we ask people if they need help, they said no and not to worry about it. Well this was not my companions idea. Next thing I knew Elder Peacock was rolling up his pants pulling his socks over his pants and walking into the water Shoes and All. I almost laughed when I saw the faces of the rice farmers when they saw a white guy who was dressed up in white shirt and tie and nice dress shoes walk into their field and started to pull up the rice as well. It was good. Anyways between the protest of "Don't worry, you get dirty," I decided to follow the example of my companion and rolled up my pants and socks and walked in.

We didn't have a whole lot of time to help but we did a little bit. In the end we talked to the one in charge and gave him our number. Whether or not he was interested I'm not really sure but, they definitely got a new impression of "the white guys that ride their bikes around the town."

After we left that area we decided to go into a new area or an area that I have never invited before. It was getting dark about this time and a storm was coming in. So everyone who was smart went home and locked up. We on the other hand went back to work. After a few minutes in this new area with not a lot of success it started to rain. There hasn't really been too many rain storms here in Sakon when we were biking that the rain comes down hard so we tried to find some cover under a tree. unfortunately the rain picked up and the tree we hid under wasn't enough to slow it down. So we decided to leave our cover from under a tree and see if there was a building or something better that we could hide and wait out the storm.

Within the 30 seconds that we ran/ biked for cover we were soaked through. I wondered if we were breaking rules because we literally had to swim through the rain. We were able to find a little motorcycle shop to hide under for a few minutes. after we got there a few other people ran and joined us as well. We sat there with the others that were with us for about 30 minutes until the rain slowed down a little bit then hopped back on our bikes and rode home in the rain. In between waiting we talked to those around us and found out that they were the employees that worked there. They were mostly young college kids a little younger than us. Then there was their boss who was about 30. We had a fun conversation with them about the Issan language. Then we invited then to come learn English with us. Then took off.

When we got home that night our street had flooded. That was sweet to see. I haven't seen flooding since I left LopBuri. Anyway I decided whoever built our house was smart because it had been lifted a few feet off from the main level of the street. So there was no flooding in our house but some of our neighbors got it bad.

That was a fun night

I recently have been trying to make a Thai dish called kai-ge-ow. Its basically a egg omelet. But its something that I like to eat a lot so I thought I would try and learn it so I can take it home.

That's way strange to think that its been over a year already. On grandpa's birthday it will be one year in Thailand. I must have changed a lot physically because every time I show the picture that we took as a family a week before I went into the MTC. People think that I am Connor in the picture. Then they are really shocked when I show them which person is me.

Anyways wish Grandpa and Kaylie a happy birthday for me.

I love you all

Elder Brandon John Holt

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Hello Family

I'm fine mom. How are you all doing? This week has been filled with excitement. Especially yesterday. Yesterday was a Huge change in our area of Sakon Nakon. We had the most investigators in a very long time come to church. It might even been the most investigators that I have ever had come to church at one time. 8 people came to church. That really was only 2 families. Time after time we are figuring out how smart and how much better it is to teach families vs single people in families. The funny thing is that there was still one more family that said they were going to come but I'm not sure why they didn't make it. I'm planning to give them a call later today to talk to them and see if there is anything we can do to help them out.

We were not the only one excited about getting that many investigators to church, it showed in the members faces and testimonies, partly because many of the testimonies were focused at our investigators (We might have to have a talk about not singling people out) But that was alright I think many of them still had a good time at church. We taught a couple of lessons with our Branch president yesterday and even he was excited about it. He praised us a little bit for the work that we have been doing. Its amazing how missionary work can charge the spirit and members and well as us.

One of the families that we are teaching, is a family from France who are Vietnamese who were born in Thailand. That's fun to think about. Elder Peacock has loved teaching them because he lived in France for a long time and can speak it fluently. But the thing about them is that they are only here for a few weeks visiting family. So in about 2 weeks they will return to France. They are pretty fun to work with. The family that they are staying with is a huge family. We are going to try and teach them as well. Currently one of the daughters of the family that is here is interested and is one of the 8 people that came to church last week. So there is hope. But until the other family returns we still have a way to teach them all.

Here is a fun fact. Sakon Nakhon has many Vietnamese people here. Partly because during the Vietnam war many people fled into Thailand for protection and ended up here. So there is quite a community. There was one night that Elder Peacock and I were inviting several weeks ago were we came across a house of immigrant workers from Vietnam. They didn't speak English and their Thai was about as good if not worse then ours. So it was fun trying to communicate with them a little bit. Elder Peacock and I relied on finger pointing and actions at some points. I don't know why but I find it really funny the way people communicate with actions when they can't speak the same language. I almost died laughing after we left. A great advantage to having so many Vietnam people here is that they make some really good food. There are a few good restaurants that I have gone to for the last few months.

We have heard a little about Elder McConkie up here but not a lot. Only that he was in an accident and was in some trouble at first but now is recovering. Mom do you know more about it. could you fill me in a little bit in the next email please? We have been praying for him often as well. Its always a scary thing to hear that someone in the mission is hurt in some way especially if its someone that we know.

It sounds like Connor's 3rd eagle scout court of honor was a lot like mine. Nice little and quiet. So I wonder because he got pinned three time does that give him three times the benefits then a regular eagle scout. lol Anyways Congrats Connor On the finishing the work for Eagle scout. That really is something worth doing as you may find out in the coming years. Plus now you can drive on your dates:P that is so weird to think.

That's a good way for me to remember grandpas birth day. Is on the 12th of august last year I made it into Thailand. It also happens to be Thai mothers day. Tell grandpa that I love him as well.

Ok I think that is it for this week.

I love you all.

Elder Brandon John Holt