Monday, September 13, 2010

transfer to Ubon

Hello Family

Well this might be a little shocking but I am not in Bangkok yet. I have moved to the bottom corner of the Issan, Ubon. It seem that Elder Baker, the Elder that predicted that I would be moving to Ubon was right. I need to learn his trick.
So Ubon is quite different then Sakon Nakhon. First, it is huge. In the Ubon district there are three missionaries areas. The Ubon elders, Ubon sisters, and there is a district to the south of the capital city called Warin that elders are in. Next its different because it is more city. In the last three days or so that I have been here I still haven't seen the outskirts of the town. But it still isn't as crazy as Bangkok is. So I'm happy to be here.
President Smith asked me to be district leader in the Ubon district. It increased my responsibilities a little bit from looking after 2 people, myself and my companion, to 6 people, 4 elders and two sisters. I pretty much gave up all my free time at night to make phone calls and check up on the other areas as well as report our progress to the Zone leaders. Its making me learn a concept that I never have been very good with, Time Management.
My new companion is Elder Lesueur. He is a sweet missionary. He is on his third moves. So he is still leaning the language and some of the mission work but he is miles ahead of what I was at in my third moves. He can understand Thai. Anyways he is from Gilbert, Arizona, a place that is well know in the mission because of President and Sister Smith and several other missionaries from that area. Anyways he is way sweet. He has helped me a lot the last few days to learn my way around the city and meet our investigators.
The three Ubon mission areas all meet up in one branch on Sunday. They have a church building. A big church building. In fac,t it is the Largest Church Building in southeast Asia. This last Sunday was a little bit of a culture shock for me because it was in a church. I felt a little like I was back in America. There were about 90-100 members that came so that's another change coming from a branch that was struggling to get 40 people to church every week. It was fun as well.
Our investigators are sweet as well. Elder Lesueur and his formal companion did a great job with the area. There are 5 investigators that are lined up to get baptized next month, It was exciting for us and for the members.
Concerning the language. I had the opportunity to talk to a sister missionary who is from Sakon, about the language and dialect. She said that what I originally thought was the Issan language was another language called yaa but is similar. One interesting fact that I learned from talking to her was that in Sakon there is 10 plus different languages that are used. One day I hope to go back and get the chance to study the difference between them all. Anyways here is Ubon they speak Issan or Thai if you are like us and speak with them in Thai they speak Thai.
So that's the new area. I'm way excited to work here. One thing that I learned is this was one of Elder Ito's areas I asked members about him and they seem to remember him really well.
Anyways, The moves meeting was changed up a little bit, normally it takes all morning to have the meeting because of trainings that are after but, the new program changed it so that we don't have trainings after. So we just went and sat down President Smith taught a little, the new missionaries introduced themselves, the old ones said their last lines before their death. There was only Elder young and Elder Lilliy, Both really sweet missionaries that will be missed. Then President Smith released and called people to different callings. President Smith called a Thai missionary for the assistant. Everyone is way excited for Elder Gongla to be the new AP. It apparently has been about 8 years since there has been a Thai as an AP. Then he told everyone where they are moving and who their companion is. I was at the center of a few jokes which were pretty funny. President Smith said, " Our first item of business is to get Elder Holt out of Sakon Nakhon." It seems that the whole mission knows about me.
Anyways after the meeting we hopped on the bus and took a 13-15 hour ride to Ubon. One thing I have done here a lot is travel. I really will not ever complain about the drive to Laguna again. lol. I also have learned that a great way to entertain yourself is that catch up on sleep.
That's about all I have to report for the week.
Oh hey before I go. I can officially say that I have walked a pair of shoes out of commission. The heal on my black pair of eccos is completely gone. So that pair has been retired until I can find a place to get it fixed. I'm a little worried because the only places that I have found are on the side of the streets and they probably don't do the best jobs. But it will all work out in the end.
Today I did something that I have never done before. I needed to get a hair cut way bad. So Elder Lesueur took me to a members shop who is a barber. He cut my hair and then shaved my face and ears and trimmed my eyebrows. The whole time the member was shaving he kept repeating, " So much hair so much hair, You Utahn have so much hair." It was funny anyhow after the shave he gave me a really nice massage that not even the nice ladies at Sports Clips can beat. and I did it for about 50 baht or $1.25 I love Thailand.
Today a member said that she would teach us how to make my favorite Issan dish and probably my favorite Thai dish called nam tok or translated to water fall. I'm way excited.
Anywho it is going to be a great 6 weeks
I love you all
Elder Brandon John Holt

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