Monday, November 29, 2010

Hey family

I'm doing super-duper this week. How's everyone at home? Well I don't remember if I told you that this last week was a transfers week or not but that's alright, because I wasn't planning on moving anyways. I did however get the package that was sent and will be putting up the decorations in our house if we have time. we should.....maybe. Anyhow.

This week went by really fast. In our district only 2 out of four companionships stayed behind to work. That makes this the 3rd transfer meeting that I missed through out my entire mission. It's strange not going down because you're not informed about a lot of things. Its all kind of up to the Zone leaders or what you hear from the gossip in the mission to get informed.

This week many of our investigators were either out of town or were unable to meet with us. So we had a lot of time to go find new investigators through the wonderful technique of tracting or inviting as I have sometimes called it. Its great to spend the time out in the sun day after day talking to people who really could care less. But I also love it because it's the best time to really understand Thai people and culture. For example I learned that right now in Thailand there is a huge craze about Hula hoops. I have been noticing more and more women and a few men hula hooping. Last night I figured out why. The heath department has set a goal for all of Thailand here to have more then 70% of Thai women with waist sizes under 30 inches. They decided that hula hoops were the way to do it. Maybe I should get on this. I seem to have trouble working out in the mornings. For the last week I have been working on my leg strength by walking. From my bed into the next room to the sofa. I think I am starting to see great results. Anyways

In the last week we had a few miracles in our finding. For example. There was a night when we were out in a neighborhood that Elder Jensen and I have been walking through at least once a day to find new people. This particular time we were with a member named Ice. Remember him, he was one of the 3 brothers that got baptized when I first got here. He is an amazing missionary. Anyways we were walking and Brother Ice saw a man behind his gate and hailed him. We went over and talked to him for a few minutes. Then asked if we could share a message about eternal families with him. He said he had to ask his wife first and walked inside for a few minutes. After a few minutes he came back out, and said if we could come back later because his wife wasn't feeling very well. That's a normal excuse not to listen to us so I figured he wasn't interested. But we asked if we could exchange phone numbers anyway. After that we walked away down the street. at the end of the street I got a phone call and to our surprise it was the man that we had just invited. He asked if we could come back and talk for a few minutes.

Some what still surprised we decided to turn back and see what he had to say. As we got there we were greeted by him and his wife at the gate. They both welcomed us in. As we sat down and started talking we learned that the wife had been a former investigator about 5 years ago and almost was baptized. The man talked to us a lot about family and how he liked how we talked about Eternal families. He said that kind of has a ring to it. Anyways I asked him why they didn't let us in at first. They said because at first the wife thought we were some kind of insurance salesman. Now that I think about it It's true, and its the best kind. 555

We haven't had a chance to get back to them yet but we will try in the future.

This week I sent some pictures home. the first few are of our thanksgiving party that Elder Jensen and I had. We had 2 there. Then there are some of the baptism that we had over the weekend. Remember the lady we baptized a few weeks ago. Well her children were baptized this week. It was a crazy week trying to get them ready for it.
Then I also sent some of our ลอยกระทง (laykrathong) adventure last Sunday.

Ok I have run out of time today sorry

I love you all

Elder Brandon John Holt


Hello Family

Happy ลอยกระทง. Remember last year when about this time, I was in Lop Buri still. That seems forever ago. Yesterday was Loykrathong day here in Thailand. We had a few minutes just before we went back home last night to go float the plant boats that a member made for us. It was fun to take part in the Thai culture for a few minutes. I understand a little bit more about it this year then I did last year. Loykrathong is a festival in order to worship the spirit of the water, which brings life to all the earth and plant and rice and so forth. It also sweeps away all the bad stuff in the earth as well. So in order to give thanks to the water spirit they make small islands to float on the rivers and lakes of the cities. So last night we went to a reservoir nearby and placed the boat in the water. There were so many people. The only way that I can explain it is by comparing it to the 4th of July. But I still don't think that could come that close.
Anyways. This last week was a busy week but I feel like we got more done. On Tuesday I exchanged companions with Elder ตัอม or Tom in Warin the area across the river from us. We went and taught 3 new families, one being a part-member family with a less active member in it. Those guys are doing great over there. The best missionary is a native one working to bring his people unto Christ. And Elder Tom and Intavong or intawong prove that.

The rest of the week Elder Jensen and I worked in our area together to help our investigators. This was a week where we looked at many of our investigators that have not been progressing or we have been unable to meet with and decided how much time that we have to devote to them. Many of them we have decided to stop teaching because they have either no time or lack the commitment to progress. So until they are ready in the future we will, as President Smith says, "place them on the shelf" where we can see them but not teach them until they are ready to progress. AKA Formal investigator part in our area book. And with the cleaning up of the area book we have been doing the last few weeks the Elder in the future can find them again. A clean area book is very important, I'm sure Nate or Jed know how it feels when you get to a new area with missionaries that haven't been taking good care of the records.
Anyways we found a cool new investigator yesterday. We were tracting or inviting in a neighborhood that we have been to quite a lot the past week. As we were walking, we saw a man walk out of his house to take the garbage out. We talked to him and come to find out that we had invited him to come to English class a couple of days earlier. I hate when I talk to people that I have talked to before and don't recognize them. That happens a lot to me. And because I am one of the few white guys that can speak Thai, my age in this part of Thailand everyone remembers me. 5555. Anyways after I finally realized who he was, we started talking to him about Christianity. He asked a lot about a being missionary and the mission life. For example he couldn't believe that on Sundays we live and work from 8 in the morning to 8 at night without pay of one baht. We kept talking to him and he said he would like to learn a little about what we had to teach.

His name was เบิล (bun) or gun in Englih. He lived with his wife. We sat down and asked if his wife would be interested in learning too. He said that he was a little scared to ask because they had been a fight in the morning and on non-talking terms for the day. (what a great time the meet the missionaries) Anyways we asked him to try and he did but she wasn't willing to even say more then a word to him so she didn't come, but she did at least sit down in front of her computer in the same room. Anyways as we started talking he asked what is a great way to calm down after a fight like this. I looked at him and said well we have this thing called prayer. That works really well. so from that we started teaching him. It turned out that he was really interested in learning more. We have our next appointment with him tomorrow.

Well my time is short again. I need to learn how to type faster.

I love you all

Elder Brandon John Holt

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Miracles from listening to the Spirit

Hey family

I'm doing great this week. I finally got a whole week in my area. By the looks of it, it will probably be the only whole week that Elder Jensen and I will have together as well. This week I have companion exchanges with Elder Fowls and Elder Perry, our zone leaders. Then at the end of the week is Zone Conference. Its funny I was thinking this morning about when there were days that I had nothing to do before I was a missionary, and now I hardily have time enough to write a letter on our preparation days. I think I like it better this way. I always have something to do.

Well over the past week we met some amazing people and had some miracles happen. I'll start with Pa Brayad, the man you wrote about in the email today. A few days ago we had an appointment to teach him. Well he is a 63 year old man. He lives with his daughter and son's girlfriend right now. Anyways we have been trying to teach his daughter but she has been in Bangkok for the past few weeks so we haven't been able to teach her. This last time she was there. As we sat down she had got up to study, she is taking tests and trying to get a job in general management. I had a thought that went through my mind that if she did not sit down at this time with us now she probably won't ever sit down to learn with us. So I did the only thing that I could do which was to shout into the next room and try to start to have a conversation with her until she came and sat down with us. It worked. After that Elder Jensen and I had an incredible lesson with both Pa Brayad and his daughter named Fone or Rain. We committed them to be baptized when they know that the gospel is true and they both agreed.

Next was one of our new investigators that we taught last Saturday. We have been trying for the last 2 weeks to talk to them. They are a husband and wife named Ahkome and Jambii. They work with some of their family as clothes washers and they pick up side jobs on the side to make money as well. As we finally got a few minutes to sit down with them, one thing that really stood out to me is a thing that Jambiii said when we asked her why she sat down with us. She said that for the past few years that she has been looking for two things and she doesn't know why. One is that she has been looking for something that she doesn't have. She said she doesn't know what that thing is but she thinks we might have it for her. Next she said she has had a feeling that she needs to change her name and that she thinks that we might be able to do that. ( in Thailand its really easy to change your name. A lot of people do it here) I told her that I might not be able to help her change her name but I know that I have something that she is looking for if she is willing to listen to me. I'm way excited to go back and teach her and her husband this week.

Last is a thing that happened last night. Elder Jensen and I had been out tracking and had decided to change areas because we were getting bored of the place that we were in. As we were going along we ran into Ice, one of the 3 brothers that was baptized a few weeks ago. We had a quick talk with him then he went on his way. As we were talking to him a man stopped close by to smoke a cigarette. After talking to Ice the man looked as though he wanted to talk to us but couldn't bring himself to do it. So to help, I went to him and started to talk to him. I'm not sure why but I started talking to him about smoking and how if he was willing to stop we had a way to help him stop for good. ( Word of wisdom invites are always shocking to me) Anyways we started to talk and then he started talking about the Book of Mormon and Nephi. That was a little shocking. So I asked if he had learned with the Elders before. He said yes but he had only learned a little then stopped. He said that he had only read the first chapter of the Book of Mormon. For only reading a little he knew it really well. I asked him if we could meet him at his house to talk to him more. He said he was going to a friend's house and because it was closer we could go there. I thought about it and figured it was OK. So we went to his friend's house and taught him and his friend a lesson and got their information, to go back another day. Afterwords Elder Jensen and I thought about it. If we had not decided to change areas that we were inviting in that place at that time we would have never ran into that man.

There are some of the miracles that we saw.

OK time is short today

I love you all

Elder Brandon John Holt

Monday, November 1, 2010

Hello family

I'm doing great here. Well Its been a busy week with a meeting in a different providence of Roy Et. or 101 in numbers. Elder Tom and I left on Wednesday and we were in the meeting from about noon until noon on Friday, with breaks at night to sleep of course. We both went because we were trainers. This is the training meeting for the new program called the specialized training program, original name huh, but anyways we have to go to training meetings about every 2 months until the program enters the MTC in May.

It's way sweet if nothing really new, everything we learned is found in Preach My Gospel. Its just now more tuned to help us teach with the Spirit better. One of the things we are working on is asking inspired questions that help our investigators realize the things that we are teaching and how it is true.

We got back on Friday, and Elder Jensen and I went to work. One of these weeks we will get a chance to work together for a full week. It might be this week....maybe.

But after that on Saturday and Sunday was district conference for all the branches in the Ubon district. So on Saturday night we had quite a lot of people at our church. President Smith found me that night as we were taking a break and asked if we could stay behind to translate for Elder and Sister Watkins, the senior missionaries that are in charge of family history. Not many members came for the Saturday night session because of the distance they have to travel.

But for Sunday it was even crazier. We had everybody come. Including the missionaries. We were able to get several of our investigators to church that day as well. One of the investigators that we have been working with lately is named Brayad.(ประหยัด) He is a 62 year old man that we invited out in front of his house. The first time we taught him he told us that no matter what he would stay Buddhist as the rest of his family. The first week after we had contacted him he went to church and has been going every week for the last three weeks. He is one of our best investigators he tries to understand everything we teach him and after going to church he always has questions to ask. That's my favorite type of investigator one who asks questions to understand better. It beats teaching a quiet one any day.

Well think about the paragraph about coming and picking me up. I think it would be a great idea. I finish in the middle of June. I don't have my exact release date yet but I will in the next few weeks. The only problem is that if you pick me up I still have to be a missionary until I get released fully by President Hunter. I also think there is a rule on not going to visit your areas. So thinking about it, it may be better to wait until I get home then have a date within 6 months of getting home to go back. Because I think I want to show you all those that I taught and met. As well as do a few things that I couldn't do as a missionary. We still have some time to think about it.

I'm still wondering about this strange Mercedes that I keep hearing about. Its been in three crashes already. I think everybody is trying to take it If this is the trouble of having a nice car, I don't ever want to get one.

With the photos of the sunflowers, that was a photo that was left over since I was in Lop Buri. I thought she (Grandma June, Mom) would like it. Today we went to a tiger zoo. I took some pictures but didn't bring anything to put them on the computer. next week.

Well that's all I've got for this week.

Love you

Elder Brandon John Holt