Monday, January 24, 2011

Lots of teaching going on

Hey everybody

I'm doing great this week. Well, it has been an interesting week. Last Wednesday to Friday, the leaders of the mission in Bangkok had a specialized training meeting to talk about the new program that the First Presidency and the General Authorities are going to introduce into the MTC in May. It doesn't change the Preach My Gospel program at all. What it really is, is a better way to teach. We listened to a recording of Elder Holland explaining it to the Mission Presidents in the MTC last summer. He explained that as we learned how to use Preach My Gospel as a guide we learned what to teach really well. But after a study we weren't learning the "How to Teach" very well until the end of our missions. So after a study they came up with 8 areas to help us as missionaries to improve our "How to Teach." Mainly it focuses on how to teach better with the Spirit. I get way excited to teach after I go to these trainings.

Elder Brown and Elder Chiew our Assistents to the presidents are working hard as well to help us learn how to apply these things better. They came up with several techniques to help us teach better with the Spirit and let our investigators understand what the Spirit feels like earlier in the teaching process.

This week in teaching was another crazy week. When I was out of the area for 2 nights Elder Kampanat was doing awesome at keeping the work going. We taught in the end about 27 lessons. We were also able to get back to a few of the new investigators that we found last week. One of those being a man named taw(ต่อ). I think the best way I can describe him is hippy. Well more like Rocker hippy. He is in his 30 - 40s. has long hair and has a shaggy beard. Yesterday we went back for a second visit. He had read the little brochure that we left him which talks a little about the restoration as well as baptism. After we prayed that was the first thing that he asked about. He said that he had seen baptism on a foreign film before and was wondering what it was. Well we were happy to explain what it was and why we do it. He asked also where do we do it. And when can he do it. That what surprised me a little bit. After explaining about how we can receive answers through prayers we asked him when he feels the things we teach are true if he would follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized? He said yes. So then he was committed. Next time we are going to try and give him a baptism date.

I think i really like it here in Bangkok because I can understand everybody. Here they speak central Thai. That's what they taught us in the MTC so I don't have to know any other kind of language to understand. but then again I have never been perfect at the language, there still is a lot to improve.

So this last p-day Elder Kampanat took me into the beast of Bangkok and helped me to get a suit cut. Today we are going to pick it up. It cost about 3000 baht. or about 90 dollars. which I think is a really good deal for a custom tailored suit. Anyways I'll send some pictures next week of what it looks like.

This next week is switch offs with the zone leaders. Elder Porter, another elder from my MTC group, and I will be switching off. Its going to be fun

I forgot to explain about my area. I think this is the biggest area that I have ever worked in yet. The district covers part of two Provinces and 4 different districts. There are a lot of apartments but thankfully there are a lot of neighborhoods as well. That's where we normally are because we still can't knock door to door. That would make life so much easier if we could. Anyways if I have my camera with me next week I'll take some pictures to send.

OK, I have to go.

I love you all

Elder Brandon John Holt

Monday, January 17, 2011

First full week back in Bangkok

Hello family

I'm doing great this week. Bangkok is crazy!!!! I have never ever seen so many people in Thailand. Every time I think about how many people are in the area that my district covers it blows me away to think how much work needs to be done. Anyways to sum up this week really fast it was pretty much running back and forth teaching all kinds of new people and trying to get to know our investigators as well as members. I'm way glad its preparation day and I get a few minutes to sit.

In the last week Elder Kampanat and I gave three investigators baptismal dates. 2 of which are on the 19th of February and 1 which is on the 25th of February. However that last one will probably be moved because the investigator named choke didn't really understand when we said he was going to get baptized. So we will have to keep working with him. The first two however are awesome investigators. One is a lady by the name of eye. She is in her 30s and has been making changes in her life to come into the fold of the Savior. She has an amazing testimony of the gospel already. We might move her date up if possible. The other is a man named nipone. He is a quiet shy man that sells dish washing soap for a living. He too, is starting to build a testimony of Christ and the gospel.

We met some interesting people this last week. For example we met a Hmong. He has been in Thailand all his life, or so I think.... His name in chuu. It was interesting to teach him because he speaks Thai, but he speaks to about my skill level. So we had to speak Thai really slowly and had to be careful to explain the meaning of words. For example when we said prayer he didn't understand but after we explained it and prayed I think he understood a lot better. He can't read Thai but thankfully we have the office which we can get a Book of Mormon in about every language it comes in. Anyways with chuu we are trying to set up another appointment with him. He works from 8 in the morning to 9 at night. so it makes it a little difficult to meet. But we'll see what we can do.

Another man that we met was named luang. He is a graffic designs artist and works at his house. He has a ton of knowledge about religion and loves to study on his free time. So when we offered to teach him about our religion for free he said yes. I think he will be a really good investigator. he seemed to understand the restoration really well.

Elder Kampanat is an awesome missionary. If it wasn't for him and his outgoing attitude to teach everyone he sees, we would have never been able to reach and surpass our goals for teaching lessons this week. Together we taught 29 lessons. That is the most that I have ever taught in one week. That's a lot. Anyways. Elder Kampanat is from Bangkok. so he knows the area pretty well. He lives in the south part of Bangkok and is from the Sinockgrin ward in the Bangkok stake. He is the only member in his family but he has an amazing testimony and is willing to share with everybody that he sees. He spent a year or two in West Virgina which is where he learned how to speak English, as an exchange student. Sounds familiar, no? After he got back he met the missionaries and got a testimony and was baptized. He has been an awesome companion. although he makes it impossible to serve myself because he loves to serve me first. lol. He is one of the most humble guys that I have ever met. He also loves to ballroom dance. I'm hoping one day to learn a little from him.

Because I am in the office area I can get packages the week they come in so no waiting time. That's a plus being here. Anyway for requests I don't have a lot that I can think of for the moment. Just deodorant and maybe some stuff to cook, like pudding, and I just received inspiration of stove top stuffing. We have a stove top to cook stuff. so ya. Anyway I trust you, and will be grateful for whatever you send.

That's about it for this week. I agree time is going too fast. I hope it slows down.

I love you all

Elder Brandon John Holt

Sunday, January 16, 2011

New place, new game

Hey family

How are you doing? I'm doing awesome. Well as I sadly predicted I was to be transferred, I was. It was probably one of the hardest things I had to do on my mission so far--leave a place like Ubon. I definitely will go back some day in the future. It was so hard because I had some many people there that I had grown really close to, Investigator, Member and nonmember alike. I'll miss everyone. But that's that for now.

Well you're probably wondering where I am. You see I think I must have caused a lot of trouble or something for President Smith when I was in Ubon. Because he moved my right under his watchful eye, 555, which is the Meung Thong Thani area. If you look at the mission address you will notice that you send it here. The office is in my district but thankful not in my area. LOL. Any ways it's area in the north part of Bangkok. In the providence of Nontoburii or นนทบุรี. There are so many people here its crazy. I feel like we have a lot of work to do. I think I can stay another 5 transfers and never get bored of the area.

I'm the district leader of the district. In the district I have the two office elders and the two assistance to the president in the district. That's a little strange to be the district leader to the assistance because its kind of the same affect as the prophet's bishop. I am the one that they have to account to for the district but in the end I have to account to them when it comes to the mission as a whole. It's a lot of fun. Hey do you remember Elder Brown, my MTC companion? He just received the calling to be an assistant to the president so we get to be together in what may be our last area. It's going to be a blast

My compaction is Elder Kampanat or กัมปนาท. Yes, he is Thai. We have a lot of fun together. But it was a little difficult to speak Thai so much the first day or two. Thankfully he can speak English pretty fluently as well. He has made several trips to America. Anyways this is his 3rd transfer as a missionary so that makes me his follow up trainer. I can already say he is 10 times better then me as a missionary so I'm going to be able to learn a lot form him, both in the gospel and in Thai.

This last Sunday was district conference here in the Pakkret district, which means one thing that I was way pumped for......the Lop Buri district is coming down. Woot woot! So last Sunday I was able to meet everyone that I knew in my first area. It was funny to see the shock on their faces when they walked into the rented building that the district rented to have conference because they weren't expecting to see me. The best part is that I met the family that I taught to baptism, Brother Somsak and sister Rebiab and their crazy daughter as well. Well sister Rebiab saw me first and said "Elder do you remember me?" She surprised me, but she was also surprised at how much my Thai has improved. I remember when I would go teach them and she would always ask me "Elder do you understand?" then after she would always say, "Don't worry if you don't now. In the future, one day, you will." And now she knows that I can. Anyways it was fun to see all the people that were learning with missionaries back then that are now members today.

Anyways living in the past, only makes the future look bleak, so it was fun seeing them again now in the future I see them again for sure.

Anyways I didn't get a chance to meet up with Brother Keng this time becuase we had to run off and work but Connor you should say hi back for me and tell him to come by for a visit every now and then.

Anyways I'm glade to hear that you lives are well and normal again.

I love you all.

Elder Brandon John Holt

P.S. Sister Jitrii got baptised this last saturday. I had a chance to talk to Elder Jensen about it.

P.S.S. Hey I almsot forgot to send photos this time. The first few photos are of the Christmas party. Then the last are the goodbye photos with all those that I taught and some of the members. The one with the girl in the pink and her sister is Bee and Naan. I interviewd them both for baptism while I was in Ubon.

Ok. I love you all.
Elder Brandon John Holt

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year

Hey everyone,
Well welcome into the next year of our life. the year 2011 on the Christian calender or 2554 in the Buddhist calender depending in what country you live in. One that I feel is going to be a great one in the lives of the Holt's, Call's, and Moody's. Anyways it was quite a weekend here in Thailand.
I don't remember New Years last year being too big but this year in Ubon it was loud. This year the missionaries had to be in at 7:00 pm because of safety so knowing that in cities like Ubon after that time anyways it would be pretty hard to find people to teach we didn't complain. However during the day Elder Jensen and I went all over Ubon in order to check up on our investigators as well as teach others. We ended up teaching about 4 lessons some with new investigators and 1 with a family that hopefully will be baptized in the next month or two. Between visits we went to church to check up on the members who were having a huge district sport activity for New Years. We also made sure some of our investigators got there safely and were being watched over by the members that we had asked to fellowship them.
The real party didn't happen until after we had gone to bed for the night. At midnight we were both awakened by fireworks and the common New Years noises. Then after we had turned over and slept again someone parked their car in the small park across from our house and then decided to turn the radio full blast and turned up the sub at about 2 in the morning. It was great. Our whole house shook and I was shocked when I heard Elder Jensen shout "I'm going to kill all Thai people who aren't sleeping in the next 5 minutes!" It was quite a party. Anyway, after 4 in the morning passed by they went home and we got some sleep until 6:30 where our alarm went off and my companion almost threw it across the room. He gets a little cranky when he doesn't get his sleep. lol
Anyway New Years day was a really good day. At first Elder Jensen and I had to go to the church to interview one of the sister's investigator for baptism. That is probably one of the most awesome experiences that I get to do. Because as I ask the baptismal interview questions I receive a confirmation from the Holy Ghost every time. She passed and will be getting baptized next week.
Next there was a baptism of an investigator that I interviewed the week before, it was another investigator from the sisters area. Then in the few minutes we had we went to go find all our investigators in order to help them go to church this last Sunday.
Then we went back to the church to meet Jittrii because she was now going to get interviewed by a member of the Mission Presidency in order to be baptized. And after a 2 hour interview she passed! woot woot. She is going to get baptized next Saturday or the 8th of January. I'm way excited for her as well.
Well This is the week of transfer meeting and if everything is normal I will be the one moving. So I won't be able to witness Jitrii being baptized but that is alright because its not about how many people that I teach and see baptized but its about how many of the Lord's children coming unto him. So I asked Elder Jensen to send me pictures if I move and he stays. That makes me wonder where I could go.
Anyways that's my week really fast.
I was also thinking about what room that I want to move back into( I'm not trunky) I would say the room that I was originally in is the best one. Sorry mom no library there yet. but that will probably just be for the summer and weekends so I don't really have a huge preference.
Hey I also thought of things that I need in my next package. Deodorant for sure I'm almost out of my last stick. and I can't remember what else.
I love you all
Elder Brandon John Holt