Wednesday, February 23, 2011

New companion

hello family

I'm doing great not counting the fact that I'm getting more and more tired. That's something that I have noticed the last few months is that I'm more and more exhausted at night. Well, maybe I'll get to the point to where I get home I will get dragged off the plane. That is what Elder Holland wanted us to do in the MTC.

Anyhow so Elder Kampanat and I had a curve ball thrown at us this last week. On Tuesday last week we got a call from the zone leaders saying that Elder Kampanat was moving. Well, that was a fast 6 weeks. Anyway he moved up to the Issan. He has been hoping to get a chance to practice his Issan for the last few weeks. Because he was from Bangkok he can't understand the east language because the dialect is so different. Anyways because he moved I got a new companion. Its an Elder that I have already had the pleasure of working with in Ubon. Elder Christensen. He was in my district when I was companions with Elder Leseuer. Then transferred areas when I began training Elder Jensen. He is a great guy and has a awesome testimony.

In this last week a lot has happened in our area with the daters. Do you remember ice and Nipone. They are the 2 original daters that we have been working with since I got to Pakkret 6 weeks ago. They both got interviewed again. Brother Nipone passed, and will be baptized next Sunday. I'm way excited for him, he has had some hard times in his life and the gospel is going to help him a lot. Sister Ice was interviewed and didn't pass because of a family issue. She isn't married by law. That's something that is very very important to make sure happens. The more I teach and learn about the law of chastity the more that I can see it is something that Thailand needs a lot. And it needs to be taught with boldness. Here it is something that I think the community sees there is a problem but it is unable to solve because they have never really understood how to solve the problem. Its one thing that I am grateful for the Lord giving us a commandment to keep our minds and bodies clean by following the law of chastity. For anyplace that it is not there, families are being destroyed by Satan and his attacks. With Sister Ice we will help her understand the importance of being married the right way and how it will help her family.

Remember mam? she went to church last Sunday and was able to see a baptism of an investigator that the assistant taught. Then this last Saturday we gave her date and she accepted to be baptized on the 20th of march. She will need to overcome a smoking and coffee drinking problem but she should be able to stop by this Friday. She already has a good start to a testimony. We will help her build it more.

Thanks for the updates on the ward mission plan dad. We were able to talk to our branch mission leader, Brother Smith(he is from New Zealand), and now I think he understands a little bit better of how the plan works. He is going to try his hardest to get things moving her in the Pakkret branch. If we can get this program figured out then I know it will be able to help Thailand out a lot with the retention problem that it has at the moment.

Well, this week the temperature has been increasing as we roll into the hot season. I'm going to die. I will have to keep the thoughts of snow through my head a lot.

I was thinking of something that you could send me in the next package. I ran out of cardova shoe polish and have not been able to find any yet. It might just be easier to send some. But I'm going to look this week in a different store. I tell you next week.

That's it for this week. Thank you for your prayers and support

I love you all

Elder Brandon John Holt

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Testimony of the Atonement

Hello Family

I'm doing great this week. Still alive and kicking. Its been a pretty slow week for the mission work this week, we had a lot of little chores to do, plus zone meeting, that was fun. So we were slowed down but the pace is coming back.

So we'll start with zone conference this week. I was thinking about it, the meetings here have really changed since I came into the country. For example The first zone conference there were lots of missionaries, probably up to 50. because every zone in Bangkok came. This last time it was only one zone the Pakkret zone with 14 elders, 2 sisters, and about 6 or 8 senior missionaries. Then President and Sister Smith as well. It was nice cozy and personal. I like it this way a lot better but it sounds like its a lot of work for President Smith. He had three zone conferences in a role that he had to be at this last week.

The meeting was on the Atonement and the importance of teaching it correctly so that our investigators understand how it plays on their lives. It's something that I personally am grateful for. That one reason I am glad that I came on a mission. I never really looked at the gospel as something that I needed, well I take that back but I didn't really understand the importance of the gospel and how it all relies on the Atonement. teaching it everyday helped me to see the importance of it. If our Savor hadn't given everything for us we really would be stuck were we are not being able to better ourselves in anyway. But because of the Atonement we are able to repent of our imperfections and become better through the mercies and grace of the Savior.

The funny thing about this is the next day with Brother Nipoe and Sister Eye, our two daters, we discovered that they didn't yet have a testimony or a very good understanding of the atonement and the power that is in in. So we had a chance to teach them about it.

After Zone meeting was over we had a zone activity. We, as a zone, went into Bangkok to see Wat Arome, a ancient Buddhist temple. that is just off the main river that cuts Bangkok in half. Its awesome. I will send some pictures of the activity. and of the wat.

The rest of the week was a lot of planning and trying to help our investigators get to baptism. Sister eye didn't pass her baptismal interview which isn't a big deal it just means that we need to wait a little longer to help her receive her testimony and be truly ready to be a member in the Lord's Kingdom. Next week we are going to have her get interviewed again, then she will be ready.

I got the first package last week and have enjoyed the stuff that you sent. Thank you for the deodorant especially. Now Elder Kampanat doesn't have to worry about me stinking anymore 555.

In my MTC group there were originally 15 people. 12 elders and 3 sisters but the sisters have all returned home now and its just the elders. That reminds me I forgot who our bishops name is, don't tell him that, I need to know in order to give the information to the office. Anyways we all got the papers at the same time. Elder Porter and I were talking last week at how strange it is to think that a year and a half ago we were in the MTC, it only seems like a few weeks ago I just got to Thailand. I hate how time flies.

Connor, Brother Keng says hi. He was sitting next to me a few minutes ago but had to run to catch his flight back home. Did you know that he is going to Las Vegas for two months in March. then he will be going to San Diego. I said we will have to meet up when I get back. Maybe when we go to Laguna you and I will take a trip to the acupuncture school that he will learning at. Oh and I think there is no way that you can beat my hair style that I had my junior year. Half black half blond, shaved and divided down the middle and to top it off liberty spikes. That was the idea of one of the girls on the team. Mom almost fainted. 555555 love you mom.

Dad I sending you a plan that we are trying to put into action here in Thailand for the ward council. Tell me what you think and if you have ever seen anything like it. I think its experimental and they are trying it out here in Thailand to see how it works but I definitely think it can work if it is worked right. It has to do with recent coverts and less active families as well and part- member families.

Ok I love you all

Elder Brandon John Holt

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Death (Release) Date!

Hello family

I'm doing good this week. We did have as fast of a week as we had with 19 lessons only 17 this week. That' s a little below average but that's because we had some stuff to do this week. This last week we had companion exchanges with the zone leaders. One thing that is a lot of fun is that in every zone one of the 2 zone leaders is in my MTC group. This one is Elder Porter. He is the one who knows the Becerras. Me and him had a good talk about how cool it was that Zach and Caleb got to meet up in the MTC. That's not something that happens very often. Then I got to thinking that I'm really glad that Connor is 4 years younger then me because if it were 2 it would be a four year wait until we saw each other.

Elder Porter and I had a good time working together in our area. I got a lot of good points to help here being the district leader, that will really help us as missionaries build our faith and our investigators to progress and have spiritual experiences a lot faster.

For example Elder Porter and I had time to go tracting/Inviting. As we were in a neighborhood that seem to be tracked a lot by the missionaries before we came, we met a man by the name of Wirat. He was in his 60's. We introduced ourselves and he invited us in his house. He said that he was looking at a termite problem, which here in Thailand if your house isn't cement then it is infested by termites. Needless to say his house was all wood. but he didn't notice the problem until a plug in the wall stopped working so he was trying to remove it. He had never done it before. I told him that I have and would do it for him. ( Thanks for redoing the house so much mom and dad, that's a skill that I did find a use for here, removing electric plug covers.) So after a few minutes and a numb hand from a shock, (he forgot to turn off the power,) I wasn't thinking, I was able to get the cover off to see the termite nest. Fact, if your house has a termite problem you can hear the termites move inside the wall. That was way weird to hear.

After we helped him to see where the nest was we started to have a conversation. We said after that we would like to share a message about the restored gospel. He was happy to listen. At the end we asked him to pray, here is a key point that we as missionaries here in Thailand have just learned recently: When you pray for an answer and do it according to Moroni 10:3-5 -- meaning that first you do it ( faith in Christ) next you do it because you really want an answer (Sincerity) Then if you get the answer whether or not you like it or not you will follow it ( real intent) -- you will get an answer. So when we ask an investigator to pray we make sure that they ask a question. For example, "Father in Heaven should I get baptized?", or "Father in Heaven, should I go to church?". If its done in the right way our investigators will receive an answer. So that was what we did with Wirat. One thing I have noticed is that if it is done right the investigator will receive an answer every time but might not realize what they felt was the Holy Ghost answering their question. With Wirat he got his answer but didn't understand, but before we left he said something that I don't think I have heard anyone that I've met on a invite say, "I want to study this more, and if it is true I will become a member of your church for sure". I'm excited to go back and see him.

Right now I don't remember if I have ever told you we have 2 investigators with a date to be baptized. One is named Sister I and the other is Brother Nipone. Sister I has a date to get baptized on the 12 of February and Brother Nipone has a date to get baptized on the 19th of February a week later. Both of them are doing really well. Our goal with both of them is to try and teach their families. They both are married but their spouses aren't ever around when we teach them.

Yesterday I had a interesting experience. So one of the duties of being a District leader is interviewing investigators to be baptized. Elder Brown and Elder Chew recently had 9 people from Cambodia transferred to them because the Elders from a different area realized that they lived in our area. They are all ready to be baptized, so its just a matter to make sure that everything is legal according to the law, meaning they aren't illegal immigrants, Thailand gets them too, imagine that, then interview and baptize. So yesterday I interviewed 5 people out of that group. 4 of them were children between the age of 8 to 12 I think... We're not really sure on the dates. and then their mother. The children have been in Thailand long enough that they can read and speak Thai really well. But their mother has a Cambodian accent. They all passed. With their mother it was a little harder because there was a little bit of a language barrier but with the use of pictures and speaking slowly we got through that. It was fun to listen to her talk because she spoke Thai like she was from the southern states. I almost expected her to say ya'll.

Sounds like you guys are all having a blast at home. Connor, nice job on you times. Dad don't get eaten by alligators, and Mom, I just got a letter this last week, that disturbs me a lot. Its nick-named "the Death Papers". It's from President Smith and the office and says that I will be traveling home on the 14th of June 2554 or 2011. That's really strange to think... I saw 3 of my companions receive their death papers. Anyways you don't have to worry about Sunday dinner only having 3 at the table anymore. Oh man what the heck happened to the last 2 years of my life. Make it slow down.

OK, that's it for today.

I love you all.

Elder Brandon John Holt