Monday, April 25, 2011

Hey everybody

I'm doing great this week. It was a pretty busy week in that we had to prepare for a baptism this last Sunday. This last Sunday we had a baptism of a woman from Cambodia. Her name is Sarimom. Her husband, Vaughn, is a member already and has been for the last 4 or 5 years. So she has been going to church for the last couple of years and learned with the Elders several years as well. She has wanted to be baptized for the last 4 years but has not been able to because of her visa situation. She is what is called an asylum seeker, Which means that they are refugees but the U.N. has not yet acknowledged them as so. The reason the church does not allow asylum seekers to be baptized is for welfare reasons. They don't want people to be baptized then after they start receiving welfare support they will disappear or go inactive because they don't have a true testimony. But for Sister Sarimom's, or Mom for short, case, she was given special permission to be baptized from President Smith. So she was able to be baptized. They live in the Assistants to the President, Elder Brown and Elder McConkie, area but they didn't have time to get them ready so they gave Elder Christensen and me charge over them. So it took about a week to review everything, get interviewed and then baptized. That was definitely the fastest anyone I taught got baptized. It was a good baptism.

This coming week we have a special fireside for the missionaries coming up. We are going to have a Church Historian and a General Authority come up and answer questions about anything we want to know about concerning the history of the church. I'm way excited about it because they want us to focus on the questions that we have got from investigators that stopped them progressing, or anything that we have heard of in the past or anything strange rumors that we have heard of. I can think of a lot that I heard of in the MTC, for example the theory of the Hollow Earth. That's where the 10 lost tribes of Israel are. 5555. OK, maybe not that question but I do have a few that I have always wondered about.

Hey I had an amazing thing happen yesterday for Easter. We ate a real Easter meal at the mission home. It was amazingly good food. Ham, potato salad and birthday cake with ice cream. That was for Elder Brown and Me. His birthday is on the 27th of April. It was a good time that we had to sit down and think about the Savior and his Atonement for us.

With all the snow that's falling I might still be able to go skiing when I get back. That will be fun.

I have been talking to some senior missionaries that are living in the district. Elder and Sister Sangswaan. They live in Bountiful. But they told me of a really good Thai place that they said they thought was pretty authentic Thai food. Called the Thai Garden. If I remember right, its on 9th East across the street from Little Caesers pizza. That's a place that I intend to go to. I also have had a few members tell me of a place or two that members own in Provo, that say if I tell them that I served in the Pakkret branch that they would give me a discount for sure. I'm going to have to find a place for Issan food. That's my favorite kind of Thai food. Nothing like papaya salad with water fall and sticky rice. saab saab. That's Issan.

Well today is a fast letter. See you in 2 weeks

I love you all

Elder Brandon John Holt

Songkran celebration

Hello everyone

I'm doing great this week. This last week was a little wet in that it was the yearly celebration for my birthday. The whole country was involved in the country-wide water, and powder fight. So last Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday the wetness started. We decided to play on Wednesday. This year there were a little more rules then last year to keep us safe. For example, we needed to be in at 6pm every night to stay off the road. Lots and Lots of people drinking. Also we needed to play with members at a church, So because Pakkret didn't have enough people to have any activity, we decided to go to the Don Mueng branch next to our area. There we met President and Sister Smith and several other senior couples that wanted to participate a little in the festive activities. There are photos to show the fun of water. One of the interesting experiences was the dancing. We walked into the church late because we got lost. Just as we walked in the members started dancing. They invited all the missionaries to dance but none of us were exactly sure if we could or not..... I'm sure there was a rule somewhere that said that missionaries are not allowed to dance. Anyways we watched and learned from the example of our leader, President Smith, who got up and started dancing. After that we decided that we could join too.

After the dancing and eating food, we went outside the church and started throwing water. Usually there are pickup trucks that have people in the back of them to throw water in them and fight. But it was a little quite in Bangkok because most people left to go back home to their own province. So we decided to take it out with the scooters that were zooming by. As they came by they were hit with a large amount of water that usually made a painful slapping sound when it hit them. Or when we were feeling nicer, the members and we'd stop them and drop water on them as they passed by.

Remember the point of Songkran is to give out and get the most blessings. You do this by throwing water, or powder on someone. So the wetter and more powder you have on your face by the end the more blessings you get.

Other than that, we were really worried at the beginning of the week that we weren't going to be able to teach anyone during Songkran because everyone left the town. But Elder Christensen and I came up with a good back-up plan. Knock on doors. For most of the week we went to a huge apartment complex were we knocked on every door we could. There were some people that turned us down, sometimes we would get doors slammed in our face. That was the fun part because I felt like a real missionary(lol). But we were blessed by the Lord for our efforts. We found about 11 people and a few other families to teach. And most of them were generally interested. So it gave us a really good chance to replenish our area.

With Doom, we didn't have a chance to see her last week because a few days she was sick and then others she had Songkran activities, but today we will be seeing her. We followed up with her last week and she said that she had been reading the Book of Mormon. So that's a plus.

Man, It must be getting really close for me to come home because Ryan Nelson went in to the MTC the same day I did. That crazy. Anyway be sure to say hi to Jake when he gets back for me next week.

Hey we got a phone call this morning for Sister Mam. She called and asked us if we had seen the news. (I think she forgot that we don't watch the news) Anyways she said that there were lots of tornadoes in the south eastern states. According to her report she said there were 260 counted. but I'm not sure if that is true. How was the damage? Mam said that there were some in Virgina, was it close to Allyson and Jed's house?

Anyways that what I've got for this week

I hope you are all doing well at home.

Love you all

Elder Brandon John Holt

Monday, April 11, 2011

A wonderful note from the Mission Mom, Sister Smith

Hi moms,
Elder Holt stayed in Pakkret with Elder Christensen as his companion. This will be his last move so he will finish here. Enjoy every minute all you new moms, it has gone SO quickly. I was truly surprised how fast this time has flown. Yet my arms are aching for a "son" hug.
Aleen Holt
Missionary Mom of Elder Brandon Holt
Bangkok Thailand Mission

April 4,2011
Dear Sister Holt,

We attended Pakkret Branch on Sunday. Your sweet son sat by me and translated the entire meeting. He did an excellent job. You can be very proud of him. He even made sure that I had someone to translate the next hour, because he had to go to another class.

I can understand your desire to have a “mom hug”. I have 4 grown sons and I still miss hugging them. I have to fight the urge to give our missionaries a great big “mom hug” every time I see them. It makes us very sad to see them leave the mission. They come as sweet and innocent boys (and girls), but they leave as strong and confident men (and women), ready to take on the world. At the airport I give them a great big “missionary mom hug” and then watch them go through immigration and head for home. It reminds me of the feeling I had when I watched my own sons leave on their missions. It helps me understand in a very small way how God can love so many children at once. Your heart must grow as you serve the Lord, for I truly love each one of my dear missionaries. Thank you for sending them here and then supporting them while they serve.

God Bless you for your sacrifice,

Love Always, Sister Smith

Happy 21st Birthday

Hey Everybody

Well so as for the weather update here the temperature has gone over 100 degrees. I miss the snow. Other then that I am doing great this week. So this last week we watch conference Saturday and Sunday. And I got to watch it in English all except one session because we were on the look out for some investigators that in the end didn't show up. That's alright though. They will be there next week. Sometime the problem with investigators showing up to church on a General Conference weekend is that they believe that church is just us watching white old people in America every week(not to mean any disrespect). I thought this conference was awesome. I don't know about you but I think there were some subliminal messages that all those that were home from missions and/or those preparing to go home from their missions should go home and prepare for missions but, I could be mistaken.

Still my favorite speaker is President Uckdorf. Both his talks were very good. I also loved the priesthood session with President Erying and President Monson. If possible could you send me a copy of the last three talks of the priesthood session? I like to study those a little better. And then don't forget to send me a conference issue next month.

Well I like the story of Doom. Its still in the process of progressing. But pretty much how we started teaching her is because we taught Mam and May and Mo everyday. Remember that wooden path and the door that we have to pass to get to mam house? Dooms house is on the same path. Well to get to Mam we pass her house very time. And normally the time that we see her, Doom would be sitting on the outside of her house. So every time we would make sure that we said hi and asked her how she was doing. Over time she got to know us. She noticed one time that we were parking and locking our bikes about a kilo or more away to walk into Mam's house. Well she was concerned and said then that we could bring our bike in and park them in front of her house so that we wouldn't have to be afraid of then getting stolen. She also would invite us to eat dinner with her and her family often. Well one day after we had taught Mam, Doom invited us to eat dinner, and I told her that we had to run home because we were a little late, but we'll take it another day she said OK what day? So I don't really know why that time was different but I decided to take the bait and schedule a dinner appointment. So after a few days we went back and ate somtum and said that we would start teaching her the same things that we taught Mam. She agreed. So since then we have been teaching her the gospel. We have had a lot of challenges with her because she is really, really, really Buddhist and is set in her ways. But she did say if we could prove that the things we teach are better then she will change. She also has a lot of family problem and other things that are slowing her down. So for now we decided to teach her slowly working with one commitment at a time. The first being read and pray about the Book of Mormon. She is a good friend and its way fun to teach her because I can feel the spirit when we teach.

Well so to register for classes and to see my transcript you will need to have this number ------ That's my student Id number or if that doesn't work then I think you will just use my social security number. If I remember right you will find the site to go into on the main page of the UVU website. Then after getting in, there should be a tab to see my transcript and or register for classes. Any luck on finding a EMT intermediate class that I can take in the summer? I think if you have the chance, talk to the Councilor in the Fire Academy about class registration. I'm not really sure of what all needs to be done in the way of GE in UVU. I didn't really do a good job at that one when I was there before. I think the first year I'm back I will focus on retaking classes that I didn't get the best grades in and work on all of the GE that need to be done. For way of classes after you get to see my transcript could you tell me what classes I took that I got grades lower then an A. Knowing me probably a lot. 555. But I would like to retake those to refresh my memory and to improve my ged. Other then that for classes I'm not 100% sure what I want to take yet but I'll get back to you after I know what I have taken or what I need to retake.

Ok today its another short letter.

I love you all

Elder Brandon John Holt

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Hey I didn't move

Hey everybody

I'm doing great this week. Well for a quick update I'm still in Nontoburi and as a district leader. And I am still with Elder Christensen. But that's all right that saves me the trouble of packing everything up. This last week at church we got to see Mam, Mo, and May get confirmed members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They are so awesome as members. Recently we have started teaching one of Mam's neighbors and friend named Doom. She has a husband and a daughter. The daughter named oom has sat in on a few lessons when we were teaching Mam and her household. Doom has a ton of concerns but none of which the gospel can't handle.

Today we had the chance to serve Doom. She is a teacher at a school for handicap children. Today she was moving rooms because its the summer season for them . So a few days ago I said that my oldest sister was a teacher and I helped her move stuff around her school a couple of times so we would be happy to help. At first she was against it but after a little bit she was OK with it and set up a time to go in and help her. We helped her move her room for a few hours and got everything into the room but then we left her to do the normal p-days activities. It was good. I learned a lot about her and her daughter in the time that we were working together.

So I got the package, thank you very much for sending me everything. Its way strange to think that when I get back home I will be able to do anything that I want except rent a car. The cakes that you sent will be baked and eaten with photos taken so that you know how the party went.
With those CDs that I sent that is everything that is on the cards here up to the point that I made the CDs and sent them. So its a good backup in case I lose anything. I should make a new CD now to backup everything.

So I think from here on out I'm going to slowly think about the after mission life a little bit. For example I will need some help in registering for school in the fall semester as well as finding classes that I need to take and/or retake. One thing that needs to be done probably before I get back is be registered for a EMT intermediate class. I would like to be able to take a class in the summer so that for the fall I could be looking for a job and a way to get experience in the EMT field. Mom could you look that up for me? I love you

This week I'm way excited for general conference. I am hoping there will be a way that I can here it in English. There should be because there are a lot of members here who can not speak Thai. so crossing fingers.

Anyways this week email is short sorry

I love you all

Elder Brandon John Holt