Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

Well Hello Family!

How was the Christmas Break? So Cam and Serena won't be there for New Years! What will you two do? Anyway it looked like Christmas was really good and I can't believe how old everyone is! Jk. But it is really weird to see everyone growing up. It is sad to not be there for the holdiay season. That is for sure. But the work out here needs to be done. It is kinda funny this last week. But in my personal study I was reading about the Plan of Salvation in 2 Nephi 2. And thought about how families are the reason we feel joy in life. That you can't have happiness without feeling sad right? Well thinking about it showed me the importance of Gods plan for us. That basically the one thing that we love in this life is our family. It doesn't matter who you live with, you love your family. Everyone deep inside loves those who take care of them.  To be sealed to your family for all eternity is awesome and I am so thankful that God has given us the opportunity to live with those we love here on this earth.

So for Christmas. It actually turned out to be a really awesome day! After we e-mailed we ran some errands. Then we went to Sizzlers with the Samut Prakan Elders who aren't in our district anymore since transfers. Then got Coldstones. Excellent. Then we taught English and made cookies with the English students/ frosted them. It was a really good day. Awesome presents, So thanks everyone for the presents. I can play the harmonica now! So next week attach some cool harmonica music to the e-mails. I play hymns already. So cool stuff, the Eagles, oldies. On Wednesday we went Carrolling at the mall, since people don't really know the difference between Christmas and New years here. haha! They decorate the same for both of them. Santa and everything. But it was really fun. Did a few other things in there.

So speaking of temples I don't remember if I told you that Sister Pin (Bang na) is planning on going through the temple and getting sealed to her family next year. It is so awesome to see investigators prepare to go to the Temple.  She knows that she wants to live with her family forever! It is something truly great! It is so awesome to see how much her testimony has grown! They are an awesome family and I am happy for them! Also this week we have been teaching Apichad (pronounced Aww Pee Chawed(Sawed with a ch-) He is doing great! New investigator that I didn't really get to talk about but he is doing really good. At first he was just interested in learning about Christianity and He really thinks that we have morals and that all people should follow them! It is really interesting to see him change over that past couple weeks. He is the guy that calls me a member of the mafia.  As for Rote she is doing great, but because of Christmas she wasn't able to meet with us last tuesday and that is the only day we can meet with her. Unfortuantely Go's Uncle died yesterday so he won't be here this Tuesday. But we feel like this is a good opportunity to help him understand the Plan of Salvation better. It is really awesome being able to teach your RC's. In Thailand all the members have 3 callings or so. Thailand is awesome. The members really try and I really appreciate all they do. It is hard when you have like 10 or 11 active Melchelzidck priesthood holders and no Elders Quorum President. With small wards you really try and do your best to fulfill all the spots. But they are trying hard and we will get a temple here in Thailand.

So something kinda funny. About two weeks ago. We got a mission announcent that said that we shouldn't plan to go door to door inviting. Because it isn't very effective. It takes a lot of time and it is harder for those people to come to church. So we now walk around the streets, markets, neighboorhoods. But we don't knock doors unless we have nothing better to do. haha! So kinda interesting. But I think it is a way to find those people who are interested in the gospel much faster. Instead of them coming to us at the doors. We go to them on the streets. That is a kinda moto thing.

As for today nothing to spectacular. We are going to eat MK which is like Sabushi. So anyway sounds decent. Besides that haircut and shopping. Tonight we have family home evening. At the church with the ward. They are doing a New years party. We can only stay till Seven. Because tonight we have a mission wide Curfew. They want us in early because in this country there basically isn't any laws against drunk driving. So they don't want us to risk getting hit. Plus they love the New years here! So that is for sure, they actually give presents for new years and not for Christmas. haha!

So anyway mom keeps asking about all the little family traditions, do I remember them? Of course I do! Come on have faith! I was reading in the December Ensign this month and it was a talk on building testimonies, but it talked about how in our families today, family traditions are on of the most important things to have a strong family in a crazy world. It just talked about how our home should be a secure place from the world. And I think that is why I loved home so much. Is because of all the fun traditions we do! We always are doing something fun for Holidays! So yes I remember the Green eggs and ham. The new years goals. The easter egg hunts. The valentines breakfast. Sunday walks. KFC and Morgan. The luminary drive. Like everything! So thanks for having those family traditions because they are what makes our family so strong! Keep doing them. I guess by yourself now! Jk! Lauren lives close by! But make sure they live on. And make sure you are always creating new ones!

One way that my testimony grew this week was when I was talking with Sister Marvel a Senior missionary in our ward! We talked about how when we come on missions we change so much. We change for the better. But the interesting thing about missions is that they make us stronger in every aspect. In compassion, love, charity, hard working, diligent, patience. Anything you can think of a mission helps you grow. We talked about how we aren't only called to serve missions for others. But for ourselves. How her sons have now served missions and now at home they are able to go to school, have a family, work. Do so many things that if they didin't learn how to handle it on there mission, they wouldn't be able to do it in life. So my testimony was strengthened when I look back at what my mission has changed me into. I realize that I have humbled myself a lot. That I can't do anything without the Lord. I have learned to love others. I could go on and on. But to see the change of what I have become shows me that I am out here for the right things. And I am so grateful to be here!

Elder Landon Simonsen

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

We spoke with Elder Landon Simonsen last night and he wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.  He loves his mission and serving the wonderful people of Thailand.

Landon mentioned the following in his short letter. "I love you all so much! I hope your Christmas is Merry. It is sad to be away, because all you want for Christmas is to be with your family. It was the best thing to talk with you. I love you and I will write to you next week!"

Elder Landon Simonsen

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Time

Hello family!

Well I need to make today's e-mail shorter and sweeter than usual, because well I don't have a lot of time! So anyway it looked like the wedding is great!

Sounds like Serena and Cam are loving Utah! I will talk to them next week! That will be exciting! And Lauren,Ryan, Kira, and Landina all cute. haha! Sounds like the new home is coming along!

So for my week! Baptism! Yes! Pin is awesome She is doing so good! That baptsim was so special. It was so awesome to ask her about her feelings afterwards! it made my realize how awesome it was to have parents and a family who are members of the church. really good experience!

So as for skyping on P-day. Ok 8 oclock your time 10 oclock mine. They actually Changed P-day to Tuesday. So ya it will be interesting! But fun! So I will see if it works today! I will skype on Christmas here. Christmas Eve at home. That is what has been suggested!

So anyway transfers we found out today! That I am staying and Elder Susi is moving. That our District is getting split. So we will be in a four person district with the sisters in The bangkok west zone. And the Samut Prakan Elders 4 of them. Will be in the Bangkok East zone.

Ok so anyway some fun things is this week we went caroling as a district it was super fun! That is the pictures in the Santa hats! We had the baptsim! Pin is the one by me! And Bui. Is the other one! So we had two baptsims! I also sent a picture of Me and Go at the Stake Christmas Party! We got to go with him and his girl friend! Super awesome experience! Way fun! I don't have to much time so I will send more pictures if I have time after e-mailing presdient! But I loved the Stake party I saw all the members from Srinakarin and they loved hanging out.

Real quick one way that my testimony grew this week was seeing Sister Rote (Go's girlfriend) come closer to Christ. We have seen how she is finally open to talk with us. We have seen the blessing of her wanting to talk with us.  It is really great! But it shows me the power of this church. And what the Holy Ghost can do! I love you all and have a great week! Merry Christmas!

Elder Landon Simonsen

Monday, December 10, 2012

Celebration of Kings Birthday

Hey family,

Well sounds like it is an eventful week. In Utah. Marriages and the Christmas spirit! So ya I will just go off my week. So anyway. It started off really good. English class always fun. But on Wednesday even a more special surprise! We had zone conference it was so awesome. We started off, by taking a really long ride in the mission vehicles to The Peninsula hotel. Where we had an all you can eat buffet.. We had Lamb (side story real quick, so now because I am serving in Thailand I eat basically everything. You don't eat anything fully cooked I swear. Red Pork, Not chicken, red beef, Octopus(which is delicious) Frog is good(is just as good as chicken, just not enough meat) basically I eat weird stuff now. ok I’m done on my tangent) steak wrapped in bacon, duck, fish, tons of desert ├ęclairs, tarts, sticky rice and Mango. Basically the best food you could have. It was the only meal we ate that day so they told us to eat a lot. It was a super nice hotel! Anyway after we stuffed ourselves and listened to the first I'm a Mormon from Thailand. Who is a drummer (In a rock band) We did this because it was for Christmas and for zone conference, it was really fun. After we went to the Tonburi church. Where we had our zone conference. It was so awesome. We had a great meeting on finding people and about how to approach people. After that we had a testimony meeting. We were all invited to share our testimony about Christ. The reason I love being in the West Bangkok zone is because you are in the zone with the Senior Missionaries, I loved hearing their testimonies of Christ. I am pretty sure that I have never sat in a meeting where I have felt that good. It is an experience you don't get too much. Where everyone in the room is a missionary and they all get to bear their testimony of Christ. It was a special experience you can't even explain with words.
So anyway after that we had the opportunity to go to the Kings palace which was great by the way. I forgot to get the picture. But we didn't actually get to go inside it. It was on the grounds around it but the palace looked so awesome. It was the kings birthday and so everyone wore yellow ties. But the whole country or at least most people I saw were all wearing yellow. It was awesome. So I guess I was wrong about the flying lanterns cuz everyone did them. It was the bomb. We got to watch a few fireworks. But there were so many people and we just kind of watched the lanterns and stuff. All I know it was the best day ever. It was really fun. Afterwards President Senior said it was the most Sanit (close, knit, best friends) Sanit. Zone he had ever seen. We were all having a great time. And we all loved being with the missionaries and having fun. We also crammed 16 Elders into the back of a small Tuk Tuk like truck. I think we have a picture. It is really funny. But all the elders had to walk because there wasn't enough parking for the Elders van. So we had a huge single file line of white boys in white shirts. And the mission president. All walking and sweating cuz it was super humid.  I am pretty sure it feels like it is summer outside right now.

On Saturday we then had a wedding to attend for brother Dui are Brother Apichad. So actually they wanted the missionaries to be the welcoming service. Haha! To make sure everyone signs the book. It was fun. More or less just helping the members out is fun. But it was a great time. We met tons of people from around the Bangkok stake. Met a few people from my last area that are friends. It was great.

To continue Pin wanted to move her baptism date up to next week. I am so excited. It is really awesome. So on Sunday we finished up teaching her about fasting and tithing and follow the prophet. But it was an awesome lesson. You can really see how much she has changed and how much her testimony has grown.

To answer questions what day do you want me to Skype on. It is up to the parents. Besides that thanks for the Christmas Ideas! And yes we that nice lunch/ dinner buffet. Christmas gift from the Mission President. Then we have something this Saturday for the Stake and then the 22nd we have a Christmas party for our ward. So there are some things going on. They encourage us to have investigators in order to go to the stake party.

Ok so a few ways that my testimony grew this week. Was first at Zone Conference when we had our testimony meeting. I feel the spirit a lot out here. But there was just something special about everyone bearing their testimonies on Christ. That the feeling in that room that no person could deny what they were feeling. Also I loved the way that Bishop Peace as we call (Otigan Sandi) explained fasting in such an awesome way that I had personally never looked at it. He said to his daughter that one of the reasons we fast is so that we can know what it feels like to be in the shoes of someone who only has one meal a day. That never really occurred to me before. I always looked at it like more in the way you fasted to receive answers, to help you feel the spirit. It never occurred to me before that we are putting ourselves in someone else's shoes. Someone who needs our help. I really loved how he explained it is so we can humble ourselves. I thought it was really interesting, we all have so much compared to many people who have nothing in their life. And during Christmas time it is a time of giving. A time to humble ourselves and give to those people what they don't have. When we have so much, we need to share and help those in need. Also, I really liked how President Uchtdorf in the Christmas devotional this year(our ward showed it to us, we got to watch it in English) said more important that giving is receiving. I liked that. He said we all need to receive Christ gift he has given us. Which is the gift of eternal life. But not only receiving God’s gift but accept the gifts others give you, but don't look at them from the outward appearance look at them for what they mean (the love, the sacrifice of others). Well I love you all family and have a great week!


Elder Landon Simonsen

Monday, December 3, 2012

Lantern Festival

Hey family!

Wow sounds like a really crazy week! Christmas party, mission calls! Everything! So anyway Columbia nice!  Sounds like it will be pretty nice weather there also! Also is pretty cool how I have a lot of friends that are girls serving missions! It is awesome, they help with the work so much! Especially in countries like Thailand where most of the investigators are female! So anyway sounds like the family is going great!

So you had a ward Christmas party this last week! Seems kinda early? This past week we actually got put in charge of Christmas for the ward! Ya yikes! So us with the sisters have to decide what to do now. Anywho. Any good ideas? As for Christmas here you are probably wondering what is going on there. Imagine. America in the summer. For Christmas. But then only the Malls have Christmas decorations and music playing! So actually today we went to Central World Mall. It is in Central Bangkok. We listened to Christmas music outside by this huge tree! Then went in and ate pizza at a resturaunt where a Recent Convert works. Brother Yut. He is from the Samut Prakan branch. So it was really fun.

So actually awesome story. Pin from Bang na. The bishops daughter. Accepted herself the date of December 23. We went on switchoffs/splits. I was with the DL Elder Dixon. We taught Pin and we commited her to read Alma 7. Great chapter about Christ's sacrifice for us. But we committed her to go home that night. Read and pray about it. And the next day (Wednesday) we talked to her.  She said a feeling came over her. That she couldn't explain. It was such an amazing moment to get to talk with her about it. It makes me remember about those times that I received a confirmation of the Book of Mormon or the Church. It is such a great moment to recognize the truth. So anyway. We had the opportunity on Wednesday to go to the Lantern Festival with the Bishop and his family! It was super fun! I have some really cool pictures of it! It was like the 4th of July! They have fireworks and all this stuff! They fly those laterns in the sky. Unfortunately in Bangkok not to many people do the flying laterns. Manly cuz of the pollution. So after awhile you can't see it. Lets say I haven't seen a star in forever haha! Anyway. They have a few. But it is more popular in the North and East of Thailand.

So about Investigators things are still going great! We got a new investigator named Manad He is super cool!  Pee is doing great still. So good. Anyway with faith anything is truly possible! So whenever times are hard have faith and you won't fail. I know that with faith anything is possible. The only problem now is. The transfer is on Tuesday December 18th. It got moved up. So either me or Elder Susi won't be here. I am pushing to stay! I am not finished here! The funny thing is even though this area is about 10 minutes from the area I just served. I love it just as much. Even though Every other area(in the mission about the size of 3 states) I could have gone is farther away. I stayed close to my old area. Cuz there is a purpose to everything, I was needed here. And I love it here!

Well I am out of time cuz we spent some time in the city today. Elder Dixon is going home so we went to see where he got his suit cut! I will probably take you to the same place. 1 suit and pants. 1 pair of pants just to have. 2 custom longsleeve shirts. With initials on the sleeves. Custom intererior, name on the inside of suit. 190 dollars. He finished in 1 week! So ya! That is where we will go. Good deal. Nice suit material. really good.
This week how my testimony grew was through the faith of others. Through the testimony of my investigators. Who overcome so many trials in there lives. I really loved my personal study this week. I to am about to finish up the Book of Mormon. In Ether 12: 27 it talks about how God shows unto men their weakness. But he gives us weakness that we may be humble. That Gods grace is sufficent for them who humble themselves. It goes onto say whoever has faith in God he will make weak things become strong unto them. I love this. God is there lifting us when we are weak. He carries us when we can't carry ourselves. He will be there to help us through every trial and every test as long as we have faith in him! I love this gospel. Dad said, Enjoy being on a mission and being young! I love every moment of it! There is no where better to be. In Thai terms Chiiwid Khong Phom Sabbay Mag. My life is very Sabbay(good or something. no direct translation). I love it here. I am so excited for Parker to go on a mission. There is nothing better. The sad thing is I am almost a year out. Time is going by too fast. But I am where I need to be. And I know that there isn't anything better than serving the people I love. And I love the Thai people!

Elder Landon SImonsen