Monday, January 28, 2013

One Year Mark!

Hello Family and Everyone,

Ok so this past week was pretty good as in terms of missionary work. Well before I get into the advents I will make some comments. The Impossible sounds like an awesome show! And you said I wonder how I speak Thai. Well to tell you the truth it takes awhile! haha! It took about 6 weeks to finally be able to seperate the words they were saying. Then the rest you can finally pick out vocab you don't know. But they speak so fast. You don't get use to that until about transfer 3. Then you are a pretty functioning missionary about 6 months in. It takes talking with them a lot to get to be able to understand. But I for sure couldn't learn Thai without the help of God. We get that all the time! How come you speak clear or speak so good. And you have only lived here for... Well it is because the Thai people need to hear the Gospel and I can't teach them if I can't speak Thai. It is an awesome blessing to see how the Lord helps us missionary's learn so many languages. It is a sign that this message is true and needs to be spread to the world.

Cafe Rio sounds so good! And Carrot Cake. And Taco Bell. Yummy! haha! Anyway I got your package acutally on Wednesday because we had a Zone meeting. So I have it already thanks! I was hoping for Pistachio Pudding! But nope. haha! Next package! I am holding you to it! I loved the pudding!

Dad asked about if they watch Football. I am assuming American. But only a few do. Most don't. They love basketball. They like the Lakers and the Heat mainly. Such bandwagon fans here:) But ya almost everyhouse has a TV. Lots have computers. They have guitars, instruments, radios, Iphone 5's, Ipads (espically all the members) Probably 50 % of the members have ipads. They have wifi. Thailand is very up to date technology wise.  So ya they watch Thai Boxing, Soccer, Thai Soap-Opera, ya movies. good stuff.

Ok so I will get on to the week. It rained for the first time in like forever yesterday! So nice! Anyway Ya this week investigator wise wasn't so hot! Brother Pee is doing awesome. Last night we had dinner at his Sisters house and Brother in laws. Sister My and Brother Beck. They are two awesome members in the ward. We having been visiting a guy named Ot. The guy with that Gibbon/ monkey. and Nade his friend. Ot came to church and he started to read the Book of Mormon. Narong is doing alright but we haven't been able to meet with him since he lives about an hour away from church. It is so hard we have about 3 people who live about an hour to 2 hours away. We have to use buses to get there. So it is way long. But missionary work is coming. We have about 3 or 4 member referrals we are working with. But hey I think I said last week missionary work is never always in one direction. So ya!

Ok well I guess I notice that the past few weeks I have been leaving out my signature part! So a way that my testimony grew this week was. I saw lots of recent converts get callings this week. It was so awesome to see. We have been trying to get callings for them since they got baptized. It was a strength to see new members of the church  willing to serve in the ward because they want to serve God. The new converts have such strong testimonies. And when you talk to them they have such a great desire to share the gospel and to help others. I really made me appreciate the callings that I have had in Quorum Presidency's because callings such as a missionary calling. And infact any calling in the church is just a greater opportuninty for us to help others Endure to the End.
Well ok thanks for everything and have a great week!
Love you all!

Elder Landon Simonsen

Monday, January 21, 2013

Ancient City

Hello Family,

Well I don't have to much time since today we went to the Ancient City in Samut Prakan. Really awesome! We went with the Samut Prakan Elders and it was a great day. So I will attach some photos of that! So I guess I will just hop into the week after some comments! Happy 13th Birthday to Nathaniel! Congrats on the Marriage announcement Nancy! The baby shower awesome. Dad I won't lie that calling isn't that cool. But congrats anyway:) haha! So do you even get to go to our Church anymore? Or what? Well sounds fun...Chok Dii Na Khrab!

 So anyway as for the week I will get a move on. So I first want to talk about some cool investigators we got. We had a guy who just showed up at church he is from English class. His name is Narong and way interested he really wants to know the truth. And when we invited him to pray it was the best prayer I have ever heard for someone who has had maybe two lessons in his life. He said it is easy, because you just speak from your heart. Isn't that true. Such an easy way to communicate with our Father in Heaven. Sometimes I wonder why we take it for granted! It is a way we can talk about all our problems and concerns with our Father who loves us so much. He is a way awesome guy and I can't wait to teach him more. We are actually meeting with Rote again so about time the New Year kinda messed things up but she is still doing pretty good! Way happy for her! We are acutally teaching a guy name Not today in a little bit. He is great. Has a family of 4 and is really open to meeting. We found him just by him riding his bike past us and he said hello. Then he asked us to go to his house. So pretty fun stuff.  We are also starting to try and visit a recent converts brother who lives in our area. So we are trying to teach him. I can't remember his name. I have only met him once but things are going way good! Yesterday at Ward Council the Bishop invited everyone in the ward to invite 2 of there friends a month to learn about the Church. Whether it is through activities or something. Just introduce the Gospel to them. So it is a very awesome thing that will really help missionary work.
So we visited a lot of members this week. We visited Sister Gong and Brother Boon John. They are awesome. To people who really help this ward function the way it does. So we really appreciate them. We also visited our Senior Couple! The Marvels! They are so awesome. They love missionary work and they invited us over and we helped strengthen them. IT was so good. They really want to help us teach so we are going out to teach investigators and members with them on Sunday. They have such a great conversion story. They are so fun, they even told me to encourage my parents to go on one because the are the best experiences. I told them that my parents plan on it:) maybe in a few years. So ya they are thinking about another one after this. They are from Ogden and she actually did a lot of the Landscaping in Farmington, because she is a small buisness owner and they had a contract to hire a small business so they did. haha! So she knows a lot about where we are from. It was a great day. We also met with the Bishops family! And we met there son Boy. He is so cool. He isn't a member because he lives in the South of Thailand and can't learn. But we gave him a BOM and invited him to read it. We also played UNO so thanks for the Cards! They love playing it here. But they acutally don't have it here. I think you can only find it at imported places. So ya they loved it! really fun and acutally felt like an American FHE!

I also went on Switchoffs this week. It was so awesome. I went with the Zone Leaders in Asok. Or Downtown Bangkok. So really cool. We are really trying to simplify the way we teach. So the Thai people can understand better. They dont understand Gospel words like Restoration, Baptism and Dispensations. So we are trying to simplify because most people here unless they are Christian or have studied before don't really get what these words mean.   Well thanks for everything. I am out of Time! Have a great week! Love you!

Elder Landon Simonsen

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Glad to be in Thailand

Sawadii Khrab!

Wow I am sure glad that I am in Thailand right now! Sounds freezing over there! And I guess I realized how nice it is not walking outside to warm up the car. I might just move here! Naah! Even though it is cold. I have experienced both and there is nothing better than having seasons. Because without the cold. No spring or fall! Probably the best two things.   Football in the fall. Throwing Shot Put in the spring. haha! Anyway enough trunky business. I still have a year and  a lot more rice to eat! yay! Plus side, I can now make Thai food! So that is what I make on Sundays. I know how to make curry and basic dishes. But it is still cheaper to eat out at restaurants here. So ya! But got some news for ya! With all the new missionaries coming in they moved the week we have transfers. They are moving transfers ahead two weeks. So we have a four week transfer I think in two transfers. The one before April where we get the huge group!  So ya that is fun fact. Also I must comment that is really awesome about Sara and Mckenna they are both going to the same mission or just the same country? Anyway it is super cool to see so many people leaving on missions right now. I can't believe it! Really fun. It is one of the best things you can do in your life. It is an opportunity that everyone should take. The only time you can serve the Lord with all your heart, might, mind, and strength. Bottom line only time of your life you can dedicate to serving others. Which we did this week!

After that a pretty typical week. English on Tuesday. Taught investigators. Planned for a long time. haha! and did service on Saturday. Met some ward families this week. K so first I think I will talk about is Investigators. Well our zone got challenged to have 12 baptisms this month. So the rule is two times at church. So they all needed to come to church on Sunday. Well guess what we called everyone. Formers, potentials, investigators. Anyone we felt would come to church. Most of them promised they would come to. And guess what! Only 1 came to church.  Besides that we had tons of people that said they were going to church and for some reason or another nothing happened.

As for our investigators, Pee is doing good. We extended another date with him. He says he believes these things. But he just wants to know more. He wants to know it all. We explained to him, even though we are missionaries. I love the translation into Thai. "Person who teaches religion". You think that we probably know everything. And well we don't. We need to study everyday like everyone else. In order to grow, learn, advance. You need to study the scriptures everyday. If you read one verse. Analyze the verse, understand the verse perfectly. We encouraged him to read Joseph Smith testimony in the beginning of the Book of Mormon. Because this helped me understand the Book of Mormon so much. It helped me gain a testimony of it. And I know it will help him. So besides him we met a few people on the street that we have talked with. This week we want to meet them again. So we met. Go said with a ^ tone, different from my recent convert Go said like a "v" or valley tone. So ok. He is cool he sells food on the road. Sat down and talked with him for 5 minutes. He invited us to come back. So hopefully we can go visit him. We also met a guy from English named Rong he wanted to come to church. He didn't come which was sad. But he still wants to meet us.

So last Monday we got stuck in the Bangkok traffic and were sitting next to a Cop he is awesome. We taught him there on the spot. We even gave him a Book of Mormon. He was really interested but he just is really busy.  We are working with a girl named Niw she is I think 18. She is a friend of Toffee who we are teaching. She is really interested and called us last night and asked to meet with her before English. I love to see people who come to us, it shows us that God is preparing people all the time. We still are trying really hard to find a solid pool of investigators. We are working with lots of people but for some reason we are only able to meet one or two times with all these guys. It is kinda hard and sometimes a little frustrating. We are meeting with people. But we aren't finding that person who just is ready to give it there all.  It is really fun to see the roller coaster rides of the mission. How times are going super great and you have a ton of investigators. To times where you don't have any. We have investigators but it is just crazy how in missionary work. Things are never in one direction. It goes up and down. But as I said earlier. These experiences are to test you, everyone needs to be humbled. It definitely is such a great experience to be able to help others.

So about helping others. Probably the highlight of last week. Or on Saturday. It was children's day in Thailand! Ya! Anyway super fun. We got to go as a zone to the princes old palace which is a museum of money and currency and stuff. But it is next to a bank. So the bank sponsored this activity. Everything is free. In the whole country. They have little parties and carnival type things. Where the children to ages 15 get free treats, food and everything. So we went to this place. And we did the game where you tie a balloon to a string and then tie it to your ankle. Then try to step on the other peoples balloons. We used a lot of balloons there were between 2 to 3 thousand people who came to this one. So we were blowing up balloons all morning before it started. haha! we had little pumps we used. The office Elders are sending out the pictures this week. So I can show you them next week. But it was a blast. Most of the Elders would play. And then they would always call me "The Giant" haha! Very fun. It was a great day. We helped with the soccer station and the bag station and it was great. really good time. I don't know if I mention already we also deep cleaned the church a week ago. That was fun.

So fun stuff. We have also been visiting members like a ton. And I realized in Thailand if you want to get fed a lot. Make a calender and have members sign it for the time they are free. Because we did that for this month. And have gotten a ton of food appointments. Thai people love making food. Any event and there is food.  But really fun. I wish I did this calendar thing in my last area. We go and learn a lot about the members and then about 90% of the time they feed you. Amazing. Im just kidding the food is good. But I really just like making the bonds with the members. That is what is more important. And I saw that today. Sister Mamm my recent convert wrote me and I got her letter today. She is doing really good. I am super glad to hear from her. Also Sister Wiganda who got her appendics out last Sunday evening. We went and spent an hour with her last P-day to cheer her up. So I went and she said I had to leave cuz I made her laugh too much and it hurt. I guess I just love bringing smiles to the hospital! haha! Made me want to be a fun Doctor when I grow up. I did the typical glove on the head. And the Thai nurse walked in. Way funny. Also saw a few members from Srinakarin because Sister Wiganda's Older Sister lives in that ward. So she told me about Sister Yupin and her daughter and stuff. And how Sister Yupin is determined to make me food because now her family is so much happier. Haha! It is really cool to see her family come unto the Gospel.

Well anyway I am about out of time here. So I want to wish you all a happy week and good time!

Elder Landon SImonsen

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Hello from Thailand

Hello Family!
Happy New Year! Well it was an excellent week here in Thailand! I guess I will start off Monday New Years Eve. We actually got to go to family home evening with the ward it was really fun. We ended up getting home at 7:30 because the members kept stuffing food in our hands! Well something crazy I woke up at 12 because all the sudden it felt like WW2 and we were getting bombed. So I went over to the window and I saw atleast 25 places shooting off Fireworks within a probably 10 Mile radius. New Years is way bigger here than in America! That is for sure! You could here fireworks until about 12:30 then they stopped. But it was crazy. To look out the window and see everyone shooting off fireworks cuz they aren't illegal to buy Mortars and stuff so everyone has them. It is cool. Fun experience. And I am not exaggerating they love the New Years. They usually take off about 5 days for the holiday.

So on Tuesday we had English class and 5 people showed up. Because well it is New Years. Pretty crazy stuff. But fun. So anyway we have this new thing in our mission to help us stay motivated to talk with people about the gospel. You count how many people you say hi to in a day. How many people you serve in a day. How many people you talk to about the gospel and they reject you a day. And how many people commit to do something in a day (come to English, church, learn, etc.) So it is really fun to see I guess how much we do in a day. So I guess it helped us realize that we need to be doing a lot more than we do. They did this to help us get away from knocking doors and to help us street contact. So we walked down the street. Follow the Spirit as mom talked about! That is the key part! You definately can't talk to everyone. But if you follow the spirit. He will guide you to those who are ready or need to hear the gospel. So anyway It was really awesome. We went to a hospital to do service. They gave us a list of things we could do. And told us to come back during the week. Cuz we went on Saturday. So we are doing that tomorrow! I started to help this old lady set out her fruit at a stand and she kept complimenting me about my Thai and stuff. It was really interesting. We serve all the time. But I usually don't think to much about it. But it was really fun to see and count how many times we serve others a day. We helped push this guys motorcycle down the street when it wouldn't start. Carry people boxes. I carried a huge bag of rice for a Older Lady that was carrying it herself. I guess it was just interesting to see what we actually do in a week. I never really talk about it that much but it is something I have done my whole mission. But it is something that you don't really think about because when you are a mission you don't think about yourself. Ever. That is a fact. You always no matter where you are look to serve others. That is a huge thing that I realize. And I want to write more about those experiences, cuz I don't really, but I do them everyday. Usually they aren't hard things but every little act of service means something to that person.

So lately we have been visiting tons of members and we went out and visited some. And guess what they gave us referralls. The thing is we actually gave it to the sister missionaries. His name is O. He is from Cambodia. The day after Christmas Sister Nguwen/ Nuwen came to our area. She got hit by a car and broke her leg. Then she had surgery, got infected. Long story short she has been in our district I just forgot to tell you. She came the day after we skyped. She is really awesome. She is from Cambodia also. So well we put two and two together. And a mission moto we have. One Team, One Mission. So invite everywhere you go. Because it shouldn't matter who gets the glory. Because we want all our brothers and sisters to follow Christs example and be baptized. So well we gave him over. Well funny thing is. The next day. We met Sawong he is awesome! he came to church yesterday. He is a referral from a lady in the ward that served a mission about 35 years ago. Still doing missionary work! Awesome! So we got to meet him. Really interested guy. Liked church a lot. We also have been teaching our security guard at our Condo.  So weird. But he is coming along. Nice guy hard hours to teach him. I hope that we can get him to start learning more. Usually we just talk to him as we are leaving or coming back.

So Apichad is doing great! Also we found a guy yesterday named Ott. He is cool. He has biked around Thailand four times. Is Christian and lives with 20 other people. We met him outside getting ready to ride. Which is weird cuz his house was in the middle of no where. But kinda funny when you make plans to do something how the Lord will place those people in your path at that right moment. Really interesting. But it shows the importance of having a plan for the day so you can see those blessings that the Lord will place in your path. He is really cool I got to play with his pet Gibbon (a monkey with no tail.) Nicest thing in the world! It would pet my head and I would pet it's head. Really fun. But then we went in and talk with the guy so I didn't get to take a picture with it! But it was awesome!

So anyway one way my testimony grew this week is that I realized that God has his time for everyone. Everything has God's hand in it. I know that every time we go out into the world whether it be in Utah, Thailand, or wherever. God puts people in your path. Not necessarily for you to share the gospel. But to serve. To love. To help your fellow Brothers and Sisters. I was reading in Doctrine and Covenants section 88:43 and 44. Says,"And their courses are fixed, even the courses of the heavens and the earth, which comprehend the earth and all the planets. And they give light to each other in their times and in their seasons, in their minutes, in their hours, in their days, in their weeks, in their months, in their years--all these are one year with God, but not with man." Goes on in the section to talk about how the Lord works with each of the 12 servants each for an hour. But I like those two verses. How I interpreted it in my head. Is man can't comprehend what God has in store for us. That things will happen in there own due time. According to God's time, not to mans. But it showed me that my time here is so so short. And I know that God places people in my path everyday who need to hear the gospel. It is their time to hear it. It all depends on that one instant in time. It is like street contacting. If you miss talking to a person and then you think. I should have talked to them. It is usually to late. It made me realize I need to take advantage of every moment that God gives me to serve his children. I love it here. I am so thankful to be a missionary. I know that God watches out for me.

 Well I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Love Elder Landon Simonsen