Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Phu Chi Fa-Mountain Hike!

Hello Everyone!

So today we went to Phu Chi Fa! Like the tallest mountain in Thailand! It was way fun! We woke up at 3 in the morning! To see the sunrise! Way fun! Great day. And actually after we are going Bowling and getting haircuts! Woo! Well Hello Governor! How is jolly good old England! that seems way awesome I totally want to go someday. Sounds great. I forgot to tell you about the White Temple we went to last week. It is a kinda art work! And then there were some other significant things! But it was way cool. Kinda interesting.

So let me tell you about the week it was pretty fun! Well to start off. My tire got a wire in it. So we went around for like a day riding with Elder Wilko riding on the back of his bike. I attached a picture! Way funny. We looked so funny. But at English class we had 12 new people! It was so good! We have about 30 people right now. The week before I came we had 5. So we are really improving it! So good! Hopefully we can get more! But the class is awesome.  It is way fun because Elder Saunders from my MTC district teaches with me in the Intermediate Class.

So we found 3 new investigators this week. 1 Napat works for some company called Unicity and she let us teach her. Then after she told her about her job.   But we found her friend Jame yes Jame not james. Anyway so he is way cool and has a family, he just isn't free that much. But is pretty interested. But the biggest blessing we saw. Is from Pawn or Blessing in English. So anyway he accepted a baptismal date for March 10. He is doing pretty good. He has to work on Sunday's right now,. But he really wants to know the truth! So hopefully he stays strong.  We have been doing a ton of LA work because well we want a church building in Chiang Rai. And we need 80 people to have one. So we need members so we are trying to bring them back.
Well so on switchoffs this week Elder Saunders and I went to the owner of our houses store.  She was speaking in the Northern language with Elder Saunders the whole time. I am still learning it. But I can follow. haha! She is way awesome. We talked a little bit. And they are way nice.  But we do know that her family was part of the 1st 10 people that started the church in Chiang Rai. So we want to get them back. We also worked with our Elders Quorum President.  We visisted a few others but it was a way good week! So ya it has been way fun working with the Branch here, they are all way helpful and great people. We have been encouraged by the District Counselor to have Mutual! So he told the Elders that we need to start doing mutual and that it is our responcibility to make sure it works. They are really pushing Youth programs here to help them stay active and go on missions. So it will be good. I will keep you posted on it. We already have a sports night every Saturday and are able to mingle with the members it really helps us get to know each other. Also working with Elder Wilko has been a blast. He is a great missionary.  We are working hard and blessings are soon to come. We have a baptismal dater and I know things will keep going up as long as we stay obedient so it has been really great.

I guess that is about it next week. I sent another e-mail so hopefully you got it! It sounds like everything is going great.  In Thailand they drive on the left side I hope it isn't weird getting back into the habbit of the other side. Well for one thing we get fed but not a lot. If we schedule appointments we will get fed. But we need to schedule them, members love feeding missionaries. It is part of the culture here to feed others. And they take lots of pride in having people eat their food. Well I am going to send some pictures a little from last week. The Thai guy with us is our driver. He gives us a way good deal! And then he helps us get to the destination. Last week was 6 dollars a person for the waterfall and temple. But we all paid 8. That sounds cheap but in Baht it adds up way quicker. then this week. 15 dollars a person. But it was a 2 hour drive. Still in our area! haha! K have a great week!
Love you all!

Elder Landon Simonsen

Monday, February 11, 2013

Waterfalls and White Temple

Hey Family and Friends!

So hey everyone I guess first off I realized I spelled Chiang Rai wrong every time last e-mail:) haha! Anyway besides that this week was awesome! The other Elders had two baptisms on Sunday! It was way fun to see that because the lady who was baptized named Nee me and Elder Wilko helped a lot! She will help the branch a lot! As for my companionship things are a little slow. Basically we compare Chiang Rai to Kaysville, Utah. haha! All the streets have random names and you can't find them without a map.  We just remember Landmarks and give roads names like Dragon Road and Stuff. But we know the area pretty well. We haven't been out of the city yet but I am really hoping to soon. We first want to build a foundation of the city before we move on to the province. So for investigators we do this thing where we go and find LA's and then when asking for directions or something we just talk to everyone. So basically we try to multi-task all the time. We have a lot of people that are interested and we have an appointment with lots of people tomorrow because they want to come to English. We are still working with Nam and we are teaching a new person today at five. Natapawn. So it will be way fun.

English class is awesome we have been really promoting it since we have been here. Signs, flyers, passing out cards. So we bumped it up to about 20 people. Way better than 5 people the week before! So things are going good! This area is really great. I can say know that there really is nothing harder than opening an area and not having investigators.  They don't come easy, thats for sure. But this Branch is so good at helping us teach and giving referrals. All of the referrals have just been in the other area. But hey we are working hard and I know if we will be obedient and keep having faith we will find!

So yesterday at church President Senior, Sister Senior, Pres. Seniors sister and family and then Pres. Senior parents came to church. Then a family of 5 that where vacationing came! It was crazy! But way fun to translate. Also they said they would be calling. Their names are The Johnson's and then the Seniors they live in Utah and said they would call you! So look out! haha! They were awesome people and it was a blast to translate for them. It was a great day and they got to be here for the baptisms. President Senior came up to interview 6 people to go to the temple this year. so that is way awesome to see people go through the temple and help them prepare!

So today we went up to a waterfall! Way beautiful! Then we came down to a White Temple it was way fun and cool! The weather is awesome here!  Well it sounds like everything is good! Also Elder Wilko said his little sister is way good friends with hunter. I think her name is liz! So ya! small world! Way fun! Well love you lots and I should have more time next week! But I want to send some pictures!

Elder Landon Simonsen

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Pull out the Map! I'm in Chiang Rai!

Hello Family and Friends!

Well let me tell you a little about the craziest week I have ever had in the mission. Well I guess first thing first I'm not in Bangkok anymore! I am in Chaing Rai. The coolest place in Thailand! So beautiful and there are mountains and it is freezing in the morning! Most people actually wear snow coats, beanies, scarfs, and stuff! It is also how you think of Thailand mountains, jungles, far away secluded. Basically it is way awesome!

My companion is Elder Taylor Wilko from Davis High School lives in Kaysville!. He is so awesome and way good at the Language. He is just like me. He loves sports, he played Tennis for Weber State! He was trained by Elder Wright who was in the MTC with me. We are going to have a lot of fun and hard work. Why hard work. Well we opened and white washed the area. There have been only 2 Elders in Chaing Rai for about 12 years or so. So a long time. So my District leader is Elder Saunders he is from my MTC group. So we got up here we had to split off, so we could get home. And a 13 hour bus ride later. 3 hours away from any other Elders here we lie. So ya we are the farthest north and away you can be as an Elder in Thailand.

We have 1 investigator right now! Yay! We taught her yesterday. Her name is Nam (like water). So this whole week we have been advertising our English program we only had 5 people last week at it. So the Branch is awesome. We have about an average of 35 to 40 people a week. We had 45 this week but that is because a missionaries family came up. But this is a great branch they were so happy to see Elders come up. They really are pushing this area. So we want to make President Senior proud. We want a Temple and we need Stakes and Wards. So they are strengthning this area. Yesterday was fast and testimony meeting and all the members bore testimony about how having 4 Elders is a blessing from God so we can get a Ward and a Church building eventually. Right now we are in a rented building.

So as for other news. They let in 4 of our missionaries into Laos for service opportunities and to strengthen the branch we have there. One of the missionaries is Elder Wright from the MTC I have a picture with him and Elder Davies. It is a great opportunity for them to strengthen the Branch. They finally have finished a full translation of the Lao Book of Mormon. So we are seeing a ton of miracles.

President Senior sent us the following:

By invitation, the Thailand Bangkok Mission received approval to have four young service volunteers to labor in Vientiane, Laos. These service volunteers will work with Deseret International Charities under the direction of the Senior Couples who are located in Vientiane, and will be involved in a variety of humanitarian and educational service opportunities, including clean water projects, hygiene, neo-natal education and English language instruction. The young volunteers will also support the Branch activities of the Laotian Saints in Vientiane, Laos. The Church is not yet officially recognized in Laos and this recent activity is for the purpose of providing additional educational and humanitarian service.”

Ok so ya that is awesome! By the way I am going to have some great P-days up here. Look up Chaing Rai Thailand. There are so many foreigners who come here. I have met a ton of people from the states already. So it is awesome. Today we aren't doing anything special. But next week we are going to the Golden Triangle. It is a place where the borders of Laos, Myanmar and Thailand meet. The week after that The White Temple, ostrich riding, waterfalls. So many beautiful things here. Today we are just going Bowling. Chilling. Then after that we are going to organize and clean our house! Because we don't have desks yet. Because there used to just be two Elders. But it is a huge house.

This area is one of the oldest areas in the mission. My area is the whole Province of Chaing Rai. We usually just stay in the main city Chaing Rai. But it is so awesome! Nicest place ever. President Smith (my last mission president) called it the Celestial Kingdom. I believe that Elder Wilko and I will see lots of success I don't doubt that we were called to open this area for a reason! I think we finally know how to kinda get around. The Church is a 15 minute bike ride away. The city isn't to hard to naviagte cuz it feels like a small town. Very peacful. like Cordelane, Idaho.

K enough about Chaing Rai. Sounds like an awesome week for you guys! Kira sounds like she is doing good and talking a lot! Ryan and Lauren are close to having another baby! Wow! Lauren are you quiting at Delta? Cam and Serena sound like they are doing good! Serena sounds like a boss in school! So Cam what exactly are boards? Sounds like everyone is doing great! Super Bowl! Balitmore sounded pretty good! Funny Commercials!

Well this week I don't have to much to else to report on. We are just really trying to get familiar with the branch. Fun story you know Bishop Brajack from my Greenie area. Then his brother Brother Boon Chuay in Bangna. Now I am serving with the 3rd brother in that family. Brother Sud Jay. Way fun! THey are all brothers and I have served in All 3 places! This branch is awesome. President Senior is doing interviews next week at church. So we will see him. I hope he likes 13 hour bus rides. It is like I was serving in Utah then got transfered to California. It is fun. really cool zone. Way spread out. But I am excited so we are working really hard and have been passing out flyers for free English all week. Since we started the area book. There is nothing in it except Nam and we have taught her once. She is from our english class.

K well that is about it for the week here. Elder Wilko is a good cook and made us dinner last night! We spent forever cleaning the kitchen because no one used it in about 6 months because it is a big house for 2 Elders to maintain. We have like 3 couches and 6 wardrobes. It is way exciting and I feel like I am in the real Thailand!

The last little bit in Bangna was awesome I got a bunch of e-mail addresses and facebooks of lots of members. We went out and got some BBQ Thai style! Way fun! The members are so awesome there!

And Happy Birthday to Grandma! This week! I am getting a card in the mail. But I actually found the post offfice yesterday haha! So know that a letter is coming, but I don't know how long it will take from here. So:) thanks love you!


Elder Landon Simonsen