Monday, June 24, 2013

Chaing Mai is on Fire! (Not literally)

Hey family,

Elder Landon Simonsen here. Reporting on a great week. We saw so many blessings this past week it wasn't even crazy. I don't know if I told you or not but here in the Thailand Bangkok mission we just dissolved area's. We found we were losing investigators when you just getting hitting them back and forth between missionaries like a ping pong ball. So anyway no more areas. Obviously in the boundaries of where you are serving. But you can go anyway in Chaing Mai or your prosleyting area and talk with everyone. So now there is no reason to not talk with people because they probably don't live in your area. And guess what we saw a ton of success with this. Our areas are on Fire right now. We are finding new investigators like crazy because you don't need to worry if you will teach them or not. Obviously there are some exceptions and you work within the province or general area. But it is so awesome to talk with everyone.

So starting off. We found a way awesome guy at the Bowling alley. Named Tiw. He is cool to early to tell, but in our mission we are allowed to go and play sports or do activities with people and then teach them after. It is what we call Ping Pong Baptisms. Because you go and play sports and be normal to show we are normal people and then teach them when you are done. So we are doing this at the bowling alley. Note this is our first week teaching him but it should be fun. haha! Free bowling? I don't know. Anyway After that Awm and Arm are doing great! They have read to 1 Nephi 18 already. So it is fun they are so interested and they are absorbing the Gospel great! Plus they introduced a friend named Meew she is cool. But we aren't sure how interested she is. But she loves praying and prophets so it is good. She accpeted a date for July 20th as well. She came to church yesterday. Saw went to church in Bangkok. Which happened to be Stake Conference. Which was way exciting for her. And also pretty good because I gave her over to Elder Davies who is in Bangkok. He is ZL in Asok where they had Stake Conference so he got to teach her. So she is also introducing her family to the Gospel as well. She said she will be coming back up hopefully in 2 weeks. But until then Elder Davies is teaching her. So way good. We also had the coolest experience this week. Elder Cosper was here in Chaing Mai with Elder Slaught on Thursday for switchoff's When I was in Lambang and Elder Cosper is the best at talking with everyone. So he said hi to a guy from India named Rameze. And he said he talked about having a better family life and stuff through Christ. So anyway, on Sunday in walks Rameze he loved it. He stayed for both sessions of Church and I ran home to grab my English Book of Mormon for him. Cuz we don't really have any to pass out. So I gave him one I have marked in but it is still the word of God. But he was talking about how he had a dream the night before about seeing the white missionaries who could speak Thai and right when he woke up he came to church. It was so cool. He is a stud. He has a baptismal date for July 20th. We taught him with Brother Alex who just got back from Japan Tokyo temple. Where he was sealed with his wife. It was awesome. He has the best testimony ever! So strong. I love him! He is the guy from Italy and has the coolest accent in the world. But I loved hearing about his journey and how he talked about he is now a complete person who has been baptized, endowed and sealed. SO it was great! He is awesome. They are having a child here soon and are way happy to have it born in the covenant of eternal marriage.

Things here are going so great! We are seeing lots of miracles from the Hand of the Lord. This next week we are going to go teach English at a college. President Senior wants us to work at North Chaing Mai university because younger people are receptive to the Gospel. We teach 6 hours a week. We have talked with the Dean over there. We actually had connections through a member who lived in the U.S. for 40 years. And there are a few BYU students doing interns up there. So it will be a great opportunity to serve.

Switchoff's Were great I was with Elder Heras in Lambang. The area is really booming. I am interviewing a 9 year old named Eud for baptism on Wedneday. Then a person for Sis. Rodrigues and Yim on Thursday. So I have a good busy week and my district should hopefully be having two baptisms this week. I know it isn't like mexico but hey! It is great! I love Thailand and I love the Thai people and also all the children of the Lord who we come into contact with. 
Well I love you family and have a great week!

Elder Landon Simonsen

Monday, June 17, 2013

Happy Fathers Day

Dearest Family and Friends,

Wow first of all looks like some seriously good food! What is a smore? Sounds made up. jk. I know you got the Grahm, the mallow, and the chocolate. Sounds delicious. Can't get it here. Sounds like Fathers Day was Great! So I hope everyone reading this knows that I love them and Happy Fathers Day.Still can't believe it has already been a month since we skyped at Mothers Day. Where has time gone? Goodness! And Dad glad to hear you are still playing B-Ball! 

Not to mention Good luck to Cam on the Boards. Sounds intense but you will do great bro! And Serena is awesome! Way hard worker! Keep it up girl because you will be rewarded in the end! Hope you two are doing great! Happy one year anniversary again! Way cool! One year down and eternity to go!

Well so I am glad to report that this past week was amazing. I could possibly say the best week of my mission so far. We saw so many miracles and saw so many blessings. Where to start. Well I will start with อ้อม(Awm) and her younger brother อาร์ม(Arm) Arm is 15 and Awm is 19 they are so cool. We have been working with Chad he is an RC/LA who lives next door to them. He is from a hill tribe called Galiang AKA The Long Neck Tribe.  It is actually not practiced as much (putting rings on your neck.) but they are still out there. I have only seen one person out in public with the rings on their neck. Anyway Awm and Arm came to church this last week. They are so great!  So I am way stoked! They are awesome! 

Not only that but we also met a way awesome person named Saw สา She is awesome way cool. She actually was a walk into church on Thursday when we were meeting with an LA เบิ้ม (Bewm) A 25 year old lady (Saw) came over to the room we were in knocked on the door. And up hill from there. We taught her about pray and everything. She actually said she was meditating and something told her to come to this church and learn. And we just happened to be there on that day. haha! Way cool. Anyway we gave her a Book of Mormon and she read Joseph Smith's Testimony. Loved it. Called us the next day and wanted to meet right away. So we did. Then she came to 5 hours of church on Sunday because she loved it. She wants to get baptized and she loves the Spirit. And She has a desire and we can work with that! So it is really cool! I am excited! Plus Sowm(Man making Thai names into English is so hard!) Combine So with mmmm. He is doing really good. Really wants to know why our church is different than other ones. He said in Thailand we have three christian sects. Catholic, Protestant, and Christian. haha! He was like which one are you? I was like none of them. And he was confused. Then, as usual you explain how we are the true church that was restored not a sect. So it was really fun. 

This week we had some great opportunities to serve! We mowed the lawn in the Garden of Eden. Way good fruit there! We helped an older lady in the ward with her huge garden! and She has every Thai Fruit you can thing of. Mango's, Coconuts, Mango Steen, rose apples, star fruit...etc. Way cool. I forgot to get a picture but all four of us Elder had way sweet Thai hats on. They actually looked mexican but way cool. haha! Then on Saturday we cut the Branch Presidents lawn with clippers. Yes those things you use for bushes at home. Was it fun. Hmmm. Kinda. But the most important thing was we made a good relationship with the Branch President. He is a great guy. He has a great desire for the branch to be better, so we go and serve him a lot. It is really good. He is a really nice guy.  So we do are best and he likes us. So it is really good. Things are great in the branch right now. We are actually preparing things to build a 2nd chapel here in Chiang Mai. Thailand. They should be splitting into three branches next year. So really awesome! This next week we are going to go look at a plot of Land with the Elders Quorum president! So good good! Things are going up and the work is progressing here. As for the daters we had. Well...lets say the Lord gives man there agency. That includes agency in learning and changing religions. We know we tried our best to help them know that we have the restored priesthood authority on the earth today. And through faith, repentance, baptism, etc.  So we know we did our best in the end. And in the end the church is still true! Plus we saw so many different miracles this week. The Lord blesses our lives so much!

Thanks for all the e-mails! Loved them and I hope that you all have a great week!

Elder Landon Simonsen

P.S. In Sacrament I had a girl from my BYU singles ward there! haha! Sarah. She is cool. I remember we actually hung out a few times in college. So haha! Small world. She is actually engaged to one of the people over here doing an internship. David Covey. haha! So it was way funny. Because I completely forgot her name and was like why does she look familiar. But she remembered me, Joe, Mike and was like man you guys were hilarious! It was way fun being in your ward! So props to my bro's out there for being great!! Well that is about it! Kinda funny experience!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Testify of Christ

Man crazy week! It went so fast! First off congrats to Cam and Serena 1 whole year! Wow! Sophia 5 weeks old! Things are flying by! Nancy and Randy Sweet! Texas Road House sounds delicious! And that is a pretty sweet garden at Lauren's house!

K so on with the week! This week was way great! Right now we have two daters! One is from english! His name is Boo. As in Hey BooBoo Where is the pickanic basket. Ya he is cool! So doing great. Has a date for the 30th. Then Brame.  We are also teaching a guy named Som. He is actually a guy raised up at a buddhist temple. An orphan. He is way cool. He is way interested! We also have an FHE with President Som Chay's family on Saturday. We are going to teach his older brother's family. 

Anyway this past week we had Zone Conference. Everyone got to get interviewed by Pres. Senior. Way awesome. The Conference was on Diligence, Desire, and Duty. So as you can imagine way good. I actually got to speak at Zone Conference on Diligence. So I guess I must have done something right or he thinks I need more diligence. Haha! It was way good. I was talking to president Senior because well I don't know if you noticed but our baptisms here in Chiang Mai are flowing away like water. It isn't sad. It is just the truth. So we talked about helping the ward and I was like we have only seen two baptisms in the last 2 quarters and we are trying really hard to get more. And he told me that I was called here to help the branch and help LA's return. And to stregthen the RC's to stay strong. It was really interesting. But if you have noticed we have been helping LA's a lot.  We are helping so many people come back. It is weird cuz at times I feel like I could be doing more. But when I look back. I see how when I got to this branch we had an average of 35 people attending sacrament. We just barely had 79 people in sacrament this past week. Trust me it isn't me doing the work. It is the Lord preparing these people to come back. We now officilly have enough priesthood in our branch to be qualified for a ward. When I got here we had about 8 priesthood coming. We have about 18 or 19 Melcheldick priesthood (missionaries and everyone) so things have turned a lot and we know that the Lord called us here not only to find and baptize but to strengthen people. It is funny because the question everyone asks you when you get home is how many people did you baptize. Not how many people did you help come back into the fold of Christ. Don't take this like we don't want baptisms because we want them! And we had the best zone conference ever! In fact. On Friday. We had a whole day dedicated to contacting and prosleyting! Where we talked to every person we saw and bore testimony to them. It was so great! Always bear testimony of the living Christ. So great! I loved it! It made me have a different out look on talking to people. Let them know your message and why you are hear. We aren't English teachers. But we teach about Christ and Salvation through his name. So it was the best day ever. We bore testimony to 39 people. So it was way good. Loved it! We went to the Univesity here and bore testimony. We figured that is the most receptive group to our message. So it was great!

Then on Saturday we got to go and visit Alex Bedino he is a stud! He is from Italy his wife is Thai but studied college in Italy and they met there. He has a way cool conversion story! And they are preparing to go through the temple next week. And guess who was their temple prep teachers. Yep you got it. The missionaries! haha! We read from the pamphlets and books and helped them both understand the message. He even cooked us authentic Italian food! Way good! So it was exciting. They are also having a baby soon. So it was so fun to talk about the sealing in the temple and how happy they were to be with their baby for eternity. He is the strongest member. I admire him a lot. In a lot of ways he reminds me of Cam but with an Italian accent. Plus they both teach us Italian. So way cool. Sister Dye his wife actually spoke in church with me and Sister Orchard yesterday.  Way good! That family is great I will send a pick of them!

Yesterday we had church and it was great. I also had to translate the lesson into Thai because Alex was teaching about the temples! They are going to the Tokyo temple and he really loved studying and teaching about the temple. He just barely passed his year mark as a member and he gave his first lesson in Thai! Way fun.

Well family that is about it for the week! Nothing to much. English was great this past week and we are finding lots of investigators. The District found a total of 22 new investigators last week! Way good! I have a great hard working district so I might reward them with something we call Tim Tam slams! That is the cookies and milk thing. They are a great hard working District and as always a priviledge to serve with them!

Well Thanks for the great tips on being an influence it is so true! I need to be better everyday and be an example. The church in Thailand needs great examples and they look up to us as being strong and faithful members. I don't want to disappoint them. This past week we went to a wedding for a couple members and I learned their story about how both of their families disowned them for joining the church and then doing a christian wedding. Honestly they look up to us. But they are the ones who show so much faith who I admire and I love to see their faith in Christ is greater than their fear of men. Always be a testament of Christ in your actions. Stand out, be different, let those people know you are a Mormon and you are proud of it! I am so happy to be here and serve in Chiang Mai. I love the people here in this branch and area! They are the best!

Love you all.
Elder Landon Simonsen

P.S. We have about 150-160 missionaries right now. Fun fact. There are 18 coming in next transfer. Followed by two groups of 20 plus people! so way good! We will see a growth of missionaries here! I love you and have a great week!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Another great week in Thailand

สวัสดีครับ ครอบครว,

How are you all this week? Seems so great! I have now been Graduated two years. Wow. Congrats to Nancy and Randy(I finally have your name down:)) On Friday way cool. Sorry I can't be there but I give you my blessing.

Ok so on with the week! What a great week! So way cool story. We found a man (The LA we helped come back) has been LA for 13 years and 2 months exactly. Cool part...He collected all of his tithing and fast offerings for those 13 years and 2 months and paid them yesterday at church! If I don't know a strong member. I would say that he is. When I saw him walk into church with that bright smile. You knew he was a changed man. He truly knows who's church he belongs to. I learned the importance of tithing from him. And how we owe God so much for all the blessings he gives us. For some reason he didn't come to church, but even though he didn't come to church didn't mean he didn't believe Christ was his savior. So he made sure that he would give back to Christ as much as he could. It was way cool to see.

This past week we have been working on setting realistic goals. Goals that mean something. Because often times we set a goal that is in reality a vision. For everything in life we have a vision, to be a doctor, a parent, to have a car, a house, anything. All of those are visions. Not goals. And to get those visions we need goals. If we want to get a baptism(our vision) we need to set goals that are real, heart felt. And that will be stepping blocks to help us get to that vision. It is a really interesting concept but we are finding lots of great people right now! So are diligence is starting to pay off. So on Friday we got a call from Brame and he was like I want to come to church. So we were like ok.. we didn't call to remind him because we wanted it to all be on him. So then he came stayed all three hours and after church we talked and he wants to be baptized. He said he know that these things are good. And he wants them in his life. Also we are working with another person. Her name is Awm or Arm with a w. haha! Anyway she is a friend of an RC/LA. Who we are working with. The RC/LA is named Chawd and his is way cool. 20 and goes to college. A little shy. but wants to come to church. He can come to church next week. And his friend Awm lives next door to him and wants to come to church as well. So way good.

So the work is going great! The branch is great! we had 73 at church and 11 in Elders Quorum best number yet! So things are going up and we are maintaining! So really good! Working with Elder Cosper is awesome he is a great hard worker and we are seeing lots of success. I am blessed to be working with him! Fun Story real quick! We were visiting an LA and standing at the gate! Here in Thailand every house has a gate or a cement wall. The cement walls have glass bottles broken and built into the top to make it spiky. So as we were standing at an LA's house, his wall was way short about waist high. But anyway I felt prompted to talk about how there was glass on the wall. Even though we all know about it, and it was dumb to talk about it. So I was like, "Dude, why does every wall have glass bottles on it?" He looks down and see the wall and then on his foot a huge king scorpion the size of his hand! haha! On his shoe! Way crazy! THen I learned to follow promptings even if they seem weird! haha! So way funny. didn't get stung. but huge and black!

So anyway last monday we went to a snake show. Cobras, tree snakes, jumping snakes, python. Way cool, kinda hard to take, "Boss" photos but it was a exciting. Way cool. The guy did some thing to make the snake limp and I held it! haha! way cool. a little snake but awesome. Today we aren't doing much, Elder Cosper needs to make some pants cuz his ripped out so we will go look at some prices today.

That is way cool that Bishop Hinckley is your home teacher! Tell him hi! He is so great! That will be way fun! Thanks for the great e-mail mom! We both now that I am way more lucky to have you as a mom than me as a kid! haha! You are the best! We (missionaries) always talk about how much you grow and become better people when you are out here. You learn so much about being a better person, a better parent. You understand things that you didn't understand before. So looking back. Thank you for what you did for me!

Well family! I love you all! And have a great week!

Elder Landon SImonsen