Monday, August 26, 2013

Bang Khae is Booming!

Hey Family,

This week was awesome! Our investigators interviewed for baptism. Wow passed her interview and she will be getting baptized on Sunday!! Then Sister New passed, but she will be getting baptized on the 15th instead with her family! So actually some super awesome things! The area is really just exploding right now! The branch is awesome. They are few in numbers but strong in spirit. The ward is just so willing to help with missionary work. The Branch President, President Teep is sweet! We met with him and he has a great vision for the branch! Trying to get callings and help out all the RC's we have about 10 or more this year so far. So ya pretty good, I love being back in Bangkok! It is so easy to talk with people here! They are really so much easier to talk to here in Bangkok. Maybe there are just so many more people you find those interested way faster! Because everyday you see someone new. Way nice. I wish I realized that earlier in my mission. But I really love being in this area. And work is going so good right now.

This past week was really crazy. I got called to go to the leadership training meeting on Tuesday.  It was just for DL's, ZL's and trainers.  It was a super awesome meeting. I learned a ton!  It was one of the best meetings I have had here. I learned so much about doing missionary work. Opened up some different ways of contacting people and teaching skills.

This past week, our investigators grew so much. Sister New interviewed for baptism. Passed but she won't get baptized till the 15th. We encouraged her, to help all of her children learn about the church. Because this gospel isn't just meant for 2 people in her family. But all 5 of them. Her husband recently passed away. And we told her we want her whole family to get baptized on that day. So today we are having FHE at her house today. Meeting her 2 sons. PP and Poom. Then Ice is already ready for baptism. Passed her interview and has read the Book of Mormon all the way through. So we are looking for 4 people baptized on the 15th. Pray that her sons will be open to the gospel they are 11 and 13. One came to church Poom and he loved it. We are just lacking youth in our branch. But the family is super great! I love them to death! We go and visit Sister New at the Mitsubishi Car place and she loves meeting with us now. It is so cool to see how much she has changed. She always helps us when we go and visit to not have someone sell us a car. haha! Way awesome! Also Sister Wow is awesome. She is doing so good. And she will be getting baptized next week. We have her program ready. And the members are supporting her! It is great. She also is bringing 3 friends to her baptism. She was ready to get baptized this week. But postponed so her friends could see it! I am super stoked for her! We also met with a teacher from a school. We teach English at a public college. Our branch mission leader and a few other members work there. And we are teaching a few of the teachers. Ones name is Woot. He is awesome. We got him referred to us. By brother Joe. He was in the Hospital and we went and visited him. He was super bored and said he loved to read. So we were like well we have a super interesting book about how the native Americans got to America. And he was like I want to read it. So we gave it to him and came back the next day. He read 4 chapters. And said he liked it. He didn't understand lots of the high vocabulary but he said he felt good. So we taught him how to pray and find out. And that is where we are at. He gets out of the hospital today and we will visit him tomorrow. So I am way excited. We have a ton of investigators we have met for the first time. Ever since the leadership training meeting I have been fired up about talking with everyone. And we have a bunch of potentials. So I am way excited to see where these people go. To many to name. But lets just say the Lord is really blessing the work in Bang Khae right now and I am so thankful to be serving here. We had 55 at church yesterday. So up 10 from last week. We are going to see some miracles happen!

Expecting miracles is something we talked about at our leadership meeting. And I never really thought about it. I always just thought what happened...happened. Everything happens for a reason. But nope. Not anymore. I know the Lord can do anything. And with faith. Anything is possible. I wrote a little in Cam's e-mail about the talk I read from Joseph Smith. But it just amazes me how he could confound the learned. He confounded the teachers of religion. He taught so clear, so simple. When I read his talk. I realized that he didn't stop to declare repentance to one person. Everybody knew what he stood for. Why should I not be the same. And ever since then I let everyone know that there is only one way to be saved. And there is no hiding it. They can look at me like I am crazy. But truth is truth. And why hide it! My desire for the work has Increased so much. I feel like my time is starting to run down hill. And I know my time is coming where I can't do the Lord's work 24/7. So I am making the best of it. I love it. And I don't want to regret a moment of it. I hope that you all have a great week! I love you! I know the church is true!

Elder Landon Simonsen

Monday, August 19, 2013

Back in Bangkok

Hey Family,

Thanks for the e-mails! I really loved them. Well to answer questions I am in Bang Khae (pronounce Bang like Song with a B) It is a great area. I immediately found out while I was called here. The branch was recently re-opened to missionary work 3 transfers ago. This area needs its members to be strengthened. And President wants 3 stakes in Bangkok by next February. Well one thing I am known for in the mission. Is building branches. And so well. Where better to put a missionary who builds branches than in a branch that needs to be strengthened. So Right now we are averaging 45 at church. We need 80 by next year. Here I come LA work. We have about 350 members on record and so obviously there is a lot of work to do. But the Branch is great. The leadership is great. President Tip our Branch president is awesome. He wants this branch to grow and I really love it here. Our Branch Mission Leader I have worked with in Chiang Rai. He just moved down here. Strong member/ RM. Named Joe. The Branch is so willing to help and we have no problem getting member help for teaching. We have about 12 strong priesthood holders which actually beats my last area. But just very few members. So well the game begins. My area goes all the way to the Burma boarder. We have a huge area. The Bang Khae area takes in a good amount of people. But we have 2 sisters as well. Way happy!

My Comp is Elder Steiner he is from Logan Utah. Awesome guy. He actually just served in the same zone in Chiang Mai. He was in P-Look. On transfer 4. Awesome kid! Super fun! We get a long great! Super out going. Basically the exact same view on how to do missionary work. We also have Elder Astle from Las Vegas in our District. He is Elder Hansen's Greenie.  So that is fun. Then Sister Nuon (I served in Bang Na with her) from Cambodia and Sister Wanapong she is Thai. We have a sweet District. And in fact today it is Elder Hansen's Birthday and we are going to the Kings Palace for P-day. All of us! So it will be fun! Great group of missionaries. We actually have sleep overs every Sunday night before P-day. So then we will spend P-day together. The work will be great here! I am so happy to be here in this area.

We actually have a few investigators we just gave dates to this week. Sister Nu and Ice. For next week. They came to church last Sunday and yesterday. So they could be getting baptized next week. Also Wow. she is cool she is getting interviewed on Tuesday. She has learned about 1 and a half. And has a date for Sunday as well. So haha! I actually got to help gives those dates. So it was super cool. They are really prepared.  We also found a few new great potentials. We have just been hitting the streets, talking. We are also trying to find a map. Cuz we don't have a good one. It is tiny and you can't find anything on it. So we are going to get this area pumping again.

I haven't heard any news on Chiang Mai yet. I hope they are doing great! I have thought a lot about my calling as a missionary this past week. And I am thankful that I can help strengthen the Thailand members and help them eventually build a temple here. It is something that I realized I have such a great calling and how the Lord trusts me so much. That when you come and serve a mission you are promising him that you will do everything in your power to help his children return to him. It is a great calling and I just want to be able to say I helped as many people as I could with the calling I had. I am so grateful to serve here today. I love the area, I love the people, I love my Savior. I will do whatever is asked of me here in Thailand. Well family thanks for the letters. I got the package for my B-day. Plus Side I am in the Bangkok West Zone right now. So I will get the package quicker cuz the office is in my zone. So thanks for all the support and encouragement! Much love from the Bangkok.

Your truly,
Elder Landon Simonsen

Monday, August 12, 2013

Happy Thai Mothers Day!

Hey Family,

Well today is officially Mothers Day in Thailand. So thanks for being the best mom ever! I love you! Besides that there are questions on transfers meeting. Well I am being transfered on Thursday. But I won't know the area until then! So next week. I will be somewhere else! Fun stuff. Lets see. And this past week. Noi didn't get baptized. His Grandmother passed away 4 days ago and the funeral was on Sunday. So he couldn't stay for his confirmation. So we moved it back to this week. We have 4 people scheduled for baptism in our district next week! So ya pretty cool. I am super sad to be moving. But hey isn't that how things work out. It is all good I know that everything will work out with these people. I have been working really hard to prepare Elder Pyne to lead the area when I leave. He has grown so much in the past few weeks. He is so much more confident and he speaks so much more in lessons now. It has been great to see how much he has grown so far. It has been great serving with him.

So ya it was a great week for the work. We found some really great investigators. Dawn is an 18 year old kid who just turned 18 last week. And he has learned with the Elders before. The only problem was is his parents wouldn't let him get baptized. So when we asked him why he wanted to learn again. Is he said, because I love Jesus and I want to be baptized. And I looked at Elder Pyne and we both just knew this guy was golden. He came with a friend Jai Jai. She is 18 as well. Just friends. But she is interested in Christianity as well. So I am stoked for Dawn. He is ready. So I am sad, because I know he will be baptized so quick. We didn't call him or anything. He just shows up to church in his Sunday Dress clothes. And we thought he was a visiting member. haha! But really awesome. God really blessed our area this week. So we went out to Jerry's and A's house this past week! They are awesome. We met with A's dad as well. And 80 year old Thai Guy. You are thinking stubborn right?! Well nope! He is legit! We talked with him and shared the Plan of Salvation. And he was like I believe it already. I was like awesome. And everything I talked about he already believed. Way funny. But ya he isn't golden. But I think he will accept the Gospel in the next life. He is a super nice and kind guy. Just old and thinks that all religion is good. But he is one of the first buddhists to believe he will live with his family again for eternity. So I liked him. His wife died 40 years ago of Cancer has 6 kids. Really great Guy. Kai is awesome. I love that guy. I will be saying bye to them tomorrow. We are going out to teach them so it will be great. A is reading and yesterday at Church she started crying reading the Book of Mormon. She doesn't like when families have hardships and trials and she was sad when Laman and Lemuel disobeyed there father. It was cool. Thai people respect there parents and grandparent really well. At the mothers day activity. They had a part where they have the children bow down and wai the parents or grandparents. It is cool I will show pictures.

As I said Noi isn't getting baptized but he is doing so great! I really love that guy to death. I hope that things are great for him. My comp will be here and things will all be good. I know that God prepared him for the Gospel and I know that he will be baptized next week. Sometimes things don't go as planned. But I know there is a reason for everything and all missionaries doing the Lord's work are on the same team and it really doesn't matter who gets the point for baptism. Because in the end it is all the Lord's work. And he blessed us with great new investigators so it is all good. I got to go see Nirandawn this past week. He is doing great. I really love that guy! I even got a picture with him! He is a sweet man!

This week I was talking to a Buddhist monk that is a leader at his temple. I was super interested in what Buddhists believe. We were coming home from A's and had an hour to talk. Buddhism itself is a really good religion. But I got so confused. There are so many sects and so many different leaders of different temples. And they all kinda teach different things. Like Kai A's dad believes he will live with his family. I talked about all the buddhists sects. How there leadership works and it felt so unorganized. He was talking about they can't build anything until people pay donations to build new temples and all I thought was I could see so many distorted truths in the religion. But it was an interesting experience. I am just so thankful that we know there is one religion that is correct. There are so many confusing things in the world and I am so glad to have the Book of Mormon and the knowledge I have. I truly am thankful for being raised in the church.

I hope that things are going great this week! I loved the e-mails. And I since it is Mother's Day I just want to thank Mom for all she has done for me! The missionaries sang a Thai Mother's Day song. It is one of the best songs ever. It talks about the bond between a mother and her children. Us missionaries got to sing it at the activity. It made a few mothers cry. They truly are the most loving people here. And I want to let you know mom and dad that I love you. I feel like I love my family so much more being out here in Thailand. It is crazy because the Thai people love there family so much. And how great is it that we can teach them the plan of salvation. I love my mission so much. I wouldn't trade one moment of it. I treasure every second of it. I hope that you all have a great week!

Elder Landon SImonsen