Me on the snowy day...or should I say snow on me!
Oh yeah...the matching companion shirts again! Elder Reynolds is my companion He is from the Boise area.
Hey fam. Well everything is going great. Christmas was good and it was great to talk to you for a little bit. I am glad that the Christmas week is finally over so that the work can get back to normal. Everyone was so busy with their plans and all that so they didn't have much time for us missionaries.
We had a really good weekend. We met with Esther and Dylan the day after Christmas and we went over the baptismal interview questions and talked with them to see if they were ready for baptism. Everything went well. Esther has a very strong testimony and Dylan too. We set up all the little stuff for the baptism and asked them who they wanted to baptize them.. Esther chose Patrick and Dylan chose me! I was happy! Their baptism is this Saturday at 6:00!
Also this Sunday we had Esther, Dylan, Daniel and Cyr at church... finally.. Daniel is sooo solid.. he never misses his rendez vous or church and just understands it.. he will be baptized the 17th.
Another amazing thing... we had a Zone Conference on the Atonment and our purpose of saving souls here in belgium... it was very powerful and made me realize that I have a lot to change and do better..
I can't think about everything we did this week... but today we went to a little town called Dinant. We went with Patirck to see the Citadel that is there.. It was sooo beautiful. I took a bunch of pictures that you will someday be able to see.
Also I forgot to tell you that I found out that Daniel Spicer was coming here when I was in Brussels because I was with the office Elders and they know all the missionaries who will be coming in.. I just forgot to tell you..
Sorry again for my lame emails... I'm going to get better at them I promise.
I didN't get Tanessa's package.. I don't know where it is? Anyway thank you all for the letters and all that. I hope you had a good Christmas and I will talk to you later.. Hey you had really good questions on the phone, maybe you could try to write them down in letters... then I would know what you would like to hear.
Well well well... it seems as if it is Christmas time..; and from the sounds of your letters, you all think I might have a pretty crappy Christmas, BUT if I just have a good attitude and push through it, I should be ok... HAHA.. oh man, you guys are funny. Things are great here! I am pretty sure it isn't going to be as lame as everyone thinks.. it's going to be SWEET!
Well I got Trisha and Dannys letter/gift which is awesome.. Elder Reynolds was reading through that this morning.. also I got a letter from Grandma and Grandpa Simonson, and from Mom. The Senior Couple Missionaries that work in the office are delievering Christmas packages today.. so I should get those today.
Trish and Dan...It was good to hear from you... sorry I annoyed you with my friendship and my letters... and my positivity and wanting to share miracles... and saying so ya... I want to see Danny type in a super Ghetto cyber cafe with Muslims all around you speaking in Arabic really really loud and watching porn.. then we will see if he can pay attention to what he wants to type.. ITS HARD.. back off.. haha.. Anyway, I hope that the Evans have a great Christmas! Thanks for the Office script.. that was sweet..!
Mom and Dad...
Mom, I'm sorry sorry that I forgot your birthday.. I remebered last night.. not from your letter... I remebered when we were with the member, Patrick... and he got mad at me for forgetting.. so sorry.. I hope you had a good birthday... and I don't ever remember what day is what.. I know that's what everyones excuse is! Merry Christmas, Mom and Dad and Dad good luck on your calling... haha that's awesome.. super random, but oh well.. go where the Lord wants you to go... even if it's playing the piano for little children.... or in my case church security..
Tess and Jake...
Sorry I haven't really written you much... I think you are doing well ... sounds like you like Florida.. and Jake is being a stud; When are you going to Argentina? Give Addi a kiss for me and have a good Christmas!
Clint and Katie...
What's up Clint, still queer?.. that's unfortunate.. just kidding, bro, I love you.. Hope your job's going well .. just remember that when you do what the Lord commands he has no choice but to bless you and support you.. Hi katie! and tell Corgin, Hi, Merry Christmas..
Jaron and Heather...
Hey guys, it's been super long since I've talked to you... sorry?.. I'm terrible I know.. from what Mom says, it sounds like all the kids are growing up and getting big and smart.. that's sweet.. but crazy.. I hope you have a great Christmas in Utah..
Merry Chistmas to all...
As for me, you need to call me at 7:45 ok? so 11:45... that works out the best... I will talk to you then... love you all, see ya!
Elder Von Simonson
Hey all! So sorry that I have not been getting your letters.. I think that it was my bad. There is not much space on myldsmail... and I just kept deleteing a little by little and I didn't have much room left.. so I guess when you tried to send pictures it was too big... anyway I got all your letters this week and it was good to hear from you...
As for the call... um so we talked with President this Friday because we had interviews which were good. He said that we are to take 30 minutes for talking, no more no less.. and then we have to report to our District Leaders and them to the Zone Leaders and them to Pres. sooo ya, no more I guess.. but that's ok.. everything is good...We have a plan for Christmas. We are only allowed 2 hours with members and we are going to Patrick's house. We work with him pretty much everyday and eat with him every Saturday.
Well this week has been pretty good. We kinda had a rough week. it was just weird.. our baptismal dates are kinda being flaky... Cyr is doing better.. and Esther and Dylan are still doing good.. we taught Esther about callings in the church, but then this Sunday no one showed up for church except this new contact from Cameroon that went met the day before. None of our Bapt. dates showed.. it was kinda sad, but oh well they have their choice, it just makes you question yourself.Also this Sunday was probably the best Sunday I have had in Europe... beside the fact that none of our investigators were there nor half of our Ward.. but it was soo good.. The Bishop spoke and chastized the Ward and told them what they need to be doing better... it was awesome! Our Bishop here in Charleoi is soooo awesome. He is just like Bishop Grover, he is just the French version. He is such a solid Bishop.. and he has been Bishop forever.. I feel bad for Bishops here.. they serve for like 18 years... imagine that?Well as for a little miracle... I told you that we had the man from Cameroon at church.. His name is Daniel and on Friday we were doing finding and a bunch of inactives passed by and it wasn't going too good and we were getting kinda discouraged... and we started walking to our next rendez vous after having an ineffiecient 2 hours of finding.. Well we ran into this guy, taught him a lesson on the street and he seemed really interested; so he walked with us to his house and said we could come by on Sat. in the afternoon, so we did. We had a sweet little lesson and asked him if he mould go to church on Sunday and he said he would. Then we started talking to his mom who knew us and had been to the strong Ward in Brussels called the Louise Ward, she said she would join our lesson the next time... So ya, Daniel was at church this week. We went to pick him up around 8:20 and on the way to church he told us that he works nights from 11 to 6 in the morning .. So he sacrificed a lot and stayed awake the whole time.. Miracle..well Iùll talk to you later...Love, Elder Simonson
Hey there everybody... so this week was a great week and we saw some sweet miracles. One of them was Elder Musters (my trainer) baptized the man I contacted on my first night in Brussels with President.. he wrote about it so you can read it..
"Sisters and Elders – Although all of the baptisms are not yet reported for the week, it looks like we had 5 strong baptisms this week which is a great beginning to a miraculous December. I want to tell you about one of the baptisms this week. Elder Craig along with two of our new Dutch speaking Elders on their first night in the Grand Place contacted a young man. Because he only spoke French, they called over Elder Palomaki and two of our brand new French speaking Elders. They taught him parts of the first lesson and set up a return appointment. Then, one of the teams in Brussels took over the teaching responsibilities. On Saturday night, he was baptized and today was confirmed and received both the Holy Ghost and the Aaronic Priesthood. He is 19 years old and invited many of his friends to the baptism. During the service, he bore his testimony telling his friends that they could come to know that Jesus Christ lives and that He is their Savior. He told me today that he would like to serve a mission for the Church.
We have many people who have committed to take the first step of baptism on the way to their Salvation during the month of December. I encourage every team to pray and work with faith that they may bring one or more people to baptism this month and prepare others for baptism in January. As in November, I feel strongly that the Lord desires to bring 35 or more people into the Kingdom this month. Please invite the members to join us in prayer and faith for these people." (President Woodland)
Anyway...so ya, I refound him with Elder Musters and we tried to teach him many times but he always wasn't there...but that was pretty cool.
As for the work here in Charleroi.. we are doing sooo well. We finally got to see Cyr after about three weeks. We reset his baptismal date for the 17th of Jan. that was sweet. Esther and Dylan are doing very good and Charles is coming along. He came to church but he is having many problems with visas and his legal papers so he is very focused on that and doesn't find more time to focus on God and us. One miracle that Elder Reynolds and I had was.... We went to visit a member who isn't super strong that the Bishop asked us to go visit... and when we got there and started talking with the family, the mom said, "hey... my daughter decided that she wants to be baptized..." and we were like... uh.... OK! Apparently she is not baptized. She comes to church very often and I thought she was a member. She is about 23 and has four CUTE kids.. It was such a straight up blessing from the Lord. So we picked up a new investigator with a baptismal date for the 3rd of Jan. That will be an amazing day. Our district here in Chaleroi is sooo amazing and strong we now have 9 baptismal dates for our district. the Lord is just preparing tons of people.
So last night we went clear out to a little town called Huy. It was soooo gorgeous... it was sweet... we went with Patrick to see some members that live out there. There used to be a district there but then it closed.. so now it is very far for them to come to Charleroi or Liege. So.. ya and they are older ladys but man they are strong members...
So sorry about not giving any pictures of Belgium I have a card full and have started another one.. but I am scared to send my card and loose the pictures.. even though they are kinda crappy... but I will try to get some to you soon... love you a lot. I dont have much else to say... I don't think that anyone wrote me an email or else I didn't get it... but take care... thanks for the letters...
Well the week has gone by, transfers are done, and I'm still here in Charleroi... Things are going ok here. Sorry I didn't get to send a bigger email last week, but we had to catch our train, nor did I find the time to write anyone a letter.. last p-day was pretty hectic!
The weather...Well the weather is not tooo bad here. Last week it snowed about three days in a row. Not too much of it stuck but a little did. It's pretty cold but not too bad. The humidity is what makes it cold. It hasn't rained for a while so that makes it a lot better when it doesn't rain. ..
The work.. The work is sill going good.. there doesn't seem to be quite as many people on the streets now. And porting (tracting) isn't super effective here... so it's been a little harder to find people but it's all good.. We have not seen Cyr in over 2 weeks which is not good. His baptism was this coming Saturday but.. he won't make it, nor is he ready... so that's part of the sadening news... We didn't get to see Charles and Vivian this week either... soooo... but Esther and Dylan are doing great. Dylan came to church alone again because Esther couldn't make it... and we had the Primary Program... which was interesting..anyway...
As for the money situation... I finally got some money out last week on p-day but because I was so pressed for time, I forgot to tell you... I finally got to buy a scarf, gloves, a sweater, another white long sleeved shirt, and ya... I think that was about it. So sorry I have used so much money, but I have like 50 left out of the 100 I took out this time..and as for Grandma, don't send checks here.... the best way is to just put it in my account. Well I am going to try to write a letter and try to send a little package.. I love you.. sorry my letters are so terrible. It was sooo good to get the letters from Josh and Ty.. and I totally understand what Tylan is going through... with Africans.. I have eaten fufu!
Ok, gotta go, love ya,
Hey there world... It's Elder Simonson... and in fact I'm coming to you from Lille France... today Elder me and Elder Ferguson had to go do legality for France which was intersesting. Imagine the most complicated papers to fill out... and then having to do it in a different language.. ya it was embarassing... haha.. now we are in a very sweet Muslim shop for internet like always... anyway enough about that... I don't know if you sent a letter and I didn't get it again but.. I didn't get an email from you. but that's ok...
Well this last week was another just amazing week... We set two more baptismal dates one with Dylan and one with Charles from Nigeria that speaks English.. Isn't that insane?.. It was sooo sweet.. so right now we have 4 baptismal dates, things are just going soooo good here in Charleroi.. but as you may or may not have noticed it has been 6 weeks and transfers are Wednesday.. Elder Reynolds and I were worried that one of us was going to get transffered and not get to see Esther and Dylan get baptized but I got transfer news this morning in Lille and both of us are staying...thank goodness..
Esther and Dylan are soooooooo solid and so amazing ... they understand the gospel and read the Book of Mormon.. I don't know they are just a blessing from the Lord... sooo we have a train in like 5 minutes back to Charleroi. Sorry this is so small, I will write you a letter on the train.. peace love you... Elder Simonson
(What's new?) Hey there... so I didn't get your message last week, I don't know why but ya... I got one from Trisha and one from Brett. This last week was so amazing.. The Lord blessed us soooo much! This week we SET A BAPTISMAL DATE with Esther. Or more like she set one for herself. She is so prepared. I can't remember all that I told you about her, but she is so sweet, from Cameroon and she has a son named Dylan he is 12. I'm pretty sure that I have told you about her. Anyway... we had asked her to be baptized but she said that she didn't feel ready. But then this week we taught her the Plan of Salvation and had a couple of great lessons and on Friday night she asked us how and when she could get baptized. MIRACLES! We now just have to set one for her son Dylan but that won't be hard. They both love the church and Esther loves the Book of Mormon because everytime she reads it she says it speaks directly to her.. she told us that she was laughing because the reading we gave her was just so personal and just spoke to her and answered all her questions. We are lucky to have the Spirit guide us and help her to be converted. So right now we have Cyr getting baptized on the 6th of Dec. and Esther getting baptized the 3rd of Jan.
Also this week Cyr was having some financial problems and he said he wasn't going to make it to church... after arguing for a while we really taught him that if he went to church like he knew he should, Heavenly Father would take care of his little problem... so we asked him to show his faith and come to church and everything would work out... we didn't know if he would come, but he did.. and everything worked out just fine.. it was amazing. Also we found two amazing new investigators named Charles and Vivian. They are from Nigeria and they only speak English.. We have only had 2 rendez vous with them. We taught about the Book of Mormon and all that stuff and we gave him a Book of Mormon and he asked if we could give him a bunch of points in the book so that he could learn something and tell us what he learned for the next rendez vous. It was sooo sweet, he gave himself a committment.. haha it's so crazy how much the Lord directs his work... we do very little other than just being there to invite... French is coming especially good this week as we have been really trying to get more focused and have the Spirit with us..
As for other news.. I got Trisha's and Mom's packages..thank you, it was sooo great. I just got it on Sat. Zone Conference which was so amazing. Pres. Woodland is like the most powerful man it's insane... he will be a General Authority.. but I also got a letter from Cindy Stewart, that was so nice of her and ya that's about it.. No I still have not been able to get money out of my debit card... so I don't know why, but I will try again today.... I think I might have to take out like 100 euros at a time I have just been trying to take out 50.. As for the California thing.. We heard about it.. we had a prayer for it because if it would have passed, the Temples in California would have had to close.. that's just what I had heard, but that was from Zone leaders that heard it from Pres. that heard it from the Brethren... That is too bad that there is back lash... It kinda sounds like the world is falling apart... I have heard there is like a financial crisis going on or something.. I don't know, but what I do know is we know why we are here, so we better make sure we are prepared. Anyway, I love you all.. sorry I haven't sent pictures or anything.. I'm scared to send my card and there aren't a ton of printing machines here. There are a few but I tried a couple of times and it wouldn't work with my card... but... ya Love ya...
Hello! So Charleroi is great; and just in case you were worried...I heard that Obama is the new President.. Freak.. the people here are so crazy about America! They just love to hate it.. but they are so obsessed! The day everyone found out about our new President, we would try to contact people on the road and they would just scream "VIVE OBAMA!" It was so annoying.. I started lying and saying I was Canadian so I could talk about the gospel and not about stupid Obama..
The work is going good. Cyr and Esther and her son Dylan are doing so good. Cyr has a bapt. date for Dec. 6th. We had to change it for scheduling purposes. We had a little bit of a tough week.. it was the week after break so the city was crazy, but no one wanted to talk to us... Ummm I got my hair cut today...Elder Gonzalez cut it for me.. it was pretty much his first time but it came out really well actually.. and also I cut Elder Furgeson's hair. It was pretty good.. I'm pretty much a master hairstylist! I got Grandma's letter, thank you Grandma, it was great to hear from a fellow missionary. Today we were going to go to Brugge but it was way too rainy so we went bowling instead. It was weird, it reminded me too much of home.. and Trish it was good to hear from you as well...Clint, I wrote you a letter today.. so feel special dang it. Anyway, I don't really know much else to write.. but I have really learned these last couple of weeks how important the Gospel is and how important it is to not just take it for granted and get lazy and comfortable. Because we should always be progressing.. always doing better.. and if you stop reading, praying, and progessing in the Gospel it is so easy to just slip away. That is the biggest problem here in Europe.. people don't take the church as seriously as it needs to be taken.. and it kills me because those who continue to stay strong, their lives are so blessed.. and those who don't, have problems and complain about their lives... so just don't take being a member for granted... and don't think you are ok where you are because you can always do better.. SO READ YOUR SCRIPTURES AND DO YOUR CALLING WITH EVERYTHING YOU GOT.. because we aren't here just to do ok.. we are here to try to be as perfect as we can... and it's a comandment from Jesus.. to perfect ourselves..in 3 Nephi...ya... alright, I love you all... talk to you next week..
Bientot, Elder simonson
(Jacob's letter for the week is down below, here is a letter from Pres.
Woodland that Jake sent along telling about the mission):
At the writing of this e-mail (Sunday Night), I have not as yet received
the final baptism count. We anticipate for this weekend and last
weekend, we will have over 7 baptisms with many more to come in
November and December. The fast that we have just completed has
already started to be answered. The Lord is bringing many people to
us particularly in those teams that are going forth – full of faith not
doubting and thrusting in their sickle.
In the last couple of weeks in many cities, we have seen people taught
years ago, call or run into the missionaries and express their desire to
be baptized. Several have simply walked into Church and said that they
have had a change of heart and want to be baptized. Several teams
have between four and ten baptismal dates. Most of these teams have
accepted the direction from the Apostles to teach investigators 3
times per week for 30 minutes and have members present at all
lessons if possible after the first lesson. As they have done this, they
have found people progress much more rapidly and accept their
commitments more readily. They are becoming converts.
The week ended the October 26th, we had 141 investigators in Sac.
Meeting – the highest for the year. Furthermore, we had 318 member
present lessons or 4.0 per companionship – the highest of the year.
We had 238 progressing investigators – 3.0 per companionship –
the highest of the year. And Finally, 238 new investigators – 3.0 per
companionship – also the highest of the year.
I thank the Lord for these tender mercies. This is the road to true
converts. I thank you for your obedience, faith, and diligence. We are
living a miracle!! It can be realized in every city - every team.
Please prepare carefully for Zone Conference.
With all our love
Hey... It is good to hear from you! Everything is going soooo good.
Charleroi is ready to take off! This week on Thursday we had a
special day called the Charleroi Charge! We had the AP's and the
Zone Leaders and all the leaders near Charleroi come and we did
an all day finding work day. I was with Elder Valenza and it was
an amazing day of miracles.. He and I found 6 new investigators
and we taught 12 lessons... it was a long day. We started
contacting at 10:30 and ended at 9 at night.. And we fasted.
I thought it was going to be an intense day but it was amazing.
We found an awesome family! Anyway... We have a baptismal
date, his name is Cyr. he is great, he is from Kongo. Then our
other amazing investigator is named Esther. She is from
Cameroon and she has a 12 year old son. They are sooo good,
and we invited her to be baptized but she was a little uneasy. But
she came to church and her son Dylan loved it and Esther really
liked it too. I love the mission, the other night it hit me...I realized
that I love it... even though I can't really speak that well or
understand everything, I love it. It has already changed my view
on the importance of the church. We have an awesome Ward
here in Charleroi.. but they still have a lot of work to do, I don't
know.. Everything is going so good. We had some of the most
powerful and spiritual lessons that I have ever been in this last
week. Elder Gonzalez from LA is almost done with his mission
and he is just an outstanding missionary.. We worked with him
and we had some powerful lessons.. well.. I don't know much
else to write..
Things Europe has that America needs....
Goefs or waffles They are sooo good..
also Nutella is amazing...
The milk is getting better...
and frites (fries were invented in Belgium) not France.. and Belgium
frites are so good..
Anyway, just for a little side note, Halloween was pretty much
nothing here... it just started like 10 years ago and no one gets
the concept here... this whole last week we saw kids just randomly
trick or treating.. haha.. they don't get that you trick or treat on the
31st, and when they come to the door they say bonbon ou coup de
batton ( I don't think that is spelled right for all you French speakers,
that's just spelled how it sounds).. anyway it means give me candy
or I will beat you.. haha.. ya well.. I am sorry my letters are so lame..
so much happens here I just never really know what to tell you.. so
bear with me..
Oh ya.. I had my first freezing cold day on Wednesday... it was soo
cold... the kind of cold here is like being at Lava during ther winter
when you are wet.. that's what it feels like but it hasn't been as cold
since then.. Well I should go, I will try to send some pictures soon..
I'm sorry... I love you all and miss all of you.. Elder Simonson
Hello again... Charleroi is great... This week went really good. We had a bunch of lessons that we taught and we got six new investigators.. We had Cyr, our baptismal date and another miracle guy at church this Sunday.
The miracle guy...so on Saturday we went porting, (tracting) whatever you want to call it...anyway... we had chosen a road the night before.. but when we got to the road it was a little sketchy... and there was not very many houses, so we walked a little way and found a great looking road. Well the second door we knocked on a 12 year old came to the door and we asked if his parents were there. He told us they were gone but that his brother was there. Well his brother came to the door and was like hey.. and really excited to see us.. then he was like, you guys are at Goessili (that is where our church is) and we were like ya.. and he told us that he would come with us on Sunday... so we thought hmmm.. that's kinda weird.. but ok... well on Sunday guess who was there waiting for the bus with us.. ya this guy! His name is Christian and he is from Burundy.. he is sooo good.. he goes to school in Mons and knows the missionaries.. I guess he had been meeting with them but with transfers and also him moving, he just kinda got lost in the cracks... so crazy, what a miracle! It was great.. well.. everything is going great.. French is coming along.. I feel good about it sometimes and then another time I get humbled... so ya but it's ok... anyway...
Ummm answers.. Packages have to be sent to the Mission office.. but you can send letters here in Charleroi... so ya that's that... the pictures were good.. umm.. sorry I haven't really sent you any pictures. I don't take that many pictures.. so I haven't filled up my card yet.. but maybe I will take a bunch and then send my card.. so ya... I can't believe how much different Corgin looks... it's crazy.. Tess looked weird in the picture you sent and Addi had long hair... anyway, ya that's pretty much it... ummm I don't know what else to say...better go love you, bye Elder Simonson
Well hello from Charleroi.... Charleroi is great, I love it... I'm not quite sure how big it is? I don't think it is super huge, but it is good sized. The reason I think it is smaller is because A LOT of people know who we are.. and we see a lot of the same people. I am loving Charleroi. My new companion is Elder Reynolds from Kuna, Idaho.. just outside of Meridian... He is SOOO good, we get along super well and he is a hard working Idaho boy just like me. He is still kinda young in the mission I think he has been out something like 8 months... I think he is on his 7th transfer or something like that. We have been working hard here, I love it. We do a lot more finding and have a lot less investigators but.. that is ok. Charleroi is kinda dirty.. it's known as the dirty city in the mission... but it really isn't that dirty.. there is just a bunch of factories that's all .. it is definitely an older city too... but I love it... The Ward here is absolutely amazing... it was almost like an American Ward.. and we have some super hard working members... This one member named Patrick works with us a ton.. like he swaps between us and another companionship throughout the week... he is sooo amazing... Let's see what else? I gave another talk in church already. I seem to have the luck to replace someone who has a talk in the coming week because.. this is my second already... and it was my first Sunday here in Charleroi and I had a talk..
The apartment isn't too bad.. it's pretty nice.. It is kinda dirty, but just from the Elders living in it and never cleaning. I am now kind of a clean freak on my mission, after living in a nice apartment and seeing nasty apartments all day. So this morning I cleaned.. for like 3 or 4 hours... haha, and I barely made a dent.. What else... Day to day stuff... We get up.. exercise.. which I'm not good at unless we go running which isn't often... then we get ready, have personal study and companionship.. then a half hour of language study, so we leave the apartment at about 10:30, do contacting or have a rendez vous.. then we have an hour for lunch and then we just go outside, have meetings and ya... contacting... that until 9. So ya, that's my days...We eat a lot of Pasta and that's about it.... I don't know, I don't have time.. I have to go, Sorry, I love you all... sounds like everything is going well... thanks for the prayers... I will talk to you later...Elder Simonson
Hello family and friends!
Things are going good here in Belgium... but you might have guessed that I have been here for 6 weeks.. and that means we have transfers.... yep... which means changes.....but I will tell you later of these changes...
Trials of faith,...
Well this last week was a kinda rough week... It started out ok.. kinda slow.. we didn't have many rendez-vous fixed or anything like that.. but.. on Tuesday.. we were contacting for quite a while and we got tired because we weren't finding anyone.. so E. Musters decided that he would call some people and try to set up some meetings.. well he did and within about 30 min. we had 22 scheduled rendez-vous. So things were looking up... so by Thursday we still hadn't taught very much or found that many people but on Fri. we had about 6 appointments and 5 on sat.. and about 4 on Sunday plus we had about 7 people confirmed to come to church... so.. it was going to be good... well Friday was ok... a few people cancelled... then on Sat. everyone but 2 people cancelled and on Sunday... NO one showed for church... we went to pick up a guy... and waited for him for about 45 min. We called everyone else and they were either sick, or tired.. or their phone was off... We had a special fast for our investigators.. and for the Sister's investigator, Marie, who just set a baptismal date!! She is an amazing 20 year old... Well.. we didn't see much progress but maybe that is coming later... All of our solid investigators like Elias and Joseph.. and Iness and Javier... kinda just didn't do anything this week... it was sad... and hopefully they just had a weird week... anyway... some good things still happened.
Paolo, our investigator from Italy.. has started to come out of his shell... he came to Gen. Conference last week... and we saw a change in him this week ... and he knows it is true.. now it will only be a matter of time until he really has a strong testimony and says... BAPTIZE ME haha.. he is doing sooooo good... he is really scared of people but he tried to go to FHE last week and he actually showed up at the International Ward this Sunday to come to church... he didn't realize that we were in the French Ward.. he thought because we were English we were in the English ward... but he is doing great.. anyway though... the sad thing is that I am actually leaving Brussels... sad... I know .. but I am actually headed to Charleroi, Belgium.... I have heard that it is a little dirty but it is a really great city and Ward too.. probably one of the best in Belgium or what I have heard... I will be with Elder Reynolds... I don't really know much more than that.. but I will be leaving all my investigators on Wed... so ya.. I am sad to leave Brussels but it will be all good. Pres. and the Lord had different things in mind for me... so now that I am leaving Brussels will explode... I'm just a wet blanket named Elder Simonson that doesn't know French! Well I better go.. sounds like everything is going well... I love you all.. and I will talk to you later...Elder Simonson
Well this week was an amazing week with many miracles and just busy. Elder Musters and I went on two exchanges this week. One was with the Assistants in which I got to teach and contact in English.. and I was terrible at it... ha! But that's ok, I could say more than I could in French. This weekend was amazing. We had 5 of our good investigators came to General Conference. Joseph came and said it was amazing, he got to hear the Prophet talk and he was impressed by how big and grand the church was. He also said that his son asked him if he could come to church with him next week. Joseph was sooo happy. Early in the week we had met with Joseph and he told us that we should invite his son to church the next time we came to visit.. So Joseph thought that we had invited him.. but we hadn't... Anyway.. Joseph read about the Plan of Salvation and loved it. He said it answered so many questions... so this week we finally have some more time to meet with him and answer his questions... Ya!! So that was great. We found 5 new investigators this week... One of them we met at this investigator's house that we have.. his name is Fred... and wow... Fred... has some problems. Anyway... some plans fell through so we called Fred to see if we could meet with him and he told us to come over. When we arrived there, there was a man, a very clean looking well to do man..and he looked very Muslim. He had followed us and he was Fred's friend from work...but when we got to Fred's appartment, he had a wood pallet in the middle of the floor and he had been burning something in the middle of his house... and by looking at all the clues and hearing him talk .. we were pretty sure he was in the process of making some drugs... some very serious drugs... which was a little wierd.. but that could have just been our assumptions.. but nevertheless there was black stuff all over and it smelt like when we burned garbage on Promise Ln. Well .. We started talking to Fred's friend Ali... he was born to parents who were Muslim but he wasn't actually Muslim. He was really great and had heard a little bit about the church and he was very interested. So we fixed a rendez vous with him this week, On the other hand while we were there.. Fred smoked about 6 or 7 cigarettes.. hahaha man... that was interesting... so our not so progressing investigator got us an awesome new investigator... Awesome! Well my week was great we worked hard... and I got to work in a different area with my Zone Leader Elder Leavitt for a day which was great.
French is coming along... I understand pretty good.. but I don't speak a whole lot soooo,... my speaking is kinda terrible but... ya it's going better... I can contact people and set up a time to meet with them... so that is all that matters... K... as for emails.. and things.. my immediate family can email... so the bro's and sis'.. you can email with out going through Mom and Dad... but, like you said, the more emails I have to read, the less time I have to write.. .. so it's up to you.. I like both and I really don't care. Also I got Tess's letters, both of them... and also I got Grandma and Grandpa Hamblin's note from the Belgium people and I got your two hugs... that was interesting.. the guy actually came and found me during General Conference... so.. ya .. hmmm... other questions.. I can't think of the other things I was going to answer. I sent Tess and Trish a letter last week I think... sooooo... ya.. by the way Tess, your letter came in 4 days... not too bad huh? Well I should probably go... love you all, thanks for your support...keep it up..
The title of todays e-mail is ouch... It is the name I have chosen because of the amount of e-mails that I have in my inbox.... a big zero... haha... it's all good.. that just means I can write you more... which is great because I have lots to tell... all the time because a lot goes on in a day.... good bad... both...
This last week was rough but at the same time amazing! Like I kinda said in my last email, which was really short and terrible.. it didn't really say anything.. and I spelled like everything wrong.. I was on a French keyboard.. of course.. soo ya and we were at an internet cafe so... ya I didn't have much time...
But....this week.. we did not teach a ton of lessons but the lessons we taught were to our 5 SOLID progressing investigators... right now we have 5 and possibly 9 people ready for baptism...Our progressing investigators are Paolo, Iness and Javier, Elias, and Joseph one of the two men that we found last Monday.. and I don't have much else to talk about so I will tell you the story of Joseph because it is amazing...
So last Monday we had some time before our rendez vous with President Woodland and one of our investigators (Elias) so we decided to go contacting. We went contacting in an area called Botanique.. well we met a real drunk guy named Fred... he was pretty cool and he was friends with all the Muslims so we weren't getting hassled.. he was nice.. so we got his number after a long talk and set up a time to go meet with him... then.. we were in that area for about an hour or so, and we decided that we should start heading back to the office.. so that we wouldn't be late for our rendez vous. So we did... but when we were on the Metro, Elder Musters decided that we would stop by this guys house that he kinda knew... and when I say kinda I mean.. he knew where he lived and that they had had a lesson with him a long time ago.. he didn't know his name.. he didn't know what floor he lived on... he didn't know anything.. so we went to his building.. and we were searching for his name we didn't know.. just in case we recognized it... We tried calling him.. and ya nothing happened... so we were just sitting there waiting for something to happen.. and then a nice older African man walked down... (Joseph) ... he asked us if we wanted in... and we told him we were just waiting for someone.. and he was like oh ya, who? And we were like.. we don't know his name... or which floor he lives on we just know that it was this builiding and we have his phone number.. and he was like...OK.. then he started to ask us questions... he asked us who we were... where we were from.. if we were TJ's (Temoigne Jehova) ...Jehova's witnesses..and we told him no... and he asked us if we were Catholic, Protestant... and we said neither and that kinda confused him.. but then we shared that we have the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ on the earth... and that we have a Prophet, and he was like... ok whatever... so we got his number and his name and gave him a Joseph Smith pamphlet and he went on his way.. well.. we left just after he did.. and we actually caught up to him on the road because he was walking soooo slow because he was reading the pamphlet!!! so... ya later in the week we were trying to set up some rendez vous because people were being flakY.. and we called Joseph and asked if there was a time we could come over.. and he said that we could come right now.. but that he only had about 20 minutes.. so we rushed to his house.. and ya he was so excited we asked him what he thought and he was like, I have never heard of this before... and he said he was just searching for his path.. so we were like awesome... so he was excited he asked where he could get a Book of Mormon.. we gave him one.. and explained more about it.. he loved it and the spirit was really strong.. he also asked to go to church with us.. and of course we accepted.. well.... Sunday, yesterday was awesome.. we went and picked him up and he came out in a very nice suit with his Book of Mormon in hand.. he came to all 3 hours with us.. took two pages of notes.. asked if he could get a Triple and a Bible because in priesthood we talked about believing the Bible to be correct if it is translated correctly so he wanted the right Bible... he loved Sacrament Meeting.. he loved singing the Cantiques.. he loved it and I actually sat by him the whole time and helped him with things.. he said he was learning English and I said I was learning French and I said we could learn together.. then I told him I started learning 3 months ago.. and he told me he wished he could speak as well I could after 3 months.. that made me happy... but anyway.. after church.. we asked what he thought and what he felt.. and he told us extremely sincerely that he thought that he had found what he has been looking for.. and that as soon as he got home he was going to talk to his kids about the church and as soon as his wife got home from vacation in Africa he would talk to her.. we have meetings set up with him this week and he has already told us that he is coming to General Conference this weekend with us.. so ya.. he is amazing.. and he is why I said maybe 9 ready for baptism.. because of his family.. anyway I must go but I thought I would just share that awesome story with you.. also we took Elias to a baptism in the other ward.. and it was sooo perfect.. .. anyway, love you all. Mom, I got the pictures they were sweet.. Clint the house looks good.. and ya.. I will talk to you later....
J'ai decidé que je écrirais en Français parce cette keyboard is Fraçaise! Je blaugue. Anyway, sorry I didn't write yesterday. President switched our p-day to Tuesday because we had a Zone Meeting this Monday. Things are going Awesome in Bruxelles! Yesterday we had a rendez vous with Elias (the very prepared man) and President Woodland.. it was so great! And also we found two really interested and humble ready guys... so ya, this week is going to be awesome. We were planning on setting two or three baptismal dates this last week but it didn't quite happen. They didn't feel ready.. but anyway, enough about that.. Oh also I got your two letters and a letter from Grandma... I didn't know that the Assistants sent you my address... so you can send them wherever you want... and ya I got my card just fine..sorry about missing Tess and Dad's and Ali's and everyone's Birthdays... I seriously don't know what day it is, let alone remember everyone's Birthdays, sooooo Happy Birthday to all.... know I love you.. haha...
So Belgium.... Belgium is awesome... it is always like perfect weather. It's not too hot, it's not too cold... it's perfect... but really it hasn't rained much, I am surprised.. but ya it's great, but it is starting to get colder. In fact I looked for some coats today.. and I found some, but they are kinda expensive, so I didn't buy one, but I probably will next week, so sorry, I will try to buy a cheap one if I can. My companion is pretty good.. Sometimes he is a little sluggish but it is all good.. we work hard most of the time... Sorry I don't have much time this time so I have to go, I love you all...
Bonjour! Well, two weeks in Brussels... craziness... k, first of all... Mom, I am sorry that I didn't get a chance to call you again in Atlanta but I was seriously almost late for the plane sooo.. ya...questions...
Well... I just really have about a half hour for emails but it isn't timed like in the MTC.. so that's good... but President asks us not to use it longer than 30 min... sooo...everyone can send emails to you and then you can just send an email... or you can send letters...whatever you want. As for my address just send it to the Mission Office.. because we are just a few minutes from the office so... ya.. but later when I get transferred I will send you an address so that you can send letters there. You always send packages to the mission office. And as for packages.. when you fill out the customs thing you just say it is worth very little like 20-30 euros or less whether it's worth more or not.. because they will charge me a big ole tax which will then be taken out of my MSF (money fund) and I will not have money to eat! For emails I go to the office... or at least today... but if we don't go to the office we just go to an internet cafe.. so ya..that is all the letter stuff... and I just have internet access for myldsmail.net. sooo there you go...
Well today is actually my first real p-day because last p-day we were in France getting my legality stuff started.. but ya we really just have to go shopping because we have a washer and drier in our apartment... so we just do laundry whenever we need.. as for that we don't do a whole lot more... we can do pretty much what we need/want to do..
Well the french...hmmm.. I would have to say that we speak it a lot less here but I hear it a lot more here... So I have gotten better at understanding .. but I am pretty terrible at speaking... sooo ya.. it's rough... I can understand the jist of things... but I don't understand perfectly... sooo ya, but hey good news... I have to talk in church next week...!!! Oh man, that it is going to be terrible... but oh well...
Well the food here is pretty good... we just really eat what we buy so we really have the choice of what we eat... The Baguettes are awesome... cheese is good and the chocolate is good... I eat much more junk food here... but ya.. I have had two Mangez-vous.. in English, a dinner appointment. One was with a Russian family and one was with an African family... The one with the Russian family was interesting.. and terribble... I seriously almost threw up at the table... The first thing we ate was a Huge salad of onions, tomatoes and cuccumbers covered in oil... with pickled beats or something on the side... it wasn't too bad but earlier that day (it was zone conference with Elder Paya from France) and I had eaten three baguettes sooo I was full.. and well I made it through about half the huge salad and I was full and sick of it... and about that time she brought out the biggest plate of rice I had ever seen ya... so I started eating that... and... whoa.. it was intense.. I was soooo full I was sick.. but I just kept eating .. I almost finished the rice and she brought out a Huge piece of warm pie......and I was like, Oh, 'im full but I am sure that I can eat this pie... Wrong! I ate it and then I just felt it coming back up .... and I kept trying to old it back.... finally I asked to use the bathroom.. and just standing up and walking to the bathroom was enough to fix the problem ... but ya that was my first experience with eating at a members.. but the African family, the food was SOOO good.. we had lamb... fish, sausage, and deep fried bananas.. it was good...
Well the work is going pretty good... I found out at Zone Conference that Brussels is a lot better area than other places.. we teach a lot more lessons and have a lot more investigators ... but .. this week and last week the work has been slowing down because everyone is just getting back from vacation and starting school and work.. so everyone is busy and doesn't have time... so that stinks but it's still going well.. We have been working with Paulo, Iness and Javier, Franc, Elias and those are just our progressing investigators that are doing really well... we found Franc my first day in Brussels. He was terribly drunk and was wondering the streets bothering people with his two dogs.. so we talked to him and made an appoinment with him... we didn't think much about it.. but.. ya.. we went and met with him and he was AWESOME.. he said on the card we gave him was a book and he was wondering what it was and if he could buy one from us because he wanted to read it and know what it was about so we gave him one.. and he was excited.. we taught him the plan of salvation and it was great because he lost his one year old daughter, his brother, and his mom... sooo ya.. then he said he wanted to go to church with us.. before we could even ask him.. soo we were like, ya... so he wrote it on his calendar and ya.. he is sweet...
Paulo is an Italian guy.. he is pretty good, we have taught him a bunch of times we see him about 3 times a week and we meet him at the church.. he is always there always reads what we give him.. so ya.. he is really scared of people so we can't get him to go to church... but he asked us if he could see the baptismal font.. because we had asked him to be baptised.. and he said he would when he knew it was true.. haha.. and then he said he was 94 percent sure that the Book of Mormon was true.. hah a
Iness and Javier are a mom and son from Columbia (I think ).. they are great. They come to church every Sunday and we teach them a lesson on Sunday too.. so that is going well... she really likes the church and she wants her son to grow up in the church... soo.. ya ..
Elias..is the most prepared man that Elder Musters has seen on his mission before.. He showed up to church the Sunday before I came.. just showed up.. and we haven't been able to meet with him for like a week...he kept not showing up to his rendez-vous.. so ... ya but then the other day we finally goT to meet with him.. and it was awesome.. he had been reading the Book of Mormon.. he said he had been looking for the right church his whole life but he hadn't been able to find it because every church tells him how to worship differently.. so he really liked the restoration... he was just awesome, he understood everything and it was like a lesson in the MTC where they gave you all the answers you wanted and ya... it was great.. we are meeting with him this Friday with President.. so ya.. he is awesome... sooo those are just a few of the investigators that I have.. i have a ton more but those are the ones that are doing really well..
Oh and for Dad... I am in the Strombeek First Ward area.. I'm not sure what the boundries are really but.. ya I'm just in like down town Brussels.. and contacting is just where you go and talk to people and try to set up an appointment with them to teach them more.. Oh, and there are a TON of Muslims here.. insane.. and we are not allowed to teach them, sooo.. ya makes it hard to contact and find people..
Well I think I have used more than my time so I have to go.. I love you all.. Bye, Elder Simonson
Alors..... My new city is Bruxelles and it is sooooo awesome.. Ya, so the plane ride was super long and it was a red eye flight and we will just say that I didn't get a whole lot of sleep.. but never the less I arrived in Bruxelles at about 8 or so and we got through border control and all of that fun stuff and then we met President Woodland. Pres. Woodland then proceeded to quickly get us moving. We got our stuff, split up in different cars and got out of the airport.. I was extremely scared thinking that I would have to go contact, I didn't know where we were going.. but it ended up that we just went to the Mission Office. There we went through orientation and all that fun stuff and had interviews with the President. We were there for probably about 2 hours.. so ya that was intense because I was super tired. But the mission office is soo sweet. It is a nice building and the office is on the top floor and it overlooks the whole city of Bruxelles... you just have to see the view to understand. Anyway, after we were done we went to President's house and ate some lunch and met Sister Woodland and then they told us we could take a nap until about 4:30. Well we slept til 4:30 and man was that nice. Then when we awoke...I knew it was the moment I had been dreading. And ya, we went to the place where one of the 12 dedicated Belgium to Missionary work and that WAS SO SWEET, it was so pretty. Then it was time... we went to the Big Grande place and ya...we contacted... I was freaking out and I couldn't understand a thing. But luckily my group had an AP that spoke really good French.. and we talked to a guy from Kongo most of the time.. Then after that we went to a restaraunt and Pres. bought us dinner...then we went back to the house to find out where we would be serving. And like you already know I am serving in BRUXELLES.. it is sooooo sweet, I love it and it is not America...But ya my Trainer's name is Elder Mustars. He is from Toronto and he is pretty awesome... He doesn't make me speak French which is good but also bad.
So our apartment in Bruxelles is pretty much the biggest and nicest apartment in the whole mission. It is huge and I have a balcony in my room and ya it's just nice....um some of the people we teach are Paulo Inos and Javias and a bunch of others.. Right now I am actually in Lille, France. I had to come get legal.. so ya, I don't have much time, so I will have to go. Ask me questions and then I can answer them for you. There is soooooo many things to tell you that ya.... I just don't have time but I love you and I am doing fine, talk to you later, and sorry for the bad spelling, I am typing on a French keyboard and it is quite difficult. Au revoir
Greetings from Brussels!
You'll be happy to hear that Elder Simonson arrived here safely yesterday morning and despite the jet-lag, he is on fire! We can see that he is very prepared already, and will be a great blessing to the mission. You can see in his eyes that he knows why he is here and that he has a solid testimony. As he will surely tell you in his first email next Monday, he is serving in a very special place. There could not be a more exciting place or a more exciting time to be serving a mission right now. We are now experiencing something as a mission called The 2nd Harvest. In the early history of the church there was a great harvest in Europe and the prophet declared that the time has come again. We are beginning to see these prophesies being fulfilled in a way that is very real.
This mission is exactly obedient, we know that the Lord is with us, and that these countries are filled with many of Heavenly Father's children who are prepared to make covenants with him and enter the waters of baptism. In such a historic time, a lot is expected from each missionary. We have been praying over the last months that the Lord would send some of his choicest missionaries to this mission, and it's clear to see that Elder Simonson is one of them. He has many spiritual gifts, and we thank you for all that you have done and do to support him.
The first transfer of a mission is so crucial, and we really seek the will of the Lord to know where each new missionary needs to serve and who their first companion will be. He will get off to a great start.
His first assignment will be in the blessed city of Brussels. His mailing address is:
194/3.1 Avenue De Broqueville
His companion will be Elder Musters.
These next two years will be incredible. Thanks for prayers and faith. Thank you for Elder Simonson!
Elder Craig and Elder Palomäki
Bonjour tout le monde!
Well my time here at the MTC has come to an END... which is crazy right.!! I swear... I don't know what is going on.. time flies.. well all is well I am just getting ready to leave. Today is my last P-day so I have a lot to do .. packing, washing, etc..... Mom you had a fake heart attack... that's pretty killer... ha ha no pun intended.. ha ha I'm glad everything went well.. sounds like it went fine... Thanks for the package. The goodies were good, the pie was HUGE.. Me and my companions had about half of it and then the rest we just left out in the hall for others to scrounge on..
So this week....
Nothing super big huge happened this week... this last week like I said was full of subs... we had fourteen different subs in about a week... we pretty much had every French teacher here.. minus a couple... It was kinda rough but good at the same time...This week we have just been working on teaching in French.. we teach little lessons daily, and we practice on meeting the needs of the person we are teaching and not just teaching a lesson that is memorized... Ya think about this... Clint, Danny.... you got to read or give memorized lessons... I have to just come up with what I want to say when giving a lesson in French... ya... anyway... Frere Brown finally made it back... so it has been good to have him back......
Mercredi de l'enfer
Ha ha.. well this Wednesday we decided to speak only French and for like real ... only speak French all day... so we did.. and it was pretty awesome.. we made it the whole day with out saying anything but in French... I only spoke in English once when I was waiting for my companions to get shots, an Elder started talking to me so I had to speak back... Speaking French made for one long freaking day... and the next day (yesterday) my brain was fried, I couldn't even think French let alone understand it...but the new Districts thought that that was pretty cool even though they hated it... but oh well their teachers appreciated us and the example we were because it made them excited to speak French...
But ya, so we taught our last lesson in the TRC... we had prepared to teach the 'fake' investigator about the law of Tithing .. because she was supposed to have a problem with it.. but when we got in there and started teaching our lesson and asked her if she had questions about the law of tithing she said no... sooooo we just gave a little thought about faith and why we know the law of tithing is important...also we taught our last lesson to our new progressing investigator... it didn't go very well.. and it made me realize how little French I know...
Well I think that mom posted my flight plans sooo ya... I leave for Belgium in like two days.... that is going to be freaking scary... ..I can't think of much else to write about... I don't remember what I did this week and I didn't write down a list.. so I really don't remember... but I got my address in Belgium...So ya you can stop writing me here now... and I am pretty sure that you can't write dear elders to that mission. so..here is the address..
Elder Jacob Simonson
Belgium, Brussels/Netherlands Mission
87, Blvd. Brand Whitlock
Well... My time here at the MTC has been great, my District is SO awesome... funny... hard working.. and obedient... We have worked pretty hard but we have had fun too. My testimony has grown soooo much since I have been here.. I have realized how important the Holy Ghost is, how important le livre de Mormon is.. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to be on a mission I already am soooo glad that I came .. it has already changed my life.. I have learned so much about the gospel... and I have learned a lot of French for only 8 short weeks... it is amazing what the Lord can do.. ... I love you all and I am thankful for you all being there for me.. and you might just want to pray really hard for me for about the next month... because I am going to be sooooo lost and ya, anyway I will talk to you later... literally... au revoir...