Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Pictures from Charleroi...

We eat at Patrick's every Saturday. He is the Mission Leader in our area. This was my first time to try Raclette...which is a super strong cheese that smells like foot!
A view of Charleroi from our apartment.


The 'real' Charleroi...with all the factories.

Charleroi on a snowy day.

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.

Me with my baguette and brie!

Salut family

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. 
Elder Simonson
Dylan, Esther, Me, and Elder Reynolds

Pictures from Brussels

This is Brussels...the view from the Mission Office.This was my first day there, this is the Grand Place where we contacted.

Grand Place

The man we contacted the first day, Rodriguez, was baptized 2 months later.

This was my trainer, Elder Musters, from Canada

Yes...we had matching companion sweaters!! Sweet!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas to All!

We were able to talk to Jake this morning for Christmas...he sounds well and happy and very engrossed in the work.  He had a wonderful 1st Christmas in the mission field and was enjoying his Christmas evening at a member's home named Patrick.  He said he had gotten most of our packages and he had had a "sweet" day!  They spent Christmas Eve with some other members  who were wonderful enough to email us pictures of the Elders...Jacob included!  Thought we would share these with all of you!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Salut famille, joyeux noel

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

Monday, December 15, 2008

Pictures from Belgium!

(Parts of the letter we recieved today from Jake)
Allright, so this is me on the biggest snow day yet here in Belgium...this isn't really the picture I wanted to print, but oh well. It's blurry and I look retarded, but when don't I? This is down by the canal and Gare. Just a little bit of Charleroi, I guess it's not the prettiest city, that's for sure, but it snowed super hard that day and I didn't have an umbrella so I was super wet and had snow on my head...that was the picture I really wanted to print, not this one.

This is my companion... Our district is so solid and that's because of our killer sweet District Leader also known as my companion Elder Reynolds. We are still getting along great and just keep having miracles!
This is at the Charleroi 1 Chapel. We had Zone Sports, so this it the Ardennes Zone!

The other day when we went down to Huy we watched the "Joy to the World" DVD...and it was showing Temple Square all lit up for Christmas...and all that, and it reminded me of home so much...it was weird....it reminded me of what Christmas was like, but it's not quite the same. Hopefully next week you will have more pictures and maybe even a card, love ya,
Elder Von Simonson

Sorry, my Bad!

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 IĆ¹ll talk to you later... 
Love, Elder Simonson

Monday, December 8, 2008

December in Charleroi

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... 
Elder Simonson

Monday, December 1, 2008

Salut les gars!

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, 
Elder Simonson