Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas again!

Well it was awesome to talk to you.. I think all of you thought I was really awkward... I was being normal.. I just could barely hear everyone.. and no one had much to say.. Oh well it was good to hear your voices.. It feels good to hear those familiar voices.
Christmas night went well. We went to a little family's house that is in the ward and sang christmas songs and shared testimonies and then we had a big feast at another family's house.. so that was fun...
This week has been quite interesting.. It seems it has been really lazy and boafy..
I forgot to tell you but..on Sunday, church was cancelled because it had snowed so much.. we got about 5-6 inches and it actually stayed for a couple of days .. and Brussels is just not quite used to that.. so Sunday we stayed inside and had a big apartment study and breakfast.. then Monday we had meetings and other things.. and then Tuesday we picked up the a couple of new missionaries that came in early... they were both really cool.
One of them is a Sister and her name is Sister Stephanie Clark or something like that.. anyway the moment I saw her I knew I had met her before and that I knew her... so we started talking about why she looked familiar... and we found out that in the summer of 2007 she was down in Inkom and she came to the singles branch a few times and went on little trips and activities with them.. and it just so happens that I went to the singles branch a couple of times that summer and I think that is where I had seen her.. It was pretty crazy.. I know her..
Anyway the two new missionaries got assigned to Charleroi.. and President was in France doing interviews and what not and so Elder Christensen and I got to pick them up and then also take them down to Charleroi and get them settled in...
So on Wednesday.. We traveled down to Charlroi and also a senior couple that works on the apartments came down also and we spent most of the day fixing up the Sisters apartment and get them all squared away ... It was good to go back to Charleroi like always.. I saw Daniel's brother that we were teaching when I left.. it was cool
Then that lead us to Christmas eve and Christmas and we pretty much spent both days at members houses and president's and ya it was really good...
I am more excited though that it is all over and we can start into a new year and get the work going... I think we have lost a little focus on the work in the past few weeks and I kinda think the whole mission was like that.. So now I am ready for things to go back to normal a little so we can start teaching more people and find more people to be baptized..
Anyway.. that is about it... I will try and send a camera card as soon as possible.. I love you and hope you have a great week...
-Elder Simonson

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A - O Merry Christmas Everyone!

Oh boy... well the time has flown and Christmas has arrived... and to be honest, I forgot that it was the time to be planning the phone call and times and what not... Elder Christensen and I kinda thought about it and I think it would be allright to call around 8 your time (4 our time)... I don't know if that is early enough to be able to talk to Trish and Clint.. but.. anyway.. I have to get on my email on Monday to send President some letters so.. if you would prefer a different time just email and tell me.. It is our cell phone so no matter where we will be we will pick up the phone..  talk to ya on Christmas.. we might end up going to the Johnsons home.
By the way, I got your package.. Thanks.. I have already eaten most of the goodies.. and I also got Grandma and Grandpa's package also.. thanks so much!!
Well thanks so much for all the letters and emails.. you guys are pretty much the coolest family.... and it is good to hear from you.. I'm excited to hear from you all on Christmas..
The mission is going well.. Elder Christensen is a stud... and we have been teaching our brother Kadio.. he is doing well and is super solid.. I have a really good feeling that he will be baptized... He lives like right next to the church and has been living here for about 6 months and when he got here he was looking for a church to go to.. and he went on a walk and found our church.. but didn't know how to get in contact with someone to find out more about it.. and then.. viola... we met him a little while later.. he said he tried going to other churches including a Nigerian church but he didn't like it.. and he said he feels good and comfortable in our church.. He is cool..
The weather has been so interesting here lately.. It was totally different than last year.. Last year it got freezing by Nov.. this year it was pretty warm.. until about three days ago and all of a sudden it got stinking COLD... and it snowed about 5 inches two days ago and it is lasting.. which is weird for Belgium.. usually it snows about an inch and then melts.. but.. not the case..
We had Zone Leader Council this week and it went well.. Ya anyway.. I don't have too much to say.. because I will talk to you later..
Today.. we Spring cleaned... in December.. it was so nice.. our apartment is finally clean and way nice.. We have been working on it for the last two transfers.. I am proud of it.. I took a video.. and I will send it to you later...
Well I will let you go.. sorry for the small letter...
I Love you all.. and wish you a MERRY CHRISTMAS from Belgium.. happy holidays..
Just let me know if 8 in the morning for you is ok to call... you can call whenever you want.. just let me know.
Love,
Elder Jacob Von Simonson

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Craziest 2 weeks of my Life!

Ok.. so maybe the title is a little exaggerated but it really has been crazy...I promise... huh Katie...?
Well everything seemed to work out this week. We got the new missionaries on Tuesday. That was really an awesome experience.. We received 16 new missionaries and 2 are coming later (one has visa problems and one was sick)
New missionaries are soooooo FIRED up and excited to be out... They have so much faith and just want to be able to have cool experiences so that they can write home with a cool story... One Elder was really funny.. He was just the kind of Elder that would say something like ... "Yes, I just got mugged for the first time!" He asked, "Sooo... when people mug you, what is the most common weapon they use?" HAHA, Oh man what a weirdy.. it was funny.
So Tuesday we were with them all day we went contacting in Grand Place with them and took them out to eat and got back to the Mission Home to have them open their calls. I think I was more excited to hear where they were going than they were!
Then Wednesday we had transfers and departing missionaries. There was all sorts of strikes on one of the streets so that blocked up traffic which was ridiculous! It took us 2 hours to get from the Mission Home to the station which usually only takes about 15 min. So that made for hectic-ness...
It was weird to see Elder Reynolds leave and go home and also Elder Hoskyns.. I can't believe how stinking fast time flies.. it is crazy..
While we were at the airport, Elder Hoskyns couldn't find his passport, so Elder Christensen and I had to run back to the Mission Home and try and find his passport. Well we found it, but traffic was so bad on our way back to the airport that he missed his flight and had to book a later one... poor guy.. anyway, that just meant that I didn't get to say goodbye to Elder Reynolds and the other missionaries that left.. but oh well...
Then on Thurday we had the huge Missionary Choir from Holland come down to Brussels.. and we spent all day in the center of Brussels putting on little outside Christmas concerts. It was really cool.. we talked to a ton of people.. and the concert that night was a pretty big hit.. so.. all the stress and planning for that wasn't in vain.. but it is nice that it is over.
Elder Christensen, my new companion and AP... is a young buck.. he is only on his 8th transfer and hasn't even hit his year mark yet... but he is nevertheless a stud. He is really good with people and he is good at making decisions (which we all know that I am not good at that) so it is nice. He is from Riverton and likes to swim.. has three sisters, one older, two younger.. his older sister is on a mission in Indonesia.. anyway.. I like him a lot and it is going to be fun..
We had a cool little miracle this week.. While we were with the new missionaries, we received a text that said... "Hi my name is Blessing, I met you people at North Station.. I ask you a Bible".. so I called her to fix an appointment and she said that she had seen missionaries in the North Station about 4 months ago and they had given her a card with our number on it.. and she said she wanted a Bible, but also that she was looking for a church to go to... so we went and taught her last night. She is from Nigeria and is just like Mercy Johnson.. Sis Johnson. I love it.. But she is coming to church with us on Sunday.. I love how the Lord works.. it is really nothing that we do... you never know.. we give out a billion cards and you just never know how much that may affect one person.
Also Kadio, our brother from Liberia.. came to church last week.. we have only taught him once and he has come to church 2 times in a row..
Last Sunday was one of my best, most joyful days on a mission.. It was Stake Conference, so I got to see all the members from Charleroi.. and Elder Gerald Caussé came and spoke... He is a Seventy.. from France.. he is in the Europe Area Presidency along with Elder Kopischke.. Well I don't remember if I told you the treat about Stake Conf.. but.. Daniel was asked to bear his testimony in Conf. He got up and said that he has never been happier and loves his life since he has become a member and then he said, "Since I joined the church.. I have heard many people get up and say that they knew the church was true.." he said.. "I even watch General Conference and I heard the Prophet say he knew the church was true.. but me.. I have never said that phrase out loud.." and then he said.. "SO I would just like to pronounce it to all of you and testify in front of everyone here today that I KNOW THE CHURCH IS TRUE.." ahh.. It was very special..
Also we stopped by the Johnsons before Elder De Mass left and we had a little testimony meeting... It was really special.. Mercy told us how much Bro. Johnson has changed since their baptism and how he used to never want to pray with her or what not.. but now he has changed and he kneels down with her every morning and night and they pray together. And then all the girls said how much their family has changed since their baptism.. and what touched my heart the most was that Osazuwa said... "Thanks Elder Simonson and Elder De Mass for bringing theGgospel to my family." That was really good to hear and feel.. I'm so grateful that they accepted something that is so close to me but that I am trying to share and it is special that their lives are changing and they are finding joy through membership in the Church..
I love you all.. and hope you have a Merry Christmas..
Elder Simonson

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I'm an Uncle again x 9!

Hey-O.. Well I guess I am just a little uncle again.. That is really weird that I have a new niece and just a bunch of neices and nephews that have grown and changed.. I guess I kinda think that everything back home is just kinda on pause.. but not really so the case... apparently the whole world doesn't revolve around me... Ouch.. it is really just earth shattering.. haha jk..
It's weird to think how much I am out of the loop about what is going on back home with all my brothers and sisters... probably because they never write me and I never write them... I really do love you and I think you love me... contrary to what our actions may show...
Well this week has been SOOOO INSANE... It was Zone Conference which went really well. We went to the Temple on the Dutch side.. and then Sister Brubaker wanted to give us all a present which was Swiss Fondue for our lunch.. Cheese fondue for 50 people with a limited amount of time... You do the math.. it was a lot of work and was pretty stressful and threw off our agenda by about 2 and a half hours .. but it was way good and a special treat.. so it was ok.. So Monday we finished prep for Zone Conference and also had meetings with Pres. and then Tues and Wed we were in Zoetermeer where the Temple is.. and then Thursday we were back in Brussels for Zone Conf. and then yesterday in Lille. SO.. We didn't have any time to see any of our investigators.. sadly.. but. that leads us to today our p-day... so tonight we can finally do some work in our area..
It was weird to hear Elder Reynolds give his departing testimony this week.. He has always just been there since my second transfer.. well... anyway.. I was soooo tired and soo exhausted this week but.. the work continues... We will be finishing transfers with President tomorrow and then this coming week will be transfers... It is going to be SUPER crazy as well.. we have 18 new missionaries and the 15 leaving and then we have a HUGE missionary choir coming to Brussels.. so that will take up Mon, Tues, Wed, and Thursday and then things should settle back to normal.. CRAZINESS...
Our Brother Kadio from Liberia that we met, came to church.. and he loved it.. he didn't have time to see us this week and niether did we, but he is planning on coming to church.. I called him yesterday and he said, "I will sse you on Sunday right?" SO.. things are just going fine ... once we get our schedule back to normal and there isn't so many things going on, it will be a little easier to focus on GOLDEN people that are waiting to be baptized..
Well sounds like everything is going well.. I am excited to talk to you as well.... It will be good.. I don't have too much else to say so I will talk to you later...
_Elder Jacob VON Simonson

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Wow sounds like a pretty awesome Thanksgiving...
The good news is that the Lord blessed us and we got invited by a beautiful American family who are investigators... pretty lucky huh.... I don't remember if I told you about them but.. I guess the wife is a member, she was baptized a while back, but she really doesn't remember anything. They are sooooo nice. We went over to their house on Tuesday to teach them. The sisters came over because they decided to pass them to us... they have been teaching them for some time but the father.. (Darius) isn't quite ready to be baptized.. he is really fighting his conscience and trying to rationalize that he wants to be a member. He pulls out the 'I don't know about polygamy or black not receiving the priesthood,' etc..
Anyway, after Tuesday night they asked us what we were doing for Thanksgiving and we joked around with them that we had been trying to hint to the American members that we didn't have any plans but that they didn't catch on. And then they both invited us over. So.. we told them we would make stuff and bring it over and join them.. So Thursday night we had an amazing Thanksgiving! Also.. I made 3 pies for it... I made a beautiful apple pie and also two peanut butter pies... which were a huge hit... I was pretty proud of myself.. I have pictures to prove it.. So that was that.
This week has been a very interesting one.. There has been a lot of things to do... little administrative things that have kept us from getting out doing normal proselyting but it has still been awesome. Wednesday we were able to have an exchange with the Zone leaders from Apeldoorn and we taught five amazing new people.. FINALLY.. One is from Liberia and we just met him on the street.. and he knew where the church was and said he had been wanting to visit it.. so the next day we had an appointment with him and he is just searching for a church and is super dependable which not most Africans are.. so that is a blessing. Then we also taught this couple from Congo and they are in the same boat just looking to come closer to Christ and find a new church.. and we are seeing them again tonight and they will come to church tomorrow.. Then Elder De Mass on the work day.. taught this Iranian family who are super Christian and really intelligent and well to do.. and they loved the Book of Mormon and the message of the Restoration.. so we finally have some people with potential.. I feel really good about them.. Also we have still been teaching Melody the Ghanian.. but she is getting close to having her baby.. so.. we will just see her once a week for a few weeks and then hopefully she will be prepared to start working toward a baptism date.
Some other awesome news... We went down to Charleroi this week.. we went to a District Meeting there to see how everyone was doing... It was my first time back since I left last April... OH MAN I MISS that city... it was so good... I felt like I was going back to the home that I grew up in. I missed it. I also got to go by and see Daniel... He is doing so great. He is still fully active and loving the church.. I think I already told you but he will get the Melchizedek Priesthood in Jan after he has been a member for a year.. He also will be talking in Stake Conference next week-end.. I'm so excited.. he is a stud... I tried to stop by Fatiha, the Muslim lady that we were teaching that was to be baptized, but her daughter was there and wouldn't answer the door. I tried to call her but I think her daughter answered and said it wasn't Fatiha's phone.. oh well I was a little bummed by that.. because no one knows what happened to her..
Also exciting news... we have been working on transfers and I know who my new companion will be! ha... it's a secret until transfers come..
This next week will be crazy busy, but awesome as well. We have Zone Conferences and on the Dutch side they are going to the temple.. so I get lucky and will get to go 2 times.. in a row.. :) that makes me happy.. but other than that.. there isn't a lot new here.. We had a Dutch missionary who has got some back problems move in with us.. and he is helping out the Office Elders.. but
Well I love you and can't wait to hear about the new baby..
I love you
Elder Simonson

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hello all...

Well, first of all, I hate Clint and Katie for going to a Thrice concert... and second of all.. it is pretty crazy that Grandma and Grandpa are home.. in fact that is REALLY weird..
As for Thanksgiving... I don't know what you remebered from last year but we didn't go to a member's house, that was what I cooked for Thanksgiving.. haha.. Europeans don't even know what Thanksgiving is... I'm actually not sure if they are even very grateful for what they have :) I don't think we wil have anything special but it really doesn't matter.. There are some American Families here in Brussels, but so far no invitations.. but don't feel bad for me.. I signed up for this, I signed up for a mission with the intentions and the knowledge that things wouldn't be the same and that I wouldn't really have Christmas' etc...
As for the Christmas package.. I really don't need too much.. I could use some new slippers.. I have thrashed the ones Tess gave me.. You use slippers so much here in Europe... everything is tile.. I DON'T need new shirts or pajama pants.. I have enough stuff as it is... I would however like some butter popcorn. They don't really have that here and I found a pack in our apartment and it was GOOD.. so you could send me some of that and I would be content... I don't know if you want to throw in a new pair of cotton/poly garments I would be ok with that.. mine are starting to wear out..
So that is that.. This week has been interesting.. We have really been trying to find some new people that are interested and have time for us... Everyone is always too busy or just saying yes to be nice but they aren't really too interested.. a lot of boafed RDV's. But we taught Melody and Kofi, the Ghanian family that I told you about. She is really great, she understands very well and loves meeting with us.. we have been emphasizing baptism a lot and she knows why we are there.. so.. it is only a matter of time. She also will have her baby soon so she might not be baptized til Jan or so.. They are coming to church on Sunday though.. so that will be great..
This is a cool little miracle... so this week we had a BIG Brussels exchange where all the missionionaries in Brussels came together and we exchanged companions... also we were all fasting together.. We all tried some new finding ideas etc. Well the day went great.. I was with Elder Benito and we wrote questions on the ground in a big Place and then contacted people as they walked by.. It was pretty neat we found some cool people. Elder Benito is from Spain and so he was like, "Do you think we should write a question in Spanish?" Well there aren't many Spanish speakers in this area.. but I said, "Ya, why not?" Then we ended up meeting like 6 people who all spoke Spanish.. from Spain, Equador, Columbia etc. It was awesome.. we spoke to more Spanish people than French speaking people.. it was fun.
Then we all met at the church to end our fast together.. and while we were all waiting for the Sisters.. I see this lady come up to the door of the church and she was looking at the sign with the name of the church. So I run to go talk to her.. and I asked her how she was doing and if she had some questions.. but I asked in french and she was like, "Do you speak English?" and I said ya. She was from the Phillipines and she said that she saw the church and wanted to know what it was, and what the church was all about. So I invited her in and told her we could meet with her another day (she said she had to go..) she told me she would come right back.. so ten minutes later she shows back up and I invite her in and introduce her to everyone. Then she said.. "I was just walking by and I felt goose bumps and I wanted to know what this was." So Elder De Mass was like, well let us take you on a church tour. So the Sisters took her on a church tour and showed her everything and she told them that it was an answer to her prayers. She has problems with her health and her lawyers and so that night she was looking for a clinic and a new lawyer... and she found the church instead. She is going to church this Sunday(in Brussels 2 that is filled with middle aged Phillipino ladies about 6 or 7 of them) so she will fit right in... the Sisters in the other Ward will be teaching her.. so that should be sweet.. It is amazing the blessings and miracles the Lord gives when we pray and fast together..
Anyway that was a highlight.. also we saw the family Johnson last night and taught them about the Priesthood.. It was good.. The girls have a little part in the Primary program tomorrow. They had to write their talks on how families can be together forever thanks to temple ordinances and what the Prophet has counseled us to do as families to stay strong. Their talks were amazing... their parents didn't help them (because it was in French and they don't speak French) and it was like they had been born into the church. Etiosa said, President Monson teaches us to have a Family Home Evening.. where we pray and sing and read scriptures together.. then Osazuwa said, Sealing is an ordinance that we do in the Temple. Thanks to temple we can be sealed together as a family so we can live together forever.. I have always dreamed of going to the temple and I can't wait to be in the temple together with my whole family.. haha it was crazy... Then Bro. and Sis. Johnson asked if we were going to come back when they go to the temple and we both told them yes.. So I am hoping that next Thanksgiving break the Lord will provide a way for me to be in Belgium so I can go with the Johnsons to the Temple, hopefully with Elder De Mass by my side..
Well I hope you have a good Thanksgiving.. eat some pie and turkey for me.. and we will talk to you later..
Love Elder Simonson

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Neva Betta

Hidy ho Family and I guess friends as well.  Well it seems as if I fell asleep for ten minutes and woke up and it was Saturday again. I can't believe how fast it has been going.. It is ridiculous and someone needs to slow it down.. haha..
This week was really great. We saw some cool miracles as always and it was just good.
Haha so funny note, this week we had two different Africans try and get us to sign papers saying we knew them and they were associated with the church so that they could get nationality here in Belgium. It just so happens that both of them were possibly women of the world (if you know what I mean), it was sad. But we just told them well we are American, so I don't think that Belgium is going to take that, sorry. Then we said, "Hey if you decide you wanna come to church we will see you there.. but otherwise we will be seeing you later."
We saw a lot of members this week and it was so cool. I realized what amazing and strong members there are here. We taught this one guy, his name is Omar Haruna. He was baptized about two transfers ago and he is from Ghana. He walked all the way from Ghana to Belgium. He took a little row boat from Moroco to Spain.. haha. It took him four years and when he got here he had no place to stay. So he stayed in the train station for 2 weeks. Then finally another Ghanian took him in. It just so happens that it was a inactive Ghanian member. Well long story short..Omar was Muslim and then one Sunday Bro. Francis. (the inactive mem) and Omar showed up at church. Omar got baptized and he is so solid and ever since he has found a really nice job, and things are just going amazing for him. The Lord is taking care of him and he is so hungry to learn. He recorded his whole conversion story on a tape and we are going to type it out so I can have it on paper to read because it is crazy.
This week we decided we needed to mix this up and try a different way to find.  So we decided that we would pick member families and go to their house, pray with them and then go finding/tracting in their area.  So we did that and the first member family we chose.. just happened to live in pretty much the richest part of Brussels.. haha We thought, man this is different than being in poopy/slummy areas, so we went forward with faith.  Not a whole lot of people were interested, but we knew we would find someone.  And we had promised the family that we would come back and tell them miracles..SO we were OBLIGATED:)  Well at the very end of our finding time we found two Phillipinos.  One hadn't heard too much about the church but she knew it a little, but the second one we talked to had friends on missions.  He knew all the lingo and everything about the church and he was like, ya I used to talk to the District President all the time.  He used to feed the missionaries and it was crazy.  He was really positive, so we will see if we can get him going.  But it was cool to go back and share the miracles with the family.
On Thursday we were up in Zwolle, Holland.  It is a BEAUTIFUL dutch city WAY WAY up north.  There were some struggling missionaries and areas so the District Leader asked if we could come up and do a huge finding activity.  He asked Elder De Mass to bring his bag pipes, so we went up and it was awesome.  I wasn't super effective because it is such a Dutch city that not everyone spoke English.  Haha pretty much every Dutch person speaks perfect English.
Yesterday was an awesome day. We saw the family Johnson and taught them about temples and somehow Bro. Johnson already knew a lot. He was like, "Well in one year we can prepare ourselves to go to the temple where we can be sealed together for eternity." So of course I was happy.
Oh I almost forgot, the highlight of the week was Sunday. Sunday was so special. The whole family Johnson got confirmed and received the holy Ghost. It was really powerful. The whole family sat on the stand and so all the Ward knew they were new members. When Bro. Johnson received the Holy Ghost and after the blessing was finished he got up and his eyes were filled full of tears and he was just crying. He gave everyone a huge hug and a lot of the members all were teary eyed as well. I can't explain it. It was really one of the most powerful experiences I have had. I love that Family with all my heart. Last night we took a member from Guyana (South America) to teach them. Wilfred (is his name) he is 73 and you would never guess it. He was honestly one of the most powerful joint teaches I have had on my mission. He is the happiest person and every time you ask how he is doing he says Neva Betta (Never better).. I love it. I wish you could meet some of these people..
Well I will stop boring you. I love you Lots and it sound like you are all gearing up for a fun next few months. And to answer your question.. it is more than likely... no, it is for sure that I will be here for Christmas. Elder De Mass has been Assistant for 5 transfers, so I will be getting a new companion next transfer which is the second week in December.. so..
Love... Simonson, Jacob, Von, Elder... PhD.. in awesomeness..

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Another Week.

Hey, hey... oh.. it was so good to get all those pictures thanks so much.. Alli, Addi, Grant and Corgin are so freaking cute... and that looked and sounded like a pretty intense wreck Katie.. good on ya.. Thank goodness that everything worked out ok.. and no one was seriously hurt..
I didn't get in a wreck so that is good.. I don't know if I ever told you but we have a sweet car. It is a little Renault Clio and it is a Diesel 6 speed turbo.. you can say we are spoiled.. driving in Brussels is pretty crazy, but fun also. Let's just say people just do whatever they want and there are no rules.. or at least it doesn't seem like it..
This week was great.. not too busy or stressful. We have been doing a lot of searching for people who are ready to join the church.. and for the moment we are seeing and finding a lot of people, but a lot of them aren't really serious about it .. etc.. so we just keep searching.. I might have told you last week but every companionship in the Brussels 1 District have the sweetest most prepared people ever and they all have baptismal dates and are preparing for baptism.
We think we have found some golden people... we have only taught her and her husband 2 or 3 times but they are great. They are from Ghana and they are pretty well to do which is rare for Ghanians. They have a nice house, they have a car, etc. Her name is Melody and his is Kofi. Melody is pregnant right now and she has the cutest little girl named Felicity. It was crazy how we found her... we went to teach another Ghanian that we hadn't seen for a while and when we went in, Melody was siiting there and she just started asking all these questions and we taught her and she UNDERSTOOD really well which is rare for Ghanaians .. haha.. but we went back twice this week and met her husband last night. We told her that we wanted her to find out herself if this church was the true church of Christ and that if she did we wanted her to be baptized and she is like, "ya." So we said, "Well, December we are having a baptism" and she says.. "Well, that might be a little early but.. I want to continue to learn and then we shall see what can be done." So we are seeing her 3 times a week and it is going to be awesome. They are supposed to come to church tomorrow so we will hope and pray.. they will be another sweet family addition to Brussels 1.
This week we also had Zone Leader Council.. which went well. My training was a little rough.. I had a hard time, but Elder De Mass and President threw it down. Both of their trainings were very powerful.
Well I am doing very well.. Just enjoying serving the Lord and it is amazing how well He knows us and watches out for us. Yesterday I woke up feeling like I needed to write Elder Reynolds a nice little thank you note and I didn't have time so I was just like, oh well I'll do it on Pday...and then we went to interviews in Antwerpen.. and the Zone Leaders did an activity where we talked about friendships and people who had built us up and influenced our lives and then they said.. "So today we thought it would be good to build up those we love in the Mission." Then they told us to write to someone and thank them and let them know our appreciation for them. So that was an awesome little "coincidence"... anyway I was grateful for the pictures and they brought me a lot of joy.. so. thanks.. I love you all..
Talk to you Lata..
Elder Von Simonson

Monday, November 2, 2009

Baptism of the family Johnson


Sunday, November 1st was the baptism of the Johnson family that Elder Simonson has been teaching. Jacob loves this special family so much...they are truly elect!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Transfer week

.... Ah.... well this week was transfer week.  Things were pretty crazy.  We only had one new missionary come in... so Tuesday wasn't as crazy as it usually is.. He came in on Tuesday and we did a few things with him.. we went to the dedication site and also to teach the family Johnson with him... It was funny... fam. Johnson fed us Kidney.. it was sooooo sick.. and the new missionary was just gaggin it down.. Elder De Mass and I were laughing sooo hard.. because fam. Johnson always feeds us such good food.. but they just decided to feed us kidneys...so I hope he liked that and that got him pumped up for his mission.
Then on Wednesday we had the departing missionary day. Wow.. what a stinking powerful meeting that is... We lost two of our best Sisters and some really awesome French and Dutch Elders... It was hard.. On Wed. we do transfers at the Gare for half the day.. then we go back to the office and have a meeting with the departing missionaries.. where they tell us what the Mission needs to work on.. and the things we could do better etc... and it is a great learning experience.. then we head over to the Mission Home and eat.. and then have our devotional where they all share experiences from their mission and their testimonies.. it's pretty crazy...they all have a hard time and just cry and the spirit is sooo strong and special. I was just bawling for half of it.. because I was realizing how the Lord has just spoiled me with an awesome mission and I just had the biggest overwhelming feeling of gratitude for everything I have been through and everything that I have learned.. It made me realize it is going to be hard to leave.. mainly just because all the blessings I have had on my mission is going to come flooding back and hit me so hard.. .. anyway.. that's that.
THE FAMILY JOHNSON is doing so good and are good to go for tomorrow.. We had their baptismal interviews on Thursday and they all passed and are sooooooo ready and excited to be baptized. I am baptizing the 14 year old, Elisa.. and Elder De Mass is baptizing Osazuwa the 8 year old and brother Chaussé, our Ward Mission Leader is baptizing Brother and Sister Johnson and an intern, Rich... is baptizing Etiosa.. It is going to be amazing.. 9 people in white.. I will send you pictures as quick as I can.. I will email some on Monday because we are in the office for numbers and meetings...
Elder De Mass and I will stay together one more transfer.. which will be awesome.. he is a diligent hard working man.. I love him lots.
I hope all is going well there.. it sounds like it is.. I received a letter from Brett... I was sooooo happy to hear from him.. and he is doing well..
So everything is going well here.. we are just searching for more prepared people.. and looking for another family johnson.. we might have found one.. they are a Ghanaian family they have two kids.. and we will see.. they are hard to get a hold of and have RDV's with.. but we'll hope and pray that we can get them coming to church and wanting to get baptized..
Well I love you all and hope you have a great week.. I will talk to you later..
Love
Elder
Jacob
Von
Simonson

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pictures from Jake!

at the Chinese Pavillion

The Japanese Tower
Assistants, and Office Elders and Sisters
At the Atonium in Brussels.
"This is our night before the first day of school picture."
(The night before Elder Nielsen went home and Jake became an Assistant)
"This is the sweet apple pie I made."
Jacque's Baptism
Eating Ghanian Fufu!
The forest near our Apartment in Brussels 2
The Manneken Pis...(the peeing statue)
in Brugge

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Zone Conference, 103.4 fever and aftermath...

What a crazy week this has been... Zone Conference was pretty nuts.. Tuesday we were in Lille having a Zone Conference, Wednesday we were in Brussels, Thursday, Antwerpen and Friday in Amsterdam... Zone Conference started at 10 and went to 5..
So we were gearing up for a crazy busy week... and we were not prepared for our training, so half of the day was spent preparing for that. I will go ahead and say that everything went pretty well.. Our training turned out good and it was great spending a little more time around President and Sister Brubaker... BUT.. and here comes the kicker.. on Tuesday in Lille, I could start feeling myself getting really sick and I was just like, "ah crap.. oh well.." Well by Tuesday night I was feeling like crap but just took some Ibuprofen and went to bed early.. when I woke up the next morning and left for the Brussels Chapel for Zone Conference I felt ok.. definitely sick, but not too bad.. well.. just about half way through the Conference, right before our training, I starting having major chills and what not and started running a fever and was sick. I did our training. I kept loosing my voice and then after, I was OUT of it. After lunch, President told me to go lay down in the back, so I did. I had a sweater on and my suit jacket and my coat and I was freezing...... anyway I have NEVER had the flu that bad. I was in soo much pain and after the Conference was done I went straight home and jumped in bed and took my temperature and it was a 103.4! It was ridiculous... but I slept it off and kept the fever down with ibuprofen and am doing fine. Thursday in Antwerpen I felt a lot better and yesterday in Amsterdam I felt really good...
Now.... comes the after math. Because of my fever (this is what I'm guessing) my mouth decided to break out in the biggest patch of fever blisters..(like literally the whole left side of my mouth) and my mouth is all swollen up and has cankers, so my mouth hurts. I hate the flu...
haha .. oh well... it happens..
Sorry, last week I didn't give you an update on the family Johnson. I didn't get to see them because I was on exchanges, but we saw them this week and they also came to church on Sunday.. again.. like the 5th time in a row, but Mercy brought her sister and her niece and they loved it too. They live up in Holland in Rotterdam.. so we asked her if the missionaries could go by her house and she said the sister missionaries already had come over. They just started coming over last week! It was crazy, but the family Johnson stayed for the baptism of Mariama, a lady the office Elders have been teaching, and they Loved it and are no longer scared or nervous to get baptized. So this next Sunday they are getting baptized, Nov. 1st.. That will be sweet..
This email is so late because we stayed in Amsterdam for p-day. It was cool! We went to Anne Frank's house where she hid. It was cool and we walked around town and saw the sites. It was fun, and on the way back we stopped by a place called Kinderdijk, it is a sweet little river with a TON of old traditional windmills... It was beautiful.. but, anyway.. I love you... I didn't have too much time because we are late getting back..
Next week is transfer week and so tomorrow we have to finish transfers with Pres.. should be interesting..
Love ya..
Elder Simonson

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hello from Bruxelles...

Elder De Mass and Elder Simonson, Assistants
Well, sounds like things were good back home.. I'm glad you got my letter and that you liked my answers.....
This week went very well... It is honestly insane how fast time goes by with p day on Saturday and being Assistant.. It is ridiculous... I love it though... This week we had a pretty long meeting with President (getting ready for transfers in a week and a half and getting ready for Zone Conference this next week... ) So we had a lot to do and talk about... I love President.. he is so funny.. he reminds me of Dad a lot... One day we told him a story about a missionary... and then three days later he starts telling us stories and is like, "Hey, have you heard this story yet.." and starts telling us the story that we had told him three days earlier... haha makes me laugh.. we just played along and said, "Ya.. we heard that one." Him and Sister Brubaker are so great. They care so much about the missionaries..
OH.... so this is pretty cool... Steven Covey.. you may have heard of him before, well he came to Antwerpen to do a fireside and he wanted to meet with all the leaders of the mission before his fireside to talk to us and just teach us for 2 hours or so... so that was a neat experience. Then at the end, just in between our meeting and the fireside, Elder De Mass and I were about to leave and someone came and got us and said we were wanted in a meeting. So we went to the back of the church and were welcomed into a meeting with Steven Covey and President and Sister Brubaker and some other people.. and well, it wasn't much of a meeting... it was just dinner... hahaha... reeping the benefits of being an Assistant! It was cool, we got to talk to him one on one.. it was neat.
Also this week we had a week of exchanges... Tuesday the Zone Leaders from Antwerpen came down to Brussels to work with us.. we try to work with about half of the Zone Leaders a transfer... and they come down and work in our area so we get double the work done in one day.. it is sweet. The day was great, we found a lot of really cool people and went and saw a beautiful inactive Cameroonian family and I just hope they will come back.. Wednesday we needed to plan and do a bunch of stuff to prepare for Zone Conference and it was the only day of the week that we weren't working with another set of missionaries.
Thursday was a pretty special day. It was my one year anniversary since I was with Elder Reynolds.. and guess who came up from Liege to work with us? Elder Reynolds and Elder Carpenter! So I worked with Elder Reynolds exactly one year later. It was the exact date that we got together in Charleroi. It was awesome... I love him so much, he is a stud and going strong too.. he goes home in December.. crazy huh. We saw a cool lady who has two awesome kids from Ghana. We gave her a blessing and brought a Ghanian member with us to speak Twi to her.. it was cool.
Yesterday I worked with Elder Bybee back down in Brussels 2 in my old area.. it brought back a lot of memories.. it was nice. I got to see Claire and she is doing alright.. she gets a little down because before, the doctors said that she would be back to work by now, but now they tell her she can't, so... she feels like she is handicapped and can't do anything. So she just sits in her house and and doesn't do too much and sometimes she gets super depressed.. but she is still the same Claire.... I was happy to hear that the Ward is really taking great care of her. Her Visiting Teachers come often and they help her do her grocery shopping. They carry all the stuff from the store to her house and also.. there are Wisters in the Ward who call her and see how she is doing and she really loves and needs that. Also Elder Bybee told me that Jacques is doing very, very well and that he is finally getting the Priesthood. They said that he is always at church has not missed a Sunday and is always at FHE.. haha I love Jacques so much.. he's so funny. Well that was pretty much my week. I don't think I will get the coat. My other one is fine but it is just really ghetto and gangster looking, so it looks really funny with a suit, but.. oh well huh. I guess it doesn't effect the work that I do. I love hearing from you and I finally finished a card so I will be sending that home.. it is a pretty sweet card, I'm not going to lie .. there are some really cool pictures on it..
Elder Von Simonso
n

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Conference was sick RIGHT?

Well, well... This week has been busy and a little crazy, but awesome! Sat. and Sunday were great and it was sooooo nice to hear and receive guidance and direction from the Apostles and Prophet and more importantly from the Spirit. I think that got Elder De Mass and I pumped up and also helped us in preparing for Zone Conference. It was great...and also I think that it got all the missionaries pumped as well, so that was great. On Monday we had our regular meetings and then we had an exchange with the Office Elders here and I got to go see Ines and Javier, whom I taught at the first of my mission with Elder Musters. They are such great members, but she is having some health problems, so we gave them both blessings and it was such a help for her. She just expressed all her worries and she vented to us.. and she just sat a bawled.. it was a special experience for me. I love her, she is an awesome mom and lady. After that we went to FHE with their sweet investigator Mariama who is going to be baptized this next Sunday. On Tuesday we journeyed up to the Flemish part of Belgium to Gent.. and went to a District meeting and then worked with some Dutch speaking missionaries. I worked with Elder Noonan... one of the most interesting missionaries I have ever met. We spent a lot of the day looking up our investigators who have just seemed to have fallen through the cracks... and then we saw THE FAMILY JOHNSON... with our Ward Mission Leader. It was such a great feeling for him to finally get to teach them with us because the Spirit you feel in their home is incredible.. and they are just amazing. All the girls are so smart and participate.. and.. ya I just remember how blown away I was when I first met them... I mean it is almost to good to be true... and that is what our Ward Mission leader said. He was like, "Wow, that is just the ideal family that you could ever want as an investigator." He was sooo excited for them that he ordered a big set of scriptures (high priest style) for Brother Johnson.. haha! I love Bro. Chaussee, our Ward Mission Leader. Wednesday was the crazy weird day for this week. The Lord had different plans for us that day than we had planned the week before. Two investigators who are getting baptized this week in the Netherlands needed baptismal interviews from me... because they spoke French and they needed someone who speaks French... and President Brubaker was busy all week.. so I was the next contact who spoke French. So Wednesday we drove allllllllll stinking day around the Netherlands. We left at around 10 and got home at 10. First we went up to Utrecht to drop of a new car to a missionary couple, then we took their old car over to Den Haag to the Zone Leaders there, then we drove down to Gouda outside of Rotterdam and there we interviewed a family from the Ivory Coast who is getting baptized this weekend. The kids spoke Dutch and the mom spoke mostly French... she spoke Dutch too, just not super well. The interview went great with her... she used to be Muslim, but no more. She had a great testimony. Then after that we drove down to Dordrecht to interview a guy from Guinea named Siku... he was awesome to. He also spoke Dutch pretty well, but his native language was French, so I interviewed him.. and he was sooo prepared and amazing. He used to be Muslim, then he had a dream of Jesus Christ telling him to follow him 3 times, so he converted to Christianity. He said he was baptized into a Penacostal church but said that was just his way to make the transisiton so that he could find the truth, and he said when he saw the missionaries he said he had something pushing him to talk to them so he did... and he has been coming to church since then and has just loved it and has gained a great testimony. It was a special experience. but lots of driving. It was beautiful though... I saw lots of canals, cows, and sweet windmills. Also I took a ferry... that was AWESOME.. haha.. and it was only 2 euros. Thursday was an awesome day too. We had an exchange with Zone Leaders from Apeldoorn. They came down here and we went to Rogier, a Shopping Center, and Elder De Mass played his bagpipes and we gave out Books of Mormon and like 60 flyers for the Young Single Adult Center here in Brussels. It was so fun and we found some sweet people. Well the Johnson family is doing well. We saw them last night and we finished teaching them all the commandments and told them that we had taught them enough and all they needed to know to be baptized and that they would continue learning, so we asked them if they would feel ready for the 18th and Johnson said it was too early, but.. they are so great. We are just moving it back 2 weeks to give them more time, but Johnson told us, "You know this is a very important decision... this is a whole family joining the Church, not just one person, I want all my kids to understand very well so they can grow up in the Church and so I can be very proud of them.. and don't worry.. we will be baptized. If we were questioning it, you wouldn't be here and we wouldn't be coming to church." So, it felt right and of course we respected his decision as a father. So probably November 1st is the new date. They are doing so great though.. and they loved Conference. Well, I should probably go. I love you and I sent you a letter, so you should get it soon. I'm doing great. The Lord has helped me, I haven't been as stressed as I was before ... so all is well!
Love ya.. bye.. Elder Von Simonson

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Going to the Netherlands

Well.. so this is my new email address...jvonsimonson@myldsmail.net... I don't know why, but my other one will not let me in... I swear I am typing the right password and address and I have checked everything and even tried to find out what my password is, but it wouldn't accept that... so sadly I didn't get any of your emails.. that makes me a little sad, but oh well, I guess what can I do?.. 
This week went so stinking fast it was crazy.. I can't believe that it is already Saturday.. Things fly... The week started out pretty great... we had meetings with President and the Mission is really doing great... everyone is getting back that fire and excitement to do the work and they are all finding amazing people to teach... so everything went up... 
We also had to make trip to Gent, a Flemish city about 40 km from brussels... to help a recent convert move some things... that was interesting.. 
The week was pretty crazy come to think of it,... on Tuesday we had a new sister come in.. and we had found out the day before... She is actually Dutch and she went to the MTC in England for three weeks... but she doesn't speak English very well.. so.... after a few days the MTC Pres. and Pres. Brubaker decided to send her out early... and to have a Dutch Sister be her MTC teacher here in Brussels, so Tuesday was full of doing all that.. getting her from the airport and getting her and her companion all situated etc...
Wednesday we had Zone Meeting and some service for a member and then we had to leave for Amsterdam that night... so that day was eaten up too... it almost seems like we didn't get much accomplished this week.. but.. we did.. right before we left our car died.. and we had to find some jumper cables and someone the help us... but there was no one, so we had to call the Office Elders and have them come to our rescue. 
I LOVE THE NETHERLANDS!!  It is so stinking beautiful... everything is so clean and the architecture is insane.... I now know why I was on the French side.. God knew I would be distracted on the Dutch side.. both by cute Dutch girls and architecture.. haha.. but Elder De Mass and I went up to interviews in Amsterdam and Apeldoorn with President.. So Thursday we went to interviews and also went on an exchange with the threesome that is in Amsterdam that night... so I got a chance to learn a little Dutch and practice it... we will just say I'm not so great at it... 
I worked with ELder Lundgren for the day and he is such a funny Elder.. He is a pretty nerdy kid so it made for some sweet awkward situations..haha.. but he loved the people so much... and he was so excited to share the gospel....
Then the next morning on Friday.. we headed further up north to Apeldoorn.. a BEAUTIFUL city in Holland... it was a pretty special opportunity to be able to meet some of the Dutch Elders and to see what the other side of the Mission is like... it is way different.. 

Last night we saw the Family Johnson... they are doing so great... they came to church on Sunday and loved it.. and again I felt soooo much joy when they showed up... Last night we taught them about the Word of Wisdom and of course the only problem is coffee, but that isn't even a problem.. it is only Mercy, the mom, who drinks it.. and she said she would stop... it was soo good to see them.. They are doing well but I think we might be moving their date because we asked Johnson how he felt about the 18th of October and he said that he didn't know if everyone would be ready... but they will be.. we are going to just keep going and the Lord will prepare them and whether it be on the 18th or a week after or a few weeks after.. it is ok just as long as they understand the Gospel and keep coming to church and understand what baptism means and all the commandments they promise to keep... if they know that.. it's fine by me... 
Well it is finally starting to get a little colder.. but we will see.. we will most likely switch to suit coats after Conference... so should be good.. 
Well that's about all I have because I didn't get your email... sorry.. I don't know what happened or what, but.. oh well.. I'm doing great and enjoying life and loving serving the Lord.. the Spirit teaches me sooooo much everyday.. and so does Elder De Mass, he is the Man.. I love you all very much.. and hope that you are all doing well.. I will talk to you later.. 
Elder Jacob Von Simonson

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Family Johnson=SUPER ELECT...and Awesome...

Well.... This week has been a taste of what it is like to be an AP, and we will just say it is so much fun... I love it. Things are going so great... It isn't as hectic as I thought it would be.. We have a meeting with President once a week.. talk about stuff and then ya, we have other responsibilities, but we still have a ton of time to proselyte and Elder De Mass is just so stinking hungry and urgent that we get twice the work done in that time. I love it!  We have been seeing huge blessings all over the place...
So .. Family Johnson is their name and GETTING BAPTIZED is their game... They came to church on Sunday and LOVED IT.. and the whole Ward got excited and loved them... It was ridiciulous.. I was so HAPPY.. it was a beautiful sight to see them in church... after the first hour Elisa, the 14 year old, came up to the dad (we call him Johnson..) and said, "Papa, I love this church"... and all the little girls went to primary and loved it as well...On the way back from church Elder De Mass was talking to Osaeratin and Osaswa and asking them about what they thought about church.. and Osaswa told him that Mercy, the mom, told them that this was their new church... and that they would be coming from then on.. and Osaeratin in her African English said she loved church too much..
So we went back to see them on Tuesday and had a little family night with them....and the first 15 minutes they just talked about how much they liked church and how the classes were split up and how all the kids liked it.. then... we talked more about the Plan of Salvation and all their girls are so stinking smart and well behaved.. they were understanding better than their parents and they were asking questions like "So if we don't repent and aren't baptized, then we can't go live with Heavenly Father?" haha so we asked them to be baptized on October 18th and they said Yes....!!!!!! oh man it was probably one of the happiest moments of my life.. you have no idea how much I love this Family.. they are such a good family.. The only thing Mercy, the mom, was worried about was if she would have enough time to get the stuff prepared for her party after the Baptism.. haha it was funny.. Also the Office Elders and the other Elders have people going to be baptised on the 18th also so we are planning on 7 baptisms that day.. That would be sweet to have 14 people in WHITE.. WE would think we were in South America somewhere, where that is not unusual..
This week was just filled with insane miracles.. then we met with President on Monday and talked about the things Elder Kopishke had commented on what our Mission could work on.. and so we reviewed that and Pres. gave both of us a topic that he wanted us to do a training on.. so that we could work on the things that Elder Kopishke had asked us to.. which was Referrals and working with the members.. I got working with the members better and Elder De Mass, referrals... well since we were working and studying these things.. we focused on referrals this last week and had the most crazy experiences with them..
One day we taught this sweet African student and we asked him if he knew anyone who would be interested in speaking with us and he told us his friend that lived above would be.. so we walked up there, knocked on his door, and he let us in a we taught him and he was awesome.. and from Cameroon.. looking for a church here in Brussels because he is a new student.. then later in the week.. we went and taught a recent convert... she was home alone and her husband was supposed to be there.. so we taught her on the door step and asked her who she knew who needed the blessings of the Gospel in their lives and she said.. "Oh I have a friend from Ghana and she wants to come to church." So yesterday we went over with her and taught her friend Barbara and her sister, from Ghana, and they should come to church this Sunday.. the lesson went well, they loved it.. and the recent convert loved sharing the Gospel... that same day that she gave us the referral we were leaving her house and her husband was walking up and said, "Hey.. I was talking to a friend the other day and she said that she hadn't seen the missionaries in a long time and wanted to talk with you.." so he took us to her house and we are going to be seeing her this next week... still this day we got a referral from the office, and we went searching for it.. and the guy no longer lived there. So we asked the lady if she was interested .. she said no and then we asked, "So do you know who would be?"... and she said, "Oh .. my best friend down the street would be interested in speaking to you." So we went and contacted her and sure enough .. she was.. and we will teach her this next week....CRAZINESS...
So sorry, I will stop boring you with sweet miracles... or what I think are sweet miracles.. haha.. but Thanks for all the news. I love hearing what is going on... even if you think that I don't.. SORRY Trisha and Jaron, and Dad.. I hope you have and had a Good Birthday... I am so bad at remembering all that stuff.... but I do love you and think about you often... so don't worry about that...
Things are going to get busy this next few weeks.. we have a lot of exchanges and we have to go to interviews and do a week of Zone Conferences.. so.. this transfer will go fast....
I love you all and hope you are doing well...
Elder Von Simonson

Saturday, September 19, 2009

See ya later, Elder Neilsen...

Hello family... well I finally got your package with the goodies and the blogs. It was so good to hear from everyone. I love being able to see pictures and just see what you have been up to. And plus I love hearing stuff about Josh's and Tylan's missions .... now if I could just hear from my former best friend, Brett, I would be happy.. I tried to email him a few times but he doesn't respond... so I wrote his family a letter and sent them a few photos with hopes that they would write me and give me his address but.. so far nothing .. I hope he is at least still on a mission.
I also got a letter from Drew... maybe I already told you that but if not... ya it was good to hear from him..
Well this week has been great... It has been such an opportunity and a blessing to be working with Elder De Mass.. he is the man.. he is a hard worker.. and super humble and solid too... it is going to be such a great transfer... Also it's been great to be around President Brubaker... It is amazing to see how much love he has for all the missionaries and how much he cares about them... it is great..
So, I sent Elder Nielsen off on a plane on Thursday morning...along with the other departing missionaries... On Wednesday Elder De Mass and I were at the gare(train station) half of the day doing transfers and then the other half of the day in meetings with the departing missionaries and President.. after the meeting we went to the mission home and ate some dang good lasagne prepared by the one and only Sister Brubaker. Then after we ate we had a little devotional and all the missionaries that were leaving were able to share their testimonies.... oh boy was it super powerful.. the whole time I was just thinking about Elder Nielsen leaving and how good our three transfers were together... and how much I had learned from him... On Thursday at the aiport you could really tell that it was hitting them all really hard that they were finally actually leaving.. I think it was the hardest for Elder Nielsen.. he was freaking out.. haha it was funny, I was teasing him the whole time..
So the Lord just seems to bless me so much and give me some amazing opportunities to serve.. and I think a lot why I deserve it or really if I even do.. and I have come to the conclusion that I think that I don't.. haha but I am thankful anyhow..
Well.. the transfer to the north part of Brussels is going good but I swear that it feels like I have been transfered down to Ghana and Nigeria because Elder De Mass and I prosylite in English.. he speaks Dutch, I speak French.. so we teach nothing but Ghanians and Nigerians... every once in a while some other race... but so far ... I have been learning some Twi .. or Ashanti... haha so.... you could say I might be getting a little taste of what Tylan is living right now... minus the bad living conditions and malaria etc etc.. I think that I have the better situation.. maybe that is still in question...
But the biggest blessing and miracle is that>>> WE ARE TEACHING THE SWEETEST MOST BEAUTIFUL FAMILY EVER... They are African.. The dad is from Liberia and the mom is from Nigeria and they have four girls.. Elisa 13, Osaswa 8, Osaeratine 6 , and Etiosa 11. They are amazing.... Elder De Mass and Reynolds had just barely begun teaching them... When we went over this week, I think it was like the 4th time teaching them... But it was great we did a little review of the Restoration and all the girls were sitting around quietly with their Books of Mormon.. listening, and they told us what happened with the story about Joseph Smith.. it was so cool... Then we invited them to come to church and the dad looks at me and says... "Simonson, I am happy to have you in my house and my family will be in your church on Sunday morning." And they have a car with a GPS and everything... which is pretty rare.. for an African family.. so that will be so easy for them to come to church... he also told us that he has seen a difference in his family since we have been coming over and since they have been reading in the Book of Mormon and praying together.. he told us that the girls loved us coming over.. they are the most amazing family I have ever taught... I would do anything to have them be baptized... so.... you see how merciful the Lord is..
Well I should probably go... I love you lots and will send you some pictures soon... talk to you later...
p.s.... my brotha is gettin fine ... I speak English like an idiot now because the way all the Africans speak English.. the Ghanians speak weird English.. and the Nigerians speak half-broken to you.. it's ok, you're welcome..
Elder Von Simonson
 P. S. Also, this is the blog for the mission that Sister Brubaker and the Office Elders keep up.. it has good pictures and all the news of the Mission.. check it, you will like it.. belgiumbrusselsnetherlandsmission.blogspot.com
Elder Simonson

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Letter sent by Elder Schmutz' mother:

Elder Simonson, Davis and Schmutz at Zone Conf.

*Elder Schmutz was in the MTC with Jake and was also Jacob's companion in Charleroi for quite some time. His mother has been in contact with us occasionally, and sent this portion of Elder Schmutz' letter to me this week regarding Jacob:

"Big news family, well we have a new Assistant to the President in the Belgium Brussels/Netherlands Mission, and it's none other than the one and only Elder Simonson. And yours truly is going to be living in the same apartment with him!
Dad, you remember how you were telling me that you thought that it would be a great learning experience if I went to the office, well I certainly hope you're right, because you are currently reading a letter from the next Legality Secretary of the BBN. So that's exciting, my companions are Elder Berlin and Elder Harper, both of which came into the field with me, and I'm living in Elder Simonson's apartment. So that's crazy. It's funny because Elder Simonson and I were talking at Zone Conference on Wednesday, and he was telling me about how the office Elders are kicking butt right now, how they mostly just have the 3 hours at night to work, but how they're doing more work than any other equip in Brussels right now, so that's pretty sick. They've got two baptismal dates, and we're going to be setting another one on Wednesday night when I get there.
I'm pretty excited to be going back to Belgium... plus Elder Ferguson [
another MTC roomate of Jake's] is going to Nivelles, so we're all going to be in the Brussels Zone together!"

Monday, September 14, 2009

Pictures from Jake

We got a letter from Jake this week with a few pictures. This first one is of Ines and Javier...Jake taught them his first transfer with E. Musters and Elder Carpenter (pictured) also taught them...they were baptized a little later after Jacob came back to Brussels.
The last District Mtg. of the last transfer. . . Brussels 2

Jacob and Lyze Bentoto at her baptism.


Jacob on his P-Day at Waterloo, a huge battlefield.
His letter this week is posted below...

Changes...Challenges...

Hello all. First of all, sorry that I forgot to answer your questions from the last email... I guess I will start with that.. You asked how much longer I have with Elder Nielsen .. and now the answer is, approx. 2 and a half days. It is crazy how fast this transfer flew by... but things were great with him... I love it. I learned so much from him, mainly how to set a vision and go towards it and also to use the time at Sacrament to receive guidance from the Lord.... But like I said I will be killing him... and yes, that means he is headed home to Tremonton, Utah and yes, that means you should go to his homecoming... don't know if that is possible but I recommend it because he will be fresh from the field living with me.. you understand??? That is like the closest you will get to me for a while haha... I'm glad you got my letter finally.. Unfortunately I haven't gotten yours.. or your package, but it should come soon.. I got a letter from Drew.. he was riding a camel.. I was jealous.. but it sounded like he was really scared to leave Mongolia... haha he doesn't want to come home... 
But now I guess I gotta tell ya what is going on with transfers.. for some reason God really, really wants me to stay in Belgium .. more specifically Brussels.. The crazy news was that I will be switching back to Brussels 1, so I will be leaving Brussels 2 ... I thought for sure I would stay and train a new Zone Leader .. but instead they white washed the companionship.. So I will be working with Elder De Mass...President called me last night and asked me if I was ready to come and be Assistant to the President.. and asked me yes or no.. and if no then he was going to send me home.. haha so I was obligated to say yes.. ..
I'm excited but really pretty nervous.. There is a lot of responsibility... and quite a bit of pressure. It hasn't really set in yet, but I think I will start stressing come Thursday... I didn't really want to tell you, but Elder Nielsen told me I should.. you can just not worry about needing to put that part on the blog .. haha 
The week was really good.. It was pretty crazy.. and really busy. We had our Zone Conference and Elder Kopishke came and threw it down on us... it was really intense. He is sucha good teacher. We had a Zone Leader Council with him, so we were 14 ZL's and him. and he just let us ask questions and taught us some great principles for a few hours .. 
It has been weird having Elder Nielsen getting ready to go home.. It was making me a little trunky.. but we tried to work hard this last week... His mind was all over the place but he was trying real hard to stay in the Zone and for the most part he did well.. .. I don't know too much else to tell you.. my mind is kinda all over the place.. this week we got fed a lot.. We went to a less active member's house and ate African food.. some fufu to be exact. It was good! It was fufu and peanut butter soup, nice and spicy with chicken.. it may not sound to good, but it is wow, good.. then also we ate at two Phillipino member's houses. They are the nicest.. for sure... but all in all.. it was good.  Also .. Elder Nielsen and I went to a Jehovoh's Witness church..... interesting... it's like our church, but they don't think.... They read out of this little magazine.. and then they ask questions and people answer by reading the paragraph they just read.... there is no thinking involved... It's pretty awesome .. we got invited to be baptized by the lady that invited us ... and we told her that we were already baptized with the true authority of God.. haha; I couldn't believe how big and nice their church is... and how many members they had.. they had some seroius priesthood potential??!  We will just say, I worked some magic and gave out a few cards... And got invited to come eat fufu at a Ghanian lady's house.. haha freaking JW's.. gotta love em!  They are proud to be JW though.. there are a lot of Mormons who are proud of it, and we actually have the Restored Gospel.. ... anyway my p-day will now be on Saturdays soo .. I will be emailing you this Sat.. 
I love you.. I hope everything will go well with Clint and Carter.. I will try to keep them in mind and pray for them... just remember, keep the commandments and give your time and life to God and then he has to bless you.. 
Love ya, buh-Bye.. 
Elder Von Simonson

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I think this must be the time that everyone forgets that I am gone...

Man; the letters stop and the emails begin to get smaller and smaller.. haha I am just teasing you. I just like to cry and complain like I don't get anything so that people will feel bad for me and then send me stuff... haha good strategy huh? 
Oh and speaking of sending stuff to me.. I am running low on some supplies.. It would be great if you could send me some more deodorant - try and get the solid stuff deodorant/anti persperant it lasts longer than the gel type.. you understand what I'm talking about. Also I could use some more exzema lotion and some face lotion and some more Aveeno shaving cream, non fragranced stuff... sorry we will just say toiletries are not really Europeans forté... they prefer cigarettes and beer.. especially Belge people.. haha that is not an exageration... but you gotta love them .. also some taco seasoning is always a huge blessing.. and gravy isn't too bad either.. but taco seasoning is pretty awesome.. just some suggestions; also did you get my letter with pictures in it? 
Everything went well this week.. nothing too out of the ordinary has happened... we have been teaching some cool new people... we found a sweet new lady.  She is African of course.. from Congo and she has two kids.. she is really open and doesn't have the African mindset either.. I mean she doesn't think all churches are good.. she understands when we teach her and she knew that she needed to pray to receive the answer if this Church was the Church of God.. and she reads what we ask her to read.. We found her this week and we have already seen her twice and even ate some African food with her.. some chicken and pondu.. (nasty green stuff) good with beans in it and stinkin nasty with fish in it... luckily for us she cooked it with beans instead of fish... 
Yeasterday we had such a great day... Patrick from Charleroi came up to work with us for the day.. It was good to see him again and to hear about what is going on in Charleroi.. it made me a little trunky for Charleroi... but it's ok, Brussels is pretty sick too... Patrick is such a solid guy... and we taught Charlene the new lady from Congo.. and it was awesome... and also Jacques is understanding so well now, he now remembers who Joseph Smith is and what he did ... and why it is important... but he is doing so well he is at almost all the activities... always early... church starts at 9:30 and he is there at like 8:45 haha.. so all is well with him.
Also I don't know why.. well I guess I do... (We have been praying and trying to strengthen the relationship between us and members) but the Ward just seems to love us now... people have been inviting us over and wanting to cook for us etc.. and this sweet Brazilian member.. his name is Danilo.. he just got off a mission a few years ago.. he came to teach a Brazilian family with us.. but the couple wasn't there and just her brother who is 23 or so was there and he has been in Belgium for like 1 month .. so we didn't get to teach the couple ..but Danilo just started talking to the brother and invites him to church and tells him he will come and get him .. so yesyterday at church, Junior, the Brazilian came to church with Danilo.. Then Danilo wanted to integrate the new converts so he invited us and Lyze to come eat at his house.. so we got to learn more about Brazil and ate Brazilian food.. it was good... 
It is crazy to see how blessed we are by the Lord.. we ask for help building the relationship with members and then the Lord blesses us with great solid converts who stay active after their baptism and then members are happy and don't think that we are just lazy and baptize bums that go inactive after their baptism.
I gotta go, I will talk to you later 
Love you all 
Elder Von Simonson

Monday, August 31, 2009

Baptism week

Hey family... thanks for the emails and letters .. I got a letter from Grandma... Thanks.. and also I have been getting emails from Clint as well. .. You have an email awaiting you now Clinty poo.. 
Well as for the week.. it was pretty rockin... We had a Great baptism.. it was really powerful... and also the other Ward had a baptism also.. sooo we can't complain... 
Last Monday we took Jacques to a member's house and had a Family Home Evening with them. It was great even though Jacques sometimes has a hard time understanding, he is really good socially.. oddly enough..
Then we had a couple of days doing planning for the baptism and getting to know the members better as well and of course, trying to find the Lord's people that have been prepared.. we have been running thin on serious investigators.. but we just keep on truckin.. striving to do the Lord's will...
On Thursday I helped roof a European house... you know the nice clay tiles... it's interesting.  The member had Sai, he had done two of them already, but he had no clue what the heck he was doing.. together.. Elder Nielsen and I figured it out and explained to him how he needed to do it.. Elder Nielsen's Dad is a contractor.. .. soooo.. It was interesting and a little scary.. because the buildings are a lot, lot taller.. 
Other than the baptism, the week wasn't super eventful... But the baptism went very well.. we were kinda nervous because we couldn't find a member to give a little talk on the Holy Ghost.. .. we found someone finally.. but it was discouraging.. no one wanting to do it. 
But.. we had a good little lesson with Jacques just before his baptism.. and we asked him why he wanted to be baptized and he simply said.. "Because I need to... Life is hard.. and this is what I need to do to fight back and to be strong enough to live.. the Lord will help me.." he said.. "it's like a boxer needs gloves.. if he doesn't have them .. that won't do anything.. It's the same for me without baptism." haha.. that is Jacques.. so like at 5 minutes before the baptism .. there were 6 people there and the Bishop wasn't even there.. but it all was ok.  Bishop showed up at 7:05 and we started at 7:10 and everyone showed up during the opening hymn.. The Bishop really enjoyed it, he had tears in his eyes the whole time and got up and gave a great testimony.. 
Lyze also gave her first talk at the baptism as well.. She is such a solid convert... she wanted to know mora about the Temple and she gave two refferals .. and went with the missionaries to teach them.. one of the ladies she just found in the market.. 
Anyway sorry this is short.. I love you and hope you get my little letter with photos.. I will send some more probably.. but talk to ya soon.. 
Elder SIMONSON. 

Monday, August 24, 2009

Time is Flying...Brussels bathed in blessings

SO I will go ahead and agree with you and say that summer did fly by... Here in Europe everyone is getting back from vacation and people are starting school back up and work.. SO that is nice, our Ward is returning to normal.. SO freak, Emmy has changed sooo much; she looked so old and cute too.. I can't believe she won all that stuff.. lucky little girl.. 
I'm glad that everyone had a great summer.. My summer was great with Elder Nielsen in Brussels..The missionary work may not be as much fun as all that traveling but ... the joy lasts a lot longer .. sorry.. haha.. 
So I am going to have to tell about how much the Lord has been blessing the Brussels Zone.. in the Last 11 weeks we have had 12 baptisms.. there were 2 weeks when we didn't have a baptism, but other than that we have had a baptism each week... and they aren't just poopy people that don't stay active, but really awesome people.... In Brussels 2 there has been 5 baptisms and Brussels 1 there have been 7; so the work is going well.. As a Mission we have been slowing down a little, but our Zone hasn't been affected.. AND the blessings and miracles continue to happen.. there was a baptism last night in Brussels 1... a member referal.. and it was super spiritual and powerful and the Sisters have been teaching an awesome girl named Rachel from Burkina Faso and she has been hesitating about baptism.. and so they hadn't been able to set a date with her.. Well I guess last night at the baptism, she loved it so much and felt the spirit so strong she wanted to be baptized... so there will be a surprise baptism this next Sat..crazy.. also in the other Ward there was this lady from Romania that just showed up to church.. she had went to the Church in Romania and really liked it and one day she just decided she wanted to go to the church that she went to in Romania so she looked it up and found the address.. and showed up with a friend and she said that in Romania the Church is considered the closest practice to the Bible.. so that is awesome as well.. The Elders taught her this week and she expressed the desire to be baptized.. so she will be baptized in a the next month.. TOTALLY AWESOME.. haha.. Also another blessing this week; I think that I have told you about Wilma Vandam a Phillipino lady that was reactivated about 2 months ago... her brother is a Mission President in the Phillipines.. well she has gotten completely active, gotten a temple reccomend everything... She is so solid; well she got back from vacation and she brought her two 15 year old boys to church and told us that we would be teaching them in a week... so... there ya go.. thanks Heavenly Father.. 
It seems like we aren't doing any work because the Lord just kinda hands freebies to us! 
JACQUES TEMFACK.. will be baptized this Friday the 28th.. He is awesome. He is the Cameroonian that is the Urologist.. I told you about how he is a little slow and he wasn't understanding much.. We were wondering if he really was a doctor or not.. .. also we just didn't know if he understood anything and was at all ready for baptism; so this week was the testing week.. We taught him all the commandments and he had no problem with any of them and said he would live them all .. He understood perfectly and .. ya.. all was good. So this Wednesday we had a lesson just going aver the baptismal questions to see if he understood what baptism was and what he was going to promise the Lord.. and IT WAS CRAZY!  That was probably the second strongest I have ever felt the Spirit.. He completely understood that when he was being baptized that he was promising that he would live all the commandments and that he would be loyal to the Church.. I could not believe how well he understood because usually when we teach him he hardly seems to understand.. but then he told us about His 'ACCIDENT' So he did all of his studies here in Brussels, then he went back and was practicing in Cameroon and was a really big doctor, well known, everything.. then he was riding in a car with another doctor and they got hit by a big log truck.. and he went into a comma directly.. they flew him up to Brussels to get treated.. and when he came out of his comma (after a few weeks) he had forgotten how to do everything.. walk, talk, eat.. everything.. he had some pretty intense brain damage ... Well now he speaks and walks and understands very well.. sooo.. now we know what was going on and that he is a normal person and isn't just special!  He is so full of joy, he is great.. and the Ward is really excited for people to be baptized because the recent converts are active.. so .. they don't hate when we baptize someone... 
Another quick story; that was pretty funny.. Elder Nielsen and I enjoy going to Evangilist churches and some how we always get invited.. SO .. we went to this awesome African church yesterday after church.. oh my gosh, it was the most ridiculous thing.. so it was this guy that was the Pastor.. he had a beautiful family of 5 boys and they looked well to do.. they are from Congo.. and they invited us to their church last week.. so we decided to go because the wife wanted us to preach.. haha we were all over that.. so we go and we meet them on our way there.. in the Metro.. and so we are like, "Obviously this is God's will that we go to this church and teach this family".. SO we show up to this really ghetto part of Brussels.. and we go down this street to (what looks like) an abandoned apartment... the door is all broken.. and we walk to the basement of this apartment and the wife is like, "Ahh this is it"... well, we walk into a room the size of your little living room.. there is like 20 chairs and it is just that family and us.. so.. the dad gets up and starts preaching ... it was so apostate.. but we got to talk to them and gave them a Book of Mormon and explained a little.. 
Well... I hope all goes well.. I gotta go but talk to you later..
ELder Von Simonson