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.. 

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

Monday, August 17, 2009

Haha....Elder Bailey...

Well I am glad that you got my message. Elder Bailey spent his last day with Elder Nielsen and I, so I gave him your phone number and and told him to call you.. so I'm glad he did. Elder Bailey is a good man and I respect him a lot.. Did he talk about Reinhilda?  Because I did her baptismal interview and she is awesome.. I'm sure he told the miracle about Christian and with the family Peters ..(that was with Elder Nielsen)
He has a tendency to blow things up a little, so I'm probably not as great of a missionary as he said I was.. 
This week has been great.. we saw Elder Nelson at a Mission Conference in the Netherlands, Rotterdam.. It was an awesome experience and I got to see Elder Schmutz and Elder Spicer and all the missionaries I love... Elder Nelson was very powerful and it was crazy how the Lord worked with the Spirit through Elder Nelson and Pres. Kopischke . They all congratulated the Mission... and maybe it was just me and questions I had, but it seemed like all the speakers touched on all the good efforts we were giving to the Lord.. They really built us up and helped us feel good about ourselves.. Because I think a lot of missionaries in this Mission really break themselves down.. It was a great experience.. 
Other than that.. the work was a little slower than usual, but just because we had to clean out our teaching pool .. We hadn't been finding any new amis and all of our others weren't going anywhere hardly.. So this week we did a lot of finding and the Lord blessed us very much.. A quick miracle with that.. the whole week we had been focusing on finding new people and we just weren't having too much success and this Saturday we had only one rdv planned and the rest was just kinda left open for .. finding.. well, I think both elder nielsen and I were a little discouraged, so Friday night we took some time and just prayed and studied... I was just praying that we would do His will and not waste time and telling Him the desires I had.. and well Sat went awesome.. We found this cool student from Cameroon and he is really smart.. Then Nelito, our Ward Mission Leader, calls us up and asks us to come to the hospital with him to see Claire and to meet him at the church at 1:30.  So we changed our plans and went to grab something quick to eat at the church.. Right as we finish eating, someone rings the bell of the church and so I go thinking it's Nelito and it is just some older Belge guy.. and so I opened the door and he said, "I rang three times like it says.." (you are supposed to ring 3 times for the Geneology Center..) so I told him that the Center was closed for the day.. and he said, "What? .. I just saw the sign of the Church and I wanted to know more about it."  So we let him in and he was awesome.. the first thing he said .. was, "I want eternel life.  How do i get it?"  So we told him.. anyway he was Seventh Day Adventist, but he was really open and knew a lot about the original Church with Jesus and His Apostles and he said he was looking for a church like that.. ... so of course we told him about the apostasy and he was in agreeance.. and then we told him about the Restoration and the Spirit was so strong .. it was intense.. I was scared to mess something up, because he was so amazing.. Well, half-way through, Nelito came in and helped us teach this guy and testified, and it was awesome.. he left with a armful of things, Book of Mormon, pamphlets.. etc.. because he lives up in Gent, it's way north Belgium, Dutch speaking.. SO the ball is in his court now.. 
Jacques Temfack; is still doing wonderful.. he came to church for his third time in a row this last Sunday and he loved it again.. he is on track still for baptism and is accepting all the commandments .. and has no problems with them anyway.. it's great. We will see him tonight to teach him and to go to Family Home Evening with him.. I love him .. he is great.. 
Bayana is doing really well too.. we passed her to the Sisters this week and that will go well.. 
So real quick, I don't have much more time.. I just wanted to tell you about the fufu that I ate yesterday.. There is a sweet part member famliy.. he is Belge and she is from Ghana.. and she is the funniest lady ever.. she calls us her boyfriends.. haha.. well the fufu she made us was intense... it had a full fish plopped in the soup... eyes, scales, fins, bones... you name it.. haha!  It was pretty good.. interesting but good, and if you want to know what fufu is, look on Tylan's blog. I imagine he has a photo of it or explains it.. 
Well love you lots.. talk to you next week.. Tess and Mom, I got your letters, thanks and Trish and Kenyan, I got both of your emails .. Thanks both and I love you both.. 
ELder Von Simonson

Monday, August 10, 2009

Laboring in Brussels

Oh ya... so it was great to hear from you... I love when I just get random news that I didn't even know.. such as everyone having BABIES.. freak.. that is insane.. and Tess is having a baby girl!.. another stinking cute Addi... 
SO things haven't changed too much here in Brussels other than we got Elder Benito from Spain in our District and lost a companionship in our Ward but gained a companionship of Sisters... 
We had a pretty good week. It was transfer week and I saw all the missionaries that I loved go home.. some less than others haha.. but Elder Von Allmen and Leavit. They were my Zone Leaders when I came into the field here in Brussels... It was a little wierd for Elder Nielsen I think because that was the group just right before him; 
But all went really well this week.. we have been teaching Jaques and he loves the church and feels the Spirit and so he is on route.. for baptism.. ALSO BAYANA came back from Vacation this week and we got to teach her more and she came to church again... She is great, but unfortunatly .. a Russian speaking member .. WHO LOVES SISTER missionaries came up to us on Sunday and informed us that we would no longer be teaching her ... OH THANKS for that news.. haha.. it was interesting ..but it is ok. We had pretty much planned on passing her to the Sisters anyway... Other quick news.. Antonio went on vacation and Claire entered the hospital to get operated on... We went and saw her on Sunday after church.. and she was doing allright.. she was in a lot of pain.. but she was still laughing and smiling.. and joking around about how she is going to have a funny looking little ball for a boob.. that is Claire...We went with Serge, a member who we work with often and he has scitzophrenia... and Claire just owned him about how it was all in his head and that he needs to just get over it and not listen to the voices... haha .. I love her, she is a great example... She asked about getting sealed in the temple.. but she is sad because her boyfriend isn't believing at all... soo.. but she really wants to go to the temple.. 
As for your letters, I didn't get your letter.. or Tess's, but I will get them soon and the package I got a long time ago.. sorry I forgot to tell you about it... 
Today for P-day we went to the University of Brussels, ULB... and played some tennis.. I don't mean to boast ... but I am getting pretty good at tennis... Get ready to get beat Danny and Jake .. in the near future ... luckily you have a year left to practice up... 
I have told you about Lyze and how awesome she is and about how her mom isn't really interested or likes the church too much... well she is coming around.. we went and ate at her house on Tuesday... A HUGE African meal.. insane... but good.. and we asked her if she was going to come to church on Sunday and she said, "I don't know... maybe, maybe not."  She said that "Lyze never even knows if I am going.. I just decide and come.".. SO?... hopefully she will just continue to come; She really likes church I think.. I loves when recent converts bring people into the church.. they are such good examples for the old lazy members.. oh; pardon me .. I meant less motivated.. haha .. Well I'm sorry, I bet you all don't really enjoy my letters.; I just kinda inform you on how all the people that we are teaching are doing .. I don't share to many experiences with you.. 
One funny experience was.. yesterday.. I got the opportunity to translate from French to English.. and this whole week has been 'speak French' week so I was all practiced up but .. kinda in the wrong way because I had been thinking in French the whole week.. then try and translate into English when only French words come to your head... I wasn't too scared.. and I figured it would be ok.. WELL... then I found out who I would be translating for.... and Uh.. you know Debbie Wright?  Well Soeur Brebois is the French equivelent.. she is kinda crazy and speaks really fast... and her talk was definatly no exception... I thought I would be ok.. because you recieve a copy of their talk.. well I would imagine that you have never seen European hand writing.. but it is about the slopiest cursive you have ever seen... ans Sister Brebois was no exeption and she decided to use note form Rrench with abreviations that I don't understand.. haha it was a disaster for my first time.. haha ... I had a member read it to me before Sacrament because I had no idea what it said; I couldn't read it.. and after that I felt good about it.. but... she didn't really follow the talk and she talked soooooo fast... everyone had pitty and told me I did good... . I felt like a two year old who is getting potty trained and who missed the toilet.. and everyone was trying to make sure I didn't cry by encouraging me.. haha.. 
no it was ok.. well I don't have too nuch to say.. I love you all for the great examples you are to me... I am just trying to stay working hard... and do what the Lord desires of me.. sometimes (a lot of the time ) I fall short.. but we just gotta try harder and harder... 
The weather here has been pretty nice; not too hot, not too cool; I quite like the weather here.. and this next week we will also be having a Mission Conference with Elder Nelson... and interviews with Pres. Brubaker.. 
Love ya.. peace.. 
Elder Von Simonson

Monday, August 3, 2009

Transfers...dun dun dun...

Transfers and the guesses.......?anyone??? 

Well I am staying right here in Brussels, Belgium ... YA! I am still with Elder Nielsen... and he is probably the only companion that I would love to stay with... He is a stud.. That means that I will be killing him off here in Brussels... SO I have at least 12 more weeks here in the wonderous city of Brussels.. I love it and things are great and on the uphill...
This week went very well.. we had a big focus on trying to get all of our investigators doing something coming to church working towards baptism and what not so that they aren't just sitting there doing nothing.. and we saw a lot of great things...
Antonio is doing very well he is the guy that the Assistants passed us. I love him, he is such a good guy and really smart too. Like I told you a little in the last letter we fasted and the fast went really well. We feel that he had his answer but he feels like the commandments are too strict.. The Law of Chastity and all that... so he just keeps hesitating.. but we will see him tonight and just ask him what he is waiting for and what is holding him back to start living the commandments and be baptized... He is great though..
Also we have been teaching Jaques but.. like I said, he is a Urologist, but frankly I am pretty sure he has the mental capacity of an 8 year old... We teach him and he doesn't understand too much ..but he is really great... soo happy and he understands a little so we kinda set a beptismal date with him and we will just see how he starts doing... so far so good he came to church and loved it... and understood pretty well.. 
We had a Brazilian couple come to church as well and the members loved it... 
The work is going great and I am soooo happy to stay here because we have a bunch of people with a ton of potential.. I would do anything to see Antonio become a member.. 
Yesterday after church we went by Claire's house and ate lunch with her... She made us some Senagal cous cous.. it was good... and she just told us about her life in Africa and it was pretty crazy she had an intense life... But She brought me so much joy this week.. She is a solid member and is doing very well... She comes to church and to baptisms and activities and just loves and understands the Church.. What a blessing she is to me... She is like my mom here... she treats Elder Nielsen and I like her kids... 
We had another baptism in the Ward this week.. It was LYZE; I don't remember if I told you about her.. She was the investigator that Elder Kam and Elder Wallace were teaching and then Elder Cabrera... she is 20 years old, she speaks French, English, and Dutch all perfectly.. She is super smart and super solid.. she came to church 12 or 13 weeks in a row before her baptism and she had a ton of opposition from her family and her mom.. they all think that the church is a cult.. and they all hate it.. but she knew it was true and was baptized and she felt the spirit so strongly.. she had cold water and said she didn't even feel the coldness.. haha gotta love that one.. but she is amazing ... The lord has really been blessing this Ward with a bunch of really serious and true converts... When I came here they had 14 people that had been baptized in the last like 6 months and all but 3 were inactive completely... But since then .. we have had 5 baptisms Oko, Esther, Claire, Ayi, and Lyze and they all come to church every week and have callings and are just learning and progressing.. It's awesome.. That really helps everyone be excited for missionary work in the Ward... 
Well .. I love you .. sorry again about last week's letter... I feel bad and now I get the payback.. But I love you and will talk to you later Bye..
Oh P.S. I got Terryn's Wedding announcement.. that was a little wierd but awesome.. he looks like a cool guy.. oh, also how far along is Tess? I totally forgot she was pregnant... the other day it just kinda hit me.. and I thought oh freak!..maybe I have a niece or nephew that I don't know?..Because I don't remember when she found out... go ahead, call me a bad brother.
Elder Simonson