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..
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...


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