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 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..

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

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 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