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!