Saturday, January 30, 2010

Oh Glenda!!

"WHAT???????; YOU HAVE BEEN LOOKING AT MY PERSONAL STUFF.... AND LOGGING INTO MY THINGS, Mom...oh... wow.  I feel like you have really over done it this time.. haha! Hey, well that sounds like you had some fun. By the way.. this Glenda lady sounds like she is from Europe.. :) haha
 Alright... enough of this boafy and trunky-ness... let's talk about things that are eternally important... So this week we had a really good Leadership meeting with all the Dl and ZL's of the whole mission, both Dutch and French side.. We have been preparing for this meeting this last week..
Anyway... we all came fasting and ready to council together and set goals and plans for the year 2010 and how many baptisms we would set a goal for.. we came to the point where every Zone had set their goals and we had to make a decision for a Mission goal... and President was directing the discussion and he heard everyone's opinion and then he said... well now I will turn the time over to my Assistants... so we had to decide on a goal with the help of everyone.. I had no idea what to do or what to say.. anyway.. it was good.. Very powerful.. so... the goal for the Belgium Brussels Netherlands Mission is 325.. for 2010.
As for our brother Kadio.. he is doing super well.. he has now been to church something like 5 weeks in a row.. he is a solid guy, but the only time we can teach him is Sundays after church.. so that is what we have been doing.. After church this last Sunday we taught him with a recent convert... and talked to him about baptism.. and he said, "Well, yes of course that is the next step.. but I want to continue learning and make sure I know what I am promising with the Lord.." so he is a stud and I love him.. .. well I know this is kind of a short email but.. I love you and all is well.  We are beginning to find some new people..
- Elder Simonson

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Survival of Transfers...

Hey there.... Well I survived transfers week one more time.... It was pretty busy, but all went well and we got THE coolest bunch of missionaries... They will be the future of this great mission... They were really awesome and have the best attitudes.
Monday was pretty cool we had meetings and then we taught this lady named Marga.. we have taught her a few times.. but she is just a really nice lady. She lost faith after one particualar year that was really hard for her in her life. She split from her husband, her son turned gay, her daughter moved out on the streets, etc.. and her other daughter got diagnosed with cancer.. So.. now she doesn't really believe God is there... and she is pretty hard and coullaced... (I don't know how to spell that.. ) Well in that appointment.. her daughter who had cancer was there and she was really anti God.. she told us... "God isn't there.. or else why would he have given me cancer"... and we talked a little and said, "Well just because there is a God doesn't mean that everything in life is going to be perfect etc... then she was like.. well.... "I (capital i ) I OVERCAME CANCER.... GOD DID NOTHING.... IT WAS MY POWER THAT OVERCAME THE CANCER..." .. oh man I wanted to punch her.. I don't think I have ever heard someone that Prideful.. here she is still living and she says God isn't there because 'I got cancer and then I overcame it.. and he did nothing for me...' Hmmmmm... sounds like God is pretty nice and just... BECAUSE HE LET YOU LIVE... haha it was ridiculous.. that was one of the most offensive things I have heard on my whole entire mission.. That gives you a little taste of Belge people... They have pretty good lives, but it is supposedly because of them and their power.. and they all are very bitter towards God... But you gotta love em...
Well then Tuesday we had the new missionaries arrive.. they got in around 8:30 and then we had orientation and what not and went to the Mission Home to eat lunch then later we went to the Dedication Site and then to Grande Place.. It was a fun night... and like I said it was a really cool group.. Super solid..
Trasfers.. well.. I will stay one more... Elder Christensen and I will try to kick some butt this transfer.. so that means I stayed for the departing missionaries also.. It was sad, there were a lot of really sweet missionaries that left... It was kinda weird sending them home because they have been the group that was always there and were still pretty young when we first came in..
So now time for a cool miracle... Last night we were invited to a member's house... the family Whidiger.. He is from Russia and she is from Tahiti.. and they both speak English like Americans... in fact they are pretty much American.... They are both converts and awesome missionaries and they have the most beautiful little family.. Anyway, last night we went over to their house and they had invited a friend named Carlos.. Carlos was from Columbia but has lived here for about 15 years and he has a family of a wife and two kids 14 and 8. He was super interested and really open and wanted to come to church... Sadly he was in the other Ward's area... but.. it was a really special experience having a member give you a referral and teaching him in their house.. That is what it is all about..

Well that is really it.. not too much more than that going on.. that was too bad to hear about Grandpa Hunt.. Last night when I was praying.. I thought.. hmmm.. I feel like I am going to receive some bad news from home.. and viola.. weird huh.. well.. Hope everyone is going well.. I will talk to you later... Oh and I haven't bought anything yet.. we are going later today and we will see if there is anything worth buying.. if not I won't spend money..
love you bye..
Elder Simonson

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Zone Conference Week

Hey everybody.... come see how cool I am.... HA! Just kidding. Well the week was pretty crazy. It started crazy on Monday.. we had to plan, prepare and finalize everything for the Zone Confereces so that took up that day and then on Tuesday we had our first Z.C. in Antwerpen. It went pretty well, we had a few kinks but we worked them out for the next day in Amsterdam. Then on Thursday and Friday were spent in Bruxelles and Lille. It was a good week, a little stressful but ok...
We have gotten so many awesome new missionaries. They are great. ummm.. Ya, I can't think about too much else to tell you... You would be bored by all the Zone Conference stuff it was more or less the same everyday. We talked about teaching and President talked about optimism and using goals to stay happy and optimistic... It was cool.. He shared a really funny example. I'll bore you and share it with you... So we all know the white roller coaster at Lagoon.. And how it is really old an rickety.. well one day the cars got stuck at the top of one of the humps...all the people were just stuck up there and they couldn't budge the old wheels.. They tried to rock back and forth to budge it loose but couldn't get it.. so they tried to get a helicopter to come rescue the people but it was too windy and they couldn't, so about 3 hours later a rescue team came and used climbing gear to get all the passengers down.. Well the first people to get down were a middle aged guy with his kids and when he got down he was FREAKING out saying how terrible it was and that he was having a heart attack and he called an ambulance and they took him away... Well the next people to come down were a group of teenagers... and they were all cheering and laughing and loving it.. and were like, "Oh man, that was AWESOME... we could see clear out to Antelope Island.. we were up there for three hours.. you could see the whole valley.. and then we got to repel down... oh.. that was sick! We should do that every weekend!"
I liked it because it just really portrays the importance of your attitude.. you can make whatever situation awesome.. whether it is really a poopy situation or not... Because in this example it was the same situation and showed how differently the people chose to react... what a crappy life it would be if we all CHOSE to act like the grumpy old man..
Anyway that is something that really hit me in Zone Conference...
So.. I had no idea that Jake and Maddie were pregnant.. but that is really cool... Oh and guess what.. There is a Dutch missionary named Elder Weatherston from Blackfoot Idaho.. but really he is from Snake River.. he came up to me and said, "Hey, did one of your brothers marry the Stander girl?" and I said, "Ya, you know the Standers?" and ya I guess he lives pretty close.. the world is small and I talked to Elder Sanford, the one from Jaron's Ward.. He is awesome.. And also I talked to Elder Adams, Mark and Colleen's neighbor..
Well you asked about the winter and the weather. It has been pretty cold.. not quite as cold as last year.. but then again I am in a car a lot of the time.. so I am not out in it 24/7 like last year.. but it has snowed a little on an off.. it snowed about 5-6 inches at the begining of winter and then it has just snowed skiffs here and there and they all don't stay for very long..
Second thing.. I am pretty pumped about this book thing.. it sounds pretty cool.. What did you use to make it? Was it that Shutterfly thingy? Anyway... sorry I don't have too much to say.. we didn't have anytime this week to see our investigators.. But Blessing is doing well and Kadio called us in the middle of the week and wanted to set up an appointment with us.. so that is always a great sign..
Sorry this letter is pretty BORING, but oh well.. love you.. and tell Clint that I would be willing to take the risk of marrying Jeff if he wants to play that game with his class. :) haha.. I love you all and will talk to you later..
Oh P.S... I need Tess's address and also Drew's address and ya, I think that is it.. could you please email me those.. maybe even today so I can get them and send out my letters on Monday.. Thanks, that would be cool..
Also I might take out some personal money.. It is SOLDES time in Europe.. that means cheap awesome stuff.. I have to go shopping.. I have no other choice..
Elder Simonson

Saturday, January 9, 2010

L'hiver à Bruxelles (Winter in Brussels)

Well things are going very well... I'm glad to hear that Dad wrecked the CAR.. nice.... "Young man, if you aren't responsible enough to drive to work you are going to have to take the bus." haha... just kidding..
Anyway, sounds like things are in a little disorder after the holidays.. but I think that is kinda universal, because that is how I feel as well a little. Things have been interesting. We have started doing transfers and also planning for Zone Conference and trying to balance seeing investigators and what not... It was crazy because we had a new missionary come in just randomly AGAIN. He was sick when the rest flew out, so he came late, but they told us he was flying out like the day before he got here so it made things a little more difficult.. but oh well.. So Monday we had meetings and the new missionary flew in... then on Tuesday we had to take him clear the heck up to the north of Holland.. up to Apeldoorn.. at least it wasn't Groningen where he was going, which is about 5 hours from Brussels or more.... Then on Wednesday we had a cool little Brussels exchange. All the companions got together and switched and then went and had a cool day.. I went with Elder Mitchell, a newer missionary, and it was really cool. They just had a baptism.. her name is Veronique and she is Congolaise.. and she is sweet.... We taught her about missionary work. She said she wants to go on a mission (she is 23) but that she thinks she would be too scared and not have courage to talk to people and just that she is too sensitive.... So then we were leaving and she asked us what we were going to do and we told her that we were going to talk to people on the street.. and she said... "CAN I COME?".. and we said "Sure, why not.." So she went contacting with us and it was SICK... she was running after people and talking to them and she was telling us.. "Oh.. go get that guy, I will get this lady... Oh.. I will try this girl..." it was crazy.. and people were super open to talking to us with her there.. It was a neat experience..
That was one cool thing that happened this week.. another amazing miracle is the referral that Bro. Johnson gave us last week on Sunday. Her name is Blessing Osifo.. she is from Nigeria and she is soooo cool.. We went and taught her the first night with Bro. Johnson and she told us how she had seen a difference in Brother Johnson and his family and she liked how we would come by and help them learn the Word.. so she told us that she wanted to start coming to our church and become a member. So then we saw her again on Tuesday and we taught her about the importance of baptism and all that, and we set a baptismal date with her for the 14 of February. She has a lot to learn. She isn't super educated... she can't read and her English is fine, just super African street.. haha.... She always tells her kids, "You people be quiet o' I'll beat you." haha.. it's funny. She also really likes to feed us.. and we will just say she cooks really African food. On Tuesday we ate SUPER spicy rice with "schuky" or something like that.. what it is is cow intestines cut open into chunks! It looked like tongue.. it is really fuzzy and has the same texture as a tongue... it was rough... I almost lost it. I was forcing myself to finish it.. and I was just invisioning myself on Fear Factor... haha.. But she is awesome and last night we went and taught her and she had a friend there named Mama Blessing.. also from Nigeria. And in fact, her brother is a member back in Nigeria and her brother's wife also... so that is cool... one referral has turned into many. She is also going to bring her friend Rose to church...
Things are going well... I love you all... I will talk to you later..
-Elder Simonson

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year Everyone!

Happy New Year also.. ! It was so good to see all those pics. Thanks... and it looks like Clint is getting fat...haha (it's a little ok cuz I'm getting kinda chubby also.. I think having a car is catching up to me a little.) We took a picture at the Johnsons last night and man did I look fat. It was good to hear about the family...
Anyway.. This week was awesome. I am so grateful for new beginnings and a new year and all it holds. Things went back to normal and we were able to go out and work and have had a really good week.
We started teaching this new lady from Uganda and will have a new guy from Uganda come to church tomorrow.
Also we were a little worried because Kadio, our most progressing ami.. told us in the beginning of the week that he was busy and that he would call us if he had questions and told us that he would just read from the Book of Mormon, and what not... so that usually means... "ya, I'm not interested and I will never call you." But about two nights after he told us that, he texted us and said, "Hey, I want to meet with you tomorrow. When can you see me?" So we fit him in and it was awesome. We got to the appointment and he had a paper with about 6 questions on it and they were just really simple questions. Things that people have been telling him about the church, and so he wanted to understand what we really believed.. So that was AWESOME.. because soooo many people bad mouth the church and tell our investigators that we believe this and that... and they have no idea what they are talking about and then our investigators just believe them and never want to see us again.. So it was nice for once to have someone like Kadio that took the time to truly understand what we do believe and learn for himself. It was sweet. And then he says to us, "Well things have been a little crazy with the end of the year, but next year I really want to sit down a make a schedule with you so that we can meet more regularly." THANK YOU HEAVENLY FATHER !!!!! It was sweet and he will be coming to a baptism tonight and we will talk to him about baptism... This guy is awesome..
Another cool thing is that last night we went over to the Johnson's house and we taught them about the Book of Mormon, because they don't have a huge understanding about that and not much of a testimony about it either... so we taught them and it was awesome and everythign and then Brother Johnson said "Hey we have a friend that has expressed that she wants to start coming to the church with us... so I want to give you her phone and also want to go teach her with you and you can bring her to the church with the trams.. " It is this little Nigerian family with a mom named Blessing.. (ironic uh?) and she has three little kids 5,3, and 2. Anyway, while we were there Brother Johnson calls her up and fixes an appointment with her on Sunday night for us to go over and meet her and teach her. He is going to come with us... Brother Johnson is a stud and has a strong testimony.. They also told us about all the opposition they have been having from all their friends... because there are a lot of unitellegent Evangelical and Pentacostal Africans here... and they know NOTHING about our church but they will not let anyone join the church.. They bombard them by saying, "Oh that is the church of Mormon they pray to Mormon and they don't believe in Jesus Christ..." etc etc... and most of their African friends listen to them and steer way clear of us... so Bro. Johnson has a TON of friends like that and all of the people in their old church have been telling him how he shouldn't come to our church because we worship Mormon.. etc. and he tries and tries to tell them that the the church is the true church of Christ and how we don't worship Mormon and all this stuff.. anyway it has been hard for them but they are staying strong and they know the truth. He said he has just been inviting them to come to church with him so they can see and learn that we don't worship Mormon. I really don't like ignorant people that stop others from joining the true church, because they have no idea what we believe or what our church is about. Oh well..opposition in all things..
That is what is going on ... next week is the week before Zone Conference so things will begin to get crazy soon...
I love you and will talk to you later...
-Elder J Von Simonson