Wednesday, January 5, 2011

News from Elder Simonsen- Christmas in the MTC 2010

Posted on January 5, 2011

Finally, news from Elder Simonsen.  Welcome to the first letter from his new home- the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. He entered the MTC on December 14, 2010 and is learning the Spanish Language and how to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to anyone who is willing to listen.  By February 15, 2011,  he will be ready to enter his assigned mission- the Utah Ogden Mission. It is so good to hear from you, Elder Jens Jacob Simonsen.
                       Christmas Eve Day in the MTC- December 24, 2010

                        -Elder Simonsen during our days with him in Utah before he entered the MTC

Journal Notes from Elder Jens Jacob Simonsen:
When I woke up this morning, knowing its Christmas back home, it was a weird feeling at first, but I got over it pretty quickly.  Then I thought to myself that I should make it the best Christmas I ever had- like the fireside speakers said: “make it a Christmas that you’ll never forget!”
And in many ways it did turn out unforgettable.  It started out pretty normal – went to class, tried to learn some Spanish before we went out to practice teaching.  We were all tired and couldn’t focus and it was Christmas.

Our practice went really well.  It is amazing how fast you learn your language just by memorizing words and some of the missionaries had a couple of years of Spanish in High School- which helps out a little.  We know how to pray a simple prayer and bear testimony and have the opening conversation.  We got really going when we ask, with a sincere heart
“La Iglesia es verdadera” = The Church is true.

I am so happy to be here.  I love it.  I love the people.  I love the way they go out of their way just to say “Hello”, or “Hola”.. or hold the door open. They open the door for you.  And I like the way they told us to treat the sisters with the utmost respect.. Open the door for them.  They have to leave the room first, before you can leave and stuff like that..Things that I want my future wife to accept.  Some sisters think that is inconvenient, but we like to do it.  In fact some of us love to do it.  That’s how the ladies should be treated..Any ways.

(picture of the sea man JJ Simonsen with Elder Francis from Denmark Mission)- 
Next post we will meet Elder Monson, JJ's first MTC companionship- the sea man musician from Greenland and math professor concert pianist from Berkley, California- what a dynamic combination 

 My companion is great... a man of few words, just like me.
We are in the most mature district in our floor, or maybe even in our building.  They are out there screaming, playing games and what not and we are in here enjoying our sanctuary that is our room, which we’ve started to call “Home.”  My companion is great.. a man of few words, just like me.  He was studying at Berkley, (UC Berkley) to become a math professor.  I just enjoy the moments of silence we have, taking time to be holy..just pondering and listening to the Holy Ghost.  Speaking of the Holy Ghost- while we were practicing teaching, we felt the spirit so strong teaching the first lesson, the eight principles.
God is our Heavenly Father.  He loves us.  He wants to communicate with us. (We want to communicate with Him).  God blesses families.  God reveals his gospel in every dispensation, Christ’s ministry, the great apostasy, the restoration of the Gospel through Joseph Smith, and the Book of Mormon. 
Pray to know the truth, and if you study, then the Holy Ghost will tell you which or what to use and say.  It’s amazing !
Well, after that we went to one of the chapels (in the MTC) and Elder Monson (my companion), practiced playing the piano while I was studying “Our Search for Happiness”- the book that the Sister missionaries Roberts and Burton gave me with their comments and testimonies in it.  Elder Monson is classically trained at piano and he loves “Chopin,” (which is great inspiring music to study to, by the way).. and he really can sing.  He sings bass, in the choir and we decided as a whole district to be in the choir, a very nice beautiful, huge choir.


Well anyways, we just got back from our Christmas devotional with our presidency- great talks and great activities.  Afterwards we watched “Mr. Kruger’s Christmas” with candied popcorn for everybody.  Now it was a great Christmas movie with the Mormon Tabernacle choir and stuff- very sweet message.     But we are looking so much, forward to tomorrow.  We can’t wait! wohoow

Merry Christmas! I love you.  By the way, this might be the longest entry.  I have to take time to write in my other journal too..And that is why it is written in crow’s feet…(Jotted down and fast)

                   Christmas Day at the MTC- December 25, 2010

We woke up at 6:00, took warm showers, got ready and went to breakfast before we opened our presents.  We weren’t really hungry but we ate anyway because we might regret it after.  Both me and my companion got so much candy that we can eat in a year! 

After breakfast, we went home and opened our presents... Great presents by Belva and Carl, or I mean “Santa”...
A picture of Grandma and me at Christmas time- last Christmas,
A picture of me and Sister Roberts and Burton at my baptism, and a picture of Qaqortoq by night and many more things that are useful but those were the most important to me.

After a while with our gifts, we went to the talent show.  We were a little bit late, but we found seats on the floor and we watched on the screen, many, many talented missionaries- like the memorable ones with the Russians...” You Missionary Now” (a Lady Gaga bad romance tune).  It was hilarious!  A very talented Sister sang some great songs too.  It was three hours long, almost and it was great the whole time.

After that we went to lunch but there were 2,000 missionaries all at once who wanted lunch…and a huge line went out of the cafeteria, so we went home for a while and tried to tackle some of our chocolate candies.  (For dinner) We had turkey slices, stuffing, gravy and cheesecake for dessert, grabbed a sack dinner because no one would want to work during dinner at Christmas.  Then we went outside of the gym to wait in line, (for the devotional) fourty five minutes before and we barely had seats. 

The speaker is Elder Russell M. Nelson, an apostle of Jesus Christ and story telling, Sister Peterson, who started a story of “Arbeban” and his search for a king, but didn’t find the king, until thirty three years later, and he had given all of his gifts of precious gems away.   

When the Apostle of Jesus Christ, Russell M. Nelson, walked in and everybody stood up, I could feel the Holy Ghost in my heart testifying this is an apostle.  Elder Russell M. Nelson, born September 9, 1924, is a world renowned surgeon, and research professor of surgery.  Sister Wendy Nelson is a Professor of family and marriage therapy.

Sister Nelson talked about how “one size fits all.” .. how the Holy Ghost will tailor our message so  that it meets the needs of our investigators, and if you have a sincere heart and a wish to know what your investigator needs, the Lord will answer. 

We live in a world where we are looking for signs, signs that will tell of His second coming.  Also, on the road of life, there are going to be signs but even though the signs are there, there will always be people who choose to ignore what the sign tells them.  Missions are about obedience.  Every tongue, every kindred has different signs, but we have the opportunity to preach with clarity, and that’s why we practice.  Our time table is the Lord’s time table as long as we know that and have patience, we will succeed.  And as we remember to look unto Him every day, “Him” who said “follow me”…we will not get lost.

Elder Nelson talked about how much he loved us.  And shared his testimony about our calling and this is the Lord’s work.  Even in just three months- eight new countries were dedicated to preach the Gospel.  Since September 1: Croatia, Slovenia, Kosovo, Angola, Bosnia, Herzegovina, and more nations are opening fulfilling ancient prophesies in the scriptures.

He urged us to not miss any time to send letters.  He told the story about his grandkids and kids who were on missions, and every time they would get letters, the whole family would come together and read the letters.  They read about their difficulties in the language, wrote about the people and the culture that prepared and got the next generation of missionaries excited, and the letters contained their testimonies that strengthened their own.

Our goal as missionaries, is to spread information.  He told us to look for bright young people. People don’t know the truth.  They don’t know where to find it.  Learn to tell your story and testimony clearly.  Sometimes you just have a very short time to get people interested, to get people to think and to get them to want to know more.  So tell your story clearly.  You’ll get a lot of question.  He told a story about when he was asked if Mormons believed in the Bible.  He said, “of course we do !  Our members wrote it !” 

He shared the way they tell the nativity story in their families.  Find it in the pamphlet “Wise men and women still adore him.” He finished with his testimony- that Jesus is the Christ and this is His work.

Elder Nelson came again to our evening devotional where we had the “Christmas Carol” enacted  by two very good story tellers.  He told us that he stayed because he loved us so much.  He told about Charles Dickens, a little bit and that in 1832 Dickens boarded a ship to interview some 800 pioneer Mormons from Europe, mostly from England.  The boat was on its way to the USA and Dickens wrote or commented about these pioneers as “The pick and flower of England.”  Six years later he wrote “The Christmas Carol.”

Elder Nelson then started to talk about Christmas and the nativity, about how the different names (of the Savior) and meanings are connected.  For example, “Emmanuel” means “God is with us”- which is the prophesied name of Jesus Christ.  (He described) where the words of diety are-
“-El” or “-jah”, “-iar”…in God’s name, Elohim and the Son, Jehovah.  If you put them together (you have) “Elijah” meaning father and son put together.  Elohim and Jehovah are the same angels who came to give Joseph Smith, Jr the power of sealing families. (Put the names) together- (it forms the name) “Elijah.” Amazing.

You see, no matter what you are faced with in life, just know this- (Luke 1:38) “All is possible with God.” Elder Nelson talked about their family nativity play where one of his grandkids played the one holding the star.  He came up to his grandpa and said, “Grandpa, I have the most important job.  I lead people to Christ !”  We are the most important people.  We are the stars that lead people unto Christ.  We lead people and help them find Jesus. 

Joseph Smith said:  “The fundamental principle of our religion is the testimony of our apostles about Jesus Christ.”  (Teachings of Joseph Smith- pg 49, pg 121)  Elder Nelson concluded with his testimony and said that we are instruments in the hands of the Lord and that he loves us.  He expressed his gratitude and invited us to feast upon the words- His words.

I, Jens Jacob, know this church is true.  That Russell M Nelson is an apostle of Christ.  That he is called of God.  I know if we come unto Christ, we will be lifted, (and) that He will carry our burdens.  I know if we ask in faith, we will receive !  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen

Thank you for your wisdom, Elder Simonsen.  and Happy New Year to the most mature district in the MTC.  Take good care of this Elder.  He has been preparing for a long time for this mission.
We are so happy to hear from you.  Have a great week. I think January is an important month for you.. when you walked down that deserted street in Svendorg, Denmark (in 2009) and met two sisters with a message and a book.  Thank you  for listening to them.   We love and appreciate you, Elder-  Sist W

1 comment:

  1. That's my boy! I am so excited for Elder Simonsen. It seems like it wasn't so long ago that he was being taught by the sisters, and we were bumming boat rides out of the whole thing. He was such a big help coming to lessons with us, and being the greatest example to our investigators. JJ is going to be such an amazing missionary.