Monday, September 12, 2011

Spring to Summer with Elder Simonsen in the Utah Ogden Mission 2011

 Today is September 11, 2011.  Happy Birthday, Elder Jens Jacob Simonsen.  It has been quite a year.

I hope that this blog has given your family and friends a better understanding and appreciation of the reason why you have taken two years of your life to serve the Lord.  We miss you. Among all the sad memories of that day (9/11), we hope that your day is full of joy.  You are a peaceful, kind friend.  I hope in all the things that you do today you will always feel that peace.

This is the beginnning of a blog post- divided into sections according to the area where Elder Simonsen has been- during the spring and summer of this year while serving in the Utah Ogden Mission.

I hope that it will give all of you - his friends and loved ones, a chance to see and know, that Elder Simonsen has a great love for his mission and for having the opportunity to lead people to Jesus Christ.  This record describes what it has been like for him to serve in the Utah Ogden Mission, the fine leadership training that he and his companions have received from Apostles, their Mission President, and the training that they have learned to give one another since the late spring- from Brigham City, to Ogden, and then to Logan where he is now serving.

He is surrounded by the beautiful Wasatch Mountains, a community that has a great love for missionaries, and many opportunities to share the Gospel with the humble Spanish speaking people in the Logan area. 

Though he got his driver's license this summer, he and his companion do most of their missionary work on bikes.  Almost every message that I receive from him says loud and clear...

"I love my mission.  It means everything to me."

May God continue to bless you, Elder.  We are grateful that you were born into such a rich heritage, and that you chose to step out of a very fine life for a few years, to serve the Lord.  Happy Birthday, dear Elder.                                        
                                                        We love you,    Sister B

Note: remember, to enlarge the picture- click on it.


Elder Simonsen and his companion spent a harsh winter and early spring in Brigham City and Tremonton, Utah.  He and Elder Valenzuela have been blessed with a car to travel miles to find a listening "Spanish speaking ear to visit and bring this glad message to anyone who will listen.

                                                                        - Sister B

 Sunday Travels- 

"We cover two branches and (on Sundays) we have meetings through both of them- about five to six hours.  As soon as we are done with Sacrament Meeting (in Brigham City) we get in our car and drive to Tremonton- go to half of Sunday School and Priesthood and Sacrament.

Then we go tracting or visiting some less active and members as well.  We usually are in Tremonton three days a week,  Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday."
                                                                           -Elder Simonsen

 Every morning Elder Simonsen and his companion enter the day with prayer and hours of study- personal and companionship study.
The Elders prepare every day to "Preach the Gospel" to the humble people in this valley.

After these hours of prayerful study, they are well prepared to "Go forth to serve."

The Prophet Joseph Smith, years ago, described the joy and blessings that come to those who go out to share the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.

He said: 

How beautiful upon the mountains,
are the feet of those that bring glad tidings
of good things and say unto Zion:
Behold, thy God reigneth !

                 -D&C 128: 19,2                                    -Sister B

"Right now we have just done cleaning our rooms and got back from Logan, a little bit earlier.  We were in Logan for a couple of nights and they wanted us to be there for the news of the transfers that are going on tomorrow. 

We have been chosen to stay here in Brigham City, both of us and to strengthen these two branches that we cover...Tremonton Fairview 2nd Branch and Brigham Sycamore Branch.

"This area is doing great and we are finally seeing some progress and we saw the many tiny miracles of the Lord as we have been here.  We've seen the growth in ourselves and in our ways of preaching and in our ways of being missionaries and being servants of the Lord...
and we have seen that as we start to love the people we have seen growth and we have seen miracles in many ways."

                                                                        -Elder Simonsen

"(Around the Brigham City and Tremonton area)..These two areas are huge areas.  We cover Willard, Perry, Brigham City, Corin, Bear River, Tremonton, Gaunt, Howell...It's a huge area and its just the two of us.   And we are working really hard to find people to teach, and to share the Gospel with."

                                                          -Elder Simonsen video text

 "We have a lot of people who are Catholic and most of them are Catholic by tradition because their fathers and mothers, parents and grandparents were Catholic..and so they are Catholic  and they don't want to change...They don't want to do what it says in the scriptures and what we commit them to do.

And its very hard for us and for those people, to come closer to Christ and come closer to God in doing this...but we keep saying our prayers and we fast and pray again.  And we see the small, tiny miracles every day, and it strengthens us..and strengthens our testimonies as well, and gives us the daily strength
that we need to go on in this great work."

                                                                                            - Elder Simonsen video text

Our Zone

"The Zone is great.  We have great Zone leaders.  Our other Zone leader is getting transferred to the English program and he is going to Ogden because he wanted to learn more English.  He wanted to use it after his mission- so he asked for a transfer to get on board the English program...

We are getting one new Zone leader and we are very excited to have him and its going to be a great transfer.

And as we get to know all the missionaries in the zone, we have grown in faith and we have grown in testimonies as well... and we have seen the importance of making goals and having these visions- having this hope that we need to keep going -  to keep moving forward and keep leading God's children unto him... and to strengthen the members, and to strengthen the other missionaries as well."

                                                  --Elder Simonsen video text

"Every week we get to go to the Logan Temple ...when we have a ride to Logan.  It is pretty far to go to Logan for us.  It takes 35 minutes to get up there and 35 minutes back.  And we are not allowed to use our cars on P-days.. but almost every week we get a ride and we get to go to the temple and its a great thing.

I love the Temple in Logan and I feel the spirit
every time we go there.
It is so beautiful.
--Elder Simonsen video text

Map from Brigham City to Logan- thirty five minute drive

"We go early in the morning, 8 o'clock usually, with all the people and it just brings the great spirit of wisdom and of knowledge, and of appreciation of what they do in the temple-
is sacred and holy, and its working.

And the temple is a great thing.  We are reminded each day that we have to remember those spiritual moments that we have in the temple.  It helps us to have the strength and have this faith, every day to look forward to...and to have the spirit with us as we go about our day.

                                                                                     --Elder Simonsen Brigham City video text

 "These are the temple walls that were beginning to look like the Brigham City Temple when Elder Simonsen arrived in his first area, on February 15, 2011.

Below is the temple when we arrived at the end of April.

Elder Simonsen describes his thoughts about this fine jewel right in the middle of Brigham City...

"We are really excited for the temple in Brigham City.  The walls are up and they are making the floors and its going to be done, I think in a year and a half so we'll get to see it finished and I hope that I get to see it being dedicated and we are here."                                                    

                                                 -Elder Simonsen from Brigham City video

 Brigham City clears ground for the new temple, across from the old beautiful tabernacle in the middle of town.          
                                                                     -Sister B

"Soon, after Easter, the Brigham City Temple prepared for its first spire.  It is designed to reflect the shape of the Salt Lake Temple.

A traffic sign nearby, points toward heaven...a reminder of the "one way" that all of God's children can return to Him.."

                                                                                        - Sister B

Thousands gather at the tabernacle across the street-  in the rain to welcome the angel Moroni.

The Statue of the Angel Moroni symbolizes the Golden truths of the everlasting gospel, restored in these latter days."  

            --Albert. L. Zobell, Jr.

"I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach..  to every nation, kindred and tongue.  

                                         -Revelation 14: 6

"We love the temples !  Love the temple in Copenhagen as well and its one of these two temples that I've been in...the temple in Logan and back home in Copenhagen...and I see the differences.

I can see that most of the temples here in the states, here in Utah are for work.  They are there to do the work..  to bring people closer to God and to Christ."            

                                                                               - Elder Simonsen video text

"And I see the beauties of each temple and each difference between them and it's a great thing and it makes them unique.  It is the connection that we have between Heaven and earth- that we get to have a place that is sacred here- that we can visit each day if we wanted."

                                                                                   - Elder Simonsen video text

 When you focus on the things of the temple..

"You see that you are finding strength and that you are receiving strength that you didn't even know you had.  You realize that it is from God and he is strengthening us and forming us each day..  that we should be as clay-  That he would form us (into) what He wants us to be,  not what we want to be, but what he wants us to be in this life and the life afterwards.

The value of attending the temple often..

" It just reminds me how I need to focus on the things of the temple and on the eternal perspective of things rather than right now, right here.  and when you start focusing on these things and making goals, you start to progress and your start to progress expnentially  (power to increase drastically)."

                                                                                - Elder Simonsen video text


"There is a quote by Martin Luther, the great reformer,

"God created the Heavens and the earth,
and he created them from nothin' and as long as we are
'nothin', he can make 'somethin' out of us."

It is a great reminder that we need to be humble, and have humility in everything we do, so that we are open to receive these blessings, open to receive inspiration
open to feel the spirit,
that we may be guided in our lives
and that we may gain a stronger testimony,
that we may have peace and guidance
and love and charity, and council,
and all these things that are fruits of the spirit.

It reminds us that we have to focus on having the spirit with us
at all times-

 that we might have that help that we need
so desperately each day,
which gives us so much strength and so much hope,
so much faith that we can withstand everything,
that we can go through everything in life,
go through whatever this life throws at us !

And that it is so important that we are built on the safe rock of Jesus Christ- the gospel,
that we keep going back to that basic, simple doctrine- 
the Gospel of Jesus Christ that always
works - that never fails."

                              --Elder JJ Simonsen video text

" ...It is something that we, as members, and missionaries, and people, children of God..that we have to remember...and gain a testimony of these things- that these work--
that they bring happines in our lives..
that it allows us to move on, go on with our lives.

Some of us may think that we've already been baptized, but we have to remember the covenants of our baptism that we made-   the covenants to bear each others burdens,
the promise to keep the commandments..
the promise to always have charity,
and  always have each other,
and always have the spirit with us--.
 If we repent and have faith and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."

                                                                                                                          -Elder Simonsen Brigham City video text

"If we repent and have faith and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost...

Receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost is not just laying on of hands. 
We have to open the gift.
We have to unwrap it, and we have to use it.
The more we use it the more we get.
The more we learn how to listen to it,
the more we hear it.
The more we have this desire to have the spirit with us-
The more guidance we have in this life..
Because the Holy Ghost will show us what we need to do,
And the words of Christ will tell us what we need to do in this life..
And that is one of the truths that I have gained a strong testimony of..that it works, every single time,
No doubt about it. !"

                                                                  - Elder Simonsen text from video

"If your remember how merciful God has been since Adam,

and if you remember how merciful God has been for you,
And if you really have a sincere heart and sincere desire to know the truth-
He will give it to you
and He will give it to you by the Holy Ghost.

That is the biggest thing that we can have as a guidance
and as a comforter,
and as one who gives love when we need it--
When we are far from our parents,
far from friends,
and far from where we come from,
to our heavenly home..

It is something that gives us strength,
love, warmth, comfort,
And it is something to be cherished
and we have to use it as much as possible...
That's where we are happy and have guidance in our lives."

                             --Elder Simonsen text from Brigham City video

" I would like to invite everybody- and I do invite everybody,

  to try these things and see,
  to gain a testimony that it works-,  repent, have faith and repent,
  and remember your covenants,
  rmember what Jesus Christ did for you.
  Remember in your prayers, Moroni's promise:

'Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things,
if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them,
that ye would remember how merciful the Lord
hath been unto the children of men,
from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things,
and ponder it in your hearts.

And when ye shall receive these things,
I would exhort you
That ye would ask God, the Eternal Father,
in the name of Christ,
if these things are not true;
and if ye shall ask- with a sincere heart,
with real intent,
having faith in Christ,
he will manifest the truth of it unto you,
by the power of the Holy Ghost, ye may know-
the truth of all things."

                                -Moroni 10: 3-5

                  "It all started with prayer- my grandmother
                                   taught me how to pray. 

When we pray, we have to remember to give thanks,
 to have this heart of gratitude.

Sometimes prayer gets too routine, gets too regular. 
We do it every day.
We do it at least ten times a day- 

 Even as missionaries we spend most of our days in prayer and it is very important for us as missionaries , 
to always have a prayer even during lessons-
That we pray in our hearts as well, for our companions,
for the investigators.
That they will be strengthened and that they will have an open heart and that they will feel the pure love of Christ through us.

Prayer is something that we can always improve on.
Sometimes we say "thank you for this day." 
and start asking for blessings.

"Heavenly Father, thank you for this day and thank you for this love.  We ask thee to bless us with this, this, this."
and most of the prayer consists of asking instead of giving thanks- and it is something that we can always improve on.

We find in times of need, in times where we need the most guidance and counsel and inspiration-
we get these, receive these blessings when we have prayers of thanksgiving. "

                                   --Elder Simonsen's text from Brigham city video

As we give prayers of Thanksgiving, we'll see the small and tiny
                          miracles that happen each day..

"When we have prayers of thanksgiving-
of giving thanks to our Heavenly Father for everything-
naming them one by one,
all the blessing that we have received- especially this day-  and all the blessings he will give us tomorrow.

And as we give prayers of thanksgiving, we'll see the small, and tiny miracles that happen each day in our lives-  And we get to see how big a part God is in our lives and in our lives in the past as well,
and how big he will be in the future-
if we want it to be.

Prayer is an opportunity to communicate with our Heavenly Father because he loves us so much he wants us to be happy and he wants to guide us in our everyday life. 

And in everything, and we can ask him for guidance
for specific things,
and he will answer,
and we can talk to him from the bottom of our heart,
and He will answer..."                                              

                                         --Elder JJ from Brigham City video. 

The promise of a temple in Brigham City- evidence of the tender
mercies of God in the center of their daily lives.

"When we are sincere in prayer we get to feel the power of God in our lives...

and we get to see the hand of the Lord in everything we do.
And it is very important to pray..
It is very important ot understand the doctrine of prayer.

But how do we receive the answers ?
We receive the answers through the Holy Spirit.
When we receive the answers we have faith.
We receive faith because when God talks to us we have faith-
not necessarily in the scriptures but when he talks to us
 and when he reveals the specific things for our lives.
That's when we have faith and that's when we believe.
That's when God talks to us.

God talks to us in prayers and he talks to us through Jesus Christ, the great mediator.
He has given his life for us, so that he can show us the way and lead us to happiness,
lead us the right way.

God speaks to us through Jesus Christ...
Jesus Christ speaks through our prophet as well,
through our apostles, and through our leaders who have this inspiration to give us excitement,
give us faith,
give us hope,
give us charity,
and lead by ensample-

He talks to us in our prayers,
He talks to us whenever we want to talk to Him-
Whenever we have the spirit, he talks to us- guides us.

We have the opportunity to hear his words through the prophets and the apostles, and we have general conference coming up in a week  (April Conference 2011), less than a week, and we have the opportunity to hear from the prophet-
to hear what God wants us to do-
And what he wants us to give..
and what he wants to give to us."

                                                -Elder Simonsen' video text

"We have the opportunity to come closer to the Savior through our Prophets and Apostles and our leaders.

and it's a great opportunity to have.  When I was in the MTC, we got visited by many general authorities who spake at the devotionasl and firesides.  We were visited by the Apostles Russel M. Nelson and by Jeffery Holland... and I remember those talks very clearly.  It is something that I will never forget.

The first time it was during Christmas time and Elder Russel M Nelson came and gave a talk about the birth of Jesus Christ.. and we sang, always in the choir-  we were always in the choir.. and we would have our seats- and as soon as the Apostle Russel M Nelson walked in- we stood up.

I felt the spirit in my heart burning so brightly- testifying that this was an apostle of Jesus Christ.  It is a feeling that I will never forget.  It gave me a strong testimony of the Apostles."

                                                                                   --Elder Simonsen video text

"When Jeffery Holland talked to us, he talked about being a disciple, and discipleship..

We are here to become disciples of Jesus Christ.. and he talked about apostleship as well, and when Jesus Christ died on the cross.

Peter and other apostles said, "We had three good years and we had wonderful times together.  Well, let's go back fishing."

They went fishing but didn't catch anything at all... and while they were fishing, they saw somebody on the beach who told them to fish right here, fish there, and they caught so many fish that it was hard for them to pull it up to the boat... and when they got nearer, they found out that it was their master, Jesus Christ- who was telling them where to fish, and when they got to the beach,  Jesus Christ said to Peter,

"Peter, do you love me?"
He asked Peter this three times.  And when Peter said, "Yes," 
The Savior said: "Feed my sheep."

Elder Holland then said to all the missionaries, "You need to decide tonight whether you really do love God,
Whether you really do love the Savior." 
He said, "And when you do, your call is to feed His sheep, forever."

At the end of the devotional we sang, "Because I have Been Given much, I too must give."
And afterwards, afterwards, we stood up.  Everybody stood up because Elder Holland was leaving after the meeting, but everybody just stayed quiet and standing for a good three minutes-  nobody said a word.  Afterwards, somebody came up and told us to leave and that's when we left.  And it was a great moment and we felt the spirit so strong."

I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

                                             --Elder Simonsen concludes his testimony, his
                                               beliefs and sacred memories in this Brigham City
                                               video made from his missionary apartment.

Dear Elder Jens Jacob Simonsen,

Thank you for this sacred thirty minute testimony, defining for us, the heart of your mission.
It testifies of the simple truths that you have found day by day as you live the gospel as a missionary here in your first area, after weeks in the Missionary Training Center.

This was the winter of your life as a new missionary, in a new area, with a new companion.

It is the early spring with the hope of a new temple, new life, and many new people to meet and teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  You have a simple, but profound message.  It will change lives.  It has changed yours.

Summer is here and you, dear Elder, are so ready for whatever the Lord has prepared for you to do next.  Well done, Elder.                                                            

                                                     We love you,  Sister B

We had the rare privilege of visiting Elder Simonsen..

and his companion, Elder Valenzuela during the first time since we said goodbye to him at the MTC in December.  He had planned a small family home evening in his branch building.  We were so happy to be there. 

A Saturday Night Family Home Evening...

There was a handful of Spanish speaking sisters, one investigator and one return missionary, with two young daughters.  Elder Simonsen (a Danish speaking Greenlander), who had just learned how to think in Spanish,
taught the lesson on gratitude and the restoration- in Spanish.

Elder Valenzuela (a Spanish speaking Elder from Guatemala) who is learning English- translated the lesson for us- into English.  Miraculously, we all understood the lesson.  It was an amazing example of the many blessings that our missionaries are given as they preach the gospel all over the world.

                                                  -Sister B at the Saturday Family night
                                                                                   with Elder Simonsen and Elder V in Brigham City

"In a few short months, Elder Simonsen and his companion learned to speak and think in a new language.. and then stepped into the mission field full of the spirit to meet the Hispanic souls who are waiting to hear their message.

This is the first time that we have heard Elder Simonsen speak in his new language.  It was a fine, inspiring lesson.

Elder Valenzuela asked me to share some things that I was grateful for.  I expressed my love for the testimony of Elder Simonsen and the many sacrifices he made to leave his school in Denmark and his family in Greenland- to come to teach the people of Brigham City."

                                                                                           --Sister B

Easter Dinner warmed over..

We were in Utah for a week.  The first and last part of our visit we stayed in Brigham City in a small cottage Motel on the edge of town.  It had a full kitchen and a dining room so that we could prepare an Easter meal for these busy Elders.

"We had no cooking utensils, pots or pans, or silverware.  So we dined with plastic spoons and forks from Mcdonalds, pans from Deseret Industries a block away from us- and a lovely centerpiece from DI that reminded me of Elder JJ- a temple, and a light house for a man of the Sea. 

We prepared and heated this meal three times because they had so many missionay eating appointments with the members who love to feed these dear Elders every day.  We finally had our "Easter Dinner" on Tuesday night..their P-day.  We were truly blessed to be with them."

                                                                                                - Sister B

When the Elders were teaching and busy with their missionary life, we traveled along the beautiful snowy mountains to see the burst of spring and new animals up and down the Wasatch front.

This was one of the finest, most peaceful, rewarding trips that we have ever been on.

There was a lovely mix of mountains and green pastures... of small farms, and huge, mansions,..of fresh streams, spilling over, due to a heavy snowfall this winter.  It was just the beginning of spring.

                                                                                                                                  - Sister B

One Easter Sunday...

We went to Elder Simonsen's Spanish Speaking Branch, the Brigham Sycamore Branch, where we saw the Elders greet, with love, these good people of Brigham City.  The meeting was in Spanish.  Elder Simonsen translated for me- from Spanish to English..the talks that were given that day.  What a fine experience to witness these dear Elders serving the Lord with such confidence and genuine enthusiasm for their work and for this small Branch.

When Sacrament meeting was over, we followed the Elders in our car, about 15 miles to Tremonton Fairview second Branch for another Sacrament Meeting.  That weekend it was Satke Conference in Tremonton.                    

                                                                        --Sister B

"At the end of Easter Sunday-

we were invited to another Family Home Evening at a member's home.     We expected another small family night with a few of the missionary's investigators.  This was a huge Easter Family night on the front lawn with almost the whole Branch in attendance. 

An Easter egg hunt had just taken place and many of the colored eggs were filled with confetti.

"Elder Simonsen and Valenzuela werre already there when we arrived.  JJ's hair was covered with confetti.  Someone had smashed one of the confetti filled eggs on his head.

Several barbecue grillls were filled with chicken and beef.  The table was spread with all kinds of salads, Mexican rice and beans and tortillas  What an unexpected Easter feast.

Elder Simonsen has said that when they go visiting at night, almost every visit involves another meal- even with their investigators.  They love to feed the missionaries.  To be polite, they may have three meals in a night.                                                                

                                                                                 - Sister B

Before we got too involved with the food and activities, Elder Simonsen and Valenzuela wanted to have a spiritual thought...

They asked me if I could give the thought about the symbolism of the Easter egg.
I had not prepared fo this message (especially in Spanish) but they assured me that they would help translate and many were there who could understand English.

Now I had to create a meaningful message in about two minutes.  I stretched my imagination and memory to recall why we use an Easter egg to celebrate the sacred story of Easter.

I was happy to create a spiritual thought that would turn this "Easter Party" into an "Easter Family Night."

                                                              -Sister B



" I stood among these sweet, respectful people, in the middle of this fine, active event...

even the little children were quiet all of a sudden, as I interupted the Easter fun.  I so appreciated their courtesy.

I held up the Easter egg that Elder Simonsen had given me.  It was full of confetti.  I told them that this egg represented a new life, the fresh start of Spring.  Jesus was born and was crucified in the Spring.  He lived on this earth for thirty three years.  He healed the sick, and taught us how to live.  Then he gave his life for us- in the early spring.

After he was crucified, they buried him in a tomb but the next morning, the tomb was empty.  He was the first man on earth to be resurrected.  He died and then, with his body and spirit- he rose again.  He had a new life.  Because he died for us..we also will rise again after we die.

That is what we can remember in the beginning of Spring, on this Easter, with these beautiful colored eggs..

That He lives, and taught us how to live a new, better life on earth, and has given us a new, resurrected life after we leave this earth.

Because of this gift, from our Savior, Jesus Christ- we can always have a fresh start.  There is always a new Spring- for us, it is a time to "Begin Again."

                        -Sister Wilberg


At the end of my little message, I took my egg and smashed it on Carl's head.  The whole branch family clapped and cheered at this surprise conclusion of our spiritual thought.

This was an Easter Sunday that we will always remember.

                                                                                              - Sister B

What a day !  It was such a pleasure to be in Brigham City with these dear missionaries and the good people in this mission.

                                                                       -Sister B

Tuesday is P-day in all of the Utah Ogden Mission.  We picked up the Elders at their apartment and had the privilege of driving to Logan to spend time with them at the Logan Temple.  This little 35 to 45 minute trip gave us an opportunity to talk to them about their mission, to learn about the people of Brigham City, and to enjoy their enthusiams for this work.

It was a great blessing to be with them as we traveled and talked from Brigham City to Logan.

                                                                                        - Sister B

Here are some of the things we learned about missionary life in
Brigham City- on our way to the Temple...

1.  When Elder Simonsen arrived with his new companion, they were both new to this area.  This is called "White washing"- sending two new Elders to a community to bring them a fresh start.  The people of Brigham City and Tremonton have been very kind to these new Elders.

2.  These Spanish speaking Elders had to find the Hispanic people in the area.  They went through the phone book to find Hispanic names.  They knocked on doors in the neighborhood and asked if the people knew any Spanish speaking people on their block.  They prayed often for guidance that they might find those whom the Lord had prepared to hear their sacred message.

3.  As they became acquainted with the Hispanic people in the area they discovered that they were often from central and South America- and from many cultures.  There were many differences between them.  Elder Simonsen and Valenzuela worked on helping different families from different Latin Countries to trust and love each other, to appreciate and value their differences, and to forgive each other for misunderstandings that may have come between them.

4.  The children sometimes lead the way to making friends between the cultures.  Many of them speak English and the little Mormon children are aften trusted and well liked by new immigrant families that are just getting acquainted with the Mormon communities of northern Utah.

5.  The people are humble, generous people who gathere year around for backyard barbecues, bonfires, volleyball, basketball, and lots of south of the border foods, members and nonmembers on the block.

We arrived early in the morning at the old Logan Temple.  It was a snow, sunny day.  What an opportunity it was to visit this sacred place with Elder Simonsen and his companion...
and sit together in the Celestial room with all the other missionaries dress in white, enjoying the peace and quiet of that beautiful room.

Here, in this place, we felt the spirit of the whole mission..the spirit of these strong Elders who have given their lives to serve the Lord.

                                                                                           -Sister B

After the temple, we got to take our Elders to do what they do ever P-day..They get to send e-mails to their families.

We went to the family history center in the basement of a Logan landmark- the Logan Tabernacle.

On every P-day, there is a room filled with Elders ans Sisters who sign in for a thirty minutes time limit to read and send news to their families and to their mission president.

This is a very important time for the missionaries.  They have the ability to print the news from home and receive encouragement and love from their families that live so far away.

Many of the missionaries in the Utah Ogden Mission are from all over the world.  These letters mean everything to them.

                                                                                   --Sister B

On this p-day, this day designed to help Elders be prepared for all the other days of the week- spiritually and temporally..
We went shopping for much needed white shirts, ties, and a new suit for a growing Elder Simonsen.

It was such a fine, relaxing day.  What a joy to be with them.

The Lord has truly blessed them both.. and we were so blessed to have this time with them- on their p-day, a day to "begin again."

                                                                                -Sister B

A promise from the Lord during our very busy days in the week- to take time to:

"Stop, and stand still until I command thee,
and I will provide means whereby thou
mayest accomplish the thing which I have commanded thee."

                                        -D&C 5: 34

P-day is a good "Stop and stand still.." and prepare to     begin again.

                                                                                   - Sister B

After p-day we visited friends and family for a few days, and Elder Simonsen was asked to go to a special leadership training in Ogden.  As we traveled to the Provo area, trees were just beginning to bud and tulips and daffidils were in full bloom.  The day after we took pictures of this beautiful tulip festival, there was a gentle snow storm that covered the flowering trees.  On our way back to Brigham City- in the snow, a radio announcer said that she had seen a sign on the front of a Protestant Church.  It was about the sudden snow storm-  It said:

  "Do you like my little surprise?"  Love, God

We loved the "little surprise."  It was just another good thing that we enjoyed in this peaceful, rewarding trip.  By the time we returned to Brigham City, spring had returned with all her color, leaving the mountains still covered with fresh snow.  I am so grateful for the mountainous beauty of  Elder Simonsen's mission.  Every day there is a new landscape, changing seasons, and magnificent sunsets.

He grew up surrounded by the beauty and the every changing weather of Greenland.  Here in northern Utah, he has lived through one of their coldest winters,  has seen a snow covered spring, and floods that too much melting snow brings.  Now he is riding bikes in a long, hot summer.  There are many reasons why he came to this fine place.

                                                                                                   - Sister B

Our last Family Night in Brigham City...

The last family night that we spent with Elder Simonsen and Valenzuela was on Saturday night.
Another small group of women gathered to hear the missionaries share a short gospel message in Spanish and translated into English. 

Family night is such a fine time to gather with friends, no matter where we come from.  In this little group, was an Elder from Guatemala, Elder Simonsen from Greenland, with guests- I think they were from Mexico and us- from Sacramento, California. 

                                                                                               -Sister B

The last part of a typical family night is the most fun part.

Family Night usually ends with a game.  It broke the language barrier because it was a game using only hand signs.  It is sometimes called "Indian Circle" or "Thumper" if you thump on a table before each call.

These are the simple rules:

How to play "Indian Circle"

1.  Every person choose for himself a personal hand signal and a personal sound to go with the signal.

2.  Choose a leader who has each person show his signal and sound.  Practice these signals with each other so they are remembered.

3.  Then the leader shows his signal and sound, and then does someone elses signal and sound.

4.  That person receives the message by giving his personal signal and then someone else's signal and sound.

5.  If someone makes a mistake, He is eliminated.  The winner is the last one standing.  This can be played in a series of rounds.


Sunday, May 1st, was our last day with Elder Simonsen and Valenzuela.  

  We attended both branches again- in Brigham City and Tremonton..
And said "Good Bye" at a "break the fast" lunch in the afternoon.

We miss them.  During our stay, we saw two hard working Elders, who were willing to do anything to "Bring people to Jesus Christ."  They love the people and the people, members and nonmembers- love them.

They've studied hard and worked every day on learning their new language.  This is just the beginning of a very full two years for Elder Simonsen.  His family and friends in Greenland, and Denmark, should know that their son is still the peaceful, happy soul that they knew when he left home.

He is such a good man.  He is a man of great faith.

President Monson:

"When we share the gospel with others, we unavoidably get ouside of ourselves.
We think and pray and work for the blessings of others, and this only further enriches and quickens us by the Holy Spirit."          (Ensign, October 1977, p. 11)

"Of all the companionships established in the mission field, the most cherished is the companionship of the Holy Spirit.

Missionaries teach and testify, teach and testify, teach and testify.  Each time they do they invite the Spirit, and the truths they proclaim become more and more deeply ingrained in their own souls."

It has been so good  to be with you, Elder.  So good to hear your testimony in Spanish and to share a few days with you among the good people of Brigham City.  Thank you for all of your hard work and your willingness to serve the Lord every matter what.  The spirit of the Lord has been with you from the beginning.

God be with you till we meet again, Elder Jens Jacob Simonsen.  It has been quite a lovely spring.

                  Much love and gratitude- from the Wilbergs

                                                                                May 10, 2011

"This is the last day of this transfer, and we are both being moved somewhere else.  I am moving to Ogden.  I will be companions with the Assistant to the President, Elder Banda from Texas.  He speaks Spanish as well, but I will technically be in the English program (missionary English).  It is a special training program that President Olson had.  The transfer after this I will prolly (probably) be a district leader or Zone leader.

I am very excited to go to Ogden and to be trained by the Assistant to the President.  (AP)"

                                                                 -Elder Simonsen

"Last Sunday, I had my first Sacrament talk (in the mission)..  I talked for 30- 35 minutes.  My companion was supposed to talk for 15 minutes but he only talked for 10 minutes.  I had to take up the rest of the time.  I talked about two great men-  Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ.  And I shared the first vision and talked about what Jesus Christ did for us.  It was really nice.  A lot of people thanked me afterwards and were impressed with the Spanish.  Now I am transferred to the English program.

I sent you this DVD, that we found in Tremonton.  It was really moving too.  (a DVD recording of the Hand Cart Trek that the Tremonton South Stake di with their young people).  It must have been a very spritual experience, and about the theme "Keeping covenants one step at a time." is really interesting..and

how true it is that we have to keep our covenants one day, one step, one thing at a time, and how we can manage more easily just by focusing on one thing at a time, one day at a time. 

 How the Lord is ready to help us when we just trust Him and act in faith and take the step knowing that the destination is worth it-  every single step we take, that is walking in faith !"

                                   -Elder Simonsen's last service in his first area


"I love this area, the Tremonton and Brigham area.  It was hard but I love it.

There is a lot of work to do up in Tremonton.  Brigham is finally getting better.  Members are getting excited."

                                                                                       - Elder Simonsen

A few thoughts about the Brigham City and Tremonton area that Elder Simonsen shared with us during our visit.

1.  Our zone is small with about 12-13 missionaries, and with four missionaries in each district.

2.  We are treated so well by the members.  Every week we are given fresh bread and free cereal.

Thoughts about the
Brigham City and Tremonton area: (Continued)

3.  Although the Spanish Branches are small, they meet in large LDS Chapels, with full kitchens, inside basketball courts, lovely chapels, and a fine library full of electronic equipment and teaching tools.

4.  Northern Utah is a land of pick-up trucks and deer hunters.

5.  Brigham City is lined with trees and is a "gateway to a bird refuge."

6.  One of the main occupations for the hispanic community is a bowling ball factory in Brigham City.

7.  This area is known for its delicious fruit, especially fresh peaches.

                                                                -Sister B

"Life is good here in the mission, when you are on the Lord's errand.  The way He answers your prayers and the way He gives you strength is amazing.

And how, when you ask in faith, for a righteous thing, when you have this righteous desire, it will come true.

I have a strong testimony of that.  The Lord will deliver you from temptation as you desire to do what is right, and repent of what you have done that is bad..that is impeding you from receiving the blessings that God has waiting for you.

I know that God loves His children very much and I know that it is hard for Him to see them suffer and hurt, but that is what is best for us.    (1 Nephi 20: 10,  Eccl. 7: 3)

I love the Lord with all my heart.  I love His tender mercies that He sends me every time I need comfort and strength.

Thank you so much for your support, and love and example as well.  I love you.  I wish you a good week.

                              Thank you-  Elder Jens Jacob Simonsen

Dear Elder Simonsen,

Just a note to say farewell to this quiet, peaceful place- your first area in the mission field.

We loved being here for a time with you.  It is a place named after a prophet.. blessed by a rich heritage of sacrifice and people who love the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Here you have seen orchards, the birth of spring, goats, chickens, cows, even kissing cows.

And the mountains, the ever changing mountains..It is a land of milk and honey.

The Lord chose this quiet place for you to begin your mission. 
 He loves you, Elder.

Well done, you have been a good, and faithful servant.
                                                                               Love, Sister B

"We find many interesting people here in Ogden,

and we work here in the Weber State Campus as well, which is a little bit different atmosphere than anywhere else.  We cover two Young Single Adult Stakes, and we cover the "Ghetto" part of Ogden.

It is wonderful to be here.  I love it !"

                                                  -Elder Simonsen describes his first transfer

The first part of May, Elder Simonsen was transferred from Brigham City to the center of the mission.  This is a very busy part of the mission.  The Mission Office, the Mission President's home, an Elder who is the Assistant to the President, Senior Couples, all live and work in the Ogden area.  This is the hub of the mission.

                                                                                       -Sister B

Elder Simonsen writes:  "Thank you for your letter.  I'm sorry I haven't sent mine yet.  It took me a week and we just have been so busy with everything around here.  I will send it as soon as I can ! 

My mission has gotten a little bit different meaning since I moved here.  I have gotten more busy.  We are preaching in English now and I find it a little bit more easy to express my feelings and to answer and ask questions."

                                                                                --Elder Simonsen's first notes from Ogden

Elders at home and in training in Ogden...     May 24, 2011

Elder Simonsen had the opportunity to work with Elder Kreiberg from Denmark while he was in Ogden.

" Elder Kreiberg and his companion, Elder Swisher are Zone      leaders in South Ogden Zone."

                                                                                 - Elder Simonsen

"The four of us, Elder Band and Elder Nichols from Texas and Elder Mocke (Rocky with an M) from South Africa-  I arrived to the MTC (with him) and (we) were in the same international group (on) the first day at the MTC.

We love it."

                               -Elder Simonsen's first house in his mission.

" This is personal study, right outside our house in South Weber.
  Birds chirping, sunshine in your face,
  Fresh air...that will keep you awake
  during your personal study. !"

                                                                        -Elder Simonsen "suffering" in the Ogden sun

                                                                                                                         May 24, 2011

"Dear Belva and Carl,

It's great to be here.  I got a letter from Brynjar (from Iceland).  He told me that they went to the temple and did some temple work for his ancestors.  They were there three days and did temple work.  So it was really nice he said and it really strengthened his testimony.  So I am looking forward to doing the same for my ancestors as well.

It is so exciting that you are going on another mission !  We've met some stake missionaries here as well and they are amazing and most of them extended their calls to more than they were called to serve.

It is going to be exciting !  I am very excited for you !

Say hello, and congratulations to Megan (Reed) for me and tell them they look great together !

                               --Elder Simonsen and the gospel of Jesus Christ at work.

"The work here is great, and we have a lot of people that we are teaching and our goal is to have a baptism every week.

And we find every day that our schedule has been made and is already full for the next day.  And it is very different than working in Brigham, trying to find Hispanic people all the time.

and around here we are just teaching no matter which nationality they are."

                                                 - Elder Simonsen

"We get fresh milk every week and we go to the gym at 5 o'clock in the morning except Saturday and Sunday.  and we work out a couple of hours with the latest Gym equipment, treadmills with TV's all the cardio equipment with TV's and internet and games, with all the exercise equipment that you need."

                                             -Elder Simonsen living the "hard life" in the wild west 

" My companion, Elder David Banda, from Austin, Texas- joined the church three years aga, and he is going home in a month, so in mission lingo-  I am 'Killing him.' ( I am the last companion he has in his mission)

(Although we are 'teaching no matter which nationality they are) Me and Elder Banda contact Hispanic people and give the referrals to the other missionaries, so we at least talk to some Spanish so we don't forget.

When (Elder Banda) is away doing A.P (assistant to the President) stuff with the other A.P., I am together with Elder Mocke from South Africa, and we usually go contacting right here at Weber State University Campus, and we meet a lot of people from other countries as well, so it is very exciting."

                                                                                   --Elder Simonsen

"I have some pictures right here from the office.  We have our own office, and we can go to any training, and any Zone study we want.

We have two cars.  Every transfer just seems better than the last !  and that's how I want it to be.

I thank you for everything that you have given me, and I appreciate it.

I love you and thanks for being a part of my mission, and please know that my mission means everything to me !  As we are changing people's lives here.  I will always remember your contribution for changing mine !
Have a great week !   Say hello to everybody !  Love you, Elder Simonsen

" I finally found Elder Simonsen among the 150 (I think) Elders.  At this time he was in the mission office, with Elder Banda (who is the assistant to the President) and Elder Simonsen's senior companion. "

                                                                                                           --Sister B

"This is the mission office.  Here works the couple missionaries, Elder and Sister Lund, Elder and Sister  Stamm, and Elder Wyatt."

                                        - Elder Simonsen

"If you have trouble communicating with Elder Simonsen during his mission, due to transfers, or if you are not sure where he is staying on his mission, you will always be able to reach him through this address in this office."                                                                   - Sister B

                          The constant address of Jens Jacob Simonsen:

                                  Elder Jens Jacob Simonsen
                                  430 S. Orchard Avenue
                                  South Ogden, Utah

"This is a view of the original Ogden Temple (top picture).  Elder Simonsen will probably not have access to this temple in Ogden during his mission because it won't be finished until around 2013.

The bottom pictures is a painting of the new, remodeled Ogden Temple.  The Ogden tabernacle on the right had it's spire removed and is also being remodeled.  The focus in this remodel is on the Ogden temple, and it's spire with the angel Moroni on top."

                                                             - Sister B

" Dear Belva and Carl,

I am going to take a driving test on Wednesday to get my Utah license.

Then, I need to get some glasses.  The weather is driving my eyes crazy !

I am already so uncomfortable with the weather.

It is soooo hot !  86 degrees !!!  I can't handle it.

Went and got a whole new set of garments to cope with the heat and the people here are so amused at me being so hot constantly.  When we go to church, we go around to get all the A/C's to get it cold ! ;o)                           
                                                             -Elder Simonsen

                                                                                                                    June 14, 2011

"Hello, Hello !

Thank you so much for your letters.  Yes, I got the (things you sent me).  Thank you very much.  It helps a great deal.  It is very expensive to be here in Ogden !  ;o)

I got the "hard Copy" of the blog post as well.  Thank you, my companions enjoyed it !

We dropped by the Brigham City Temple, starting to look like a temple.  It was really nice to see Brigham again. 

Yes, I got my driver's license here now.  I passed perfectly except the handbrake while parking down hill.
We had to go to Brigham to get the test because we went here in Ogden with all the papers, I have , my passport and visas- and I-94 and what not !  They said I had to pay $300 for drivers ed and stuff like that..

So I just said, "well, I'll just go to Brigham then and get my license I got it !  It is really nice to be back on the driver's seat ! ;o)

                                                                               -Elder Simonsen

                                                                                                               May 30, 2011

Dear Carl and Belva,

Thank you so much for your letters.  I appreciate it.  I got a lot of letters today, one from my little sister, Teresa, who sent me some ultra sound pictures of the baby and some pictures of the  polar bear catch in our city (Qaqortoq, Greenland), and six letter from Odense.

Elder Christensen and Talbot wrote me letters,  Milee Held, Bishop's Mom and Bishop's wife, Lee and Karl Ove Ilskove, Mads Held and from Bishop Held.  It was great to hear from them, and got te news that Niklas is going to Greece (on a mission), and now they will have four Danes down there, two Elders  from Copenhagen Stake and one from Randers, and now Elder Held (Bishop's son) and Elder Jensen are going to serve together for a year or so..It's amazing ! ;o)

I will send some pictures tomorrow.  I forgot my cords and my harddrive.  We went to Logan this afternoon to drop off an Elder who went to the hospital here in Ogden to get a checkup.  He serves in Idaho."

                                                       - Elder Simonsen

                                                                                                                   June 1, 2011

 "My companion, Elder Banda, had a birthday, and we went to Layton to have a party at a new convert's home, somebody he taught.

And we had a nice Mexican super spicy dinner !  In this picture- above (these ) countries are represented:
from the right- two from Texas, South Africa, Greenland, Spain, and two from Mexicao."

                                                          - Elder Simonsen

P-day- a time to run errands and enjoy Zone and district activities.

Elder Kreiberg, from Denmark with Elder Simonsen- who found the gospel in Denmark- now serving in the same mission together.

                                                      -Sister B

Errands for the day:

" I might need some help with the glasses.  I don't know yet.  I need to go to the doctor to get a prescription and we'll see what happens.  I'm also trying to get a Utah license so we'll see at the end of the month.

I just have to take the test and go driving for a little bit then they'll give me one.  But I'll let you know if I need help.  Thank you for asking. 
                                                       -Elder Simonsen

"Life is good in a mission !  Say hello to your class and your family."

                                                                        - Elder Simonsen
Have a great week ! "

Elder Simonsen writes:  "(this is) Me and the President Brent Olson.  I love this man."

"  President Olson  grew up in the Washington, DC area and is a retired attorney.  At the time he became the Mission President of the Utah Ogden Mission there were 188 Elders and Sisters, as well as five Senior Couples who proselyte and ten other missionaries who serve in the office.  There were 18 single sister missionaries.

Some Elders, like Elder Simonsen have been assigned to teach the gospel and find students on one of the many campuses in northern Utah.  During his stay in Ogden, he was assigned to visit the Weber State University campus.  Some couple missionaries are assigned to visit LDS patients in hospitals.  They help to ensure that these people have support when they go home."

                                                                                  - Sister B

"Dear Belva !

Thank you so much for your letter.  I appreciate it !  We are doing great here in Ogden.
It is hot ouside and I am just trying to survive it until tomorrow, when I will be transferred to Logan ! ;o)
So I will be able to get in touch with Francis and all the others (returned Elders and Sisters who were his great friends in Denmark).  You can give him my e-mail !  I'll prolly give him a call when I get there.  I have his number !  ;o)  I can't believe that he is married.  Hahaaa.  I am so proud of him !  Honoring his Priesthood !  hahaaa ;o)

It is good to hear that the gospel is reaching the people in Sacramento as well.  It is amazing how we can see the hand of the Lord in our work.  It is amazing how the Lord touches peoples lives.

We have seen so many hardships and tribulations here in Ogden, where people are in serious need of the Gospel.  I will tell you a bit more when I get my pictures on a stick and send them to you.  We just have been too busy doing all the goodbyes and welcomes, and missionary firesides and camps that we have been through.  I will have to tell you in more detail a little bit later ! :o)"

                                                                                            --Elder Simonsen

June 21, 2011

"Ogden was geat.  I learned so many new things about the church organization, and the organization of the mission as well.  It's amazing.  I finally got the balance between helping my companion and working in the "field" when I arrived in Ogden, my focus was to help my companion first then help others to come unto Christ...and I've seen so many blessing that came with it.  It is amazing !

I love my Mission.  My mission means everything to me !

Yes, we will prolly go to the temple much more often than last transfer, since I am moving to Logan, and we will go to the temple as much as we can over there.  I love the Logan Temple ! :o)

I will send you my flash, tomorrow !  I'll make it my second priority, since my first priority is the new 8 missionaries that came an hour ago. ;o)

Good to hear about Paul.  Good to hear that he is alive . :o) and trying to survive in the concrete jungle !  I miss him.  I wish I could do something to hel him !  To find what he is looking for !:

                                                                           - Elder Simonsen

"Dear Belva and Carl !

Thank you so much for your letters.  I appreciate, no matter how long they are, I'll take time to read them, but it might take a while to answer them though.  :o)

In the transfer that I was in Ogden, in the heart of the mission, it was really hard work to do..very different from the other ares of the mission.  Some missionaries say, "If you haven't been in Ogden, you haven't been in the mission !" and it might be true...It doesn't get harder or more rewarding than Ogden.

We met many interesting people in Ogden, who had all kinds of troubles in life, who had very little hope and faith.

Life is good here in the mission, and it is amazing how the tender mercies of the Lord follow you.  I talked to Zack Clayton's grandma couple of days agao, and I had been in the area  (Logan)  for a couple of days.  It's amazing how it all works out !"

                     I love you and hope you have a great day."

                                                                   Say Hello to everybody !  Love, Elder Simonsen

                                    -from a letter, looking back July 5, 2011- Elder Simonsen

"Dear Belva and Carl,

I finally found the time to take away from my daily life here in Logan.  Finally settle in, finally comfortable in my new home.

The branch here is amazing.  The members are so accountable and helpful.  The Branch is called Monte Vista (Mountain View).  It has about 200 or 175 active members and growing.  The Spanish branches are a lot different than the American ones.  People tend to be more humble, and church leaders (the Stake President) come and are humbled by how much the Hispanics live the Gospel, humbled by how pure the love is in a Hispanic branch and it is true.

When I was in Ogden.. it was hard to see people/members take the gospel/Church for granted.  There was a lot of it which was really hypocritical and a lot of just wavering which was one of the things that made it hard.  There were also a lot of people who needed help of some sort, and it was hard to explain that the Gospel is what will fulfill their needs.

Mosiah 2: 41 

"and moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God.  For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never ending happiness. 
O remember, remember that these things are true;
for the Lord God hath spoken it."

It was really hard to see people, teach them, then see them turn away.. and left on the street (basically) and you have done all you can to help them, and they still do it wrong.  They still end up on the street.  And there is nothing you can do but pray and give them a little hope which they seem not to need.  It was Hard !"

                                                                                  - challenges of Ogden by Elder Simonsen

                                                                                 July 5, 2011 (continued)

During Elder Simonsen's mission in Ogden, he wrote "there is nothing as rewarding and as hard as Ogden."
I asked him what he meant.  This letter is in response that question.      -Sister B

"one of the hard things was also that there were 28 wards that we were covering and it was a little bit hard to coordinate meals and members to go out with.. but over all, it was a great experience.

Got to experience how a YSA (Young Singe Adult) ward feels like and how they do it..Met many great leaders that were inspired and accountable.

And you have a lot of baptisms downtown.  You have a lot of contacts and potentials and they were sincere people looking for the truth and looking for blessings.

But so many times people get offended.  It is part of the Church experience.  It is one of the ways that our faith and our heart is tested..If we have "real intent" or not (just) do what is necessary, but (learn) to do "Ones Best. !"

D&C 64: 23, 3 and 3 Nephi 13: 14

                                                                                                         -Elder JJ Simonsen

The Logan days of summer...

"Logan is amazing.  I love it.  I am getting my "spark" back.."spark" for the work.

Training a new missionary is amazing.  How, when you teach with the spirit both are edified and we learn  so much of each other.  It's amazing.

Elder Orson Lavrente, my new companion, is from Lima, Peru...been a member all of his life and knows the basics really well and has his head in the right place.  I love him very much.  He is 'my son' in the mission.  (You become the "father" as the first trainer that an Elder has in his mission).

Thank you so much for your letters.  Sorry I haven't really taken time to write is my dinner or write a letter !  Most of the time it's the dinner that I need most to preach and have energy ! 

I love you.  I have to get back to my dinner.  Have a great week."        
                                                                        With love, Elder Jens Jacob Simonsen

"Dear Belva,                                                                                                July 12, 2011

Thank you so much for your letters.  I appreciate it !  I just got your package yesterday, and it came just in time !  It was with the Spirit right before my companion asked for advice, and I gave him what he needed to do.  So we appreciate so much your help.

Logan is amazing.  The area is great.  We get a lot of help from the members here.  I love this place but the Temple has been closed since the first of July until August, so I miss it a little bit.  Besides I am training a new missionary so we get to go just once a month anyways because we have to study.

I hope you got my letter through the mail, I answered a couple of your questions there."

                                                   -Elder Simonsen

                                                                                      July 12, 2011 Letter from Elder Simonsen

"Thank you for the pictures and thoughts that you send.  I appreciate it !

There is alot of people that we have met this week that had been  praying and when we came, they were surprised -where we just felt that we should stop and talk to these people.  They are not even Hispanic and the were put in our path and prepared by the Lord to talk to us... and some members, we talk  to , felt the love of Heavenly Father, and they felt they received answers to their prayers.

I know that there are people here that are waiting for us and we are here for a reason.  There is a reason why we are put with the companions we have.

There is a reason why we have been put in the way of these people, because that is the way we can progress the most !  and draw nearest to our Heavenly Father.  I know that He loves each and everyone of his children.  I know nothing compared to my knowledge that God loves us !  I know that there is somebody out there waiting for us !

I love you !  Miss you !   Thank you for the pictures. "

                                                                                                      -Elder Simonsen

"Dear Belva and family !  :o)                                                                 July 26, 2011 

It's P-day again, and we get to write to our loved ones once more..

Thank you so much for your letters.  I went to Ogden this morning with some missionaries that are going to the Salt Lake Temple, missionaries that are going home.  I went to the optometrist (for glasses) but it was not open.  So I have to get down there once more maybe next week to get my glasses and contacts.

It was a nice trip.  We dropped by the Brigham Temple and took a snap shot of it.  It is so beautiful !  I love Brigham City.  It is so peaceful !  The Temple looks great."

                       -- Elder Simonsen sees the angel Moroi on the temple for the first time..

"This is Elder Anderson.   He is from Gilbert, Arizona.  He is going home tomorrow.  We took some pictures when we visited him the last time.. sang "Nearer My God to Thee" in Spanish to him, and ate some mexican sweet bread.

He is reporting for duty in the Army on Thursday and is the only one leaving.  He is the only Zone Leader I've had during my whole time in the field."

                                                                                                -- Elder Simonsen

The Rosas Family...

"This is the Rosas Family.  We are teaching her and her 14 year old daughter, Marisol.  They came up here about a month ago from Mexico, got married (to this man in the picture)  He has been a member going on 25 years.  His father died in Mexico.  He came for his funeral, and met her.

Her name is Maria Magdalena.  They've known each other for a long time.  They met again in the funeral.  They started talking on the phone every day and she was passing through some rough times.  And he sent her a copy of the Book of Mormon in Spanish.  But she couldn't read, so he read with her every day through the phone.  She learned how to read using the Book of Mormon, now she still reads it every day, and they live happy with their family.  They both had kids from previous marriages, and Maria and Marisol, her daughter are getting baptized in three weeks ! :o)

                                                                                              --Elder Simonsen

"After biking all day, in 90 degrees weather,
 on the way home from teaching,
 nothing calms you down better than a beautiful sunset !
Fresh air, from the field ! "        - Elder Simonsen in the summer heat

                                 "The field is white and ready to harvest
                                            and ye are called to the work...
                   So thrust in your sickle, with all of your might,
                                        and serve Him with all your heart."  
                                                                                     D&C 4

     Thank you, Elder Simonsen for serving with all of your heart.

                                                                                                      -- Sister B

"My companion  is from Lima, Peru.  His brother just got sealed in the Lima Peru Temple- a couple of days ago.  He is a great "son."  I love him very much.

This week has been busy.  We have been all over the area, looking high and low, for the people that have been prepared for our Heavenly Father, the field is whte !  and we have found so many people that have been prepared by the Lord to receive us.  It's amazing !  :o)

                                              -Elder Simonsen, as the first trainer and
                                               Senior Companion of Elder Lavrente- in
                                               missionary language- is his mission "father"

 --Notes written to Elder Simonsen about Pioneer Days in Utah-
   a celebration of the Day, the 24th of July, when Brigham Young
   entered the Salt Lake Valley and declared "This is the Place."
   a new, safe home for the persecuted Saints.

                                                        - Sister B

 The Pioneer Spirit comes from all over the world...

" I know there are many reasons why you are there with your companion.  He is truly blessed to have you as his peaceful, patient, companion.  You will both learn so much from each other.  Both of you coming from other countries, have a special purpose among the people of Utah, and many of the Hispanic people who found themselves in a new country, (just like you)...sometimes it can be a very lonely place.

I was reading your written testimony the other day and read again how you felt on the day you went for a walk in Svendborg, Denmark.  You said that you were "feeling that I'm the only Greenlander in that city."  Sometimes I forget that you come from such a unique culture.  The food you grew up with, the traditions that you enjoyed with your family, the way that your whole town was part of your life, your music, and all the good and bad memories of your life growing up..."

                                                        -from letter written to Elder JJ by Sister B

                                   Notes te Elder Simonsen about the Pioneer Spirit.. (Continued)

"No one in all of Utah has been blessed with such history.  I love learning about it and so appreciate all that you have brought with you from that beautiful land.

I have a lot of pioneers in my family history, but you are the first real pioneer that I have ever met.

I love you, has been a real privilege to get acquainted with you.     (especially on this important mission of yours)
                                             Love, Sister B

Elder Simonsen sent me an inspiring DVD that documented a Stake who pulled handcarts like their ancestors during a summer trek ..

"I remember on the video that you sent (I don't know whether you have watched it).  There is a time when they created a calling for all the men to leave the camp to become part of the "Mormon Battalion."  When they did this, the women (young and old) on the trek were left alone to bear the heavy burden of pulling the handcarts by themselves up some very rocky, difficult trails.

The men and young men in reality had gone to the top of the hill to pray and then watched these women struggle and sometimes fall as they pulled each wagon to the summit."    

                                       -Sister B (continued)


"(because of the rules of this part of the Trek)  The men could not help the women.  When the women reached the top..the men lined the trail on either side (feeling such emotions as they cheered the women on).  Tears flowed as they cheered, "Hoorah for Israel !"  They later bore powerful young testimonies of the day, when they watched their beloved families struggle successfully up that rugged hill.

I am so grateful every day for you, Elder.  I say "Hoorah for Israel" to you for all your hard work, your prayers, and your love for the people that you serve...including that lucky companion who stepped out of the MTC and became your son.

What an exciting time to "Gather Israel !" from Northern Utah to Denmark, to Greenland, and to my own backyard with a whole group of little Israelites (our family) who gather this week for cousin's camp.  They love hearing about you.

All in all..."Hoorah for Israel !", Elder.  Keep smiling and enjoying this once in a lifetime experience.  It goes by all too soon."

                           Thank you, Elder                          
                                        --Sister B


Response from Elder Simonsen                       July 26, 2011

"I've seen the movie, the Tremonton South Stake Trek.  It brought me to tears.  I got very emotional especially during that time when the men had to leave their wives and daughters.  It is amazing how they made it through.  We also just recently had our Branch go on the Trek, and they told us about it at Sacrament meeting a couple of weeks ago.

  Everytime I read, listen and watch movies about the early pioneers, I get very emotional..their faith, the persecution, the disappoiint ments when some apostatized and left the church...and all the stories of the miraacles that happened !  It is amazing !  We usually watch them at lunch time.  It's very inspritational."         
                                 - Elder Simonsen (Continued)

July 26, 2011 (Continued)

"The missionaries who wrote in my journal, have written "Hoorah for Israel" many times.

I never really understood it until I watched the story of Heber C. Kimball and Brigham Young leaving their wives and children to go on a mission.

I love that ! and it is true !

Even though we go through many afflictions and trials, the work still goes through, and we have many things to be thankful for-  and even though we are sick, tired, sad, afflicted...

Hoorah for Israel ! 
for the Marvelous work and wonder has begun-

And we are part of it !

                                                          - Elder Simonsen

 July 26, 2011 (continued)

"Let us teach our children the ways of the Lord, so that they can know what great blessings they have !

And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.

                                                 - 3 Nephi 22: 13

"Teach them that they can be taught by the Lord by the power of the Holy Ghost !   The Holy Ghost testifies of the truth,
things as they really are,
as they were and as they really will be !

And it works through our feelings.  (Gal 5:22)
Every time we feel the Holy Ghost we are doing what our Heavenly Father wants us to do !
When we go to church,
when we read our scriptures,
when we share our testimonies,
when we pray !
We are doing what our Heavenly Father wants us to do. 

                                  In the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

I love you, Belva !  Thank you so much for your help and support !
Have a great weekend !  With your family.  Say "Hello " to them for me !  :o)

                                                                             - Elder Simonsen

July 19, 2011

" Dear Belva !

Thank you so much for the letters.  Thank you so much for the check, as well.  I went down to Ogden yesterday and ordered glasses and contact lense to last me through the year.  Thank you so much, I appreciate it.  :o)

We are looking forward to having a great next month.  We have quite a number of missionaries leaving, but we are getting 24 new ones in September and 2 new ones in October.. so it works out really well.

Life is good here in the mission.  I was writing to my cousins and was reflecting a little bit on the life that I had..started to miss it a little bit, but got over it after a while !

I want to be a great example to my trainee as much as possible.  He is doing great, and he loves the Lord and wants to work very hard !  Sometimes even too hard--so that he doesn't hear the small and still voice...:o)  I'm trying to do my best..  It's great to have somebody to impart "wisdom" to.  :o) even though the wisdom doesn't come from you. :o)

My companion is a great missionary, and I will miss him if he goes!  I miss my previous companion, Elder Banda.  He is home right now sleeping over and looking for a job.  I hope he already found one !  I got the hang of being around to help out and give him council fulfilling his calling."

                                                                                       -Elder Simonsen

July 19, 2011 continued

"I forgot a poem or a song that I wanted to send you.  I will send it through the regular mail.

Logan is great.  I love it !  I can't wait til the Temple is open again, so that we can go ! The closest temple is Bountiful so you feel kinda far from heaven on earth !  :o)

I love you very much !  Say hello to your family!  ;o)  Thank you so much for your support !  I appreciate it !.

Have a great week !  It was great to hear from you and Paul !  Say "hello" to all the friends !"

                                         With love, Elder Simonsen

August 2, 2011

Dear Belva,

"Thank you so much for your letters, they are great.  It's great to see the description of those bright ideas that came to be great events !  ;o)  It's great to hear from you and your family !

I forgot my camera in the car of one of the members, so I will send it as soon as I get it, and record a video in it.  I have lost all my cables and flashdrives, so I will return to the risky "sending the memory stick throught the mail" thing !  but soon as I get back on my feet and get my ducks in a row, I will buy a new one, or if I'm lucky enought to find the pencil house that I have them in."

              - Elder Simonsen who often starts losing things when he is
                given new leadership responsibilities..He is a new
                District leader, a new trainer of many
                and an Elder who loves his work.

Just a reminder:  D&C 88: 62-63

"I say unto you, my dear Elder.

I leave these sayings with you to ponder in your heart. 
Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you.
Seek me diligently and ye shall FIND me;
ask, and ye shall receive;
knock and it shall be opened unto you..
whatever you ask, in my name, it shall be given you

               --Just a suggestion from a person who is always losing things. love, Sister B

August 16, 2011

Dear Belva and Family !

"Thank you so much  for your letter.  I appreciate it really much.  Sorry I didn't write much last time, I had to write the President (Mission Pres.) about everything that had to do with training and the District- then write my family.  I had 3 minutes to load the pictures.  I will send you the video and pictures next Tuesday !
I Promise ! :o)

There are so many little things that you forget and not being able to go and get something from the store and forgetting to bring flash drives (which I received thank you so much !)

Our area is doing amazing, and we are very lucky to have this area !  We have so many members to help us and the Branch support is amazing.  We have 220 in attendance at our Branch every Sunday, and there are about 300 members.  It's almost a ward."

                                                                                                -Elder Simonsen

August 16, 2011                       (continued from Elder S)

"We finally went to the Temple after four months without going.  It felt great !  I love the temple !

Yes, we will plan for the temple trip in December.  Thank you for offering your help.  I appreciate it.  I'll prepare some family history until that time.

Here are some pictures of the Temple, and of the festival that Logan has in the summer with my glasses on.  (This picture has not arrived yet- Sister B)  I am very grateful for my glasses !  Thank you for that as well ! ;o)  Sweet relief for my eyes !  :o)

Thank you so much for your spiritual thoughts.  I appreciate them as well !  It kinda sets the course for the rest of the P-day.

Say hello to your family.  I can't wait to meet them !

                                                                                Love, Elder Simonsen

This is a picture of "the great Spanish North Zone" in the Utah Ogden Mission, which includes Brigham City/Tremonton,  Smithfield/Preston, Hyrum, Logan North and the three Logan Central Branches."

                                                                                               --Elder Simonsen

Dear Belva,                                             August 23, 2011

Thank you so much for your letter.  I appreciate it.  It came just the right time, the right subject. 

I received a letter from back home.  My family is doing great.  My sister is 33 weeks pregnant.  She will soon be going to the capital of Greenland, Nuuk to give birth, and they just received the baby stroller from Denmark.  (special order I guess) and the whole family was just taking it for a ride to see if it worked and stuff like that...It was really nice."

                                                                                   --Elder Simonsen

August 23, 2011  Letter from Elder Simonsen (continues)-

"But then again, one of our childhood neighbors, we grew up playing together in the mountains and stuff like that, her little sister committed suicide.

We grew up watching over her sometimes as she tried to stick with us and follow us around.

She was 17, I guess.

Sometimes the reality creeps back in and takes the rug underneath your feet..very sad."

                                                                                        -Elder Jens Jacob Simonsen

Mark 4: 37-39

"And there was a geat storm of wind and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full..
and they say unto him, 'Master, carest thou not that we perish?'

And he arose and rebuked the wind and said, unto the sea, 'Peace be still.  And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm."

The Savior is awake.  He is ready to calm any storm.
I am so sorry for the loss of this dear neighbor, Elder JJ.
In a world of chaos and sadness..thank heavens, He is there.

                                                                               Love you, Sister B

August 23, 2011              Elder Simonsen's letter (continues)

"I wanted to tell you about how great this weekend was, but it will be super short version of it.

Saturday morning, woke up, got dressed..went to mission conference where we had an Apostle, Presding Bishop, three 70's and their wives- talked to us and taught us by the spirit and to learn by faith.

Elder  Bednar (an Apostle) gave a training for about three hours..started off with testimonies from all of them and gave us a training on how to teach the gospel as "Agents not as objects"-  not only be acted upon but act- on faith, and do the same for our investigators.

Then at 5, we had a baptism, the first baptims I can call "my own"..I was there for the first lesson.  I was there for the baptism.  Maria and Marisol Rosas got baptized Saturday and confirmed this past Sunday !  It was amazing.

Our Branch mission leader was out of town, so we had to take charge of everything !  We didn't have a building, didn't have Spanish Hymns.  We had an English baptism at the same place where we had it..but it all worked out fine !  It was amazing to see the hand of the Lord in this work !"

                                 -Elder Simonsen and the joy of his work.

Well it is Monday, September 12 and your Birthday is over..

I hope it was a good one.  Time for another year.  I think this will be the third time we've been around to wish you a very Happy Birthday. 

 Thank your for your friendship and the fine life that you have led.  We have learned a lot from you Elder  In all the good things that you do so well on your mission, remember that you are a precious child of God.. still the peaceful, patient, soft hearted soul that he knows and loves. 

Have a great week, Elder.          We love you, Sister B