Thursday, December 29, 2011

Elder Simonsen- Just completed his first year in the Utah Ogden Mission 2011

"We were with Elder Simonsen last week.  While we were there, we ate lunch with two very important people in his life- Emily Crosley (Sister Roberts) and Mandy Burton (Sister Burton).  They were the missionaries who met JJ Simonsen on a quiet street in  Svendborg, Denmark on a cold day in January, 2009.  This meeting changed his life.  Elder Simonsen was baptized in the spring of that year, a little over two years ago.

Tomorrow, on Christmas Eve, Elder Simonsen and his companion , Elder Morel, will baptize another young man ready to change his life- like Jens Jacob Simonsen did, not so long ago.

The Lord has promised:
"And if it so be that you should labor all of your days...and bring but one soul unto me..How great shall be your joy with him (that one soul) in the kingdom of my father !"
                                                                  -D&C 18: 15

Thank you, Sister Roberts (now Sister Crosley) and Sister Burton, for taking the time to leave your comfortable homes in America, to walk down the cold streets of Denmark to find this one valuable soul.  What a blessing he has been to all of us.

And thank you, Elder Simonsen, for your willingness to go down the cold streets of Utah, to find another soul who is willing to listen and follow Jesus Christ like you did.  What a blessing.  I am greateful for it all.  I will record this story and more about our Christmas 2011 visit with Elder Simonsen in the next post.  What a fine way to begin the Christmas Season.   

                                                             - Sister B

A year ago- we picked Elder Simonsen up at the Salt Lake airport and spent a few memorable days with him before he entered the MTC.  He had been "set apart" as a missionary before he left Denmark and Carl (Elder Wilberg) was his first companion.  During that weekend, we gathered to welcome him to America- with many returned missionaries who loved and taught him in Denmark.  We said "Goodbye" to him at the Missionary Training Center on December 14, 2010.. and Thus began the year of this new missionary-  Elder Jens Jacob Simonsen, native  Greenlander from Qaqortoq, Greenland.

This last post of the year records his life from the end of September to the first part of December, 2011. 

It has been a season of great joy and many blessings  for him.                                                           - Sister B

Many years ago, in the Book of Mormon, another missionary recorded what is is like to spend his life in the service of the Lord...         - He wrote this in his missionary journal 76 years before the birth of Jesus Christ.

"O, that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people !

Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder,
repentance...that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth.

I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it.  I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me;

Yea.. this is my glory , that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance;
and this is my joy."              - Alma 29: 1-2, 9

During this Christmas season, as we sing about the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, "Joy To The World the Lord is Come, Let earth receive her King...." May we remember that this is the message that Elder Simonsen has shared every day since he began his sacred mission.

Merry Christmas to all of you, and thank you, Elder Simonsen.
We love you,  -Sister B

- If you want to enlarge these pictures, just click on each picture...

Changes in the Missionary Training Program- All around the world...

"In May of this year, all Missionary Training Centers around the world changed their training curriculum for all new missionaries.  In the past, new missionaries were learning the doctrines of
'Preach My Gospel' chapter three, relating to the lesson content of their teaching in the MTC.

This no longer will happen.  What this means is that new missionaries will arrive in the mission field not knowing the lessons from chapter three- unless they studied them before their mission.

Mission Presidents were instructed, starting August first (2011), to introduce a new twelve week 'in-field' training effort when missionaries arrive in the field.  This twelve week infield study will help them learn chapter three lessons and qualify their doctrinal content for teaching. 

Personally, I see this as a great step forward and an improvement in the missionary preparation.  Both these changes in training will result in a more effective missionary teacher. "

                                                              - President Jensen of the Phillippines
                                                                                               Baguio Mission  

Elder Simonsen is called to participate in the new Missionary Training Program...

In the late Spring, Elder Simonsen was called to participate in the new intensive training program for the new Elders and Sisters in the Utah Ogden Mission.

He, himself, was sent to Ogden to learn the new program, and then, as a new District Leader, and a trainer of two new Elders from the MTC - he has spent hours, in Logan, preparing the Elders to know and to teach the doctrines found in chapter three of the missionary training manual-    "Preach my Gospel." 

                                                      - Sister B


Missionaries Teaching Missionaries...

This inspired new training program has strengthened the entire mission.  Elder Simonsen, as a Senior Companion and District Leader, spends many hours each day with his Junior Companion, helping him to gain a personal testimony and an understanding of each principle of the gospel found in chapter three of "Preach My Gospel."

He helps prepare his companion to go out into the field to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the power of the Holy Ghost- bearing personal witness that Jesus is the Christ and that His Gospel has been restored.

By training and practicing these sacred principles- both of them are lifted up.  Elder Simonsen's mission President, church leaders from Salt Lake, even apostles have taught these enthusiastic Elders how to be humble, obedient servants of the Lord.  This mission means everything to them. 
                                            - Sister B 

As a Senior Companion, Elder Simonsen has had a daily responsibility to.. teach and nurture new Elders coming directly from the Missionary Training Center. Then they go out two by two to serve and preach the Gospel with confidence in each other and in the Holy Ghost-  teaching anyone who is willing to listen this sacred message.
                                                     - Sister B

The Lord has promised them:  "And ye shall go forth in the power of my Spirit, Preaching my gospel, two by two, in my name, lifting up your voices as with the sound of a trump, declaring my word like unto angels of God.          - D&C 42: 6

Text from Elder Simonsen's training about the gift of the Holy Ghost...

Dear Belva and Family,

Finally, I got the time, a couple of minutes, to talk to you a little bit about what we are doing in the Monte Vista branch in Logan.

We're doing great and we have a lot of investigators, that we meet and they talk to us- that they've been praying and stuff like that.

And we have had great trainings from the general authorities like Elder David A. Bednar (one of the twelve apostles), Bishop Burton and three other Seventies.  And they taught us about how we should teach people to be "Spiritually Self-Sufficient."

The first thing I wanted to talk to you a little bit about was what we call the "Spirit Sandwich."  Here in Utah at the mission we have a thing called the "Spirit Sandwich," that we talk about:

                   - What the purpose of the spirit is,
                   -  How we can recognize it,
                   - and what it means,...and we commit people- if they
                     feel the spirit.

The Holy Ghost is something very important to us and to our Heavenly Father.  He sent the Holy Ghost because He loves us and He wants us to be happy.

He wants us to know and guides us to what we need to do to be happy.                            - Elder Simonsen text from his video, continues..

The Holy Ghost tells us the truth...

The Book of Mormon in Moroni 10: 5 says,

"by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things."

The Holy Ghost testifies of God and Jesus Christ... and it testifies of truth when we hear the truth.

The Holy Ghost comes whenever we do what our Heavenly Father wants us to do.

We go to church.  We pray.  We read the scriptures.  We keep the commandments of God-  The Holy Ghost comes.

And when we feel the Holy Ghost, we are doing what our Heavenly Father wants us to do.  And that is so important to us and to the people that we teach and to our children-  They can receive revelation for themselves.  They can know for  themselves the truthfulness of our message of the gospel,
                     of why we are here,
                     and what we need to do.

One of the most important things that we can teach our children and the people around us- is that they have the chance to know for themselves what God really wants them to do in their lives.

And it comes through study and prayer and going to church so that they can receive revelation for themselves so that they can become "Spiritually Self Sufficient."

I don't have much time but this is what I'll leave you with and I know the church is true.  I know our Heavenly Father loves us....and he sent the Holy ghost because he loves us.  And I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

                                    - End of the text of Elder Simonsen's video from Logan.

Elder Simonsen looks up...

The Voice of a very busy new District Leader...

"Thank you very much for your letter, I appreciate it.  Sorry it took me so long to answer your letter, but last P-day we only had time to write our Mission President.

We had so much stuff to do.  We just didn't have time. 

We had three lessons planned during our P-day that we couldn't have any other time. and we had to go shopping, do laundry, and clean our apartment in a space of three hours.

So it was nearly impossible.

                                             - Elder Simonsen trying to do the impossible
                                                                      on September 20, 2011.

Elder Simonsen's Junion Companion weary in well doing...

A promise from the Lord...

"Wherefore, as ye are agents, ye are on the Lord's errand; and what ever ye do according to the will of the Lord, is the Lord's business...

Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work.

And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.

                                                                    -D&C 64: 29, 33

- pictures of Elder Simonsen's Spanish Speaking Branch and their good news.
September 20, 2011

"This past Sunday, we had our stake presidency come over and announced that we are now a Ward ! :o)

We are so happy, our Branch got so big and they just couldn't wait longer to make it Monte Vista Ward.  We are one of the only wards in the northern Utah Spanish speaking (part of the mission).

Normally, for a branch to become a ward in Northern America, they need 300 members.  but if it is a second language branch, they only need 150 to make it a ward.  And we had 270 members in our branch.  So we are very happy.  Everybody had been working hard to get more members in and to do everything they needed to do to share the gospel. 

We are very happy ! "

                                                                    - Elder Simonsen during a month of miracles

The Best Birthday I Ever Had !

                 - How an Elder celebrates his Birthday in the mission field.
                             (His birthday was on 9/11/2011)

"My Birthday was great !  We had an early morning meeting, Branch leadership.  And we usually help prepare the Sacrament right after that, and we get some personal study in the chapel using the short time we have before Sacrament meeting.

My companion, Elder Ardaya, from Annapolis, Maryland... He played my favorite hymn for my birthday in the piano,
"Be Still My Soul.", while I studied the Book fo Mormon marking all the references that it has for Jesus Christ- in blue.

And later we had a family home evening with 3 investigators and 4 recent converts where we taught about "hope" and the 9/11 tragedy.

And the day was just wonderful.  It was the best Birthday I ever had ! "

                                                  - How Elder Simonsen spent his 25th birthday
                                                                              from his letter of September 20, 2011

- Elder Simonsen and his companion Elder Ardaya at the Logan Temple

The Baptism of Melody Delgado from Uraguay...

"This week has truly been very eventful.  This Sunday we had a baptism, Melody Delgado from Uraguay, visiting her sister here in Logan..She got baptized and confirmed.

We taught her about three weeks.  her sister wanted us to come and teach her a little bit more when she got here and went to the church for the first time.

We invited her to be baptized the second lesson we had and she accepted to be baptized the 18th of September.

We had a lot of food at her baptism.  We made a brownie cake and we had some investigators help us bake it, and they were at the baptism.

It was just a full day for us right there."

                                  - Elder Simonsen, the joy of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ                                                      letter continued from September 20, 2011

And the Lord said:

"Lift up your heart and rejoice,
for the hour of your mission is come;
and your tongue shall be loosed,
and you shall declare glad tidings of great joy,
unto this generation."

                                     - D&C 31: 3

"We had transfers last Wednesday, and we were the only two companionships in the Spanish program that didn't get transfered."

- Elder Simonsen with his two junior companions in Logan-
Elder Ardaya (above) and Elder Orson Laurente (Below)

"So we feel very lucky.  I finally get to "finish" working with the investigators we have and get them baptized."

                                                   - Elder Simonsen September 20, 2011
                                                                                Happy to stay in Logan.

September 20th, 2011 letter continues

"We have a brand new district...

The whole district got "whitewashed" and we have new Elders and Sisters in our district now.  So we are excited.

We have a great responsibility now, as a ward and as missionaries to be there for other missionaries to strengthen their faith and improve their skills so that they become more like what our Father in Heaven wants them to be."                                  - Elder Simonsen

A lot of work to be done and we are staying busy trying to keep up, but we never stop feeling the Savior's hands in our backs strengthening us and pushing us along the way.

I am so grateful to have you in my life.  Thank you very much.
I appreciate all that you do !

Thank you so much...the chocolates were amazing ! :o)

Wish you a great week ! 

Love you,   Elder Simonsen

                                                                         - End of a fine birthday month for Elder Simonsen
                                                                           September 20, 2011

We are very excited about general conference...

Dear Belva,

Thank you for all your letters.  I read them (even if it takes me a couple of days) :o)

I don't have a lot of time but we've had a great week, full with small miracles that sometimes we fail to recognize.

We are very excited for General Conference.  We have a couple of tickets and we are taking some investigators down to watch it. :o)

We are so excited !  The other day we met one of the members of the Quorum of the seventy, Elder Ardern from New Zealand and we got to talk to him a little bit, and I gave him the address of the wesite and he said that he will check it out.

We are looking forward to a week of miracles as we put in our effort and plan for it, and stretch ourselves a little bit even though  it's hard with all the callings and extra things that we have to do.

Love you, talk to you later, have a great week. Say hello to everybody.
                                                -Elder Simonsen September 27, 2011 

- Busy Elders in Elder Simonsen' Logan Apartment

- Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah where
President Thomas S. Monson spoke- our Latter Day Prophet.
Elder Simonsen was there.

"We had a wonderful week,

This weekend we went to the Saturday morning session of General Conference and the Sunday Morning Session as well.  It was wonderful.

It was great to vist Temple Square and the Conference Center.  It was wonderful to be able to experience that.  It was the first time for my companion too- to go to General Conference.  We heard some amazing talks and the emotions and feelings are very different from when we watch it on the screen."

                                                         - Elder Simonsen at October General
                                                                                        Conference, 2011

- The Conference Center is across the street from Temple Square

We were spiritually nourished this past weekend !  It was wonderful !

- Elder Simonsen  October 4, 2011

A Letter from Home:

"I just got done reading a letter from my family that my little sister gave birth to a healthy little boy last week...and now I am an uncle ! :o)

I am very happy today, (even though it's rainy outside and we have to walk all day !)"

                                                        - Elder Simonsen
                                                           October 4, 2011

"I think Elder Simonsen said that his sister, Teresa, when it was close to having this sweet little boy, flew from home in Qaqortoq, to the capital city of Nuuk, to the hospital there- to have this healthy little boy." (see the map of Greenland above)
                                                                                         - Sister B

- just arrived from Heaven.

Congratulations, Teresa !                 Much Love from Sister Wilberg

Transfers in a couple of weeks...

"Thank you so much for you letter and pictures (pictures of his new nephew).  I haven't seen them before but my brother had sent me some different ones, so thank you...

I don't have much time today as well, we have to get back to work.  We had lunch with Zack Clayton's Grandma Beth Hymas and we had dinner with the Sanders, and a return missionary from Denmark that is studying here. So we had a full P-day.

This week has been good.  We found new energy to go out and work hard and we are trying to find more investigators that have been prepared by the Lord to hear the message.
                                            -Elder Simonsen

-Elder Simonsen and his companion Elder Ardaya

"We have transfers in a couple of weeks and we are excited.  We don't know what will happen though.  I will be finished with training Elder Ardaya so he is excited too.

Thank you so much for everything ! I appreciate it.  And I hope that you have a good time in Orlando !  Say "Hello" to Paul for me.  Tell him that I miss him !  I love you say "hello" to your family !  Have a great day !"

                                              - Elder Simonsen

"We had a baptism on Friday.  Deevid from Juancayo, Peru (close to Lima) got baptized after four weeks of teaching him.

He is a very humble young man, 21 years old."

"He came up here to support his family.

He works on a small farm a little bit outside of Logan, with his uncle and his friends from the same block/neighborhood in Peru...milking cows and helping the cows give light to their calves.

We bought him a Spanish Bible, marked all the scripture masteries and gave him a picture of the Savior as well.

He was very thankful !  We went out to Sizzlers afterwards and had a great night.

It has been an eventful weekend and we are looking foward to a great week this week.

Thank you so much for your letters.  I love you, and hope you get better soon.  I wish you a great vacation !  Say "Hello" to Paul for me.                   
                                                -Elder Simonsen
- Elder Ardaya with feeds the cows of Logan

"Dear Belva,

Sorry to reply to your mail late.  We have just been so busy lately and I had to write a talk to my father's 50th birthday using the small time that I had.

We've had a baptism last Sunday.  Juan Romero got baptized after about four months of investigating the church, he finally took the leap of faith- and entered the waters of baptism.  He is great !  He found the pearl of great price and it didn't matter how much it costs.  He will do everything to have it in his life.  He wants to get a cell phone so tht we can call him anytime if we need a ride or if we need somebody to go out with.  He is Great ! 

But we are doing great up here in Logan.  Today is my last day up here.  I am going down to Layton to be a Zone Leader for a mostly English Speaking Zone with just four Spanish speaking including us.

I am looking forward to a very interesting transfer and a breath of fresh air.

Thank you so much for your letters.  I appreciate it.  I wish you a great week ! :o) I love you.  I will give you my new address when I get there !

Love, Elder Simonsen   - October 25, 2011

Elder Simonsen comes from Greenland, the largest Island in the world...

He now is serving his mission in the city of Layton, Utah- 23 miles from Salt Lake City and 11 miles from the mission home in Ogden, Utah.  West of Layton are the beautiful Wasatch mountains and on the east is the Great Salt Lake.

                                                                    - Sister B

Compare the population of all of Greenland to the population of Elder Simonsen's new area:  The city of Layton, Utah.

-Elder Simonsen moves to Layton in the fall of 2011

"I am here in Layton now.. It's great to be here.  It's a big city with many Hispanics.  We are very happy to be here and serve others and magnify our callings.

My companion is from Oahu, Hawaii- Elder Jonathan Lautaha.  He is a great Elder.  Everybody loves him and I love him.  I am very happy to be here.  We have a lot of work to do and we are definitely going to work really hard."

                                                           - Elder Jens Jacob Simonsen                 
- The heart of Layton

"We have an almost all English Speaking Zone, except for four of us.  (Spanish Speaking Elders)." 

- Layton is between Salt Lake City and Ogden, Utah

"We have almost an all English Speaking Zone, except for four of us. (Who are Spanish Speaking Elders)."
                                                                 -Elder Simonsen, November 1, 2011


A Map of the four areas in which Elder Simonsen has served during his first year in the Utah Ogden Mission.  (click on the map to enlarge).   

"There are 400 members in our ward, all Hispanic.  It is crazy.  It is almost impossible to say "hello" to all of them, like we did in Logan.  It is really nice to be here.  The members are very accountable and they are very helpfull.  It's a change of pace and a little bit of change of nature to be here.  There are so many Hispanics and there are so many things to do.  But I am glad to be able to develop new skills and learn from my companion, and do all the things that the Lord wants us to do."

                                                                                      - Elder Simonsen    November 1, 2011

- click on the map of Denmark and you can see "Svendborg" where Elder Simonsen was going to school.

"My first sacrament meeting I got introduced from the pulpit, and after the Sacrament Meeting, two young men came up to me and it was a couple of returned missionaries from Denmark.  It was really nice.  they said that they went to Logan to a huge Halloween party, from BYU Provo, and decided to visit our Spanish Ward. :o)

                                                       - Elder Simonsen in Layton
                                                                                     November 1, 2011- continued.

"We went to the Bountiful Temple this morning which was really nice...

And we are both spiritually and mentally changed to go out and Preach, invite and exhort."

                                                                                   - Elder Simonsen - November 1, 2011

Note:  "The Bountiful Temple is just minutes south of Elder Simonsen's new area; Layton.  Elder Simonsen's new companion is on the right in the temple photo above."      - Sister B

- The Bountiful Temple, on the hill above Bountiful, Utah.

"I love the work.  I found a new appreciation for the Holy Ghost, as a chastiser, as a purifier.  It's amazing !  I love the work.  I love the temple.

I had the opportunity to go to a sealing ordinance, with a missionary in our Zone who lives with us.  We were sick at the same time, so we were together.

It was so wonderful.  I never have been to an actual sealing.. and it just strengthened my testimony so much."

                                                          - Elder Simonsen, November 15, 2011

Elder Simonsen  and his companion witnessed the sealing of Nick and Marissa Lopez, and their little child- sealed in the Bountiful Temple  for time and for all eternity-in November of 2011.

"Nick is in the armed forces, got baptized a year ago, and they went and got sealed at the Bountiful Temple, and it was amazing!  
I loved it, and going to the Temple has a changed meaning...
I can't wait to get started on my own family, both those that have gone before me and those that I am going to have.

It was just wonderful.   They are a very cute couple and they are very happy !  I am so grateful to get to meet them and witness their sealing.   I love you, Belva.  Have a great week.
                                              Love, Elder Simonsen
                                              November 15, 2011

Note: "There are four temples in the Utah Ogden Mission (five if you count the Salt Lake Temple..where they are allowed to visit close to the end of their mission).  Three are in operation right now, and two are being built or remodeled.

Elder Simonsen has had the rare opportunity to attend the temple many times in the past year.

He loves the temple.  He finds great peace and inspiration in this sacred place.  There are many things that happen in our beautiful temples.

Here are some of the reasons why we go to what we call "the House of the Lord", to worship and work in the temple."

                                                                  - Sister B  

In the temple we are taught, we make convenants, and we are promised blessings.  We receive ordinances that enable us to live in the presence of God.                 - temples

"Elder Simonsen and his companion have enjoyed participating in two of these sacred ordinances in the Bountiful Temple-  The temple in the area where he is now serving."      - Sister B

(notes below from temples)

1. The Endowment

One ordinance we receive in the temple is the endowment.  The word, endowment, means "gift" or "bestowal".  As part of this ordinance, we are taught about the purpose of life, the mission and atonement of Jesus Christ, and Heavenly Father's plan for His children.  We gain a glimpse of what it will be like to live in His presence as we feel the peaceful atmosphere of the temple.

2. The Sealing:  Another temple ordinance is the sealing ordinance, in which husbands and wives are sealed to each other and children are sealed to their parents in eternal families.

This means that if we are faithful to our covenants, our family relationships will continue for eternity.  People sometimes also refer to this ordinance as a "temple marriage" or "eternal marriage."

3. Ordinances for the Deceased:  In addition to receiving these ordinances for ourselves, we can receive them for our deceased ancestors.  In this way, people who died without receiving essential ordinances such as baptism and confirmation, the endowment, and sealing- have the opportunity to accept these ordinances.

"Our Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson has said:  "I think there is no place in the world where I feel closer to the Lord than in one of his Holy Temples."

"Temples bring us peace and spirtual strength in this life and enable us to be reunited with our families after death."

                                                      - temples

"At the temple the dust of distraction seems to settle out, the fog, and the haze seems to lift, and we can 'see ' things that we were not able to see before and find a way through our troubles that we had not previously known."               - President of the twelve- Boyd K. Packer

(click on the map to enlarge it)

The Wasatch front ( the mountainess area where the Utah Ogden Mission is located) is a home for many temples.

Dear Belva !

Thank you so much for your letters.  I received the one through snail mail yesterday.  I loved the poem and my companion did as well- thank you for that.

We are doing great here in Layton.  We are very excited.  We are looking at a month with many miracles next month.  We want 15 baptisms ! :o)

We have people, that many, that are progressing or can progress rapidly.  It is amazing.  There are so many Hispanics here in Layton, and we still keep receiving training to get better and better each day."

                                                       - Elder Simonsen  November 22, 2011

-click on the map to enlarge it

This is a map of the area Elder Simonsen and his companion travel as Zone leaders for the Farmington Zone. 

"We are in need of many miracles both personally and for those around us...

We have investigators who have been investigating for years and years, either they need to be divorced from their previous marriages, or they need to get married, or they need to quit smoking.

We are working hard to get them to follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized and confirmed, so that they can have the Holy Ghost to guide them to make the right choices."

                         - Elder Jens Jacob Simonsen   November 22, 2011

Life in Layton:  I have never met so many people that have been prepared by the Lord...

Dear Belva !                                             November 15, 2011

Thank you so much for your letter, I appreciate it.  Yea, Thank you for your update on the things back in Denmark.  I rarely hear from them because I rarely have time to answer their letters.  I will have to make time to write to them, but it is very hard to find some.

Yeah, Elder and Sister Jensen (a new missionary couple has been sent to Greenland- what a blessing- sister B) they are in Nuuk now.  They wrote to me a while ago, and they can't wait till I get home.

Our area is great, most of Layton and South Weber.  Huge ward, very accountable members, very strong and active members.

I have never met so many people that have been prepared by the Lord, and we have met people that haven't had missionaries over for two years !  Even here in Utah there are people like that.  :o)

We are looking forward to Thanksgiving the day after tomorrow.

"We are having dinner with a very nice family who always have us for dinner...and we are looking foward to spending Thanksgiving with them.

Could you send me a recipe for Frikadeller? or Ribbensteg or something that you have from Denmark?  A Sister wants to cook us our own food."  :o)

                                                                                                - Elder Simonsen
                                                                                                   November 22, 2011

"Yesterday we had training on how we need to contact and teach people...  and how we need to be ourselves, and how we need to share personal conversion stories and experiences."

- Elder Simonsen with his Mission President, President Brent Olsen of the Utah Ogden Mission

"It was great.  It was one of those times where one really is forced to think and reflect on who one really is.

And it made me think really hard on who I am.

The President told us that we need to share our personal stories and apply them to the lives of the people that we teach.

It was amazing.

I love you.  Thank you so much for your letter.  Have a great week !

                                                             - Elder Simonsen   November 22, 2011

- Elder Simonsen the day before he entered the MTC in December 210

- Final note:                Dear Elder Simonsen,

Fall is over.  In just a few weeks you will have been here a full year.
When we began this blog, you chose a theme, inspired by your love of the sea.

"A ship in harbor is safe,
 But that's not what ships are for..."

                                                             - Sister B  December 2011

"You have been called from Denmark where you were studying to be a maritime officer...

Now you serve the Lord in the heart of Utah.  You live between the Rocky Mountains and the Great Salt Lake.  You have been surrounded by the sea from the time you were born.

As a native southern Greenlander, you knew the safety of the beautiful harbor in a little town called Qaqortoq."

"Heavenly Father has been watching over you from the beginning.
He has given you the strength,
the education,
and the courage to leave safe harbors
and follow Him.

You have done this all your life."

"It has been a fine year, Elder Simonsen.  Christmas is almost here.
It has been a year of great blessings for you,
and for the people and missionaries called to serve in this beautiful place."

" I close this final post of the year with a collection of some of the blessings and gifts that the Lord has in store for those who accept the call to serve Him-  Gifts that you have enjoyed every day since you arrived here as a missionary one year ago.

Thank you for having the courage to leave the harbor, Elder....and for trusting in the Savior as he guides you safely home.

We love you and have enjoyed being with you on this remarkable journey."

                                           With all our love, Sister B
                                            Christmas December 2011

The Savior promises great blessings to those who serve him.
He said:

"My son,...hear and behold what I, the Lord God, shall say unto you...(I) gave (my) own life, that as many as would believe might become the sons of God.  Wherefore you are my son;
And blessed are you because you have believed;
And more blessed are you because you are called of me to preach my gospel-
To lift up your voice as with the sound of a trump, both long and loud, and cry repentance...preparing the way of the Lord.."    -D&C 34: 1,3-6

"Here are just a few blessings and fine gifts of Elder Simonsen's first year in the Utah Ogden Mission."         - Collected by Sister B

- Elder Simonsen and his companion enjoy Easter in Brigham City.

"The young man who goes into the world preaching the Gospel of peace, loses himself, and saves himself.  Missionary work is one of the miracles of our time."                        - President Gordon B. Hinkley
                                                                                                Ensign, May 1985, page 96

" And He did speak peace to our souls,
  and did grant us great faith,
  and did cause us that we should hope...
  and we did take courage with our small force...
  and thus we did go forth with all our might."
                                                     Alma 58: 11-13
"There is no greater responsibility in the world than the training of a human soul."                      - President David O. McKay

"You're to teach the doctrines, not so plainly that they can just understand, but you must teach the doctrines of the Church so plainly that no one can misunderstand."        - President Harold B. Lee

"And they were all young men,
 and they were exceedingly valiant for courage,
 and also for strength and activity;
 but behold, this was not all,
 They were men who were true at all times."      - Alma 53: 20

 "In the kingdom, the greater our responsibilities,
  the greater our need to see ourselves as servants."
                                                           - President Spencer W. Kimball
                                                                                                 Ensign, May 1979

" When missionaries rise to speak in the name of Israel's God,
   if they live in purity and holiness before Him,
   He will give them words and ideas of which they never dreamed
   before."                                           - President John Taylor

- Elder Simonsen attends the 'Martin Harris Pageant and Bear Lake."

" A pioneer is one who goes before to prepare or open up the way for others to follow... Turning the pages of history from the beginning to the end, we learn of the ultimate pioneer--Even Jesus Christ."
                                                                  - President Thomas S. Monson

- Elder Simonsen and his companion enduring the hot summer days in Logan

" Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, feet that were hot, sweaty, and soiled with dust and dirt.  He washed not their hands or face; he washed their feet.  He who is the greatest shall be the least--he it is who learns to serve."                          
                                                     - Russel C. Taylor (November Ensign, 1984, pg 24)

"And ye shall go forth in the power of my Spirit, Preaching my gospel, two by two, in my name, lifting up your voices as with the sound of a trump, declaring my word like unto angels of God.

And ye shall go forth baptizing with water, saying:
Repent ye, repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
                                                         - D&C 42: 6-7

"They are young, and their minds are firm,
  and they do put their trust in God continually."
                                                     - Alma 57: 27

- Elders gather for a P-day activity in Logan

"We have been saved for these latter days
  To build the kingdom in righteous ways.
  We hear the words our prophet declares;
  'Let each who's worthy go forth and share.'

    We are as the army of Helaman.
    We have been taught in our youth.
    And we will be the Lord's missionaries
    To bring the world his truth."

                 - Primary Children's Songbook, words and music by Janice Kapp Perry, pg. 172

" In the Book of Mormon there were 2,000 young brave men promised to defend their God and their families.  Their leader, Helaman, recorded this about these strong young men:
'Never had I seen so great courage... I call them my sons (for they were all of them very young) even so they said unto me: 
'Father, behold our God is with us, and he will not suffer that we should fall; then let us go forth..'
They did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them."
                                                         - Alma 56: 45-47

"This is the spirit and the courage of these young missionaries, who gather all over the world giving two years of their lives to defend their Savior, Jesus Christ and share their testimonies with anyone who will listen.  They are ordinary boys who love life...doing extra-ordinary things."                               - Sister B
- Elder Simonsen and his companion dressed for P-day and then dressed for the rest of the week
"During these two sacred years, these Elders and Sisters often become lifelong friends."                                     -sister B
- Elder Simonsen loves the temple. In his mission, in northern Utah, they have the rare privilege
 of attending the temple often.

"In the temple we face the sunlight of truth.  The light of the temple, shines upon us as does the light of the sun.  And the shadows of sin and ignorance and error, of disappointment and failure, fall behind us.  Nowhere quite equals the temple."     -President of the twelve
                                                                                                           Boyd K. Packer

- Some baptisms that Elder Simonsen has been part of during the first year of his mission.

"There is no joy that can compare with that of a missionary who has been made an instrument for the salvation of a soul."
                                                                 - Orson F. Whitney 1918

"One of the first things that a missionary receives when he begins his mission is his name tag.   On it, in the language of his mission, is his name and the name of his Savior, Jesus Christ.  Some times you will see them with two name tags.. one for their coat and one for their suit or white shirt. 

It is a constant reminder to themselves and to the world, that they "stand as a witness of God at all times and in all things, and in all places..."                             - Sister B and Mosiah 18: 9

- click on the picture to enlarge

"Elder Simonsen has come from a small town in Greenland, to the small harbor of Svendborg, Denmark where he studied to be a Captain of a large ship.  On a quiet street all by himself, he met two sister missionaries who showed him a small book.

This small book was translated by a young man about the same age as Elder Simonsen, translated from golden plates buried in a small hill in the woods of New York.

These plates were delivered to this young man named Joseph Smith...
delivered by an angel who had been waiting for many, many, years for this young man to be ready to meet and follow the directions of the same angel who buried these small sacred golden records on that hill.

It is an amazing story- one that is hard to believe.  But it is true !

Today, Elder Simonsen, with missionaries all over the world,
carries with him a very well marked small Book of Mormon to share with the whole world.

-A translation of the same golden plates that were found buried in the dust of that small hill.

I am so grateful for all of these small things.
The Lord has said:

"By small and simple things are great things brought to pass...
 by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls."

                                                             - Sister B and Alma 37: 6-7

Elder Simonsen has a new companon, Elder Morel, from the Dominican Republic.

He is a fine, cheerful, hard working Elder.
The two of them are Zone leaders.

There is much work to do in the heart of Utah...and many miles to travel to serve the Elders who are in the Farmington Zone.

Elder Morel has been on his mission for 17 months, and Elder Simonsen has just past his one year mark.  These Elders are well prepared for the year to come.
They both have said to us:  "I love my mission."

Thank you, both, for your hard work and for your great example.

                                                                  - Sister B

Thank you, Elder Simonsen.

Thank you for taking the time to study and learn the Gospel of Jesus

For your many daily prayers, and your unselfish leadership,
and your humble obedience to the Lord.

We love you, Elder JJ. 

It has been a fine year, a year full of small, important things.
Thank you for it all.

We love you,

                                                  Love, Sister B
                                                  December 31, 2011

Elder Simonsen just wrote to us on an old typewriter that we
found in Utah a few weeks ago.

He finished his letter with something he says in almost every letter.

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

It reminded me of a picture I got from him during his stay in Logan.
He went to a Pioneer Pageant near a cemetery.

He found this tombstone and placed his name tag on it, as though his life agreed with this short epitaph.

"When all the world grows quiet,
  and the day is put to rest,
  Remember you've succeeded,
  If you've tried your very best."

Happy New Year, Elder Simonsen !
Thank you for your peaceful, enthusiasm for life !
Thank you for trying, every day to
do your very best !

love, Sister B,   January 1, 2012


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