Sunday, June 24, 2012

7th Week
June 24, 2012
Today is our 46th Anniversary. We are going to celebrate by going to the Spoken Word broadcast, a Garden tour on top of the Conference Center, finish visiting the second floor of the Church History Museum and attend our afternoon church meetings. We also have a special meal planned.

Father’s Day – June 17. We attended the Tabernacle Choir Broadcast and visited with a couple of Russian speaking Temple Square missionaries afterwards. We like our new Sunday routine. Last week we found out that the Church History Museum was open on Sundays so we took a tour of the bottom floor showing the artifacts from early church history. It was engrossing. We made our Sacrament meeting at 2:00 pm. We had a special meal, burnt roast beef. We evidently were too ambitious of tourists.
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A Sister from Lativa and a Sister from Russia
This week was a combination of more computer and family history training in the mornings and auditing records in the afternoon followed by Skyping lessons in Mongolian everyday but Wednesday. We loved he additional boost of Family History Training we are getting before we go to Mongolia.

It is official! We are going. We received an email from Sarah McBride detailing the plan for getting our visas and traveling to Mongolia with 7 to 10 days from June 22. We are short timers here and we are relieved.

We can only do so much Mongolian language training with each other. It will be much better when we are in-country and finding out how much we don’t know and having abundant challenges with the language. And we get there for Nadaam – July 11. It is the Mongolian’s big summer celebration (like our 4th of July) complete with parades, horse racing, archery and wrestling events.
We also heard that 4 of the 5 missionaries received their visas also while the 5th, Elder Omori, is being transferred to an Arizona mission while waiting for his visa to come through. We feel for him as it will be tough to see his companions go while he endures a waiting game.

The Temple Square Mission. On Tuesday, we had arranged to meet Sister Ulzicka Suhkbaatar at the Temple Square Mission office headquartered in the basement of the South Visitor’s Center. There are 180 sisters from around the world that serve in this mission. They rotate 40 sisters at a time to other missions for 4 months to give them a taste of regular proselyting work.

We didn’t learn all their duties but we found out they teach lessons to visitors, follow up with phone visits and teaching appointments with contacts they made on Temple Square. It is in the follow up visits they keep track of how many of their contacts are baptized into the church.

They also “man” a call in Center in the basement where they teach the gospel over the phone to people all over the world.  44 different languages are spoken by the Sisters. We see them paired up all around temple square leading tours, visiting with tourists and finding opportunities to visit and teach.
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The Farmers with 3 Mongolian Sisters serving on Temple Square - Sis. Bat-Ulizie, Sis. Suhkbaatar and Sis. Enkbaatar
Our meeting with Sis. Suhkbaatar was incredibly special and spiritual. When she first was introduced to us, she seemed struck and emotionless. She couldn’t or didn’t say anything. Then tears started streaming down her face.  The person she associated most with her own conversion was Sister Farmer, our daughter. She wasn’t expecting us. The meeting was a surprise. Before long everyone was in tears. It must of taken her five minutes to gain her composure. She has a great deal of love for Tawny and good memories of “her” missionary.

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Sisters Bat-Ulizie, Suhkbaatar and Enkbaatar
 Sis. Suhkbaatar’s brother is currently serving a mission in Mongolia and her older sister, Pujee, is planning on a mission once she finishes her degree at BYU this December. It was an incredibly sweet visit with Ulzicka and her companion, Sister Zorn, from Austria. We made arrangements to come back on Thursday to meet all three of the Mongolian Sisters and their companions, take pictures, gather contact information in Mongolia and to share family pictures of our own.
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Mongolian sisters and their companions
Thursday came and we had another wonderful visit – less emotional – but special. We took some photos, exchanged family information etc. Sister Suhkbaatar has two months to go on her mission and we will see her soon in Mongolia. We also took a tour of the mission headquarters and found out about all the other things the Sister missionaries do besides teach and visit with tourists. We met two young sisters from India and Switzerland who explained their work in the call center and how rewarding it is to teach over the telephone.

More socializing. We had a great evening with Jim Buck, a friend from Rapid City who now lives in Boise. He had driven down from Boise to see us (and another friend). His son David served in Mongolia at the save time as did Tawny. Darlene fixed a special Mexican meal that would make the owners of the Red Iguana blush with envy. Jim Buck provided the Horchata (a rice, cimmamon drink), ice cream bars, limes and other key ingredients. We shared memories. Jim went to Mongolia to pick up David after his mission was completed.
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Jim Buck and friends
On Wednesday, our “T and R” half day off (temple and research), we met with Ron, Kathie and Trista. Darlene went with Kathie to do some shoe and clothes shopping to get ready for her Hungarian mission. I met Trista at the Family History Library to work on her adoptive children’s genealogy. Later Kathie and Trista teamed up to do even more. We ended the evening with a trip to an iconic Salt Lake City old fashioned hamburger restaurant – Hires – for root beer floats and hamburgers.

Ron and Kathie will enter the MTC next Wednesday prior to their leaving for their mission to Hungary. It looks like the last time we’ll see them until our missions are completed.
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Darlene with her brother Ron and Sister-in-Law Kathie
We are planning to go to Logan next Thursday for the adoption of Alex, Lauren and Ryan into Darin and Trista’s family. It worked out that we will be here for that event (unless the Church travel department has other plans). Also there is a Pelfrey wedding and reception scheduled for next Saturday June 30th if we don’t leave for Mongolia before that. It would be remarkable and special to be able to be a part of these two events – entirely unanticipated a month ago.      
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The Andersens
Other events of note. We ran into a computer problem and had to cancel our Friday Skyping lesson. We went to Best Buy to be rescued by their Geek Squad. It didn’t take them long to diagnose the problem – Windows Explorer had a big hiccup and wouldn’t let any other programs operate. We learned how to fix the problem in the future if it should happen again.

Saturday we went to the Salt Lake Temple for a session. It was a great experience to attend a temple session particularly in the Salt Lake temple while we are here and probably the last one before we head out for Mongolia. The rest of the day was spent at the Family History Library.

Tyler's call. Tyler called Saturday night and we had a nice visit about his work in Afgahnistan and how he is faring there. He wanted to touch base with us before we leave for Mongolia. Tyler works 7 days a week, 13 hour days providing intelligence to US and NATO troops in the field. The war doesn't take the weekends off.

He  is involved in some highly interesting and highly classified work coordinating with other NATO and allied soldiers. Important stuff! He has some contact with the Mongolian soldiers who are guarding the flight line at the airbase.

Next week should be our last full week before we fly out – if we make it that far! We are excited!

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