Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tourists and workers in Salt Lake City

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 meeting.

Leahi's dream

We saw a small replica of  an ancient stella that records the dream of Lehi found in the Book of Mormon, The Tree of Life. 
Val and I visited this when we were on our honeymoon in 1966.

We have a picture at home of us standing next to this stella.  It stands over 5 feet tall. 

Another interesting and touching item we saw at the museum was a Sampler of the Martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith.  Mary Ann Broomhead created this sampler when she was 13 yrs old as a tribute to the fallen prophet.  She embroidered the verse with her own hair. 


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. I had planned a nice roast beef meal for Val.  Unfortunately, will all our activities it was a little over cooked.  We ate it anyway. 

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 the additional boost of family history training we are getting on the computer before we go to Mongolia. It is invaluable to both of us.  We each had our own individual tutor this week.  I has been my dream to have this kind of training.  A dream come true.

On the other hand, I find the auditing of records very tedious and after a couple of hours I am ready for a change of activity.   Doing Russian language helps break up the monotony.  I like to look up the cause of death to see if I can decipher the records on my own.  Cause of death is not included in the extracted data.  A desk job would be hard for me.   I admire the missionaries who spend their whole mission auditing and extracting records.  It is hard work 

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 here in the States.  It is easy to forget what we learn if we don’t keep using it.   It will be much better when we are in-country and  having abundant challenges and opportunities to use 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  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  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.

Our meeting with Sis. Suhkbaatar was incredibly touching 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 have taken her five minutes to gain her composure. She has a great deal of love for Tawny and good memories of “her” missionary.

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 a 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.

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.  I asked them what was the favorite part of their mission.  They said that their favorite part was teaching the gospel to investigators over the phone.  They work with the people along with the onsite missionaries. They can feel the spirit as they teach and they become very close to the people.   

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 same time as did Tawny. I fixed a  Mexican meal in my much limited kitchen with limited ingredients but Val and Jim liked it.   We shared memories. Jim went to Mongolia to pick up David after his mission was completed.

Farmers with Jim Buck

On Wednesday, our “T and R” half day off (temple and research), we met with Ron, Kathie and Trista. I went with Kathie to help her do some shoe and clothes shopping while Val met Trista at the Family History Library.  She has a lot of work on her adoptive children’s genealogy. When we arrived at the library Kathie and Trista teamed and found a lot of information.  Kathie is a very skilled genealogist and has been researching her lines for over 40 years.  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. This will probably be the last time we’ll see them until our missions are completed.

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.      

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. I am learning how to record images of census records, birth and death records, histories and pictures along with all their sources in my PAF files.  All I take to the library with me is my flash drive….no pieces of paper to carry, store or organize.  When I go to each person I have researched I know exactly what I’ve done and what information I have. Family history is so much easier that it was years ago.    

Tyler called Saturday night and we had a nice visit about his work in Afghanistan and how he is faring there. He wanted to touch base with us before we leave for Mongolia. He has some contact with the Mongolia soldiers who are guarding the flight line at the airbase. He works 13 hours a day, seven days a week (no weekends off in war) and is involved in some highly interesting and highly classified work coordinating with other NATO and allied soldiers. Important stuff!

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

1 comment:

  1. Mongolia! Wonderful! I hope you're having a great time. Some acquaintances, the Hopkins, served there a number of years ago, and their experience in Mongolia has become a vital part of who they are.

    I just wanted to say thanks for the picture of the Mary Broomhead sampler. I've been posting stories about Cyrus Wheelock, the author of "Ye Elders of Israel" on a Mormon history blog all week...

    ...and a couple of people mentioned this sampler, since Mary was one of his wives, so it's great to be able to see a picture of it. It adds a depth to the story since Cyrus Wheelock was at Carthage Jail the morning of the martyrdom. Joseph Smith told him at that time that if he would go and preach the gospel, he would be successful.

    Best wishes with your missionary service!