Saturday, August 4, 2012

Up in lights

Up in lights on Times Square

Prudential recruited me to be a part of their Dayone retirement campaign. Our daughter Tassa Barney took this photograph. Prudential took a picture of it when it ran on Times Square on July 3 as we were arriving in Mongolia.

Family History plans. This week has been significant. We worked on a Family History budget with Nasanbold (the UB Family History Center Director) on Thursday night with the help of October as a translator.
We worked through many of the impediments that have been prickly in the past. We submitted this budget to Steve Tsai (the Patron Services Coordinator for the Asia Area based in Taiwan) on Friday. The budget plan outlines our vision of our role in training and furthering the work in Mongolia during 2013.

The budget reflects parallel paths of authority while setting the stage for cooperation. It also follows established priesthood accountability for budgeting and auditing budgets. It is great to have this in place at the outset of our mission instead of having to struggle to define our roles as we go.

One of our daughter's former missionary companions, Narantseteg, is the Family History Director in Erdenet so we will be getting to know her well. 

Our plan is to extend our training to the Darkhan District which includes Family History Centers in Erdenet and Darkhan, and preparing Murun, Khovd, and Choibalsan for Family History Centers. It is a 4 hour drive to Darkhan, an 8 hour drive to Erdenet, a 12 hour drive to Choibalasan, a 14 hour drive to Murun, and a 3 day trip to Khovd.

Khovd is located where the map shows Dund-Us. Moron is pronounced Murun.

There are two new computers and a printer being added to create a second center in the Darkhan District. We were pleased with the interest being shown in Murun in Family History and the official approval of the Erdenet FH Center.

The Mongolian Flag

We didn't have to wait long for training opportunities to emerge. We going to be going to Erdenet on Aug. 26 – 27, a stop in Bulgan (between Erdenet and Murun) on Aug. 28 and training in Murun on Aug. 28-29. We are going with the Richardsons who will be checking on the staus of their Humanitarian Projects in the same locations. It will be a great trip with some company. We will have an interpreter in Murun waiting for us when we arrive.

Lake Holvsgol, close to Murun

We probably will be training in Darkhan during Sept. or Oct. before the weather gets cold and travel difficult. Choilbalsan and Khovd will have to wait until next year.

Training at last. We hit it off well via Skype with Bro. Steve Tsai, our trainer for Family History work we are doing in Mongolia. He will be helpful to us. He will be coming to Mongolia in early September. Next week, he has scheduled two 2 hour webinars with four new couples in Asia that have Country Adviser roles (Mongolia, Taiwan, Indonesia and Thailand) for this coming week. We'll get the orientation we've been waiting for.

Records acquisition. We feel we have an opportunity to have a major break through in records acquisition. We are waiting to hear from Danny Chin. He knows the score on what the issues are and the history of what has happened in the past. We have stressed the urgency of doing something now while a brother with great connections with the National Archives is still in Mongolia. He is scheduled to go to BYU Hawaii in September.
After we finally connected with Steve Tsai, it turns out he has been incredibly busy "putting out fires". He has huge responsibilities and his inbox (emails and otherwise) makes me exhausted just to look at it. He was happy, bright, friendly and very accessible. I am sure Bro. Chin will turn out to be the same way but it would be nice to begin a dialogue with him.

But who is the guy on the right?

I attended a Republican Primary debate in Sioux City, Iowa. This picture was taken from an image recorded on a flat screen TV.

Teaching English. Our English class has started out well. We are teaching teenage children of the Teleco-Mongolia telecommunication company during August. Our teaching of the employees will begin in early September. The administrators have been friendly and supportive. It looks like it is going to be a good relationship.
We had 15 students the first class and 11 for the second. The young teens are delightful. Darlene has put together our English syllabus for the month of August. She is ultra prepared and has been putting in a ton of work getting ready. Teleco Mongolia will be getting their money’s worth and then some.
Sukhbaatar Branch. We belong to a great branch. It seems like a loving and dedicated group of people. Not quite enough men but the ones that are there are impressive. The sisters are really special. The branch seems to be a solid unit. It doesn't have far to go to become a ward - if the rest of the units are this good - it won't be long. I think Darlene’s callings will be in the music area.
Trip to the Black Market. We love the senior couples. What a dedicated and friendly group of Saints who have been called here! We feel quite at home with support and fun to add to the pleasure of being connected to the great people we have to serve.

Four of the five couples assigned to Ulaanbaatar went together to the Black Market. The market has a reputation for pick pockets so we didn’t take our camera along. Next time we go, we'll take a camera. It was the hottest day of the year in UB. Mid-80s. We spent two hours at the black market and then went out to eat at a BBQ Chicken restaurant.

The Zaak (Mongolian word for market) was huge. The fabric section goes on forever. It has anything and everything, all with different vendors. It was as big as three or four football stadiums – one gigantic flea market but a lot classier. We bought material for a suit but didn’t find the crock pot we wanted. On the way home we picked one up at a store we had checked out earlier.

Sister Clark (Mission President’s wife) helped us out with two winter coats that previous senior couples left behind. She has a mini-storehouse of winter coats to meet needs of the missionaries.

That was significant. The coats looked sharp and are plenty warm. It saved us a lot of time and money.

Which will it be - lamb, mutton, beef, pork or horse?
On Thursday, we had Elders Neuberger and Robbins over for dinner along with October who stayed with us after work to interpret for us and Nasanbold later that evening. We had a beef stew, cole slaw, a tomato and cucumber salad and banana bread for dessert.

Elder Neuberger, Elder Robbins, October, and myself

Elder Neuberger is from St. Louis. We met his parents in St. Louis. We enjoyed hosting him and his companion. They loved the meal (Elder Neuberger has a reputation for having a good appetite). He probably loves every meal.

Chinggis Khan statue with 9 Khans and banners on entrance


  1. Dear Val and Darlene,
    We are enjoying your blog and reading about your experiences in Mongolia. We think of you often and are glad that all is going well!
    Your friends,
    Roy Laura Ian Caleb Logan

  2. Val & Darlene-LOVE the "musings" posted here. And the pictures are stunning. Exciting news from us is that Alex is going to Russia! (Samara) Enters MTC in Nov. Much love and vest wishes for all your learning and doing and teaching!
    Ken & Mona