Saturday, August 18, 2012

Just when we think we've seen it all

When we think we’ve seen it all, we haven’t.
Missionary transfer meeting held every six weeks

Once every six weeks, there is a missionary transfer meeting at the Bayanzurgk chapel. All the incoming missionaries and outgoing missionaries are asked to bear their testimonies. We gave our testimonies, Darlene gave hers in Mongolian.

The Missionary transfer meeting was a spiritual feast. It was like entering the MTC in Provo and seeing an  army of dedicated young men and women from all around the world coming together to serve the Lord. It is a visual testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

We felt the same way as we saw the packed chapel in a celebration of missionary work – the friends and family of the missionaries coming together to listen to the testimonies of newly called elders and sisters and from those completing their missionary service. The excitement in the room was palpable.
Big crowd - Big smiles

The incoming and outgoing missionaries bore their testimonies and sang a muscial number. This meeting was broadcast to all the chapels in Mongolia.
Afterward we watched and participated in the expressions of joy and communion in the chapel and in the hallways as companions and converts, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters embraced and engaged each other in love and appreciation. What a crush of loving humanity. No farewell or homecoming can match what we saw that night.

Martins, Clarks and ourselves - released missionaries behind us

There are currently 46 Mongolian missionaries, 16 Senior missionaries from the United States and 13 young Elders and Sisters. There are 4 Elders waiting for visas to enter Mongolia. We know and love them and know what a trial it must be to have their mission to Mongolia being delayed and delayed.

Sukhbaatar Branch members in attendance - we are the ones with white hair

Meeting our daughter’s converts. Our daughter’s converts and one of her former companions (Narantseteg) sought us out to connect with their own past missionary conversions and experiences. Tawny made friends here and we are here to see the fruits of her work. What an experience.

Tawny's converts, Mandulhai and her mother, Enhktuya - Mandulhai is currently serving a mission.

We continued that same experience the next evening with a dinner with Pujee, her mother, Naranchimeg and her brother Dagvadorj. Along with their oldest brother, they had a family musical performing group when they were children.

There are two missionaries from that family (Ulzika and Dagvadorj) that are serving  or have served and Pujee will serve once she finishes college this April. What an ultra-talented family and what leaders! That family alone would more than justify our daughter’s service.
Naranchimeg, her husband, and two children, Pujee and Dagvadorj

We contributed in the Branch on Sunday though the language is a challenge and probably will be for quite some time. Darlene helped Odgerel (he and his wife and daughter are front left center in Suhkbaatar Branch photo), our interpreter at church, who is preparing for a temple sealing, work out some problems with his father’s name and other family names in order to take them to the temple.
Young Single Adult Conference planning committee.  We attended a planning meeting for this event scheduled on Aug 21-25.  They are counting on Darlene and myself to give the young adults gospel based expert advice about relationships and courtship.  We are going to give one presentation to the young men on dating and another one to the whole group on commitment and confidence in choosing a mate. There will be one other Senior couple, the Hunts, attending the conference.

At the conclusion of the conference, we go from the YSA camp to Erdenet by taxi. Then on Sunday we will be doing some training in Family History and speaking in church. That evening we will be taking another all night train ride back to Ulaanbaatar arriving at 7:00 am in the morning. The next blog will probably be posted sometime after Aug. 27.  

Cranes and construction are all around the Ulaanbaatar skyline - I wish we could say the same for the roads.

English Teaching. We are preparing for out last class with the young people we are teaching. We are going to learn some countryside vocabulary (animals), review our work, play games, and sing songs.

The last half hour they are going to talk about themselves in front of their parents. We are going to have a party, make lemonade from lemons and sugar, and Darlene will bring chocolate chip cookies.

The students will dress in traditional clothes, describe the symbles on the Mongolian flag, talk about Mongolian food, and muscial instruments. It should be a lot of fun.

Shopping and being fitted for a suit. We had another big shopping outing on Friday to set us up for the next two or three weeks. Darlene went shopping on Saturday with Sister Richardson to get a few more things while I went with Elder Richardson to the airport. He was the driver in charge of taking Pres. Clark and his wife, the Shrobes and two interpreters to the airport to fly to Khovd.

On the way back both Elder Richardson and myself were fitted to our new suits that are being tailored. The Richardsons came over for Egg Fuo Yung and chocolate chips cookies. Great way to end a Saturday!

Dinner at the Bull. One of the highlights of the week was the dinner we had with Biamba, his wife, Ehkbayar and 4 year old daughter, Nimjin. Biamba trained with our son in St. Louis and we had hosted him and two of his collegues at a Mongolian Barbeque and a basketball game at St. Louis University. They also came to our daughter's (Tawny) home where they fixed us a Mongolian dinner. 

Biamba, Ehkbayar and Nimjin

They went all out to show us a great evening. They met us and drove us to the Bull, a Chinese Hot Pot restaurant. We had a private room. A Hot Pot meal is like a BBQ meal where you select your meats, sauces, spices and other vegetables. A Bunson Burner is lit next to your plate and you put whatever ingredients you choose into a soup pot on top of the flame.

Meats and other ingredients for a Hot Pot meal
It was like a buffet soup you make yourself with whatever combination of ingredients you choose. It was good! Very good!

Ehkbayar was meeting Americans for the very first time. That was amazing to me. I wonder how many other people only know Americans from looking at us on the street.

She had been studying English on her own and enjoyed practicing with us. She spoke very well. She is a customs official for the Mongolian government. What a neat and friendly couple!

Their four year old Nimjin had been learning English. She was astonished at meeting Caucasions and having them speak and sing to her in her favorite English children's songs. She overcame her shyness and was fascinated by the whole experience.

Biamba drove us home after the meal. He offered to be our chauffer on a drive to Khovd next summer. He is from Khovd and he genuinely want us to plan on us asking him.

Family History. Our work with Family History moves ahead. We were able to Skype this week with Elder Speidel, our trainer at the Family History Mission is Salt Lake City. He trained us on Family Tree which will be coming out in September.

We are still waiting on a meeting with the head of the National Archives. We hope it will happen before our YSA conference. One unexpected treat  was discovering that "Ukraine Nara" - of one the tireless family history leaders in Mongolia - was also the artist whose work we saw displayed in the Church History Museum.

The Lord's Simple Service - Narachimeg Tsend

Patrons looking at Nara's art

Nara was one of the first sister missionaries called to serve in the Ukraine. She is called "Ukraine Nara" because of all the other Nara's in the church.

As I sat pondering - Vicki Lynn Walker. One of our favorites at the Church History Museum gallery

1 comment:

  1. I loved seeing the picture with Naranchimeg and her family and Mandukhai and her mom. It is such a small world. They are wonderful people. And you got to meet one of my comps, Naranstetseg? How is she? We miss you!