Saturday, December 15, 2012

Missionary transfer meetings

In the middle of the week we unexpectedly stumbled across this Sculptured Ice Town

Missionary transfer meetings. I don't know the history and tradition of the mission transfer meetings and how and when they got started. Tonight will be about our fourth one. They pretty much violate the spirit of no homecomings or departure speeches, except that all homecomings in the local units are handled just like the church specifies.

This meeting honors missionary service and the youth look forward their moments in the sun when the eyes of the whole church in Mongolia are upon them. Missionary service is expected, a rite of passage and a goal that is in front of the youth every six weeks.

The youth of Mongolia are education conscious. But they make their mission plans to fit in somehow. The young women of Mongolia have responded well to opportunities to serve and have done so in great numbers. The new change in age for missionary service will only accelerate more service by young women.

Must see fireside as new and returning missionaries give their testimonies. Another 100 attendees or so not pictured.
Mission tradition. The new missionaries arrive from their 3 week MTC experience in the Phillippines (and from the US about three times a year as it is working out. They are met at the airport and taken to Zaison Hill overlooking the city where the dedicatory prayer by Neil A. Maxwell is read. Each new missionary reads a paragraph from the prayer. The meeting starts and ends with prayer.

Then they arrive at the mission home and have a big meal with the mission president and his wife. I don't know if testimonies are shared or not.

The next day, Saturday, they get orientation while their new senior companions to be are being trained by the Mission President and his wife. 

Our new missionaries - six sisters and two Elders
The whole mission experiences 6 week transfers on this date. The new missionaries are paired up with their new companions at noon but don’t depart for their new assignments until Monday after the transfer broadcast meeting on Sunday night. The other missionaries not being released go to the next assignments with their new companion on Saturday.

All missionaries serving in the Mongolia Ulaanbaatar mission will finish their missions with this mission transfer meeting. They are invited to share their testimonies at this meeting. All Mongolian missionaries that have returned from foreign missions during the last 6 week cycle are invited to share their testimonies at this meeting.

The meeting is broadcast to all chapels in Mongolia so parents and branch and ward members can watch without making the trip. Church, friends and family members from UB can personally attend this meeting. Sometimes parents and relatives from outlying areas travel to UB to attend the meeting and personally greet their missionaries being released.

Ulzicka on left returns from Temple Square Mission - is reunited with another former Temple Square Missionary
The chapel is filled to capacity and there is excitement in the air. The youth and Young Single Adults are really into this meeting.

The meeting itself is simple. A local church leader conducts the meeting but the Mission President and his wife are on the stand, along with all the incoming and returning missionaries. The incoming and departing senior couples are on the stand also.

The incoming missionaries (local or foreign) bear their testimonies, There is a musical number by a choir of new and newly released missionaries. Part of Sunday is spent rehearsing. Then the returning missionaries (local and foreign) give their testimonies. Any incoming Senior couple missionaries or departing Senior Couple missionaries within the next transfer cycle share their testimonies. No photography is allowed during the meeting.

After the meeting there is a festive atmosphere, reunions, lots of photography and people mingle for at least a half hour greeting one another. The Mission President and his wife are in much demand for individual pictures.

Graduating class members

Last class of English. We had our last class of English this past Friday with our group of adult learners. We ended up with about 7 highly motivated students who invested a lot in the class. Darlene is a natural teacher and she feels that her calling to Mongolia is to teach. She also works very hard at it. We’ve learned a lot about teaching English with class.

They loved learning songs in English - this was our final performance
We begin a new 3 month cycle with new students next Tuesday. We have some lesson plans already in place.

Suvdaa (standing) is bringing chocolates for the teachers
Our class surprised us with a farewell party. Darlene brought Chocolate chips cookies, banana bread, and milk while the students gave us chocolates and a cake. The also presented us with a beautiful book of Mongolian photography signed by the students in traditional Mongolian script. 
Watching a Christmas video. We asked about their gifts for children on New Years.
They formally presented us the book along with camel and yak socks on a traditional silk cloth used for giving gifts.

This cake was as good as it looked

We sang Christmas carols, played games, showed pictures taken during our class, showed clips of the Tabneracle Choir’s Christmas program and gave them tickets to the church choir concert on Dec. 21st. It was a fun and touching evening.

Family History work. The week ended up with a busy, busy Saturday. 
Family History Consultant training
Darlene taught piano, trained an assistant Family History Director from Erdenet, went shopping for refreshments, trained in a two hour meeting with 25 Family History Consultants, taught piano again, trained with a Family History Director from Darkhan and capped off the evening with a Chinese dinner out with our guest from Darkhan.   

Dinner with Onjie
I made a presentation to the new missionaries on Family History work, tagged along for shopping, and helped with the training. 

I stepped into a BYU management training workshop for business people or aspiring business people. It was well attended from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Ambitious people hungry for knowledge

It was one whirlwind day and one whirlwind week. 

About how we are feeling at the moment - hanging on

1 comment:

  1. You are so busy there! It looks like your English class members will miss you and enjoyed their classes. Did you get that picture of the man with the reindeer? That's amazing! Good to see Olziika in the picture after her mission. She was about 9 or 10 years old when I taught her and her family. What a small and strange world it is, that you are there, welcoming her home from her mission. If I had a glimpse of what was to come 13 years ago, I would have been amazed and thrilled.