Thursday, April 18, 2013

Gandan Monastery and returned missionary fireside

Gandan in winter

Overview: This week has been and will continue to be crammed packed with activities, tours, meeting and greeting, church events, dinners, unusual sights, and working on our Family History and writing assignments. I will be able to post blogs one day at a time and sometimes even one notable event at a time.
Our tour group: Tawny, Naranstesteg, Tara, Darlene, Oyun, and Val - Tassa took the picture
This is what you will see in the next week as I have time to work on this blog besides doing everything we needed to do.
Entrance to Gandan
The missionary activities included getting ready for our Family History Open House on Friday afternoon and a writing assignment which included interviewing several members and visitors who played key roles in the history of the mission.
Pidgeons were everywhere
Sunday night was a returned missionary meeting which Tawny and I attended. Those pictures are included in Monday's activities.

Day one - Monday: We woke up Monday to a beautful snowy day. This was the only light, fluffy snowfall all winter. It wasn't too cold. There was already about 3 inches of snow on the ground and it snowed lightly all day until about 4:30 pm. The scenes we visited were stunning and gorgeous.

We took our three daughters on a city tour with Jangar as our tour guide. His is as humorous as he is informative. Two of our daughters (Tara, Tassa) were new to Mongolia and one (Tawny) had served her as a missionary from 1998 to 2000. Much of what she saw was new to her also as Ulaanbaatar has changed dramatically in the last 13 years. 

We started off the day visting the Gandan Monstery, then went to the Khan Winter and Summer Palace Museums, then a tour of a Cashmere factory and finally we went to
Zaison monument on a hill overlooking Ulaanbaatar for the commemoration of the 20th year dedication of Mongolia for the preaching of the gospel.
A woman spinning a prayer wheel
Gandan Monastery. Gandan was the center of Ulaanbaatar during the 1920s. During the 1930s, the communist government detroyed most of the Buddhist monasteries in the country but left a few important ones intact so as to not incite a rebellion of the Mongolians to communist/Russian rule. A pictoral view of our visit to Gandan is interspersed in this blog.
Two happy monks having a laugh
There were a few places where photography was not allowed. We saw about 25 - 30 Buddhist monks chanting Tibetan scriptures in two different Monastery locations. It was a surreal sight and even a more surreal sound coming from thee mouths of these monks. The other site where photography was not allowed was of the 40 foot Statue of Buddha.

And checkng out the ladies

Day Two - Tuesday: Making a medical visit while enroute to Terelj, getting up close and personal with birds of prey, seeing Terelj - a beautiful National Park, teaching English with our daughters' visiting and conversing with our class, enjoying dinner at our apartment with Naranchimeg and her family (Ulzicka and Davadorj).

Bird feeding was an adventure

Day Three - Wednesday: Parliament tour, carpet shopping, and attending the history fair open house at the church and the history of the mission program presented by some of the principals who had returned to Mongolia for the 20th Year Commemoration activities.

Monks out for a walk

Day Four - Thursday: a trip and tour of 13th National Park, the Chinggis Khan Monument,
camel rides, and a Song and Dance Performance.

An elephant, monkey, rabbit and pidgeon - four symbols of the Buddhist religion in Asia

Day Five - Friday: Preparing and participating in the Family History Open House. and dinner with Timur and Manduhai's family. Our daughters had their own full agenda of food shopping, charity work and visiting with Tawny's friends and companions.

These feet were made for walking - if your not good, they will walk all over you
Day Six - Saturday: Another big day for our daughters with charity deliveries, time with Tawny's friends, a joint activity of going to the  Black market and Sunday store, and finally the 20th Anniversary cultural extravaganza at the Circus auditorium.

Three sisters making Gandan look good or visa-versa

Tassa looking like Julia Roberts in Mongolia
Tawny is quite at home in Mongolia - black hat and all
Tara with snowflakes in her hair


Mongolia is a friendly country - despite occasional grimace from the locals
Day Seven: Sunday: Packing, going to lunch at Batsey's family home, attending church, another dinner out, getting ready and leaving for the airport at 9:00 pm for an 11:55 pm flight.

Saying goodbye to Gandan
Sunday night fireside for returned missionaries.
A portion of the audience attened the returned missionary fireside. The first missionary called from Mongolia, Batchimeg, is speaking. Jangar, our tour guide, has his face turned toward the camera.
Tawny and I attended the special event held to welcome all the returned missionaries who had served in the Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar Mission. The rest of our visitors stayed behind to recuperate from a short night's sleep and a long day.
Tanwy with two brothers and their wives - she had hosted the young man on the right in Redwood City, CA when he served a mission there. His brother on the left and his wife attend the marriage seminars.
Several missionaries spoke along with the Stake President. There was a slide show of pictures submitted by former missionaries. Afterward we mingled and Tawny had several joyous reunions with former companions and converts.

A former companion, Natarnststeg, is on the left and a convert now serving as a missionary, Sister Manduhai, is on the right.


  1. Tara now has a picture with the Golden Eagle too. It seems like this is a very important picture to have as everyone who has been to Mongolia takes that same picture. It's now my goal to get a picture with that eagle.

  2. Love the winder and the pigeon, God Bless and keep it up Guys!

    link here: the family (tfi)