|Dancers opened the show|
We attend a musical performance on Friday night put on the Music Department at the national university. They honored the 40 year contribution of one of their faculty and performers that evening.
Notice the location of our seats. The best seats in the Wrestling Palace, just a block from the church offices! For the last concert we would have been somewhere behind the white banner on the left.
|A dance with bowls on their heads and in their hands|
|Our group at the concert - back row: Darlene, Monkhjargal, Sister and Elder Gardner, Elder and Sister Groesbeck|
|Three diva sopranos with the honoree in center - our church member, Buted, is on the left|
At the end of his trip on the way to the airport he mentioned to President Clark that his friend, Bold, asked him if there was anything he could do to help the church.
President Clark put Elder Cook on the phone with me and we discussed our problems with the National Archives. President Cook gave us contact information and we arranged an appointment with Bold.
We invited Enkhtuvshin, the first member in Mongolia (a retired University professor), and Gangkhuyag, (East District President and translator) to accompany us to the meeting. At the last minute Bold couldn't make the meeting but was reassuring everything would be OK in his absence.
The first meeting.The meeting went extremely well. Saruul has an academic background at the National University of Mongolia and was a professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology there. The former director, Ulziibaatar, has been promoted to another position in the government. Enkhtuvshin has had a personal friendship with Saruul and Saruul's associates in the present in the meeting were Enkhtuvshin's students.
After our presentation, Saruul asked us about how soon we could draft the paperwork/contract to begin a project. They are closing their Archives for a year beginning June 1 while their new Archives building is being readied for opening next year. Saruul said the next step is ours to take. They are willing to meet with us as soon as possible. We set up a meeting for May 24 at 11:00 am.
May 24 meeting - a rough beginning. There was some miscommunication about the start of the meeting. It started 3 ½ hours later than anticipated. Saruul apologized and also Bold, our liaison who arranged the initial meeting, called to apologize for not transmitting a message that the meeting wouldn’t happen at the scheduled hour.
We were becoming discouraged and imagined that the powers that be had had a change of heart about working with us. Saruul allayed our fears with his apology and we settled into a positive and productive discussion.
We (Danny Chin, Elder and Sister Farmer, Pres. Gangkhuyag – East District President, and Naranstsetseg – church member and avid Mongolian genealogist) were present. Gangkhuyag interpreted and Naranstesteg took notes. We had a standardized International Records Preservation and Digitization contract in English and a copy translated into Mongolian for Saruul.
He and Danny Chin went over the contract clause by clause. Saruul raised issues and concerns and Danny took notes on things that needed to be addressed, clarified or negotiated. Danny agreed to put together a list of action steps and a timeline that needed to happen before a contract could be signed between the two parties.
The actions steps will be shared with Saruul in the next two weeks. There were no major points that came up that would threaten the overall intent to execute an agreement. Danny was pleased at the specificity of Saruul’s concerns and his thoughtful and cautious approach to potential problems or disagreements.
A remarkable step forward. We are pleased and thrilled that meeting produced such a positive beginning to accessing Mongolian records for Family Search. The contract hasn’t been signed yet but there is a strong likelihood that it will be unless something unforeseen spoils the process.
We express our joy that we have reached this point in the process when just a few months ago things looked bleak and we didn’t know how conditions would or could be changed.
The church held a country-wide fast on Feb. 3 and prayed that the hearts of the leaders of Mongolia would be softened and a way prepared for Mongolian records be made available to the church.
Elder Cook’s relationship with Bold, Bold’s friendship with Saruul, the change in government in the last election and Saarul’s subsequent appointment to be the Director of the National Archives provided a simple solution to what seemed to be an intractable problem.
|Young dancers preparing for a performance at the Chinggis Khan Hotel|
|Dolls at an Asian restaurant where we ate dinner with Danny Chin|
|Summer comes to downtown Ulaanbaatar|
|Car repair shop along a main road|
|A ceremony honoring Polish dignitaries on a high wind, dusty day. This is our view from our English classroom.|
|The dust settles a little |
|The Mongolian National Orchestra|