Monday, June 24, 2013

Farewells to the Clarks - Winding down English - Thieves strike again

Pres. and Sister Clark will always have a part of Mongolia in their hearts
English classes will end for 7 weeks.  Our last class will be on June 25 and we will not start up again until August 10 when we teach children of employees from Telecom Mongolia. We can take a little longer training trips during this break.  

Our sponsor wanted us to teach Family History and Family Tree to our students before the class ended. We taught family relationship vocabulary and gave them pedigree charts to help them gather family information from their relatives. 

We helped our students register and put their family information online. They were intrigued and excited to do this kind of work. Our last class will be a reader’s theater and a farewell party.
With our break from teaching English, we can take a little longer training trips this summer. At the beginning of next week we will be going about 60 km. north of Erdenet for an All-Mongolian Youth Conference (pioneer trek). On the weekend we will then fly to Murun to work with the members there.  

Thieves Strike again. It is tourist season and the thieves emerged from their winter hibernation. Three different senior couples lost possessions over the weekend – including us.  Our loss was our newly replaced Nikon cool pix camera from a shopping bag slit from the back.

We relearned how clever Mongolian thieves are the hard way. Our pictures for the week were on the camera so we don’t have a huge variety for the blog.
We found out that the replacement cost for the camera in Mongolia was about the same price in the United States. We stopped feeling sorry for ourselves and bought camera # 3 to take its place.

It remains to be seen if we can outwit the thieves during our last 10 months in Mongolia.  Live and learn. I finally received my new suit we had made so we benefitted from another kind of Mongolian talent.

Bits and pieces.  President Wheelwright of BYU – Hawaii presented a fireside to over 200 young adults. Among other things, he stressed how important English language skills are to future success, no matter what field of study the students engage in.
The weather has turned cool and rainy but with some very pleasant days mixed in.
The Nays arrive in Mongolia

The new humanitarian service missionaries, the Nays, arrived three days ago. (More about them next week.)  We arrived about this same time last year. How quickly time is passing.

President Clark reflecting on the music of Mongolia 
The end of the Clarks’ mission draws closer.  There is a procedure here in Mongolia that is very interesting. We don’t know if this is true in other missions or not. We each write up our memories, impressions and attach special photographs and turn them in to the Mission President when each Senior couple leaves the mission.

This collection of letters is presented to the couple as a part of their farewell interview with the Mission President.

Each departing missionary has the assignment to write up their memories of those who remain but we don’t get to see any of these letters until we finish our mission.

We wrote up our thoughts about President and Sister Clark this week. They have worked hard, cared deeply and have done great church service here in Mongolia. They will be missed. They have one more week before President and Sister Benson arrive.
The Clarks will host a farewell dinner for all the Senior couples this coming Saturday. We will have a final Family Home evening with the Clarks next Sunday night.
Then it is out with the old and in with the new. There is less than a day overlap between the new Mission President and the departing President. This is done deliberately by design to give the new president a clean slate to form fresh impressions instead of absorbing already formed opinions.
Senior couples, guests performers, Batbayer and Buted, grandchildren, Buted's sister

A Farewell dinner. Sister Buted, a famous Mongolian singer and member of the church, hosted a farewell dinner for the Clarks and invited all the Senior couples. 
A mutual adoration society
Her husband, Batbayer, is the Stake Patriarch and an early church leader in Mongolia.
In front of lilac bushes
This was their summer home. They had a greenhouse, a lovely garden, and a gazebo.
Very enterprising and appealing

When asked who was the gardener, they both pointed at each other. Cute!
Sister Buted had three of her students helping with the dinner.

One of Buted's students

They all had operatic voices and entertained us with vocal solos, and also sang in duets with their master teacher.

President Clark showed his professional quality voice with an impromptu number.
Sister Buted sang an especially composed song “Autumn Snow” as a tribute to her life-long romance with her husband. One of their first meetings took place during a light snowfall in the autumn of the year.  

It was touching how she lovingly and spontaneously caressed his head and shoulder during parts of her song.  It was our 47th anniversary so it was easy to identify with the sentiments she was expressing for an enduring but still fresh and vibrant love.  

Autumn snow

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