Saturday, July 20, 2013

A weekend trip to Darkhan – a family visit

A tribute to the iron and coal miners near Darkhan

This weekend we went to Darkhan, the second biggest city in Mongolia, population around 80,000. There are two branches in Darkhan and two church buildings. Elder Groberg wrote about his inspiration to bring the gospel to Darkhan in the mid-90s in his book “Anytime, Anywhere”. The church is well established here.
The Fredleys. The Fredleys from Olathe, Kansas and more recently, Herriman, Utah are doing a church leadership and membership support mission. They were familiar with St. Louis and the St. Louis temple so we both had Midwestern church experiences and the temple in common.

They will spend their entire mission in Darkhan. They are walkers and seem to know Darkhan quite well already in their short time here. They hosted us for a salmon dinner on Friday night. We had a great time with them.

The Fredleys have a blog, "Fredleys in Mongolia", where they document their experiences. They went through Naadam in Darkhan. 
The Fredleys attended an opera and talent program to kick off Naadam in Darkhan
They teach English at an orphanage where the “students” develop their talents and tour in Japan once a year. Now they are being invited to tour in Japan twice a year.
Some of  Elder and Sister Fredley's "students" performing

Their story and their accomplishments are inspiring. All 10 of their recent high school graduates won scholarships to the National University of Mongolia.  

They love Family History work and will be good trainers and a resource to the members of the Darkhan District to really move the work forward. They helped line up Saturday’s training with Priesthood leaders, Family History Consultants, a Relief Society hosted lunch, translators, and appointment times with the youth attending from most of the District branches.

Family History meeting. About 75 members were in attendance for our 11:00 am meeting and overview of Family Tree. We trained for an hour and a half, broke for lunch and then registered about 50 members between 1:00 -5:00 pm.

The Family History Consultants were trained by the time the afternoon was over. The members visited with each other once they were signed up for Family Tree.

The youth hung out together and enjoyed the opportunity to reconnect after their Youth Conference bonding experiences.

We couldn’t have been more pleased! The Fredleys were also surprised by the turnout. The youth of the District were following up on their Youth Conference commitment to do Family History work.

The computer savvy Mongolian Elders also were able to help. At one point we had 8 computers in operation registering members in Family Tree.


A dinner invitation. Buyandelger and her three daughters had us and the missionaries over for dinner on Thursday night.
Buyandelger's family

They went all out for a lovely meal. Darlene teaches Buyanzaya piano on Saturdays, She is one of Buyandelger’s grandchildren.

The Mongolian tradition is to feed the guests first and then eat their dinner once the guests leave. There is a lot a care and tradition in and feeding guests with great hospitality.

The meal was more Chinese than Mongolian. We found out why. Buyandelger’s husband was Chinese and she had learned to cook that way. It was really good and presented in a lovely way.

We looked at Buyandelger’s  photo album and listened to Buyanzaya and Sister Farmer play the piano. Buyandelger also had a beautiful vegetable garden and a remarkable collection of cacti plants.  
More cacti to come


Elder Neuberger and companion

Elder Neuberger, a fellow missionary from St. Louis, was able to translate for us. We are assigned to the same branch. He will be finishing his mission in a month. He is a great missionary and has a great sense of humor. He is enjoyable to be around.

The meal starts with harem - a hot milk and salt drink

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