Sunday, September 8, 2013

A warm weekend in Choibalsan – in more ways than one.



Seeing us off at the airport
A different kind of week.  We had a week off between English classes. Our next class starts Sept. 10.  We had two events this week. One was a trip to the Police shelter for homeless children and the other was a Family History trip to Choibalsan Friday through Sunday.
Police in front of the church
Before we left, the police were spreading out to guard the streets for the visiting Prime Minister of Bulgaria. On our return, a Mongolian warrior dressed in his 13th century clothes rode past us on his horse. Not something you see everyday.
Warrior in a hurry to catch up to his partner ahead
Darlene was played out and caught my head cold so she declined the Police shelter trip and rested for a couple of days so she could handle the trip to Choibalsan. She Skyped a couple of Mongolian lessons from the Missionary Training Center in Provo and keeps consistent with her daily studies. She has started a book, “Promised Land, Pillar of Fire”.

We have been developing power point presentations and having them translated into Mongolian to help us with our training. That really helped us out in Choibalsan.
Elder England and Ayurzana
Police Shelter.  I went with the Englands (Senior couple) to deliver children’s clothing to the Police Shelter.
Elder England, myself, Ayurzana, Batbold, and Sister England
The clothes were donated by a couple of our daughters and were brought from St. Louis by
Elder Neuberger’s parents when they came to pick up their son from his mission. Their schedule was so cram packed that they left it up to us to make the delivery.

Sister Benson, the Mission President’s wife, went with her husband to Hong Kong for a week of meetings.  Her mother and sister-in-law came to watch their four children so they could make this trip. Her sister-in-law, Rebecca, came along to the Police Shelter with us.

The shelter takes in homeless and abused children and cares for them until they are placed again with their families or a more permanent residence or program is found for them. The facility recently shortened up the length of stay for children from 3 months to a maximum of 10 days while they sort through placement and caregiver issues.
Sister England
The church through Humanitarian services has supported this program in the past with key contributions. The Englands had met the director last April and were so impressed with his kindness and demeanor that they jumped at the chance to visit the shelter again.
As pleasant as his smile
The director was everything the Englands said he was and more as he graciously hosted us during our visit.
From the left, Byambjav's friend Okoo, Byamjav, myself and Sister Farmer, Garrett Wilson, Bat-Orgil and counselor in Branch Presidency
We had a ready-made team. We learned at the last minute that Bat-Orgil and Garrett Wilson were also going to Choibalsan this weekend on another church assignement. They were a Godsend as they helped us with technology fixes and with some interpreting during our stay. We also had a couple a Chinese meals together and stayed at same hotel.

Garrret Wilson was a missionary in Mongolia in 1998 and 1999. He spent the last three months of this mission in Choibalsan and this was his first trip back since his mission. He and his family have been employed and living in Ulaanbaatar for more than a year. He had an interesting weekend seeing the growth of the church in Choibalsan and meeting some of the members he knew back when.
Byamjav and Darlene
We also had a returned missionary, Byambjav, for a translator. He was great and we got along well. He brought a non-member friend with him to a few of our trainings.
Good friends
His friend was a pianist and played the Oboe. He studied in Russia so he and Darlene had many animated Russian conversations.

Museum tour
We toured the Provincial Museum together and looked at some monuments and statues. There was something like a County fair at the main square just a block from our hotel.
Outdoor market
There was an open air farmers’ vegetable market, livestock displays and prizes, and plenty of fun activities for children. See the next blog to see some of things that caught our attention.

Dart throwing for prizes
Family History Training. We trained the four Consultants on Friday night, presented an overview of Family Tree on Saturday and helped register members and youth on Saturday afternoon.
Branch Presidency training
On Sunday we trained the new Branch Presidency on Family History and spoke in church (Darlene in Mongolian).
Between us are the Choibalsan Consultants: Saranchimeg, Ulziiduuren, Chimgee, and Tserlmaa
The Family History Center Director, Chimgee, was talented and computer savvy. It didn’t take her long to learn the skills she needs to be effective in her calling. The other Consultants were delightful and were absorbing the new information as fast as they could absorb it.

We feel the trip was successful and the work in Choibalsan will increase dramatically in the next few months.

The weather was warm and pleasant.  The people were even warmer. Everyone was so kind and loving to us in Choibalsan. Maybe they don’t get visitors very often - or more likely they are just good at Mongolian hospitality – one of their strong cultural traits.
Chimgee helping a patron
Mongolian geneology at the Provincial Museum
We enjoyed our visit and made some friends in the process.  Maybe we’ll have one more visit there before our mission is over. We’ll see how things go.


Close up it becomes quite legible




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