Monday, October 7, 2013

A big change of plans - great news about the Archives

We enjoyed a wider panorama of Ulaanbaatar from higher on the mountain but we liked this picture of central UB the best
The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray. We were set to go to Khovd for Family History training and a side trip to the Eagle Festival in Bayan Olgii. All of our arrangements had been made. Elder and Sister Stewart (plus Ulziika) were joining us in Khovd and would be a part of our weekend.  It didn’t happen, at least for us.
We got a text message on 7:50 am Thursday morning stating that our plane, scheduled to leave for Khovd 11:40 am, actually left at 6:10 am without us (and not notifying us).

Khazak traditional dress
We tried rebooking our flight but there were no seats available the next day. We swallowed our disappointment and made the best of it. We will travel to Khovd in a couple of weeks but this time without the Stewarts and no side trips to Khazak country. 
We are counting on the Stewarts for some great pictures. Look for them about mid-week on this blog.

We put things in perspective and enjoyed our sudden gift of unscheduled time.
Great news from the National Archives.  Our attitude adjustment was easy when we considered what had just happened. On Tuesday, we got a call from PuuJee telling us the National Archives wanted to meet with us the next day.

We scheduled a meeting with ourselves, the District President Gankhuyag,  President Benson, Ukraine Nara (a church member who served a mission in the Ukraine and an avid genealogist – “Ukraine” is to distinguish her from all the other Naras in Mongolia), and PuuJee.  

The result of the meeting was that the National Archives had decided to go ahead and work with us (Family Search) on digitizing and indexing Mongolian Census records. This was the breakthrough we had been hoping and praying about.

There are a lot of details to work out but now the goal is to get the contract signed and to get to work. We don’t anticipate more glitches, however the real celebration will take place when the contract is signed.  
We were thrilled and the glow from Wednesday’s meeting hadn’t diminished a bit even if we missed our flight to Khovd.

Family history work. We are working on a project to training missionaries on how to incorporate family history work into their missionary activities. Two or three missionary companionships have come by asking about how to do this.
Ulziika with Elders Bayanjargal and Stanley
The missionaries from Baganuur are teaching an investigator in his mid-50s who has collected over 750 names from his family genealogy for most of his adult life. He didn’t know why he was doing it.

The doctrines of the church on vicarious ordinances for the dead make a lot of sense to him. We have been asked to help him enter his data on Family Tree.
We enjoyed our hike up the mountain. Zaison Hill is the brown mound in the center of the picture. The monument at the top was built by the Soviet Union to commemorate Russian/Mongolian friendship and cooperation
Recreation and Preparation Day diversions.  We took a bus to the end of the Zaison line and then hiked up a mountain to get an overlook of the city.
Looking down on a ger camp (tourist camp)
We saw two Russian housing developments that were abandoned when the Russians left Mongolia precipitously in 1991.
One of two abandoned Russian housing developments
There must be some legal and international complications on why these building didn’t get built or are still standing in their unfinished state.
In the lower center are the unfinished Russian buildings surrounded by new development.
The weather and the sights were gorgeous – a perfect day for hiking. We topped off our day with a visit to one of the top-rated restaurants in UB - the Hazara, featuring north Indian cooking. There was no disappointment with our selection! 
Luxury villas in a gated community near Zaison Hill
An outing to KFC. On Monday, we met Elders from our District for a lunch at KFC -

– the only American fast food franchise to come to Ulaanbaatar.

Our fellow lunch and missionary companions
It was delicious and we had fun with our American and Mongolian missionaries, most of whom we have worked with and known before this lunch.

All six Elders serve in the Chingeltei building as we do.

Elders Faver, Stanley, Chimjagav, Odd, Sister Farmer, Elders Bayanjargal and Tulga
We plan to have a couple of more outings/dinners with them before the next transfer in late November when the new missionaries arrive.

Recognize the menu?
Family Home Evening. We have a family home evening with the Benson family and the other senior couples on the first Sunday of the month.
The Benson children getting ready to sing. Elder Wood is pictured and Sister Wood is hidden from view
We all are enjoying the presence of these little children in our lives and the opportunity to share a spiritual and fun evening together. The desserts afterward were scrumptious.
Sister and Elder England holding John during our Family Home Evening

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