Saturday, November 16, 2013

Mission Conference, a new assignment, and Madame Butterfly

Night at the Opera - Madame Butterfly
Mission Conference. Once a year a member of the Asia Area Presidency makes an official visit to train the missionaries, interview them individually and work with the members.
Mission conference excluding the Darkhan District
Elder Funk and his wife were called to the Seventy this past year. Prior to his calling as the 2nd Counselor in the Asia Area Presidency, he served as the Mission President in India.
Pres. Benson striding into the picture - Elder Funk on the right
All the missionaries in Mongolia were brought to Ulaanbaatar except for those serving in the Darkhan District. He met with and interviewed the senior couples.  We then enjoyed a potluck dinner together in President Benson’s mission home apartment.  After dinner Elder Funk and President Benson led a special meeting on home teaching for the priesthood leaders in Ulaanbaatar.

Break for lunch
The next day was spent training young and senior missionaries, and  interviewing young missionaries.  The Asia Area Presidency mission tour concluded with a trip to Darkhan to repeat everything there for the Darkhan District and missionaries serving there. During the conference, Elder Funk mentioned that President Benson is the youngest Mission President in the church.
More than two thirds of the mission assembled
A new assignment. President Benson asked us to attend the Unur and Songino Wards in the Stake to offer them support. The Nays will begin attending the Sukhbaatar Branch along with their regular assignment in the Chingeltei Branch.

We had assumed we would finish out our mission in the Sukhbaatar Branch – we have grown close to several of the members there. We regard this as a missionary transfer where we and everyone will adjust. We will make new friends in our new assignment. We start this Sunday.

Book of Mormon reading challenge. President Benson has asked all the missionaries and members in Mongolia to read the Book of Mormon in 90 days beginning Nov. 1 and ending on January 31st. So far we are a little ahead of schedule but it is a quick pace. The members are responding to the challenge. We enjoy the extra incentive to read the scriptures.
Medical follow up. We had some lab work done to monitor our blood sugars over the last three months and other blood work. Darlene’s diabetic condition turns out to be quite recent. It looks like she will eventually be able to control her condition with diet and exercise.

We are both on the same diet so shopping and meal preparation suddenly became a lot simpler for her. She is disciplined where I am “not so much.” My blood work showed I had made quite a bit of improvement in the past 4 months since the previous lab work was done. I think we are going to come home from our mission in healthy condition.
Elder Naef hosted by the senior couples
Elder Naef’s last hurrah! Elder Naef left this week for home. He spent the last 4 months in Baganuur where he did great work. The senior couples held a dessert social for him on his last night in Mongolia.  That afternoon there was a farewell testimony meeting for him which we missed because of teaching English. The Bensons had him over for dinner. 

Back row: Elders Wood and England, Middle row: Sisters Stewart, Wood, Gardner, England, Farmer and Elder Farmer,
Front row: Elders Tuguldor and Naef
This is a little unusual for only one missionary to leave. He was originally scheduled to leave in August but his mission was extended because of an ankle injury that required him to be treated and recuperate in the United States. He was allowed to return to Mongolia and finish his two year mission here.
English class. We have another month with our class. It has boiled down to 5 regular attendees. They are delightful and we love seeing them. This week we concluded a section on family relationships. They had gathered their personal genealogy history as a class assignment. We showed them how to enter their data on Family Tree.

We found out our last day of class with this group will be Dec. 18. We will have one new group of students to teach before our mission is over at the end of March.

The National Archives. We are on the verge of knowing what the Archives wants in order to finish a contract with them. They called on Friday to request copies of the Family Search International Contract in both English and Mongolian. We spent a week fine tuning our proposed 2014 work plan and sent that along with the contracts. Keep tuned for further developments.
Intermission at "Madame Butterfly" - the Stewarts, Nays and Darlene - the Englands were elsewhere
Madame Butterfly. Our week ended with four of the senior couples attending an operatic performance of “Madame Butterfly”. Prior to the show, we went online to review the plot line as the show was in Italian sung by Mongolian performers with Mongolian language translations on video screens off-stage both left and right of the audience. It helped a little but not much.
Curtain call
The visuals, the acting, and the voices made the show special even though we were mostly clueless other than the main plot. The “Nutcracker” is scheduled near Christmas so we may have one or two more operas to see before our time in Mongolia is over.   

The Opera House in Ulaanbaatar

1 comment:

  1. I am so glad that you are doing well and that all is good! My son and the other three missionaries are en route to Beijing! They are so excited to get there.