Sunday, December 1, 2013

Clean air, a Thanksgiving celebration, and some good times.

View of the Parliament building from our window where we teach English on a relatively clear night
Clean air in the apartments. The weather in Mongolia has been relatively mild by Mongolian standards. What seems worse however is the amount of smoke pollution in the air. President Benson has purchased two air purifiers as an experiment. We and the Gardners were chosen to try them out in our apartments.
They really work. We had more smoke in our apartment than we realized. The purifier gives a visual display of the air quality and when the air is cleansed of pollutants.

Because of the risk to missionaries here, President Benson is thinking of purchasing them for all the missionary apartments. He is also purchasing duct tape for all the apartments to tape all the windows airtight. We appreciate his proactive and far-sighted concern for missionary health.
Elder Stewart - the man with the Golden Deel
Thanksgiving dinner. We celebrated on Saturday because of English teaching commitments on Thursday. All the senior couples were invited to the Benson home (apartment) for a potluck Thanksgiving dinner.
Three in a deel
President Benson did a masterful job on preparing a turkey (a rarity in Mongolia) and everyone else chipped in with exquisite side dishes and desserts. Darlene prepared a lemon meringue pie and a Waldorf salad.
Elder Monkhchuuder and his companion, Assistants to the President, were invited to the feast. Fortunately for the late arrivals, there were lots of leftovers.
After the meal we shared two things we were grateful for this Thanksgiving. One of the items had to be different from what had already been mentioned.

Pres. Benson with Mary Ann and John making his guesses
Then we guessed which person was described in two items each from a list Sister Benson had collected from each of us. We were mostly stumped and mystified by things we didn’t know or suspect about our fellow missionaries. It was fun.
Elder Linford with John and Isabel
We also logged on to Facebook and became friends with Pres. Benson with a new group he established to track the missionaries who have or will serve under him during his three years.

We can also document our reading progress in the 90 day Book of Mormon reading challenge.

Darlene and I were the last ones to leave as we joined in the Benson family tradition of watching “The Princess Bride” every Thanksgiving. Mary Ann wasn’t shy about crawling on Darlene’s lap two or three times while the movie was playing.
Where's Darlene? Helping out of course!
A small but delightful English class. We are enjoying our class of five students with an average of four showing up every time. The students are getting all they wanted and more in terms of conversational English.

We go over idioms, pronunciation, review their homework, read stories and answer questions and, best of all, either sing songs or play games.
One of their homework assignments was to enter their family information and photos on Family Tree
Mongolians love competition, humor and are outgoing. We give them plenty of opportunities to show their personalities and to express themselves.
From the lyrics "A Few of My Favorite Things" - one of the songs they learned
This class will end on Dec. 18 and we will have another class (our last one) begin after the first of the year.

A visit to our seamstress. Darlene is having several skirts made to match her Mongolian tops. I am having a suit made. Each time the seamstress measures me (last year and this past Friday) she bursts out in laughter.
Mongolians have a flair for color and style
Her talent and undisguised reactions have reinforced something we already knew - store bought clothes don’t fit me. The price is right in Mongolia and I’m afraid we won’t have this luxury of having a personal tailor again.
Elders Tulga and Moore with a new member being introduced to Family Tree
A little about our work.  The missionaries are now bringing their investigators and new members to our office to get them started Family Tree. This is rewarding and makes us feel more like we are a part of the conversion process while we serve here.

We will be attending District meetings with the Songino and Unur Ward missionaries when we can.
Songino and Unur Wards meetinghouse
We attended the Songino Ward for the first time and were blown away by the attendance (180) and the quality of all our meetings. We could have been attending church on the Wasatch front and except for the color of their hair and Asian faces, we wouldn’t have noticed much difference.
Look familiar?
We are supposed to help them? I think we are the ones who will be learning from them. We will alternate weeks between the Unur and Songino Wards.

We are expecting to hear back from the National Archives about the contract anytime now. When there is an update, we will share the news right here. 


  1. Brother Farmer, please tell President Benson that the Palmer family will contribute to the purchase of air purifiers. We can contribute up to 200 dollars. I would love to help any way that I can. I am also sending more masks to Elder Palmer. Have an amazing week! Jeanette

  2. Wow, everything is just so lovely! I really loved watching these photos. It reminds me of my graduation bash that my family had thrown for me. It was a Mexican dinner bash at one of my favorite New York Event Venues. I enjoyed every moment of that night.