Sunday, January 5, 2014

Family visits, winter scenes and a less hectic schedule

Ariuna in front of her greenhouse
Family visits: We received invitations from two members to come to their homes for a visit. We knew these members from our Hong Kong temple trip and also from the Sukhbaatar Branch.  We were treated to gracious and generous Mongolian hospitality.
Traditionally dressed passengers waiting for their bus
For one of the visits, we took a bus to the end of the line, then walked a mile up the road before we came to the member’s ger. 
End of the bus line looking back toward the city
 The weather was cooperative for this kind of an outing. We had a fun, leisurely visit and walked back to the bus stop to start our journey home.
An interlocking seven ger complex - a rarity in Mongolia - one owner 
We had an hour break between visits and to regain our appetite. Then we went to the church where a member picked us up in her car and drove us to our second visit.  We would have had great difficulty finding their home without her help.  She took us home after our visit.   

Our two visits in one afternoon and evening was a preview of a much more intensive schedule of visits and food during upcoming the Mongolian lunar New Year holiday of Tsaagan Sar.
We knew (I should say Darlene) enough Mongolian that we could make these visits on our own without the need for a translator. We got along just fine. In one home, a daughter spoke fair English while in other home, we made do.

We were treated to a hot milk and salt drink to warm us. The hosts don’t eat with the guests but serve them. They either eat before or after the visit. 
Finely chopped and beautifully served - with hot milk
The food is presented in an artistic manner with a lot of detailed cutting and chopping going into the salads. 
Buyandelger and her handiwork
 Here are some photos from our visits.
Ariuna and two of her two daughters in front of her ger

Ariuna raises chickens on her property
Nomin-Erderne, Ariuna, Darlene, and Suvd-Erdene

Buyandelger, two daughters on the back row and two granddaughters next to her.

Enjoying dinnertime conversation
Winter scenes: The winter weather by Mongolian standards has been mild. There is a sameness to the weather here in contrast to the Dakotas and Missouri where we have lived. 

There isn’t a lot of snow or wind. No blizzards. Just everyday cold weather – generally below zero but this week the temps rose to above zero for most of the week.
We’ve been getting a light dusting of snow – just enough to make surfaces slippery and not much more. The heaviest snowfall we experienced in Mongolia was last April when three of our daughters visited us in Mongolia.

Mongolia when it snows
I’ve read a lot about tough winters in Mongolia where heavy snows and cold temperatures have devastated the animal herds in the countryside. Fortunately for Mongolia, there has been no reprise of that kind of weather in the past few years.   

Store selling bags of coal
The pollution from smoke from coal burning fires and heating is more an issue than the actual cold temps – at least this year 
Chinggis Khan's family tree
Family History work.  We love this work and the people with whom we help, plan and associate. 
Training family History Consultants on how to load photos on Family Tree
The UB Family History Center is planning a combined Stake-District family history devotional  on January 19th. It was a pleasure to see them own the planning process. All we have to do is to take assignments from them. 
UB Family History Center leaders planning a devotional/fireside
Today in Fast and Testimony meeting, the Bishop called on Darlene and me to give our testimonies.  Darlene had been working on testimony in Mongolian for a month and was she ready! She waved off her interpreter and spoke for about 5 minutes from the pulpit. 

English teaching on hold.  Our sponsor asked us to teach at a telecommunication Institute where our assignment will be to have conversational English with Mongolian faculty who teach English to their students. 

The school is on a holiday break as are other colleges and universities. It is unclear when our actual start up time will be.  
We are enjoying our break and holiday. Last year we worked hard right up to the holidays and then we were zapped with health problems. 
We’ve already participated in a few end- of- the- year events that we missed completely last year. I got sick on Christmas day 2012 and didn't have much New Year's cheer.

This year we rang out the old and rang in the new


  1. My goodness! I have never seen chickens with so many feathers - whew! I am glad they are warm :) What a fun time you have been having - and thank you again for feeding - Big Nick - as we call Elder Palmer at home, well, sometimes. The ger you visited was simply gorgeous! Wow, - I can't wait to visit when I pick Elder Palmer up. Have a marvelous New Year! Jeanette

  2. I have never seen gers put together like that. How amazing! Like a home with several bedrooms. It's beautiful. Did you happen to run across that? Or did you visit someone there? I talked to one of the women in the pictures while we were there in April, Enkhtuya. She was taught (or was it her relatives?) by one of my MTC companions, Sister Fullmer.

  3. Great job with the Mongolian testimony! I'll bet the congregation was surprised and Impressed. I am not surprised, but I am still very impressed. I still remember my three Mongolian words, by the way. :)