Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year's Dance - doing the Macarena, serving in Mongolia

Our amazing young singles. We are always amazed at how the church blesses the lives of Young Single Adults in Mongolia.

In this world of declining moral values, it is refreshing to see so many wonderfully handsome and beautiful young singles united by the gospel come together and enjoy each other in a wholesome environment. Over 250 attended this event.
Elder Linford (on left) addressing the young singles attending the New Year's dance
The future of the church is bright in Mongolia. Worldly temptations may pick off a few here and there but the core of testimony and mutual support sustain our bright, talented, energetic young people in the gospel.
The Englands lead the way on the first dance

The revelers were greeted by an apple cider and cherry drinks and later served a chicken and rice snack and then dessert.

The Macarena. The senior couples were asked to perform a dance number during the evening. A couple of us who are rhythmically challenged gravitate to the back row when something like this is forced upon us. 
Fortunately all eyes were on the women and not on the under-performers on the back row. I am well hidden in this picture behind Darlene
Others like Darlene have a bunch of fun showing the young people we are still young at heart and defy age even as we invariably age.

Our cultures teach each other. Mongolian culture honors and respects age. Older men retire at 55 and women at 60. They are expected to not do too much and let the young take care of them. 

They do get involved as grandparents - often as surrogate parents when both parents work. Another upside is that it is great to be offered seats on buses and deferred to with so much respect.

Here we are in the peanut gallery acting our age
There is wonderful bond between the young and their elderly grandparents and relatives. We see young teens walking arm in arm in their aging grandparents - and enjoying it. Mongolia's main holiday, Tsaagan Sar, is about honoring grandparents and elderly relatives.

The downside is that there aren't many role models for active, engaged older people living normal, spirited lives full of goals and ambition. The foreign senior couples who come to Mongolia are beloved for their capabilities and energy at this time of life and offer a vision of service and growth.
Davaadorj asked for Darlene's help in tying his bow tie
Showing off her handiwork
We can't help ourselves. Our own cultural backgrounds value independence, lifelong goals, and adventure. Here we are in Mongolia away from our own children and grandchildren helping other young people establish the Lord's church through love and service.

We are who we are and the young singles like being around us. What a great mission! It will be sad to leave. We have made wonderful, genuine relationships here.

Other pleasures of missionary service. All of this is said without mentioning the special bond we have with the young Elder and Sister missionaries and the senior couples who serve with us. But that is mostly another story for another time.

We had the 4 sets of missionaries who serve in the Unur and Songino Wards over to our apartment for a Mexican dinner on P-day. The American missionaries miss Mexican food and the Mongolian missionaries are working on an acquired taste.

From left to right: Elder Muldowney,  Sisters Buyanhishig and Fifield, Elders Ganbaatar and Faber, Sisters Farmer, Matthews and Munkhtuya, and Elder Palmer

We enjoy the TLC we are able to dish out in the way of food every once in a while. We try to make the meals memorable with humorous menus and extra touches.
Billy-Bob Tex-Mex Taco House
All of that is said without mentioning how good we feel in fulfilling our special callings as missionaries and how we are helping build the Kingdom of God here in Mongolia.   

Or as you can see from this blog, we have a love affair with Mongolia, its people, its physical beauty, geography, language (not so much) and culture. Travelers come from all parts of the world to see and experience only a small part of what unfolds before our very eyes month and month, year after year.

Mongolia is not boring! Even in its emergence  from impoverishment into a dynamic economy, there are so many surprises and incongruities to experience.

Some married couples also came and also a few lucky children


  1. Those are wonderful sentiments about Mongolia. I love that place and the people there too! Thank you for sharing.

  2. I LOVE the pictures of Mom doing the Macarena! She looks beautiful in her Mongolian dress!