Monday, January 20, 2014

Our schedule, winter in UB, entertaining guests

Winter at Terelj
Still on vacation. We are enjoying our vacation from teaching. We are learning in retrospect how much work, stress and time are connected with teaching English. We enjoy the challenge when we are involved. We start up again sometime after Tsaagan Sar, either the first or second week of February. 

16 of our 26 grandchildren enjoying "Mongolia night" in St. Louis - practicing their serious look. Our daughter explained being "trunky" helps get you ready to leave a country and people you've grown to love. We also have a big draw back to our home as seen above. 
Family History events. We still have plenty to do. We are a part of a Family History devotional (fireside – the term loses something in translation however in Mongolia) this coming Sunday. Darlene is preparing a 15 minute talk in Mongolian. She has a good translation and is rehearsing it all week. We are also doing Family History training in Darkhan on Saturday.

I will go up to Darkhan a day early to help do some training in Zone Conference on communication and conflict resolution skills for missionary companionships. The two Assistants to the President and I are combining to present this training.
Concerned Mongolians always ask, "Is your apartment warm enough?"
Winter scenes. Some winter scenes in Mongolia are striking for their beauty and novelty. Mostly winter in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar is bland and monotonous.
Looking at the Blue Sky building from the Central Tower
Our temps lately range from  – 20 degrees F or so below zero at night and creep up to above zero during the day. There is hardly any snowfall except for a dusting once a week. Unlike the Dakotas, there isn't much wind to speak of - thank goodness!
Looking down on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building on a clear winter day
What makes UB different is the smoke – we can’t call it smog because there is hardly any moisture in the air. Every night the smoke pours in from the Ger Districts and it takes most of the morning to burn off.

Here are some pictures we took from our apartment window to illustrate how polluted the air becomes.
See the specks of sunlight being reflected off an apartment building in the background - this picture was taken at 9:00 am.  
Same view at 5:00 pm - notice there are buildings in this picture.  
We wear masks when we are out in air, especially in the morning and again in the evening.
Sisters Magelby, Farmer, Oyuntuya, Fifield and Ackley
Entertaining Sister missionaries. We planned a special Lasagna meal for the two sets of Sister missionaries who currently serve in the Bayanzurgkh Branch – two blocks from our apartment. We had fun making a fancy meal with a comedic menu.
Sisters Fifield and Ackley came early and were drafted into an instant Mongolian lesson

We ended the evening by showing, at their insistence, photos of our two month honeymoon to Mexico and Central America. A couple of the Sisters must be romantics at heart because they loved the idea of being so foolish and stupid despite the ordeals and hardships we shared.
Sisters Ackley, Fifield, Farmer, Oyuntuya, and Magleby
My marriage book and other advice. I’ve written a marriage book, “To Have and to Hold”, so I have instant credibility despite the fact that Darlene too readily (in my opinion) shares embarrassing details indicating that marriage is still a challenge no matter who you are. 

Alimaa and I are meeting regularly about her

dissertation and her quest to get my book

translated and published in Mongolian. We're up

against some tight deadlines. She feels it won't

published by the time I leave. The fact that she is

putting time and energy into it is a wonderful gift

to me.

To see some of my advice I dispensed over the

years, go to Leaving a

behind a Mongolian translation of my book is

something I didn't even dream about when

we started our mission here.

The light of the gospel rising above the haze in Mongolia


  1. Hope your apartment is warm! Looks like your honeymoon stories are becoming legendary there. We will have to hear them when you get back. I'm not sure if I've heard all the details these lucky missionaries are getting! I missed your Skype call a couple of days ago. Mitchell's speech therapist was working with me and Mitchell when you called. He is talking sooooo much better now. I'm so glad he's got this figured out more before the baby comes!

  2. Hello, my name is Tsogt Mongolian. I am developing my website and adding a few contents, since i haven't so many winter pictures. Can i use your picture on the very top?