Sunday, February 16, 2014

English, Senior Conference, a visit to Batbayar's home, future growth

A visit to a herder's family near Baganuur
Teaching English. We had a flurry of activity this weekend starting with Thursday night. We attended the Woods last English class taught at the church for one hour on Thursday nights. 
We will inherit this class for a month or so until our own mission draws to a close. 
The last class was a birthday party for Elder Wood and an opportunity for the students to express themselves in English.

Some of our new students
Senior couple conference. On Friday we had our first senior conference while we’ve been on this mission. 
Pres. Benson will hold four of these a year. The four couples assigned to the Darkhan District came down for the event.

We had a lunch together, training on “Training the Trainer”, sample English teaching methods presented by a few couples, 
The Groesbecks teaching an English module
announcements on a couple of new programs the seniors will implement during the year, and prepared talks by a few of the seniors. 

The meeting ended with testimonies by the four couples who will be leaving the mission in the next two months – ourselves, the Gardners, the Stewarts and the Woods. 

Darlene sandwiched in piano lessons during the morning and afternoon after the conference. I taught the new Mongolian missionaries that morning before the conference got underway. 

That evening we had a desert social with Elder Wilson from the Asia Area presidency and Elder Toronto, an Area Seventy who is from Beijing.

Purev, Elder Wilson, Botsog, and President Benson. Purev and Botsog are the first Mongolian senior couple serving a full time mission.
The senior couples with be asked to train branch and auxiliary leaders in Khovd, Murun, Choibalsan and Oyu-Tolgoi. Pres. Benson wants each unit to receive 7 training visits a year, either from the Mission Presidency or from the senior couples traveling under special assignment. We will have one of these visits to Choibalsan in early March. The “Train the Trainer” helps prepare us for this assignment.

Another program will involve senior couples developing relationships with parents and families of new Mongolian missionaries. Many of these families are either non-member or part-member families. We all received assignments to make visits to these families at least two or three times while their missionaries are serving.

Family History. We expect to hear this week how the National Archives and Ministry of Justice are reacting to the contract and other materials we sent them. Close – ever so close – we’ll see.

Ourselves, Elder Harris, Sisters Dela Silva and Hansen
We trained the new American and Mongolian missionaries on Family History and how to use it in their missionary work. We developed a training module about 6 months ago and have been using it with every group of new missionaries that are called to Mongolia.

Teamwork in action
Priesthood Leadership meeting. We had a six hour priesthood leadership training on Saturday with Elders Wilson, Toronto, and our local leaders, Presidents Benson and Odgerel. 
From the left. Elder Toronto, Presidents Odgerel and Benson, and Elder Wilson
We had all the Bishoprics, Branch Presidencies and Elders Quorum Presidencies in attendance from the UB West Stake, UB East District and the Darkhan District. 
We are shooting for a goal of three stakes in Mongolia in preparation eventually for a temple to be built in Mongolia.  

Lunch was served - President Benson and Elder Wilson
There will be a special joint meeting in two weeks in which the UB West Stake and the UB East District will be realigned with the goal of creating a second stake in Ulaanbaatar. 

The future of the church in Mongolia
It is unclear whether a second Stake will be created in two weeks or whether it is to realign boundaries to enable a second stake to be created in the near future. It is an exciting development.

Ourselves, the Woods, Batbayar and his wife in deels, Batbayar's cousin (left) friend (far right) on the front row
A visit to Batbayar’s home in Baganuur. Our weekend ended with the Woods and ourselves going to Baganuur on Sunday to attend church. It was the Woods last Sunday there before they finish their mission. 

They drove 125 km to church and back every Sunday (80 trips) as a part of their mission assignment. Needless to say, they have developed great relationships with the members there. Puujee accompanied us as an interpreter.

Puujee receiving the traditional hot milk drink (Kharum)
We then visited with Batbayar, his wife, and company at their herder (ranch/farm) 7 km outside of Baganuur. We had a wonderful visit full of Tsaagan Sar rituals and pleasant conversation. 
Elder Farmer passing the snuff bottle back to Batbayar
Darlene demonstrating the art of sniffing snuff
We are close to this couple as they have collected extensive family genealogy records and we have helped them enter these records on Family Tree.
Batbayar will bring his records to Ulaanbaatar one more time for us to work with him before our mission ends. 
Batbayar's wife getting ready to serve buuz
He will be a great leader in Baganuur – he has already made contributions in his short 5 months as a member. It is is relationships like these that make our mission special. 
Getting close to home

...or sprint to the finish (Photo by Karl Schuler)


  1. We've enjoyed reading about your amazing experiences. There are so many great things happening in Mongolia as the gospel moves forward.

  2. Batbayar seems like a wonderful person. I love the kitchen picture with his wife. So warm and cheery with all the bright colors. I can almost taste those hot buuz.

  3. If you want to go to Vietnam and you don't have a visa, you must visit this service to get a visa in the most effective possible way to you.