Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Home - at last

Our mission is over. We have been released by our Stake President Hintze. He aked us to report our mission to the High Council on May 4. He said he would like to organize a Stake fireside for us and we will set the date on May 4.

We were able to attend a fast and testimony meeting in our ward on April 13. We both bore our testimonies, Darlene in Mongolian.

It was great to sing the songs of Zion in our own language and to understand everything in a meeting for a change. We enjoyed seeing our old friends again.

Word from Mongolia. What we did miss in Mongolia was Elder and Sister Stewart's farewell party and testimonial. They served well. They went about doing good. They were generous with their time and found creative ways of blessing the lives of others.

Through a charitable philanthropic foundation in Canada, Dr. Stewart arranged for ten choclear implant operations for deaf people in Mongolia.

Nine of the ten are members of the church - one, Elder Oyunsukh, is a fulltme missionary. Manduhai, second from the right on the top row, is our daughter's convert.
All ten came to their final testimony meeting. It must have been something to be there and hear all of them express their appreciation for the life changing gift of hearing they received because of the Stewarts.

Our trip home. We learned that our departing flight had been delayed two hours thus throwing off our connecting flight to Shanghai. We were rerouted to go to L.A. through Tokyo with no Shanghai layover. We arrived in L.A. a day early but our next flight to St. Louis couldn't be moved up.

L.A. wasn't Shanghai but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It was less stressful being in a country where we knew the language.

We also enjoyed thoroughly the relaxing day we had recovering from jet lag and getting some extra sleep. We had our first top of the line Mexican meal across the street from our motel.

Acclimatizing ourselves to the US. Once home we enjoyed the wide array of foods available in the United States, a couple of trips to Costco, driving on the orderly, spacious and predictable roads, and seeing flowering spring trees in full bloom.

Of course our time with our children and grandchildren have been precious. Darlene has been engaged in shopping while I built a challenging puzzle.

I'm helping put in a garden and also clearing honeysuckle trees from the forest behind our daughter's home. The physical activity has been a treat for me.
Looking ahead. Our home is leased until July 1st. we will be staying on our daughter Tassa's home until that date. We will be traveling to Arkansas to spend Easter with our daughter Tally and her family. Two families will also make that journey to Little Rock.

We plan to go back to Arkansas for a visit during May, We are also are planning a trip to see another daughter Tara and her family in North Carolina during June. We will be transporting three grandchildren to North Carolina and then on to Wilkesbarre, Pennsylvania to help Tally with her family's move there. 

I also have a ranch consultation scheduled for Northeastern Montana in mid-May. I will try to stop off in Fargo during that journey.

Personal goals.  In the life of Val Gene, "another story must begin." The change from mission life to a life without a schedule or duties is quite the contrast. Lounging around is a treat to be savored. We will be in the swing of things soon enough.

I need some time to get my focus and also to concentrate on grandchildren. As soon as we settle in our home again, I'm sure there will be opportunities for church service again.

After this blog, I will retire, "Musings in Mongolia" and start a new blog, "Musings in Missouri." I plan on turning the blog of our mission into a book - mainly for our family but for others also who want a thorough glimpse into Mongolian life.

"Musings in Mongolia" will remain on the Internet for the indefinite future. I may add some post scripts as I hear news about the mission or its members. 

If any of the readers of this blog were attracted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints because of this blog, I would like to hear from you. I've had over 37,000 page views during the past two years from various parts of the world. If you have a story to share, I would love to hear about it. 

The content of the new blog will be advice, perspective and perhaps some conservative political commentary - a little less photography and more thematic content. 

I won't be starting up my regular newspaper column again. My archived writing can be accessed through The freedom away from those relentless deadlines has be a blessing at this stage of my life.

I will do some part time farm and ranch business consultation to keep my hand in my former profession. Not many people can do what I do in the United States and I am needed.


  1. Thank you so much for having this blog - will it still be accessible? I hope so! I am looking forward to your new blog. What do you do in farming? What an interesting life. Thank you for everything, truly!

  2. I've been very interested in your journey for the past two years. I hope that I am able to connect with you again now that you have returned. I have much news to share with you. Welcome Back!

    1. My email address is Please send me a personal email so I can get you email address. I am very interested in your news! Val Farmer

  3. And when will you be visiting family in Utah? We are looking forward to a visit here!!
    ..... The Odds

    1. We are coming in August. We will let you know when we are in Providence. Darlene has a brother and a sister-in-law in Cove that will be finishing their mission in Hungary in June - a second reason to visit Cache Valley. The Farmers

  4. Looking forward to seeing you. Hope you'll post the fireside date here so we don't miss it. Thanks for a wonderful blog! I almost feel like I was there:-)

    1. We are currently in Arkansas until June 7 - Homeless until the 1st of July when we will move back into our home we have leased out. We will be putting on a fireside at the St. Louis Stake Center on Clayton Ave. Sunday, June 8 at 7:30 pm. See you then! Val

  5. We feel so blessed to have you and mom around again. Chase has finally gotten in a decent chess game again, and our forest is looking great!

  6. I have enjoyed your blog. I have become very interested in Mongolia since January of this year when my daughter received her mission call to serve in Mongolia. She leaves for the MTC on May 28th. Much is still unknown to us on what to expect or prepare for. Advise would be great. Your photos have been so beautiful.

    1. Patty, send me your email address and I will give you lots of advice. Look up the Nov. 29 blog entry and you will get a good orientation to the Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission. Val Farmer