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.|
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 www.valfarmer.com. 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.