Editor's Note: See Elder Jolley's blog for new photos of Travis. And as always, Elder Jolley has an excellent blog entry about the past week. http://elderryanjolley.blogspot.com/
Another great week in Sansar, culminating in the baptism of Brother Ganbold. He wanted to be baptized on the date that we had originally set so we had to finish up the fourth lesson this week in two segments. The first being last Monday when we taught him the law of tithing. When we began the lesson he told us that he had already heard about the law of tithing and was excited to hear more.
We began by sharing the origins and the blessings that accompany this law. After sharing a few scriptures we asked if there were any questions. Just one. Ganbold has been working hard to sell his house for the last couple weeks and has found a buyer. He asked us if it would be alright to pay tithing on his house before he became a church member. Needless to say, jaws hit the floor. It was an unbelievably humbling experience to see the astounding faith of this brother. We encountered a similar experience when we taught about fasting and fast offerings the next day. After the lesson he asked if he could fast the next day and pay fast offerings even though it wasn't Fast Sunday. Again humbled, I learned a great deal about true thanksgiving, as this man continued to teach me far more than we taught him. We continued to meet with our new members this week and are scheduled to attend a family home evening with the lesson centered on families and temple blessings.
Investigators continued to find us this week as we ran into a man who just finished 10 years in prison and wants to turn his life around. And then two nights ago we met a Canadian woman crying outside the church building. She said she was a less active member and was here teaching English. She said she really wanted to come back to church and felt good just being in the building. Both of these stories to be continued.
This week I went on my first real split as myself and a 17 year old church member took off two nights ago to teach a lesson to an investigating family. Before we left, my new companion assured me that he had a phone so we could call Elder Jolley just in case we ran into trouble. I was pretty sure I could find the house (about a 20 minute walk away) so we started off in the right direction. After about 15 minutes I was pretty sure we were lost. I gave it my best shot, but thought "let's call Elder Jolley." When Boyanbataar pulled out his cellphone it was dead. He than began asking everyone on the street if they knew where the building was. No one knew. I had a general sense of where we were and where we needed to be. So we started walking. After about twenty minutes more we found it after making a giant circle around the area. (at this point I'm realizing that I've probably told you something like three getting lost stories) Anyway we made it. I taught the Plan of Salvation for about ten minutes (which is 10 minutes longer than I could have taught it three months ago). It felt a lot like President Monson's story from last conference. The time for action had come and the time for preparation was over. It wasn't a matter of whether I could or could not teach the lesson. I had to. I was grateful for the opportunity to push myself.
A few less important things: First Thanksgiving. We had our Thanksgiving meal before your Thanksgiving day even started, making stakon (that's beef cut like bacon) and eggs and peach crisp with ice cream, and juice. Delicious!. Then we started the day with some English teaching. (I've started bringing that little red ball for more class participation. . . works gangbusters) Anyway Thanksgiving night Brother Ganbold had his baptismal interview with the district leader Elder Wilson. His companion still needed to teach English so I got paired up with him to do that. His English sponsor is a family who is . . . well to be frank, loaded. Moral of the story, they took us to the nicest hotel in Mongolia and fed us Japanese food until it hurt.
Today we went out into the ger district to help haul water and then attended a wedding reception with the President. Unfortunately there was no power at the building so everyone was sitting around eating food in the dark.
For everyone's information, my new winter coat is just a huge coat that makes me look like a marshmallow. I'll send some pictures later.
As I read in the New Testament this week I finished the Gospels this morning. In the end of John it references the peer pressure that Pontious Pilot encountered. I thought about his situation and President Monson's talk "Dare to stand alone." It is imperative to cement where our loyalties lie before we encounter such situations.
Have a great week