The time continues to fly by as preparation day has once again come and gone.
What a wonderful week in Mongolia!
A reoccurring theme in so many of our lessons this week was the fact that the blessings of the gospel are for this life as well as the life to come. While it is true that many of the blessings, and surely the greatest blessing, of the gospel are reserved for the life after, our lives on earth can be indisputably better as we follow the example and the teachings of the Savior. We taught three less active members this principle this week. Explaining that as we attend church and follow the counsels of modern day prophets we find greater meaning and purpose in our lives. Our families are strengthened and our lives are just plain happier!
As I begin to understand Mongolian a little better each day I realize more and more how good of a teacher Elder Jolley is. The ability as a missionary to learn from someone who has experienced so much creates a perpetuation of learning beyond what any other program could instill. Its amazing to think that Elder Jolley and I only have five weeks left together. It's been such an amazing experience to work with him.
Because we didn't have a baptism this week, on Friday we went to another building and Elder Jolley translated for the President. The Elders there had 6 new members baptized, 5 from one companionship. It was a white field experience for sure. Making it sweeter was the fact that two of my English students were there! One has been a member and the other was less active. I sat with the less active member and he stayed for the rather lengthy hour and a half baptism. It's neat to see my English teaching allowing for missionary work even if it is in just this small way. I translated some hymns into English and talked to him about his conversion 6 years ago.
(as I write this the funniest little Mongolian boy is trying to talk to me and I haven't the slightest what he's saying, but he did just give me candy lol)
Okay anyway, this brings us to the greatest day ever. Yesterday (Sunday to clarify the time difference lol) we woke up and left early, around 7am for the church where we met with the President and his wife. It was the foggiest/smokiest morning yet. and you couldn't see more them thirty yards in front of you. We headed for Zuuhkharaa (about three hours away by car) As we drove the sun rose and we finally broke free of the smoke of the city into the crystal clear country side air. Vast snow filled valleys and rolling mountains. Actual trees and the random ger on the hillside. But that wasn't even the best part. Not even close. The best part was spending three hours with the mission president his wife and his right hand missionary listening to talks and discussing gospel topics. It was amazing to realize what a remarkable and rare opportunity it was to be with all three of them. To make it exciting we got a bit lost on the way to the church building. Luckily there wasn't much to get lost in. A small country town tucked in the mountains. It was soooo beautiful. All 30 of the members were there to great us as we pulled in (the only car in the parking lot). Everyone wanted to talk and was so excited just to be at church. It was amazing to see their faith in church attendance including a few 80+ year old grandmas and grandpas who walked a least a few miles to make it to church. The sacrament meeting was so peaceful as half the ward got up to sing an intermediate hymn. The most fun of the day came when I attended my first Young Women's meeting with Sister Clark as her translator. I was more of her general idea translator I would have to say. Needless to say it was a humbling experience. I struggled with the Mongolian to English, but when they asked Sister Clark to bear her testimony at the end of the meeting I was able to translate every word after a quick prayer for help. We said good bye to everyone and made our way back to the city with more amazing spiritual discussion. After the spiritual feasting of the day I felt like I was floating the rest of the evening. I'm so grateful for the amazing opportunities given from a loving Heavenly Father as a missionary here in Mongolia. As I carry my leg of the marathon, my turn with the baton (which comes in the form of a name tag) I look forward to every day. I love Mongolia! I love the people! I love the Gospel!
Be safe and have a wonderful week!
PS Someone tell John Olson that his letters are amazing and funny and awesome!!!!!!!