Monday, February 13, 2012

Temperature's Rising

Well the thermometer might not reflect it, but this week showed the first signs that somewhere in the distant future spring might exist.  We felt some actual warmth from the sun which was almost strange feeling.  During the day the smoke seemed to evaporate giving way to the acclaimed blue skies of Mongolia.
B-day with my district (see my B-day hat?)

You asked if I receive any feedback about my English instruction.  Not really.  My sponsor seems happy enough.  They don't know what I'm saying anyway.  I smile and ask them about their day and what not.  Its all good at Jonon University.  And yes I have summer break from May 16th to September 1st .  .  .  pretty sweet!  And yes maybe I will be able to work outside of UB during that time.

Traditional clothing called a "deel"
Tsagaan Sar (Mongolian New Year) is still about 10 days away.    During Tsagaan Sar everything shuts down.  We just visit families and eat buuz until we explode.  The week before is straight preparation, so we go and help people make all the buuz they will eat.  Families will make over 1000 buuz. Ridiculous!  Ive been eating food in gers for the last three months, so if there are any health dangers I'm already gone.  Of course the GI tract isn't always happy, but that's life in a foreign country.

Tuesday after district meeting we went out to our farthest area Zurkh Uuth where we met with a less active woman whose biggest problem is making the 45 minute bus ride with her two daughters.  We watched "Legacy" with them and testified of the sacrifice of those first saints making their way to the Salt Lake valley.  It was wonderful and they were really excited to come back to church on Sunday.  We tried the rest of the afternoon to contact our investigators in the area, but to no avail.  So we ended up street contacting a man who was taking coal up to his house.  After we helped with the coal we were invited in to share a message.  His wife and he listened, but with no real energy as my companion and I shared with them the message of the Restoration.  Nevertheless, we got there phone number and made an appointment for later on in the week.

We realized in our weekly plan this week that we have a lot of people that are willing to meet with us, but far fewer who want to meet with us.  Practically anyone will let you in the door and continue to meet with us, but our investigators have struggled to keep commitments, including coming to church, or show any real interest in our message.  This was apparent as we went out on Wednesday with a ward missionary.  We struggled through three lessons where we felt we were force feeding a bit.  But we were able to finish the day at an less active member's house whose husband is not a member.  When we shared a spiritual thought about knowing the truth through good fruits. He got into the discussion and we were able to really interact with someone for the first time that day.

On Thursday we went back out to Zurkh Uulth where we met again with the less active family, and then with the family who we contacted taking coal to the house.  That family lived in the valley on the other side of the mountain from the first family.  On Tuesday we had gone down and around on the road to get to their house, but on Thursday I insisted that we go over the mountain "because it must be faster."  Somehow the mountain ended up being a lot taller and a lot steeper than it had appeared from the bottom.  But without smoke, it was an amazing climb.  Since the snow had been continually blown against the mountain, on the way down the other side the snow was knee deep and we post-holed all the way down.  But we made it and taught the lesson to Battsetseg and her family who seemed less enthusiastic than the last time.  We weren't sure they would want to meet again, but we invited them to church on Sunday and were on our way.

Friday started a little earlier than usual as another companionship was having an issue that needed our assistance from 1:30 in the morning until 8:00am leaving less than the usual 8 hours of sleep.  When we did make it home it was just in time for personal study to start.  We laughed and went right to it.  Elder Bayartsogt and I spent the rest of the day nudging each other throughout the lessons and at one point we both fell asleep during a prayer.  We were able to sit in on the baptism of someone from the other branch in our building because we got burned for most of Friday night.  That is no one was home for our appointments.

Saturday was pretty quiet, aside from sitting in on mutual with an investigator and learning two sweet games that I've never seen before. 

On Sunday we went to church praying hard for our investigators to come.  The night before we had called the the less active member, Otgonjargal, that we had been meeting with this week, but she told us that she didn't have enough money to take the bus to church.  We immediately prayed in her behalf.  As sacrament meeting began we had two investigators.  Two sisters that are amazing.  They've attended every ward activity, youth meeting and Relief Society. Then another showed up who had told us he would be busy.  Ten minutes after the meeting began two young boys we had taught at the church during the week showed up with their sister.  We couldn't believe it.When the meeting ended, Battsetseg was sitting in the back with her child.  And as we left the chapel,  there was Otgonjargal and her family.  I'm not sure if they walked or found the money, but either way our prayer was answered and they had made it to church.  Elder Bayartsogt and I could have cried we were so happy.  We were smiling for all three meetings so much that it hurt.  What a wonderful end of the week.

The work continues to move forth in this beautiful place.  It's a privilege to work among the Mongolian people.

Have a wonderful week!

Elder Neuberger

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