Well, Elder Bayartsogt and I are enjoying the last few days until I go back to English teaching on Wednesday. After over a month off, it feels like I never taught English in the first place.
Last Monday we finished off P-day by grocery shopping. When all was said and done we had dropped 45 American dollars on food (which is a small missionary fortune). But fortunately we've been eating really well this week and have invented a few new companionship favorites on the way. After rushing to get our hair cut we taught a family home evening to two brothers who are preparing to serve missions. The new sisters in our district took the lead and did a wonderful job. One sister is in her last five months and is amazingly proactive about the work and the other is a “mini missionary” (amazing Mongolian opportunity where church members who are usually youth, go on a “mission” for a full transfer with a real missionary. It’s like a really long split. Way cool!) Anyway, she’s been a member for only 4 months which is also amazing.
Tuesday morning we walked the 5 miles to our area because the buses and meakers were not coming (still haven’t figured out why). It was a great walk and I got to see the bus route that I usually can’t see through the frozen bus windows. Unfortunately, our last visit of the day told us he’s now dead set on Buddhism after having met with the missionaries for 5 months. After talking with him we realized that the root of the issue is that Buddhism will continue to let him smoke. Undeterred, we plan on continuing to contact him. Tuesday night we needed to drop something off at another missionary apartment so I threw on my summer shoes and we headed off. Outside the apartment a snow covered slab of cement grabbed the back of my heel and that started a week of “Curt Schilling socks.” I’ll leave it at that.
On Wednesday we saw the biggest dog in the world on the bus. Probably 200 lbs no joke. Anyway, our best lesson of the week came on Wednesday evening with our new member who was baptized on the previous Friday. We taught about baptismal covenants with a branch missionary and a returned missionary. It was one of those lessons that you don’t want to end. We passed the lesson around almost seamlessly and you could feel the power in the voices of those sharing testimony including Cyvdaa the new member.
Wednesday night we met with our branch president to discuss the status of the branch. The biggest problem being that there just aren’t enough people to run a branch. We discussed callings and a plan of attack for the large less active list. Fortunately, we have an amazing branch president who sees more solutions than problems.
On Thursday we went out to contact less actives, but ended up teaching three lessons to new investigators. Upon the arrival to one of the less active members on our list we met a man who was visiting the family. When the conversation turned to the gospel, he displayed a significant understanding of Christianity which almost doesn’t exist in Mongolia. With his background we were able to discuss more in depth our loving Heavenly Father and the plan that he has outlined for us.
Friday’s plan was altered when the sisters called and asked us to visit a member who just moved into the ward. The family lives an hour bus ride and then a 3 kilometer walk through the woods away ( We passed the summer homes of the Mongolian well off and wow) . . . The family was amazing and excited to get involved in the ward and receive callings. On Sunday they were at church in their Sunday best and smiling. What a sacrifice it is for them to make the journey to church each week with 3 kids under 4 years old. After meeting we needed to get back to the church to prepare for the baptism. It might have been the highest attended baptism ever in Khilaast. We had half the branch come out and we had selected two amazing speakers. It was just a wonder peaceful happy event. Truly the happiest moments in life come in times where we are sharing or experiencing the blessing of the Gospel.
In an effort to make a great day not end (just kidding) I left the key in the house that morning. When we made the six flights up to our apartment that night and realized it, it was a bit of a bummer. The Assistants were unfortunately out of town in Darkan so the possibility of getting the key that night was out of the question. We showed up at Elder Wilson’s house and they graciously let us stay the night. Again, Elder Wilson - - Great Elder! I arranged with the Hunts (a senior couple) to get the key to the mission office early the next morning. Through a series of Jason Bourne like events we made our way into the bayahzurkh through the mission office door, into the supply closet after finding another key and into the key safe. Fortunately, the day wasn’t adversely affected in the least. As we taught 7 lessons, street contacted 3 people and collected 12 referrals. Record breaking day for our companionship.
On Sunday, Cybdaa (the new member) received the Gift of Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands and then during Fast and Testimony Meeting promptly got up and bore her testimony. Our next goal is to get the rest of her family baptized. Her mom and dad work all day but have shown relative interest in receiving the missionary discussions.
We broke our fast at 8:30 that night with none other than breakfast burritos. We made tortillas from a pizza dough recipe and you know the rest. Elder Bayartsogt was extremely impressed and I assured him that all the thanks goes to years of campouts with the Frontenac Ward.
It was a wonderful week to be a missionary and I’m excited to do it again this week. Also Elder C. Scott Grow of the Seventy is coming next week for an all mission conference which everyone is looking forward to. He spoke in the 2011 April conference. Also quite memorable by his name.
That’s it, that’s all!
Have a great week!