Great week as the weather warms up here in UB.
Dad wanted to know about my MTC district, so here’s the update on people from my group:
Elder Boyd is with Elder Woodward in Chingeltei, that’s the area right next to mine and they meet in the same church building.
Elder Stranski is companions with the only other Mongolian elder in our church building...fun
Elder Neaf who is on crutches for the last three weeks and still going (unfortunately unable to work) has been bouncing around with a couple of companions.
Elder Williams is with Elder Verdusco, an American who is in his last 8 months.
Elder Call is in Bayanzurkh.
Elder Lloyd is with Elder Haas who is another older American elder in Suchbataar.
Elder Quinton (also crippled at the moment) is with Elder Reeve which means that he has served with three of the four oldest Americans and the only Elder to not have had a Mongolian companion. Strange ith daa.
Anyway . . . This week we had a wonderful baptism of an 11 year old boy, Sharxuu, whose understanding of the gospel and the lessons we taught was only overshadowed by the testimony he gave after his baptism. Because both of people assigned to give talks bailed at the last second, I and another church member filled in. Five minutes before the service began I was frantically preparing a 7 minute talk on baptism. Luckily, it’s pretty much what missionaries do everyday, so it wasn’t that bad. He was baptized by his neighbor and uncle who got back from the temple in Hong Kong on Tuesday. They went with their whole family (two kids ages 3 and 1) and were sealed for time and eternity. It was amazing to meet with them this week and see their renewed sense of focus on the things that matter most. It was a testimony of the need to get new members to the temple. They were practically glowing as they talked about the two week adventure to Hong Kong. Because it’s cheapest, the group (two groups go together each year) takes a train which takes about three days both ways. Worth every minute they said.
Took a moment on Saturday night to cheer for Dad as his race started. dijgwee shuu!
We spent some time with a part member family this week. The daughters are members of the Church and the mother is not, as is the case with so many in Mongolia. The youth are extremely strong here. Elder Bayarstogt, who comes from the same scenario, lit up the tiny room with his testimony of the power of families in the church. There was a tangible spirit as the daughter through tears shared her testimony of the restored gospel.
Lastly, Sunday was branch conference, two hours of Sacrament Meeting and then a third hour Priesthood and Relief Society meeting. Because all the adults met together the third hour, Elder B and I were left with 17 screaming children and an impromptu primary lesson. We only lost one kid lol. Nursery teacher is hard work, but harder when kids are screaming in a different language. Great experience!
This week I studied up on prayer in an effort to improve my personal prayers and avoid the repetition and normality that can come due to the number of prayers missionaries say every day. I figured the best place to start was one of the greatest examples. I noted that the brother of Jared in the Book of Mormon illustrates the key points applicable to any prayer.
1 And it came to pass that the brother of Jared, (now the number of the vessels which had been prepared was eight) went forth unto the mount, which they called the mount Shelem, because of its exceeding height, and did molten out of a rock sixteen small stones; and they were white and clear, even as transparent glass; and he did carry them in his hands upon the top of the mount, and cried again unto the Lord, saying:
2 O Lord, thou hast said that we must be encompassed about by the floods. Now behold, O Lord, and do not be angry with thy servant because of his weakness before thee (1. Humble); for we know that thou art holy and dwellest in the heavens, and that we are unworthy before thee; because of the fall our natures have become evil continually; nevertheless, O Lord, thou hast given us a commandment that we must call upon thee (2. Obedient), that from thee we may receive according to our desires.
3 Behold, O Lord, thou hast smitten us because of our iniquity, and hast driven us forth, and for these many years we have been in the wilderness; nevertheless, thou hast been merciful unto us. (3. Grateful in the face of affliction) O Lord, look upon me in pity, and turn away thine anger from this thy people, and suffer not that they shall go forth across this raging deep in darkness; (4. Prayed for the benefit of others) but behold these things which I have molten out of the rock. (5. He had done his part before going to the Lord for help)
4 And I know, O Lord, that thou hast all power, and can do whatsoever thou wilt for the benefit of man; therefore touch these stones, O Lord, with thy finger, and prepare them that they may shine forth in darkness; and they shall shine forth unto us in the vessels which we have prepared, that we may have light while we shall cross the sea.
5 Behold, O Lord, thou canst do this. We know that thou art able to show forth great power, which looks small unto the understanding of men. (6. Exercised exceedingly great faith)
And what was the result of applying these six simple principles in his prayer?
6 And it came to pass that when the brother of Jared had said these words, behold, the Lord stretched forth his hand and touched the stones one by one with his finger. And the veil was taken from off the eyes of the brother of Jared, and he saw the finger of the Lord; and it was as the finger of a man, like unto flesh and blood; and the brother of Jared fell down before the Lord, for he was struck with fear.
These principles are not complex, but they allowed the brother of Jared to see through the veil. As we pray daily I hope that we too pray with such diligence and faith that the veil cannot hold us back.
Have a wonderful week,