Monday, May 28, 2012


Well after an absolute blizzard on Monday, it’s warmed up quite a bit here in UB.  Although we are still grateful the President hasn’t told us to leave the jackets at home.

This week after giving many of our investigators to the sisters to teach, we set to work fixing the ward list and checking addresses. The back half of the week entailed zone conference and so wonderful service opportunities.

Our first service was to a less active member who had recently bought a 150 piece build it yourself cabinet set.  The trick being that there were no directions except for a picture of the finished project. With help from a neighbor we began working, and then proceeded to take apart and rebuild it multiple times.  In the end we built about a fourth of it before we gave up.  We were laughing at the ridiculousness of the situation most of the time. 

Thursday we planted a small orchard of chatsargana trees on someone’s yard.  Friday we carried 2000 liters of water up a hill with the help of some Elders in other districts.  Then the Sisters called and said they needed some help.  One of their investigators was moving their ger to a spot high on the side of a mountain.  Now obviously you can’t just plop your ger down on a 45 degree slope and live.  It requires digging out a platform from the side of the mountain.  With some handmade pickaxes we got the job done.  More water carrying finished the week.

Anyway, most importantly we met with some wonderful people this week the highlight coming yesterday.  Buried in a stack of notes on former investigators we found the name of a man who had met with the missionaries about a year ago.  As we made our plans for the week we decided to arrange to meet with him.  As we got to his house late Sunday night he greeted us warmly and ushered us in.  The first words to us were how grateful he was to see us and hear our message.  Probably the number one thing missionaries like to hear.  Next he told us that last time the missionaries had met with him he hadn’t been ready, but he felt he was prepared to hear our message now.  That’s probably number two.  As we started we began to ask him about in his belief in God.  When he finished telling us what he thought in his heart my companion paused, and said "the only thing wrong with your answer is that now there is nothing left for me to say."  We explained about the Savior, prophets, and the restoration.  He asked questions along the way that we were able to answer through the scriptures.  It couldn’t have been any better.  Then his son came in who is a 19 year old boy studying at a school in the city.  He immediately sat down and joined the discussion.  He asked questions about the purpose of life and we gave him a Plan of Salvation pamphlet before we left.  Closing off what I can assure you ranks as one of the greatest first visits of all time (not in anyway because of the missionaries, but because of the preparedness of the investigators) the wife came in from work.  We were about to say the closing prayer and she asked if we would wait a minute so that she could join us.  It took me so much by surprise that I was sure I had just understood her wrong.  But she quickly grabbed a chair and listened as her husband offered the first prayer in his life.  I'll never forget that visit.

Zone conference was what you would expect   .   .   .  a spiritual outpouring from truly inspired leaders.  The best part about zone conferences is always the practice.  It is amazing home much you can learn from watching someone teach and then directly applying what you learned in practice.  Truly, almost all quality learning comes in the doing. 

We also went as a zone to one of the largest puzzle museums in the world which was fascinating.   Sister Clark like my own mom said she only allowed us to go because it was an educational opportunity.  It was really cool and there were about a thousand gospel analogies that could be pulled from the tour.

Well I finished the Book of Mormon this week, wading though the destruction of the Jaredite people to get to the “gold” at the end of Moroni. 

I love the question posed by Moroni in chapter 7 verse 20.
20 And now, my brethren, how is it possible that ye can lay hold upon every good thing?

There is an abundance of good things in the world that we can choose to spend our time on.  So much so that even if we fill all our time with good works it may seem there just isn’t enough time in the day to include all that is good.

Moroni continues:
22 For behold, God knowing all things, being from everlasting to everlasting, behold, he sent angels to minister unto the children of men, to make manifest concerning the coming of Christ; and in Christ there should come every good thing.

Like a bottle that holds water, if we have the bottle it is possible to hold all of the water in our hand if we just hold onto the bottle.  If we don’t have the bottle we cannot come close to holding as much water in our hands.  The water is all good things and the bottle is Christ. 
If we hold onto Christ, it is possible to hold onto all good things through Christ.

25 Wherefore, by the ministering of angels, and by every word which proceeded forth out of the mouth of God, men began to exercise faith in Christ; and thus by faith, they did lay hold upon every good thing; and thus it was until the coming of Christ.

Indeed if we focus our faith in Christ we need not worry about missing out on any good thing or anything good.

I love you all,

Elder Neuberger

PS Congratulations to Mr. Kramer on retirement this past week.  Play a round of golf for me!

PPS Thanks to the South Carolina cousins for the great letter through dearelder this week.

And to Chrissy and Lauren for awesome handwritten letters!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Nothing As Constant As Change

Well, I guess it’s been two weeks for everyone except the family, so let’s catch up.
First, congrats to Kristi Lee and the class of 2012.  Graduation and all that accompanies it seemed to be quite the success.

Two young Buddhist monks/students
As for me, big changes occurred as well.  I’ll be staying in Khailaast for another 6 weeks....sweet.  But after 4 months (which at this point is about half my mission) Elder Bayartsogt and I have been split.  He's off to be the zone leader for a countryside area where he will be tremendous.  I can’t say enough about how fantastic of a companion and missionary he is.  This last week as we met with all sorts of members, new members, and investigators tears were shed by many as they found out he was leaving the area.  I knew it would be hard to see him go, but as we parted ways during our last companionship study I must confess my eyes were more than misty.  With friends left behind in the States you know you'll see them again, but it was definitely harder to say goodbye to a best friend you’re not sure how many more times you'll see in your lifetime.  Anyway, enough with the sad stuff.

All of the missionaries in our district are new to the area except for me which gave me the responsibility to introduce the new sisters and my new companion, Elder Naranbat, to the area.  Because Elder Quinton and Elder Reeve have been unable to work because of Elder Quinton’s leg, the area book given to the sisters was pretty much empty.  So this weekend we gave about half of our investigators to the sisters, including a few with baptismal dates.  So hopefully the sisters will get off to a fast start.  Which I’m sure they will because they are awesome.

My new companion is from the countryside which makes his accent a bit difficult to pick up at times.  He is super happy go lucky.  Loves to joke and loves to talk, which is awesome for language study.  Plus he is super serious about learning English which gives us another boost in the language department.  I’m not sure why I’ve been blessed with now three amazing companions in a row, but this six weeks should be as good as the last 6 months.  It’s been fun to take over sole responsibility of setting up appointments and planning as Elder Naranbat is still getting introduced to the area.  In the first two days together we have already been able to meet with 7 people and do some service.  What kind of service?   Gej uu?  Taking 1000 liters of water a quarter mile up a hill .  .  .  sore .  .  .  but a lot of fun.

My new companion is teaching my how to throat sing so we'll see how that goes.  (click here for an example)

With Elder Bayartsogt in front of the church
Coolest part of the week was when after 3 months of trying to contact a less active former branch president we finally met with him.  It was on Saturday, the first day with Elder Naranbat, and truly a blessing.  His family has been through the temple and has really only become less active because of his work.  He is a self employed DJ, who unfortunately is booked most often on Sundays.  But most importantly, his faith was still there.  We will meet with him and his family again this upcoming week and hopefully have them coming back to church as soon as we can.  Because of his fantastic knowledge of the area (former branch president), he can be an unbelievable help to us if he becomes active again.

We also picked up new investigators last night....A FAMILY!  Score!  Teaching families about the gospel is the greatest thing ever.  I hope we can set a baptism date on our next visit.  So even though there have been big changes, the work is still moving along in Khialaast.

Fun happenings of the week:
1. No power for church.  The big room (what do we call it in English?) has only two windows, so it was super dark and the speakers had to raise their voices a bit.  It made translating into English for the senior couple that much harder.  Imaging trying to translate quietly to half deaf people from what is being said by people mumbling in Mongolian.   Not the best combo.

2.  On our second to last night together Elder B and I got threatened at knife point by a drunken man.  Elder B, who I’ve never seen scared of anything, jumped back as the man approached in the dark, which freaked me out.  We booked it out of there and the effects of inebriation rendered our friend unable to overtake us.  The bus came just as we got to the stop and we made it home safe and sound.  And here’s the miracle:  Not two minutes before another bus had just passed.  Usually buses are spaced at least 15 minutes apart.  I’m grateful that the Lord looks out for his missionaries and all of His children.  

Look for the miracles in your life this week.  I promise they are there, though it may require us to refine our spiritual eyes a bit.  Be grateful for the little things and above all choose to be happy.  Every moment!

Have a great week!  BTW  Click on any photo to see all of them full screen.
Elder Neuberger
Final days with Elder Bayartsogt

Monday, May 7, 2012

Zuun Boloo

Dear Everyone,

Another great week as the weather really started to heat up (I think I was sweating  for the first time in 6 months without playing basketball).

Elder B and I are staring down the barrel at the end of another transfer.  Literally no clue what will happen, but we'll see at the end of the week.  I literally cannot believe its the end of another transfer.  With one American on his way home at the end of the transfer three more the next and five coming this way, the mission is set for some big changes in the coming months.  Either way it’s been a privilege to serve with Elder Bayartsogt and in Khailaast.  We've had opportunities to meet with such prepared people. 

This week while talking with one of our new members (Tsendayush) she told us that her school exams were coming up and that they would be on a Sunday.  “It’s okay,” she told us.  “I’m totally skipping my tests for church.”  After admiring her extreme faith we had to help her take a step back and realize that all things must be done in wisdom and order.  Although she should continue to pray for an opportunity to come to church, forfeiting her future may not be in her best interest.

Later in the week we continued to teach an 8 year old boy whose mom has been recently less active, but his grandparents are very active.  He has also been coming to church for a long time.  His grasp of gospel principles is amazing and also his desire to know and understand the doctrine.  He greatly exceeds my understanding at that age.  He will be baptized this week along with Ouynerdene who I talked a little bit about last week.  I’m grateful for the success we are having even going into the end of the transfer.  We also taught a few lessons outdoors this week due to the fact that summer temperatures along with the necessity to still use the coal stoves in small unventilated homes = way hot!  So a couple times we took chairs outside and made sure to sing the opening and closing prayer a little bit louder.

On Friday Elder Quinton (on crutches) and I taught an epic 8 and a half hours of English.  I taught four and a half in the morning and he did four hours that evening.   It was really cool to spend the day with a member of the MTC group and the 4 hours of extra personal study was great.  LAST ENGLISH CLASS TILL SEPTEMBER THIS WEDNESDAY!!!  It’s been fun teaching English, but being a legitimate full time missionary is way more fun.

Saturday's youth activities always seem to bring new investigators and this one proved no different. (Bring your friends to activities).

Fast Sundays are the best Sundays for language confidence because there is never anything you can’t understand.  Even greater is watching new members get up one by one and bear their testimonies of the gospel.

Lastly, while reading in Helaman this week I came along chapter 6 verse 30 which seems a bit dark at first

30 And behold, it is he who is the author of all sin. And behold, he doth carry on his works of darkness and secret murder, and doth hand down their plots, and their oaths, and their covenants, and their plans of awful wickedness, from generation to generation according as he can get hold upon the hearts of the children of men.

But remember the disclaimer according as he can get hold upon the hearts of the children of men.    DON’T build handholds or allow the devil to build handholds on your heart! Polish it daily with words of prophets both ancient and modern and allow God’s help through prayer.

YOU are ALL awesome and I’m so grateful for all of your support!
Because its Mother’s Day next week and I’ll be skypeing home,  next week’s letter will either be small or none existent.

Elder Neuberger