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

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