The close of this week leaves me with probably four more here in Khailaast. It’s hard to imagine that I would be staying for another transfer and the President may or may not have hinted at me moving on in our last interview after zone conference.
This week was pretty tense as some visa problems evolved that could have sent 4 American missionaries out of the country. On Tuesday district meeting was cancelled and the President held a special meeting for all of the missionaries in the city. It was amazing! He talked about the blessings that Mongolia has already received. He talked about the blessings that could come from the visa problem. If the problems are resolved, it could open more doors including sending more missionaries to the countryside. At one point during the meeting he read the blessing that Elder Holland gave to Mongolia exactly a year earlier. As he read, and Jiiguur the office secretary translated, they both began to cry which resulted in the tears flowing for about everyone in the room too. It was a tough week as we waited for more news. On Friday we found out that the 4 would not have to leave, but there hasn’t been much more news than that. From the meeting and interactions during the week my testimony has been strengthened that our mission president is called of God and receives revelation specifically for the problems the mission is facing. Despite the problems I’ve felt an unbelievable calm about the whole situation as the problems unfolded.
The middle of the week found us planting a thousand potatoes in a rainstorm. Elder Naef from my MTC group was there so we had a great time (the lady yelling the whole time about how his holes weren’t deep enough. lol)
We continued to meet with our new investigator, but his previous knowledge began to get in the way of us teaching him new truth. I thought of Dad talking to patients before surgeries. Sometimes patients will research things and poke around on the internet and as a result think they know everything about the situation as to what will be best. Just like that, instead of being able to use the Gospel to build on the knowledge that he already has, his knowledge has created a bit of barrier. Throughout our multiple visits this week I found that he would ask two kinds of questions. When he listened to what we had to say and tried to understand it would provoke questions of the soul that would almost always be answered by the next thing we were going to say. If he chose to be distracted from the foundational points of what we had to say, his questions would be scattered and focused on things of little importance and off topic. In any case, it’s been really fun to meet with him and his family this week They are such wonderful people.
Church was great on Sunday. Fast Sunday is always great because translating testimonies for the senior couples makes you feel fluent. Especially when the kids get up. Anyway, the Richardsons are great and they would be grateful if I only translated five words the whole meeting.
We had a sweet Jason Bourne experience this morning where my companion got taken by the police. But that’s a story for another time.
So we got our conference issues of the Ensign this week which, in the words of Elder Jolley "made it really hard to go to bed on time at night." If you haven't started in on your copy yet the second time is just as good as the first. Especially if you go at it with a couple of highlighters. Anyway I especially loved all that was said about families. On my mission I’ve been blessed to really never feel any sort of homesickness. Mostly because of how profoundly secure I feel in the love of my family and my love for them.
In remedy for strained and healthy relationships alike, Elder Packer and Elder Eyring both spoke on the subject. I especially loved the point that the ultimate end of all activity in the Church is to see a husband and his wife and their children happy at home, protected by the principles and laws of the gospel, sealed safely in the covenants of the everlasting priesthood. Husbands and wives should understand that their first calling—from which they will never be released—is to one another and then to their children. From Elder Packer’s talk and Elder Eyring’s the principles to a loving home: The best being to enlist the whole family and the need for love between all of the members of the family especially siblings. Man, I love my siblings!
I know families are ordained of God and I’m grateful to be a part of such a great one. Be grateful for your family this week; help a family member in need. Truly, in family relationships as Elder Uchtdorf said, love is spelled T-I-M-E.
Have a great week!
Editor's Note: The visa issue is a serious matter. Travis' visa expires in July. If it is not renewed he would have to leave a year early and be reassigned. Although he is happy to serve where ever he is asked, we know that he very strongly desires to remain in Mongolia. He truly loves the people there and everything about his experience. Please join us in continuing to pray that everything can be worked out. We believe strongly in the power of prayer and in the strength of numbers. Thanks for your prayers.