Sunday, July 15, 2012

Nadaam. My 1st, Their 91st

Saikhan Naadsan uu?   Bi ch gesen 

Opening ceremonies for Nadaam
So the week started off with a bang as we attended a family home evening put on by President Clark's family and some others on Monday night.  They were all in town for Nadaam and played instruments and sang. Also a local church member came and played the horse head fiddle which was gorgeous.  Unfortunately,  the video I took is way too long to send. All of the missionaries went as well as all the church members from my first area, so I was able to see a lot of friends again.

Tuesday brought district meeting and Elder Robbins’ English teaching.  Although we didn’t teach his student, I was able to talk to his brother about the economy, elections, some crazy dream he had, and speeding tickets in America for an hour and a half.  (heads up everyone - that was all in Mongolian haha). That night we began checking addresses and found some great members before they headed to the countryside with the entire city for Nadaam.

The wrestling event
Wednesday began Nadaam which pretty much puts everything on hold for the next three days. The city just shuts down, mostly cause everyone leaves for the countryside.  Nadaam is pretty much like the Olympics for Mongolians and another big holiday mixed together. It’s three days of wrestling, horse racing, and archery.  It all gets started with a giant opening ceremony at the stadium. Elder Robbins and I got invited by his sponsor to attend it (score one for English teaching). So we woke up and then headed down to the stadium at 11. It was about two hours of dancing, singing, and culture. The president of Mongolia came and opened the games. The whole thing was spectacular and we even watched some wrestling for a while.  

After the opening we walked through the city of tents that were selling khuushuur.  While buuz is the food of Tsagan Sar, khuushuur dominates Nadaam.  We ate our fill and started heading back into the main city when we ran into a group of other missionaries. We spent the next couple of hours with them and went to the main square in the middle of the city. When that was over Elders Quinton, Boyd, Williams, Woodward and our companionship decided it was time to make our own khuushuur so we did varying the traditional recipe of mutton and onions to chicken and hot wing sauce. Great khuushuur!

The next day was a planned trip for all the missionaries who are in the city.  We took a two hour bus outside the city with the senior couples  to a kind of campsite.  It was right next to a river, with a giant field and mountains surrounding it.  In summary, gorgeous! Unfortunately my camera was dead so I'm working on getting the pictures from other missionaries on that. We spent an hour playing soccer and then Elder Boyd and I converted that to some ultimate Frisbee which took some explaining to the Mongolians ("No, you don’t throw it like a baseball"), but it turned out great. We also ate kharkhug which is a whole sheep boiled in a giant 30 gallon drum over a fire with carrots and vegetables to taste.  And what would a Mongolian holiday be without a little mare’s milk…not gonna say it's my favorite.  Sidenote: the senior couple the Farmers from St Louis came this week and he was wearing a Cardinals’ shirt .  .  . Cardinal nation still exists!

After all that it was back to the "white wash" of the new area. Since  Friday was also Nadaam we struggled to find people actually at home, but by the end of the day we were able to find a less active man who lives with his family as the only member of the church. He was ecstatic to see us and spent time showing us all his pictures and sharing his testimony with us.  It was neat just to be able to give someone the attention they deserve as a child of God. That’s how it’s been this week. We’ve walked into almost every house not knowing at all what to expect and have come out with smiles almost every time. 

Saturday night I called everyone on all of our new member, less active, and investigator boards in the newest invented missionary game “Saturday night sumd yvakh  showdown." The white wash will surely take you out of your comfort zone that’s for sure. It’s way hard and way exciting at the same time. On Sunday we were lucky to have an RM show us some houses and teach us the area.

It’s been a great week!

Elder Neuberger 

The MTC group. Final P-day event before the departures of Elder Neaf and Elder Call
Caught in the rain

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