Well in the span off the last week it’s gone from just warm enough to play basketball last P-day to "my companion will lose an ear on the way to the bus stop if we don’t get him a hat today." Everything starts to go in slow motion as the weather gets colder. People don’t walk as fast; the traffic increases and the bus drivers start to drive with some sort of caution of the ever present black ice. Even the internet and power suffer as the cold causes frequent power outages. And then I think of the poor Elders in Brazil who would trade every sweat stained shirt they own for a day under 90 and then I’m extremely grateful to be in Mongolia!
Last week began with a great P-day where by shear happenstance all the missionaries ended up at the central building at the same time, plus the weather was over 32 degrees causing some impromptu white shirt and tie basketball. You would think the lack of basketball clothing would bring down the intensity level just a bit but I still managed to somehow lose a pocket and rip my pants. That evening we met with Erdenebat and our new member Nacantogtox which were both great and with me literally in charge of all the small talk it brought me closer to each of them. Erdenebat who has now gone over two weeks without a cigarette and is preparing to get baptized on the 23rd.
Tuesday morning after study we headed over to the church to get all of the Skype accounts prepared for the days district meeting. We also had a baptismal interview for one of the sisters’ investigators in Khovd. I was really hoping that we would get the Skype up and running and do the interview over Skype, but after 45 minutes we ended up calling it quits on internet failures and reverted to just using the phone. Which I felt would lose some of the personalness of the interview process also phone quality is such here that a lot of times Mongolians can’t understand what they are saying to each other on the phone. I was a bit nervous as I had her say the opening prayer and began the interview, but it became increasingly evident after the first couple of questions that this lady was golden. An investigator of over 3 years, her frequent trips to the countryside had sidetracked her plans to get baptized on several occasions. As I closed the interview I felt impressed to ask what the word testimony meant to her. Her response was not a definition out of a dictionary or something the sisters had told her, but a series of three experiences that had strengthened her testimony and brought her closer to the Savior. I could feel her excitement and love for the gospel and the Savior through the phone. It was a blessing to be a part of her baptismal interview.
The rest of the week went by really quick as Wednesday we taught lots of English and had meetings with our SWAT member and our new member Bayarbold. Thursday we had to get to the Bayanzurkh to fill out some baptismal forms and take back baptismal clothes and such. Do to the centimeter of snow that had fallen the traffic was crazy.
(I’m trying to write this letter and keep my mini-mission, non-Elder companion off YouTube . . . I’m losing haha).
Anyway Friday I had a split with Elder Quinton before leadership training at the Bayanzurkh. My sponsor was super excited to talk to a real live Las Vegas citizen. He asked some great questions and I sat back and listened for most of the lesson. Later at the meeting President gave some amazing advice and more than anything the man knows how to lift people up. (BTW being with your mission president is awesome!)
This weekend was stake conference which was amazing. The first two sessions on Saturday were at the Bayanzurkh building and the final session was at a huge auditorium in the middle of the city that held over 500 hundred with a large balcony. It was pretty much the Mongolian version of the Fox theatre in St. Louis. Our new members were in attendance and before I had the chance to sit next to them, members of the ward did. That is all except for Bayarbold who walked in, shook my hand and was then followed by 5 of his friends who he had brought to see the conference . . . awesome!
The conference was great and the choir was fantastic. President spoke on the importance of spiritual preparedness. He likened it unto selling cork. While it would be tough to sell 45 kg of cork to us right now, the value of the cork would greatly increase if we found ourselves drowning in the ocean. The point being that the cork can’t be bought in the ocean, only on the shore. And all though things like food storage and spiritual preparedness may seem unnecessary in times of plenty, if we haven’t invested early we won’t have them later.
Have a great week!