Monday, June 3, 2013

Climb Every Mountain

Well we've already started this week off with a bang when after morning study six of us (Elders Boyd, Odd, Muldowney, Titensor, Robbins and myself) spent the morning and the early afternoon climbing the mountain that overlooks the south side of UB.  We all met at the bus stop at 10:45 and we summited by 1:00 and got back down by 2:00.  The greatest part was the incredible 60 to 70 mile/hour winds that we were climbing against near the top.  The view from the top was amazing with the whole city in front of us and forested mountains out the back.  We climbed down to a small clearing out of the wind where we pulled out the lunch we had packed.  Today was actually Elder Titensor's last P-day. His parents come in tomorrow and he flies out next Wednesday.  Took some great pictures and got down with plenty of time to write email and .  .  . wait for it .  .  .  Go to KFC!!!  Yes, it's arrived, the first American fast food chain in Mongolia.  Its been a topic of conversation for weeks in the city.  Probably similar to the Big Bob trips of Elders in Brazil 30 years ago.  We'll probably finish  up P-day with my sponsor who wants to take us shopping.  Not your typical missionary P-day activity, but considering that we were also able to go with my sponsor into the government building and take pictures this week as well, I'm going to count ours as not a typical mission as well.

The big news of the week here is also the transfer. For the first time in ten months I won't be training (still trying to get ready for that).  I'll definitely miss companionship study out of the "first 12 weeks missionary guide" that I have now finished 4 times, but I'm also excited to finish out my time with a native companion.  Elder Mainbayr, who is just a bit younger than me mission wise, is coming in from the countryside.  We'll being leading the zone for the next 11 weeks or so.  It scares me that I have less time left in Mongolia than I just spent with Elder Muldowney!  The zone leaders for the other city zone are Elders Neaf and Williams from my group.  Virtually everyone else is training. Should be a good week with the fireside on Thursday and all day zone training on Friday.  (Where I get to see Elder Osorjamaa!!! the countryside zone leader)
This last week Elder Muldowney and I set an epic goal to teach 20 lessons, a goal that's been just out of our reach due to a 17 hour a week English teaching schedule that we have been running. We came within a couple lessons of our goal, sidetracked only by a difficult Saturday where everyone was celebrating Children's Day and were less then available to meet with us.  However, that was also the day that we go out to Sanzai, the beautiful resting place 45 minutes out of the city.  By chance we ran into a few RM's on some lonely dirt road who informed us that all of Songino and Unur wards were up in the area for an activity.  Because we had to wait another 40 minutes for the bus anyway, we took a ride from them to the place where everybody was and got to say hi to everybody from my last area.  Including one of my new members Bayrbold who is still doing amazing.  A fun blessing!
This week was highlighted also by our first English speaking investigator.  Bumbayr, who lived in the US for 10 years when he was 6 years old, was a referral from another missionary and we were able to meet with him on Tuesday.  It was quite strange to hear a Mongolian use words like freeloader, pozer, and accomplice with perfect fluency.  We had a great lesson that wound up going over an hour and a half because of all the questions he had.  Get this: He lived in Oklahoma and drove through STL all the time in route to his mother's house who lived in Illinois.  Small world.  
Times ticking so I'll pick one of a thousand other amazing parts of the week.  Another lesson with our golden investigator, the friend of the branch president's wife, Naranchimeg.  We met at the branch president's house again and that was again the best decision ever. We all taught parts of the lesson and the testimonies of the members/friends of the investigator made all the difference.
We also spent Monday evening at the home of the past district president and gave a wonderful object lesson balancing 20 nails on one to talk about families.  Go back and read Elder Perry's talk from two conferences ago about families and rethink what it means to be a member of one and your own duty.  Hint: Its not about the flowers or the extraordinary efforts, but the small everyday things that are too often seen as to unimportant to worry about.  
What a great week and only signs of another good one in the future.
Stay safe and far from tornadoes please,
Elder Neuberger

Editor's Noted: Photos shamelessly lifted from Elder Farmer's blog

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