I think being on a mission and mingling among those from every kind of background has opened my eyes for the inestimable worth of good fathers. Not that a loving mother isn't just as important, but it seems that they are somehow much easier to come by. Mothers seem more willing or able to be good mothers. But a good father, one willing to sacrifice for their family and put off their own desires for others, are as Elder D. Todd Christopherson describe in conference, they run at a premium.
Our mission has added a new key indicator in the numbers we make goals for every week. It tracks the total number of people we meet who are over 18 years of age and who are eligible for or have received the priesthood. Not only are strong fathers necessary for keeping their families rooted in the gospel, but they are also a major statistic as to whether or not any given location is ready to receive a temple. One in every 18 or so active members must be an active, worthy Melchizedek priesthood holder. This week we found ourselves meeting with fathers from both sides of the spectrum. There are several fathers on our investigator board who's families have shown the faith to be baptized, who have gained testimonies and know the church is true but can't quite kick an addiction thus keeping their families from being sealed for eternity. Now with that in mind there are several other fathers within the boundaries of Sukhbaatar, members and non, who lead their families unselfishly in the best way they can. Who work long hours at low pay to keep food on the table. In all of this, it would not however take much of a social scientist or survey team to find out quickly that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the greatest help to building the foundations of strong families. Not that there are no other ways to strengthen family relationships and find happiness, but for tried, tested and foolproof there's simply no better way...Which simply increases my gratitude for the special home that I was lucky enough to be raised in, supported and surrounded by gospel principles and lead by an amazing father.
This quote from this month's Liahona about sums it up:
“When we have sampled much and have wandered far and have seen how fleeting and sometimes superficial a lot of the world is, our gratitude grows for the privilege of being part of something we can count on—home and family and the loyalty of loved ones. We come to know what it means to be bound together by duty, by respect, by belonging. We learn that nothing can fully take the place of the blessed relationship of family life."
We had a great week this week with lots of meetings with investigators, a run to the Zakh and soccer in the mornings (4on 4 my MTC group vs.) We are looking forward to Naranchimeg's baptism on the 28th. I ran into a new member from Songino on Thursday at a random bus stop. He stopped me and we were able to exchange a few words before jumping on the bus. He told me how he had graduated from seminary and thought he might see me when he got his diploma at the main building. He then told me about the upcoming trek for the youth and how excited he is for that. It really is a happiness you can't describe when you see others that you had the chance to help in some small way, growing and developing in the gospel.
I can't believe that Scott is home (what a great guy). Although the pictures from the airport did bring me to the stark reality that I will no longer be average height anymore come September... Everything else sounds great from all of you back home. Give your dad a hug!