So this week has brought some pretty crazy news! My companion and I have been transferred! After only 3 weeks in Khailaast, we have been transferred to the Bayanzurkh Branch! So we are now meeting at the main church building where the mission home is! Honestly, I was pretty sad to leave our area because I loved teaching the investigators we had found there, but I am so excited for this new area too! The Assistants were serving in this area, but they were transferred so we took their place. So at the end of March we will move into their apartment! It is so nice. It is on the 9th floor of an apartment building, and it has an incredible view of the city! I can't wait! We went out with the Assistants on Saturday to get the "down low" about our new area. Our area is pretty much the biggest area in UB. If you want to look it up on the map, we cover Khoroo (micro district) 8, 9,16,17,19, then all the way out to a place called Khonkhor. From what the Assistants said, it is the closest to the countryside you can get while in the city. The area is HUGE though! We will end up spending like three times the amount of bus money a day than we used to in our previous area. The bus fees are more expensive here. The cool thing is, my new District has Sister Ackley and her companion in it (remember, she's my friend from Snow College). Kinda weird we went from Ephraim, Utah, all the way to Mongolia, and we are in the same District. This new area is so ready for the work! In our previous area we only had three progressing investigators, and now in this new area we have 14! The Assistants did some serious work before we got there! I hope for many successes in this area, and hopefully I don't get transferred again here soon!
This Saturday we met with an investigator named Bimbaa. We went into his ger, and it had no electricity, so we taught about the restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith, by candle light! It was so cool! I couldn't help but think of that picture of Joseph Smith as a boy reading the scriptures by candle light! I really love teaching about the Restoration of the Gospel because #1 - It is the single most important thing that has ever happened in the History of the World, #2 - there is nothing quite like the Spirit you feel while teaching about it, and #3 - I have finally memorized the First Vision in Mongolian so I feel comfortable teaching that lesson with no holes in the lesson! Then on Sunday, Bimbaa came to all three hours of church! In Priesthood Meeting I looked over at him, and he was leaning forward so engaged with what the teacher was teaching. You could just see the happiness written on his face! That was really my first experience with seeing the Spirit really touching an investigator. It was so evident, and I can't wait to keep teaching him!
Good Stories of the Week:
1. Yes family, this week I have eaten horse, and honestly you would never tell the difference between that and beef.
2. This week I also ate sheep again. It really isn't bad. I just have a rule for myself to try everything that is on the table, so it had to be done.
3. Yesterday in Fast and Testimony meeting, a man who appeared to be drunk walked in about 30 minutes late, plopped down on the back row, took his jacket off, then walked to the front and sat up on the stand and proceeded to talk really loud to a man who was about to bear his testimony. Everyone was staring, it was just crazy! Then he walked up and went to the pulpit, and started to bear a testimony I guess. He was pretty much yelling into the microphone, and everyone was just looking around wondering if someone was going to do something. Turns out, he is a member, and he was bearing a testimony about how God saved his life. Then after Sacrament meeting he walked up to me and put his face right up in mine, I mean nearly nose to nose, and said something I couldn't understand. All I could think about was the alcohol I could smell on his breath as he breathed right in my face! Then he took my copy of the new Ensign and walked out! Another Day in the Life. I suppose he needed to be here for a reason and he needed my Ensign magazine more than I did.
So I want to share a little insight I had this week. Last Tuesday, the Branch President asked us to come to his house. He told us he had a family he wanted us to visit. He pointed to their house, and it was the highest house on the snow covered mountain across from his side of the mountain, so we went. It took us about a good 30 minutes to get up to it. We knocked on the door at about 8 p.m, and a teenager came to the door. He had no clue who we were looking for and he couldn't help us one bit. So I am thinking, "We came all the way up this mountain for nothing. I am cold, I am tired. Why?!" So we both were kind of distraught, but since we were like 5 minutes from the top of the mountain, we decided to take a hike up the mountain to take another road to come down the mountain. So we hiked some more, and then we stopped. The view was incredible. Here we are in Mongolia, after going to a house where the person we needed to see didn't even exist, on top of a snow covered mountain (or as Stevie Nicks would call it, "A snow covered hill"). So we just took in the view for a bit and talked about what we were going to do. I sat there thinking to myself, "Man this is rough, we have no one to meet with, and everyone always seems to cancel on us. What am I doing wrong? Why is this so hard?" Well during all my discouraging thoughts, I had a thought that came to me. Elder Harris, this is the Lord's work. He sees how hard you guys are working! He knows you need help. You are not doing all of the hiking, and walking for nothing. If you aren't helping others to come unto Christ at least you are helping yourself and your companion. Then I just had a feeling of accomplishment! I honestly felt okay with how things are going. I am working hard, the Lord sees that. Also one of those cheesy Bronco Mendenhall speeches came to mind. "Enjoy the view... The view is always better from the top." I can't believe I just quoted Bronco.....But that really made sense to me at that time. I kind of compared it to life. The hike is our travels, trials, failures, and successes through life. Then the top of the mountain, where we finally get to rest is finally receiving eternal life and living with our Father in Heaven and His Son Jesus Christ. Like in Alma 34:40-41, I look forward for that day when we as a family reach the top of the mountain, and we can finally let go of all the trials that it took to get there.
I continue to see changes in myself everyday, sometimes little, and sometimes big. Either way, I can feel and see myself becoming the type of missionary I want to be, and the type my Father in Heaven wants me to be. It is hard, but I have had a few experiences this week where I come home, plop on the couch before we plan for the next day, and I just feel content and pleased with myself and the work that my companion and I have done that day.
I have a testimony of this work. I love my calling. I love my Savior. I am a missionary of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I love you all,
Meeting a family in our branch.
This is my new area. My companion and I have been transferred to Bayanzurkh.
Just cooking up a little lunch.
Going out to meet with our investigators. It was a very cold evening!
This is the market where we buy our meat.
All the American missionaries in Mongolia.