Monday, March 24, 2014

What a week!

Hello Family

I trust that all is well, and everyone is safe and sound there in Henderson. Thank you for all the pictures I have received from you guys this week!  Looks like you are all having a great time with everyone in town!  If you go out and eat anywhere, eat at Taco El Gordo for me, okay?

So as I am sure you have been wondering, my companion, Elder Ulziibayar, went home with his family last Tuesday.  It was really sad for  him and me.  You could tell it was really tearing him apart.  All and all, I think he made the right decision for him.   President Benson met with me right after he left and told me that he will be back soon.  Apparently, his father's health is on the mend!  What a blessing!  He and his family are now all going back to the countryside to help his father rehabilitate back home.  That was great news!  Elder Ulziibayar said that when his father is walking again, he will be back!   Please pray for him and his family in this hard time.

Well this week has been quite different but I am very pleased with the changes that have happened with me.  With my companion's departure, I was with the AP's (Assistant to the President)  starting last Tuesday.  It was a kinda difficult trying to juggle the Assistants' schedule with mine, but it all worked out in the end.  They were great!   So with almost no notice, I "moved" into their apartment, and started working with them.  The down side was that I was now in THEIR area, so MY area kinda got neglected all week.  But Heavenly Father knows the situation and he proved it in my absence.  The funny thing is.....from Tuesday to Friday, I had to wear the same clothes.  I had to improvise for a tooth brush, and I had no razor to shave.  So Thursday when Zone Training came around, I definitely got some puzzled looks as everyone saw me with three days of scruff growing in.  Oh well, it is all part of the experience, right?

As you can imagine, the dynamics of this week were very different.  Sunday morning I received my short-term companion.   He will be my companion until this Thursday when we have a "mini-transfer day" and I get a new companion   My short-term companion's name is Myagmardorj!   He is a 27-year old RM (returned missionary) who served 2 years ago here in Mongolia!  He served with my MTC teachers!   The Mission office just called him up and he headed down here Sunday morning to be my companion for the week!   Pretty cool, huh?   He is a great guy, but his English is VERY LIMITED.   I was pretty nervous.  I didn't know what it would be like and if I would even be able to communicate with him, but when I met him, he immediately showed love for me and understood that I was just a new missionary that had poor Mongolian language skills.  It was very comforting that he was willing to help me and that he was ready to work.  I sat down with him, explained the work that needed to be done this week in the area and we got to work.  He gave me the responsibility of talking on the phone, conducting every lesson, and of calling our investigators and making appointments.  It is hard, lemme tell you, but I can do it.  I know the Lord is right there with us and He is personally helping me.  It is extremely difficult being the only companion that knows our area, but getting thrown into the fire is the best way to learn, right?   We got lost yesterday and we took a few wrong buses, but I am learning.  Like conversion to the Gospel, it is an on-going process!   I'll keep you updated on all this.

We taught three lessons yesterday together, and everything went great!  I'm so grateful to have this Brother as my companion to help me out in the Area for the week.  He straight up told me from the beginning, "You are going to speak Mongolian, okay?"  I was pretty nervous, but it is incredible how much Mongolian I really DO know when I am forced to communicate only in Mongolian.  All I have to do is just put myself out there and I have been able to explain everything I need to say.  Truly a gift from the Holy Ghost.  Sometimes I sit back and think how far I've come in only three  months.  I went from not knowing any Mongolian to being able to express myself enough to get by, and most importantly teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It truly is a blessing, and something I wouldn't be able to do without the hand of God in this work. 

This week I really had my testimony of prayer strengthened.  All week long I felt like my investigator, Brother Bimbaa, was getting neglected.  We really had a hard time meeting with him because of conflicting schedules.  All week I prayed and prayed that he wouldn't forget our message, and that he would keep on doing the things we asked him to do.  As of now he is the closest investigator we have towards baptism, and I was just really nervous that without us at his house every other night like we had been, he would forget our message and stop progressing.  Well Saturday night I called him to remind him of church and to my surprise he asked, "I want to know if there are other activities at the church?"  I didn't really think much of it, but I told him we had Institute (religion classes) on Tuesday nights and explained a little more about it.  After we hung up, it hit me!  Holy cow!  He wants to know what else he can do to participate in church!   I haven't met with him all week, and he obviously had been thinking about this without our encouragement!  Then we met with hum on Sunday and he asked more questions about Institute and told us that he would be there on Tuesday.  My prayers were heard and answered.  I know Heavenly Father's hand is in this work.   It is so evident with experiences I have like this. 

This week I also went on "splits" with Elder Odd.   He is such a stud and probably my best bud out here on the mission so far.   He is from Cache Valley, UT (an American, of course), and has been here for a year.  He went to Utah State before his mission and also was valedictorian.  Besides the valedictorian thing, we have tons in common!   He teaches English to a woman who is the Second Chair in the Democratic Party here in the Mongolian Parliament.  So he is a pretty big deal.   I was with him while we taught her English this week and what an experience it was!  We were in her sweet office and we sat at this big conference table.  She has really good English skills so we just conversed for an hour or so.  Before our meeting with her, she had just come from a personal meeting with the Prime Minister of England, and she told us all about it!  It was crazy!  Then she asked Elder Odd and I, "As foreigners, and Americans, what have you noticed about Mongolia that you don't like, that we can change to become a better country?"  Well we were shocked to be asked this.  We are just two 20 year old kids.... Haha!  So we just told her that the traffic is terrible and maybe that could be fixed.  It was such a cool experience. 

Also this week, I started teaching English!  I teach a 17-year old girl and her 11-yr old cousin in their house.  Like I've said, my Sponsor is a member of the church and is pretty much famous.  She goes by the nickname "Ukraine Nara."  She served her mission in the Ukraine like 8 years ago, when she was in her 30's.  She is so awesome!  These two young girls that I teach are her little "doe's."  That is what Mongolians call younger family members.   They are not members of the church, but we have been given permission to teach them English AND the Gospel!  Like a 1 - 2 Punch!  I am so excited!   At one of our meetings, Sister Nara gave me a drink called "Arts."   It is literally the worst thing ever invented.   It is pretty much boiling hot, moldy milk curds.  It looks and smells like the worst throw up that could come from a baby.  Well, like a good sport, I took about 4 gulps and then I tapped-out.   She just laughed at me and then gave me some hot water to wash it down.  I never will get used to that drink.  Don't worry though, I am going to figure out how to make it so I can make and share it with you guys in two years when I get home!  HaHa

My language is coming along great!  This week I have seen a huge improvement in my understanding and comprehension when I talk to people.  I have had a few full 3-5 minute conversations with people this week all in Mongolian, and we both understand each other.  It is AWESOME!  I don't understand everything they say, but enough to continue conversing!  Something I know I would not be able to do without God's hand in this work.

I love you guys.  Stay safe in the sunny city of Henderson.  The weather is getting great here!  No more jacket!  Just suit and tie!  I love it!

-Kick & Stroke-


Elder Harris

Me just chilling in the church lobby. 

This is me with the lady from the Parliament. 

This is one of the girls that I am teaching English to. She's my sponsor's relative. We've also been given permission to teach her and her cousin the Gospel. 

"Meat" being sold out of the back of a van!! Can you believe it?

My short-term companion for the week. His name is Myagmardorj. 
He's a great guy.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like your son is getting along well in UB! Thanks for sharing -