Today is my companion's birthday and we have a lot of activities planned, so this will have to be short and too the point!
So this past Friday, we had an all-day Service Project at the Bayanzurkh Building! We took everything out of this huge storage room, organized it, got rid of half of it, and put it all back in. It's weird to say this, but we had such a great time! Then right after that, we went home, got showered and headed over to the Chingeltei Building for Althmaa's baptism! We got there around 6 p.m. and the baptism was scheduled to start at 6:30. Pretty much no one was there except Elder Palmer and the sign language investigators. I was expecting a full house....thinking I am still in America. But that didn't matter! Anyway, I got changed into my white baptismal clothes and then Althmaa showed up! We took a lot of pictures, and got caught up because I haven't seen her in a month or so. Her mom came, which was so great! They just kept telling us "thank you, thank you!" It was the sweetest thing. You could just see the happiness on Althmaa's face. This has been a long time coming, and she was so ready! Soon after, the program started. Two of Althmaa's church member friends spoke and we sang a few hymns. By this point, I had the butterflies like crazy. I was so nervous, and I was just repeating the prayer in my head over and over again, in Mongolian, of course. Then I just told myself to relax and focus on the Spirit. The Spirit took over, needless to say, and I was ready to go. I asked her what her full name was (Mongolians' names are usually their Father's name followed by their name). I never knew her father's name, but all she answered was, "Althmaa." I asked a couple more times and I don't think she understood, and neither did I so I said, "Okay...Only Althmaa it is!" So we walked into the font, and I started and all I said was "Althmaa," then I was stopped. I was told to say her father's name too! So I asked her again what her father's name was and then she understood! So here we go again! Name and Prayer were flawless, but the dunk wasn't so flawless. The font was about mid-thigh level on me...so pretty low. So when I baptized her, her legs came out of the water! So here we go...try again! The second time it was great! Afterwards, she just looked at me and said, "Thank you!" We hurried and got changed and then she bore her testimony. It was such a great experience! My first baptism. Something I will never forget. I am so grateful to be here, and I am humbled to know that I was chosen by a Prophet of God to serve here. The Mongolian people are so great, and they are so strong and ready for the Gospel. You can see it in their eyes. They just shine with happiness, something you don't see in other people here. When you walk down the street you can tell who are members and who are not. It is obvious. They have something different.
Then on Saturday, we were supposed to have our other baptism, Ankhbayar, but he didn't show up. It was really sad. We haven't been able to get a hold of him since then either. Please pray for him, and for us. Maybe Heavenly Father has a different plan, who knows. We just have faith in good things to come. But Sister Ackley and Sister Sneddon had two baptisms in our branch this past Saturday! It was a great service, and we now have two new girls in Young Womens!
Also, my companion and I found two new investigators this week! Such sweet guys! Tseran-Chimed, who is 21, and Tugulthdor, who is 20. Tseran-Chimed is Chosen. It is so obvious. In about 3 days' time, I think he racked up about 20 hours at the church! He just loves it. Last night there was a Fireside at the Bayanzurkh Building on "The Work of Salvation." Tseran-Chimed came to church and stayed for all 3 hours, THEN waited there for an hour and a half while my comp and I went to give the sacrament to an old man in our branch who lives 35 minutes away, then he stayed for the 2 hour Fireside! He loved it all and had tons of questions about missionary work! I am just really excited about these two new investigators we have because our branch is in dire need of Melchizedek Priesthood-aged young men. More to come about them and their progress next week.
We also had Zone Conference this week. This is where we have a 7-hour training with all the missionaries in our Zone with President Benson. It was such a great time. Seriously such a spiritual high. We learned a lot of things, but the main focus was on not getting offended; not getting offended from church members, our family, and especially our companions. It was a really humbling experience and I definitely heard some things that I needed to hear to become a better disciple of Jesus Christ. Also, everyone in the Zone had a personal interview with President. President Benson is truly called of God to be a Mission President here in Mongolia. He's 35 years old and has the wisdom of a man who has been around forever. I really love that man. He knows exactly what we need and exactly what Mongolia needs.
I love this work. I love you guys. I gotta go. Basketball is calling!
Elder Harris, Elder Ulziibayar, and some other elder whose name we don't know!
Elder Harris and Elder Ulziibayar with Althmaa, after her baptism.
Elder Harris, Althmaa, Elder Ulziibayar. Elder Ulziibayar came for Althmaa's baptism!
Elder Harris, Althmaa, and Elders Ulziibayar and Baldandorj.