Monday, April 28, 2014

Transferred Way East to Choibalsan

Dear Family,

So this week was full of surprises. At the beginning of the week two of our investigators, Tsalthmon and Ankhbayar, dropped us.That was two pretty big bummers, but Heavenly Father must have a different plan.

Alright, well I am just going to cut to the chase. So President Benson called us on Thursday, and asked us to come in for a meeting with him.  I always have that, "Oooooooohhh, Marc got called to the Office" feeling, as if I did something bad back in high school.  The walk down to the church is always very long and my mind couldn't stop thinking about what this could be about.   "Am I in trouble?"  "Can't be, I am being obedient." "WHAT IN THE WORLD IS THIS ABOUT?"  Anyways, I arrive and President calls me in.  He says, "Have a seat," ... I sit down... "Pack your bags, you are going to Choibalsan."  I was in shock, and I repeated back to him what he had just said to me to make sure I was hearing right.  He said, "You will fly out Saturday."

So here is the low down.  From what the AP's (Assistants to the President) told me and other Mongolians, I'm the first American elder in Choibalsan in about 3 years.   So I am dang lucky and so humbled to be here.  Next, my companion and I are the only missionaries here. My companion is Elder Khash-Erdene, and the crazy thing is, he is the Branch President!  He is a 24-year old elder from Darkhan.  He is a stud and a great missionary.   He is fluent in Mongolian (obviously), English, Swedish, and Russian.  He lived in Sweden for 3 years with his brother and attended a university there.

Choibalsan is the farthest place EAST that missionaries go here in Mongolia.  It is 410 miles east of Ulaanbaatar and about 20 miles from the China border, give or take, and a little over 10 hours away if we traveled by car.  It is the capital of the Dornod Province and the population is about  40,000.   Choibalsan actually has about 100 members who attend Sacrament Meeting each week, I hear.  This place is the flattest place on earth.  Literally!  No mountains, no trees, just 360 degrees of straight horizon. I included a couple pictures of it below.  You can Google it and see what I'm talking about.  The weather here is great too!

Back to my shock and awe....President Benson told me that my English sponsor approved this move, but now I need a sponsor here in Choibalsan. They are working really hard to find me one, but if they can't, I will return to UB in two weeks.  But President did say not to worry about it and that he truly thinks they will find me a new sponsor here. So pray for me!  Next he said that I just have to stay low key for a while. There are no Americans here, so he told me that there is absolutely no street contacting.  Also I cannot wear a suit, only on Sundays to church.  It would just look too out-of-place.

So I left for Choibalsan Saturday morning via plane. That was fun!  No scenery though, just desolate Mongolian land.  I flew with the Mission Clerk, Onon, and President Benson's 1st counselor and wife.  The flight was about an hour and a half, and pretty smooth.  No complaints.   Sunday, I was called by President Benson and was sustained in Sacrament meeting as the Ward Clerk. Yup, I have been in Mongolia for two and a half months, I'm not very fluent in the language and now I work the MLS program on the Church Mongolian, not English.  I feel pretty deep in over my head, and I don't know exactly why I was called to be here and also as the Ward Clerk, but I am grateful and I am ready to serve.  I know the Lord knows me and is helping me here in this calling.  President Benson said that I was called  here to support and sustain the Branch here. Our main focus is to reactivate the inactive and support the active members. Also, I teach Seminary every morning from 6:30 to 7:30, and we also are in charge of the Family Home Evening program every Monday evening at the church, Mutual on Wednesday evenings, Friday Firesides, and also we teach the Institute classes.

I am truly blessed and grateful for God's plan for me.   Gotta go.......

I love you guys,

Elder Harris

Before my transfer to Choibalsan, here is my companion and I in the
Bayanzurkh Branch.

I'm here.  I just arrived in Choibalsan. 

The land is flat as can be. 

My companion, Elder Khash-Erdene, and I at Elder Zina's family's home! (He's the elder from Mongolia that I met and was friends with in the MTC. 

Choibalsan has a new church building. This picture belongs to another blog. 

1 comment:

  1. Well, alrighty then! I guess our boys are both in for the ride of their lives! We are always praying for Elder Harris! He'll do great.