Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Naadaam in Choibalsan

Dear Family,

This week was pretty slow due to Naadam. In Choibalsan, we celebrated Naadam on July 24, 25, and 26th.  We only taught four lessons all week, because everyone's lives basically shut down for the whole week in preparation for Naadam….experiencing Naadam…then recovering from Naadam. 

The best way to describe Naadam for Americans is: It’s a 3-day long 4th of July!   It was crazy!  PEOPLE EVERYWHERE!  I swear, Choibalsan’s population shot up to like 20,000 during those 3 days. Throughout the 3 days of Naadam, we watched the Opening Ceremonies, wrestling, archery, finger archery, and went to the Choibalsan City Museum. Finger Archery is by far the coolest event, in my opinion. They flick these stones at targets like 20 feet away, and sing these crazy Mongolian songs.  I loved it!  I took a great video, but I can’t send it so you will have to wait another 17 months or so for that.  Anyway, it was really cool being in Choibalsan for Naadam. It is like being in small town America for the 4th.  So much Mongolian pride, traditional clothes, and HUUSHUUR!  Huushuur is a fried dumpling-thing with either beef or mutton inside it. All year long Mongolians eat huushuur, but Naadam huushuur is famous, they say.  It really was so much better then any other huushuur I have eaten here in Mongolia.  I had 4 huge ones, and I called it a day, haha!  Also we stayed really busy with dinner appointment after dinner appointment.  This was Elder Osorjamma’s last week.  I felt bad for him because his last week in the mission field was more or less one long party, with no missionary work.  But there was not much we could do about it. 

My companion flies out today at 6:00 p.m.   There will be a going away get-together for him and then dinner at the steak house!   I will miss him.  He is a great missionary and representative of the Savior.  After he leaves, I will be in a companionship of three for this coming next week until my new companion flies out here. Transfer Day is this Thursday, the 31st.  Who will my new companion be?  I do not know, but I do know that he will be Mongolian.  Also, I have no clue who the new Branch President will be (remember my last two companions have been the Branch President.  Will it be my companion?  Or another man in the Branch?  I’ll tell you all about it next week. 
Yesterday, I had my quarterly interview with President Benson via Skype. It was really great to talk with him.  He gave me tons of great insights on how to better myself, and how to do the Lord's work the way He wants it done. 

Regarding investigators, not much to tell you about right now, except that the 1st Counselor in our Branch Presidency and his wife have returned from the countryside after working there for 2 months and she is finally available for baptism!  This week we will be reviewing all the lessons and teaching her Lesson 5 from PMG (Preach my Gospel), because now all investigators must receive Lesson 5 before baptism. Before it was an after-baptism lesson. We hope to have her baptized on August 8th!  She is so golden, and she is ready to join her whole family as a member of the true church. Her name is Enkhtoya, so please pray that all will go well!   Also, our 9-year-old investigator's mother and father are coming along. The mother is about to give birth so we hope and pray that that will be a huge turning point towards God and His gospel for their family.  Please remember them in your prayers also. 

Gotta go.  I love you guys! 

Until next week,

Elder Harris

Our 9-year-old investigator, Hamolon, and her mother and father. Isn't she so cute?

Mongolian wrestlers. 

This is just part of the celebration.

These are judges who are judging an archery event.

Naadam in Choibalsan. Elder Sims and I are sporting our traditional Mongolian wear. These shirts are called "Del's".

I hear that Mongolia is world famous for their "huushuur", especially during Naadam. Huushuur is a fried meat pastry or dumpling that is filled with beef or mutton. 

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