Tuesday, September 30, 2014

My 21st Birthday in the Mission Field

Хайрт Гэр Бүл Минь (My Loving Family),

So the day has come.  I'm 21 years old!  I will quote the words of a dear friend that I received this morning, "I would like to officially welcome you to the elite class of those who can buy alcohol, handguns, and carry concealed weapons!"  Yes, that day has come, but, uh, no!  More importantly, the time has come that I have the opportunity to serve my Savior, Jesus Christ.  Миний Дуудлага Ямар Агуу Юм Бэ! 

The work is great here is Choibalsan.  Slow but great.  Finding people to teach has been tough this week. We are down to few investigators, and only a few of those truly have a desire to learn.  We have received some great referrals, but they always seem to fall through.  Being a District Leader is a good time, and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve in this way, and to help others, and to sanctify myself.   Nothing more really to say this week, but Mom rest be assured, today I will be having a nice birthday party at Sister Оюун Эрдэнэ's home, and tomorrow night as well, at Sister Bolor Erdene's home!   It will be a birthday to remember!  But before I go, I would like to make this email a little more interesting for you.  Here are five things that are just...well....."MONGOLIA."

1. The #1 occupation in Mongolia is a Taxi Driver. Why?  Because everyone that has a car is a Taxi Driver. There are not really any "real" taxis here.  You just stand on the road with your hand out, and if someone stops (which they always do within seconds), you hop in and they take you where you need to go!  One km is about the equivalence of 50 cents, so it is dang cheap. 
2. In one week's time, if you have running water in your apartment for more then 3 days, count it as a blessing. If within those three days, there is slightly hot water, count it as a tender mercy.  Also, within those three days, if the water coming out is not muddy, count it as a MIRACLE!
3. Leftovers do not exist in Mongolia.  Sorry mom.  Your  "Make a huge casserole on Sunday, and eat it all week," would never fly.  If you don't finish the food when it is made, it goes straight in the can. 
4. Mongolians tend to believe that an American can't cook, wash clothes, clean, or do many other simple chores like that.   When they ask and you say, "Of course I can clean," they have a puzzled look and just blow it off, acting like they didn't understand you, when in reality, they understood, but think you are full of it.
5. When you go into someone's home, they ALWAYS, not just some people, but EVERYONE, give you a bowl of candy, or bread of some sort, and a cup of boiling hot water.  If they don't have it ready, they panic, and hurry and find something to make up for it.  It is the sweetest thing ever, and they are truly such hospitable people.  Poor, or even poorer, they all do it. 

I'd like to close with the Lord's words to Enoch, "Lift up your heart, and be glad, and look." (Moses 7:44)  This struck me so hard.....especially, "and look."  I learned that if I just look at the Tender Mercies of the Lord that are around me every day, if I look towards the Lord in all that I do, if I look at my companion and district with love and charity, all will be okay, and I will be happy disciple of Christ.   Let's all have a great week.  Be glad, and look!

Love you all,
Elder Harris

Pushing the little "Wolf Pack" around!  They love me so much.  
They are super cute, right?

Visiting a family in our Branch.

Great family! They have the cutest kids. 

Mongolian day to day life.

A little 1st grader with a princess on her shirt! I am trying to learn all the princesses names in Mongolian for the girls!

District meeting. My comp and I with Sisters Tseverlmaa and Munkhnasan. 


My favorite food here! Tsouvan!

Matt asked to see the our Church building.  This is, of course, the Chapel with all the chairs stacked up. It doubles as the Cultural Hall.    

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Our Mission Conference

This week was a blast Mom and Dad!  Not only was I physically edified by a few trips to KFC and the amazing American food we were provided at our Mission Conference, but I was spiritually edified, and I had the prayers in my heart answered by leaders who have been called of God to take His Gospel to all Nations!  This past week was truly one to remember and I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to learn by the Spirit from Elder Rasband, Elder Allen, and Elder Gong.

I will just start a list of what I learned in order to keep this email going smoothly.

 1. These three members of the Seventies are truly called of God. They have the ability to expound upon one small subject and allow us all, together, to be edified by the Spirit.  I was amazed at the love we could feel in that room as they spoke about Missionary Work, Missionaries, and our Savior, Jesus Christ, and His Father, our Heavenly Father.  Truly, Doctrine and Covenants 50:17-22 was made manifest at the Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission Conference.  Please look it up.  It's powerful.

2. Elder Allen promised us that if we missionaries would master Chapter 8 of Preach My Gospel (PMG), "How Do I Use Time Wisely," we will be five times more rich in our chosen profession that we would have been.  He is a called, set apart, member of the Seventy...I will trust him on that one.   Elder Allen also told us that Chapter 8 is the hardest chapter of PMG to master, let alone get a hold of.  He taught and emphasized the importance of planning, goal setting, and following up on those goals, with accountability.  Accountability for a missionary is put on the table every day during planning, and in your nightly prayers to the Lord, every week during the "Weekly Call-In" report to your District Leaders and Zone Leaders, and every 6 weeks when the Transfer ends and a new one starts.  I really have gained a testimony of Accountability, but being accountable for your work BEFORE being held accountable.  Elder Allen told us that too often missionaries wait until they are at the tail end of their mission to try to implement Chapter 8 into their missionary work, then they realize how much of a waste the past 18 months or so was. He begged us NOT to be that missionary, and that through implementing Chapter 8 into our lives, our very core and being of who we are, we will be able to hold ourselves accountable and be proud of the work we did on our mission and throughout our lives.  He told us that if we don't like something, WE can change it, but if you are content you will never change.  That really hit me hard. As a missionary you can get in this rut where you feel like everything is weighing down on you and you have to relieve that load from yourself, by yourself, in order to make changes and get the desired outcome.  Well things like this bring to me the Enabling Power of the Atonement.  All we have to do is be "yoked" to Christ, and He will pull our wagon, metaphorically speaking, not FOR us, but WITH us, ultimately lightening "the burdens which are put upon your shoulders," so that we "cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage" (Mosiah 24:14)."   For more enlightenment on this subject please read to Elder David A. Bednar's talk this past April General Conference about "The Load."

3. Elder Gong, the Asia Area President, really emphasized "Beginning with the End in Mind."  By doing this are we seeing every person we meet "in the White Clothes of Baptism and the White Clothes of Temple Ordinances?"  If that is not our outlook, we are wasting our time and the Lord's time.  Missionary Work is about Gathering, Enabling, and Enobling.  If the missionary, myself for example, does not enable an Investigator to work for the ultimate reason we are all here, then the Investigator will never be able to partake of the Enobling Power that God has provided His children while on this Earth.  It is all about our Vision, and how we truly see the work we are doing.  Realizing this sooner is better than later, that this is truly His work, and that only through Him and His Son's Atonement, these people will receive the necessary Saving Ordinances.   Missionaries truly do nothing.  All we do is "Try to connect our investigators with Heaven!" (Elder Allen)

4. Elder Rasband, Wow!  Where do I get started?   He is such a spiritual giant, and knows how to bring the house down.  I would like to just tell you the three things that he said he will be telling the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve when he reports to them on Mongolia.  1) The church here is Stronger and more Mature than he thought,  2) Every Leader In the Church here has been to the Temple, and  3) Mongolia has an incredible Mission President and Wife.  They are historic!

To answer your questions....Yes, we missionaries got to shake hands with Elder Rasband, Elder Allen, and Elder Gong!   We got to talk with them during the conference, as well.  It was all mostly group discussions.  Elder Rasband answered a question of mine personally, so that was awesome!   Being the Elder from Choibalsan who came bearing "gifts" from our small branch (the letters from the Primary children and that branch picture), got me a little special attention too, so that was cool.

All in all, our trip to UB was more than I could have hoped for.  We got there on Monday night and flew back on Friday.  My comp and I sat in 1st class on the way there!!!  THAT WAS GREAT!   We went to KFC right when we landed, then another time on Thursday!   KFC never tasted so good!   It was also nice to be with the other Americans for a few days.  It was great to see those who I haven't seen in over four months.  I finally met my dear friend Elder Huckvale!   We stayed at their house all week, and we became best buds!   He is a stud missionary, and I hope to be his companion someday!  We would be a dangerous companionship, with all the work that we would do, but I can only hope!   President likes me with Mongolian companions, so it will probably never happen.  I also got to see Elder Palmer from Henderson.  He is a Zone Leader now up north in Darkhan, and he is doing great!   Seeing my MTC group was a lot of fun too!   All the sisters are doing great!  Their mission is half over now.  I included a picture of us in this email.

Regarding the Work here in Choibalsan, President sent two sisters here to assist us, so that will be very helpful!    Also, I have become District Leader over my companionship and the sisters here.  Their names are Sister Tseverlmaa, and Munkhnasan.  Please pray for my District!   Being a District Leader already has put tons of stress on me.   Please pray for me.

I need to close here, but I want to say that the list of 3 things Elder Rasband will give to the Brethren truly gives us missionaries here Hope.  I just want you to know how hard the work truly is here, yet I am so blessed to be apart of it.  I am here doing exactly what I know my Heavenly Father would have me do, and I am walking in the way of The Savior here among the people of Mongolia.  It is my prayer that I can truly become the Disciple that He would have me be, so I can effectively do His work, the way He would do it, if He was here ministering to the very people I meet everyday.

I love you all.

Until next week,
Elder Harris

The plane we flew to Ulaanbaatar in. 

My MTC group REUNITED! It was great to see them. They are all doing great! They miss me, can you tell?

Elder Huckvale and I. He is the elder whose parents live in Ryan and Angela's ward in Eagle. 

My old district, before transfers. 

Ganbayar's 17th birthday party! The man in the green shirt is the seminary teacher. 

Tumee and Ganbayar. They are great young men, future missionaries for sure!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Naraa's Baptism, our Mission Conference, and Elder Rasband's Visit

Dear Family,

Well I am officially past the 9 month mark. Wow, how fast time flies when you're loving what you are doing.

So I am going to get right to it!  Naraa's Baptism was great!  About 30 people were there to support her. Every sister in the Branch knows her pretty well by now and loves her to pieces so the majority of them were all there to welcome her.  I was asked to give the talk on the Holy Ghost, but before I did that I shared Naraa's conversion story and what a true Miracle she is and how she has come so far.  I look back on it and just remember how incredible happy and not nervous I was while sharing that story with everyone.  #1 -  My language must be getting pretty good because everyone was listening and looking like they understood everything I was speaking and they were even laughing at my jokes!  #2 - It is so incredible what the Gift on Tongues can do.  #3 - I have truly gained a testimony of D&C 50:21-22, "Therefore, why is it that ye cannot understand and know, that he that receiveth the word by the Spirit of truth receiveth it as it is preached by the Spirit of truth? Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together."  I felt so happy while I was sharing with everyone about the Miracle that Heavenly Father  has performed, and as I looked down across the room, every face had a look of love for Naraa. Then looking at Naraa, I see her taking off her glasses, and wiping away tears.  What a special time is truly was.  The best part was that her son, Ganbayar, baptized her, and it was perfect!  Perfect in word and perfect in that only one dunk was needed!   After Naraa got dressed she came and bore a little, yet sweet, testimony of how she felt about joining the church.  Truly a day I will never forget.  The Lord has been here with us. This is His baptism, and I am just so grateful to have been a tool in His Hands. 

Saturday night, we had a great Fireside via Skype from Ulaanbaatar.  As I have told you, Elder Rasband is here in Mongolia and he spoke, as well as Brother Allen from the Mission Department, and Elder Gong from the Asia Area presidency.  The internet connection was terrible, but luckily during Elder Rasband's talk, everything was great!  They all really stressed the importance of Families and Temple Covenants for the Mongolians who are preparing to go to the temple.  I would like to share with you one thing that Elder Rasband swears by, and that is Family Home Evening.  Family, we all know we can be better at having FHE every week.  I really am coming to learn about the importance of FHE, and what it truly is for.  It is just about having the family together and learning about Christ, TOGETHER!  Elder Rasband said something that really hit me and I really never have thought about before. "We cannot enter the highest level of glory in the Celestial Kingdom ALONE.  You can ONLY enter TOGETHER."  Mom and Dad, I challenge you two, every week, alone, to have FHE.  Elder Rasband said even 15 minutes is enough, as long as we are trying.  The same goes for Matt and Carly, and Ryan and Angela. I know it will bond our families together with the Spirit of Christ entering our homes in a way that we have never known.  Everyone needs an assignment, and through that we truly will be blessed.  Elder Rasband promised that, and I promise that. 

Elder Rasband also said that when he was at the Hong Kong Temple last week, he met the group of Mongolians who were all there for their own Endowments.  He met them all, and shook every single one of their hands in the Temple.  Later he talked with the Temple President and that President told Elder Rasband, "When the Mongolians come to the temple, they always go to EVERY session on EVERY day that is offered while they are in Hong Kong."  Man!  How I love these people! 

Anyways Sunday we had District Conference, again via Skype, and all three of the Seventies and their wives spoke, as well as President Benson.  It was great, and I will share it with you some time, but I have no time to share now.  Sorry :)

Today my companion and I are flying to Ulaanbaatar, leaving at 6:00 p.m. and arriving at 7:30 in UB.  We are so pumped because we are going to be there until this Friday!   Rumor has it that our Mission Conference will last 3 DAYS!!  Also that means, KFC for a WEEK!!!  Yes, Kentucky Fried Chicken!!  We will also hit up the new Pizza Hut in UB too!  I know this is going to be a truly special week.  I have a prayer in my heart going into this Mission Conference, and I have faith that I will receive an answer.  I know that the short time I have left here in this great country that I love will truly be "The Best Two Years" of my life. 

I love you all,
Elder Harris 

Naraa's baptism, by her son, Ganbayar.  So awesome.

 Elder Baldandorj, Naraa, and I!

Shopping at the market.  This is the market we go to every Monday.

Just pictures of everyday things from around Choibalsan, like you asked for.

Monday, September 8, 2014

My testimony of fasting is solidified!

Dear Family,

So this week we have seen miracles left and right!  I really wish sometimes there was a camera following us around to film these experiences that are so dear to me so that you guys could literally see the hand of the Lord unfold before us, but obviously that will not happen.  Anyway, I can testify that Miracles are real, and "The Tender Mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith."  I'll get started.....Naraa has cold turkey quit smoking.  Miracle.  Naraa committed to live the law of the tithe and the fast, and yesterday made that clear with her donation to the Lord.  Miracle.  She admits that this is the road for her and she knows there is a Father in Heaven who loves her. Miracle. 

Now here is the biggest miracle of all:  This past Monday, we watched the movie, 17 Miracles, with her, and she loved all the miracles!  I am not sure if she understood the significance of the story, but she recognized miracles and said how great the movie was.  Tuesday we got a text in the early morning from her as usual.  Usually the morning text is something like, "I read the scriptures and prayed this morning! It was great!"  But this text was nothing of the sort.  Instead it said, "I can not go to church anymore. I can not read the scriptures anymore. I am so sorry, but I also really can't meet with you anymore Elder Harris" .....and much more about why this was happening.  I guess Monday night she came home after we watched the movie at the church and her husband chewed her out and told her that she need not be at home, and just to go read your book and go back to church!  She was so sad, and realized that although her son is a member, if her husband doesn't give his support, she can't do this.  She said she laid in bed all night, not being able the sleep, and just pondered what to do.  So then the next morning we got the call.  I was heart broken and not knowing what to do.  My companion was kind of lost for words.  So we got on our knees and prayed hard, individually and together, and decided to just go to her work and talk about what is going on. So we went over to the Market.   She was sad, and speechless, but we locked the door to her market for about an hour, consequently losing business, and had a great talk.  We talked about many things, but mostly about how God has a plan for her, and He and His Son know her and this situation perfectly.  We shared 1st Nephi 3:7 and talked about how the Lord will provide a way.  Before we left, we went into the back room and gave her a blessing, and I just had an overwhelming feeling that all would be okay and not to worry.  A group from the Branch all met that night and not much happened, just really a sad lesson, and she was not there, she did not come as she usually does.  I decided to fast for her Wednesday.  I fasted that she would be okay and that her husband would approve of her going to church and that his heart would be softened.  So I fasted for 24 hours...easily the longest fast of my life.  During those 24 hours I felt my faith growing so much, and I knew that Heavenly Father heard my prayer and was seeing how honest and hard I was fasting for Naraa.  Thursday morning rolled around and we left pretty early to teach a lesson to a young man before his school started at 11.  As we are walking on this dusty road, we get a call from Naraa's phone, but it is her husband, and all he says is that he wants to talk to Harris.  So I take the phone, and he just starts apologizing, and says that he is not offended so for me to please not think that.  He wants us to come over right away.   I was shocked!!  So I just tell him, "See you tonight! We are coming over!"  Then Naraa got on the phone and told us that he approves and all is okay!  I am standing there speechless and my companion looks at me and says, "You did it, Elder Harris!"  I was shocked.  Holy Cow is fasting real!  The Lord truly knows His sheep.  There is no doubt that anything can ever convince me from the point on that God, the Father of all, is not intertwined in this work, of whose work it truly is!  I, in no way, shape, or form did this.  Heavenly Father did this.  This is His miracle.  She is His daughter, and He loves her perfectly.  I truly had nothing more to say about it, I am still speechless.  She will be baptized this Friday.  Faith proceeds the Miracle. Naraa said that Wednesday night, after we met with her at the Market, she went home and thought for a long time about what has happened recently in her life.  She thought about how she loves church so much, and is she really ready to just call it quits?   She just kept telling us that she was talking to herself saying, "What are you thinking? You love church."  Then the next morning, her husband asked her why she was so sad, so she told him.  She said she didn't understand why he hated the church.  He said that if he hated the church, or didn't approve, he would never have allowed Ganbayar to continue to go to church, or to wake up at 6:00 a.m. to go to seminary.  He told her that she is allowed to do the things that she likes, and he will support her.  Miracle!  Can you see how his heart changed in the span of about 48 hours?  It is unbelievable to me, and I am forever changed.  My testimony of Fasting is solidified.  He lives, and He answers the prayers of the faithful.  The veil is not as thick as we think, and He is truly waiting there, hand stretched out, waiting to perform miracles among the Children on Men.  One more thing, Naraa even bore her testimony yesterday in Sacrament Meeting!!  She shared her story about how she first decided to come and how much her life has changed for the good in a month and four days!   Everyone was so nice to her and kept telling her that they can't wait to come to her Baptism!  Naraa and Ganbayar were smiling from ear to ear.

So Friday, September 12th, will be such a special day for two missionaries in Mongolia, but more importantly, for our Naraa.

I love you all.

Elder Marc Harris

So these are the Fox pelts that Sister Bolormaa gave me!  She is Sister Bolorerdene's sister.  They killed these foxes just for me awhile back!  So one pelt will be made into a hat, and the other is a wall hanging!  So how do I look?

Tumee and me!

 Don't trust a wolf (or a fox in this case) in sheep's clothing!

Fierce warrior!

Saturday night we had a FHE at Bolorerdene's house with her sister that lives with her and their cute kids!    They taught me how to make Mantuu Buuz!  So I will be making them for you guys in a year or so!

The little kids wanted to have their picture taken, and especially Chon with his new backpack he got for 1st grade!  He's such a good little kid!

They are so dang cute!

 Just chillin' at the "Farmers Market."  Two humped camels are for sale for about 210,000 tugs. That is the equivalent of $120.   You know if this was America and I was not a missionary, I would be the proud owner of a camel!

  Erdene Monkh and me at the Choibalsan Farmers Market.   All these animals are for sale.

That huge cow right there is the Bull. He was really expensive! 

 Just another shot of what's for sale. 

Camels are so cool!

Answers to Kinzie and Addisyn's Questions

Uncle Marc answered some questions from Kinzie and Addisyn (his 6 and 4 year old nieces).  They are kind of fun to read so I thought we would include them in blog.......

Q:      What's your favorite thing to eat in Mongolia? (and don't say goat head, that's so gross)
A:      My favorite thing to eat in Mongolia is called Tsouvan.  It is Mongolian Spaghetti, but so much better!  I will make it when I get home and we will all eat it!

Q:      What games do kids like to play in Mongolia?
A:       Kids in Mongolia love to play a game with goat and sheep ankle bones.  I forgot what it is called, but you play on the floor and flick the ankle bones around and get points. Also kids love soccer and basketball!

Q:      Do they have the Disney princesses there?
A:      YES!!  The little girls all love the princesses.  They really don't know the stories as well as American girls, but they wear the shirts and have the movies!  Everyone LOVES Frozen!!  (No joke, even all the adults have seen it and sing "LET IT GO!!!")  I pretty much have that whole song memorized just from hearing it from others all day.  They have that movie and song translated into Mongiolian so that is really cool too!

Q:      Do kids play soccer there?
A:      Yes!  It is kid's favorite sport!  There is a really nice soccer field next to my house!  I will take a pic of it!

Q:      Do you have ice cream?
A:      Yes, but it is always on a stick!  All the ice cream is sent here from Russia!  My favorite is one that is like chocolate cheesecake on a stick!

Q:      Do people have pets in Mongolia?
A:      No not really. If you have a pet you are kind of weird. All the dogs have no real home. They are all stray.

Q:      Did you have a good day?
A:      I have good days a lot! I miss you girls though!

Q:      How hot is it there?
A:      Yes, it is hot here now!  I sweat all day!

Q:      What are some of the kid's names in Mongolia?
A:      Some of my favorite names are Perfect Gift, Bronze Axe, and Warrior Son. They are really cool in Mongolian, but translated into English, they are crazy!!

I know, a little random, but it's coming from a 4 and 6 year old!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Choibalsan is Where I'm Supposed to be Right Now!

Dear Family,

I hope all is well in Henderson, Idaho, or wherever else you may be, because all is fine and well here in Choibalsan.  This week has been a little bit slower, but a lot of important work was accomplished.  We focused a lot on work in the Branch that needed to get done.....extending more callings, Temple Recommends for those who have expired, and fixing Priesthood records.  We have got a lot of great work done this week in that regard.

This week we met with Naraa everyday of the week.  She has committed to be baptized on September 12th.  We still need to cover a lot of doctrine, so we will meet with her everyday again this week.  I am so impressed and amazed at her faith and desire to be baptized.  She is now staying for all three hours of church and loving it.  The sisters in the Branch are so friendly and loving to her.  She has made a lot of new friends.  She is reading the Book of Mormon daily and has finished 1st Nephi!  She says that she reads while she is working at the Market.  She says how much peace she gets from its pages and how stress-free her work is because of it.  This woman's conversion story is one I will never forget.  Truly the Lord's hand!  How incredible it has been to see how this is truly God's work, and He will progress it how He sees fit.   Naraa smokes, so we are working with her on that.   After we taught her about the Word of Wisdom, she just said, "I have a problem, I smoke."  I loved that because she is just so honest, and wants to follow the commandments.  Without us even saying anything she just kept saying, "Bi chadna!" (I can!) over and over again.  We will see her at the Market today to get our weekly bunch of free apples, so we will check up on her.  Her son, Ganbayar, will baptize her. How great is that?   Man, what a miracle!

We have picked up Naraa's "doo" as an investigator recently.  A "doo" in Mongolian can literally mean any relationship as long as the "doo" is younger than you, and honestly, I really hate the word so much!   So her name is Amartsetseg, and she is Naraa's "doo."   What the relation is, I know not!   She is a really strong investigator and is reading the Book of Mormon daily as well.  She has a really strong desire to learn about the Gospel and also for the only American missionary in Choibalsan.  I really do not like that second desire.  I try not to even look at her anymore!  She has a husband and a son, and needs not be be doing what she is doing!  She just is a flirt, and wants to go to America, I assume.  We are planning on talkng to her about this situation soon, but I would rather not be there for it.  But due to missionary rules, I have to be....darn.  This will be awkward. I hope we don't lose an investigator.

Right now those are the only "progressing" investigators we have.  The little 9 year old girl we were teaching.....well her mother has had her baby, so they have been out of touch for like two weeks.  Also the 25 year old couple we have been teaching for like three months stopped coming to church, and do not plan to come anymore, so they will probably be getting dropped.  It is sad, but we just can't waste time beating a dead horse.

This week, a Mongolian missionary who is from Choibalsan.....his mother died in a motorcycle accident near Russia.  She was a member of our Branch, and it hit the Branch really hard, as well as the missionary.  He has chosen to continue to serve his mission and not come home.  His father died many years ago, so now he really has no one.  The missionary, President Benson, and his counselors all went to the funeral this week. The Branch raised quite a large amount of money to donate to the family. It was really amazing to see all these people come and give so much when they really do not have much to give. We truly are all children of a loving Heavenly Father.

Well some exciting news.......Elder Rasband will be coming to Mongolia in September and my companion and I get to fly to UB for three days while he's here!   Everyone is so exited and is preparing for his visit.

Mom, to answer your question about how my Mongolian is, it is coming along!  I can speak pretty well, but grammar is still hard.  I think I do really well in the lessons I teach.  I have to pat myself on the back for that one.  Reading comprehension is still hard, but coming.  But grammar, like I said, is still so hard because you really have to change your way of thinking 100% in order to speak Mongolian.  All in all, I think I'm progressing well though.

I love you all.  I can't wait to be with you again someday.  Just know that  this is where I am supposed to be right now. I know it with all my heart.  These two years will be the best two years of my life.   The Church is true!  I know that also, without a doubt.

Love you all,
Elder Harris

We took a Branch photo on Sunday to give to Elder Rasband as a gift. Turned out pretty good, aye?

Me, Naraa, Ganbayar, and Elder Baldandorj at a Russian and Mongolian "Victory Festival." 

Ganbayar and Tumee!   Our two priests!  I love these guys!

The Primary children writing letters to give to Elder Rasband when he comes!

Just burning some confidential church documents that were old and out dated.  Life is good. 

 We went to visit Naraa at her fruit and vegetable market.  She gives us our weekly supply of apples....no charge! 

I wrote my testimony inside the Book of Mormon we gave Enktoya on her Baptism Day.

Also, my Companion and I had this scripture case made for Enktoya on her Baptism Day.

 Eight months out.....and two holes in the seat of my pants!  Taking them to a seamstress today.  Times like this I really miss mom!

Letter to Dad

Dear Dad,

So I know this might seem a little far-fetched, but I have a desire.  This desire not only satisfies my own wants and desires, but will provide for our family after we make our trek to the great and gorgeous Boise, Idaho.  Yes, I may have some hidden motives, (due to the fact that I will have no part in this errand), but I testify to you that REAL people use this brute of a machine.  You find this tool in nearly every Mongolian family's house, shack, ger, or yard.  

By means of metal, fire, and pure genius, the Mongolians have made a device that not only will cook any food you desire, but the final product is so much more satisfying. This is called a Zoekh.   Father, making this is within our abilities, I know it is.  I would love for you to make this, or use a lifeline and phone a friend.  It will change our style of cooking and living, and provide for our Eternal Family for years to come!!     See pictures and details for further instruction!

Welcome, Father, to Mongolian cooking!   See what you can do.....and stay thirsty my friend!     

Ahlagch Xappuc

PICTURE 1. The Zoekh.   I thought, "If only Grandpa Pendleton were still here, this would be his kind of project, right up his alley (so to speak)!"  He could build this, no problem, and make it look professional. 

PICTURE 2. The Chimney.  The chimney does not need to be longer than 5 feet. They only have longer ones if they are placed in a ger. The chimney is always detachable for cleaning purposes.

PICTURE 3. This picture is of the inside of the Zoekh. That is the hole that leads to the chimney for the ventilation.

 PICTURE 4. Looking down into the Zoekh

 Picture 5. Front view of the Zoekh.

 Picture 6. The hinged door for feeding wood into the fire.

 PICTURE 7.  This is a drawer that allows all the ashes to fall down and be caught for easy cleaning purposes.  If you look back to Picture 4, the bottom of the Zoekh has slits in it, allowing the ashes to fall through and be caught by the drawer.