So this past Thursday was transfers, and I am staying in Choibalsan! I think I will only have one more transfer here, then I am gone-zoes! My companion Elder Baldandorj was transferred across the country to another small branch called Seleng. My new companion is Elder Tsend-Ayush. He is a Mongolian from my group, so we have the same amount of experience. I really don't know him, and he is not here yet! He will not arrive until Wednesday, so I have a mini-Missionary companion until then.......Elder ErdeneMunkh! Yes, that's right! My friend, the 15-year-old teacher is now my companion and he is loving it! He is so dang cute man! I sent a couple of pictures. He calls me "Companion" and he is getting accustomed to Missionary Life....but the only thing is......he cannot stay awake during our 3-hour study block, haha! Oh well, he will learn! His mother, Sister Bolor Erdene, has told me to be real hard on him, and teach him what missionary work is all about, so I am trying to obey orders. She also called his school and got him excused for a few days, so he was super excited about that! Also, along with still being the District Leader, I have received a new calling. I am Choibalsan's Branch President. I am so humbled to have received this call from President Benson. I immediately felt the burdens of this calling, and my weaknesses as a missionary and man, were made known to me almost immediately. However, I trust in the Lord, and I know He is here with me. I find peace in knowing that "the Lord God showeth us our weakness that we may know that it is by His grace, and His great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things." (Jacob 4:7) I know my weaknesses are made known to all, and that the members in the Branch can see them just as well as I can, but that is the Miracle of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I know though His grace, love, and long suffering towards me, he will "make weak things become strong unto (me)." (Ether 12:27)
Yesterday (Sunday) I conducted and presided at my first Sacrament Meeting, and that was a cool experience. I was a little nervous, but I decided to give a talk on Baptism, and why Christ was baptized (2 Nephi 31).....something I love to teach about. That lightened my nervousness a little. Being the Branch President, I have quickly been made aware of a lot of Fast Offering needs that older sisters in the ward have......and many other things, and man that really hit me! Things that are needed right now by some elderly members are wood and coal so they can keep their homes warm. It is getting very cold here now. Just know that the refiners fire is burning HOT here in Choibalsan! I know the Lord has plans for me and I will do my all to follow along the path that he has laid out. The Lord knows His Vineyard and His sheep, and He will guide me in this work, that I am sure of. Jacob, the little brother of Nephi of old, counseled his people to "seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from His hand," (Jacob 4:10). The Lord loves us, that I know to be true. He suffered for us and our weaknesses, so we could pull that load with him, on our road back to Him. "For (His) yoke is easy, and (His) burden is light." (Matthew 11:30). My dear Family and Friends, take "(His) yoke upon you.. and you shall find rest to your souls." (Matthew 11:29) I testify of the truthfulness of Jesus Christ, and His extended arm towards us, "unworthy creatures." (Mosiah 4:11)
The work is going good here......slow, but good. I have faith that when my new companion comes, many good things will follow. We right now have 7 investigators with baptism dates set. I am very hopeful for them and their progression. There is one family that we are teaching, but the older members of the family have really no desire. They are the older sisters and family of our new member Naraa Egch. The 14-year-old boy, Munkhbaysgalan, has great desire and I see him getting baptized and setting the example for his family down the road....just like his cousin, Ganbayar (another recent convert) did for his mother, Naraa. We also have a really good investigator named Saranzuunbold. He is about 22 and actually approached us and wanted to meet with us, so that was great! He was doing so great, but this week his phone has been turned off, or there could be number of problems, but we have not been able to get a hold of him. That is always a huge bummer!
The branch is doing great. I am so proud of the strength of the branch, and the unity. Since I have been here, the members that were on the fence have become solidified, and the members that were solid, are now Enduring to the End. Less Actives are starting to come back, and I love that. As a District we have identified ten less actives that we will focus on. My companion and I, and the sister missionaries, have been meeting with all ten each week, so they get double duty from the missionaries! This has been working, so we will continue with it.
I love you all. God be with you.
"Elder" ErdeneMunkh! Yes, that's right! My 15-year-old friend from the Branch is now my mini-companion and he is loving it! He calls me "Companion" and he is getting accustomed to Missionary Life.
Elder ErdeneMunkh and I. Missionary ninjas getting ready to go out!
At Naraa's house for dinner.
Just some sightseeing about Choibalsan.
More sightseeing....and a little bit of shenanigans!
In the watch tower at the Choibalsan airport, after English lessons with my Air Traffic Controller buddies.
Me next to a big ol' stinkin' camel.
Me making a fast get away from a spitting camel. I was too fast.....he missed me!
This is for you dad! One of the Choibalsan fire trucks!
Чойбалсангын Саруул Тал! Mongolia's Vast Steppe!