Monday, November 10, 2014

Self-Reliance and Accountability

Хайрт гэр бүл минь,

Ямар ч гэсэн Чойбалсан саак шүү! өнгөрсөн долоо хоног удан байсан Ч гэсэн энд ажилаа арай сайн байсан. Энэхүү Шини дуудлага ер нь стрэсстэй харин хийхид сонорхолтой. Би их сурах болно гэж бодож байгаагуй зүйлсийг сураж байгаа. Би үнэхээр Бурханаар адислагдсан бөгөөд түүнд үргэлжлүүлнэ талархалтай явна.

Well, not a whole lot happened this week, it's been kind of slow unfortunately, but I've had a really great time serving the people of Choibalsan.  It is getting cold here, but still no snow.  There is no pollution in Choibalsan, for the most part, like there is in Ulaanbaatar, but when it gets dark, it starts to get a little smoky because people start their coal-fueled fires for a warm night.

I am loving it here still, but I still have that gut feeling I am out of here on December 8th (Transfer Day).   I could be wrong, we will just have to see.  If I am not transferred though, rumor has it that my companion and I will be flying to UB for Christmas, so that will be cool to fly again!  I feel so "VIP" out here, haha!

This week was filled with learning how to administer Fast Offering assistance in the Branch and teaching people how to be self-reliant.  I had three grandmas here that all needed 5 tons of coal for winter, and another man who needs some serious help to get back on his feet.  I have learned tons about self-reliance and how assistance in the Church is truly administered and what it's purpose is.  First, I submitted all the information to President Benson, because all these cases were above my money approval level, which is 180,000 toogs.  He called me right away and told me that I needed to do it all over again because their requests were just not acceptable.   If you look on the self-reliance form, which can be found if you google it, most questions are about their resources and how to become self-reliant.
Well I really didn't think this applied to these individuals because they are poor and old and don't work.  Well, President Benson gave me some wise counseling and told me that no matter how old a Mongolian grandma is, she needs to learn self-reliance, and be held accountable.  He told me that in assistance from the Church, the most important thing is not the "assistance," but the learning to become self-reliant.  We help people because we love them and care for them, but we also do not want to create a culture of dependency and reliance on the Church.

So I set up appointments with them all again, and that was kind of embarrassing, haha, but oh well, what can ya do?  Meeting with them about their individual finances and personal things was awkward at first, because you feel like you are offending this old grandma and judging her for not saving more,  But it soon turned out to be great, and I felt how grateful they were for me, and the assistance the church will give them beyond the coal and material things.  President Benson said most people don't take the Church's advice on self-reliance, but that is okay.  I loved seeing the joy on their faces and the overall thankfulness from their hearts as I signed contracts to help them, and as they signed that they need to learn to help themselves, as well.   I am grateful for these experiences truly.  I never would have thought that this would be the mission I would be serving, but I know that the Lord's plan is perfect, and he has something prepared for those who endure it well.

This week on the missionary work end of things, when we were able to fit it in, it was effective and went well.   Our new member, Naraa Egch, is progressing into a GREAT and strong member.  She truly has gained such a testimony very fast about subjects that I thought wouldn't come for a while.  It is amazing to see her desire and willingness to serve.   She is the leader in charge of the Relief Society activities at the church.  I forget what that is called in English... Enlightenment?  ....or something like that.   Anyway, she is loving it, and is serving well, and magnifying her calling.  she has also set a goal date of September 2015 to go to the temple in.  I am thrilled for her and her son, Ganbayar.

We do have some potential investigators that we will be contacting this week.  We also feel pretty hopeful about an ITL (Invitation To Learn) we did in a taxi this past week.   This woman's two daughters are members in UB, and she was an investigator a few years ago.  She liked us a lot and gave us a free taxi ride when it should cost us like 4,000 togs!   We should have a baptism on the last Friday of November, but other than that, our other investigators are not progressing as we would like.  That is kinda rough.

I am happy to report that my companion, Elder Tsend-Ayush, is great!   He just wants to work.  He is a great help to me as a missionary, and he supports me in my responsibilities in the Branch.   We work well together, and I am very grateful for that.

Love you all,

Elder Harris

My companion, Elder Tsend-Ayush, and I.

Haha, We were eating lunch at a Chinese place and thought what I would give for an afternoon nap!   I recover quickly, though!

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