Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Transferred to Ulaanbaatar, the Sansar Branch

Dear Family,

Well I know that you are all waiting to know if I've been transferred or not, so here it is......Elder Harris has been transferred to the city (UB)!   I am going a Branch called Sansar (Translation: Outer space).  They meet at the main church building, the Bayanzurkh building.  In this new area, there are no Ger Districts at all, just large high rises and apartment buildings.  I am now a Zone Leader for the East Zone.  My Zone Leader companion is Elder Higgs, who just finished being AP (Assistant to the President) for about 6 months.  My companion and I are living in the nicest apartment in the city by far, with Elder Higgs and his companion, Elder Olivas.  Should be a great time!   Also, I will be a trainer  this transfer.  My new trainee is Elder Bilguun, but he doesn't even report to the MTC until March, so this is kind of an out-of-the-ordinary thing.  I have actually met him before, and he seems really cool.  He raps, so what more could you want, haha.   If you look up on Youtube "khuchtei bai" a music video should come up.  My companion is the one rapping about half way in.

This past week we did some fast missionary work and got a baptism!  Well not exactly, but pretty much.  A member husband and wife's little daughter, Mandugai, turned 8 this week and so we got her baptized!  The parents didn't really know how to teach the lessons, or know what she needed to know for the interview, so we came over every day this past week and got her ready for the interview.   The awesome thing was she has pretty much known everything from Primary and just from what her mom and dad had already taught her, so it was a piece of cake, literally.  Her birthday was this past week and so we ate some great cake.  Friday she was baptized and ЭЭЖ МИНь ЭЭ was it cold!   I literally couldn't get in the water and neither could she!  So I just "saddled up," walked over to her side, picked her up, set her in the water, hurried and got her quiet, dunked her, picked her back up out of the water, sat her on the steps, then ran over to my side and got out. In and out time:  30 seconds, haha!  She bore a rock solid testimony too!  The mother is very active and a great woman, the father needs a lot of support.  He left to the countryside for work on Wednesday, so we wanted to wait until he got back, but the family insisted on Friday and told us they didn't want to wait.   It was sad he was not there, but I see him being active and worthy here shortly for his daughter's sake.

Yesterday's Sacrament meeting was hard for me.  I hadn't felt sad yet about leaving Choibalsan, and I thought it would not be that hard, but man it hit at church.  We had a returned missionary homecoming talk that only ended up lasting about 5 minutes, so with nothing else really  planned, I opened it up for a impromptu Testimony meeting.  Many people got up and thanked the returning missionary for her service, but soon the spotlight that I had hoped would stay on the RM through people's testimony, soon fell on me, and my service to the Branch.  I felt super bad about that.  It quickly turned into what Bishop Udall taught the Primary not to do when I was about 8 years old, a "Thank-a-Mony" meeting, with everyone bearing their testimony about me.  I could tell they all wanted to hear from me before the meeting closed, which I was avoiding, because I didn't want to cry.... haha.  Anyways, I did get up and I shared a few stories, one was about how I lost my voice in the MTC and how I couldn't speak Mongolian to save my life for quite a long time.   But now, I finally have got it, and through the Spirit I can understand them and they can understand me.  I told some good jokes too, and they all laughed :)  In closing I shared a scripture, D&C 90:11, "For it shall come to pass in that day, that every man shall hear the fulness of the gospel in his own tongue, and in his own language, through those who are ordained unto this power, by the administration of the Comforter, shed forth upon them for the revelation of Jesus Christ." I pled with them to read the scriptures and apply what they read every day. I told them what an AMAZING blessing it is to have the Holy Scriptures in the Mongolian language, and they need be grateful for it everyday.  Then, just to ice the cake, the piano player chose Hymn #40, "God be with you 'til we meet again," for the closing song.  Man when we got to the chorus in the first verse, I was done.... tears rolled down all over my suit and tie. I looked up at the congregation, just to see people smiling at me, then I refused to look up again.  During the closing prayer, Sister Tsevelmaa came up to the stand and tapped my on the shoulder, and gave me toilet paper.  I laughed a little bit... I thought it was kinda funny.

I will never forget My Choibalsan.  Man, I love this place and I love the people.  I will be forever grateful for the things I learned here and to the people who taught me these things, and I will try to implement these lessons for the rest of my life.  I will see these people again, I know it.   My Patriarchal Blessings mentions this (speaking about the people I will meet and teach the gospel to on mission):  "....They will become leaders and teachers within their own country and among their own people......They will become your eternal friends and companions." I know this is true.   One of my favorite songs I have listened to in the Mission is entitled, "The Only Prayer that Matters." It describes the feelings that I have for these people:  "Losing myself as I plead with the Father, they find their way back home.  Begging with all of my heart for their lives, like I've never had my own."

I am also thankful for my companion. I have been super blessed to be with him this past 2.5 months.  He has been a great friend to me, a huge support in my calling, and has taught me so much.  It is funny to look back and remember that President told me that I have been called for my companion, to strengthen him and encourage him, because I feel like HE has been the one teaching ME.  I will miss him.

I am nervous for this new calling as a Trainer. Please pray for me.  I am not worried about my trainee, but myself.  I feel a whole lot of weight on my shoulder for this new Elder and his success.  I pray I can fulfill the Lord's will and do my best to help him.  Pray that I will not talk too much English at my new house with the other American elders, and therefore isolating my new companion. That is a huge worry of mine.

I love you guys. I am off to OUTER SPACE and a new adventure! 

Elder Harris

Togooch Emee.  I love this Grandma!   She is a small body of 100% FAITH! 

Sister Gereltsetseg and her family. This is the baby I blessed! 

Mandugai's baptism

 Mandugai's mother

My companion and I with Mandugai

Sister Bolor Erdene and Sister Gereltsetseg 

This is Elder Higgs and he will be my new companion in UB come Wednesday.  This picture was taken a few months back when he and his comp came out to Choibalsan.  

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