"Amar baina uu? Taivan baina uu? Ond Mend targan tavtai orov uu?" This is what you say to everyone when you "zolgoh" (special greet) them on White Moon. It is so much fun to say this to the older people! It means, "Are you peaceful?" and "Did you enter the new year fat and comfortable?" Super weird English translation, but so normal in Mongolian! Anyways, White Moon was so great and I am happy to report that I entered the New Year "fat and comfortable" (well not fat, but comfortable)! There was no Buuz-eating contest as there has been in year's past, but I did push myself and put up a high number! I ate 85 Buuz in 3 days, which was like 2nd place among American elders. Elder Higgs broke 100, but threw it all up afterwards so that doesn't count! Haha! I felt pretty solid about it, but for a Mongolian, it is normal to eat like 150 in like two days on White Moon! (Buuz is a Mongolian steamed dumpling filled with meat.)
So here is what we did:
Thursday morning we all went up on Zaisan Hill to greet the Sun, which is a Mongolian culture thing. All the Mongolians loved us Americans in our Deelths. People were staring and wanting pictures with us up there. Zaisan Hill is where Elder Neal A. Maxwell dedicated Mongolia for the preaching of the gospel. The stares and comments towards us throughout White Moon were great! People told us we looked better than most Mongolians, and some taxi driver actually said he saw a picture of us circulating on Facebook when we rode in his taxi!
Thursday and Friday, we went around house to house to members and older people that we had met within the Bayanzurkh area. Elder Higgs and his companion both served there too, so we went around with them and visited some great people. More stories about them when I get home. We just ate and ate and ate, and people just loved us for loving their culture and taking it all in with no problems.
Saturday we had a missionary party at the church. We all ate Mexican food, and had a tournament playing that ankle bone game. I was like an 8th seed, won in the 1st round, then got beat by a sister missionary in Round 2. I was ashamed, haha! Then we all watched "Meet the Mormons!" It was great! What a movie! I'm sure you've seen it!
This week we only taught one lesson. Same goes for all missionaries since it was Tsagaan Sar. It's a hard week for the Work, but great for memories!
I love you guys!
Welcoming the sun from Zaisan Hill on the first morning of Tsagaan Sar!
American missionaries and some cool Mongolians. We are on Zaisan Hill in UB, where Elder Neal Maxwell dedicated Mongolia for the preaching of the gospel back on April 15, 1993.
Elder Pap and I. Cool fox hats, yes?
My companion and I.
This is another family we met with! Sorry the picture is blurry, I just wanted to show you the house decorations.
Us at a Bayanzurkh grandma and grandpa's house. At every house during White Moon, you will see meat on the table, usually sheep or goat. This one has the head placed on top. Another thing you will see in every house is a stack of fried bread bricks called heveenbov. They are usually topped with candy and sweetened white dairy products to symbolize the purity of the White Month.
A close up of the meat that was laid out on the table. You just cut off the meat you want to eat.
Us at a shaman's house. They loved us. The man on the left had me write him a letter with my signature on it. Cool story for when I get home.
Naraa came to UB all the way from Choibalsan for Tsagaan Sar! So great to see her! She's doing great!
Another member's home....a grandma and a little baby girl. Isn't she so dang cute! Notice her little boots, I love them!