Wednesday, July 15, 2015


Сайхан Наадав уу?

Okay so this past week was awesome!   Mongolia celebrated Naadam, the biggest festival of the year!!  There are three main events, or competitions:  Mongolian Wrestling, Archery, and Horse racing.   I’ll just Bullet Point it out for you:

* Wearing Naadam clothes (shirt, hat, boots) was easily THE best part of each day.  Every day, people we passed just looked at us missionaries and made comments about how dapper we Americans looked in traditional Mongolian clothing!   When I get older (45+), I am wearing Naadam shirts like everyday!  They allow the nicest air flow to come in and cool you right down, while protecting you from the sun.  I love Mongolia for so many reasons but a huge reason on the list is because of the spirit that National Clothing brings to the table.  I don’t think America has that!  Almost everyone here wears a Deel (a traditional Mongolian shirt), a cowboy-style hat and boots.  Even the women and children.  I took so many pictures of people’s clothing on Saturday just for ideas in the future when I hit that "50 year old dad stage."  Most married couples also wear matching outfits like Sadie Hawkins.  They all are just so good looking in their Nadaam clothes!   I can’t wait to wear my Naadam boots in America all the time.

* Huushuur is the National Naadam Food, and man was it just soooo dang good!  Huushuur is like a pastry or dumpling with meat in it (usually mutton or beef) and then deep fried. There are a few members here who own a food place (kind of like a taco fast food place) called Comino Taco.  They put up a huushuur tent and fed us missionaries great!  I think I had six total!

* We were able to get into the Opening Ceremony for Naadam and stay until the Bayanzurkh Branch President wrestled.  He got thrown.  Mongolian wrestling has no weight classes.  It is pure cut throat, man on man, last one standing style, and it can go on for like two days straight, until they get a champion. The champion then becomes the most respected man in the country for LIFE.  Like free cars, apartments, clothes, etc.  This year’s champ was a kid born in 1994.  He was huge!

* So Elder Huckvale and I were on TV!  :)  We were interviewed a total of six times by reporters from the biggest TV stations here.  All of us missionaries were just walking around with our companions and the reporters came up and asked us in English for an interview.  Well when we replied in Mongolian, they freak!   It was so much fun, though.  We even got down onto the field at the big stadium and gave interviews like courtside-style, with the wrestlers behind us going at it.  All in all, it was an experience not to be forgotten!  Last year for Naadam, I was in Choibalsan.  In Choibalsan, Naadam is much smaller than here in Ulaanbaater!

* Elder Huckvale, Shotton, and I sang a Mongolian song on a stage in front of about a few hundred people……With microphones!  There was this guy singing to raise money for this company.  While we were singing, in the matter of like one minute, there was 18 thousand toogs put in the box for these guys.  They were so happy!  They were taking pics of us to put on Facebook to thank us for the help and the money earned.  So fun!

This is a country where you must envelop yourself in the culture or you will just not be respected by Mongolians. I am so grateful to be here and be able to take in the culture and make it part of my life. I love this place so much!

About The Work:  So I have a new companion and we have been transferred to Nalaikh, about an hour bus ride from UB….nice and quiet.  Elder Dulguun (a mini-missionary) is my new companion.  He is the mini-missionary who Munkhbold and I have been with for awhile now.  You asked me what a mini-missionary is?  A mini-missionary lives like a full-time missionary and does everything a full time elder does, but is just not set apart to be a full time representative.  Also, I am no longer the Zone Leader, just normal missionary.  I LOVE working as a normal missionary!   I served as a ZL for about 7 months.  That is a long time in this mission.  I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to serve in the leadership positions I have served in.  It has truly been a huge blessing being able to help others as the Lord would.  President really wants Dulguun to be a full-time missionary asap!  We need him, he is a good, hard worker.   So this is my new assignment. Wish us luck and pray for us!  I know there are many things I need to learn from him, as well.  I am super excited for what lies in store!  Just call me the mini-missionary machine!

Love you all,

Elder Harris

Huckvale and I on the competition field during Naadam.

 Me, Munkhbold, Dulguun, and Shotton, watching the competitions during Naadam.

Me with Mongolia’s president in the background in the blue during Naadam.

All the soldiers dressed in warrior gear during Naadam!

Huckvale and I with all the little dancer girls during Naadam.

Me and a SWAT officer during Naadam.

 Naraa, my sponsor, during Naadam!

Huckvale and I being interviewed by TV reporters during Naadam.  We are famous!  HaHa!

 The field where the competitions are held.

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