This week was pretty awesome! Elder Bilguun and I are just loving our time together. Well I know I sure am, and the smile on his face seems like he is too! He is such a great missionary! He's truly a huge blessing to me here in my last few weeks here as a full-time missionary. He comes from a member family up in Erdenet, Mongolia. He got baptized when he was a kid with his mom, and later his father followed, along with his little sisters when they became of age. His father is the Branch President of one of the Erdenet branches now, and his mother is truly a saint! I have had the opportunity to meet her twice and she is just so nice and tall and looks just like Elder Bilguun so much. Elder Bilguun is such a great member of the church and always has been a great example of a kid who followed the prophet. Sounds weird, but he is just a kid who loves the prophet with all his heart and understands his calling as a representative of Jesus Christ. Elder Bilguun and I did some pretty great work this week and were able to teach a few lessons, and boy did that feel good. We have a goal to get a baptism in the next four weeks before I go home. We will be working really hard for that!
Well, the big surprise of the week is that Sister Esplin and Sister Marriott (and their husbands) came to Mongolia for a few days while they were traveling in the Asia area with Elder and Sister Wong. They are General Auxiliary Leaders in the church. Sister Esplin is the first counselor in the Primary General Presidency and Sis. Marriott is the second counselor in the YW General Presidency. They came and did a focus group with Mongolian Primary kids and with the youth. They also went to a few gers and met with some members, like my sponsor Sister Ukraine Naraa. Sister Esplin went there and then shared about it at the fireside that was held. Sister Ukraine Naraa teaches her little nieces and nephews a scripture a week, and shares the gospel with them daily. Sister Esplin brought Sister Naraa up on the stand and asked her some questions and gave Sister Naraa a chance to share about how learning scriptures has affected her nieces and nephews who she takes care of. It was awesome! Sister Esplin gave a talk at the fireside about how the adversary tries to destroy our family by distracting us from what matters most. Sister Esplin is just the sweetest most humble lady I have ever talked to. Sister Marriott is a little southern women who is funny and has the biggest smile! You may remember her as a speaker from October's General Conference. Hearing a southern accent here in Mongolia was sure a treat, let me tell you! She gave an amazing talk about what a high five means. I want to tell you about it but that would take a lot of time! I will tell y'all in 4 weeks!
Afterwards we were able to take pictures with them both and that sure was a great experience! They both loved us Elders and were so grateful for our service. Elder Bilguun and I actually have a really funny story with them and Elder Wong of the 70's from this weekend. We were getting in the elevator in the church to go home Thursday night and there they all were…..Sister Esplin, Sister Marriott and their husbands, Elder and Sister Wong, and President and Sister Benson. Well we both were introduced to them all as the Assistants and we got to introduce ourselves and talk for a little bit. We have a mission rule that we must wear these masks to prevent us from breathing in all the smoke/pollution because we are in the second most dangerous polluted city in world, UB. Well President gave all those leaders masks and explained the rule, etc., and well we didn't have our masks and the mission doctor had already gone home so we couldn't get new ones. So we just left real quick so we could get home on time, and well they all saw us leave the Bayanzurkh Building without our masks. So we got home and we got a nice little text message from President Benson. Then we felt terrible and like we had committed a huge sin since we were disobedient about always wearing these masks, especially in front of those leaders. We went to bed kind of sad. But then first thing Friday morning we were given an opportunity to redeem ourselves! President called us around 8 am and told us to go to the church office and get copies of Neal A. Maxwell's Dedicatory Prayer (from when he dedicated Mongolia for the preaching of the gospel back in 1993). He told us to call him when we had them. So we busted over to the church and got those papers, then called President. He wanted them because he was taking the auxiliary leaders and their husbands up to the top Zaisan Hill to read the prayer, along with our new missionaries. Zaisan Hill is where Elder Maxwell offered the prayer 22 years ago (June of 1993). Well President was driving on a road about a 15-minute walk away from us, so we needed to hustle and catch up with them. So we took off running....with our masks on of course! We caught him at a red light that if we would’ve gotten there any later he would have been gone through that light and been a lot farther for us to catch. So we ran up to the car and President just yelled “Thank you!" and that he loves us, and all the leaders just waved and smiled at us. It was pretty funny, but terribly hard to breathe in the mask. Anyway, I think we redeemed ourselves. So this week was good! I love Mongolia!
I have homework for all of you this week. Please read Elder Neal A. Maxwell's talk, "Why not now?" That is your homework! Do not waste time and don't put off the blessings that come from giving yourselves up to the Lord and declaring that He is the Christ.
Elder Marc Harris
Sister Cheryl Esplin with some of us missionaries. Sister Esplin is the first counselor in the Primary General Presidency.
Sis. Neill Marriott with a few of us missionaries. She is the second counselor in the YW General Presidency.
Elder Bilguun and I up on top of Zaisan Hill in UB.
Up on top of Zaisan Hill.
Up on top of Zaisan Hill in UB with the President Benson, the auxiliary leaders, and all the newly arrived missionaries. We are reading Elder Neal A. Maxwell’s dedicatory prayer when he dedicated Mongolia for the preaching of the gospel. Zaizan Hill is where Elder Maxwell offered the prayer 22 years ago (June of 1993).