Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Happy Almost Birthday to Me!

So my birthday is this Saturday, and guess what I'll be doing?! Missionary work! Haha, no time to party, but that's okay. So transfers came, and it was a big transfer in the mission because all the Americans who teach English at schools had to go back to UB. My comp went to UB, and I stayed in Erdenet, but here's the twist… my new comp is Sister Solongo who was in the other Erdenet branch before. We are the only two sisters in Erdenet and we are now serving in both branches, which means our teaching pool just about doubled (for her, not for me, turns out we have more work in the first branch, but we are working on that). 

What does this transfer mean for me?
1) 6 hour big plans
2) 5 hours of church
3) 2 planners (to keep the numbers and people straight)
4) lots of splits with members so we can teach everyone we need to teach
5) hopefully some awesome investigators getting baptized
6) oh, and I moved into the nice apt with my new comp!

Last week, I went to Darkan on Monday and Tuesday for a split with the STL's, then UB on Wednesday for transfers and a mission conference (party). The party was to celebrated completing our mission marathon (6 weeks of 1 1/2 hour personal study, lots of goals, achieving them, and gaining "kilometers"), so all of us -all 40ish- went to round table pizza, and then to a cultural show. As we left pizza to head to the show, they sent us out in 2s or 4s every 5ish minutes because we should not be in big groups and attract attention... but, we all got lost and found each other, so then there were 40ish missionaries walking around lost in UB, haha, whoops. The show was awesome! It was traditional throat-singing, dancing, and music performances in traditional clothing and everything! We couldn't film or take photos, but trust me it was awesome -  if anyone comes to Mongolia they need to go to it!

Also we found out that the new group of missionaries coming in November will have 13 Americans and 4-6 Mongolians, so half of our mission will be training!!! Crazy, right?! In zone training, they told us that with that group coming it’s very important we are all preparing and being our absolute best selves! It’s a little scary to think about... in a couple months it’s completely possible I could be training, yikes!

So Thursday we had an English teaching training as well, and then back to Erdenet on the 12 hour train... where I didn't sleep much because on a stop 2 hours in, a drunk man got on, and he got the bed right across from me... and Mongolian drunk men love Americans, so that was very annoying. But I made a new friend/got a contact from it, because a teenage boy was sitting next to me and saw the drunk man and sat and talked with me and told the drunk man to knock it off again and again. That boy lives in Erdenet, came to my English Saturday, and will meet with me Wednesday for the 1st lesson!! He is really great AND he is friends with a ton of members and his gramma is friends with the grammas in the branch! How perfect, right? I am praying he will feel the spirit testify of the truth of our message. Also, our two teenage friend investigators who are getting baptized the end of this month are the best missionaries. They brought another friend to a lesson who we also set a baptism date for and we are also now teaching. These girls rock!
My favorite yogurt ever!

Well, that’s about all, but I will send some photos as well :) talk to you when I'm week, woohoo!!

Monday, August 24, 2015

So Much to Tell!

Remember how it was raining buckets, well Tuesday my comp, me, and the other sisters couldn't handle the puddles and mud with our normal shoes anymore, so we went and bought rain boots and umbrellas.... and the next day, it was sunny again! Kinda annoying, but now we are prepared!

The STL's came to town this week to do splits with the other sisters, but we all had a sleepover at our place (all 6 of us in a small apt with one pull out couch, our 2 beds, and some extra blankets), It was so fun actually and I cooked for everyone... I have gotten really good at making Mongolian food while here! When I get home, I'd be happy to cook for all who want to taste true Mongolian grill :)

This week has been rough because ALL of our investigators, less-actives, new members and so on are in the country or the capital, so finding someone to meet with has been hard. On top of that, all of the people we would usually use as a witness are also gone or busy, so we couldn't meet with the few guys who were in town... so frustrating! We also had a very sad moment with one of our awesome investigators. We planned to meet him Monday, but he didn’t show, I called and he hung up, then sent a text saying never call me again. We have no idea what happened, but it was disappointing as he was really progressing. We are praying that in time his heart will be softened and he will come back.

On the other hand, we had some amazing lessons this week!!! There are a few investigators here who have been investigators for years and they have heard all the lessons but haven’t got baptized. We had lessons with two of them this week and I felt prompted to share certain scriptures and examples with them, and guess what?! They set baptism dates!!!! We are going to be working with them closely to prepare them, but I think they will get baptized this time!

One of our areas in the gir districts has a lot of hills and guess what,  they are doing constructions on roads out there, so we couldn’t take a meeker or bus or taxi out there so we walked and walked and walked. I even started singing "Mongolian missionaries sang as they walked and walked and walked" like that pioneer song... which I then had to explain to my comp. It was hot, tiring, but so pretty!

This Sunday, I gave a talk! I was so nervous, because it was my first full talk in Mongolian, but I did it and I think it actually went really well! I also had to translate for the senior couple here, so that was a struggle ... been in Mongolia 3ish months and translating sacrament meeting... ahhh!!!! But I prayed for help, and I did it. I translated it ALL more or less exactly what the people were saying. It was amazing! The Holy Ghost truly is the master translator and with the Holy Ghost’s help, I did it!

Here's my advice to all those learning a new language:
1) Speak the language as much as possible. I know it's frustrating or exhausting, but even if you speak part English part the other language it will help a ton!
2) Don't be afraid to make mistakes, just speak! People will help you, just be brave and talk!
3) Make friends with the children. I'm not even kidding. The kids are about your level as a beginner, and they are so exciting to help teach and adult! I've learned best from the kids, fo realz!
4) Make a study plan and follow it. You won't progress if you don't study. Just do it! If you need to, give yourself incentives.
5) Make it fun! Learn words that interest you, or for study draw pictures to learn vocab, or learn songs in that language... anything.
6) Pray, pray, pray, and pray again. You won't do it without God's help. Ask for His help.

Also, EVERYONE this week has wanted to feed us, so much so that we are going to die from too much food, yesterday alone we had 1st and 2nd dinner (hobbit style). Ughhh, too much food, but we will be fed again today by a member... I can’t do it anymore!! I need a week-long fast or something. Also, I got 2 letters this week which was

exciting!!! Papa and Gram, thanks!

As for this week's coming events: today we travel to Darkhan, tomorrow we do a split there with the STL's, Tuesday night we take the train to UB, Wednesday we have a mission conference of sorts, Wednesday is TRANSFERS, and it will be a big one because all the Americans who teach at schools (most of them), have to go back to the city, Thursday is an English teaching seminar for all Americans, and Friday maybe I come back and who knows who with :)

Well, that’s all folks! Love you and I'm praying for all of you! Keep me updates please!

We take a selfie every day. :)


Mom: How expensive was it to buy those boots and umbrellas? Or you had been saying your money was short. With all the upcoming travel how are you going to be OK?
Em: I had to use personal funds and the boots were 15 american dollars and the umbrella was 7 american dollars.. they always up prices when its raining and people need these things and when they see I'm not Mongolian :( annoying.
Mom: Don't items have price tags? What about having your companion buy it for you and you wait outside?
Em: Nope, we went to the black market where things are cheaper, you ask a price and they tell and then you negotiate and you have to stay with your comp :) But, the umbrella and boots are really nice actually.
Mom: Does the black market look like the one in the Hunger Games? Or more like the one on MASH?
Em: Haha, don't know.
Mom: Are the people shifty? Do the police know about it?
Em: No, and yes, but police here are really traffic control

Monday, August 17, 2015

Rain, Rain Go Away!

So this week there isn't too much to report because I spent most of the week in UB, but here are the updates:
1) My comp ended her mission (so I went to another testimony meeting and cried again)
2) I got a new comp (I'm done training, so this is my first real comp) her name is Sister Monkzulth (Mongolian of course). She will finish her mission in November, and she served with my first mission mom (Sneddon) before... she says Sneddon and I are exactly alike, haha
3) I stayed in Erdenet
4) This wasn't a real transfer; there will be a big one in 2 weeks!!!
5) In my interview with the president he told me I will probably stay in Erdenet for a while and then shared a story of an area he served in for 17 months of his mission, haha. He also told me that my comp will most likely be transferred again in 2 weeks.
6) New American missionaries came, so I'm no longer the newbie, weird.

While I was in UB, I got to go on some splits with other sisters, and I was in charge of the phone, and wow am I thankful for God's promise to his missionaries of the gift of tongues! It is real, trust me! I understood everyone and could talked pretty clearly with everyone as well (everyone told me how impressed and surprised they were). It was amazing! It probably helps that UB people are easier to understand then country people but I did it nonetheless.

So, I'm officially the old one in the area. My new comp served here once last November for 4 weeks, so she kinda remembers areas, but not really. It's all up to me to call people, set up appointments, plan lessons, and get us places. It is so stressful and difficult but we are doing alright so far. I am just impressed I got us back to Erdenet, woohoo! (I'm really starting to hate that 12 hour train ride.)

Also, it has been pouring buckets this last week and especially these last few days. Roads are rivers now, and when it’s really pouring, we are wading through "rivers"/puddles to our ankles. It is also freezing! It feels like Oregon at Christmas! I am loving it, but missionary work in this rain and and through muddy gir districts is quite the struggle.

1. Your favorite thing about the mission right now is? My new comp, she is so cute!!
2. The toughest part of your mission right now is? Managing money, we have had to do soooo much traveling this month that my money allotment is drained- it’s so frustrating! We are trying to make it work and still eat, but we have to travel 2 times in the next 2 weeks for a split and transfers again so it’s hard!!! I can’t wait till next month.
3. On P days you wish you had more time for? EVERYTHING!! There never seems to be enough time for anything.

One of my favorite things this week from my studies is in 3 Nephi 12:3-12. Christ has appeared to the people in the Americas, and He is teaching him, and these verses are some amazing promised blessings. I love that with all of God's promises, He asks for so little and in return promises sooo much. God truly loves us and wants to help us, and if we do our part the blessings of heaven will be poured out upon us!

Also, one of our investigators was planned for a baptism on the 28, but it looks like it might need to be pushed back, and when I told her, she was so cute. She got really sad, and said she has to that day. When I asked why, she said if she doesn't get baptized before school starts then she can't go to seminary. When I told her she could she was so relieved and thankful, haha. So adorable!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Well everyone, this is a time of mourning... this week I "kill" my second mother. (Kill means I am the companion with her when she finishes her mission, and I am still being trained, so she is my second mission ‘mom’). It's so weird to think that in 2 days, I will have a new comp... and who knows, maybe a new area...stay tuned next week to find out!

Last Monday, we went to the Buddha in Erdenet, so that was pretty cool! Wednesday we traveled to Daarxhan for splits with the sisters there and then a zone conference. My comp for splits spoke zero English, so I was a little nervous, but I prayed so sincerely that I would have the gift of tongues and the gift of the interpretation of tongues that day... and wow, it was amazing!! I was able to understand everyone and speak clearly with everyone. I taught some of the best lessons I have taught on my mission! Heavenly Father truly answers prayers and helps those who ask and have a sincere and righteous desire. 

Friday we all traveled to Selenke (its right next to Russia) for the zone conference. It was boiling hot, but it was so fun! We built towers from logs and rope, engineered parachutes and containers for eggs out of tape and paper then dropped them from our tower... may I say mine had to be dropped 3 times before it would break :) We also had some awesome lessons and I learned so much! Oh, and I started throwing around a football with some of the Elders and they were all instantly amazed by my arm. They were in shock and then they started to actually get into it, it was so fun! (One of the senior couple elders played football at BYU, and he told me I have the best arm of anyone he’s seen and I was better than the elders!!!) Anyways, at the end of the conference we drove to this place, where we climbed the hill and took pictures with the most amazing views. From that place we could see Russia!!! So I can officially say I have seen China (from the airport), Mongolia, and Russia (from the hill) on my mission. Pretty cool, right?!

As for everything else, not much is new. We have been visiting everyone my comp needed to say goodbye to before she left, so that’s been pretty fun and sad at the same time. We have some amazing investigators who are really progressing and I can't wait to see where it goes. I love Erdenet! I love Mongolia! I love missionary work! I love this Gospel! Bi minnie jeejeekin mongolthchode hiartay!!!! (spelling Mongolian in English is so hard!!!)   
Hands holding a gear

Travelling in a meeker

Chengis Khan inscribed on the mountain

Zone conference fun

One of many wonderful investigators!

Monday, August 3, 2015

So Many Firsts!

This week was full of fantastic things! I went to my first traditional hair cutting, my first time baking in Mongolia, and my first baptism! First of all, remember that sheep head and guts I ate before... well, we went back to that family this week, and they were kind enough to cook up the rest of the sheep - legs, ribs, more guts, and who knows what. So yep, I have officially eaten all parts of a sheep. Also, I made cookies and brownies this week for FHE we taught in families' first attempt at baking in Mongolia. It was difficult without measuring tools, or normal ingredients, but I guessed and prayed.... and they came out THE BEST I have ever made! So beautiful and delicious!!! The members loved them!
A couple random notes: our sink broke this week, but our kind and loving senior elder came and fixed it. Then the following day, our toilet broke - it has not been fixed and has been pretty annoying, oh well. Also, EVERYONE here thinks I look like Adele the singer... I don’t see it. But, many of them have started calling me their Adele, haha. 

We did some service with our Elders in our branch. We spent a few hours shoveling rocky dirt for the base of where they will build a gir. That was actually pretty fun, and if we're lucky, we will get to help with the gir building! I also got to take part in an awesome experience this week! In Mongolia, they grow out their children’s’ hair until they are about 3 years old, and then they have a traditional hair cutting ceremony. First, we had a feast complete with all the Mongolian necessities (aryylth, steamed bread, fat soup). Then each person takes a turn cutting the girl’s hair. First I drank from a bowl of milk, then the little girl drinks from the bowl and they hand me the scissors that are tied to the blue scarf. I cut a piece of hair and as I do, I say wishes for the child's life. I put the hair in a pocket of the scarf, give the girl money, and everyone repeats. It was such a cool cultural experience to be a part of!
And last but not least, I had my first baptism this week!!!! Our investigator Ooray (not sure of English spelling), got baptized on Friday!!! It was so amazing! First of all, we were supposed to teach a lesson earlier that day, but no one would meet-- then we went to turn on the water in the font and saw why God didn’t want us to meet with anyone. We would need to clean it; all different sizes and types of bugs crawling and dead in the font, cob webs, dirt, and so much more. We spent a couple hours cleaning the font to prepare it for the baptism.
Ooray is a young mother with a cute little boy. Her husband had to go to UB, so couldn’t come, which was kind of sad, but it was still a great service. We had maybe 30 or 40 people show up, and so many investigators came to, which is AMAZING! The man that baptized her got the words wrong 5 times, and then couldn’t hold her well, so she kind of fell into the water and kind went for a swim, haha. But, all in all it was great and she loved it. After we asked her how it was, and she said awesome and that she felt so cool, and was so happy! Her testimony she bore after was so amazing! Wow, it was awesome and I love her so much!!! I feel so much joy to see her progressing in this way, and her next goal is the temple.

We were asked out this week! A guy stopped his car, walk over to us and asked us on a date that night with him and his friends- we then had to explain we are missionaries, haha that was entertaining. Poor guy :(  I love you all and I love Mongolia and I love this Gospel. I have seen so many blessings poured out as a result of my mission, and I pray that you may all see God's blessings in your life.

1. What is the latest news you've heard that is going on in the USA? (not from emails but just from life)  The supreme court legalized gay marriage in every state, something about how the west coast will collapse into the sea.
2. Does your companion speak English with you at all? Yes, she is trying to learn English
 so she tries to speak English to me and I speak Mongolian to her and we help each other. She also helps translate for me when I really don’t understand people. 
3. Have you seen anyone get married or bless a baby there yet? Married-no. I saw 2 baby blessings in my last area.

4. Even though you love Mongolia, what do you miss from back home? Normal food, people who speak English, warm showers. 
5. What advice would you give to an incoming Mongolian missionary? Nothing is how I imagined in any way. Be patient with yourself and the language and this culture in general. The work is hard, but the Lord loves you and wants to help you. The language will be awesome at first in the MTC, because you learn so much so quickly, but then it gets harder and more frustrating because you learn little by little and it’s hard to see the progress, but just rely on your testimony and the Lord. The people are patient with you as well and they see how important this gospel is by how hard you try. Also, you will learn how to eat things you really don’t like, haha. They talk about the gift of tongues... the gift of a steel stomach is real. Just know you won’t be eating a salad any time soon, haha
One of my favorite young friends!