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, September 28, 2015

Snow ... in September?

Emily’s reply to this week’s emails: First of all, hearing about David leaving and seeing the photos, got me crying... that’s embarrassing when you are sitting in an internet place that’s full of people, that already look at me cuz I’m white and now because I’m the white girl who’s crying, haha. But I got my act together and am okay now. 

So last week, I was telling my mom that it’s fall in Mongolia, tights and jacket time... well, just kidding that didn't last at all! Tuesday came the freak snow storm, and it's been freezing ever since. Mongolia skipped fall and went straight to winter!!! haha, I guess this is what I should have expected of serving a mission in Mongolia, but it's real now :)

On another note, I have about 25 people coming to my English classes now, and it’s going really great! My cooking skills are seriously improving. We had almost nothing in our fridge yesterday, but I made a delicious carrot soup out of what little we had... so good! I've been doing a fair amount of translating for the senior couple here, so that's been a help for my language. Oh, and I've started learning Mongolian sign language!!! There are quite a few people here who know it and a few deaf people as well who are teaching me. I can already sign basic stuff, and it’s actually helping my Mongolian a lot as well! I really
love it! I think when I get home I might try and learn ASL as well.

This week we met with all the new people that had showed up to church last week, and a few of them are golden and we met them 3 times this week!! They are awesome! One is this beautiful girl who’s my age, she studied chemistry, and she decided to pick a church and came to ours. We've taught her the first lesson and she is great! She had never believed in any religions before, but she basically told us that she trusts us and will believe anything we tell her... which we then had to reiterate the principle of knowing for yourself but she is great! She is reading everything we give her, taking notes, asking questions, coming to all church activities... truly golden! Another is a 17 yr old boy whose older brother it turns out is ALA. He met us 4 times this week, came to all kinds of activities, has received the most amazing answers to his prayers, is reading everything, going to seminary, wants to serve a mission, and wants to study at BYU Hawaii! What?! Is this for real?! He's awesome and so prepared! God truly prepares people and puts them in our paths.

We also had an awesome opportunity this week in Erdenet! Elder Toronto of the area seventy came and spoke Saturday night as well as at church on Sunday. He said amazing things about miracles, and even used me as an example, telling everyone what a miracle it is that an American sister can come here and learn and teach in this language and that they can still feel the spirit as I try and explain simple concepts in broken Mongolian. He explained miracles and that God truly performs miracles in all our lives and that the greatest miracle of all is that we - imperfect humans - can become like God through the amazing gift of the atonement... it is a miracle! It was so amazing to see all our investigators listen to him, then tell us all they learned and felt... so amazing!

I love this work and this country and this people! I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve my Lord in this great work. I know this gospel is true and that God truly works miracles in our lives. I love you all! Keep me updated!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

6 Month Mark

So our work is going great … actually too great. We have so many people to meet and not enough time to meet everyone (which is weird for my experience so far here). Yesterday, at church, we planned our entire week. We literally have no open slots to meet with anyone else this week and we still have others we want to meet! It's hard, but so exciting. At church yesterday we had tons of random people show up who are interested and we are meeting this week!

This week was just a lot of teaching, teaching, teaching. On Saturday, we were planning and couldn’t find anyone for 6:30 but for some reason we felt we should stop trying... so we didn’t plan anyone. This is really weird for missionaries, especially in a mission where you can’t proselyte. Well, we taught someone at 5:00 at the church, and as we were about to say the closing prayer, a miracle happened! A lady I had previously been teaching walked into the room and then we taught her at 6:30! She told us she didn't know why she came to the church on a Saturday night, but she came anyways. Well, we know why, the Lord directs His work, and He directed us to not plan anyone and her to come at that time. It was an amazing lesson! God truly loves His children and provides a way for them to be helped.

I also had another cool experience this week. We were visiting a member family with one of our investigators, and quickly realized the members needed the lesson more than the investigator I couldn't really follow everything that was happening or being said, but I know that they were talking about receiving answers. The mom was saying something about having doubts and struggles in her life and not recognizing an answer, and I had a thought about an experience when I was at BYU with receiving an answer. I shared the experience and the spirit was so strong in that lesson, that I was kinda crying and the family also started crying. It was amazing, and while I didn’t understand all that had happened, I understood the spirit and followed the impression I received. IT WAS AMAZING! 

How often do you get fed at members? They don't do dinner calendars like in the states, but when we visit people they pretty much always give us snacks, if not a meal. The people are very giving here and they give of what little food they may have, or the coat on their back (for reals).
What do you make for breakfast and lunch and dinner when you are eating at home? My comp and I like fruit & toast for breakfast or oatmeal. We cook lunch before we leave for the day- usually soup or rice and stir fry. We don’t eat dinner because people give us snacks and food, so we aren’t hungry. But I learned how to make 2 minute microwave brownies and they are awesome! Our new favorite planning snack!
What is your favorite thing to do on p-day? We don’t have a lot of time, so we clean, do studies, do email, get groceries, and then stuff around the apt, and if we have time we try and go somewhere cool or cook something fun or take cool photos.
I love you all and am thinking of you, oh and my 6 month mark is this week, what?! I'm a third of the way done! Time really does fly on the mission. I didn't believe it at first, but it's so true!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Almost at 6 Months ... What?

So this week was pretty great. We have three investigators that if everything goes well will be getting baptized the end of this month! We have had some AMAZING lessons with all of them about repentance and I really think they are being prepared fully for baptism. We also had an investigator who had previously said never call me again, show up and ask to start meeting with us again, so that is awesome I really hope he progresses.... boy am I praying he does!

We also got to go to UB again for mission conference, and the second counselor of the area presidency, Elder Wong, came. I learned so much about missionary work, teaching, and how to help our instigators. Here are some awesome statistics for you guys: Right now in our Asia area, there are 28 stakes (in India, China, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Pakistan, etc), anticipated 27 more stakes by 2019, and total anticipated in our Asia area in 2019 will be 55 stakes!!! The hastening of the work is real! Right now, in Mongolia, there is only 1 stake, but they want there to be 3 more in Mongolia in the next 4 years. This is the focus right now in our mission, we need to grow the Mongolian branches/districts into wards and stakes and with that will come the opportunity for a temple! It is amazing and I think we can do it, but it will take some hard work on our end and the missionaries to follow us. 

My favorite things I learned from the conference were these quotes, "the process of conversion is not just baptism" and "repentance is a process, not an event." These are so true and so incredibly important that our investigators learn before they are baptized. We all aren't perfect, and we all sin daily, and therefore we must repent daily... we must use the atonement daily. 

We took the train home again with all the other country missionaries in our area, and something crazy happened. Two of the elders got off at their area around midnight, and less than 5 minutes later they were calling me saying something about being attacked by drunken men. We were on the train so there was nothing we could do except pray and pray hard. We all did for a while until the elders called me with the update. A drunk man tried to rob the elders at knife point, threatened to kill the American elder, followed them home with one elder at knife point so they could give him money, then the elders jumped inside and slammed it shut on the man, the man was yelling and banging and broke the door handle, but eventually left. Both elders are safe and sound, but it was crazy!!! That will definitely be a story they tell to their grandkids :)

Friday, we went on splits with the STL's in our area and I had a really cool experience. We wanted to meet investigators, but I kept having the feeling that we needed to meet with this member who I had met with one time two months ago. So, we went, and the gate was open, but there was a dog and no one answering. I don't know why, but we started walking in to check the house, even though Mongolia dogs will kill you!! We get close and she comes out!! woohoo! We visited her and found out that within the last month, her son's very pregnant wife lost her baby, this ladies' mother past away, and her older sister pasted away! She has been struggling and that morning, she had just been praying and praying that God would send people her way. She told us we were the answer to her prayers. I then shared an experience I had recently about a friend passing away and a scripture that helped. And by the end of the thought she was crying and thanking us and telling us how much she needed us. This truly was an amazing experience for me, and I know without a shadow of a doubt that God led us to her through the whisperings of the Holy Ghost. 

Saturday, we went with the youth of one of our branches for the day. The idea of this activity was for the youth to form friendships and support now that school is starting so that they may stay strong in the gospel. We all hiked a mountain here, played games in a field, we taught a lesson, and played more games. It was a difficult trek and many of the youth were struggling physically, but they all did it and it was awesome to see them helping each other the whole way. People would wait for people, go back for others, hold hands, and even carry some. They were amazing and the activity was so fun!

Also, two of my favorite investigators are attending and they really want to learn and study so yesterday, I surprised them with scriptures that I got while in UB. They were so incredibly excited and grateful that they started to cry and wouldn't stop hugging me. They want to learn so badly, and this was something they had been hoping and praying for. I love them and they are awesome! 

This says Erdenet - the name of my area.
Isn't Mongolia beautiful?

Monday, September 7, 2015

My birthday week!

I'm 20 now!!! woohoo! That's exciting, but it was definitely a different birthday than I've ever had before. For my birthday, I taught English and visited people, but luckily I got to me some of my favorite investigators.

Because of the weird times there is light here in Mongolia, all summer we woke up at 7:00 and went to sleep at 11, but starting this week it was back to normal missionary schedule... 6:00 wake up and 10:30 go to sleep. It's been a bit of a struggle in adjustment, but we've been doing it! 

School and seminary have started here. And aren't we lucky, our first day of the new missionary times, we were asked to teach seminary and being the awesome missionaries we are, we woke up at 5:30 to get there at 6:10 to start at 6:30... we were EXHAUSTED but, it was an awesome lesson about the plan of salvation. AND almost all of our teenage investigators are going to seminary!!! They rock!! And they are so cute; they keep telling us all the things they are learning. The people here are so hungry for learning and it's such a great example to me. Back home, we take seminary for granted and many people don't want to go, but here is an entirely different story! It's amazing!

On Wednesday, one of the members here turned 17 (she is awesome and is our witness for lessons all the time!), so the senior couple here threw us a combined birthday party, complete with balloons, a sign, cake, and the cutest young women around, haha. It was great!

Our investigators N & B will get their marriage certificate today or tomorrow!!! Ted nar mundag shuu!! They have had their lessons done since before I came here, but didn’t have a certificate, and so we would meet weekly and read the Book of Mormon or review lessons. They are awesome and so faithful. We met with them last night and had the most amazing lesson. We have planned their baptism for the end of this month and I can't wait!

One of the members here, who I just love, was in the hospital this week and got some sort of stomach surgery, so we went and visited. It was so sad to see the conditions of the hospitals here. Even my Mongolian comp said it’s like a horror movie. But the member is doing great and loved having us visit her.

Another member family (the one with the daughter who turned 17) had us over to make me soiven for my birthday and trust me I was full! That was probably the best but the biggest plate of it that I've ever eaten!! But it was nice to still have a family meal for my birthday :) And I got to help the kids with their English and math homework--- so fun and adorable!

Everyone here was so kind and remembered my birthday, so I wasn't missing home. I had the party, the dinner, the young women in one of our branches gave me a friendship necklace/bracelet, a whole district in UB called me and sang to me, Sis Hill (senior couple) gave me a cookie making kit, at exactly 6:30am on my birthday our ZL's called and sang to me, our DL's texted me happy birthday message, my comp made me pancakes and stuck a match in them to blow out, a few other missionaries in UB called or texted me to wish me a happy birthday, and a few people gave me some very sweet cards :) All in all, it was an awesome mission birthday, and I’ll celebrate again when the package from home finally gets here :)

This week, we will go to UB again for mission conference. An Area Seventy (senior church leader) is coming as well so that should be cool. I'm excited to go to the city... you start to miss some things... the other missionaries, mammuu yogurt, mail, etc :)

We all have to prepare a talk on a certain talk from general conference about the Sabbath day, and while I've been studying it, I've learned something new and awesome! God is always blessing us, right? And He asks so little from us (such as tithing), then gives so much more back (more blessings). Well, the Sabbath day is the same as tithing, we give a small portion of what we have (in this case one day of the week) to the Lord, and in return promises amazing blessings; 3 Nephi 24:10, D&C 59:16, and Mosiah 2:41... read them and learn, it's AMAZING! God truly loves us!

Well, that's all for now I think. But I love you all, miss ya! Keep me updated on everything!
 hairtai shuu! ta nar shuu! Bi ta nar canaj bn!