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, December 28, 2015

Merry Christmas!

So, I'm not really sure where to even start on this email today... i guess I will just tell this week chronologically...

Wednesday morning at 3:30 am, I awoke to a drunk man pounding and screaming at our door. I immediately started to freak as he sounded angry and super aggressive (but thank goodness for good old Russian made doors... they don't budge!). I woke up my comp, told her to start praying, and then called the mission president. He said he would sent Batbold to get rid of him and so he asked me where I am living.... uh, ERDENET!!! He then said, oh yah, and told us to call the police. We called the police and began to wait and pray... and cry... that we would be alright. The mission president continued to call us and give us directions including;
-don't turn on the lights
-don't answer him and don't open the door for anyone! Including the police! (if the police want in, we were to call him and then deal with it then)
-grab a frying pan to protect ourselves in case he got in (yep, he wanted me to go all tangled on that drunk man, haha)
-and PRAY!
So, we followed directions, so I held that frying pan tight, kept praying, and kept quiet. It lasted for 30 to 40 minutes, but eventually he was gone (I think the police came and got him, but I'm honestly not sure, haha). This was definitely the scariest moment of my mission so far... ugh. I din't sleep the rest of the night, so I made Christmas cards and gifts instead, haha. So, to keep us out of harm for a few days, we were instructed to come to the city that day. So we took the bus, and left. We got in to UB, and stayed with Sister Westover and her new trainee. It was so great to stay with my MTC comp! 

Thursday, I went on a split with Sister Westover, which was hilariously awesome! The last time we had been together was the MTC when we truly were like deer in the headlights, and could barely bare our testimonies in Mongolian, let alone teach, haha. Well Thursday, we were getting ourselves around UB, teaching lessons and understanding everything and people were understanding us!!! IT WAS AWESOME! Such a big difference and we were so incredibly happy to have that completely opposite experience together. This was a testimony builder that God truly helps his servants and with his help we truly can become what he needs us to be! Missions are awesome! We also watched the Christmas devotional for comp study, which was great! If you haven't watched it, please do! You will learn a ton!

Thursday night, we had dinner with Sister Westover & her comp, Sister Hartley (also from my group) & her comp, and Sister Gardner & her comp. It was so much fun to have a Christmas Eve dinner with other sisters, and then we did a white elephant together (I got some sweet yak socks!!!), and went Christmas caroling. The caroling was hilarious, because that is not a thing here, so we had to call everyone to explain to them what it is and then get permission to sing to them, haha. And, as we would sing in the apt floors, people would open their apt doors completely bewildered at the weird Americans singing outside. But, it was a great experience and everyone felt the spirit so strongly!

Friday we had christmas!!!! And, I hit my half-way mark on my mission!!!!! Yep, that happened!!!! It's crazy to think that from here on out, I will have been out longer than I have left!! wierd shuu dee! 

Friday, all the missionaries spent the day together. We met at the Bayanzurch, made presents of soap, socks, shampoo, and candy, then half of us went to an orphanage and half went to a gir district to hand them out. I was lucky enough to be with the group that went to the orphanage and it was amazing! The kids were all so excited and so adorable! We started with Christmas carols, then they sang Mongolian songs to us, and one boy even sang a Justin Bieber song for us, haha. Then we each handed out gifts to children, talked and had fun getting to know them. They were kinda in shock by the number of white people speaking Mongolian to them, but they opened up and had a ton of fun with us. I talked with one little boy for a long time. He is 12 yrs old and loves to play and watch soccer! His favorite team is Real Madrid and his favorite player is Ronaldo. We talked about soccer for a long time, then sang some of his favorite American songs together and then took pics together (sorry everyone, because of privacy reasons, we are not allowed to post pics of the children to any website).

After that, all the missionaries had some time to chill or prep for the music program, and then we had an amazing Indian feast for lunch. After that we had our music program and the mission president and his wife spoke to us as well. It was such a nice way to spend Christmas, and we all learned so much about the true meaning of Christmas. Oh, and the president gave everyone their own jar of peanut butter!!!! We are all very happy missionaries now, haha :) 

Friday night we came back to Erdenet by train, then Saturday I taught English, we did studies, and moved apartments. All the missionaries in Erdenet had to move, so that the elders are now in our old apt, we are in the apt I was in before and the other sisters are in the elders old apartment... so yah, now the elders will get to deal with scary drunk men! 

That's about all for this week! I just want to leave you with this thought. In the Christmas devotional and my president and his wife also talked a lot about Christ's gift of His atonement. They all talked about how He truly gave the greatest gift of all. They all explained that because he gave us this, we can choose to not turn away from Him, but rather turn to Him and use that magnificient gift of comfort and love. We too, must be like our Savior, Christ. We too must live with an attitude of giving. We must look for and find ways to serve and give to others. We don't need to have money to give, but rather just have to be willing to sacrifice our time or talents or energy to serve others. I would hope that you would all look for ways to serve others this week., month, and comign year, and do it! Help, serve, give, and love those around you! Not only will they be happy, not only will you be happy, but God will also be happy with you. I love you all and I love this church and it's teachings. I know this gospel is true.

I love you all!!I'm praying for you all!

Reunited with Sister Westover at Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Happy 9 Months to Me!

Merry Christmas everyone!  I hope everyone is enjoying the holidays! As for me, I am too. This week, we will go to UB for Christmas to be with all the missionaries, so I am definitely excited for that. And, I will get to skype my family too, woohoo!

ALSO... this week I hit my 9 MONTHS on my mission!!!! WHAT?! Yep, that is happening. I am half way! I can't even believe it. It seems so weird. But anyways, it's all down hill from here. I am finally at a point where I feel like I know what I'm doing, I can communicate, and I can really do this! I am determined to be the best missionary I can be, and am excited to see the difference I can make here in Mongolia.

So, last Monday  my comp and I had some fun and took companion photos at a studio (last p-day of the transfer, so we made sure to), then we went to a 3D museum where you could pose with the paintings and it looks 3d!

This week was transfers... and it happened... I GOT TRANSFERED!!!!.... To the other Erdenet branch, haha. When I first got here, I was in the 1st branch, for the last 3 or so months I was in the 1st and 2nd, but now I am just in the 2nd branch. Haha, and I moved back to the apt I was in when I first got to Erdenet, so that's fun. And the elders who were living there even left a shower curtain which was nice... last I lived here that was a challenge.

Anyways, I am no longer with Bolor-Erdene. My new comp is a mini missionary named Badamgerel. She is 19 yrs old and from Nalaik (I served there and bayanzurk when i first got to Mongolia), and has submitted her mission papers, but has not received her call. A mini missionary means she is a member, and has not been set apart as a missionary, but serves as my comp for a small time (she will either be with me for 3 or 6 weeks- her choice). Because she is a mini missionary I actually train her as I would any new missionary, so it's nice training for me if I ever become a trainer. She is very cute and works very hard. Her English is adorable and she has a dream to live and work in New York as a business excecutive, haha. She talks a ton and is always hungry and happy... haha. She is so fun!

Not much else happened this week as we had to go to UB to pick up our comps and then came back and moved and whatnot. I am excited for this transfer as we may have a few more investigators getting baptized  My comp and I are determined to work our hardest (all she wants to do is meet with people...very cute), and I'm sure we will see the results.

Merry christmas, and try to remember Christ this season. Do something to make someone else happy, something to serve someone, and try and share the gospel with someone! I promise if you do these things, you will be happier and you will truly remmber this season. I love you all! I know this gospel
is true, and I am so excited to be serving in such an amazing place!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

This Week was Awesome!

So this week was quite the different week. For starters, Tuesday was our p-day, so we went to the black market! It's closed on Mondays, so we haven't been able to go, but this week we went and found ... CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS!!!! We bought snowflakes, tinsel, a santa cut out, a red bow, a Santa hat, and a crown. We then went home and decorated our apt, so it actually feels like Christmas!!! Oh, and we bought some awesome matching shirts, haha.

We went to visit an ALA member on Wednesday who fed us milk rice, then old buuz... well those buuz were NASTY! My comp and I were each given a huge bowl, and my comp was struggling to eat it too. I ate some, but also kept a huge chunk in my cheek... my comp did too... but there was no where to spit it out - no garbage or bag or anything! So we each had a chunk of nasty meat in our cheek, and as soon as we left we spat it out but we had eaten a good amount and one hour later it hit ... we both got food poisoning! Ugh, it was awful! We thought we were going to die!!!! We went home for a few hours to try and endure the pain and other nasty affects of food poisoning .. but let's just say the next 24 hours were rough, haha.... oh Mongolian food :)

For Christmas, all the missionaries will be going to the city for the day and spend it together. We will have a concert of sorts so our zone will sing Away In A  Manger, then a Mongolian new year song with customized lyrics, and my comp, 2 zone sisters and I are learning a traditional Mongolian dance that we will probs do. Anyways, practicing for these things in our free time has definitely provided some entertainment! haha. My comp knows Mongolian dance, so she looks great, but I feel ridiculous, haha

This week at one of my English lessons, I only had one person come. He thought he was fluent in English and started talking to me in  what sounded like gibberish. I decided to try and teach him the ABC's, so I wrote them on the board and started with ABC.... after having him repeat after me for 15 minutes, I started asking him what they were... he didn't remember... so I decided to teach him using Mongolian equivalents... but he doesn't know Mongolian letters either!!! So I decided today he would just learn A, B, and C. I spent the next 45 minutes having him repeat and asking him, and repeat... Anyways, in one hour he learned.... "B." So yah, sometimes English teaching is like that haha. That was an experience I will never forget! 
In regards to the work here....Both our branches had over 80 people! Woohoo! They are really growing. It's amazing to see! All of our members are doing member missionary work. We give them all personal challenges to bring 1,2,3, or more friends to church... and wow, they really are! This week we had more investigators than members at church! It was awesome! Because of our members our teaching pool is growing exponentially. We have so many amazing investigators, and this week found new families to teach and all of these investigators are so prepared. They are so open to what we are teaching them and really believe what we teach them. They are all having amazing experiences with prayer, and it's strengthening my testimony so much! First of all, in order for the work to move forward throughout the world, we need members to be the missionaries. Secondly, prayer really is our opportunity to talk with God... and yes, He hears, and yes, He answers!!! He answers everyone, but His timeline is always different! 

Last, but not least ... We had three investigators get baptized!!!!!!! And the elders had one investigator get baptized, who I had taught for 3 months.... It was such an amazing baptism!! And one of our new members baptized one of them! And another 16 yr old boy got to baptize one of them as well (his first time baptizing someone). It was so cool to see! Everyone that came felt the spirit so strongly and our investigators' testimonies that they shared were so strong! These people are very special and very prepared spirits! I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to teach them :)

We have tons of investigators who are progressing really well, and the next few to get baptized are planning for the first week of January. But transfers are this week... I really hope I don't go, so I can keep watching the work grow here in Erdenet!!!

So, that's all for this week! I love you all! I'm praying for you all! Keep in touch please!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

God is Hastening His Work

Okay, so my email is a day late because we had zone conference yesterday in Darhan, so we are doing P-DAY TODAY :)  Zone conference was awesome! Sunday, our branch president and mission president's counselor drove us and the four elders to Darhan. Remember all those summer photos of the countryside... well now it's just straight white hills... all covered in snow. True Mongolian tundra, haha. We got in Sunday night and went to a fancy hotel where the mission president was staying. We each did interviews with him and ate gourmet pizza... it was pretty great! We stayed over at the sisters' apt, and ate huusher and yummy spicy meatballs and salad (one of the sisters is a chef). Then we spent all day Monday at zone conference. I learned so much from it! We talked about the 4th missionary, lock your hearts, fear not I am with thee, 1 Nephi 8, and 14 principles of following the prophet... all of which we read beforehand. We also each taught a 10 minute lesson on our best prepared principle and it was filmed and then reviewed. I taught repentance and the president sat in on my lesson. I was nervous, but it went really well. I taught from Alma 36:17-20 about Alma's repentance experience... and it went awesome! The president and the other sisters said I did great, that my Mongolian is getting really great, that I'm a great teacher, and that the scripture was awesome. It was an awesome confidence booster! And a really cool way of getting feedback. 

This week, we also had a strange moment when we found out that our new investigator (the one that was in jail) is actually a less active of 5 years - what?! Yah, and he doesn't know we know.... we are going to have to have a talk with him this week, but we are excited to reactive him, as our branch needs him!

One of our branches had a Christmas party on Friday and it was so fun! They don't do Christmas in Mongolia, so they truly focus on the real meaning of it. They got put into teams (young women, young men, priesthood, and relief society) and they all had to make a poster about the meaning and importance of Christmas... and to earn cool stickers for their posters, they had to compete in fun games, puzzles, musical chairs, karaoke, etc... it was so fun!

The work is seriously hastening here. On Sunday we had 98 people in one of our branches! We have found two new families this week to teach who are just amazing! One family, we visited and taught the father. When we taught him prayer and were talking about what he could pray about, he said he is grateful for us, wants to have a knowledge of God like us, and wants his family to be happy! The other family we met in a taxi and they came to church. They were all dressed in suits and dresses (that never happens here- it was so cute!).

This Friday we will have 3 baptisms!! A 22 yr old guy (whose name means prince) who is just awesome. A 20 yr old girl (whose name means snow candy) who is golden. And a 15 yr old girl who is also golden. We are so excited for these three. 

That's about all for this week. It's been amazing to see the hand of the Lord here in Erdenent. He is truly hastening this work and it's awesome to see! These people are being gathered in by the Lord, and they have all been so prepared. This is a special country and area. I am so grateful to be serving here! I love these people and this language and I'm even starting to love the food! haha
We found some Christmas trees!