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.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Finding, Finding, Trying

I'm back in the city again! Made it back... almost missed the flight and they had to rush us through security and onto the flight, but we made it! And came home safely.
As of late, I haven't been able to spend much time in my area between splits and what not, and it's been frustrating. We felt like our work wasn't progressing well so we made goals. We decided to stop focusing on new members and start focusing on finding!! I spent the evenings calling old
investigators, some of which are from many many years ago... have yet to find any that will meet with us but have had conversations and messages with some. One even asked which church and what would happen when he met with us and when I told him, he sent a text saying, "I will never gooooo, no, noooo, noooo!" haha. 
We have also been asking for referrals from everyone (we've gotten at least 7 this week- woohoo!) and talking to EVERYONE about English lessons at the church here and if possible, then talking about church and it worked!!! We contacted a security guard at a soup place here about English... he went twice and loved it, and he came to church with us yesterday! We will be meeting with him this week!!! Finding is really hard and very slow sometimes, but I KNOW that God is helping us and slowly leading us to someone that He has prepared for us!

Also, this week, we were on a split and went to meet someone at the church and we show up and there was a 30 yr and up single adult dance. It was mostly 50 yr and up from what we could see, but they were so cute!! About 50 women and 3 guys, haha, and they all have got some moves! It was so cute!! These members are just so good at friendshipping each other and it was really cool to see.
Kindergarten teaching is so fun! I have really cute students and they are learning so fast! This week we will have an open house where I teach and the parents watch us teach... nerveracking. Funny moment from kindergarten this week. One of our girls was dressed as Elsa from Frozen and she came up to me and played with my hair and then told me, "you look like a real princess!" I then asked, "Really, which one?" She then thought for a minute and really excitedly she blurted out, "THE FAIRY GODMOTHER!" Wow, thanks..... I'm an old fat fairy, hahah. She's not even a princess.... haha. Gotta love kindergarten!
Also, yesterday we met with a guy who lived in America for 13 years and speaks very well. We even taught him the lesson in English. It was awesome.... and really hard, I think I'm forgetting English. He is a very spiritual person who believes in energies and powers and he has read a lot and looked into a lot of religions, so he is a bit difficult, but he said he would pray and ask anyways and would meet with us again!!! woohoo

Now a bunch of photos, lots from Khovd.
The flight to Khovd.
The view from my flight last week.
I love large statues.

Glorious Mongolia!
Some of the snow festival fun!

Fun with my old companions!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Guess Where I Am

Hey everyone! You are currently being emailed from a town called Khovd in a far far corner of Mongolia next to Kazikstan. This area is the farthest mission area from its mission home in the world. Yep... that's real!!! I am currently here doing an STL split with my zone sisters who are serving here. This place is awesome and I want to serve here too, haha. 

Tuesday I did a split with some zone sisters, and I worked with Sister Jenson (by the way her gramma is from Roseburg and she knows the Vawdreys - its a small world after all). She is from the latest group to come to Mognolia and is rockin the language and doing a great job! We met with some amazing people! 

Wednesday, my comp got a package from her family with 3 huge bottles of lotion from America and she gave me one!!! I was so incredibly happy! Thursday, we met with a new potential investigator who lived in America for a while to study, so we taught him in ENGLISH!! So weird! I was stumbling over my words... it was a real struggle. Sometimes, I think I'm forgetting English... yanaa!

Friday at 4:30am Sister Bayartsetseg and I left for the airport and flew across Mongolia to Khovd. The flight was awesome! I got to see so much of the beautiful Mongolian landscape from above. The 2 sisters in Khovd are Sisters Solongo and Bolor-erdene, both of whom were my companions before. It is so great to be here working with them again. And let me just say I am in love with this town!!! These people are the kindest people ever and the work is progressing so amazingly here!

Saturday, was a holiday here in Khovd. The entire town dressed up in traditional Mongolian clothes and drove 30 km outside of town to a frozen lake where they had their snow holiday! Because literally everyone goes to it, we were given permission to attend as well with a few leaders and the seminary kids from here. Everything was freezing and covered in snow. There were ice sculptures and ice slides, and skating races and tug of war competitions, and dancing competitions, and so much more! It was awesome, but I was definitely freezing! 

Sunday we attended the branch here and the most amazing thing about this branch is that almost everyone are members with their families and the youth have almost all joined because of this one kid here.... so amazing!!! Tomorrow afternoon I will fly back to UB... I'll have to say goodbye to this amazing town :( But this was such an amazing experience! 

That's about all. These people are really a wonderful example to me of humility, charity, generosity, and kindness. These people are so amazing and are changing my life maybe more than I am changing theirs. I know this gospel is true and that God loves each of us no matter where we live or what language we speak. I love you all and am praying for you all! I'm so sorry mom.... no pictures this week.... this computer is ghetto and I have no where to plug them in.... next week I promise.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Eat, Eat, and Eat Again

Buhdaarai saihan shinelesnu? That is our mission president's motto. He always says, "id, id, dahaad id" or eat, eat and eat again, haha. And boy did I learn that this week. Mongolians bond with friends and family using food. I've known that throughout my mission, as every time you visit someone they give you a drink and at least cookies/biscuits/candy if not food too. Well, it was taken to a whole new level this week because of Tsagaan Sar!

Tsagaan Sar from what I understand from the many explanations I've received celebrated the changing of the first moon. In comes the new, the happy, and after Tsagaan Sar, in comes the warm weather hopefully! For the holiday, which lasts about a week, they visit family and friends and relax or say hi, do special traditional things and eat each others' food, haha..... SO MUCH FOOD!!!!
Since the first day is usually for only family to visit, we were only able to visit two houses who invited us. The second day we visited three more. The third day, we visited none, but instead had city zone training and English teaching training all day. The fourth day, we were actually able to teach one person. The 5th day we visited two more families. The 6th day we did not visit anyone, and today is p-day.... that's how it went. When we visited people they would feed us and feed us and feed us again!! We, along with all the other missionaries in Mongolia, got sick and were not feeling too great this week. No one should be forced to east that many buuz and other Mongolian food.... ugh. My stomach has never been so unhappy in my life!!! 

Some other fun experiences this week: A taxi guy kept offering to take us out and show us the town and some fun.... um no thanks, we just want to puke. A lady who screamed and cursed us from her window... not sure what she cursed us with. A drunk man at a bus stop who tried speaking to us in every language he could think of... Russian, Chinese, Japanese, and Hawaiian "aloha", and followed us around the bus stop for 10 minutes until some Mongolians helped us out. The coolest bus driver ever who had 20 mirrors, blasted American pop music, drove like a crazy man, and stared at us in the mirror and sang to us, haha...We found Asia town of Mongolia that had a Chinese restaurant, Korean restaurant, Japanese sauna, and another Chinese chicken place. A 17 yr old boy at one of the houses we went to who spoke hilariously awesome English and tried out all his lines on us, haha. One house where we went to visit an old woman and her drunk son and his friend came home. At first they were scary and angry, but we became their friends and soon they were laughing and practicing Russian and English on us but we couldn't leave as long as they were there so we were stuck there for 2 hours. I got a new mask this week that doesn't look like a duck as much and fits my face better. So all in all, our week included getting sick from buuz, wearing awesome Mongolian clothes, studying lots, doing a deep cleaning of our apt with our free time, and run ins with drunk Mongolians. 
Mongolian children are so beautiful!

We did however, as we met with many members, talk about missionary work a lot. We were able to find many many ALA's and investigators from them, and will hopefully be able to grow our work a lot this week! You members truly are the key to missionary work. Don't be afraid to talk to your friends and refer people to the missionaries. We need your help to forward this work!

This Friday through Monday, I will be going to Hovd (the farthest area from a mission home in the world... next to Kazakhstan... I will fly there!) to do an STL split. I love you all!!!

PS - the true cycle of  Tsagaan Sar- eating the buuz, feeling sick because people made us eat so many buuz, the buuz coming out :( and calming our stomach with Coke (our mission doctor encourages the drinking of coke during Tsagaan Sar)

It's so cold - I'm tired of frozen hair & eyelashes.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Saihan Shineleerei!

Saihan Shineleerei everyone! Happy tsagaan sar! Starting tomorrow is the Mongolian holiday tsagaan sar. It will last 3-4 days. We will wear traditional Mongolian clothes, visit only those who have invited us, eat their buuz, and enjoy the holiday. We will not be able to teach any lessons, but when we visit people we will attempt to share a thought or talk about family history. 

This week, I sat in on my very first MLC (missionary leadership counsel). We planned the zone training which will be this week. Both city zones will be together, so I will teach a part of the training in Mongolian to approximately 45 missionaries... no biggie... wish me luck!

We have been trying very hard to find new people with little success... I talk to all taxi drivers but they are always a different branch so I have to give them to other missionaries. We have gotten referrals from members and missionaries, most of which were not interested, called everyone in our phone-nothing, went looking for old investigators- all gone, but God did bless our efforts with 2 new investigators who are awesome! One is a teenage boy and one is a single young mother who speaks great English- that's pretty nice :) They both want to become members fast and they love everything we teach, so great!!! We are still praying that the work will continue to move forward here too! Also we will begin teaching a couple deaf investigators in Mongolian sign language soon! Time to use what I've learned.

Our apartment is freezing cold, and very ghetto, but on the bright side, we have gained 3 pets!!!
Outside our apt are 3 dogs who we love dearly. We named one of them yawandaa (it means eventually in Mongolian), one baatar (warrior or hero), and one saihan gar (punk). We give them the bones from our meat, and they walk us all the way to the bus stop from our house... pretty far. So yah, missionaries can't have pets in apts, but what did it ever say about outside dogs? haha
I taught kindergarten!!! It's so great!! We eat breakfast with the kids, sing songs with them (including the national anthem... they are so cute!), then do exercise time with them (like zumba), then we begin teaching. We teach 5 year olds first, then 4 yr olds, then 3 yr olds.... they are all adorable and speak English pretty well. We teach from a series of YouTube videos.. basically songs, as well as flashcards. It is definitely way more high energy, but I'm loving it! They are the cutest and so fun! Then we also eat lunch with them,... so great!

Yesterday, I think my comp and I did something no Mongolian missionaries have ever done before... because of the holiday we couldn't find a witness for a lesson, so we taught our new member OUTSIDE!!! What?! Yes, we taught a lesson outside in the freezing Mongolian winter cold, haha. Our new member thought we were crazy, but he loved it!!! He made us take pictures to commemorate it.

Not much else has happened, love you all! Praying for you! Keep me updated please!

The market where we buy our meat.
My new comp