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, March 27, 2016

One Year Mark!!!

I HIT MY YEAR MARK THIS WEEK!!!!!! So incredibly crazy! It doesn't feel real that I am 2/3 done and really will be back in America in 6 months.... wow. I've been reflecting on my time in Mongolia a lot this week, and I realized how incredibly amazing my mission has been, and how much I have changed and how much I have learned, and how many people I have helped. It's so hard to count or understand, but I did realize that this mission is changing my life as well as many lives here. I am so incredibly grateful for the prompting I received to go on a mission as well as the choice I made to come, and I'm grateful to have been called here to Mongolia! This country is truly special, and God has prepared these people for something great. I love this work and I love these people and I love the Lord and I love this gospel!

This week, for my year mark... I got to move! yay....ugh. Yep, we moved and are living in the
apartments that I lived in when I first got to Mongolia. I've been getting complete deja vu as I live in the same place and the weather is officially warmed up!!! weird. So, for my year mark, I ate my favorite Mongolian ice cream, moved, and now I have a giant bed and a huge TV and a real washing machine!!!! Best year mark ever! Oh, and we bought Chinese food for my one year & our roommate's birthday! I have yet to burn something because we were moving and what not, but I will this week, I promise!

Happy Easter by the way!!! For Easter  us and our roommates were invited to the senior sister who lives above us, and she made us a yummy dinner!!! Other than that though, we didn't do anything, just work and more work, and no one here knows about Easter so they didn't talk about it at church either.

We visited a new member yesterday who we have had to focus on this transfer because she is really struggling. She is a 46 yr old woman who lives alone and is kinda gangsta but also a giant teddy bear :) Well, we had planned to teach her about following the prophet and prepare her for general conference, but it changed when we got there. She hadn't prayed in a week, hasn't been reading her scriptures, and drank once too! When she told me, my heart sank and I just talked to her sincerely for a while about how incredibly important those things are in our life. I shared a personal experience, asked her some questions, and then got firm with her about how she NEEDS to do these things to conquer Satan's influence. She then started talking for a long time about how she had been an investigator for 8 YEARS! Do you know how many missionaries she went through???? SO MANY! But do you know how many she told us have affected her... 4. Those 4 including 1 Mongolian sister many years ago who was very loving but very firm with her, so when she didn't do something the sister would say "well, if you didn't do your homework then I'm not teaching you today" and leave. This really affected her, and she wold then do those things. Then this last 6 months, 2 new sisters came along- Sister Hartley from my group and Sister Tao my comp. She then explained that these 2 were the most annoyingly loving and stubborn people she had ever met. But because they loved her so much and would not give up on her and were so persistent, she changed, gained a real testimony and got baptized!!! Then when Sister Hartley got transferred and I came along, she didn't want to meet with a new sister because she felt that she would not love her and she would be like all the other missionaries she'd had over 8 years. Well, who was the 4th missionary she spoke of... me! I was so surprised and so touched. She then went on talking about me for a long time. She explained that while she did not want to meet with me at first, that with my insistence, she did. And guess what?! She loved me! She said that I love her a lot and she knows that. She said that I listen and understand her well and then I teach her what she needs to hear. She told me that she has gained a huge respect for me and as such the words I speak to her enter into her heart and soul powerfully. She said that like that Mongolian sister many years ago, I am firm with her. I teach not softly, but with strength, which makes her want to follow what I say to her. She said that because she respects me, she sometimes fears me... that was weird  but coming from her, it was good. She said that She loves me dearly, that she knows I was supposed to teach her and help her through her post-baptism struggles, and that she continues to learn so much from me. I almost started to cry as I sat and listened to her say these things with such sincerity.

Why was I so touched? Because, this transfer, work has been slow and investigators had not been progressing and while we have found so many people, they have all seemed to fall through. I had begun to wonder why I was in this ward. I felt that I was not needed here and that I was not changing anyone's lives. I felt that Erdenet needed me more than this ward. I had even decided maybe I was transferred here not to help people in the area but instead my zone sisters.. But, I was wrong. In this lesson, I found God's answer and comfort to me. God told me through this woman, that I was indeed needed here. I had truly and am truly helping this woman. I am needed here. This lesson was not for her, but instead for me.

God truly knows us, loves us, cares about us, and always answers us! He provides answers, confirmations, revelation, and comfort. God lives, and I know that He loves and knows me perfectly. He brought me to Mongolia and placed me here at this time to help certain children of His.  If you don't know that God lives and knows you for sure now, then I am inviting you all to pray and ask God if He is there.; Ask Him anything you are wondering, talk to Him about your life. You will feel His love and presence, and you will gain an answer. I promise.

I love you all! Thank you for your continued support! See you all in 6 more months!!!

Getting my stuff together for the move.
Roomies eating dinner.
My new HUGE bed!!!!
Heaven = a washing machine!
Some Buddhists we pass on our way to teach.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Transfers Came ... I Stayed

New American missionaries.
So, this week was.... I don't know. First off, being an STL is exhausting!!!! When sisters get in fights (it doesn't just happen with elders), the STL steps in, and when the mission president is in Hong Kong, it's all up to the STL.... and it happened this week. So I did some emergency splits, check-ups on companionships and helped with some companionship inventories...... Also, I have to do splits with all the sisters in the zone before the end of the transfer, so I did another one of those this week..... Also, when transfers are coming up, I get all kinds of questions coming my way.... Also when there are baptism scheduling issues between the stake and district more questions come my way.... Also, when we get sketchy pass down texts about not going to the church buildings and wearing name tags, more questions come my way.... Also, when new sisters show up I take them to lunch and figure out sleeping situations.... And finally, when the transfers do come, I get put in charge of getting all companionships where they need to be when they need to and with who they need to be with and get people right phones and keys and call everyone.... and MY BRAIN IS MUSH. This week was exhausting! 

But here's the transfer news: The new missionaries all came but the transfer got moved to Monday (yesterday), hence why I am emailing a day later than usual. Almost everyone changed in the mission but I am still in Enhtaivan and still with Tao and still STL. So yah, my life will basically stay the same. The new missionaries are great and I'm excited to get to know them all! 

*Shout out to the Olsen family: I met your daughter and took her and group sisters out to lunch yesterday! She is great and very excited to be here in Mongolia. Her trainer is very awesome, and Sister Olsen will be serving in the same ward as I am in :) She loves you guys a lot!! She's happy, healthy, and safe!!! She will do a great work here in Mongolia!

Also random other thoughts: 

-Mongolia has melted!!! It's warm now!! I don't even need my winter coat anymore!!!! woohoo!!!! 

-Story time: We were at the big square in UB sitting next to a statue, waiting for 4 more sisters to show up for a split, when a drunk man saw me and got very excited and came over and tried to talk to me in at least 5 languages. I didn't reply and walked away and he gave up. But, when 2 more Americans showed up and sat next to us, he came back even more excited and started telling me in Mongolian and Russian that i'm a pretty Russian and he wants my picture... um no thanks!... the 4 of us start
The square where it all happened.
walking around the statue quickly to get him to go away, but he follows quickly, laughing, and saying more stuff about how pretty we are... then it got really windy and dusty and he grabbed my comp who another sister yanked away. Then we called the Mongolian sisters that were supposed to be coming and explained so they started hurrying to get to us and save the day. in the mean time, we walked around the statute 2 or 3 times while people laughed at the foreigners trying to escape the drunk man...... it was a struggle. eventually the Mongolian sisters showed up and got angry at him, and we were good..... #thestruggleisreal #mongoliandrunkmenloveme

-Also, last Monday, we had an awesome FHE with an ALA family and played charades with an English and Mongolian phone app, and it was so fun! and we watched treasure in heaven and after the movie had a great discussion about it and the ALA wife told us that she has decided to change and become a good member..... yay!!!! they came to church for the 2nd time!!! woohoo!!!!!

The district
Hanging with Sister Kerby, she's awesome!
Awesome new member with me & my comp.
Two of the new Mongolian sisters.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Ward Members Truly Forward the Work

So nothing super exciting happened this week, but I do want to share some observations:

Teaching English to kindergartners alone is hard!!! My teaching comp finished her mission, and it's all up to me now... ahhh!

Mission time flies by! There are only two sisters in the mission that have been here longer than me! I will hit my year mark in less than 2 weeks ... what?! I feel like I just got here!

Less-actives are difficult; they cancel on you, go to their bedrooms to "sleep" when we show up, so we just teach the strong members of the family. they leave the house when we come, but every once in a while, they are great! 
We have one ALA named Erdenechimeg who I taught while I was in Erdenent, then she moved here, then I came here, and we are meeting again. She is so incredibly lonely, but with our love and support she is doing great! She comes as our witness in lessons and meets with us al the time, and got a calling and is coming every week!!! Woohoo! And she might go on a mission too! We meet with the less active parents of an elder in the mission, and while they love us, they aren't too keen to listen to our lessons, but this week they came to church and the husband blessed the sacrament, and we are having FHE with them tonight!

The ward can definitely help a ton! Let me share an experience from this week:
We found a family this week. The husband and wife are less actives of many many years because they joined the church as teenagers then moved to the countryside for work and went to China for work where there was no church. They have 3 children and their younger siblings (now in 20's) are investigators. They all live in one very small room with a small mattress, they have only the clothes on their bodies and no money to take a bus anywhere, so they can't afford to come to church. Their children are sick and one has some disabilities, but they are trying their hardest to help their kids. They truly are the humblest family I've met but teaching them is hard because they don't understand our Mongolian very well at all and because they don't remember much at all about this gospel. Well, we are trying our hardest to teach and explain these things to them and we teach with the spirit, and they really seem to love us. Then, Sunday during ward council, I asked the leaders for help with this family and here's what happened: the elder's quorum president is finding some men to befriend the husband, the relief society is finding women to visit teach and befriend the wife, the primary president is going to make sure the kids can come to church and enjoy primary, the ward mission leader will assign ward missionaries to come help us teach them the lessons, and the ward will try and support and help with their needs as well. WOW!!!! So amazing, and they all volunteered to do so so quickly!! It was amazing to see these people eager to serve and love a family they have never met ... that is this church and this gospel. Helping build up God's kingdom by loving and supporting one another. Then, this morning the family called and asked us to visit them tomorrow!!! woohoo!!!!
I know without a doubt that this church and the things I teach people each day are true! I know God lives, his son Jesus Christ atoned for each one of us, and that through the plan of salvation, we can live with God again. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and was translated by Joseph Smith through the power of God. I know that God has chosen prophets in all times and that Thomas S. Monson is God's chosen prophet on the earth today. This gospel is pure happiness and can truly help and bless every person on this earth should they choose to accept it. I know God hears and answers each person with a sincere desire to know the truth and he has answered me. I love missionary service, and I can't believe that I am almost done with 1 year! 

Monday, March 7, 2016

God Leads and Guides His Servants

Last Monday for p-day we enjoyed the beautiful day and walked around UB and went to every mall we could find to window shop (it's fun to do here because we are American so people think we are rich and try to sell us everything!!! haha). 
This week kinda seems like a blur, all of the great things I have seen happen this week came from the Lord guiding us to who we needed to be guided to, at the time they needed us, and the Holy Ghost giving us the words they needed to hear. 
My English class goes a little bit longer than my companion's so she usually eats lunch before I finish. She went to a cheap soup place here and met a security guard who she talked to about English, then later called & talked to about the church and he came to church with us last Sunday. We met with him this week and he's where the cool thing happened ... we planned to meet him at the main church in UB towards the evening and we were waiting and waiting and waiting... well, after 1 1/2 hours he showed up (the traffic was really bad) and because he was so late, the friend he had planned to hang out with that evening met him at the church as well, and they both sat in on the lesson with us! It was an amazing first lesson, and I felt the spirit so strongly and I know they felt it as well. The spirit was truly bearing witness to these two 25 year old's hearts. They loved everything we had to say and had a true and sincere desire to learn more and to know for themselves. They even sat in on Institute class afterwards! Unfortunately, they don't live in our area, so we had to pass them.but I believe God led my comp to that store that day and made them talk to each other so these 2 men could hear about the gospel. I know without a doubt that they will get baptized and become wonderful members of this church!
I wrote a letter to my a sister in the mission this week because I felt a need to. I didn't know why and wasn't even really sure what to write but I wrote and received a text yesterday from her saying that she was incredibly grateful for that note and it was exactly what she was needed at that time!
Yesterday we couldn't seem to find anyone to meet with after church, so we decided to let it be and God would guide us and boy did He guide us!!! Turns out some new members here really needed to meet with us as HUGE things had happened in their life that week... HUGE! We were able to sit with each of them in lessons after church and share exactly what they needed to hear and then direct them to priesthood leaders who could help them better. It was amazing to see God's hand in keeping us from planning with anyone, leading them to us, and helping us say what they needed to hear!
Well, I will leave it at that for this week, but I want to let you all know I love you so much, that God knows and cares for each one of you, and that He is always with you, no matter what. Even when you may not recognize it, He is there helping you along. I know this church and this gospel is true. I know that if you read the Book of Mormon and truly ask of God with a sincere heart that you may know as well. Love ya!
We buy popcorn from the theater but we don't watch anything, I promise. 
Chingis Khan Square 
"Heart attacking" a member's door 
Crowded buses are part of life here.
Sketchy alleys are also part of life.