Our English classes are teaching us a few things! Elder Francom was talking with our advanced students about Mexico so he drew a cactus on the board thinking that it was completely foreign to cold-weather people of the world. Not at all—Mongolians believe putting a cactus next to their computer monitor will absorb all the “harmful” radiation. (Elder Francom looked online so we invite you all to do the same and reach your own conclusions—we will not be running out to find cactus, however!) Also, to further encourage conversation, we asked about rodents—rats and mice—since we haven’t seen any but looking around we see such prime living and breeding spots. They assured us that rodents are part of their world but if you have a FOX around, you have no problems! Cats are not really part of their lives but dogs definitely are. Now that explains why there are no stray cats but many roaming dogs. As far as teaching goes, we are evolving into better English teachers with every class. We are having more success with conversation since we’ve hit upon the idea of: Person #1 makes a statement then follows it with a question. Person #2 answers the question in a statement then follows it with a question! It is working!!! We’ve given an assessment and followed it with an evaluation.
Last Saturday we left early to hike with the Sisters. We climbed to the top of a “mountain” behind Ziasan Hill (the place where Neal Maxwell dedicated Mongolia to missionary work). It was a beautiful day…warm enough to shed our winter coats. The sky was blue, the air was clear, the Sisters were so excited to be outside! We enjoyed the morning and could look down on the city of Ulaanbaatar and with its smoggy cover—a remembrance of wintertime in Salt Lake City. One of the Sisters who was hiking down with us told us she’d love to come to dinner because she had heard that Sister Francom is a good cook. Now…we’re really not going to take that too seriously because we knew that she’s was trying to get a dinner invite—she’d say anything!
Well, it worked! She and her Mongolian companion came over on Monday night and brought two new members of their branch with the sweet 7-month old niece. We also invited a second set of Sisters. (You cannot have Elders and Sisters in the same invitation.) It was fun to get to know them and the new members were a mother and daughter who didn’t speak any English so the Sisters helped out a lot. The little baby was such a pretty little one and we tried to imagine ourselves holding Sloan or Blake, our newest grandbabies.
On Sunday we traveled out to Nalaikh again but this time, we drove with another senior couple, the Linfords, who were going out to Bagauur which is a small town another hour’s drive farther than Nalaikh. It was great company along the same bumpy road. Later, we saw them at about 5:30 and they were just getting back having been in horrible traffic–for us, the bus-ride back was slow but we were about two hours ahead of them. There used to be a senior couple who would go out to Bagauur every week!
We helped prepare meals to help President Benson out again this week. Sunday, all the senior couples shared dinner with him and we will continue to do so until his family returns from America. Tuesday, he welcomed the new Elders from America with a dinner in their honor. (We were looking for an elder from Herriman and Rick finally met him but I wasn’t with him…I’m still waiting to meet him.) Then, on Wednesday, two American Sisters went home so we had a farewell dinner to honor them. Then, on Thursday, the Mongolian missionaries that went to the Philippines MTC returned and there was a dinner for them–the President was kind enough to have this one catered. Wow…I’ve learned to appreciate Sister Benson and all the meals she has hosted! It really is nice to spend time with all the senior couples and get to know them–as well as President Benson–just a little better.
Notice one of my pictures below…it is of the traffic right outside our building. It is like this at the busy times during the day. Yes, I really am glad to be walking at times because it is so much faster! And…it’s easier to cross the street, too! Jay-walking is very acceptable here and cars DO NOT stop at cross-walks. It’s scary but we’ve got the hang of it although we’re always cautious. So…we love the crawling cars! They’re so much easier to walk around than to dodge! However, don’t be to judgmental of the Mongolians because they have only had cars in the country for about twenty years. Where were we twenty years after Ford’s invention? It helps us understand what we see daily!
HAPPY HALLOWEEN to you all! There is nothing done here except in schools and I’m not sure how much. Well…we’re going to research the background of Halloween and we bought some plastic pumpkins (at the “Party Store”) and candy to pass out in our English classes if they can use a random vocabulary word in a sentence, properly! We’ll bring a bit of Halloween to Mongolia! We’ll let you know how it turns out!!!
Oh…no daylight savings time, either! All you daylight savings grinches can move to Mongolia!!!
We are at the FOUR month mark…we are happy…we are growing as we serve. As the Lord states in Doctrine and Covenants 82:3…”where much is given, much is required…” We have been given a wonderful, amazing family, we have been given all our wants and needs, we have been given so many good people who have shown us such love and kindness. How blessed we are. We can do this to show our gratitude! We are so grateful for the Gospel and our testimonies of Jesus Christ.
Elder and Sister Francom