Every week seems to be eventful in its own way. Whatever the events, they keep us running. We look back to the summertime with its slower pace and realize how far we’ve come. We seems to be given more responsibilities and are reminded that when we are serving where we’ve been asked to serve, we gain and grow.
Our sponsor, the Ministry of Labor, has a director that we’ve mentioned in a previous blog. She invited us out to dinner last Saturday. Uggii, the employee who works with us, gave us the restaurant’s address (written in Mongolian) for the taxi driver. We hailed our taxi and rode through some back-streets until we found ourselves in a familiar place—an area we’ve walked to many times before. If we’d know, we would have walked!!! (We walked home!) We had a private room in the restaurant and enjoyed an evening of meat…and more meat! Now is the time that Mongolians really start feasting on lots of meat. Yes, it was very good but that’s just a lot of meat! She reminded us that we were going to start teaching English to her (private lessons) every Wednesday and Saturday. (No…not our P-day!!!) We smiled and agreed! Our first lesson with her was last Wednesday and she knows a bit more than she demonstrated over dinner. (Often we find that many have been exposed to English on building signs, in TV programs, and in the classrooms of their youth.) We are going to teach her again this Saturday. Oh, the most important thing about her is that she was invited to a religion symposium at BYU the first of October. Even though it was for many religions, she was definitely immersed in Mormonism! She told about how every meal and every meeting was prayed on with everyone chanting an “Amen” at the end and she showed us a video of the Conference Center and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir—she absolutely LOVED them. Yes, that means she went to General Conference and she had a picture of President Uchtdorf shaking hands. She said when she came back her friends couldn’t believe that she kept talking about religion…hmmm…a tiny seed has been planted! What a smart thing for the church to do! She has a lot to do with missionaries getting their work permits to stay in Mongolia and we think she will gladly issue them with this experience to influence her. She truly is a delightful lady and one-on-two lessons will be fun and we will try to keep the church’s image sparkling white!
On Sunday, all the senior couples met at President Benson’s home for another Sunday dinner. He’s a smart man to insure that he has something to eat after a long day’s work! He had a turkey in the freezer so before you knew it, it was as if it was Thanksgiving—all the fixings! In reality, he may be in California with his family at that time so it was a great thing to do with lots of good people. Then, he came to our home for dinner on Tuesday night with a set of missionaries. The missionaries rushed off to an appointment and the President stayed. It was nice to sit and visit with him and before the night was done we had another list of “assignments” that had our name on them. We have one senior couple, the Nays–oh how we’ll miss them–who will be leaving to go home on November 20th and with no replacement, we’ll all stretch ourselves a little farther. We’ll be teaching MORE ENGLISH on Tuesday evenings as well as helping new missionaries put together the first few lessons as they begin teaching their sponsor’s new English classes. So between this and all the teaching at the Ministry of Labor we’re getting very busy. Oh, and we have to continue to work at getting the Self-Reliance Center opened in the near future. We might not be as busy with that since there will be many Mongolians who don’t speak English and it is our hope that volunteers will get involved. Whew…glad the center doesn’t offer English classes, yet!!!
Speaking of the Self-Reliance Center, we held a training for Priesthood Leaders on Thursday and there were supposed to be almost 80 people in attendance. They come directly from work so we fed everyone—we ordered 10 pizzas (they have yummy pizza here), apples and oranges, and candy (somehow it’s at every event). It was amazing to see almost the whole room full…on a work night–we’re not sure this would happen back home! Our manager asked me to do decorations—how to you create anything in a vacuum of paper supplies? Well…I found some patterns of fall leaves on the internet (yes, they consider these wintry temperatures “FALL”) and some ribbon and cut out leaves all morning from colored paper I found in our office. We decorated the tables with these and a bowl of candy in the middle. Assignment completed!!!
Halloween…we had a few employees bring their children from office to office and the youth and young adults had fun parties. The scariest thing we did was to walk to the “Infectious Hospital” so Rick could get a flu shot (Karen had one before leaving on our mission). Every hospital here has it’s own focus. Anyway, that’s the extent of our celebrations!!!
We wanted to pay tribute to a wonderful man…it seems that every community has one of these angels. Maybe YOU are one in your community—there isn’t a better compliment that to be one of these people. His name is Sukhbaatar (many Mongolian people and places share this name). He is 71 years young…he is very hard of hearing…he lives with a generous non-member family…he has no family or job. He gives handshakes with the biggest smile and can be found at the church building most days. His first task every day is to sweep the sidewalk and pick up trash in front of the church building–he keeps it as clean as the temple grounds. He went to the Hong Kong Temple with the last temple group so he shines brighter than ever nowadays! He also received the gift of hearing from someone in America who donated several sets of hearing aides to the church. Doctor Lewis took him in to an audiologist but it’s never simple–they cleaned his ears out and somehow Sukhbaatar got infection so he’s not quite hearing yet! We’re all very hopeful that hearing will be a blessing in his life soon. He is gentle…he is kind…he will help anyone with anything…what a wonderful man!
Let’s all turn into “angels” to be there for others…to give a hand up…to love one another. As Elder Oaks stated in Conference, “…as difficult as it is to live in the turmoil surrounding us, our Savior’s command to love one another as He loved us is probably our greatest challenge.” In this crazy world, wouldn’t it be wonderful to be someone’s angel? This is what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is about and we’re so grateful to have testimonies to help guide our family. Please take care of one another and find that “angel” within!!!
Elder & Sister Francom