First of all, we thought we’d share a small sampling of our life. A very nice young man just came into our office. In his broken yet understandable English he asked for help. I smiled and invited him to sit down. He showed me his English sentence—hmm…I read and reread it. It read: “He got accession which is called that an elephant of a territorial administrative unit.” I reread it aloud hoping for additional clarification but that didn’t help either. Then, I started asking questions–Who is “he”? Do you understand the word “accession”? What is a “territorial administrative unit”? What does an “elephant” have to do with it? I tried to explain that an elephant can be the head of a parade (yes, that the name for a group of elephants) of elephants but that wasn’t the direction he wanted to go. Oh my…where to begin. After several minutes of talking and learning from each other, this is our final sentence. “My cousin competed in the Territorial Administrative Unit level of Mongolia wrestling and ascended to the elephant level.” Whew…I’m still not certain that we got to where he wanted to be but he seemed satisfied and I learned a lot about the levels of wrestling!
In fact, we have learned a lot about Mongolian wrestling this week. We have walked by the Wrestling Palace every time we go shopping at the Zakh. We even walk around it as we go to a wonderful Indian restaurant. We finally attended a wrestling meet inside this Wrestling Palace last Saturday for about $1.50 each. It is a round building with seating like bleacher chairs against the walls. We’re guessing it has the capacity of about 500 and it was half full. There was a huge green mat in the middle and men were wrestling each other, in pairs. One seemed to win by flipping his opponent to the ground and then he did an eagle dance by the country flag while the loser would put on a “hat” that an older gentleman held, touching the gentleman’s shoulder and dancing around him. This happened over and over and if wrestlers bumped into another group or wrestled off of the mat, they’d walk back to a clear space and continue where they left off. There weren’t too many women there and it’s understandable since the place was full of a lot of men that were full of themselves!
On Monday, we went to the same place for a concert. Instead of a big green mat there was a stage with bright lights and black microphones and speakers. One after another, the singers came on stage and performed. The songs were probably a bit traditional but no throat-singers (not our favorite) or traditional instruments. The artists seemed to be popular with the crowd but without the common language, who knows? Several were accompanied by dancers and others sang alone. President Benson and Tommy came but when the snacks were done, so was Tommy. We think this event might be a preliminary activity to “Sargonsar” (sound-spelling) which means “White Moon” and is a big celebration coming on February 19th to celebrate the end of winter and beginning of spring. We’re getting smarter with time and this type of celebrations means ALL markets, shops, stores, zakhs will be closed for several day so we need to stock up!
Yes, we’re ready to celebrate the end of winter!!! However, many tell us that spring can be more brutal than winter with cold winds and chilly rain. OK…we can do this! We have had a few days with temperatures in the 20’s this week and it felt so warm! Maybe that’s a slight indication that the cold is becoming a little warmer…if that makes sense!
We’ve cooked and served the four sisters from our Sukhbaatar Branch this week as well as inviting some of our favorite Americans Sisters that we love to see. Then, another night we went to Pujee’s apartment and she was the one cooking and serving–what a nice change!!! She invited two other senior couples, the Lewises and the Hills, so it was a fun night. Pujee is a wonderful Mongolian saint who loves to serve. Her husband has died and both her son and daughter are living in Orem, Utah so she is quite lonely. She went to England on her mission about ten years ago. While she was serving in England, she was called to Finland to work in the Helsinki Temple because she spoke Russian. She also has a wonderful command of the English language, too. At the conclusion of dinner she presented us all with a pair of camel socks. We are told that is very typical of Mongolians at Sargonsar time–you give gifts but practical gifts, mostly wearing apparel. It really was such a kind thought and we’re looking forward to all the learning at Sargonsar time.
We had the privilege of Home/Visiting Teaching a family this week. Branch missionaries are so wonderful because they know where everyone lives–there are NO addresses or street names here. We walked, knocked, and visited. It was a fun night and we were served potato salad and buuz with candy and fruit. The father is not a member and the mother is the Relief Society President. We got so wrapped up in it all the we forgot to take a picture of the family!!! Maybe next month!!!
Last Friday, our newest grandson arrived and we were overjoyed with a new addition. He started having problems so Kurt and Alanna called the doctor, the doctor checked him out and little Taysom landed in the Primary Children’s Medical Center. Basically, he hadn’t had a bowel movement. They did a biopsy of his colon and found that he has Hirschsprung’s Disease and then, on top of that, he also had a blood infection. So they put him on an antibiotic and could not do anything about his other problem until the infection was gone. As of this Friday, the infection is gone and we have a date for surgery–next Thursday. Basically, Hirschsprung’s Disease is very treatable and he will grow up as if nothing ever happened. This is a good site to learn about it. So, a little reason to wish we were home but we know our family, Kurt and Alanna’s friends and ward members are pulling together and ready to help whenever Kurt and Alanna need something. What a beautiful little one he is!!!
We go to bed and wake up with thoughts and prayers for Taysom. We think about him all throughout the day. We are at peace knowing that he is being cared for and our Heavenly Father is hearing our prayers and watching over all. We are so grateful for pray and the knowledge that Heavenly Father will bless the doctors, parents and big sister, and little Taysom. We know that our family is receiving blessings of health and comfort as we are serving so far away. We are proud of Kurt and Alanna and all they are doing for their son. By the time we get home, Taysom will greet us with the big smile of a sweet little boy who loves life. Please join us as we pray and serve for sweet baby Taysom.
Elder & Sister Francom, Taysom’s grandparents