Another Mongolian Week!

The weeks come and go and before we know it, we’re trying to write it all down to share with those who care.  Some weeks are so full that we reluctantly omit some events and other weeks are almost as mundane as being retired and living back home.  We’re afraid this is one of those uneventful weeks!  At least it will be a short read!

We spent quite a bit of time with President Benson’s family this week.  We met Sister Benson and Bella at the 3rd floor of the Bayanzurkh Building on Saturday for Women’s Conference (from General Conference) and enjoyed being taught by wonderful leaders…in English!  Afterwards, we walked to one of Bella’s favorite restaurants.  It was Chinese and some actually were brave enough to order shrimp and they lucked out with a great meal.  Usually, if we dare to order any type of fish, we are disappointed but I look forward to going to Bella’s restaurant again to try the Tempura Shrimp!  The leisure stroll was great and the weather reminded me of a nice spring evening at home.

On Sunday, we finally had our progressive dinner for the Benson family.  We wanted to show our appreciation for all that the President did to help us find and settle into new apartments.  In the early stages, there were some legal issues that he cleared up, being a lawyer by trade.  First, we served salad, moved on and had a main course, moved again and played games for a few minutes, and ended in the last apartment with dessert—four activities for four newly furnished apartments.  It was fun and the kids made it even more fun–it’s a straight shot from the very end of the kitchen…through our “ballroom”…and into our bedroom so the four older kids created a game of running and sliding to see who could make it the farthest.  Silly kids but they had to do something.  Sadly, we don’t keep kid-friendly toys or activities in our senior missionary apartments!

The following night be found Elders to come and make the leftovers from Sunday’s meal disappear.  We required a late dinner after getting back from English teaching at 7:00 but we found out that Elders can eat at anytime of day!  Elder Francom and the two American Elders didn’t know when to quit talking BYU sports so the two Mongolian Elders, with very little English skills, wandered and found some of Elder Francom’s “stuff.”  They thought it was funny to model it for him–crazy guys!

Did you all know that Americans know everything there is to know about cooking–everything and anything?  That’s a perception of some over here.  Remember some time ago when I helped some branch sisters learn how to make cookies?  Well, this time it was French bread.  Yes, I have made it in the past and it is probably the easiest of all breads to make—flour, water, salt, yeast, that’s it!  So, Enktuya had the sister missionaries call for a bread-making appointment and she came over one afternoon.  She has a new job (I was never sure if she worked before) and she is required to learn to make French bread as well as a whole list of other items—red velvet cake, cheese cake, croissants, bagels, carrot cake and the list goes on and on.  She has to prove herself within three months.  I introduced her to websites and she was happy to see that most of these items have recipes.  Of course, they don’t use cups and teaspoons but liters and weight units.  Somehow it doesn’t bother her.  Now, of course, she didn’t speak but a few English words and I didn’t speak but a few Mongolian words but you’d be proud of the amount of communicating the two of us did!

We Francoms are a bit disappointed with our English teaching assignment.  We have regularly gone across town to the office.  Either they all speak proficiently or everyone wants to go home after work.  I had one man on Monday and a different one on Wednesday.  As I started to teach him, he was much more proficient than beginning level so I delivered him to Elder Francom and he fit into his class of two very nicely.  I sat and it was a long hour with nothing to do.  In fact, I tried to learn a little self-taught Korean while I waited.  Oh my…what a confusing language of drawing symbols—and I only tried the first lesson in a book that happened to be left in my teaching station.  Interesting enough, the book had English directions and explanations and not Mongolian ones.  Well, today we take the three-hour journey again and we’re both prepared for bigger classes—we try to stay positive.  What are our chances on a Friday afternoon???  UPDATE:  Elder Francom had five students and I had three!  Woohoo!!!

In closing, we’d like to pay honor to Rick’s dad, Hollis Terry Francom.  On April 26, Sunday, he turns 90 years young.  He is an amazing man–he still plays golf, he takes a daily walk, he reads and keeps his life history updated.  He has a wood shop which keeps him busy if he ever has any downtime.  His newest toy is an ipad and at one time, he was on the cutting edge of technology at Hill Air Force Base.  He and his wife, Joanne, live in Ogden behind Weber State University in the summer and in St. George during the winter.  We appreciate his words of wisdom through the years and we’ve enjoyed spending time with him and hope to do so again when we return home.  Yes, “Grandpa Francom” is part of our wonderful family and we all love him and wish him many more birthdays to come.  Happy Birthday to him!!!


Elder & Sister Francom


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