This week has been quite a “normal” week. That means, lots of time in the office with requests here and there. It means feeding the Sister Missionaries on Thursday, our only night off. It means preparing for English only to wait for almost an hour and then deciding that the driver must be stuck in traffic or didn’t even begin the journey—we’re never sure which it is. It also means we’ve skyped home with some of our family and we’ve text back and forth all week long.
There were a few events that stood out in our week. Saturday was Sister Taylor’s birthday and she was looking for a restaurant that served breakfast. The Kempinski Hotel had been recommended on several occasions and it wasn’t too far away so we all decided to celebrate with her. As we all walked in, we were so surprised to see a buffet with both Mongolian and American food offered. There was even an omelet chef waiting for orders. We had a young Mongolian returned missionary with us and he couldn’t believe that there was really a place where you could eat as much as you wanted! He enjoyed every mouthful! It was a fun morning and then we resumed our usual Saturday errands—buying fresh fruits, vegetables, and dairy products to last a few days. Saturdays are nice when they are free from mission work so we can make some choices and get ready for the following week.
On the other hand, the following Monday was quite a crazy day. June 1st is Children’s Day in Mongolia. Somehow, it is Mother’s Day too, but there wasn’t much evidence of that. The Service Center was having a party for all of their children. They asked us seniors to decorate the big main room, have games for the children, and make cookies for dessert. We were a little confused that we were supposed to be doing this when there are so many young people whose children were being entertained. The mission president stepped in and suggested that we only do the cookies. We were relieved because we’re not sure where to go to get supplies for decorations and then, how in the world will we communicate with busy children as we give directions for games in English! During the celebration, we poked our heads in and they had creative and colorful decorations and the children were dressed up in their finest clothes while parents sat around looking very casual—it was definitely a day for children. We found ourselves down at Sukhbaatar Square and the excitement was loud and wild! Up on the steps of the government building, there was a dance program going on. Food booths lined the square. There were children driving little cars, bikes being ridden, and every adult must have bought their child at least one mylar balloon or other toys. Clowns were performing and big cartoon figures were waiting to be photographed. They say that this is the biggest day of the year that children look forward to with presents just like Christmas. There was excitement in the air, for sure!
Tuesday we were in the dark–a power outage took over the church building. When it came time for our Michigan Test Prep class, we had a little daylight flowing through the basement windows so we plowed forward. We skipped the reading practice since they were mostly in the dark WITHOUT the new added darkness. The power finally came on and we knew that power issues were just another sign of summer being just around the corner.
Summer…the calendar says JUNE but one day it is warm and the next day we feel like we’re barely past winter. We arrived last year in the middle of June and it was warm and gorgeous so we’re hoping to see that beautiful weather again in a couple of weeks.
We had an interesting conversation as we met up with the other senior couples one day on the main floor. Three Chinese men entered the building and we started a conversation. One was Christians–a Chinese Christians! He won a bid on constructing a building next to our church and was visiting the site. He noticed our church name on our building and was surprised at the thought of Christians in Mongolia. We assured him that there were plenty–like, 10,000! He will be here building this large structure with business space and apartments several stories high. We invited him back with specific meeting times. When we said the name “Mormons” he had met some Elders once while in Canada. We hope to see him again.
It’s a wonderful thing to meet people who are excited about the teachings of Christ. Missionary work is marvelous and we see so many investigators and all our activities–especially the youth. We have many returned missionaries who continue to teach and preach. In Asia, we are seeing more and more success as so many nations have opened for the gospel message and we will soon have another temple in Bangkok, Thailand. The gospel is true and we are grateful to be missionaries!
Take care of one another!!!
Elder & Sister Francom