Ground Hog Day

Brring…Brring…Brring…the alarm sounds…we roll over and check clock to make sure we really have to get up!  We slowly get out of bed and head to the bathroom with fingers cross and praying for hot water.  Turn on sink tap…wait…wait a little longer.  Turn it off and realize that it’s another cold-water-day.  Head to kitchen, fill water heater with cold tap water…plug it in.  Meanwhile, sit down to ipad and check to see who loves us from home.  In a short period of time, the water boiler has produced hot water…take it into bathroom and make a small puddle in tub with this hot water and cold water from tap.  REPEAT THIS AT LEAST TEN TIMES OVER THE NEXT TEN DAYS! It’s almost a habit, as Elder Francom said.  Yes, it’s “Ground Hog Day” over and over again with two exceptions of two of these days having no water with no forewarning and that always makes us so appreciative of water—we don’t care what the temperature is!  Finally, on Thursday morning we were able to enjoy hot, steamy showers! Now, of course, having no water helps us appreciate all the ger owners on the mountainsides.  They have little carts to haul water in plastic containers from the water station to the family ger.  Many children do this big job.  In our apartment, we also have some big containers filled with water.  It’s amazing how quickly the water gets used up so you start thinking of more than one use for the water before it gets poured down the drain.  Good exercise for emergency preparedness back home, right?  We’re hoping this is the last water story we have to share this summer!

As we mentioned last week, Candy Lau, the Self-Reliance Manager from Hong Kong, has been here.  On Saturday, Baatraa planned to show her the sites of Mongolia so we drove out to the Chinggas Khaan Statue again.  (Another “Ground Hog Day” experience.)  The weather was summer-like and the place was crowded with tourists this time.  Candy was impressed as we climbed to the top of the horse statue to look around.  We took a few pictures, visited the museums in the basement, and walked around the souvenir shops.  We left and stopped at a road-side ger for some authentic Mongolian food.  We saw horse meat stuffed inside a stomach but we think it looked much more like intestine.  Baatraa just cut off a slice and enjoyed it with an invitation that the rest of us declined.  Baatraa had a Mongolian meat meal, Elder Francom had some Khoshuurs, and Candy and I played it safe and enjoyed some Tsuivain—noodles, potatoes, carrots, and some kind of meat that is seasoned and really quite good.  Even though Sunday was Father’s Day, we hardly stopped to celebrate—not a holiday over here.  We all attended one of the local branch meetings, we held a “My Path” training, and then we had Sunday dinner at our apartment.  We returned to the church building for a facilitator training, then the Stake Self-Reliance Committee Meeting, and finally a PEF Fireside.  Elder Francom spoke with Candy and Baatraa.  We came home around 8:30 and were so glad the day was a success but over!  We met with her again on Monday and then she left for home.  She and her family are migrating to Salt Lake City later this summer so we’ll get to see her again–she is a very kind person.

The rest of the week was busy with DIC responsibilities—meeting with the National Rehabilitation Center trying to get documents for some wheelchairs, working on the paperwork so we can help a school get pure water into the building, and teaching another week of the “My Job Search” workshop.  All of the workshops are now translated into Mongolian so it’s going to be busy trying to fit it all in.  We even went to the Ministry of Labor and taught English on Monday and then they cancelled out the rest of the week and told us we could now start our summer recess.

We have now taught 15 classes to students who are trying to pass the Michigan Test.  It has been a good experience and after this next week, we’ll give the test, twice to accommodate everyone.  Oh, we hope it will help some wonderful young people pass!  The Stake President, who is also over CES (Church Education System), found out that there is another way to get to BYUH.  The young people can take level 4 online English classes over two semesters with A’s and B’s and be admitted, too.  The youth are so excited to think that this is an option.  We’ve been told that it is a more difficult path but time will tell!  We hope they find success whichever way they choose.

Friday was a quiet day at the Bayanzurkh Building but we partnered with the Lewises, another senior couple, to have a farewell dinner for some wonderful missionaries that have finished their service and are headed home to America next week.  (We are going to be out of town when they leave–a subject for next week’s blog!) They have been such hard-working young people and we will truly miss them.  They are all wondering what awaits them at home and we assured them that their families are so excited and are almost counting the minutes.  Yes, how well we remember the anticipation of welcoming all four of our children home after they were each gone FOREVER, it seemed.

I was reading out of a booklet that Cathy Banks sent me this week.  The article was named “Mount McKinley” and it reminded me of some statistics that I used to teach as we talked about the Earth’s crust and plate tectonics in 5th grade.  Did you know that Mt. McKinley was formed by two plates pushing against each other, and it is still growing!  It has been growing at the rate of about 1/4 inch per year for the past 65 million years?  Out of something extremely small came something incredible.  Even though the growth has been slow something amazing is the result.  We can liken this to our Elders and Sister who come from America.  They arrive a bit timid, a bit wide-eyed, and a bit reluctant.  In fact, they are very unsure of the food, the language, and the culture.  Every day they take baby steps as they learn and grow and within a few months they converse with people and are becoming so much more sure of themselves.  In D & C 64:32-33 we are reminded, “But all things must come to pass in their time.  Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work.  And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.”  Mongolia is not an easy mission–every mission is so hard!  With a little daily growth and work, we all hope to become great missionaries by the time their missions are completed.  What a miracle a mission is for both young and old!

Take care of each other and let’s all take time to grow our own mountain of faith!


Elder & Sister Francom

PS…Sorry, no pics this time.  I need to consult with sons to see why I cannot add media.  So nice to have my own resident techie help!!!


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