Of course, there are many ways that Mongolia is vastly different from America–the food, the history, and the culture in general. To be specific, if you were Mongolian you would…
- Have 3 million people living in the country
- Live in a country 2.25 the size of Texas
- Die 11 years sooner.
- Be 4 time more likely to die in infancy
- Make 89% less money
- Be 23% more likely to be unemployed
- Spend 97% less money on health care
- Use 90% less electricity
- Consume 88% less oil
- Be 15% less likely to have access to improved drinking water
- Be 81% less likely to be in prison
- Be 97% more likely to be murdered
- Be 83% less likely to have HIV/AIDS
- Have 56% more babies.
- Be 97% more likely to be below the poverty line
Another way Mongolia is different is the humongous amount of high-rise apartment buildings. They certainly have that skill down! They seem to be sprouting up wherever there is a small plot of land. They usually have office space on the ground floor and then lots of dwelling levels above that. Our building has twelve floors but there are many others that are much taller. One of the unique things here is the individual apartment outside doors. They make us feel very safe as the key turns and the tumblers roll and roll as the dead-bolts go into the walls. These dead-bolts go in on the top, bottom, and the side of the door opposite the hinges. Also, when you shut the door, it automatically locks—you have no choice. When we were given the key to our apartment, the owner told us we’d have to buy a new door if we lost any of the keys. Well…we decided we’d be careful, for sure! Some of us have an extra key that stays in the mission office and others only have the two for both seniors. As you can guess, we are very human and sometimes do dumb things and lock ourselves out. From experience, it can be a long wait to get the right people to come and assist if you don’t have a spare key over in the office. Last Saturday, the Taylors went out the door and locked their keys inside before realizing what they had done. After running their errand they found a couple ropes in the mission office and this is the outcome. The men lowered him down and the women went out and took pictures. Of course, all the play on the playground came to a halt as Elder Taylor was smoothly lowered, tapped the screen (it rolls up like a blind) with his toe, and slid smoothly through the opened window. All of a sudden we were all so glad he lived on the second floor and was being lowered from the third floor. We were glad it all ended well. We worried that it might set a poor example for the younger missionaries but when they found out they told us that they had done it more times than we wanted to know about. They said it’s better than trying to get Batbold (over all the apartments) to bring a key and then listen to his lecture! If any of you are returned missionaries, you probably know about this enough to chuckle and remember your own antics on your missions!
The rest of the week was full. We approved many PEF Loans as students get ready to head back to school. We have one DIC Projects that is almost completed and many more lined up. However, there is a limit to what we can do with our workload. The Michigan Test Prep Class continues and we’re bribing them with American candy if they bring their homework back–bribery has it’s place! We’re also asking them to read English books to increase their vocabulary instead of memorizing one-thousand words and their definitions. We’ve also helped individuals who need papers edited or need practice as they head out for an important job interview. Probably the most exciting news is that ALL of the Self-Reliance Groups can begin because we finally, one year later, have all the materials translated into Mongolian! We’re finding that it’s now a game of managing the groups and finding enough facilitators. We feel like it’s all “growing pains” that are well worth it.
So, we grow, we stretch, and we hope we never have to climb through windows! We’re grateful for all that we’ve been asked to do to move the Lord’s work forward. We know that missionary work can come in many forms and we appreciate all that is happening as our family and many friends add to the work. May we all be blessed in our service and may our hearts turn towards our Savior and the importance of His Atonement in our lives.
Thanks for caring to read…and hide a house key outside so you don’t have to answer to the likes of Batbold!!!
Elder & Sister Francom