If anyone ever wonders what seniors do to stay busy–you ought to be a fly on our office wall! The two of us have divided our load and are moving the work along in Mongolia. Elder Francom is working with Miigaa as they help approve PEF Loans–so many at the beginning of the school year! Even though it is quicker than ever since everything is computerized, it still has taken some evening hours. Sister Francom is writing up most of the humanitarian projects. We had fun with one this week—we are trying to order a body refrigerator for a morgue in a hospital–a duty we never thought would ever be ours! The projects wants to know who the proposed beneficiaries are and what their circumstances and needs are—uhhh…dead people who succumbed to death! What criteria are being used to select beneficiaries—uhhh…people stopped breathing! How will beneficiaries participate in this project—uhhh…their bodies will take up space in the fridge. How will church members participate in this project—when their time comes, they’ll have a cool waiting place. We hope Hong Kong has a sense of humor because it brightened our day! However, we are taking this project seriously and look forward to helping the people of Khovd. It is a community that is in the northwestern part of Mongolia. We are trying to do projects throughout the country so when the church needs to be registered with the government so they can continue to have the church doors opened or missionaries in the area, we can remind those in authority of the services we have contributed to each and every area. Oh, it’s taken a year but a new DIC couple is coming in December and we’d get a little excited but we’ll be gone by then.
Last weekend some of us seniors attended a Young Single Adult Activity. We had to leave rather early because our Land Rover’s license plate number indicated that it couldn’t be driven in the city between 8:00am-8:00pm. (This is Ulaanbaatar’s way to deal with all the traffic and it’s not very effective.) Anyway, Elder Francom was in Choibalsan so I went with the Lewises and Harpers. We went to Terlege, the place we had been just days before with the Benson family. We waited outside the city for several hours and finally all the youth showed up in three buses–180 wonderful young people! It was advertised as a day to find someone to date and, hopefully, leading to marriage—not the way it’s done in America but they didn’t “beat around the bush.” We had to traverse several rivers but the buses parked and everyone wadded through the rivers. Of course, many thought it was the first fun event of the day while others saw an opportunity to ride the Land Rover’s sideboard across. Some young people brought their own vehicles and Elder Harper had to hook them up to the Land Rover and pull them across. Finally, everyone was a bit wet but in the designated spot. They had some spiritual workshops and Sister Harper spoke to them about marriage. We ate a late lunch—they had hamburgers brought in. For some reason, they don’t ever build a big fire to roast hotdogs and hamburgers and all the fixings. And there’s plenty of dead wood around, too! Afterwards, they let down their hair and started to play. They had a big slip-and-slide which was really a hit–most had never seen one before–so many chose to watch. Some swam in the clear cold river and others just had a good old-fashioned water fight. They played “Doghouse” and had a baseball and bat but we never saw a ball game get underway. They even did a service project but had used most of the plastic bags for a outhouse and enclosure so we had a mess of garbage. Finally, dinner arrived and everyone ate a big tortilla while we were trying to scoot them out to the buses because we were loosing daylight. What…about twenty kids were in a church choir and they wanted to sing…NO!!! Finally, we said “LAST SONG!” Then, we all started to walk out. Well, it was dark, a bit chilly and all of them had to wade again–not so fun when it’s dark and cool! Again, we had stuck cars, people trying to ride on the side of our car and then there are always those few who seem to be handicapped so we stopped and gave them our spots in the car and waited for it to return. Finally, everyone was across but the bus drivers went on strike! YUP…they turned off their buses, stepped outside, folded their arms, informed us we were two hours late (and we were) and demanded 50.000 tugriks (about $25.00) each! We gladly paid them and they eventually left. (Like, how were the bus drivers going to get home if they refused to drive the bus???) The dirt roads were horrible and the buses were gigantic and low to the ground–we don’t know how they made it out! We understand that most of the Young Adults made it home by midnight and everyone keeps telling us they need more of these fun days. Our response? “Great, you can be in charge next time and make sure some Priesthood Leaders come along!” As we have seen some of these young people they all say they have their “eye” on someone from the opposite sex so it will all be worth while if there is just ONE marriage out of this crazy day!
These young people are certainly amazing. They could run the church single-handedly! Many of them have a stake/district calling, a ward calling and often, can be an early morning seminary teacher on top of all of that. Of course, most of them go the school, too. They seem to make everything work as we watch them and marvel. In the Book of Mormon, Alma speaks of Shiblon, his son, as having steadiness and faithfullness to God. Then Alma reminds Shiblon that there are great blessing if he endures to the end. May we all count our blessing as we watch the youth around us be so valiant, steadfast, and faithful.
Take care of each other and know that we are so grateful for good family and friends.
Elder & Sister Francom