There’s a simple saying…”Enjoy life…eat, drink, and play golf.” We fulfilled that last dream for Elder Francom and Elder Lewis as we took an afternoon off and sought out the game of golf. We made our way to the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar, right to where the men knew there was a golf course–somehow they just knew! They rented a set of clubs and a cart. Sister Lewis and I handled the cart (our first “driving” experience in many months) while the men played their game. It was a difficult course with many hills, sandtraps, lakes, and gullies and the wind was blowing. The men went to their “golf place” in their brain and the women visited and followed. Before we knew it, nine holes were played and the afternoon was gone. It was a fun afternoon and made up a bit for the P-day that we never had time for that week. So, now the men can smile and say they played golf in Mongolia!
On Sunday, it was our turn to host the bi-weekly Family Home Evening with all the seniors. There are only three couples now that the Taylors have gone home for their daughter’s wedding, but Puje, the senior from Mongolia, and the Hills are part of us, too. The Hills are here with Brother Hill’s job with an American mining company. Sister Hill comes to the building and volunteers three days a week as a service missionary. We love including them in many of our activities. We enjoyed dinner and then discussed Elder Holland’s conference talk on Justice, Love, and Mercy. It’s a wonderful way to end the Sabbath!
It was easy to invite the Elders for a meal this week. We invited a set of two Elders on two different days to eat leftovers from Sunday. They loved the surprise invitation and their full tummies in the middle of the day. We loved the food not going to waste!
On Wednesday, we all joined the Benson family for dinner. Elder Wong, a member of the First Quorum of Seventy and a counselor in the Asia Area Presidency, was our special guest along with his wife. He was in town for a mission tour as well as District Conference this weekend. We enjoyed dinner, played with the kids, and learned how “down to earth” Elder Wong was. His wife is so personable and we enjoyed visiting with them throughout the week. We had a mission conference on Friday and even though we were about three times as old as the young missionaries we also learned from the Bensons and the Wongs. There are several events over the weekend so we three couples met at our place on Friday night, fixed and enjoyed our first BLT sandwiches, and made lasagna and a salad for a dinner the Bensons hosted on Saturday night. We love helping Sister Benson when she is busy with her family and entertaining guests–it’s so easy for us to whip up food! Of course, she insisted on her homemade French bread and a favorite dessert but we knew she appreciates the help.
We learned a few interesting facts about the Asia Area! Did you know…
- In 2015, there are 28 Stakes in Asia with a projection of 65 Stakes by 2019
- Including three new Stakes in Mongolia–we’re working towards it!
- There are 10 mission in Asia (418 missions church-wide)
- There are 3.5 billion people in Asia (1/2 of the world population)
- There are 18-22 countries in the Asia Area
- There are 2 temples in Asia (compared to 17 temples in Utah)
- The Hong Kong, China
- Taipei, Taiwan Temple
- The Bangkok, Thailand Temple has been announced
- In Hong Kong, over 1/2 of the 7 million people live ABOVE the 14th floor They have LOTS of tall buildings in Hong Kong!!!
- Hong Kong moves 2-3 million people on public transportation every day
These numbers should tell us all that many of YOU are needed in Asia! There is such a potential for billions to hear the good word, feel their testimonies burn within, and join in spreading the Gospel in Asia.
We were reminded in our conference that as the Church’s Jerusalem Center was being built, the local residents were promised that the church would not proselyte. Their response–“But, what will you do about the light in their eyes?” Mongolia is a lot like that. We cannot proselyte, we cannot wear badges. We CAN walk down the street with a smile on our face, opening doors for others, finding ways to do other compassionate acts, and having a clean business-like appearance. Many of the missionaries in the conference said that as people walk by, they often hear the locals say “Ecyc” (Yea-zooz) which means JESUS in Mongolian–we are known and it might be the light in our eyes! Mongolia is a Buddhist country but the LDS Church is the largest Christian church. We do have a presence here and our numbers grow by people asking us about our church and local Mongolian Saints inviting missionaries into their homes. The church is being established and it will grow until we soon have THREE more stakes with the help of our Heavenly Father. We are grateful to be part of this work in Asia and we see miracles happening daily.
May we all find a way to do our part!
Elder & Sister Francom