Test: How many of YOU would travel on a bumpy, two-lane highway to go to a 1 ½ hour church meeting only to go back home in a crazy taxi on that same two-lane highway? That would cause most of us to come up with a whole list of reasons why we just couldn’t attend, right? If you are a devoted Mongolian Saint, you make the trip and, after five or six hours, you finally get back home and are glad that you went! Last Sunday, we drove out to Baganuur and three sisters asked for a ride to Ulaanbaatar for their monthly Primary Training Meeting. Of course, we gladly brought them in and it made us pause to think about being in their shoes and having a long evening ahead of them. And that’s not to mention that they had already been to three hours of church meetings before and their families were without them until about nine o’clock that night.
Our trip to Baganuur was long but it became longer when NINE buses pulled out in front of us on the way home and strolled along with a string of cars behind them. Of course, we tried to pass them but there was a lot of traffic going to opposite direction so we just hung out behind them until we were almost back to the city. Even though the drive is never our favorite activity, we are richly rewarded as we attend church in this small branch of about forty people. They are such valiant saints and they have lively gospel discussions in Sunday School, Relief Society, and Priesthood. The youth are some of the best and could almost run the entire Sabbath day if it was necessary. It is always a great experience—and it’s even better when we have an awesome translator, which was the case on Sunday. Next week, back to Sukhbaatar Branch!
Otherwise, we are still NOT teaching English at the Ministry of Labor. Udvaal, our contact person, was away on annual leave until September 15th and was supposed to be in touch, but that was two weeks ago. We’re thinking it could be any day…or it could be another month…or two! We are ready to teach the newest form of our English program. Some of the young missionaries worked through the summer with the Taylors (Senior missionaries in charge of English) and streamlined the Side-by-Side lessons onto powerpoints so they can easily be taught. They did this so that the lessons were “microwave-able” which means that you put it in, push a button and it’s done! In other words, no preparation time which means more time for teaching gospel lessons to investigators. So, we’re ready to teach…anytime!
We have had some very busy days in the office. Elder Francom is still busy with Miigaa as they still work with PEF Loans. There are many steps they have to check off with every student’s loan and many times they have to write an email note and send it back for the student to complete a step they missed. Other times, they get to send it on to Hong Kong and it’s a simple process. We are also preparing for Chad Furness (attended Taylorsville High) and Marco Loc (Hong Kong) to come for a visit from October 2-6th. Chad is the new head of the Asian Area Self-Reliance and Marco is in charge of the Asia Area PEF Loans. We’re not sure of exact activities but we know we’ll all be a little busier next weekend. I’m still working hard with DIC and making sure we are doing projects in the most important areas of the country. Just as I think we’re about finished for the year, there’s more to do. It can really keep me busy so it’s a good thing that we cannot teach self-reliance groups (need to be taught in Mongolian) or help in other areas since language is such a barrier. We understand Self-Reliance is coming to America!!! We are excited to see it in action when we get home and know that it will bless so many lives.
So, here it is…still a full week of September left. Wednesday, it rained and hailed and I was stuck walking to the church building in it. Oh, the puddles! I just happened to have an umbrella in my purse so I was lucky but still mighty wet. Then, Thursday morning we got up to SNOW!!! We wrapped ourselves up in tights, boots, scarves, gloves, and big wintry coats and we were glad we were dressed this warmly. I guess it’s that time of year again. Someone, who must know more than most of us, is spreading the word that this winter in Mongolia is supposed to be very harsh while last winter was on the mild side. Thank goodness we won’t be around after December to see if they are correct in their prediction. Here we go!!!
We are not yet letting ourselves count the weeks and days before we come home but we have our flight plans for early December so we are getting just a little excited to hug a few kids and grandkids! We will continue to move the work forward and we’re sure there are a few more lessons these wonderful Saints can teach us. We hope to be able to pass the test when we get home by serving valiantly as so many do here.
Be safe and healthy and know that we love you!
Elder & Sister Francom