One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do…
Two can be as bad as one…
It’s the loneliest number since the number one…
This is our “theme song” nowadays. We are down to TWO couples and it feels lonely!!! The Harpers, the office couple, and the Francoms, jacks of all trades, are IT. The Lewises (mission doctor), and the Hills, (couple from Erdenet), left on Wednesday morning. Through texting, we learned that they sat on and off the plane several times before leaving Ulaanbaatar, but they must have finally left because we haven’t heard from them since. They were on their way to Seoul, Korea first because the Lewis’ missionary grandson just arrived the day before to serve in that mission and they were going to take him out to lunch. Then, they were stopping in New Zealand and Tahiti since they were going in that direction. The doctor has been a “substitute doctor” for the past twelve years and did short jobs in those places so they wanted to say “HI!” to some special people. They will have a great adventure as they work their way home to Bountiful where both couples live.
The future isn’t quite that bleak, however! There is a new doctor and his wife coming, the Sutphans from Rock Springs, Wyoming, and the new DIC couple, the Maynes from Price, Utah. The Sutphans should be here by now but have had some visa issues and the Maynes are scheduled to arrive right before Christmas. Oh, we can’t forget the Taylors—they were here until the end of August and then went home to Provo for their daughter’s wedding. They stayed home to work on the English program with BYU and they will return in December to be reinstated and finish their mission. If you’re counting you don’t see a new Self-Reliance couple coming to take our place, do you? Well, a new couple will come… sometime…but no one has been assigned, yet. Do all of you realize how important it is to be senior missionaries? It is very do-able as we have found out…in fact, we recommend it!
This week has been a good week but we just feel like there’s a hole in our hearts…a hole in the mission…and a hole in the work moving forward in Mongolia. We will miss our dear friends but life is settling back down now. We have had farewell dinners, testimony meetings, and receptions. We have furnished some of the dinners, cookies, and we even had the Lewises and Hills for breakfast on their last morning since their fridge was empty. Now, we’re moving forward to the next activity—Halloween!
Halloween does happen here to a certain degree. The school kids have a costume parade, according to the President’s children but there are no school parties. The service center brought their children around for “Trick or Treating” on Friday. The Young Adults are having a party on Saturday evening and we are furnishing soup and rolls as long as they come up to our apartments and carry our crock pots down the hill. We stopped by the building on Halloween and it was really decorated and the young people who dressed up mostly had painted faces. Hopefully, they will enjoy our soup and rolls and several of them planned games so it will be a good time for them.
We are really into winter weather over here. It hasn’t been above freezing for over a week–Saturday ended up being quite nice, however–and it snowed at the beginning of last week so now it’s packed and it’s turned to ice. “Slip and Slide” is the challenge of every morning and evening as we walk up and down the hill outside our apartment. The car tracks in the road are starting to clear off so we walk in the road unless we bow-out to the challenge of a car!
I was just at the Bayanzurkh Building with Sister Harper on this cold Saturday evening. It’s amazing how many people enjoy being there even when there aren’t any scheduled meetings. Of course, it is warm and welcoming but it amazes me how it is so busy so much of the time. The gospel is also like the Bayanzurkh Building…warm and welcoming and so unifying and always a place to turn to when we need to feel loved. How grateful we are to feel our Heavenly Father’s love as we serve as missionaries in Mongolia.
Elder & Sister Francom