As we look back at this past week, all we can think is ENGLISH…ENGLISH…and more ENGLISH! We continue to travel out to the Ministry of Labor and get results of 0-4 participants. We’ve suggested they notify us if no one is going to attend but they’re always sure someone will be there. So, for four more times, we can do it with a smile. The people at the Ministry of Labor really are kind and considerate and we count many among our friends that we will always think about. One girl went to America on a holiday and she even visited Salt Lake City. She loved her visit and would love to live there someday.
That seems to be the common dream–living in America! In reality, those who have made that leap really don’t do very well in America. Of course the standard of living is so much higher, most are illegal aliens so they can’t get good jobs, and the language barrier gets in the way for many. There are pockets in Utah, of course, and others in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and places in Virginia. We’re sure they are sprinkled in many other places, too.
Going to BYUHawaii is the opportunity of a lifetime–the Garden of Eden, the Celestial Kingdom on Earth. It is a theme that many have heard since they were children. Some want more and “run” to the mainland. As a result, once they pass the Michigan Test, they are screened very carefully by the Stake President here as well as when they go to the American Embassy to get their visa—they make sure applicants have lots of family reasons to come back. Thankfully, most really do come back to family. BYUHawaii has a fabulous program called the I-work program–it affords them the opportunity to work on campus or at the Polynesian Cultural Center and they get their housing and schooling paid for through their I-work job. That’s a very nice arrangement but they must return to their country of origin or they have to pay BYUH for all the money they received through the I-work program. The whole idea of going to BYUH is to receive an education that will help the students lift their country as they return and find a good job. It also helps them understand and speak English very fluently—especially after passing the Michigan Test! They also watch and learn how to effectively serve in the church and then they bring that understand back and implement their experiences in Mongolia. Even though our church is a “world-wide church,” it is an English-language based church so many things will never be translated into Mongolian. Having the command of the English language is almost essential in church leadership positions in every country of the world.
On top of all of our assignments–Self-Reliance, PEF Loans, and all the charity work with DIC, President Benson has asked us to oversee all the English teaching training for the newly arrived American missionaries. Oh—this has turned out to be a very time-consuming job!!! We scheduled their time around the existing night-time English classes at the Bayanzurkh Building and we have the help of experienced young missionaries but it still requires us to help and we don’t get home until much later than we would like. The Taylors, a senior couple that returned to America for a daughter’s wedding and other reasons, should be coming back to over-see ALL the English by the first of December and we will gladly welcome them back! Meanwhile, it is just making us extra busy!
We have enjoyed getting to know the new doctor and his wife, the Sutphins—the only other senior couple here, right now. He was the only urologist in the Rock Springs area of Wyoming and just retired. He is an avid automobile restorer, and they both love scuba diving and Harley motorcycles. Above all, they spend time with their children and grandchildren and are realizing the beauty of technology to keep in contact. They will try to keep us all healthy and their English assignment will be coaching medical professionals as they try to pass their own version of the Michigan Test—equally as difficult with many more parts.
Just in case anyone cares, it is so cold over here…so cold!!! Last year it wasn’t frigid like this until January so we thought we were going to dodge it once again since we leave in December. I think it was 18 degrees BELOW zero this morning and we had to go to the Bayanzurkh Building for our District Meeting. The cold…and then the wind on top of it! Our eyes and nose start running and eyelashes start to freeze. Then we get brain freeze behind our eyes…it’s real, really! It doesn’t go away until we get to inside the building! Thank goodness for winter clothes and the good sense to wear them. I remember when it was winter in Utah, once in a while you’d see a cool dude in flip flops and shorts and you’d wonder. Well, no one tries to be “cool” like that here–it would probably kill you!!! Everyone has been warning us that this winter is going to be much worse than last winter. That seems to be the case and somehow they just know! So glad to be leaving and going to “Utah cold” soon!!!
Life is good! Life is crazy busy! Thank goodness our lives are center in the gospel with Jesus Christ at the helm. We are grateful to have taken part in the work of spreading His gospel in Mongolia. Sometimes It seems like the work revolves around English but that is a requirement when in Mongolia and we really are sure that the Lord sustains us in our English teaching. It is our task to streamline that part so we can focus our attention on helping Mongolians understand and live the Gospel. What a fantastic ride we have been on and we have memories that we never could have imagined. Most of all, it has brought us closer as a couple and as a family—it’s amazing how a few lines here and there from home, accompanied by pictures, can help us feel our family’s love! We are grateful for this time of service and we are excited to see some of you go out have your own adventure to share.
Enjoy the warm Utah’s winter!!!
Elder & Sister Francom