A week of THANKFULNESS…a time to appreciate 17.7 months of living in Mongolia. A time to reflect and always remember wonderful people, sights, sounds, and ideas that are unique to this country and this culture. We are grateful that time moved slowly so we could help in many little ways to make Mongolia a stronger branch of our world-wide church. But then, we are grateful that it moved quickly so we can return home…home…oh, there’s no place like HOME!
In Mongolia, we’re thankful that it was a mere 0 degrees (F) today when we came down the hill to work. Just two days before, it was -33 degrees so we are very grateful for anything above that. But, we are blessed with common sense that helps us wrap-up and make it all bearable!
We are also grateful for taxis that will pick us up whenever we’re on the side of the road with an outstretched arm. In this frigid cold, waiting at the bus stop and then being crammed inside is not nearly as pleasant. Taxis usually charge about $.40 per kilometer and we hardly ever pay more than $2.50 to get to most place in the city. Oh, so well worth it!
We are thankful every time we visit the Bayanzurkh Zakh because we have wonderful choices of fruits, vegetables, and meats. Even though it was so hard to get used to 18 months ago, we love the good food that we can turn into American meals so all the young missionaries can smile and tell anyone how much they love being invited to dinner!
We are starting to realize how much the Mongolian Saints mean to us as we tell them we’re leaving soon. There are such awesome young people who are committed to love and serve others—totally amazing! The older Saints are amazing as they come to church in their best clothes under such simple conditions. They always carry their scriptures, a pad of paper, and a pen and then take copious notes throughout the entire Sunday block. What an example! We are blessed to get so many smiles, handshakes, and hugs which can say so much more than anything verbal.
We are grateful for all the good people who are scrambling to have us to dinner–just one last time. Our nights are filling up with places to visit and we’re also trying to invite a few more to our home. All of a sudden, there just isn’t enough time for everyone.
President Benson and his family are definitely a highlight of the last 18 months. On Saturday we met for our Thanksgiving feast at their apartment–the kids had school on Thursday. What a feast it was! We had an 18 lb Norbest turkey from Manti, Utah so it was almost like being home! It had an expensive price tag but well worth the $100+ after sitting in a brine, and cooked to perfection. We had all the trimmings and by the end of the day, we were satisfied that an American Thanksgiving can happen even in Mongolia. We are so grateful to have had an extended experience with this cute young family.
Above all, we are grateful to be part of a wonderful family that has been such an amazing support while we’ve been gone. They have watched over our home, given attention to things we couldn’t do on the internet, and most of all, loved one another as they’ve gathered and continued family traditions with us joining in on skype sometimes. Our oldest grandson, Tanner, will be eighteen this spring and we are so grateful that he is planning on serving a mission when he graduates from high school. We are confident that he will begin a long line of grandchildren serving when the time is right for each of them. We are grateful that Elder Francom’s 90 year-old father and his wife are in good health and we look forward to returning to help them in any way we can. Our siblings have been very supportive and we hope to do the same for them when it’s their turn to serve a mission.
We love the church in Mongolia and all the other Americans couples that we have been privileged to work with. Of course, the young missionaries–from Mongolia and America–are some of the best young people with the biggest hearts ever. They work hard, they pray sincerely, and they depend upon the Lord for everything. They are just totally amazing!
Thankfulness from our point of view is a very humbling experience for us right now. It has been a wonderful adventure to visit another culture and learn so much while appreciating home so much more. So…we have ELEVEN days left! We depart on December 9th and arrive in Salt Lake City on December 9th–thanks to traveling East, we pick up that day we lost 18 months ago. We will be home for Christmas–what a blessing that will be! We will be reporting in our ward on December 27th at 1:00pm. Our church building address is 2976 W. 4270 S. in Salt Lake City. (However, if you’ve read a few of these blog posts, you’re excused from attending!!!) We are grateful for all of YOU that read along and care about us. Oh…so much to be grateful for!
Most of all, we are grateful to our Heavenly Father for this experience that has taught us so much about ourselves and our testimonies. We know He is watching over us and will continue to bless us as we obey His commandments. The Gospel is true.
Elder & Sister Francom