We gave our grandchildren the “go ahead” to began the count down when the last month of our mission finally started. We began at 30 days and before we knew it, we were in the teens, and then all of a sudden, it was single digits! Wow…it just might happen! If you are a returned missionary, you might remember getting to the point where you wonder if you’ll be on your mission forever…it’s just become the daily routine—over and over and over–and “home” is some distant memory. But…we’re down to day FOUR and we’re really getting excited!!! We feel like kids counting down to Christmas!
No matter where we are–in the Bayanzurkh Building, the Bayanzurkh Zakh or walking the streets of the city–we meet up with people who have meant so much to us. There are even those who call us by name and want to visit and I’m not sure where I’ve seen them before. When we wish them well and mention we’re on our way back to America they are surprised that we’ve been here so long. Guess it’s all in perspective!
We have had so many invitations to members’ homes for wonderful dinner and we’ve just had to turn some of them down–there aren’t enough nights left for everyone! We’ve even settled on lunch appointments, two with the Ministry of Labor. We’ve created our own dinner invitations in the mist of it all, too–we’ve just had to have several missionaries and young married couples for dinner to show them our appreciation. We’ve taken our self-reliance team out for lunch and we’ve treated our mission district to pizza. We are still joining with dear friends and the Benson family this coming week and by Tuesday night, we’ll be so done…on so many levels! Now, if we can just find time to pack, clean, and organize both our apartment and office.
As we reflect on the past, we close our eighteen month blog with…
Everything We Need to Know, We Learned in Mongolia:
- Mongolia is the land of blue skies–the sun shines at least 260 days every year.
- The people of Mongolia are hard workers with sincere hearts.
- We have more in common with Mongolia than we thought.
- We have been blessed with lots of work to further the Lord’s effort.
- Sometimes, you don’t need a common language–hugs and smiles are more universal.
- Life goes on–even in 35 degrees below zero!
- God watches over His children no matter where they live.
- Our family has been with us daily–we love technology!
- Love of family is universal.
- We can survive wearing a dress or tie DAILY for eighteen months.
- We miss the temple.
- God sent us here to prepare us for a bright future.
- Poverty is painful–let’s all share!
- Both of us have survived 24/7 of 550 days TOGETHER and are still smiling!
- Not all dogs are pets.
- The Savior’s desire is that ALL of God’s children will have the opportunity to have the full blessing of the gospel.
- Our children are still first in our hearts and can hold everything together in our absence.
- Prayer is powerful and is answered.
- We’ve served MANY meals but it’s still more fun to do it with a daughter and daughters-in-law.
- God loves us and is with us no matter where we are.
- The world is filled with good people.
- Senior missionaries are the strength of a mission.
- God is in the details of our lives.
- There is no place like home.
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a world-wide church.
- When the rest of the world is gone, the Mongolian nomad will probably still survive.
We are very blessed to have had this experience of being senior missionaries in Mongolia. We are also blessed to have four wonderful children and sixteen grandchildren waiting for our return. Elder Francom’s 90 year-old father has had great health in our absence and his daughter has been there for him–how we appreciate both of them!
It’s time to come home but the memories of Mongolia will always cause us to reflect on wonderful people who are accepting the Gospel and becoming better because of it. We pray that they will continue to understand self-reliance principles–we all need to become self-reliant so we can reach our eternal destination.
We are blessed to have many family members and friends who have patiently read this blog and we’d be less than truthful if we said we’d love to keep writing it!!! It’s another project of our mission that is done! Thanks for viewing it through our eyes. The Gospel is true and our Heavenly Father is always watching over us–how grateful we are for that knowledge!
We will probably not see many of you until after Christmas so we wish you all a wonderful Christmas centered on the birth of the Savior. Merry Christmas!!!
Elder & Sister Francom