Saturday, May 16, 2009

Week 2 in Mongolia

We have been busy and often feel exhausted. Maybe we’re just not used to the schedule yet. The mission office was quiet on Monday because President Andersen was still out of town visiting with Elder Perkins. Tuesday with the president back everything came to life. There are people everywhere in the Bayanzurkh building between conferences, interviews, employment, and all of the different programs.

As part of my office responsibilities I file the correspondence from the missionaries to the president. Also right now I’m putting together 10 farewell booklets for missionaries who are going home. Eight Mongolian sisters leave this Tuesday.

There is a lot of good work happening here in Mongolia. I’m impressed with Deseret Charities; they’re involved in digging wells, providing wheelchairs, and providing other humanitarian services.

Elder Jackson has done a tremendous amount of work in finding returned missionaries. He sends them an email each week. Today (Saturday May 16th) an all-day RM conference was held with 140 in attendance. Dad got the opportunity to give a 15-minute presentation on repentance to five different groups.

Thursday night we had dinner with President and Sister Andersen in their apartment. Elder and Sister Clark were also there, and we played games after dinner.

We received our English teaching assignment from the Hitchmoughs. To be in the country we must teach English. The Hitchmoughs provide a report to the government on how much and where we teach. We will be teaching in the mission office building (Bayanzurkh) on Tuesday and Thursday evening from 6 to 7:15 p.m. We will also teach English to physicians in Hospital 2 on Tuesday and Thursday afternoon from 3 to 4 p.m.

Now that our week of orientation is over, I’ll have to think about cooking. There is a driver for the mission who takes us shopping each Friday. We were gone 2½ hours Friday so I owe him $10 American dollars for the trip. Last night I made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for the Zone Conference today, and today I made a 7-layer dip for the senior get-together tonight.

There is a lot of socializing among the seniors. Even so I’ve still lost 5 pounds this week and Dad has done the same.

Today for breakfast we went to the 5th floor of the Ghengis Khan Hotel (it is across the street from the apartment buildings in which we live) at 7:30 in the morning for breakfast. They fixed omelets to order. President and Sister Andersen, Elder and Sister Clark, Elder and Sister Hitchmough, and we were there. Then people had to leave to get to the church (the Bayanzurkh building). Tonight we have a Cinco de Mayo celebration for the senior couples (only 2 weeks late).

We received our branch assignment today. We will be assigned to the Sukhbaatar Branch. We will go there with the Hitchmoughs, and then we will be the only couple there when they go home in July. This is one of the branches that will not be in the new stake. The couples are assigned to branches not in the new stake in order to strengthen them so they can form a stake.

The decision as to whether or not there is enough priesthood strength to form a stake is based upon the number of Melchizedek priesthood holders who are full tithe payers.

We were scheduled to have the first stake in Mongolia organized at a district conference next weekend. However, because of an election for the president of Mongolia, the use of a building in UB for the conference was cancelled. Therefore the stake will not be organized until the weekend of June 6th and 7th.


Suzanne said...

I'm glad you're getting oriented. Did your cookies and dip turn out OK? Out of curiosity how come you celebrate Cinco de Mayo?

Joan said...

I think the couples celebrated Cinco de Mayo just for the excuse of having a party. Mongolians do not celebrate it.

The 7-layer dip turned out fine; I may go back and add the recipe. I needed to cook dry beans because I can't buy refried beans in the store.

The cookies needed improvement. I noticed the other sisters used at least part Crisco in their cookies instead of all butter.