Sunday, May 10, 2009

Welcome to Mongolia

At 8 am on our first morning (Thur. May 7th) we had an interview with President Andersen who was to leave soon to pick up Elder Perkins from the Asian Area presidency for a tour of the mission. We needed to boil water so we could take quick baths before reporting to the mission office.

After the interview we met people and were shown around the mission building. On the 1st floor is the chapel. On the 3rd floor is the Mongolian Service Center. The 4th floor is the mission office, and the 5th floor is the mission president’s home.

Everyone has gone out of their way to welcome us. I’ll attach the schedule they gave us for the first week. Every night we have dinner with a different couple. Elder and Sister Clark have shown us around some stores and taken us out to eat.

Elder and Sister Stevens Orientation

Because Elder and Sister Perkins were in town, the first evening we attended a singing and dancing performance at 6 pm by Tumen Ekh, a Mongolian National Song and Dance Ensemble. This was enjoyable. (

Following this there was a potluck dinner at President Andersen’s apartment. There were 10 couples in attendance.
President and Sister Andersen, mission president
Elder and Sister Perkins, area presidency (area president on July 1st)
Elder and Sister Clark, senior couple with humanitarian services
Elder and Sister Caldwell, senior couple over employment
Elder and Sister Anderson, senior couple from Choibalsan
Elder and Sister Hitchmough, senior couple over teaching English in Mongolia
Elder and Sister Anderson, senior couple, husband is mission doctor and wife is teaching music
Elder and Sister Jackson, senior couple (he was President Andersen’s mission president years ago), he is over finding returned missionaries and she is over family history
Brother and Sister Nolan, service center manager going home at the end of the month
Elder and Sister Stevens (that means us, brand new senior couple)

We are the office couple, but we do not have our assignment to a branch yet. President Andersen may be waiting for the weekend of May 23-24 when the first Mongolian Stake will be organized. Some of the branches will then be part of the stake instead of the mission.

Wes gets the privilege of getting a driver’s license here; I’m glad I don’t have to get one. The traffic is horrendous and people don’t know how to drive. We were told when driving to stay close to the bumper of the car ahead or someone will try to cut in. If you allow other cars in, that will block traffic.

Friday (May 8th), our second day, we attended a Zone Conference. After the conference we had dinner with Dr. and Sister Anderson and then went with them to a baptism at 6:30 pm at the Chingeltei building. In the mission every Friday night is baptism night at each of the buildings. I enjoyed meeting with the members at the baptism. However, I never understand what they are saying.

For the elders and sisters, in addition to the English missionaries learning Mongolian, the Mongolian missionaries are encouraged to learn English.

Yesterday (Saturday May 9th), our third day, we went shopping in the State Store, viewed some of the sites in UB, and had lunch with the Clarks.

Then in the evening ate dinner with the Clarks and the Nolans at an Indian Restaurant, Hazara. Gloria Wheeler was also at the dinner. She is a retired professor from B.Y.U. and is teaching research methods on a Fulbright scholarship for an M.B.A. class at the university in Mongolia.

Afterwards the Nolans showed us pictures of their trip in April to China (they are not missionaries). The pictures were beautiful. Everything was green and blooming. They said China is very clean, and the people are happy.

Today we are to attend church with the Caldwells at Nalaikh followed by dinner with them. When Elder Caldwell saw Wes, he wondered about it. Apparently he was friends with Stan, Wes’ identical twin brother, in West Valley.