Sunday, May 31, 2009

Wes' Update on 5/31/09

This past week continued to be a learning week. I think they all will be. It’s amazing how much work there is in an office with all the paper work. In Mongolia, without a stake, everything has to come through the mission including building problems (branch and office), disciplinary councils, CES, and humanitarian efforts. In other words, the mission must do every thing a stake would do plus what a mission does. President Andersen has duties equivalent to a mission president plus a stake president.

A week from today (June 7th) the first stake in Mongolia will be organized. It should take some of the load off the mission president. Since Mongolia has not had a stake, there have been no ordinations of men as high priests and there has been no patriarch. There must be a stake to have a patriarch so the members have had to go to a stake outside of the country to obtain their patriarchal blessings.

The weather has been weird. Wednesday the weather got up to 87° where we were looking for air conditioning, and the next day Thursday it was down to 32° with snow. There were four seasons all in one day. It snowed, hailed, rained, and the sun was out. Friday there was also snow. Back home we blame all the cold weather on the Canadians; here it is blamed on the Russians (Siberia).

We continue to teach our four English classes each week. When I say we that means Joan teaches the classes, and I’m her helper. The big class of about 40 young people does quite well. The class of doctors struggles with pronunciation, but we are making progress.

Wednesday night we went with the Caldwells to a theater for a performance of the Mongolian National Song and Dance Academic Ensemble. It turned out to be a little ballet, folk music, contortions (four young girls twisting there bodies all out of shape in unison), throat singing, the national orchestra, and a few other things. (Joan here. I was really impressed with their orchestra. They don’t have the same instruments we have, but it was very good.)

There has been a couple in town this week from Holiday, Utah, Brother and Sister Harrie. He is an ophthalmologist and has been conducting a vision clinic here in UB. One of the vision problems here is botched cataract surgery on younger people.

Friday night we went to a baptism at the Chingeltei building where two people were baptized. At the Bayanzurkh building there were eight baptisms. I don’t know how many baptisms there were Friday night for the entire mission, but mission wide for the last three weeks there have been between 15 and 20 baptisms each week. The mission is looking to have about 1000 baptisms by the end of the year.

After the baptism we enjoyed going out to eat at the Indian restaurant with the Clarks and Hitchmoughs.

Joan here again. On Saturday morning each piano class had a recital for the students in the class. In the beginner’s class there were 8 students who played; in the advanced class (more than 6 weeks of lessons) there were 10 students who played. Sometimes I wish the students could be worked with one on one to develop more technique, but despite this and the lack of opportunity to practice, they are making progress, and you can see that some students have talent.

Saturday evening we enjoyed going to the Caldwells for a pizza dinner and visiting with them.

Today we attended church at Sukhbaatar before Wes had to come back to Bayanzurkh for another meeting. We traveled by taxi. Taxi means you put your arm out with your palm down at about the 4 o’clock position. You take a ride with whoever stops for you (it is seldom an official taxi). The driver takes you where you want to go and you pay him. I guess you can call it paid hitchhiking.

Some of the cars here have the steering wheel on the left side as we do, and others have it on the right side. The roads are like ours so you can imagine the problem on a country two-lane road when a driver with a steering wheel on the right wants to pass the car in front of him. He can’t see so he pulls way out so he can see. Also despite the dangerous driving, only the people in the front seats wear seat belts. I looked in the mission van for a seat belt and couldn’t find one.

Today is the senior couples’ fireside which is usually held on Fast Sunday, but next week won’t work because of the district conference. The couples alternate at which home it is held and a lesson is taught from Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. TPJS hasn’t been translated into Mongolian so it isn’t used here for Priesthood / Relief Society.


es said...

Hi there, and Happy Anniversary! It sounds like you are having a pretty good time, but really busy. That's ok though; that's better than trying to find something to do.

Just a bit of information--We are now getting our papers prepared to see if they will let us go on a mission. I hope they do, and I feel I can do what the the Lord wants me to do, and where He wants us to do it. Got any suggestions for us?

We stopped to see Judy today after I received my arthritis treatment. She didn't let us go into her house because she said it is a mess since she is going through her bills and they are all over the living room--I guess. There were no chairs out on the step, so we didn't stay long. I didn't want to keep standing too long, and I could tell she was having a hard time trying to keep standing. I guess it wouldn't have been as bad for her as it was except she fell backwards trying to get to the door because her cat attacked her legs. Then she got up (and it must not have taken her very long to get up-that's a good sign of her health) and the cat attacked her again, scratching and biting. She said if it keeps doing that she is going to get rid of it. Other than that shake-up, she seemed to be in pretty good health.

Well, I hope we can keep seeing your blog and seeing how things are going for you. Thanks for your update and pictures on your blog. It has been fun.

Love you, Elden and Connie