Sunday, July 12, 2009

Update of July 12th

Last Sunday evening (July 5th) was our senior missionaries Fast Sunday family home evening. It is enjoyable to have a gospel discussion in English. The topic was JS Lesson #33 on Spiritual Gifts. Each couple was assigned one of the bulleted sections at the end of the lesson to discuss. The home evening was held at the Caldwells who served us banana cream pie for dessert.

Our part of the lesson was the gift of tongues which is evident with the young missionaries here. "For it shall come to pass . . . that every man shall hear the fulness of the gospel in his own tongue, and in his own language, through those who are ordained unto this power, by the administration of the Comforter." (DC 90:11)

Besides material in the lesson manual I added the story of President Joseph F. Smith when he was a young missionary.

"I needed the gift of tongues once, and the Lord gave it to me. I was in a foreign land, sent to preach the gospel to a people whose language I could not understand. Then I sought earnestly for the gift of tongues, and by this gift and by study, in a hundred days after landing upon those islands I could talk to the people in their language as I now talk to you in my native tongue. This was a gift that was worthy of the gospel. There was a purpose in it."

Dr. Anderson spoke on his thoughts as a doctor and as a Melchizedek Priesthood bearer on the gift of healing and gave us a handout on his reflections on the subject.

There is an Elder Tsotgerel in the mission who has been very sick. His kidneys failed. If he were an American, he would be immediately sent back to the States, but being a Mongolian there is no place for him to go. He has nephrotic syndrome which occurs in 1 out of 100,000 people and has a death rate without treatment of 60%. Dr. Anderson found a Mongolian nephrologist who proved ineffectual. The doctor didn't recognize the disease and just wanted to do more tests. The treatment is a high-dosage of steroids which has its own side effects.

Dr. Anderson did start him on the steroids, and a mission fast was held for the elder. At the end of the fast, Elder Tsogtgerel was to choose someone to give him a blessing. He chose Dr. Anderson. Dr. Anderson said he hadn't broken his fast yet and prayed before giving the blessing. Elder Hadfield was the interpreter. Elder Tsotgerel was promised he'd get better. First he got worse, then he gradually got better. His retention of fluids from the nephrotic syndrome has gone down although his face is puffy from the steroids. Dr. Anderson feels this is a miracle in the mission.

What I learned is that we must show gratitude for every slight improvement even if we aren't healed right away. "And ye must give thanks unto God in the Spirit for whatsoever blessing ye are blessed with." (DC 46:32)

With the July 4th celebration last weekend and the Mongolian Nadaam this weekend there have been families of the president and of a few senior couples here in Ulaanbaatar. President Andersen's two sons, their wives, and two little grandchildren have been in town. The Jacksons' family has been here. The Laytons had two daughters here, and the Hodges had a son here.

Nadaam (July 11, 12, 13) is the biggest festival of the year for Mongolians. The Service Center people will have next Mon., Tues., and Wed. off work. It is the 88th anniversary of the Mongolian people’s revolution and the 803rd anniversary of the Great Mongolian State. It is a festival of the 'manly games' or the three major traditional sports in Mongolia: wrestling, horse racing, and archery.

To see the photos in full screen instead of seeing a small slideshow, click on the picture, choose View All, and then select Slideshow.

All the missionaries in Ulaanbaatar had tickets to the Nadaam opening ceremony on Saturday (July 11th). We also had tickets to two events on Sunday, but we gave those tickets away. On the way to church today at Sukhbaatar, Elder Hitchmough still had tickets left for the closing ceremonies today. He gave them to the taxi driver along with the money and made the driver very happy.

The seniors were in the covered seating, and the younger missionaries were in the uncovered bleachers. Again there was a slight amount of rain. Mongolia is supposed to be dry, but this year there has been a lot of rain.

The opening ceremony would have been great, but I couldn't see much. We were on the lowest row, but people get coming in and standing in front of us and wouldn't move. Dad was able to see to get good photographs. I believe the organizers oversold the tickets. After the opening ceremony, some people began to leave. We watched the wrestling for a while, but then we went home and turned on the TV. That was a much better view of the wrestling. We didn't see the archery or horse racing.