Sunday, July 5, 2009

Update on July 5, 2009

This past week we finished teaching English at both Bayanzurkh and Hospital 2; there will be a summer break. Here is a picture of the last Bayanzurkh class. It was small because it was the beginning of July, but normally there are 40 to 55 students in the class.

Professor Otgon, who was in charge of organizing the English class at Hospital 2, invited us out to lunch on Wed. July 1st to Modern Mongol (Modern Nomads?). He wanted to treat us to Mongolian food. He indicated he'd ordered ahead. When we got to the restaurant, we went directly to our table and the food was already on the table waiting for us. There was a great selection of food. I wish we'd had a camera with us to take a picture. The food was very good.

We enjoyed visiting with the professor. He is a medical doctor who has a Ph.D. from England so he is called a professor. His wife is also a doctor, but she now teaches meditation. He has two sons; one is living in the U.S. When we left the restaurant I thought there'd be a large bill, but we just stood up and left. Either he prepaid or he is well known and has an account there.

A group of American missionaries left late Wed. (actually 12:20 am Thur. morning). One of the returning elders was Elder Stevens. When he came into the office prior to his going home, his first words were "oh, you're the people who stole my name." Wes' response was that since he was older than the young elder, maybe the elder stole his name. Upon inquiry Wes discovered that this elder is the grandson of Wes' cousin Larry Stevens and this elder's great grandfather was Wes' Uncle Elmer, Wes' Dad's brother. The world keeps getting smaller all the time.

On the same evening that the 6 American elders flew home, 4 more missionaries (3 elders and 1 sister) arrived from the States. It is the custom here when a new group of missionaries arrives to take them to Zaisan so on Friday morning President and Sister Andersen, the assistants, the four new missionaries (17 new Mongolian missionaries came later in the day, but they arrived too late to go to Zaisan), and Wes and I drove to Zaisan at 6:30 in the morning.

Zaisan is the location where Elder Maxwell dedicated Mongolia for the preaching of the gospel on April 15, 1993. It is on the top of a hill. It is also the location of a Soviet Memorial commemorating those who were killed in World War II and the resulting peace established between Russia and Germany and Mongolia and Japan.

While we were up at Zaisan, we read together the dedicatory prayer and discussed parts of the prayer which impressed us. It helps us as new missionaries realize the promises made to the people of Mongolia. They were promised they would be a beacon light to other nations and they would have freedom and they would have the gospel message.

Elder Maxwell's Dedicatory Prayer

As we were leaving Zaisan we encountered a Mongolian shepherd and his sheep.

Saturday was our big 4th of July celebration at the Star Apartment complex. To attend you had to be a U.S. citizen or a guest of a U.S. citizen. There could be no more than one Mongolian per American. Two senior couples, the Clarks and the Caldwells, were on the committee to plan the event. It was a great celebration. All of the missionaries in Ulaanbaatar attended; the Mongolian missionaries were paired up with the American missionaries. The committee said when they needed help with something, they'd grab a couple of missionaries to help them.

The food was traditional hamburgers and hot dogs (flown in from the U.S.), sausages, and roasted pork. There was an enormous quantity of potato salad made by the 7 senior couples in UB including Sister Andersen. I think we each cooked about 25 pounds of potatoes.

We had a slight sprinkling of rain, but it didn't dim the celebration. I helped Sister Caldwell with the children's parade and with children's games. There was a program, relay games for the adults, and a tug of war (where a few ropes were broken). The missionaries were a valiant part of the tug of war, but the winner was the U.S. Marines.

Vendors came to sell souvenirs. We purchased a horse head fiddle, a cut-paper picture, and a jacket for me.


Wendy said...

So, the 4th was a community event, not just a church thing? That's cool the marines were there and led the parade.

Mom, we need a picture of you wearing the jacket and your new hat. Also, both of you need to visit a tailor, you've lost weight and your clothes are hanging on you.

Make sure that both of you are in more of the pictures you take!