Sunday, September 13, 2009

Update on September 13, 2009

Elder Pratt, second counselor in the Asia Area Presidency, and Elder Ho, an Area Seventy, came to visit the mission on Labor Day weekend. The senior couples were able to meet with them at President Andersen's home on the evening of Sunday Sep. 6th.

Elder Pratt spoke of the covenant of consecration. The General Authorities and the Area Seventies give what the Lord asks. If they are required to travel, it is O.K.; it is part of their covenant. They have it easier than Brigham and Heber; Brigham and Heber didn't have Skype.

He referred to DC 100:1: "Your families are well; they are in mine hands." The Lord protects your families by your service to Him. Prayers and tears and much fasting and temple rolls help bring children back. We should never stop loving and accepting our children and grandchildren.

Elder Ho even with his traveling on Church assignments always has family home evening on Sunday night. Their family's home evening is held in four locations. They get together on Skype as a group meeting. They have assignments just as they would if they were together in one location. It is 6:30 am Sunday morning in Vancouver, Canada and 9:30 pm Sunday evening in Hong Kong.

William, this is how you can hold family home evening with your family when you are in California and they are in Utah.

Monday Sep. 7th on Labor Day we traveled with Brother Batbold, second counselor in the mission presidency, to bring the Laytons down from Selenge to Ulaanbaatar. It was about a four hour ride each way. We enjoyed being out of the city in the country where it is still green and pretty. Along the way we saw camels and yaks.

Selenge is only about 15 minutes from the Russian border. As we were getting closer to the border town, Brother Batbold had us put our camera under the car seat out of sight. We drove to where cars were waiting in line to cross the border. Looking into Russia, we saw that it looked the same as Mongolia. Later we understood that there is another crossing nearby where you can get a pass and step into Russia.

Having to put the camera away reminded me of 48 years ago when I was arrested and detained by Czechoslovakian soldiers for taking their picture and also getting my camera confiscated.

The first picture below shows the clearing dividing Mongolia from Russia; Mongolia is on the left and Russia is on the right. The second picture is of a church in Russia.

We brought the Laytons to Ulaanbaatar so they could return to the States. Elder Layton's health has been declining. In the city he learned his kidneys are failing. The Jacksons have been serving in Ulaanbaatar. He learned he has cancer on his nose. Because of these couples' medical emergencies, they are being released. They returned to the U.S. on Wednesday Sep. 9th. We will really miss them. They served so well here in Mongolia, and we enjoyed their friendship. Tuesday evening at President Andersen's apartment we held a get-together in honor of the Laytons and the Jacksons.

On Thursday Sep. 10th our English classes began again. We teach English to young adults in the Bayanzurkh building from 6 - 7 pm on Tuesday and Thursday and English to doctors and nurses at Hospital 2 from 3 - 4 pm on Monday and Wednesday. This is in addition to Addiction Recovery from 7 - 8:30 pm on Tuesday and piano from 9 am - 12 pm on Saturday. Because of construction work at the hospital, we do have another week or two before the Hospital 2 classes begin.

Sunday evening Sep. 13th we enjoyed having the Caldwells over for dinner. We cooked roast beef for dinner for the first time since we've been here. We had discovered a Settlers of Cataan game in the seniors' closet, and we showed them how to play the game.