Sunday, November 8, 2009

Update on November 8, 2009

Church Sunday Nov. 1
A week ago at Church everyone was wearing a mask because of the swine flu scare. They passed out masks at Church, and the branch president reminded everyone to wear masks the following Sunday. Wearing masks is a very Asian thing to do. Even if as Americans we may not think masks are effective, the President said it is a matter of obedience to wear them.

In looking down from the stand I saw everyone wearing white masks with a few pale pink and blue masks thrown in. The priests administering the sacrament happened to be wearing black masks. It’s the first time I’ve seen priests administer the sacrament with black masks on; it looked very strange. The masks go from under the eyes to under the chin.

Welcome for Whitmans and Andersons
Saturday Oct. 31 we had the Whitmans over for dinner to welcome them here. On Monday Elder and Sister Raymond Anderson returned to serve another mission in Mongolia. They were able to come because they already had a visa. They had gone home for two months and returned to serve another mission for at least 18 months (they are planning on staying for 23 months). Elder Anderson served a mission as a youth and this is their fourth mission as a couple. They served a full-time mission for two years in a cannery. They served a mission in Croatia. Now this is their second mission in Mongolia.

On Wed. Nov. 4 we had a dinner in President Andersen’s apartment to welcome the two couples. The next day the Andersons flew to Choibalsan which is 377 miles or 606 kilometers east of UB.

Brownies Week
Last week was cupcakes week. This week was brownies week. We made 4 13"x9" pans of brownies. One pan was for the dinner for the Whitmans on Sat. Oct. 31, two pans were for the singles home evening at Sukhbaatar on Monday night, and one pan for the senior couples welcome dinner on Wednesday night.

Government Restrictions
Schools have been closed in Mongolia for a couple of weeks. As of last Wednesday the Church was closed in Darkhan and Erdenent and no youth under 16 could attend Church. Also our building was to be locked at 9 p.m. (as though swine flu only came out after 9 p.m.).

On Wednesday afternoon (Nov. 4) the government came out with a pronouncement that there are to be no public meetings in the country and no market places are to be open except for those that sell food. This restriction is to last at least two weeks. As a result we have had a quiet week since then with English classes, piano classes, addiction recovery, baptisms, seminary and institute, and all Church meetings cancelled.

The President is concerned about keeping prospective baptisms and members progressing in the gospel with the shut down. The missionaries are to concentrate on visiting and teaching new members; they are to teach a lot of lessons.

The bishops or branch presidents may authorize priesthood holders to administer the sacrament in their own homes. However there are not to be large groups, and members are not to be assigned to go to a given home for a sacrament meeting.

Saturday evening the sign language sisters, Sister Tsetsegmaa and Sister Azzaya, came over to our apartment to teach a lesson to a young girl who was baptized a year ago. It was interesting to watch them talking in sign language. Sister Azzaya translated for us from sign language to English.

Sunday afternoon Elder Michie and Elder Cardinal came over to administer the sacrament to 3 young people: Chintuya, her cousin, and a young man I don’t know. It was such a small group. It shows the significance of the sacrament is in the ordinance and covenants themselves; it does not require a large number of people and talks.

Missionary transfers occurred a week early on Sat. Oct. 31 instead of the scheduled day Sat. Nov. 7. The President felt impressed to do so although they’d never had transfers early before. The government declared all train rides cancelled within the country as of Sat. Nov. 7. There would have been problems if the transfers hadn’t occurred a week early.

Senior Family Home Evening
Sunday evening the senior couples gathered for our monthly family home evening at the Lasson’s apartment. With the Whitmans and Gloria we had 11 people present. We also had the privilege of having the sacrament administered at our home evening. After the sacrament our lesson was from the Joseph Smith manual, lesson #37 on Charity, the Pure Love of Christ. Each couple was assigned a bullet point to discuss. Our thoughts were on how we can enlarge our hearts in love towards others.
Charity, the Pure Love of Christ


Suzanne said...

Why is there suddenly the scare with swine flu? Has it not been in Mongolia? Here it's become pretty commonplace. Last year there were some schools that shut down because of it, but not this year.