Friday, December 11, 2009

Update on Friday Dec. 11, 2009

Time is passing so quickly. It was just Thanksgiving and now it's almost Christmas. Thursday on Thanksgiving Day, which was also Mongolian Independence Day, we had our big Thanksgiving Dinner for all the missionaries near the city (UB). It was an enjoyable party, and I know the missionaries enjoyed the dinner. Sister Andersen's daughter Alice played the bells for a musical number.

We've had many blessings close to Thanksgiving time. The quarantine in Mongolia ended (Dec. 3). Yet despite the quarantine, spirituality increased in the mission. President Andersen reported that 1400 people received the sacrament in homes on the last Sunday of the quarantine (Nov. 29).

William received two job offers and now has an accounting job in Salt Lake City the first of the year and will be able to rejoin his family.

The President had dinner with the Minister of Education who informed him the three waiting couples can come to Mongolia on a 90-day tourist's visa, and he'd help them get regular visas. We're still waiting to see about having our young missionaries come to Mongolia. They will need to have regular visas before they come.

With the new couples arriving, the Whitmans returned to Hong Kong. We're sad to see them go. They've been such good friends and have accomplished a wonderful work in the mission - Sister Whitman being the mission nurse and Elder Whitman helping with the legal issues of obtaining visas. We had the Whitmans, Caldwells, and Lassons over to our apartment to visit and to tell them goodbye on Thursday evening (Dec. 3).

Saturday (Dec. 5) the Andersons (our CES couple who has been waiting since August), the Eliasons (our new doctor), and the Powells (our English teaching couple) arrived together in UB. We are so happy to have them here. Saturday evening we had another party to say goodbye to the Whitmans and to welcome the new couples.

Each of the couples in UB (President and Sister Andersen, the Caldwells, the Lassons, and us) have had the privilege of having the couples over to our apartments so we can get to know them better. The Eliasons came over Monday night, the Andersons came over Wednesday night, and the Powells came for lunch on Thursday. The senior couples are wonderful people and the cream of the crop.

Two or three days after the Andersons arrived and moved into their apartment, the President decided to send them to Choibalsan to be CES and leadership missionaries up there. The couple already there (another couple by the name of Anderson) will then go on to Selenge where there is a gap because the Laytons had to return to the States. We will look forward to seeing our new Andersons again at Christmas as well as the other couples from the countryside.

With the end of the quarantine we had a baptism at Sukhbaatar Branch on Friday Dec. 4 and church in the various wards and branches on Sunday Dec. 6. It was wonderful to see the members and the missionaries again. One of our missionary sisters, Sister Mansfield, had 10 investigators at sacrament meeting with her.

On the evening of Dec. 6, being Fast Sunday, we had our senior couples family home evening at our apartment. Our lesson was on testimonies of the Prophet Joseph Smith, the prophet of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in the latter days.

Without a quarantine I believe our month of easy going time is over - now we have Church on Sunday, home evening on Monday nights, English teaching and addiction recovery on Tuesday, English on Thursday, baptisms on Friday, and piano classes on Saturday morning as well as our regular office work.

Tonight we attended a baptism at the Songino building which is still in UB. I'd never been to that building before. Quite often I think Ulaanbaatar is only the few blocks from our apartment to the Bayanzurkh building, but it is a long city. This is the first time I'd seen a baptism performed in sign language. Also one of our missionaries Elder Khuder, who is very sick (not contagious) and for whom they're waiting for a hospital bed, came and baptized a girl. I was surprised to see him.


Suzanne said...

I'm glad you can get back to your normal schedules again. Although you still seemed to keep pretty busy even with the quarantine:)

Bonnie said...

Maybe they should have called you as the mission cooks. Where did you get the log cabin pattern table runner?

Joan said...

Bonnie, we purchased the quilted table runner at the Christmas craft sale just before Thanksgiving.

Until Christmas we'll be back to ordinary dinners, but we're hoping to find time to make a couple of cookies, fudge, and Dad's caramels before Christmas.

es said...

Merry belated Christmas and Happy New Year. But since I sent you a card for that, what is important now isa a belated Happy Birthday to Wes and a Happy Birthday to Joan. We are doing well, and really enjoying serving in the temple. We hope your mission continues to be a great experience for you. Connie