Sunday, March 28, 2010

Update on March 28, 2010

Seniors Home Evening
Sunday evening March 14 we held our seniors family home evening at President Andersen’s apartment. We had postponed it a week hoping to first get our seniors back from Korea (the Eliasons and Atkins were still not back). Our topic was missionary work as found in Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, lesson 28. One thing I noticed on page 335 was that after Joseph testified about the organization of the church, he promised the people the blessing of receiving the Holy Ghost if they would repent and be baptized. Preach My Gospel, page 198, reads “An effective missionary teaches, testifies, and invites others to do things that build faith in Jesus Christ. This includes making promises that come from living true principles.” I’ve learned that both effective teaching and missionary work include 1) teaching key doctrine, 2) testifying of its truthfulness by the Spirit, 3) extending an invitation to action, and 4) promising blessings. These principles are the same for teaching a class at church as well as teaching by missionaries.

Elder Watson
Elder Watson, the first counselor in the Asia Area Presidency, and his wife came for a short tour of the mission. The senior couples (now including the Eliasons and Atkins) had a potluck dinner at the President’s apartment on Wednesday March 17 where we had an opportunity to visit with the Watsons. We shared what we do to help the work of the Lord here in Mongolia.

Zone Conference
Thursday was our day to attend Zone Conference in the Bayanzurkh building. The theme of the conference was faith. President Andersen said our goal in teaching investigators is for them to have a change of heart, to be like the Savior. The following steps lead to this change of heart.
1) Understand the gospel
2) Gain a testimony
3) Develop faith
4) Ultimate goal is to be perfect – have a great change of heart

Then he explained the kind of questions which will help for each step.
1) What do you understand about . . . ?
    How important is it to you?
2) How do/did you feel about it? Explain how the Holy Ghost works.
3) Will you show your faith in Jesus Christ by . . . ?
    Connect faith in Jesus Christ to commitment.

Elder Watson spoke about faith in Hebrews 11 and Ether 12. He told how President Andersen had personalized By Faith ... to his own life. I challenge all of you children and the grandchildren who are old enough, to write your own personalized By Faith. This would be a great home evening activity. It will give you the opportunity to think of how you’ve exercised faith in your own lives. It is testimony building. I’ll email you the personalized version which I wrote.

District Conference
The weekend (March 20-21) was the Ulaanbaatar East District Conference.

On Saturday and Sunday we had the opportunity to see Brother Duger and his wife Sister Lkhamsuren with whom we went on the temple trip to Hong Kong. It was a joyous experience and gratifying to be with them again. Sister Lkhamsuren was asked to bear her testimony of the temple at the Saturday evening adult session. She said they’d been members for two years. They strived to stay on the straight and narrow path so they’d be completely worthy to go to the temple and be sealed as a family. She said their lives had changed since they’d joined the church.

The Duger family live at least two hours out in a town called Baganuur. To understand the faithfulness of the saints in Baganuur, Sister Lkhamsuren told me (with a translator) that in their branch they have about 100 people at church each Sunday which includes 20-30 children in Primary. For Saturday’s district conference 60 adults came in 3 meekers from Baganuur to UB; they came in time for the afternoon leadership session and the evening adult session. A meeker is like a van in which they crowd people. 20 people were in each meeker for a 2 hour ride each way on Saturday.

They would have arrived home late on Saturday night. Then they left early on Sunday morning, again in 3 meekers, to arrive in time for the 10 am Sunday session of district conference. In addition to the inconvenience of the travel, the people are poor and it cost them money to travel.

The theme of the district conference was sacrifice. On Sunday a new district president, President Ankhbayar, was sustained. The previous president, President Tserenym, is going to attend BYU-Hawaii to finish school. President Ankhbayar’s mother was the first member in their family. His daughter is a missionary in Mongolia and his son will start a mission in May. President Ankhbayar is a very good man; he lives in the Sukhbaatar branch which we attend.

March Birthdays
I believe the March birthdays have started. We’re trying to call all of you for your birthdays. Just with the grandchildren, McKenzie turned 19 on March 1, Rebecca and Reagan turned 10 on March 23, Chelsie turned 12 on March 26, and Skyler turns 18 on March 29. Everyone will be so grown up when we return.

I understand that for Chelsie’s birthday she determined to finish the Book of Mormon before she turned 12 – she finished it at 10 pm the night before. Then she desired to celebrate her birthday by doing baptisms for the dead. She had an interview with her bishop at 6:40 in the morning on her birthday before school and that evening the family went to the temple so she could do baptisms for the dead. Chelsie, we’re happy for your desire to choose the right.

Thursday March 25 we took Namkhai, the mission secretary, out to lunch to celebrate his birthday which was on Friday.

Saturday evening (March 27) was Sister Eliason’s birthday. The couples enjoyed going out to the Indian Restaurant for dinner.

Tonight (March 28) we had the assistants – Elder Christenson and Elder James and the office elders – Elder Sherwood and Elder Cappuccio over for dinner. They are all wonderful missionaries and we’ve enjoyed working with them in the office.

As a spiritual thought Elder Stephenson shared with us DC 123:17 “Let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.” This scripture was very appropriate. We need to joyfully go about doing the Lord’s work, no matter what happens, and patiently wait for God to carry forth his work.

Saturday morning the President announced to the American missionaries that 20 more of them will be leaving by at least April 21. That means we’ll lose 33 missionaries on that date including those who’ve finished their missions. The American missionaries need to leave 45 days before our Deseret International Charities registration expires so we can try to renew the DIC charter. In addition the church is trying to find sponsors for the last 6 American missionaries so they can stay longer. I don’t believe the church has ever had sponsors for young missionaries before. This means the missionaries will be committed to spending time helping their sponsors such as teaching English.

We also need to hurry up and find a sponsor for ourselves or we’ll also be out of the country when the young missionaries leave in April. We’re hoping to be sponsored by Hospital 2.