Sunday, August 23, 2009

We're Back Sorta

Hi, LOTS has happened since the last post and one of us may actually get around to sharing a few details. The posts from here and the old elderbyrd.org site are being combined here

end ym bichehees dee. yagaav hi gej helehed hangalttai bailgui dee

Monday, June 22, 2009

Viva la Mongol

Hey, you've probably already bought the tickets and stuff but if you could get here for the 29th my group is going out to the country side and doing some sick Mongolian food and they want you to come.

Telephoto lens....... doughnut.... gaaaaahhhh

Wow, 1 week left.

Anyways, last week Elder Bodhaine and I destroyed work this week 30 lessons, 80 ITL’s, 7 referrals from members, 9 new investigators, and in all that built a roof on a house, started the home teaching program (which got 5 people to church), and organized a whole bunch of activities for the branch. I'm really happy with that, it was my last real week of no-interruptions (well, other than that me and companion were so sick last week that if we stood up even a little too fast like we would black out). This week is a lot of service,2 days stuck in the city for zone conference, and then helping out with some other branch stuff over the weekend. Really don’t want to leave, so much to be done, but as Elder Stevens from my group noted, ever since we passed our real 2 year mark, everyone’s body has gone to pot, so maybe that means it's just time to go.

Cats, yagaad ugui geech.

My trainer came back to Baganuur and we went to work together for a few days, it was sweet. Met with a lot of people from 2 years ago, both of us were kinda mad that no one really meets with them anymore, so we're dumping everything into Bodhaine’s brain before I leave. We have this idea to start up these youth center things in Mongolia, with stuff like skate parks and bmx rings, anything to actually give youth here something to do other than stand around drunk and look stupid.

I’ve been thinking about the trip. I don't know if I really want a 24/7 guide. one, running around all spaz like for 2 weeks doesn’t sound that cool, and well, I still have a "don’t tell me what to do" thing going on. That and the rent condo money could be better used given to a member family to bum a spot on their floor. Anywho.

Other stuff, Freak, I totally stopped looking at school stuff a month ago. Dang it. House. I dont know what I am doing.

Bah . . . Well, love you, probably see you in a week from now, how weird is that. To say one of those "Called to Serve" movie kind of things, once you get here, you really do straight turn around and leave.

Viva la Mongol

Monday, June 8, 2009

Full Circle = SWEET

Actually, because of the cake video I sent you I think caking got banned in the mission. Well, for my birthday I got transferred. I’m back in Baganuur for my last month. Yeah, I get giggly just writing that. Color, life, and the ability to sleep have slowly been returning to me. And the never ending black bags faded out this week. I'm with Elder Bodhaine. He's from Elder Shiozawa’s group.

It was kinda funny when I got here. Everyone got news that Elder Byrd was back, and when we were waiting on the van to go to the city people were fluttering around looking for me, but all they saw was this new skinny elder with Elder Bodhaine. About 15 minutes later someone finally came up to me and read my name tag and said "Elder... B...Y.....R.....!!! BYRD! How are y. . . You're really REALLY skinny now! Whoa! This conversation was repeated many MANY times. Only the people I've been sending pictures and stuff to recognize me anymore.

It's sweet being back. Going to rock it out here my last month. We’ve already had some way sweet lessons. There's been three lessons where people went from saying "I don't believe and am not interested" to asking how to pray and how to find out what we feel and know. It's sweet, we have one family we're working with now that’s doing way good. Taught like an hour long lesson on faith and at the end the mom said "Bi neeree itegchikhmeer baina" which is kinda like "I seriously want to believe in this". Had another lesson with a guy about the nature of god, it was one of those things where my ability to speak went through the roof and I started expounding scriptures in such a way that I was teaching myself as well.

It's sweet to be back here.

It was sad leaving Darkhan, I had finally gotten 100% in love with the place. One interesting thing of note is this. Remember when I told you about what happened before the baptism of that young deaf girl? We'll part 2 happened the day I left. We got a call as we were having our goodbye lunch; she said she wanted to meet us at the church. She had been having a lot of family problems lately, one of her sisters had hit her and she had moved over to her oldest sister’s house. And on top of all that one of her other deaf friends that could speak a little had been coming over and trashing the church. And then on top off all that all of her deaf friends had been pulling the isolation then "we'll receive you with open arms if you deny your faith thing". She was pretty shaken up.

My companion's first response was to in turn bash the other pastor and get into a "who's right" match, but after that followed the usual course of not working, he looked at me to see if I had anything to say. I then bore a testimony of the savior, the atonement, and what it means to inherit the celestial kingdom that I don't even know if I could share in English. It was one of those very few times where someone’s attention was totally focused on the things I was being led to say. At the end of about 15 minutes she had decided to keep trying, and for my own part I added that I really didn’t know how many more times I would meet her in this life, but if I woke up on that last day and didn't see her there it would be a heart breaking thing. It was one of those picturesque moments, right at that time a lot of our other deaf members and investigators and other people had shown up for an activity. The sun was setting over the church and the dusk light glinted off the little moths fluttering over the freshly bloomed flowers, and for the first time in a long time she smiled. I'm happy that's the moment I left on. If all I was needed for in Darkhan was just those two moments in her life it was all worth it.

Anyways, a 7 hour train ride later I was in the city. It also just happened that I got into the main building the same time as my trainer did. I miss that fool. Ruiz is back for a month to go see all his peeps. We went out to dinner and just caught up on old junk, he's going to come out here next P-day and the whole branch is going to go out fishing.

Then . . . I got to see the first Stake in Mongolia organized. Score. It was nuts seeing everyone I know. I remember the first conference I went to, the only person I knew was my comp and a few branch missionaries, and at my last one there was a flood of so many people I couldn’t think. There was one point I actually had to tell someone about something happening to her sister in Choibalsan but person after person kept coming up that after having 15 people trying to say hi in the space of a minute I had to grab the person I was talking to and duck outside with my companion. I forgot how many people I love in here. I have already met up with my second family, Dolgor and her daughter. The husband I baptized is out in the country again but meeting up with them is always uramtai.

Anyways, we are going to go be super focused and work our butts off this week, this is gonna be sweet.

Monday, June 1, 2009

One Month Left = NUTS!

Wow, yeah, I have a month left and the timer is running, that’s nuts.

Anyways, this week was mostly just working on the open house. Our church is in kind of an untraveled spot so we spent all week running around inviting people in. For 3 hours each of 5 days, 10 missionaries each talked to 30-40 people . . . that’s a lot of talking. It was sweet, sometimes circumstance keep me from doing ITLs (Invite to Learn) on other days, so it felt good to just have some unrestrained time to declare with the trump of my mouth. Pushed it a little hard though and got myself kind sick, it went from an inferno dust storm to a snow storm over one night, and I was just out in a field most of the time, so my immune system got punched in the face. Elder Frisbee just got it over fast and threw up. We both looked pretty nasty, I was kind of a pale gray with raccoon eyes, and Frisbee took on a beet red hue with white accents.

We did lots of service this week. I’ve been missing that. We moved a lady. Another church member’s fence got blown down in a dust storm, so we started putting it back up for her with the same old rotten logs because "oh, it will be fine" and then it seems to keep us from having to come back my point got proven when a brown out dust storm came in and knocked over what was left. So in said dust storm we reset the posts and nailed everything back up. It made for a rather nice instant feedback system on stability. We also roofed a parking garage. They used me and Elder Stevenson as living cranes to pull sand bags up onto the roof. I love leather work gloves, they make everything easy.

Anyways, announcing the Stake next Sunday, really want to go see that.

Tegeed, thinking about putting lamb wool liners in my leather jackets, a skin here goes for about six dollars. Can’t believe time goes by so fast.

Bolderdene’s baptism was Friday; he's way sweet. One of those amazingly bright kids I wish I could smuggle somewhere he could get a better education. We're trying to work out him getting a hearing aid. If he could get one better than the Russian junk here, he could hear perfectly fine. We are going to talk with the couples over Deseret International tomorrow.

Wow, I forgot my trainer was coming today, sweet.

Murphy flee before my wrath, flee with great haste, but just slow enough that I can see you open your mission call.

Interesting experience, worked hard enough this week that I was visibly skinnier than the Monday before . . . weird.

Anyways, life is life. Drinking from the bitter cup is easier if you just put some benzocaine on your tongue and grin.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

For Once Ulaanbaatar is THE Place to Be

News, Sister Garrett got transferred back to the city. Lucky punk, for once all the country missionaries want to be in the city. Everybody and their dog wants to go to the conference. Yagaad gevel they're going to found the Stake. Yeah, my group had been working to try to get that done before we go home, and now that it works out half of us have gone home or are in the country side missions.

Tegeed, I really need to shiidver gargakh about school. Blah.

My minds drawing a blank right now, its been a pretty nuts week.

On a completely stupid side note, we had a spontaneous "see who can do the most hands together in a triangle push ups" at church the other day. Everyone dropped out at about 7 or so, me and the branch mission leader got to 25 before just quitting, and my companion after bragging about how strong he is suddenly realized that your body is not a static system and that lots of eating plus sleeping though morning exercise equals face plant.

Started drawing again for the first time in 2 years, the part that surprised me is that i haven't really forgotten that much. so i guess there's still is hope about getting into school.

Is my sword getting rusty?

Well, It's been a week. Feels like 3 minutes, why does time have to go by so fast at the end of a mission.

Tegeed, life in Darkhan is status quo. I guess if we can ever single out the reason for our weaknesses and submission to temptation it means we're ready to get taken off of this rock. I realized the failure of the age old philosophical question of "Who am I?" is that if we were just meant to be a stagnant force, God would have left us as intelligences. "Who am I" is a testimony thing, "Who do I become" is a conversion thing. I realized this week how much I have to convert, but that in all actuality the Savior is with me. I had an experience this week that confirmed it in my mind beyond a shadow of a doubt. It had been another one of those days and nights where nothing was going right. I really wondered if I had done anything over the last 2 years, maybe I hadn't done anything at all and just wasted the Lord's time. At that moment a feeling of peace flooded over me, memories of people i had helped and things that had happened on my mission that I hadn't thought about for months came back into my mind. At that moment, I knew Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are truly there and aware of us individually. I don't know everything but I can now say without a shadow of a doubt as Nephi " I know that he loveth his children. " If there was no other way to gain that other than by being here, then I am glad I am here.

Monday, May 18, 2009

LOTS of Stuff Changes in 2 Days

We all know from Jacob 5 and the parable of the sower that success has less to do with the setting and more to do with the work you put into it.

Well, we talked about most everything over the phone. I have another investigator getting baptised in 2 weeks, or preparing to do so, another 3 weeks later. Going to Erdenet for a day to translate some interviews for the second councilor in the mission presidency. Fun, as in its not one of those fun topic interviews . . . tiim baina daa . . . Transfer calls are this week, my companion thinks hes going to switch and go to the other area. Maybe, the president has been bringing it up alot.

Everyone from Erdenet, Selenge and Darkhan went out to Amarbaysgalan Monastery. It was pretty cool; it is one of the huge ones the Russians never found to burn. Going to try and round up pictures of other peoples cameras. Ended up taking a lot of them myself. People shoved me their camera and said "you do it, you make my camera work better".









The coolest part about it was just sitting in the back of the jammed micro bus (ie Korean van) and shooting the breeze. and in a moment of brilliance it was Elders Stevens, Stevenson and Me (we're the three biggest in the mission) with Frisbee were all on the back axle. We went across a namag (whatever you call that thing were there is water under the dry ground) and got stuck. They then decided that it would be a good idea just to try to force it out. Not much happened but we dig succeed in digging the wheels half way down into the mud. So, in a feet of civil engineering, we jacked the van up, built a short rock road under it, and then pushed it out. This made the big guys very smelly and we were still sitting together in the back.

It was very hot today.

Anyways, life's good. I have a half transfer left. That's weird. I had a transfer left yesterday. Urjigdar I was in the basement of President Archibald's in-laws. A lot of stuff changes in 2 days ym shig.

My English is getting progressively worse. When Elder Stevens and I talked to each other, it was easier to understand if you quick switched all the words into Mongolian so the grammar matched right. durp.

Stuff to bring: The artificial leg, how do you measure such a thing? Can we get the information and just send it or what?

If I had some basic first aid supplies I could do better than the doctors here. I can't solve everything, but maybe a small stash of just over the counter stuff like Neosporin and other such things to leave at the couple's house would be good. Consult with someone who knows what they're doing to decide all what has the most wide use punch.

Tegeed . . . university . . . still pondering. It seems like a lot of RM's from this mission go to BYUI. Still pondering it out though.

Love you. Give my mend to people.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I'm alive. My English is BAD.

Well, im going to call tomorrow morning so I don't know what to write.

Translated an interview for the other deaf Elder. Never thought I would be translating for an Area 70, much less in Mongolian sign language. After the Zone Conference his wife came up to compliment me on how well I was doing, but I couldn't generate understanable English, and at a certain point I just stopped trying to say anything and said thank you.

Elder Byambadorj got up at the end and started talking about his first transfer with me and then said sorry for being so stubborn. Everyone was laughing so hard you almost couldnt hear anything.

Other than that life is good. Got the books and foot ball. Companion is really happy. Translating everything into Mongolian for him, and at the end of the transfer I'm just going to give it all to him. At first he thought I was getting just for my self, but when I told him that they were for him and I would get everything into mongolian for him he was giddy. Imagine a little poor kid getting the prefect Christmas present he never thought he would get. My companion kinda looked like that. No macaroni here, but I can get you a wolf ankle bone pendant. That's way cooler out here.

Love you Mommy.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Life Rolls On

Anyways, I finally got to do a service project for the first time in 3 months. We dug a potato field. It feels good to actually be working on something for once. I think I did more to help out the work in those three hours than the whole last transfer.

Life roles on, working and stuff. Brother Bayarjav is officially my most favorite person in Darkhan. No exceptions, well, maybe his wife and kids, but they are all kinda lumped together. Oh yeah, and he's already invited you to dinner with his family when you come. He helps us out so much we almost feel bad taking it all. It's kinda like that story about the 70 who was out interacting with some farmers in some Arabian nation that he didn't even know the slightest about the language and the governor of the area stated "that man could charm a donkey or a king". Brother Bayarjav is like that.

Tegeed. Stuff. I dunno. I only have 2 months left, 2 days under two months left. Bah.

Oh yeah, do you want to see Naadam this year?

I’ve been thinking bout where to go after I die: UA and BYUI. Huh, never thought I would even want to go to a school with BYU in it.

Art Shots



Monday, April 27, 2009

I Want to Drop Kick Someone

Things I don't want to think about but I have to ym shig.

The mission president said he could write a letter to get me into BYU Idaho. Apparently the Mission President and the President of BYUI were College buds at Harvard Business School. He said he didn’t want me to lose what I had gained on my mission so he wanted me to think and pray about going there.

FREAK I don't even know what to look at. I've drawn like 3 times my whole mission. chaavaas.
I'm actually looking at the BYU I homepage right now (I have permission) this is really uncomfortable.

And freak, these rules..... I'm used to missionary standards and these are annoying.

UKBUKBDKULHBKSHDIOADIOHAUDBKABKBDDDDDQQQWQWLM

Yeah.

Anyways. I want to drop kick someone.

So. We had a baptism and stuff. My companion did the first baptism in Mongolian sign language in the history of the world. That was pretty nifty.





The Elder’s quorum president is now in running for "sweetest homie" on the face of the earth not only is he learning a ton of American slang to go along with his English, he goes with us as a gerch and has been helping us get the families of some of our younger investigators to church. He's a stud; I love the man to death. Plus he has a car and drives us places, and drives our investigators around. He even took one guy from one end of town and all the way back to pick up his son from preschool.

Tegeed . . . yup.

It's odd, but I just realized that I just had my last interview with President Andersen until my release interview.

Bah.

District conference was this weekend. Translated 6 hours of material into sign language, only had a little help for a 30 minute gap. The Second councilor in the district presidency mentioned me in his talk (fortunately without name). Well not really a mention, it was kinda the theme of the whole talk. IT was about how the missionaries came over and asked them if they were having family home evening even though they were members going on 12 years or so. At first they scoffed it off, but realized they hadn't been doing it for 2 years, and then realized how they had been missing that time together. So they did one the next week and fun was had by all. Brother Bayarjav aslo got the family of one of our investigators to the Sunday session as well, woo.

We had Zone conference yesterday. Also translated most of it, but got a 2 hours break, so it wasn’t as bad. Got called on to share what I had learned. It was basically "you're not here long enough to do very much of anything anyways, so don't even waste a couple seconds moping around and just go do something, even if you don't know what you're doing.

The theme of Zone conference was the atonement. It was sweet. The mission president shared the training he got as a 70 from the presidency of the 70. There was a big section on the difference between being clean and being sanctified. There was another on the combination of giving and receiving forgiveness. He also brought down the hammer on a lot of shenanigans in the mission: if you do not stop, you will go no home, no exceptions. Fortunately I'm not doing any of those.

Oh, and then they invited up a return missionary to talk about her mission, and she started going off on how there was this one elder she used to see 2 years ago that was massive angry elder that she didn't like, not that she knew him, but she had heard a lot of stuff and the few times she saw him, she figured he was a bad person, then said it was cool that there were sign language elders and that there was translation now, and came and said thanks later. The funny part is she didn't realize the person she spoke on and the person she spoke to were one and the same person. Mai Chi.

Tegeed. We blessed a really sick baby at the hospital, and now he's all better. Woo.

Yeah life’s cool.

Tell blue son daddy loves him.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Apologies from Mom

Elder Byrd is fine ... the jury is still out on his parents.

Mom plans to update the blog soon ... or she will just let Elder Byrd take care of it when he is back in Alabama in July!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Tag Team Translation

Anywho. Sister Garrett and I translated General Conference into sign language (took turns each session). Doing all of Priesthood session non-stop was a brain killer. It was pretty sweet. Sat in on part of the Mongolian session, understood everything. I remember a week into the MTC listening to conference on the internet and I couldn’t even pick up the names of the apostles, much less the simple words that I knew at the time. Woop.

Tegeed. We have a baptism this Friday. He's a pretty sweet kid. Well, by kid he's like 20 or so. We went around this week to meet with a lot of families. The Mission President laid down the law that it is no longer allowed to teach lessons at the church, so it finally dislodged the excuse that "it's too hard" and we go out into people’s homes now.

We found out that some of the other pastors had been coming over and saying all sorts of crazy stuff about the church. (1) You'll get weak and even die if you don’t drink tea; (2) we teach the youth to jump off buildings because the Lord will save them; (3) we beat people that don't agree with us.

I answered in order (1) I'm 6 foot 2, 215 pounds, walk a minimum of 10 km a day, you've seen me one arm dead lift your son off the ground, and I don’t even know what tea tastes like. Think about it. (2) If we teach all the youth to jump off buildings, how would it even be possible for me to be here meeting with you seeing that I am one of those youth? (3) I'm sitting here laughing and talking with you and as stated in item (1) it is not due to lack of ability to do otherwise. By the end there was a general consensus that what they had been told before really didn't make sense and it was probably good for them to go to church.

I really want to dig a hole or do some kind of service, but everyone here is rich. Random thought.

If there was anything else to say I think my brain is to blown to remember it.

Hey, we just round out from the Area presidency that Elder Ganbold can do the baptism Friday. SWEET

Monday, April 13, 2009

Still Chillin Out Here

I had another experience with the gift of tongues, which is now in the unwavering testimony category . . . then I went and played soccer.

Other stuff. Transfer, nothing changed, still chillin out here.

Tegeed. The young girl we teach sign language to, is growing at an awe inspiring pace. In the last 2 months she’s gone from nothing and always sitting on her own, to interacting with everyone, participating in choir, telling stories about the funny stuff that happened in her day, expressing a wide array of emotions and thoughts about things. It's really amazing.

Works good, got another kid prepping for baptism this week. Lots of people, such as the pastors from the other church are going out on double duty to lie about us. He’s even saying that he came up to me and thrashed me so good that I couldn't respond from the scriptures and such, which is a lie, and in fact it was the other way around.

Anyways, freak, I’m dead, Elder Jones is dead in 5 weeks, Now not Elder just Alex Harding goes home with his parents in 3 days, and then me. Dang. I just got letters from a lot of people in my old areas, all ending on "wow, I can’t believe you go home in 3 months, actually exactly from today its 3.

Anyways, my brains all burned out from the last couple days worth of stuff. Love you and stuff.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Oor Chin Yu Bilee

Conference, sweet, waiting on the translations to get here, I can't believe the way time passes, 6 months ago I watched it in Choibalsan, and a year ago I was sitting in Enkhtaivan marveling at how fast time was going because last time a year ago I was watching it in America, and now the next I watch will be in America again. Weird.

We had the first Baptism in the Darhan sign language work. Woo. Adversary went all out on our new member. The pastors, well many of them, have been stalking the people who meet with us, yelling at them, threatening etc. Everybody and their mother was coming down and getting on her case about being baptized, her sister started beating her, and boon yum bolson. It was pretty nuts and on top of all that Thursday before the baptism, she goes to invite her best friend (who's less active) and instead of the expected congratulations she got chewed out for an hour. If you tried to convey trying to talk while crying in a text message, it would probably resemble what showed up on our cell phone. She asked us to come over so we went with another deaf sister who is doing a mini mission. The inactive lady was going nuts. At first it was about all the "proof" that her pastor had that his church was true (take your pick from Noah’s ark in Turkey, signs of times, etc) but then she started making personal attacks such as our investigator was too stupid to understand anything at her church and lots of other jabs at her worth at a person. Now this got on two of my nerves negen bol . . . (1) I've researched Christian history better than most people, and for the most part, it is like sand. Everybody likes beach side property but makes for a horrible foundation, and (2) I'll it quietly and let people do whatever they want until they make people I know cry.

My companion describe it as, I had just been sitting and watching for about 20 minutes of the lesson, letting the 3 of them go back and forth on stuff till the inactive lady went after our investigator. My companion was blocking my line of sight to talk to the lady, so I reached out and pushed him back a foot (I don’t remember that part) and went on to teach the principle of faith in a way that after 15 minutes she was sitting dumbfounded. I've have never done that in English or in Mongolian, and my sign language is decent, but it's not that good. I think this is the first time i can truly claim a more visible manifestation of the gift of tongues. She said it was the first time she's seen something drive the other lady to silence, much less dislodge her from her stated position. By the end the friend said she wouldn’t come to see the baptism, but wouldn’t make herself an active persecution. So she got baptized, and it was really sweet, our branch is trying really hard to learn sign language, so after the baptismal service (which started an hour late because no one had a key to the closet, and the water was 33 degrees or so, I mean I lost the feeling in my legs just standing in it.) everyone introduced and talked and stuff.



And speaking of random, the Akhlagch and Uilchlegch from the other church have been going around harrassing our investigators. A couple of the youth came running into the church building all sweaty and said that one of them had been waiting outside their school to chew them out but they blitzed off to the only place where they were pretty sure he wouldn't follow them. Another time they went to the kids home and started yelling at him, but the kid responded with such a testimony about prayer that it left the pastor with only the weak response that "God doesn't listen to prayers until you're 30,and until then you aren't able to decide". It's pretty silly. They came up to us, too. We were walking down the street when a guy comes up out of nowhere and asks "You're Ganbold the deaf Mormon missionary right" (at the time we hadn't been speaking in sign language and I was talking to people doing ITLs). So they tried to get us to argue, asked me a whole bunch of doctrinal questions, but after answering most of it right out of the 2nd lesson, they all quit from that and tried to make attacks on my companion about trying to steal everybody to get rich, but after pointing out that we don’t get paid and most of the people had first asked us to meet with them, and from all them it was everybody’s choice to do what they want in life and we don't force anyone into doing anything, they quit from talking about church stuff and we got their phone number. lol.

We had 8 deaf people at church, there would be more but it's a pretty far drive. A sister bore a really powerful testimony to one of our ALAs who hadn't been to church in almost 5 years or more, and after sacrament they were all hugging and crying and stuff . . . women . . .

oor chin yu bilee.......did 30 ITLs with one of the new missionaries, got 18 referrals in a part of town where I've gotten 3 in the last 2 months and more on top of that for other places

Jay is now on the "you're silly" list. Dad and all that crowed still on said list.

. . . not everyone ends up wearing their birthday cake!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Yum Shig Probably Yup

Huh... If you could deflate a football and send another one, that would be cool. I donated the other one to Choibalsan. Trying to get anyone to play any kind of sport here on p-day is like pulling teach out of a bobcat. [I'm pretty sure he meant teeth but this suits my mood of late]

So anyways, the only interesting thing from my end of the world is that we're teaching the second counselor in the district presidency sign language now and more importantly to his younger sister. She never got any education because the right kind of schools were really far away and she couldn't deal with it when she was really young. She's way freaking smart though. Most of the people we teach that never went to school have memorized like 5 words in 2 months. She's got 50 in the last week.

The other thing is, I don't know how to describe it well, but it's this art where you fold up little paper triangles and stack hundreds of them to make stuff like birds and ships etc. The book I was looking at has a picture of the basic folds, then a pictures of the finished thing, and a count of each kind of fold and how many needed from each. She made like this huge stork in a day, and it's the first one she ever built. I'm still trying to figure how the paper folds work.

I asked her mom what happened to her hearing and she said that something got botched in medical treatment with her eye, so the eye went bad and it effected her senses a little. And after that, at the time the only treatment they thought would fix it was sticking a whole bunch of needles in her all over the place, which of course hurts like nuts so they stopped doing it, and in turn the doctors blamed her for her hearing not coming back. I think she still worries about it to this day.

But anyways, on that note I'm trying to make a lesson book for all our deaf homies like that. Starting of with simple stuff like << picture of chair-chair spelled out- picture of someone signing chair >> then working on connecting verbs that go with the object << sit on chair >> then going into pictures involving time << will sit - someone standing next to chair, sitting - on the chair, sat - getting up >>. using a lot of kids education books etc. as a basis, but if you've got any connections with someone who knows how to do this, that would be great.

We cleaned a stairwell Saturday. That's a feat here. It is now the only graffiti, pee, dirt, carrion free 5 flights of stairs in all of Mongolia; and it has a minty after smell.

We had eight deaf investigators to church and one inactive member,that was sweet. Every area I serve always gets sweet right when I leave. Baganuur went from 30 to 80 people at church when I left. All the work in Sukhbaatar went nuts and attendance went way up when I went to Enkhtaivan. Enkhtaivan is already the promise land so that didn't change much. Then in Choibalsan I was so happy when attendance went to 130 my last week, and now it went to 181 this week. If our work is getting like this now it's gonna be sweet when I leave yum shig probably. Yup.

Anyways, going to go try and find a B-ball.

What is Sarah's snail mail address?

If you could vacuum seal a thing of Hot&Spicy Chicken from Grand Buffet that would be magical.

Monday, March 9, 2009

And then, yeah …

Snap, I don't recognize anyone anymore.

Actually, I almost forgot that that's where I came from. Weird. So, went out to the big Darkhan sign and took pretty pictures.



Went out and looked at camels, and one of them was foaming at the mouth and growling at everything. Asked the herdsman what that meant and he said he didn’t know because he had never seen it happen before. Yup. . . (we prefer fun non-growling camels)



Transfer calls happened, one of the ZLs and a new missionary left. Myagmarjav (Migaa for short, the ZL) has this thing for smashing people in the face with cake on their birthdays; he's gotten half the people in the mission I think. SO we decided for his last day to get him back. We set up a fake one at the church, turned out all the lights in the chapel and tripped him up at the podium. He squealed like a little girl. Then the lights came back on and we just sang to him. Then he calmed down. What he didn't know was that right after that the DL and I snuck into his apartment. The video tells the rest better.

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But for one thing, originally we were just going to stick it lightly on his face, but I think muscle memory got away from me a little and I punched him with a pair of cake-knuckles.

And then, picked up a way sweet family and we have a way good investigator who has a solid date for 3/20. She's changed so much in the 1 1/2 months we've been meeting with her.

Stuff, I dunno, I can't think good no more. I can't speak reasonable words anymore. You can't say that [Mom: no idea what that is] in English but I'm too lazy to fix it. And then, yeah … Greetings to people, you know who you are. If you live in Arizona and know Sister Tsenglee, say hi.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Nifty Yum Bailee

Weather is warm. Didn't get my camera but got pictures on other peoples cards and stuff.



Only ate 120 buuz this year [Mom update: down from 200 last year]. Desire kind of ran out and not that many people invited us anyways. Plus, I didn't have my deel on day one. Called up the Zone leaders that night and they said they would send it the next morning, but they forgot. So I called up another set of Zones and got it sent in a miker from the city.

The miker driver called at 2 in the morning; I went stumbling out the door with my companion, and at that hour I really couldn't put on friendly niceties. Due to the half stumbling drunk nature of my walking the driver thought I was a thief until he realized I was white. Then we walked around a lot and drank airag and stuff.



Then there was zone conference; translated the whole thing into sign language. It was pretty cool making new connections among faith, testimony, and hope. Nifty yum bailee. Works doing good, got some people getting ready to go in for interviews and stuff, and I'm going to go translate one pretty soon. Whoop.

Oh yeah, got a picture of my three children and grandson. yay, my posterity grows. Tegeed, yeah, I dunno. I’m trying to round up pictures from people and stuff. We moved our cleaner today.

I'll nab pictures and yavuulna them.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Fireside with Elder Russel M. Nelson

So, this week, already wrote you about the cool part last email daa.

Went on a split with the DL, which was cool since I haven't gotten to take lead in a lesson forever so I was cool to get to be lead teacher again. It's kinda like my 3rd transfer again, when there isn’t a native speak, people will actually stop being annoying and try to pay attention. Were also working in the area that m DL was born into like 1 1/2 years ago. We were looking for an address I had been to 1 time a month ago, and felt really good about this being the right road cause we recognized it, but then got to the end and realized that was because we had been down it 3 times. We did that a lot.

Got 3 people to church with baptismal dates, woo.

Going to Erdenet to translate a baptismal interview next week, woo.

Don't worry about the camera, Elder Jones is going to hook me up and get my camera repaired, and over Tsagaan Sar I might not even have a deel to wear so not a lot of pictures to take anyways.

Tell Sarah to drink dried goat cheese mixed in boiled whole milk with a little oil and salt. It seriously works. Oh yeah, and I'm thinking about her.

Yeah, I kinda realized I didn't call anyone else at Christmas, my bad. That was a really interesting time period.

Installed a light door bell at an investigators house this morning, thinking around ideas how to make it easiest to produce more and install them faster and easier.

Oh yeah, the Apostolic Blessing left by Elder Nelson at the General Fireside:

It is the privilege of the Twelve to give Apostolic Blessings. The blessings are fulfilled when you are obedient to the law.

The specific blessing included: to desire to learn more about God; to pray every day; to know you are His children and that you were created in His image; to learn about Jesus, to love Him, and to desire to live in the pattern of His life; love at home; that your home will be a place of peace and love; that Jesus and his representatives will always be welcome; that you will read the scriptures in your home and that you will teach and learn from them every day; with your economic and physical needs, that the Lord will provide what your need of food, warmth, and clothing; with health and strength sufficient for your needs; with a love for your ancestors and the opportunity to do work for them in the temple; that the country will prosper according to the will of God; that Elder Maxwell’s blessing will be fulfilled to the end that Mongolia will become a beacon light to the nations round about.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Happy Birthday [Mom]

Oldie.

Yeah, it's Tuesday, and we just had a mission conference with Elder Nelson yesterday. There is lots of stuff that can't really be fully explained. Let’s say he opened his talk with, "I feel there are many of you here today who have come fasting and praying to find an answer to something from me. So, ask." I had a strong desire to ask myself but had the very strong prompting that everything I wanted to know would be said, but there was someone else here who needed to have a prophet speak directly to them. And in retrospect I understand it well. On the cool easy to understand side of things, "write in you journals about the church in Mongolia now when you are working with branches here and the way you think the church is already established in Mongolia, and then show them to your grandchildren when there are stakeS, missionS, and a temple in this country. Yeah.

Train rides are cool.

Bumped into the lead pastor of the deaf church in Darkhan, and since she and her husband have connections with everyone in town they are saying that we are these horribly scary people that brain wash and beat people up. All of our investigators heard it, but one guy was pretty funny about it, he heard about how we were horrible people abusers as we were setting up a service project to install a light bulb based door bell at his apartment. Ha-ha funny, oh yeah, and as usual the pastor told us there was no difference between her and us on any doctrinal level, in a moment of unusual bluntness for me I told her the difference was that God chose the church’s Prophet and he in turn chose the rest, but she chose herself and that’s where her authority ends. She wants to meet later.

APs didn't take my camera to get fixed, going to try to get it done on my own. Going camera-gui over Tsagaan Sar would suck.

Monday, February 16, 2009

P-day is Wednesday this week

The Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission is hosting a visiting General Authority Monday and Tuesday so preparation day (p-day) is postponed until Wednesday. Which means email and laundry are both postponed.

Maybe 2 extra days worth of laundry won't be too bad during the winter months!

Monday, February 9, 2009

More Stuff Happens

That was Elder Hadfield with a dead fox on his head.

This week, stuff happened. I can finally say most things in sign language. But other than that work was pretty rocky this week, got burned a lot. We only have 1 witness in both branches that will go, and the one day he had time to go with us, we got burned all day long, and it’s pretty funny in retrospect. One lady was in her house, but her phone broke so we couldn't send text, so we banged on the door to no avail and then just had to leave. Life's funny like that. Meeting with inactive members and stuff, they're doing pretty good, but then both of them caught nasty colds Saturday from going on the branch outing and couldn’t come to church Sunday, also funny. But our investigator attendance increased from 1 to 2, so maybe next week it will nautilus up to 4. What’s the name of that guy who made the formula for that again?

Yeah, there are many people who will be mad if you don't come here. And me saying I did it all on my own would be an outright lie, and a very arrogant one at that. Part of me was waiting for someone else to tell you as well. And as usual, President Smartt is right. Picking up is one thing, and then there was my zone leader who's mom got his phone number from one of the couples and called him once a week his whole last half transfer but luckily he was the super elder that spent like 3 minutes of his whole mission trunky, and that was the last day of Tsagaan Sar and he went off the next day, and it was still only 3 minutes.

An Apostle is coming next week, My companion is a little miffed that we go into the city Monday and then get sent back out the morning the day of the fire side. The last time an Apostle came here was before most of the missionaries became members, so they're all really excited, me too, honestly.

But yeah, I'm forgetting how to talk with my mouth; sometimes the senior couples don’t understand me at all. Elder Olpin thought I had been doing sign language my whole mission and that was part of the language I had been called to, which is rather funny to me considering my hands are kind of retarded from onset of carpal tunnel from computers, boxing, and drawing all the time. . . but whatever.

I learned to skate and not die, triumph.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Stuff and stuff . . .

Q: Are you training deaf kids as in ESL students or is your new companion deaf (or some other meaning)?
A: My companion, the guy I'm with all the time, is deaf, as in he can't hear anything and doesn't make word noises with his mouth.

Q: Have to admit that I chuckled when I read that you had slept through your stop - how many were with you? Did you mean Selenge the city or Selenge the aimag?
A: There were three of us, and the actual city name is Sukhbaatar I think.

So anyways, wandered around and found people all week, got 9 investigators this week, so that's pretty good. My companion has this beautiful thought that everything on his mission is going to be perfect from the very start still, so a lot of the hard parts are a shock to him, but he takes the bumps pretty well.

As far as language goes, it’s getting pretty good, I've gone from comprehending nothing to understanding my companion when he that he thought one of the zone leaders looked like Pippen riding on one of the Ents from The Lord of the Rings.

Had an interview with President Andersen, which was cool. Translated my companion’s interview, that was hard. President told my companion I was one of the most different/unique elders in the mission, which was funny.

Uh, and then stuff and stuff. . . .

Anyways my camera is still busted so here’s something random.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Starting from Zero Point Nothing

I'm in Darhan now.


I'm training deaf kids. YEAH. I love shock, because it is a close friend of denial, which means nothing amazing has happened at all. Anyways, came here by train, that was kinda cool,


. . . other than the attendants didn't wake us up and we went all the way up to Selenge, which is next to Russia, and had to come back. Other that, we've just been running around up here.

[Mom thinks Selenge (the city) is about as far from Russia has Darhan but Suhbaatar is MUCH closer and on the Transmongolian Railway. However, Mom has since learned that the aimag (province) of Selenge surrounds the Darhan-Uul aimag which was carved out of the Selenge aimag in 1994. So one would end up in Selenge (the province) on the way to Russia from Darhan.]



We're opening a sign language branch up here so that means we are starting from a total membership of ZERO POINT NOTHING. Well not nothing, just the disorganized void, and from these referrals we will organize a branch for them. That they ay go to church there on it [Mom has no idea how to fix this sentence].

Got the pants, I’m wearing them now.

Or am I?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Mom Says Grab a Tissue

Yes, that is Sister Garrett [See last photo in Hugs and Flying Dragon Kicks. Sister Garrett's sister happens to be the chorister in Elder Byrd's home ward]. The Clarks [who have family in the Jay branch which we attend when visiting the G-parents], she, and I are the only peeps representing the true south right now.

Oh yeah, The APs said I have to tell you that I will die July 2, that is my group is scheduled to fly home then. The irony would be that I would probably get set apart to normal on Independence Day. Bah. Bah upon it.

So anyways, this week was exiting in an everything exploded kind of way. But a lot of it involved disciplinary interviews so I guess a lot of it gets left at that. Speaking of divorce, went running around keeping one of my closest homies from doing such this week. Elder Andersen and I went running around playing peace maker, and after getting both sides to talk without the other knowing, we found out that they both wanted the exact same thing but had gotten so mad and stuck on dumb little things that she (he) thought he (she) hated her (him); and they both have a fiery side that would make anyone in our family proud.

As far as Sarah goes, yeah, she's totally still my baga degüü [small sibling]. I've been meaning to call but I need to ask the mission president since it’s been so long between calls.

I have been working at church a lot lately. It's kind of cool because I’ve had many unexpected teaching moments. I related a story that touched one guy so much that he used it in his sacrament talk and it touched even more people. It was about an almost dead puppy I found and nursed back to health (on the coldest day of last winter). We couldn't get in any houses and then there was this little dude stuck on the road. I put him in my jacket and drug him around with me all day, warmed him up and I fed him a little. That night we had a family home evening at a church member’s house. We went in and put the little dude by the fire, and the family said they would take care of him. It is important to note that this was a very popular breed of dog, and a male, which is hard to find for free. We left thinking the puppy would be alright, but when we came back the next day it was cast out dead on the trash pile. At first we thought it had died at night, but the family said the idea of having to take care of it before it could take care of itself sounded too annoying so they chucked it. There's a lot more to it but that’s the gist of it.

In his talk, added that we do that to people, even new members.

Sometimes I think many things I do don't matter and then I find out a month (or months) later that it impacted someone. For Example this Wednesday Ochiroo, the local administrator of the Light Center Orphanage, became an investigator after six freaking months of working our booties off there. I was talking to him about when he first started coming to church, and he said that a little over a year ago he came to see if he could get some aid from Deseret Charities, which he did, but he never came to church. He popped in when he needed stuff, but never came on Sunday. Then seven months later Naisbitt and I go out there every day for a week and work like slaves for a meal. The job would have taken him at least two months to finish alone. He said because of that he has been coming to church ever since, and then us coming out and working to build a small building out of nothing but rough hewn stone and gravity (in -25 weather) touched him even more. But that’s . . . whatever, these little orphan farts are the cutest things in the world. While we're working on the walls, the branch missionaries had mostly given up on working, so we just hammer it out much slower on our own. The little orphan monkeys notice this and start fumbling around with rocks the size of their torsos and dragged/pushed/heaved/etc them over toward us. They are such little studs. We told Ochiroo to start bringing them all over to primary.

I was looking at my work right now. In a billion investigators and referrals way, it's kinda . . . whatever. But we have these five families we’re focusing on, that’s the most of my whole mission. That’s sweet.

Transfer calls are next Sunday. I really *REALLY* don’t want to go, but I'll serve were I’m needed.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Baptisms, Buuz and Bunnies (oh my)

Uh, this week . . . I baptized the Elder Quorum President’s 2 little farts. That was pretty cool. They are 12 so they had to go through all the lesson stuff with the sisters and an interview with me, and I guess they decided the novelty of a giant foreigner was pretty cool (the dad did however give them both the gift of the Holy Ghost. The little kid got all confused in the font and forgot his own name (well, it’s more like I let the other elders do the font and they only turned on the cold water... and its -26 outside) but it was cool, only had to dunk him 3 times.

We played ice/snow soccer. I destroyed my old companion in slide tackles and body checks. He got a little cocky cause he could take out the teachers and priests, so I gave him a foot planted stone wall, which he tried to take out but sent him airborne. It was saikhan.

My camera broke, going to send it to the city to get fixed.

We spent most of the week getting coal for people and keeping members from dying.

The elders got a knife pulled on them, but the very small drunk man went for our branch missionary named Tank, who just grabbed his arm and took the knife out of his hand.

The branch lost a grandma and we had to go look for her, found her in the hospital and got her full of food and finally back home. She thanked us my making these buuz out of this paste that not even the hardened Ganbold could figure out what it was.

The truck from the city comes Wednesday, should get packages then.

My new member had her birthday Sunday. We went over with the branch missionaries and ate buuz, not the weird pasty things.

Out of nowhere one of my sisters got transferred to Darkhan to help the Relief Society President. We had just had transfers so it was kind weird to get another transfer call a few weeks later.

Just trying to rock out in my own little way, never know how things pan out, so I’ve just decided to try to make everyone around me a little better than when I got here.

Speaking of making something better, my 2nd councilor is trying to figure out a way to kill bunnies to get more food into his diet. How do I make traps or ghetto rig wrist slingshots?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Happy New Year

Anyways, was sick alot this week.

Then we had a New Year's party

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. . . and then I danced.

video

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That sums it up l dee. The internet is really slow so i'm going to start loading pictures now, and one of my district members is getting transfered so we have to go take pictures down at all the silly choibalsan stuff today.

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