How is everybody doing? I hope y'all have had a good week. It's been another good week here in Jargalthant. The work is picking up a little bit and we've found a couple new people who are interested in the church to teach. We also have 3 people on date for baptism soon. I'll talk more about them as we get closer to their date though. My comp and I have also somehow landed a gig teaching English to a Mongolian SWAT team in addition to the community class we currently teach. We're going down to the SWAT office this afternoon to finish making arrangements for that.
Mongolia is Mongolia, there's really no other way to describe it. I see and experience a lot of really interesting things here. I think the easiest and most time efficient way for me to encapsulate the uniqueness of this country is to just pick one day from the week and talk about it just like I did last week. Friday was a very odd day this past week so I'll talk about Friday.
As we stood at a bus stop that morning, we saw what we thought to be a little kid ripping down the street extremely fast on a little electric scooter. At first we were worried and kind of impressed that the little kid could navigate this insane Ulaanbaatar traffic with such accuracy and speed but as he neared we saw that it was actually a midget. I'll tell you what, seeing an Asian midget wearing kids clothes and a kindergartner's backpack, hauling on an electric scooter, navigating Priuses galore and buses 5 times his height should have been the first indication as to just how weird that day was gonna be.
First of all, it was extremely warm this morning. Unusually warm. We were sweating just from walking around. Apparently it was the warmest it had been here in a pretty long time.
Around noon, we walked out of a building to see the sky a dark orange color. Upon closer inspection we realized that it was a huge sandstorm heading right in our direction. Almost immediately, we started to get hit in the face with small grains of sand. It was annoying but it wasn't too bad so we tried to run home before the actual brute of the storm hit us. We were about 2-3 miles from home with no buses or other forms of transportation to take us back so we were on foot. We got about halfway and then turned a corner to see a huge wall of sand and gust of wind smack us and nearly knock us over. All at once, a corrugated tin fence blew over and landed on someone right next to us as we jumped out of the way, two cars nearly collided head on in the street on the other side of us, both laying on the horns, and out of nowhere a tumbleweed blew past us just like it was an orchestrated chaotic western movie. We helped the person who got crushed by the fence and luckily he was alright but just a little shaken up, and we trucked on, eyes barely open, walking backwards with our backs to the storm. Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures because I didn't want to ruin my camera.
Fast forward to that evening and we were out in the ger districts for an appointment with a lady who was a new member.
After knocking on the lady's fence for a while, some man eventually came out and let us in. By this time, it's insanely cold so I was very happy that he let us in. My comp and I didn't have coats since when we left earlier that day, it was still super warm. I've never felt a more extreme temperature drop in one day in my life. It blew my mind that something like that was even possible.
As if the day couldn't get any stranger, we walked into her house and saw "dinner" on the table.
I have no idea what kind of animal it was but before we could ask, he took us into some really small room and shut the blinds and locked us in there. We could see through a little glass pane in the door and in the kitchen we saw some other really big dude with a beer belly walk in to the kitchen with a bloody, black and grey striped, waldo looking shirt, with the sleeves cut off. He looked like something out of a horror movie with his get up, meat clever in hand. Then, he just started going to town on the thing. We have no idea who he was since we were supposed to be meeting with a lady that night. Apparently she was supposed to be single too so the fact that we hadn't seen her yet but had instead seen 2 men started to worry us. We thought we might be at the wrong house and that they were gonna butcher us and eat us or something. Luckily, that didn't end up happening and she eventually walked in to our little room apologizing, saying that she forgot we had an appointment. It all worked out in the end, except for the food. The food was really bad. I had no idea what part of that dog/goat I was eating, but it definitely wasn't lamb chops.
I just want to testify that everything happens for a reason and that God has a greater plan and purpose for us than we can sometimes understand. I know that sometimes it's really easy to say that He isn't answering your prayers, or that He doesn't hear your silent pleas, bu I know that He does.
I'd like to encourage you all to read Doctrine and Covenants, Section 98, verses 1-3.
As Dieter F. Uchtdorf has said, "When our wagon gets stuck in the mud, God is much more likely to assist the man who gets out to push than the man who merely raises his voice in prayer- no matter how eloquent the oration."
We can't just simply ask, we also have to do. To just try our best, give it our all, and have faith that the Lord will make up the difference. I know He will, every time.
"If you do your best, it will all work out. Put your trust in God, and move forward with faith and confidence in the future." -Gordon B. Hinckley
We may not understand a whole lot, but just know that God is far more knowledgeable than than us and that He has a plan beyond our greatest understanding.
I know these things are true and say them in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.