Well a lot happened this last week. I finished up the semester at New Generation. We received double the amount of investigators we had, I got pick-pocketed.... and almost caught the guy, and Ulaanbaatar now has 2 stakes!! The work is progressing here! It’s amazing!
My companion and me have also been really good at making random friends this week. Yesterday we were mobbed by little humans (ages 4-8) they were so stinkin cute. They looked through our pictures, tested our Mongolian, played with my hair, showed us scooter tricks and sang songs with us. They called us Elsa and Anna...they couldn't remember our names.
I love Mongols!
This week I was reading Elder Oaks' talk titled " The parable of the sower" we are familiar with this parable that Jesus taught his disciples and then later explained to them. There was the seed that fell by the wayside.... those who hear but don't receive the word. There is the seed that fell upon the rocky foundation. This seed quickly springeth up...but is planted only shallowly, and when the sun cometh it scorcheth it up. These represent people who when the trials of life come are thrown about and lost. Their conversion is shallow and their faith weak (Helaman 5:12). There are those that grew among thorns...the cares of the world and temptation. These people fall because of pride, riches and the temptations that are all around us. And then finally there are those that fell upon good ground, those who were prepared and received the word and grew.
This story reminded me of the time my family decided to plant a garden. I remember when mom and dad told us that this would be our family project.... we were excited but we also knew that it entailed weeks and weekends of hard work...and probably sonic. My mom, a pro at google, and my grandma, a pro gardener, were our points of reference. Well it did take many long weekends in the hot Arizona sun, but we did it. The part of our yard that was decided to be 'The Garden' was not necessarily the most desirable plot of earth. It had weeds and rocks and bushes, that all had to be cleared out (go Preston, Zane and dad). The ground was not great either, it was dusty and dry and just by looking at it, you could see that it wasn't good. So we went to the good ole neighborhood home depot and bought soil and 2X4's and drip lines and small grid systems. After a lot of work and planning we had what looked liked an amazing garden. However, that fall and the following spring we received little fruit. We did some research. And found Arizona has a few problems when it comes to gardens...its hot and dry. It's a desert yum chin. We also had planted some vegetables that would take several years to produce anything. We planted some in the wrong season. Some needed less, some needed more water. Some, like the tomatoes needed protection from the birds. Some needed a pole to be tied to for support. And some needed better-prepared soil. After many more weekends the required adjustments were made, the garden still pretty much looked the same...but the next spring we had more produce then we could handle on our own. And it has just continued to grow!
Like our garden, the church has many different types of plants, some grow fast, some grow slow, some just grow, and some need more protection or care...but they all make the garden beautiful. Elder Oaks talks about how the parable of the sower could also be called the parable of the soil. The soil or the heart that is prepared receives the word or the seed and it grows and is good.
I've seen that a lot on my mission so far. Every person we meet is different, they all bring something new.... and they are all individually precious to our Heavenly Father. I have learned and felt that. I have had times of frustration and discouragement on my mission (like when the asparagus or snap peas in my garden just wouldn't grow) and I have had moments of great joy and excitement (like the announcement of a new stake hear in Mongolia). I've learned that sometimes we nurture and water, sometimes we plant, and sometimes we are here to simply prepare the soil. I am so so grateful for the opportunity that I have been given to labor in this part of the Lord's garden. I definitely wouldn't have picked it for myself. But I love the people of Mongolia, and I love doing His work. It is all a testament to me that He has a plan for us and that He knows us better than we know ourselves.
I love being a missionary!
xoxo, Sister Bollwinkel