My stories as a Sister Missionary serving in Mongolia.
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Sister Amy Royal
5th Fl, LDS Church Bldg, Tokyo Stree 6
Bayanzurkh District, 1st Khoroo

Monday, September 29, 2014

Living in a A Winter Wonderland

September 28, 2014

Living in a Winter Wonderland
September 28, 2014

Hello again!

So, yesterday marks 4 months on my mission! And how fitting that on that day I woke up to a snowstorm! haha. I woke up, looked out the window, shed a few tears (not a joke.. haha) and then decided to get to work. Its definitely getting cold here, but people are taking care of me. Last night, we went to dinner at Nomin's house (a new member) and her grandma always greets us with a kiss, tells us how cute we are, and makes us yummy food. This time, as we were leaving, I began putting on my layers of clothes, which included 2 jackets, one big scarf, 2 pairs of leggings and my boots. Her face was priceless. Haha. I’m sure she was thinking, "This girl is already bundled up and it’s not even the beginning of winter". She then told me she had something for me and started digging in her big chest. After a few minutes of waiting, she pulls out a big blue pea coat. She told me that it was real cashmere and will keep me warm. She handed it to me and I was speechless. As I looked around at her small, 2-room house and all that she is in need of, I couldn’t help but think that she needed this jacket more than me. But she said that she wanted me to have it. She told me that it was too big for her and her daughter anyways (I guess I maybe could have been offended about the too big part... haha) but my heart was so filled with love and gratitude for her. As we left, she said that she loves taking care of the missionaries because one day, when her daughter serves a mission, she knows someone will take care of her too. And I immediately thought of you mom. I didn’t know how to tell her this, but I thought of how much my mom does for the missionaries in Arizona and how there is a mom in Mongolia doing the same thing for me :) I’m wearing the jacket right now and I’m toasty warm :)

This week, I’ve made a really big effort to just talk. To talk even if it’s wrong or if people don’t understand me. To talk even if I don’t have it planned before hand what I will say. And boy has it been hard. Let’s just say I am really learning humility while learning Mongolian. haha. But I’ve seen an improvement in my language. Each lesson I walk out and I think, "Wow, I just spoke Mongolian!" haha. One cool experience in particular was when we were meeting with our 3 most progressing investigators. Their names are Tsogbataar, Bayerjargel and Koma. They come from a part member family and they all have a strong desire to do what is right. They are right now struggling with the word of wisdom, so we gave them a lesson on obedience. As we taught, I all of a sudden got really down on myself. I didn’t say anything almost the whole lesson and I was almost in tears! In that moment, I said a fervent prayer that the Lord would help me to know what I should say. I then got a strong impression to just open my mouth. It was one of the scariest moments of my mission especially because I had no idea what they were actually talking about or if what I was going to say would be relevant but I did it. I quietly said "I’d like to bear my testimony" that was a weird thing to say, I thought to myself. Who says that? haha. But what followed was a true miracle. I bore a fervent testimony that the church was true and that I don’t know all things, but, I know when we follow God’s commandments, we are always blessed. Tears came to my eyes, but this time they were tears of true testimony rather than of sadness. After that, Tsogbataar ask me how I knew the church was true and I bore my testimony that this is God’s true church on the earth. And then, I asked him if he would come to church and know for himself and he said he would! Man, it was probably one of the coolest moments on my mission so far!

I love being a missionary! It’s so hard. Like really hard. But it’s so great. This morning, I was looking down as my knees and realized I have calluses on my knees from kneeling in prayer. It made me smile. That’s the best kind of calluses to have :).

 I love you all! I hope you can feel my prayers. And I hope you are all praying that I stay warm! I need it ;)

Hairtei shuuuu!

Sister Royal 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Seeing The Hand of The Lord Even When I'm Sick

September 21, 2014

 My district!

Family and Friends,

Man, I just couldn’t wait to email you this week! It’s the highlight of my week. It’s really funny because outside of the mission, Sundays are relaxing and Mondays are the worst. On the mission, it’s completely opposite. Sundays are the most stressful day of the week and Mondays are my favorite! haha.

To answer your question about if my weeks go fast, it always depends. Some weeks drag on and on and others fly by and its Monday again before I even know it. This week flew by especially fast.

Yeah, Elder Rasband and Elder Gong came to Mongolia this week and we had our yearly mission conference. It was so fun to have everyone together and to see my mtc friends again :) As we all sat in the chapel together I was reminded at how small this mission is. Every missionary in all of Mongolia (including couples) all fit easily into the chapel together. There are about 85 missionaries total and about half are Americans. We learned lots of great things and I am motivated to be a better missionary. The transfer did happen, but I am still with sister Magleby. Because I’m being trained, I stay with my trainer for 12 weeks instead of 6. And I’m so happy for it. We have so much fun together :)

This week has been a little rough for me health wise. I got strep throat this week and on top of that I got those little sores on the back of my throat again... I was really grateful for a mission doctor! haha. Also, on Thursday night, Sister Magleby and I got food poisoning! We were up all night and were sick most of the day on Friday. I’ve always been pretty tolerant to Mongolian food (there’s some stuff that I think is really good!) but after that experience my tastes have changed. Now, I feel sick even thinking of eating Mongolian food. And that’s really bad considering people feed us about every night and also I’m going to be in Mongolia for the next year and a half. haha. But despite the hardships, I have seen the Lord’s hand in my life. I prayed so fervently that my sickness wouldn’t effect my work and I was able to recover speedily. And let’s all be honest here, I’m a big baby when I get sick. But this week, I was strong as ever. I only wanted to hug my mom once or twice ;)

Yesterday, we went over to one of the member’s house for dinner (this is the same one that I asked if we could come over in very incoherent, broken Mongolian... haha remember that story?) Anyways, we went over to his house and met with his family and taught a lesson about testimony. While there, we were able to laugh and joke and speak with each other. They all laughed at my Mongolian, but were also so patient and willing to help me when I needed it. They filled us up with food (insisting that we had seconds... and then thirds...) and there was lots of love felt. I’m finally starting to loosen up a little. Before, I was also so scared that my Mongolian wouldn’t be perfect or that people would think I’m stupid that I didn’t speak at all. But now I’m learning that even Mongolians don’t speak Mongolian perfectly and its better to try and fail than not try at all. So I’m learning to be more bold :)

Well, there were a lot of more cool things that happened this week... but I have no time to write them! Man, I wish you all could just read my journal or something... haha. I love you all!


Sister Royal 

 AMY'S car wash! We walked a ways to get that picture... haha but I mean, I had to get it!

So, this is our Chinese investigators. Yeah, thats right. They're Chinese. He knows a little bit of Mongolian and she knows none. But they come to church each week and are so prepared. And President Benson gave us permission to continue teaching them!

It is so cold here and it is just fall weather!

September 14, 2014

 "This is the coldest I've ever been" -- Direct quote. My comp laughed hard at me...

Hi Family :)
Can I just say how nice it is to have someone at home worrying about my welfare :) My comp probably thinks I’m being babied, but I love it. hahah So thanks for knowing about the snow before I even had to tell you.

Yeah, it’s pretty cold here... Well, cold for Amy's standards - - nice fall weather for Mongolian standards. The day that it snowed, we went out to the countryside for a ward activity. I didn’t really know the forecast, so I only wore one jacket and one pair of tights! I was so coldddddddddddd! But rest assured, the Mongolians are almost as worried for my welfare as you are. They take care of us Americans :)

On Sunday, we had a man come over to us and talked to us in English. He was making sure that we were being fed. hahaha. Sometimes, I get annoyed when people come up and speak English to me. I felt like they figured I didn’t know Mongolian, so they were going to "dumb it down for me" But I realized this week how much English means here. Everyone wants to learn English. So when people come up and practice their English, its only because they want to practice, just like I want to practice my Mongolian. So, we usually end up speaking a very bilingual conversation - - me in broken Mongolian and them in broken English. haha I love it :)

Yeah, being pick pocketed was a bummer. But I have remedied the situation by getting a smaller, more less conspicuous bag :) I still haven’t found a good camera to buy yet because they are soooo expensive here for some reason. Like 200 American dollars expensive.. What should I do?

I also haven’t bought any of my winter things yet because they aren’t really selling the heavy-duty stuff... But I am layering up and staying warm. Right now, I’m wearing 3 pairs of tights and 2 shirts and a jacket. And I’m nice a toasty.

I got sick again... haha.. I’m starting to think that every time it gets colder outside ill get sick.. So if you have any advice on how to boost my immune system, it will be greatly appreciated :)

My area is nice. This is the second apartment I’ve lived in and today I am moving into my 3rd closer to the unur boundaries. And it’s funny because the apartments are all about the same in quality, but each apartment i get to seem nicer than the last. So I’m accommodating well :) The are is in the middle of the city. Its always hustling and bustling and we fall asleep to the sound of cars honking and sirens roaring. But I like it :)

This week I have just felt the love that my ward members have for me. Sometimes I feel like the needy puppy that everyone wants to take care of, but I'll take it :) My ward is just great! Umm... I feel like more happened this week, but I can’t remember. The days just blend together. I’m happy here (sick and all) and I see miracles every day!

Love you so much!

PS: Funny story of the week: We were heading home one night and we were runny late, so we just decided to take a taxi (taxis are an experience for sure because its just who ever feels like pulling over) and we get in and the driver starts playing some American music. And it was pretty sketchy, non-censured music. I was feeling pretty uncomfortable. And then, all of a sudden blurred lines came on and he turned to us and asked us what this song meant... not wanting to really explain it, Sister Magleby turns to me and says "you explain" So in my broken Mongolian I said "ummm its about a pretty woman and a man that likes her" Okay, it doesnt sound so funny when I write it, but we started cracking up! He then started dancing to it and singing so loud words that he didn’t even understand. It was sooooo funny! We just sat back and enjoyed the ride with the windows down. it may not have been the best missionary activity, but it was a breath of fresh air and reminded me that I can have fun as a missionary too :)

Ok, I love you tons!


Sister Royal

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Hello from Outer Mongolia ;)

Hello from Outer Mongolia ;) 

Hello from Outer Mongolia ;)

Well, in case you were wondering, it just keeps getting colder and colder here in the city. Nothing reminds me that I am an Arizona girl more than being the only one bundled up when its 40 degrees outside. haha. But I stay warm, so don’t worry about
Me :) 

This week was full love and miracles. Sometimes I have this fear that people won’t be able to know how much I love them because I can’t say much to them. But this week I was reminded that love is a universal language. Yesterday, we met with a young girl and her mother who just got baptized. The lesson was great and they fed us yummy Mongolian food. As we were leaving, the grandma asked me if I missed my mom. I said, of course I do! And then she leaned in and gave me a huge kiss on the cheek. It was just what I needed. And I knew that mom would have done the same thing if she were there. 

Then we went to another members house and they fed us some more.. haha and we had such a fun time together. They were teaching me Mongolian and I was teaching them English. At the end, we shared a spiritual thought and they actually understood me (I love it when that happens. haha) the husband and the son walked us out to the main road and the whole way there, the little son was holding my hand and talking my ear off. I couldn’t understand a thing he was saying, but I listened as intently as I could and we laughed together. It was so fun. 

This week, I also saw the blessings that come from teaching English. All the American missionaries have to teach English at the church of Saturdays. Sometimes I resent going because we already teach so much English during the week, but we invite all of our investigators to come. This week, Nomin (a little 8 year old investigator) was coming with her mom. We have been teaching Nomin for a while, but we haven’t set a baptism date because she doesn’t have a lot of support from her family. We always ask her mom to sit in with us, but she always said she was too busy. I have been praying so fervently that she will one day listen to us. When I saw her and her daughter walk in the English Class, A calming feeling came over me and I knew one day, she would listen to our message. As we taught them English, we laughed and truly became friends. After, I asked if we could go home with them and teach them a lesson and she agreed. As we walked home together, we just talked like friends. Once we got to their house, we sat down and asked Nomins’ mom if she would like to listen, and she said yes! She listened to our whole message and she prayed at the end. I have never been so happy in my life. After the lesson, Sister Magleby and I practically skipped home. English is sometimes a bother or annoying, but I realized this week that it is through service that we make our ways into people’s hearts. And if it wasn’t for English, we wouldn’t be in Mongolia at all, right? 

There are miracles in our lives everyday, we just have to be looking for them. 

Okay one last thing before I have to leave: Embarrassing moment of the week: So Sister Magleby has been working hard at getting me to do things to bring me out of my shell. Most of the time I hate it, but I know its only because she is being an awesome trainer ;) haha. Anyways, on Sunday, she told me to go talk to a member to see if we could meet with him and his family this week. After protesting for a moment, I gave in and made my way over to him. As I made eye contact with him, I though "I have no idea what I’m going to say to him. But it’s too late now, he already knows I’m coming over. ..I stopped in front of him and tried to stutter out some words. We both just looked at each other with blank stares and he said, "What did you say?" and I tried again, but even as the words were coming out, I had no idea what I was saying. Again, we both just kind of awkwardly smiled at each other. Luckily, Sister Magleby saw my struggle and swooped in to help. It was so embarrassing at the moment, but Sister Magleby and I laughed about it all the way home. My life consists of awkward moments and looking stupid. haha. But I love it! 

Okay, I got to go to work! I love you all! 

Love, Sister Royal 

PS. guess what... I have become a victim of pick pocketing this week... :( any guesses on what it was? My camera... I’m so sad because I lost all of my mtc/mongolia pics so far :( So don’t delete the ones I sent home to you. And I’m sorry to have to spend more moneissss but I will eventually need to buy a new one

 Toya and her Family

Sister Magelby, Nomin and Me

Nomin drew a beautiful picture of the three of us together.

Hey, It's Kevin's restaurant

Monday, September 1, 2014

Hello From the UB (Ulaanbaatar)

August 31, 2014

Hi Everyone,

Sometimes, people think of missionary work as one size fits all. But here in Mongolia, it’s so so so different. Right now, my priority is teaching English. Which means teaching gospel lessons takes the back seat. And then we are short on investigators at the moment so we are meeting with tons of inactive and new members. The hard part is changing my view on what missionary work and not viewing my success by how many baptisms I get. I feel like I am in the refiners fire right now. But I can already see little diamonds forming out of the coal. My faith and reliance on the Lord has grown immensely this week.

Thanks for being so good to the missionaries in your ward. Now that I’m on a mission, I realize more than ever the importance of members in the ward. Missionaries can’t do work without strong members doing their part. So I know that it’s sometimes hard to find time, but I know you will be blessed for going out with the missionaries and the investigators will be blessed as well.

1) This week, we had a lesson with a new member named Naran-Erden. She is so awesome! She is 30 years old and her family is all really against the church. The missionaries have been meeting with her at the church or at someone else’s house. So we took her to the Bishop’s house and had dinner there and shared the scripture of Lehi's vision found in the Book of Mormon, 1Nephi 8. He partook of this great fruit which is the love of God, and the first thing he desired was that his family might come and taste of it. As we shared this vision of Lehi, the Bishop had some great insights and the spirit was so strong. As we were walking home, Naran-Erden turned to us and told us that we should come by to meet her mom when her dad wasn’t home. It was such a miracle!
2) One day, we were waiting for the bus to go to English and the bus we needed didn’t come! So we had to take another route that would mean we would have to switch buses and it would take longer. I was so mad about it and kind of fuming on the bus. But, get this: As we got onto the 2nd bus, a man comes and stands next to me. He was staring at me and then he got on his phone and the next thing I know, I hear “Called to Serve” by the Tabernacle Choir playing on his phone! I look over, in shock, to see a video of the Tabernacle Choir on his phone. I turn to Sister Magleby and in complete shock asked her if we are allowed to ask him if he is a member of the church. We weren’t really sure what the protocol was, but we did it anyways. I asked him if he was a member of that church and he replied (in English) that he was. He sheepishly said that he had served his mission in Georgia and is now inactive. We talked to him a little about his family and then asked if we could give his phone number to the missionaries in his area. He said that was okay and as we walked away, he even said that his wife might be a potential investigator. It was such a funny miracle! I know that he was just wanting to talk to us, but wasn’t sure if we were missionaries or not. So he pulled up the Tabby Choir! hahaha.
3) Last miracle of the week. On Saturday night, we got a referral from some Mongolian missionaries who met a guy on the street and seemed interested in the church. We get these referrals sometimes and most of the time they turn into nothing. But, since we are short on investigators anyways, we called him. We didn’t have time to meet with him before church, but we set up a time and then invited him to come to church the next day anyways. I was doubtful that he would come. But we prayed that night that he would have a desire to come. The next day at church, we got a call from him 2 min before church started. He said he was outside!!!! We ran to the door and greeted him. He came to church on his own! And he stayed for 2 of the 3 hours!!!! Seriously, no one does that here. haha. It was such a miracle.

Wow, this letter is turning out so long, but I have a few more funny/cool things to tell you :)

Okay, answer time:
1) I didn’t find a warm coat yet, but that is because they are not selling them yet. I went last week to buy a new bag (mine is sooooo huge and it attracts the pickpockets on the bus) and I bought one (probably for way too much because we are both Americans) and it broke 2 days later! So, today I will go searching for another one at the fancy department store. I’ve become so cheap here! haha. Everything is about half the price it would be in America, but I am still so stingy! Also, I bought a cute pair of new Toms! We found a store (The Dressy Shop.. haha) with Toms for about 15 dollars American money. And they are so comfy! The best buy I’ve made so far in Mongolia :)
2) A typical day in Mongolia starts with going to Sister Magleby's kindergarten for English for 2 hours. Then we do language study at the church and make the long trek to Ziason for my English. I haven’t said much about my English lessons but I just want to say that I love the kid! He is so funny and he loves me. I feel like they will become my second family over the next year and a half. Then, after 2 hours there, we head home and do more study and eat dinner. After dinner, we have just enough time to meet with one or two people at night. My day consists of lots of bus riding and not a lot of talking Mongolian... But I have made a goal to speak to someone on the bus each day. Although sometimes our day doesn’t feel like a typical mission day, we see miracles each day.
3) The food... haha it consists of lots of bread, milk (everyone serves this thing called hiram and its a mix of water, whole milk, and salt. It’s real rough for me to get down...) and fatty meat. We have lots of soup and boads (dumpling things). It all basically tastes the same. But it’s not bad. The other day, we went to this chicken house. It was pretty expensive, but they served sweet and sour chicken and it was soooo good! Also, we live right by the first Pizza Hut to open in Mongolia. We've already been there twice.... haha.
4) The language is so much harder than I ever expected it would be. I've been here a month and sometimes when people are talking to me, I’m still not sure if they are speaking the language I learned. haha. Most of the time, I focus on listening for key words and then just guess from there what they are talking about. It is because their accent is so strong and they speak very sloppily. Lots of slurring words and even leaving out words. But, sometimes I come out of a lesson thinking, "I just spoke in Mongolian and they understood most of what I said. Who does that??" haha. I just have to learn to be patient with myself and to realize that no one expects me to be fluent yet except for myself.
5) Don’t worry about me :) I am feeling so much better from my cold! The Lord has seriously blessed me. My cold only lasted a few days and I am starting to get back to normal :) I am happy here. The work is hard, but I am happy :)

I have seen miracles this week. Missions are hard. I’ve always heard that but I never knew what I was getting myself into until now. haha. But they are worth it. I miss the family a ton though. But I feel your prayers and angles are walking beside me. I pray for you every night :)

I am far away, but my heart is right next to you.

Hugs and Kisses from Mongolia :)

Love, Sister Royal