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, October 6, 2014

An Interesting Week

Eating at Pizza Hit with the Sister Missionaries in my Zone.

October 5, 2014
Hi Family and Friends,

I’m so excited to watch Conference this week! It’s like Christmas for the missionaries in Mongolia. haha. And we get to watch it in English (thank goodness). I too love the prophets. I bought a warm winter coat (for about 150 dollars) it was a little pricey but I didn’t want to go cheap for that one. Now I’m on the hunt for good winter boots and other winter accessories (mittens and camel hair socks.) I’ve been so stressed out about it.  I’m constantly trying to find the balance between quality and price.

And yes, you are right on the mark about how things change with the situation your in. Sometimes, I look down at the food I’m about to eat and I think back to the days when I wouldn’t drink milk if it were even a day past the expiration date. I am a changed women... haha. The other day, someone cut up watermelon for us and they must have used the same cutting board as their meat because the rinds had raw meat all over them. yeah, that was a struggle... The food is pretty good. It’s all the same ingredients really, just prepared differently. Everything has meat, potatoes, onions and peppers in it. And it’s put together with some sort of flour product (bread, dumplings, or noodles). I’ve still been a little weary about eating because it made me so sick before. But, when someone gives you food, you eat it and they always give you food. haha. I have also grown to love milk here. Everywhere you go, they feed you Orum (a hot mixture of clotted cream, water, and salt) and sometimes they put rice in it. That probably would have been the death of me in America, but its actually really good. And I don’t care what anyone says, I will never get used to the taste of Aaruul. Never. hjaha
Aaruul – Ааруул Dried curds.
Leave the milk (usually from cattle, yaks, camels) to curdle. Lift out the solid components with a fine cloth and let as much of the liquid drip off. Then press the mass into a cake between two wooden boards, weighted down with stones.
Cut the solid cake into pieces of about 10 length. Arrange the pieces on a wooden board and put them into the sun for drying. In Mongolia, this happens on the roof of the yurt. A cover of fine white cloth will keep the birds

Our apartment is small but nice. It’s just me and Sis Magleby. Its funny because the first apartment I lived in Darhan, I thought is was sooo ghetto. The shower was always cold and we had to hold the faucet in our hands and everything was kinda old and broken. And now I’m living in my 3rd apartment and they are all relatively the same. But each one just seems better and better. The apartment I’m sleeping in now has bunk beds and I got the top. And literally every tiny move I make makes the whole bed squeak. lol. No real bugs. Just tonzzzzzzzz of flies.

We eat at members/investigators houses every Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Its pretty nice except when they make you eat seconds and thirds and sometimes fourths... haha. So we barely ever cook for ourselves and when we do its just rice and milk or oatmeal. I’m starting to really love milk here. Like even the really thick kinds.. Its weird.

The thing that has really surprised me about Mongolia is just the normalcy of it. It seemed like such a foreign country when I first got my call. But people are pretty normal here. People wake up, ride the bus, go to work, go shopping, and have cute style. All that stuff. But they still embrace their rich culture. I love it. And no, no one even knows about Halloween... or Christmas really.

English is good. I’m still trying to find my identity as an English teacher. Because yeah... I have no training. My student is Enk-uchral. He is 7 and he acts like a 7 year old who just got out of school and doesn’t want to learn more English. So, I’m sure you can imagine. I’m trying to find my discipline balance. If I was a real Mongolian teacher, I would just slap him if he was being bad... haha But, I’m not going to do that. I do have to find my stern teacher face. Lisa maybe you can help me with that? How do you find your balance in teaching? And his English is pretty minimal. He needs to practice writing. So, if you have any basic writing worksheets or coloring pages to send in the package that would be great!

Okay, here are some of the highlights of my week:

First of all, on Tuesday night, we had an interesting experience. We had just finished our nightly planning and getting ready for bed when there was a knock on the door. Yeah, okay. Of course we're not going to answer it. But the knocking got louder and so we went to go check out the peephole to find a policeman on the other side of the door. I froze. Because of our precarious nature being missionaries in Mongolia, I have become terrified of policemen. We didn’t know what to do, but when we talked to him through the door, he said he had some questions for us. So we opened up the door slightly to answer him when he and a lady come barging through the door. They were speaking in Mongolian and I was holding back tears, so I'll have to tell the story according to Sister Magleby because I couldn’t understand anything. So she comes in and asks to see our papers and passports. She examines them carefully. All the while, the policeman is taking picture of our house and us. Sister Magleby explains that we are English teachers and asks her why she is here. She said something that neither of us understood, wrote down our information, and they both promptly leave. As soon as the door shuts, I burst into tears and Sister Magleby calls president Benson. We talked to him for a little bit and he said that someone will be on it the next day and then we are left to worry on our own. The whole night, I was thinking "They are going to kick me out." "Where are they going to send me now?" It was the longest night of my life!
In the morning, we talked to someone from our mission office who said that she talked to the lady and figured everything out and that we don’t need to worry. Apparently this happens a lot. So now as I look back at it, I think it’s hilarious. But, at the time, it was probably one of the scariest moments of my life! But it is so comforting to know that there are people here who take such good care of us.

Later this week, we were meeting with our investigators, Tsagbataar and his family, and we decided that we needed to re-teach the Word of Wisdom. He smokes everyday but he has a great desire to follow Jesus Christ. I think that the thought of quitting smoking is so overwhelming that he hasn’t even tried. So, we knew that we needed to help him. I had been thinking about him and his family all week and had been praying that he may understand our love for him and most importantly his Father in Heaven's love. That night, before we knocked on the fence, I said a silent prayer that I could teach with the spirit.
We started by eating dinner together and it was so fun! We were talking like friends and I could understand what they were saying and they could understand me. They were all making fun of me because I’m going to freeze in the winter (that seems to be a common source of amusement for people haha) Tsagbataar was saying that in the winter, I’ll step out of the house and freeze mid-step. It was so funny! I couldn’t stop laughing. And then dinner ended and we gathered together to start the lesson.
As the opening prayer was being said, I was again saying a prayer inside. We taught the lesson with confidence and love. He confided in us that it was going to be so difficult for him to stop smoking. He told us what triggers him and what he has done to stop in the past. We made a family plan with him and he agreed to come with us to the Addiction recovery program on Tuesday. I bore my testimony that his most powerful recourse will be prayer and I told him that we would pray for him and his family everyday. The love was so strong in the room and we felt impressed to ask him if he will go to church. He has never gone before because he works. But he agreed and I knew that he really meant it. We then asked him to say the closing prayer. It was the simplest most powerful prayer I’ve heard in a long time. He promised the Lord that he would go to church and stop smoking and then pleaded for His help. He cut the prayer short because he started crying. It was such a powerful moment and probably one of the best moments of my mission. So, pray for Tsagbataar okay?! Man, he's soooo great!

A lot more happened this week, but I have no time to write it nor will it be half as funny to you as it was to me... sorry. haha. But I love you all! I hope you can feel my prayers in your behalf and I constantly feel yours.

Love you,
Sister Royal 

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