Well, we unexpectedly visited the branch we are assigned to for the first time today. It is in a town called Nolaikh about 35 to 40 km east of here. The 2nd Counselor in the mission presidency decided to visit there and then heard that we were trying to find a way there. So he called and said, "I'll be there in 5 minutes to pick you up!" Good thing we were ready to go!
It seems to be a really good branch and we enjoyed our visit there. There are about 200 to 250 total members but attendance has not been good. The Church first started in a community on the outskirts of Nolaikh but things were very new and there was some sort of difficulty with the membership there. They are all inactive now.
Attendance up until a month or two ago has been around 40 or so. But there has been a concerted effort to reach the inactives as well as teach new contacts and attendance has more than doubled. There were 84 in attendance today. Here is the amazing part. In our Stake in Magna, Utah, we have one set of missionaries. In this little branch Nolaikh, there are four sets -- eight total missionaries! And they are very busy with inactives and investigators!
We'll share more as we learn about them. It is still going to be a bit tricky to arrange transportation there as much as we would like to be there. It is a bit more complicated as a result of the previous couple who were assigned there. They were CES missionaries and had a CES car assigned just to them. They were at the Nolaikh branch more days than not! We will not be able to keep up that visiting schedule, but judging from their comments, the branch is sort of expecting/hoping that we will.
We have also included a couple of fun pics with this post. One is a wide shot of Sukhbaatar Square (the well known area of Ulaanbaatar -- sort of their tourist equivalent of Temple Square). The other is of me in another hat I've got my eye on. Which one of the two do you like best? (see prior post for a pic of the first hat).
One more thing. Among the many things we have come to notice and appreciate in the Mongolian people is their dress. They seem to be very nicely dressed no matter where we go. It is extremely rare for us to see anything that even approaches the sloppy style which we see so much of in the US. It is rather refreshing and nice.