Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Brighter Side

We attended our assigned branch again today - the Nalaikh (pronounced Nal lock - sort of). I'm getting much more used to driving, now. Thinking I'm ok with it. Of course, the only time I have driven is on Sunday when there is merely about one fourth the regular weekday traffic. Better not get too confident, yet!

The picture is us with one of the older branch members dressed in traditional Mongolian attire. We like our branch and the members there but wish it wasn't quite so far. It's difficult to get to everything in the branch we would like to. And they gave us branch callings today, too. Melba is an unofficial member of the Primary Presidency (there were no openings) charged with getting the Primary to run properly. The Primary President often does not come. We think they are just not sure what they should be doing. I am the 1st (and only) Counselor in the Elders Presidency and have the same assignment - teach them what a quorum is and how it should function.

We also spoke in Sacrament Service today at the branch. We spoke of Christmas and families and the branch members really seemed to enjoy what we said. Mom did 1/2 of hers in Mongolian. The Branch President (one of those recently returned unmarried misisonary we've written about) was our interpreter for the rest. The missionaries all felt that he is easily the best at getting it right. It still is really challenging to not know the language. There is so much more we feel we could do to help them if we did.

We also came across this little ice skating rink during yesterday's shopping trip. The 'rink' is simply an area in the middle of town which is fenced off to keep the cars from driving on it! There is no special ice forming mechanism, just the ice that nature provides. But the people were having a lot of fun with it! But why would anyone want to find the coldest place in town to go frolicking in! Brrrrrrrrrrr!

And we thought we had better show you one of the nicer stores which they do have in Ulannbaatar. This is the State Department Store. Unlike what we have shown you in the past, this is a 'real store', several stories high, all run and operated by one owner -- no individual little shops as is so common here. They even have a curtained off room to try clothes on! This one is very much like the stores in the US. There are a couple of these kind of stores around but the majority remain the co-op type stores.
And they do have everything here; grocery section, restuarant, clothing, appliances, jewelry (obviously), art, electronics, etc. But it also tends to be a bit higher priced than the local version of the 'mom and pop' stores we have shown you.

Just thought you ought to know 'the whole story.' Things are not as bleak as we might have led you to believe! But we really liked the simpathy the previous pictures tended to generate!


The Cowley Clan said...

Glad to know that you can go shopping indoors when it gets too cold!! I would like to see pictures of you out there ice skating (and don't forget the ping pong). Good luck with Primary and Elders Quorum. I know you will do great things in both organizations. Good job mom for giving speaking in Mongolian a shot! We love you! It was good to talk to you last night.

meglex said...

So what car do you drive? Do you have your own? And did you get a drivers license yet, or is that not required over there? You will be a pro at driving Mongolian style by the time you are done. Then you can come back to Utah and fit right in. When are you going to get some traditional Mongolian dress wear? I think they dress very nice. I would like to see the two of you dressed like that. You both will have that ward, or whatever they call it over there, running like clock work in no time. Love you!

Bad Dog said...

After a couple of years in Mongolia, you'll be qualified to drive on the freeways in the states!

Here's a quick primer covering everything they need to know about Elders' quorum:

- Sit in the back
- Never look up - look at your shoes at all times
- If you're called upon to teach, debase and ridicule yourself before you start. It will inspire your class.
- Refer endlessly to your mission. You served in the best mission in the church and everyone needs to know what you learned. Their mission was undoubtedly inferior.
- Most importantly (and to make up for all the rest) - there is no chore that needs to be accomplished nor emergency that can happen to a member of the quorum that can't be solved in 1/2 hr if you throw 80 elders (and their kids) at it.

David Osborn said...

It is good to know that there are shorter people that Melba in the World! That is why God sent her to that land. To build her confidence!