We drove out to our Branch at Nalaikh this morning to participate
in a deep cleaning activity at their building. Here in Ulaanbaatar, the weather was cold but tolerable. But the further we drove towards Nalaikh, the worse it got! The picture kind of shows what we had to drive through to get there. But the picture is of the road before it got really bad. Before we arrived, visibility was really, really poor! So, the temperature was about 20 below, and the wind (at one point when we got out of the car and it literally almost blew us down) was about 50 to 60 mph. The wind chill had to be about 70 below! I thought I didn't need gloves for the 60 or 70 seconds I would be out, but I nearly got frostbite!
I've included a picture of us cleaning the chapel area. Not many showed up at the appointed start time. Just Melba, I and the Branch President (President Gonhoya). But the deeper cleaning was badly needed. By the time we had to go, several more branch members had arrived.
While there, President Gonhoya asked if I would accompany him to deliver some food commodities to a local family. I readily agreed. Just after we left the parking lot, a truck drove right through the intersection (not unusual here) and it was all I could do to swerve and miss him. I noticed his windows were totally fogged up and there was no way for him to see me. But the answer to that problem for the locals is to simply keep driving.
President Gonhoya suggested that he should drive 'cause things can be even worse here than in Ulaanbaatar. I soon found out that he was not referring so much to the near miss we had just had. These next pictures are of where he drove us! Trust me, the terrain was not as smooth at it looks in the picutes! Many who live in gers have no real roads to their homes!
We stopped at a ger and delivered the food. This family lives in a typical Mongolian ger and theirs was the first one I had ever been inside of. You'll likely be surprised just as I was! The ger was small, of course, but comfortably furnished and very warm. Note the TV AND the computer in the first picture! Interesting contrasts here! As warm as it was, the snow was not melted off the sheep skin roof. It is amazing how insulating sheep skin seems to be.
They always serve a hot milk mix to there guests. But hot is an understatement! I had to quickly don a glove and then set the cup down to avoid getting burned! I said a very polite thank you, but never tried to drink it.
The Sister Missionary at the stove is cooking a flour mixture that looks like tortillas. But they cut it in strips and use it in soup, something like noodles, but not really!
Then we returned to our apartment and hosted a missionary discussion with two young sisters who are investigating the Church. We said a few things which the Elders translated and then bore our testimonies. And we then fed them all a dinner of chips, salsa, tacos and cookies! They had never had tacos before, but seemed to really like them.
It was a very nice experience.