Thursday, December 25, 2008

We attended a Mission Christmas Devotional this morning. It was really pretty good. We had a couple of speakers and a couple of musical numbers. Then we watched a recording of the First Presidency Christmas Devotional.

One of the musical numbers was presented by two Mongolian Sister Missionaries -- twins in fact. videoThey are good missionaries and are well liked around here. The song is a traditional Mongolian song about mothers (see the video). None of the seniors were able to understand any of the words, but we certainly felt the spirit of it. You will notice that the Sister on the left has some trouble getting through it. She actually had to stop a couple of times to gain her composure. She told us later that she really misses her mother. We can relate.

Also notice (if you look closely) that most of the young missionaries wore traditional Mongolian clothing. Unfortunately, no one told us that such would be the case. We wouldn't have minded getting some of that type of clothing and joining in!

After the devotional, they took us to lunch at a fancy restuarant owned by a member of the Church. He is from Germany, living in Mongolia and the restuarant is Italian! Go figure! But it is really a nice place and he gave us a good deal. In addition to the pastas and salads, we also had beef tongue and pig tongue! Yum! The dinner was really very good. Some of the seniors want to go bakc and order from the menu. That ought to make for a nice night out sometime.

After the meal, we had a talent show. It was really a hoot! We've included a couple of pictures showing some of the 'acts'. It was a nice day. But this evening we find ourselves missing our family. We have been to busy to think about it up 'til now and they don't celebrate Christmas much here anyway. But this evening our thoughts are back home. Let's see, 22 months, 2 days, 3 hours, . . .

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Almost here!

Christmas is right around the corner, now!
Our District organized a choir for Christmas. You know, the equivalent of the Stake Choir thing! Or maybe not! They held a fireside on Sunday which we attended. This choir was really quite good! In fact, they were really good! They sang songs in both languages (English and Mongolian) and presented quite a program. It was so good, that we invited some people we met on our flight here from Seoul, to come to a Christmas open house the mission held which included a repeat of the choir presentation tonight. There names are Beaver and Rebecca Eller. These folks are here with another church (the Christian Ministry) and are trying to bring in and operate a small airplane here to help reach remote areas for different needs, such as emergency medical evacuations.

It has been rather challenging, apparently. The Mongolians have no concept of a private aircraft. It is either commercial or it doesn't exist. So these folks are needing to convince them of the concept, and then obtain permission to fly as a private enterprise. They would, of course, be the first private aircraft to fly here. But our church has an interest in this service for cases of emergency evac of people we associate with -- members and none members alike. So Sister Caldwell and I are sort of spearheading the effort to for form some sort of
cooperation with them (as if we didn't have enough to do!).

They did come to the concert, along with one other member of their group (see our picture together with them). It was a nice evening and we had a very enjoyable time visiting with them and introducing them to others in the mission, though, as it turns out, they had actually met some of our missionaries before! But no one knew what the Eller's purpose was in being here! We will need to keep in touch with them and hopefully work together here.

We also thought you might enjoy some pictures of our Christmasdecorations in the apartment, particularly of the Mongolian nativity we purchased. It's kind of nice around here. We were able to put the smaller nativities in other areas of the apartment so we had more decorations than just in one room.

Tomorrow we start three days of meetings, conferences and social get togethers. We'll let you know how that all turns out.

To answer Cindy's question under comments in the last post, we have no problem keeping the apartment warm. It is heated by steam from a central location in the city and we have no control over it -- can not adjust the temperature or nothin'! Often, it is too warm in here! I actually wrapped a blanket around the heater in the bedroom and partially open a window to cool it down enough to sleep at night. Go figure!