Thursday, January 8, 2009

The 1960's and beyond!

We mentioned the adjustments we've faced here. Thought you might like to see some of what we're talking about.

The first picture is of a bar of soap that is used here -- Fels Naptha. Now, to your 'older' folks, that should sound familiar. It was a popular soap in the U.S. some 40 or 50 years ago. But as you can see, it is still a popular item here.

In the next photo, you will notice (if you look closely) that the doors have door knobs, but no latches. Some what typical of the older buildings here in Ulannbaatar.

The remaining pictures are of fooditems we buy here. Food comes labeled in about six different languages here -- Mongolian, Chinese, Korean, Russian, German and even good old English. Sometimes the price tags are a real life saver. If you look closely at the first package, you might be able to make out "Rice" on the price tag!

The second item is presumably beans (thank heaven for pictures). And we are hoping they are good old Navy Beans! We want to make a nice bean and ham soup out of it. But that, of course, depends on whether or not we can find some ham! We'll let you know!

Next . . . hey, a can of peaches in light sugar sauce! The picture and what I can remember of the German tongue have got this one down! We're suprised at the amount of German food product we find here.

The last item is a drink. We just wish we knew what kind of drink!

You can do really great here -- if you are multi-lingual!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Val Crawford Greensides

It was so good to see a picture of your family! Good to know things are going well for you. Give Barb and Mel a hug from us. We sure miss you guys. I still have such great memories of your family.
Sister Caldwell (still)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

It's been a nice Sabbath.

Sister Caldwell is on the mend and is doing better each day. Still can't get adequately dressed to leave the apartment but is feeling much better and can get around pretty well. The biggest problem now is 'cabin fever'!

I attended church meetings at our assigned branch in Nalaikh (about 40 km away, if you haven't been following) by myself today. That is a really good branch and we are kind of gettin' attached. There are some really good members of the Church there and we are happy to help in any way that we can.

During fast and testimony meeting today in the branch, a 70 year old brother stood and bore his testimony. He told of how he had been a typical non-Christian in his beliefs until he ran across a copy of the Bible one day. He read it and came to know of and believe in God. He understood that Jesus was our Savior and that what He taught was true. A self converted Christian.

He visited some of the Churches in the area but did not care for their approach. Then he saw two 'prophets' walking down the street. And he asked about our Church. He has been coming to Church since. It takes him about 25 minutes in this cold to reach the Church house. And he seldom misses. He is one of two 70 year old gentlemen currently being taught about the Church there. That is unusual. The older generation are most often steeped in tradition and conditioned by previous socialist regimes to be pretty complacent. It is usually the younger generation who most quickly accept the Gospel. But there are notable exceptions.

He bore a very good testimony. Especially considering that he is not a member of the Church. But I'm certain he soon will be!

This little branch seems to have no problem filling a meeting full of short testimonies born by a humble but committed people. It was a good meeting.

I also attended a fireside tonight for 17 new missionaries called from Mongolia. Some will serve in various places around the world. Many will be serving here, as well. This seems to be a really strong group of missionaries, something the mission president also made note of as he spoke at the fireside. The group includes the first two deaf missionaries ever called here in Mongolia (we listened to their testimony as it was first translated from sign into Mongolian and then into English over out headphones), a handicapped Sister who brings a great spirit here as she serves in the Mission Home, an Elder who is very intelligent, having learned three languages already but who has some form of motor skill difficult that shows in his speech and movements to a degree, a 23 year old Elder, one Elder who was informed by the Mission President of his call two days ago (he still had not received the call directly) but was ready to go and the list goes on. Their testimonies were wonderful. The work is in good hands.

Mongolia continues to send out more missionaries per capita than any other place in the world.

On another note, we are taught that the Savior is our perfect example. I have wondered on occasion over the years about the challenge it seems to sometimes be to have someone so perfect as the example we should follow. How is it possible to follow in such footsteps?

Then a thought occurred to me a couple of days ago.

If I needed someone to show me how to build a home, what kind of a teacher would I want? Would the best choice be someone who did fairly well? Would it do if he were even better than average? Could I learn how to build a perfect home, from a teacher who did not know how? Would it not be better to have one who is perfect at building homes (were such a one to exist) show me the way? However, even with such an example, it is likely that my first attempt would not be as good as his. I would make mistakes, having not the skill nor the experience to build perfectly, yet. None-the-less, would that not be my goal?

Our Savior is our perfect example. He has shown us how to build our heavenly home - perfectly. And, if we follow His example and continue to learn and grow, though we will make mistakes until we learn, it is His perfect example that will teach us how to finally succeed.

I am grateful for a perfect example to follow.