Saturday, September 26, 2009

Zaisan - Part 1

Zaisan Hill is the location of a monument built by the Soviets to honor the combined efforts of Soviet and Mongolian soldiers in the defeat of the Japanese and the Germans during World War II. It stands at the south edge of Ulaanbaatar, the Mongolian capital city in which we live and serve.

The monument is impressive and we found it quite interesting.

But of greater moment to us, is the use made of that hill by Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve as he stood on Zaisan Hill to pronounce a dedicator prayer for the preaching of the Gospel in Mongolia, in 1993.

Having lived here, now, for most of a year (wow! That means our time here is nearly half gone, already!), we can really appreciate specific things which Elder Maxwell included in his prayer. The good people here continue to face the challenge of overcoming the effects of the Socialist regime and the legacy it left behind. They did not leave much good behind here, and it is taking some effort for Mongolia to overcome that time in their history.

As one first arrives at Zaisan, this cement wall can be seen, portraying what appears to be a Russian Soldier (on the right), a Mongolian Soldier (on the left) and in the middle . . . ? We're taking suggestions what who the third figure represents.

The tank pictured is immediately to the left of the wall. The path carved on the side of the tank monument depicts its journey from the Russian foundry where it was produced in 1943, to the battle it finally fought in Berlin in 1945.

Then, to reach the actual monument, we had to climb all of these stairs. Look closely. They follow slightly to the left, then slowly curve around to the right and then continue all the way along the ridge to the right edge of the first picture. Once we climbed all of those stairs, we found the next section as shown in stair picture number two! About 625 steps total! That's each direction, making a total of around 1250 steps!

It's a good thing we're still young!

It took us a while, bet we finally came to the actual monument on top of the hill. This is where Elder Maxwell stood as he dedicated the land for the preaching of the Gospel.

It's quite a view from up there. We'll show you the impressive inside of the monument and the view in subsequent posts!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Letters from home!

What a nice surprise today to receive some mail from Lake Ridge 6th Ward High Priests! We do manage to keep track of some of the old crowd (mostly your children actually) on Facebook. It was good to hear you all are still alive and kickin'! We really miss all of our wonderful 6th friends (well most of them anyway!)!

Sometime within the next week or two our time here will already be half over! Can't believe it has gone that fast. We are already wondering if we can accomplish everything we need to before time to leave creeps up on us. Going to have to work hard!

Believe it or not, brother Warner, we actually miss the yard work! They don't do yards here much so we are really grateful for all of those who do so much to have nice lawns and gardens.

Can't wait to be able to share Mongolian cuisine with everyone! We sure you'll just love hoshurs and boodz! We'll have to have a party where we can share with everyone!

Thanks Brother Smith for 'encouraging' everyone to add their bit to the letter!

See ya' all next year!