Sunday, February 7, 2010

Seminary in Mongolia

“I hope all of you who are eligible are attending seminary. This organization provides wonderful opportunities to learn the doctrines that will make you happy.” President Hinckley

President Odgerel (the Stake President and a full time CES/S&I employee - we have posted about him before) was quite shocked when early morning seminary was finally attempted here. The area authorities had encouraged him to do so, but he had resisted for a couple of years insisting that the kids would not be able to get up that early in the morning, fight the extreme cold in Mongolia and walk the sometimes significant distances to attend Seminary so early in the morning.

We understand! Public transportation here is not in operation much at that time of the morning and one could feel really guilty about asking our youth to go out in these extreme weather conditions to attend an early morning anything.

But he started feeling promptings and he finally decided to give it a go as school began last fall. And he couldn’t believe the response. In fact, he has been downright shocked to see numbers reach over 300 students in attendance at times!

The youth are really terrific here and want to learn about the Gospel. Our own youth in the Nalaikh Branch got up to bare testimony and talked about how they loved Seminary and how much better their school day is if they attend seminary first thing in the morning.

One story is told of the Branch in Khovd (i.e. quite isolated in the far western end of Mongolia). A couple of people are paid to always be on site and keep the boiler running in the Church building there, 24 hours a day, during the winter. It is VERY cold in Khovd!

One morning, a knock came at the church door. The boiler attendant opened the door to find two young men standing there in the dark. They asked if they could come in and he quickly invited them to do so. Then he asked what they were doing out so early. They told him they weren’t sure what time it was because they didn’t have an alarm or other clock in their ger (home). But they didn’t want to miss Seminary so they had woken up and decided to go ahead and make their way to the church building, just to be sure. They asked him what time it was.

It was 3:30 in the morning when they arrived! That's not a typo - it was 3:30 AM!

So they hung around for several hours until class actually began. We told you they wanted to learn about the Gospel and were thrilled with Seminary, but . . .


Melissy J said...

That's amazing! Having lived in Kaysville, Utah(the seminary capital pretty much)my whole life I haven't ever had to be to seminary before 7:30 am and i'm not sure i ever had it first period. We definitely take having seminary during school for granted and i'm amazed and proud of those who get up and go that early and to get there at 3:30am just to be safe...that is dedication. We need people like that in the gospel.

The Fendleys said...

Yet another thing that we COMPLETELY take advantage of over here. That is amazing!!

REBYRYAN said...

Aren't youth AWESOME!! - no matter where they are!!

Marcia said...

That was so amazing! I suppose it goes to show how important it is to follow those promptings. "if you hold it, they will come".
Do you get to teach any classes?

Laura Warner said...

We all can learn a lesson in humility from the example of the dedication of these youth. May God continue to bless them and watch over them.

Mr C said...

We do not have the privilege of teaching seminary, though we would love to be able to. But they really have some wonderful and even amazing seminary teachers here, many of whom are returned missionaries.

Bressler Bunch said...

Since you have such a young membership over there, I'll bet the teachers aren't that much older than the high school students!

And by the way - Lindsie LOVES seminary. She says the same thing- school is so much better when she gets to have seminary. Too bad they do the block schedule at her school - she only gets seminary every other day.