Friday, January 15, 2010

Many are cold but few are frozen.

We are supposed to get above freezing [opps! my mistake - not above freezing, above zero!] today! Yipee! First time in about a month.

We have had a few comments about the 'wonderful time' we seem to be having and even one comment about the 'terrific vacation' we are on. And we do admit that we tend to post all the really good stuff - of which there is a lot.

But just so you don't think this is all fun and games here, we will post a bit about some of the challenges we face from time to time, too. There are 'a few' difficulties we must face, too.

Like the weather. It has been a long hard winter so far this year. Quite a bit colder than we remember it being last year.

This is the INSIDE of the entry door of one of our church buildings. While this is not our Nalaikh Branch, it too is like this much of the winter.

It is really necessary for us to bundle up when we go out. Even just to walk the two or three blocks to the office.

We carried a live plant from out apartment to the office recently. About a four minute walk. The plant didn't make it. Easily froze to death in four minutes!

This is Elder Caldwell, ready to go out shopping again! Once inside a store, we, of course, have the opposite problem! He has to walk a bit farther this time so he has on sweat pants and an extra shirt under his suit.

Sometimes, getting produce home from the store is a challenge, seeing how we are on foot and all. The last time we bought leaf lettuce, part of it froze before we could get home! And that store is closer to us than the office!

Oh, and salt doesn't do much good here for trying to melt ice on the sidewalks. To cold!

But, count our blessings. No frostbite so far!

We thought you might also like to see what our windows look like during the worst of the cold. Don't see out much, as you can see. Kind of pretty sometimes, though! The more cooking we do, the more artistic things become.

These only last about a month and then melt again. But we'll enjoy them while they last.

So, is this a good thing or a hard thing? Depends on how you look at it!

Did we mention that we are really looking forward to Spring?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

They're Havin' a Ball! - Part 2

As mentioned in the last post, they had a live band for part of the Returned Missionary dance here. The leader of the band has an interesting story to tell.

Burt Enkhbold Badarch is the lead guitar player for the band (see picture). He is also a Bishop in one of our wards. He is the only member of the Church in the group. The other members of the band are, however, Christian in their belief, being members of the Baptist Church.

At first, the other band members would sort of give him a hard time about being a Mormon. But that didn't seem to last very long. They soon gained a lot of respect for this man who always seemed happy, calm and viewed life with a positive attitude. Now they readily admit that they view him as sort of their spiritual leader.

But, when he asked if they would be willing to play at the dance for a bunch of Mormon missionaries - free of charge - they were somewhat less than enthusiastic. Some what begrudgingly, they did agree to play four songs - and four songs only. That was ok because most of the music was to be recorded and played over a sound system anyway. The live band was just to give the evening a nice feel.

The night of the dance came and they made everything ready to play their four songs. The recorded music began first and everybody started dancing. And the band members were astonished at what they were seeing. Well, all but one, that is.

Here was a group of young people looking as though they were having the time of their lives. They were laughing, socializing with each other, dancing - and just plan having a good time! And, they were not even drinking or smoking or being particularly rowdy! And then the band started having fun, too!

Well, they played their four songs. And then they played four more songs. And after that they played a few more songs. About fifteen songs total, they say.

I don't know how many of those returned missionaries realized that they were still being missionaries that night.

Way to go!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

They're Havin' a Ball!

The evening of New Year’s Day, we first attended a baptism at Nalaikh – the one in our last post. Once we were on the road again, we didn’t go straight home.

The Mongolian returned missionaries have what they call an RM Ball Dance every year on New Years Day. You must be a returned missionary or be married to one to attend. We didn’t know quite what to expect but felt that we should go. We missed last year because Sister Caldwell fell and broke her arm New Year’s Eve.

So, we went directly from the baptism to the dance. Thought we would just put in a supportive appearance and then head home. Most youth dance are something like watch everyone . . . well . . . watch everyone else. Boy were we in
for a shock!

First (as we learned later), they start out with a waltz. The couple that starts, dances for a few seconds and then each grab a new partner and continue dancing. A few seconds later, the four of them get new partners . . . and so on until everyone is dancing.

And these kids can dance! Look out BYU Ballroom Dance Team! These guys can boogy! The Lindy, Cha - Cha, Fox Trot, etc.! As we said, we were shocked! They were having a ‘ball’ (pun intended). This kids know how to have a good time! Dance contests, food, pictures, live band (we’ll tell you about them in the next post), entertainment (all from the RMs). It was a sight to behold!

We would never have dreamed that these kids could dance like this. No Mongolian music all evening. American, Latin American and more. Just great music to dance to.

It seems like there's a new surprise from these wonderful people almost everyday!