At age 22 while living in Mongolia I developed a severe chronic pain condition that effects every aspect of my life. Continuing this blog reminds me that life's challenges are stepping stones meant to lift us, not roadblocks meant to defeat us.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Hong Kong Update

Hello everyone, this is Tori. First we would like to thank you all for your fasts and prayers, we know they have helped with Ashley's health issues. My dad was able to go over and meet Ashley in Hong Kong late last week. Ashley was delayed getting there staying in Beijing overnight. She has had several tests with more scheduled next week. Her return date to Mongolia hasn't been determined. Thanks again for all your prayers and support. We love you and wish you a happy new year. -Tori

Monday, December 21, 2009

December 21, 2009

Hello everyone :) Merry Christmas!! time has flown, I hope you all have a wonderful holiday, this truly is my favorite time of year :)
So it has been an interesting week ;) we had transfer calls, and I have been assigned to go to......... Hong Kong! Yeah so I didn't know that was part of my mission boundaries either ;) I know my family knows all this, but for others who are reading, I have been having stomach pains for about 2 months, have met with many doctors, and narrowed it down to a malfunctioning gallbladder that might need to be removed. I actually hope it gets removed, it hurts quite a bit now ;) So it got to the point where I couldn't work very well, so I called my president and told him as he was making the new assignments. I was worried about my area, I have come to love that branch and the many investigators we have been blessed to find, and being with a mini missionary there isn't a missionary to leave behind that knows the area or people. Phone calls were made, I had one interesting night waiting to hear what would happen (hong kong was a possibility, but the other possibility was going home, and no offense family, but after only 5 months in this blessed country, the thought of going home was heartbreaking). I do get to go to Hong Kong, and I will be leaving a few days after Christmas :) I am in a threesome with the new sisters in my area, one is a really good missionary, who is training a sister who just started this week. I get to introduce them to investigators, and try to teach the area a bit. White washes are hard, hopefully I can help a bit this week. So this has been a really good chance to grow in faith. I have realized that the Lord is realllllly good at testing and helping us grow. But I do know he loves us, has a plan, and I know he doesn't like to see us suffer, but he loves us enough to let us experience what will make us stronger.
So I get to go on a vacation to hong kong! That is a pretty cool way to spend new years huh? ;) and then if all goes well, in a few weeks I will be back here working. So that is the update :)
Our area is amazing, soooo many people to meet with and so many are reading from the scriptures, praying, coming to church or at least trying to, and I have found many reallllllyy good friends is this smoky, icy, ger district of mongolia :) the grandma and grandpa are wonderful, probably the most rewarding experiences I have had were with them. The grandma was the lady we found carrying water 2 months ago. Now their baptism is scheduled for the first of January, what a great day to start a new life! They come to church, pray, bare wonderful testimony, and are being blessed in return. They have been praying for their children to come and visit, (haven’t come in months, and they can't contact them) and we were able to help contact them, and they both came, brought food and clothes, etc. and our family of 3 teenagers is wonderful. These three kids are the bravest kids I have met :) I love them like siblings now, and they are also going to join the church in January :)
Yesterday was the first district conference in mongolia! we all met at a really big, nice theater in the city, and we had planned on taking 3-4 investigators that are closed to baptism, but as we were walking to our area that morning we met a group of kids I had just started teaching, all heading to the church. That was a sight to see :) 5 kids, (12-17) all carrying Book of Mormons and heading to church. We told them about the big meeting and they wanted to come, so we planed to pick them up at a bus stop after getting grandpa ;) when we pulled up with the taxi, there were 10 kids, from age 8-17, waiting for us. We piled some into one taxi and sent it, and the rest of us piled into another taxi, and my two companions and I went with a 70 year old grandpa with a cane, and 10 kids following us into this meeting. I felt like a mother/babysitter during the 2 hour meeting, but all in all they enjoyed it, and one girl said, "from now on, I am always coming to this church!" :) it was fun :)
Boy there are so many people that I want to tell you about! Each person has an amazing story and I am learning soooo much from them. There are truly many of Gods choice children living in these gers on these hillsides.
I hope and pray I will be back here working soon. Thanks for all your love and support, I have never been so sure that God lives, and that He loves us. I can now confidently promise with everything that I am, that there is a God in heaven. He has a plan that is personalized for each of us. He is ready, and waiting to let us feel his love. He cries when we cry. He rejoices when we do what is right, and He sends angels round about us to bare us up. I promise that. I didn't see Christ when he lived on this earth, but I know that I will. I know you all will too. Merry Christmas, love you all, and I’ll let you know how China is!!!
Sister Mansfield

Monday, December 14, 2009

December 14, 2009

Hi everyone, this is Tori. Ashley's email for the blog didn't come through today but we got a short note and she is doing well, although very cold. I will definitely post it if and when it comes though. I will also post some pictures she sent home on a CD soon as well. Thanks for the prayers and Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sister Mansfield with investigator

December 7, 2009

Hello everyone!!!
Merry Christmas!! it really is starting to feel like Christmas, I can't believe how fast time is going!!! things are good here :) the church was open this week, and there was a baptism friday and six of our investigators were able to come! and then 10 of our investigators came to church yesterday!! it was really exciting :) we have about 20 progressing investigators right now and only half of them made it, but it is still amazing, we are close to baptism with the grandma and grandpa, and another awesome 15 year old girl :) and we area teaching a family of 3 teenagers that I am starting to love, they asked if we could come teach them everyday, we are getting to be really good friends, and it is exciting to think about how the church can bless their lives and futures.
English teaching is getting more fun! I know the students now and actually really enjoy it :) and this week several students asked about the church, and said they are interested!! That makes the teaching so much more worth it :) my companion is great, life is great, time is going by crazy fast, and I know the Lord blesses and helps us. I have never felt alone in this work and I am also realizing that the best missionaries don't wear name tags, we just teach, but the members really have the best ability to bring people into this fold. So this time of year, each of you please open your eyes to the opportunity to share the good news about Christ’s birth, and the fact that he still lives and is guiding us today. Sharing the gospel is so much easier than I ever thought!! I love you all, sorry not much else this week, my district went out to the country side today and got back late :) Mongolia looks amazing covered in snow :) love you all!!!! sister mansfield

Monday, November 30, 2009

November 30, 2009

hello everyone!!! I am glad you all had so much fun at the cabin and with the
family! that sounds awesome, sledding at the cabin really is way fun, good child hood memories ;) and glad you made it back to California okay, thanks for the e-mails :)
Things are good here! it really was a cool week, so many little things
happened that I am really grateful for. We did a really fun family home evening at one of our investigator's gers, we brought 4 branch missionaries, and two other investigator families kids, about 15 people in all, and had a really fun time! lesson about Christ, and then some really fun games and it was cool to realize how easy missionary work can be, I have always loved to play ;) and one of the church members we brought was able to talk for a long time with one of the older brothers, 20 years old who we have invited a ton but was not really interested. He is way interested now! he is meeting with the elders, and even came and played basketball with us missionaries and some church members this morning :) and then our grandma and grandpa are doing great. we taught the word of wisdom this week and I was a little nervous, Mongolians drink tea more than the English, and it can be hard to stop especially for the older people, but we taught it and they agreed to stop! it may take some time, but they said they want to follow what God says. I think one of the most rewarding things is to see people have to faith to start living the commandments, and make changes in their lives. We also talk about Christ from the BOM picture book with them by flashlight, and they came with us to sacrament meeting at a member's house yesterday, and the grandpa actually bore his testimony about how he believes in God! and we started teaching the parents of a church member, the dad has a bad heart and has been bed ridden, but he received the message realllllyyy well, we have met 3 times and he has read everything we told him to, and as we taught the plan of salvation, I asked him how "we lived with god in heaven before we came to earth" seemed to him, and he thought for a minute, and then said completely confidently that it sounded correct. (the Mongolian word for correct is a strong word, I was excited to hear such a strong belief so fast. it made me realize that as we teach the gospel, we really are just reminding people of truths that they have already heard) and as we met with this same man yesterday, he was dressed, and out of bed, and had even gone on a walk outside! he said that since he started meeting with us he has felt better! he hadn't been outside in a long time and said he felt great, but that he got a little cold ;) (it was warm when he last left his ger;) Faith in Christ heals people!!
And we met with another great family we have been teaching for a few weeks, the dad is also really interested but he is usually working, but he was at home when we came. but so were tons of people, their extended family had come into town, and a lot of times the older generation doesn't like the Christian religion, and they have the most control and respect in the family so we were really hesitant to start teaching. I didn't want to leave, but didn't know how to start teaching. God helped us, their little girl, about 3 years old, came up and kept pulling on my bag asking to see a movie. we had showed the restoration movie a month ago, and she hasn't asked about a movie since. and our little dvd player was broken and wasn't working when we tried it that morning. but she kept asking and the dad heard, so we decided to try it, and it worked! we were able to start the finding faith in Christ movie, and his family was able to watch and then by the time it ended most had left, and we were able to meet with the people we wanted to, and had a really good lesson. they really want to get an answer!! it is cool to be able to promise people that they will get one :) sorry this is a lot of rambling stories, but little miracles are happening everyday :) I truly am amazed at all the tender mercies God gives us. I have no doubt that he Loves his children, and is ready and waiting to bless us.
My companion is great, I am with her for 3 more weeks :) and it isn't quite as cold as it was! still cold, but bearable :) oh and we had a fun thanksgiving lunch at the mission home (which is the main church building) with all the city missionaries, the couples did a great job getting together that much food! I love you all, hope you are well, and thanks so much for everything! have a great week! sister mansfield

kat, cate, and alyssa, hope you all are well! kat I got the letters and announcement!!!!!!!!! awesome!!!!! soooo happy!!! :) and cate you and morgan look great! (linds sent a picture ;) and alyssa thanks so much for the note! your work sounds really good, I will write more later but thanks again! love you all!

Monday, November 23, 2009

November 23, 2009

Hello my family!!!!
Happy thanksgiving!!! time is going by sooo fast, I went to the huge market today with several sisters and picked fabric to have mongolian clothes made, really exciting, all the missionaries wear mongolian traditional clothes for Christmas. The holidays are coming so fast!! have fun at the cabin, if I could choose anyplace to have thanksgiving, (other than mongolia of course;) it would be at the cabin with you all. say hi to the family for me!!
Things are good here, I have a new companion again, a way sweet 19 year old girl. She can be with me for 4 weeks which will be really nice :) she joined the church 8 months ago with her whole family, and is a great missionary!! It is really fun to teach with her :) she is from a branch close to ours and work is going good! We have enough investigators to keep us busy and are finding a few more each week. I really am sooooo happy to be in a mission where we get to teach so much. The grandma and grandpa are still going strong, we told them the church is still closed, but then they told us that they went anyways just in case and knocked on the closed door. They are amazing! We will try and take them to a member's house next week. We are still doing sacraments in member's homes and it is a really neat experience. The young men in the ward prepare and pass the sacrament, very cool :) I have never realized how incredibly important the sacrament is! and I have been amazed by children again this week, two 8 year olds understood everything we taught so easily and clearly, I think the veil is thinner for them and the spirit touches their hearts really easily. I am really happy because these children can help their families which are also investigating this church. We were cutting wood for someone this week and as I was sitting on a log to hold it still it really hit me how cool it is to be sitting in mongolia, sawing wood with mongolian elders outside a mongolian ger, and looking at snow covered mountains and a little 2 yr old mongolian kid bundled up in hot pink clothes to the point where she could barely walk. (sooo cute!). I really feel blessed and have a lot to be grateful for this thanksgiving. :) and add the best family in the world, and I truly am one of the luckiest people alive ;)
It has been cold, it warmed up to 20 degrees a few times this week, it is amazing how warm 20 degrees feels after -20. Life gets really hard for people here in the winter, wood gets expensive and people need it constantly, many people don't have houses and will live in the man holes, and drunk people pass out and freeze before morning. We were walking one night and found a man fallen by a fence in the dark, he had been drinking, we were able to wake him up and after wandering for a while he was able to remember where his house was, and we helped him in. it is scary, a few hours and he would be dead, temperatures below 0 are hard. Alcohol becomes even more dangerous in the winter here. (he was a really cool man by the way! studied in russia and was a lawyer there for years, he showed us his degree and pictures once we made it home. we even sang some mongolian national songs together ;)
We are celebrating thanksgiving together this Thursday at the mission home, should be fun! :) I will keep you posted on our investigators, I hope we can see some baptisms before these 4 weeks with my companion are up! love you all sooooo much, things are well, and have fun with the family!! sister mansfield

Monday, November 16, 2009

November 16, 2009

hello my family!!! boy I love hearing from you, I get really excited to get to the internet, thanks for the e-mails, you all sound good! Dad, send a pic of the boat cabinet! That’s awesome! and I can't believe it is almost thanksgiving, have fun in utah and say hi to the family for me!!!
things are good here, this has been an interesting two months, haha, I have had a new companion every 2 weeks ;) my other mini missionary had to go home suddenly so I was with another mini for a day, and then another starting on friday, and I am with her for a week and then I get another mini ;) usually it isn't like this, the Americans haven't been able to come, and right now I am the only sister with a mini because we are an odd number, and I think president wants me to learn faster or something because with all the changes of companions it makes me learn a lot faster, and make sure I get everything right because if I don't contact or teach these people, they won't get taught, I am getting used to it and have sooooo much to learn! it is funny I dream about our investigators and accidently missing appointments or forgetting to contact people and I wake up a little stressed haha, it is funny but things are good :) my new companion is ankbayar and she is almost a full time missionary! she goes to the mtc next week :) she is amazing and basically fluent in english, she taught herself english by reading the quotes side by side out of the relief society manual in english and mongolian. way good idea, just the conversation stuff, and she has made it her goal to make me sound like a mongolian, so it is soooooo great! I have learned so much so far and am going to learn a ton this week, she takes notes during our lessons of all the mistakes I make, and is really working on my accent, it is funny we walk down the street trying to make these throaty noises (and people already think we are weird haha ;) but it is helping! she really is a blessing! and I will have a new companion next week ;) things should settle down after this transfer.
our investigators are doing pretty good, a lot of appointments fall through but there is a lot of potential, and I am learning how to try and teach better and more powerfully. it is also hard with the church closed because we can't bring people to our meetings or teach at the church, but it is okay. we are still waiting to hear when the churches will be open, the flu is slowing down here so it should be soon. oh one of my favorites memories from this week was sitting on a rug at our grandma and grandpa investigators ger, and teaching the plan of salvation with little pictures by flashlight. so cool! they want to join the church :) and an 11 year old girl understood the atonement of Christ faster and better than anyone I have seen so far, I taught for about 2 minutes about why we needed Christ’s atonement and why we need it, drew a little picture, and then she started teaching us! and her 10 year old sister didn't understand, and she took over the teaching and explained the atonement perfectly. she also makes her whole family say family prayers every night, children really can be so amazing!
it is really cold here, it was kinda a wakeup call this week when some
appointments feel through and we were out in our area with about 3 hours to kill, and it was reallllllyyyy cold, it really makes us work hard to contact people and plan really well because it is hard to be out long without a house to go into ;) and any showing skin hurts a bit, so you can wrap the scarf around your whole mouth and nose, but then your eyelashes get all icy and almost stick together. you choose cold nose or icy eyelashes. but it’s okay! we are staying safe and warm :) our building is really warm, and people keep their gers really warm.
I think that is all for this week, time is flying, God is helping us, and oh! my testimony of priesthood blessings really was strengthened this week, I was sick, maybe the flu I’m not sure, but I got a blessing from the elders and I felt better, and then the next morning I was 100% again, better than I’ve felt in weeks! a miracle, really cool to sit on a little stool outside my apartment door and have two mongolian elders use God's priesthood and literally feel healed. very cool :) I love you all soooooo much, take care, and happy thanksgiving! we truly have so much to be grateful for! sister mansfield

kat- thanks sooooo much for the letters! I am soo incredibly excited for you!
and the pictures were AMAZING! I got all excited and was jumping around the apartment for you. just to let you know ;) love ya!!!
cate- you are an AMAZING photographer!!!! oh my goodness. pure genius. you got professional. soooooooo goooood!!!!! hope school is going well, and I think sarah wants you to take her senior pics ;) love ya and say hi to morgan!
alyssa!! how are you? what is your colorado address? hope you are well and love ya!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

November 9, 2009

hey family!!
I am way out of time today, it’s funny the only thing I really want to do on
p-day is internet and we didn't get to it earlier, I will write better next
Things are good, they have closed the churches and almost all public places are closed because of the flu so we had church at a family in the wards, they broke unto little groups and we went to a ger with 15 branch members, and it was one of the most spiritual experiences I have had since I have been here! we had the sacrament, and then went around in a circle sharing testimonies and it was amazing, the Lord poured out his spirit on us and we were all crying, and the testimonies were amazing, I am actually grateful the church was closed, the mongolians have such strong spirits!!
we were also able to find 2 more families this week that I am really excited about, and 2 other women who have been going to tons of churches and didn't know which to join. I am really excited to teach them more! one lady was really cute and as we started telling her about Joseph Smith, she pulled out a notepad and started taking notes, asking for dates, places, names, everything! it was really cool! the Lord is truly helping us, I have never seen his hand in this work more than I have this week. I wish I had more time! My companion is great and fun, she helps a lot and I feel a huge responsibility now, but the Lord has also stepped up His blessings it seems and even with a busy english schedule, being not too familiar with the area, and the church being closed, we are finding people to teach, and they are starting to pray and read the Book of Mormon. So all is well!! and it did get really cold, it was -10 yesterday, I forgot my hat and I won't make that mistake again ;) I haven't been in weather this cold for a while, haha, it is fun ;) so I know God loves us, knows what we need, and if we let him he will literally guide our steps. thanks for all the prayers!! love you!! sister mansfield

Monday, November 2, 2009

November 2, 2009

hello family!!! boy the weeks pass fast don't they, I am glad you all are good, have fun in washington!! if it has good outdoors I know I’ll like it ;) I hope the trip goes well!! mom that is way fun you are learning that Chinese game, when I come back I will be free and you can teach me ;) and happy Halloween! our branch put on an amazing halloween party, the youth were in charge and I was so impressed, it was really fun!
Guess what, I have another new companion ;) the American missionaries
haven't been able to come yet (6 weeks late) so it made for an interesting half transfer, my companion was needed somewhere else, and I think mission president wants me to learn a little faster ;) my new companion is a mini missionary, she is great and is actually waiting for her mission call right now, it should come this week :) so I am full blown senior with very limited language skills, but this really is good because it forces me to speak and call people on the phone, and do all the things that are a little hard for me ;) it is funny I thought my first few months would have been the hardest, and now I am realizing they were probably the easiest haha, but things are good :) it really is a neat experience to be asked to do something you know you can't do, and to just try to have faith and trust that God will make up the difference. it is a really big difference when it comes to me, but God is doing it ;)
So the work was really good these past few days!! I got my new companion on Saturday, and we were able to meet with some people, and 5 investigators came to church again, the really sweet grandma and grandpa and going strong and came to church, the halloween party, and the baptism on friday!! we also teach a sweet 15 year old who said she wants to join the church and be a missionary like us. and while we were waiting for a few minutes at the church yesterday a lady walked in, said she was interested in the church, and wanted to know how to get a Book of Mormon. amazing! Investigators are walking into our hands! :) God really is blessing us, and I met with Teresa from England again, and we were able to set a baptism date for the beginning of December. I love meeting with her! we watched the faith in Christ movie and cried haha, this church literally brings a light to people's eyes as they grow testimonies.
okay fam, you asked about a typical day, if I don't have English we get up and do our 3 study hours, eat, then get a micro-bus thing (mini-van that tons of people pile into, I’ve been in a mini-van with 24 people haha ;) and go to our area, then walk and try and meet with people who are willing. we walk a lot, it is all ger districts so dirt roads and huts and there is a lot of smoke in the air, and it gets dark about 6:30 now, but if we have people planned we can meet with people until 9:00, and then we go home. I’ve slept really good since I’ve got here, always tired ;)
that is all from me for now, love you all soooooooo much, thanks for all your prayers, they really do help :) love you all! sister mansfield

Monday, October 26, 2009

October 26, 2009

hello family!!!
Thanks for the e-mails as always, but I love you all, I really think I could win "the most blessed person in the world" contest with the church we have in our lives, and you as family. Thanks! Dad I am glad work is slowing down, sounds busy but you are amazing, mom thanks for the e-mails and updates!! I want to see the "alaska" living room when it is done ;) hope you kids are also all doing good, sarah you have a byu account!! you all are growing up!
Things are good here, it was an interesting week for a variety of reasons, but things are good and I continue to learn :) I read in a conference talk that President Packer once said "I know exactly who I am. I am nothing. And you are nothing too. And if you ever forget it, the Lord will remind you of it instantly, and it won't be pleasant" haha, I laughed when I read it but it is so true ;) This week we stopped by a family that was investigating a year ago to see if we could teach them again, and we were sitting around their ger which was lit by a single candle, and I was trying to teach and talk and a visiting neighbor made quite a scene trying to understand my mongolian, it would have been pretty funny if it weren't for such important truths getting lost in transit, I am wanting to talk more and more and I have no shame anymore and don't get embarrassed to say the same thing, really slow, over and over and hope people understand. It was cute while the man was laughing a little girl in the family came over and whispered to me that I was speaking good mongolian and she could understand, it was really cute and sweet ;) We found some more new investigators this week that I am excited about, we found this adorable grandma and grandpa, the grandma was going to get water from the well and we walked with her and carried her water, then we went in and got to teach a lesson to her and her husband, who is a really old but really bright and alert grandpa. We told them about church and they said they would come, but I was still very happily surprised to see them walk in a little late to sacrament meeting, walking cane and all! they had made the trek up the dirt roads to the church, and stayed for all 3 hours and liked it! I am really excited to teach them! And Teresa is doing great, she is growing and learning and it is really fun to teach and be able to say what I need and want to. I will keep you posted, she is awesome!
It gets dark around 6:30 now but we are learning the area better so it isn't as big a problem, we need to meet a lot of people now because people aren't too happy about two strangers showing up at their door after dark ;) um I am trying to think if there is anything else, my companion is good and a hard worker which is great! oh and we smell like camp fires all the time, every home burns coal or wood fires so the air is always thick and smoky, it’s cool as we are walking around I keep being reminded of all the camping trips we have been on, its kinda fun ;) english is going okay, the director of one of the universities invited us to his office and talked to us and thanks us which was really cool, gave me and my companion some books from the school as a gift, and asked if I could stay the whole year ;) I am the first girl American teacher they have ever had. It was cool and these people really are hungry to learn english, it is a good opportunity for us to serve. I think that is all, we only threw rocks at a few dogs and I haven't had to wear the reallllyy big coat too much yet ;)
I know God hears our prayers, and knows exactly where His people are. It is cool to step back and see God's hand in our lives. Like how we made a wrong turn and got lost, but talked to a lady that lived there and then were able to teach her and some of her friends the next day. Not a wrong turn after all ;) or even the timing of passing someone on the street like the grandma getting water, or deciding to stop by a store where an investigator lives even though she said she wouldn't be free, and then finding out she was free and being able to teach. There are so many times that the Lord reaches down and directs us even without us realizing it. If we are humble and simply trying to do our best, the Lord can guide us. I look out at all the gers in our area, and I know the Lord could light up the houses of all His prepared people if he wanted to, and we could walk right to their door. This truly is an amazing work!! love you all and have a wonderful week!! sister mansfield

Monday, October 19, 2009

October 19, 2009

hello family!!
Sorry not much time today, things are good :) my new companion is sister tingis (sea) and she is good and hard working!! she is also a relatively new missionary which is fun, we are figuring things out together and both want to work hard :) we found 7 new investigators this week, and 5 came to church which is always so exciting, I’ve never been so nervous at church before haha, every person that comes in you hope is one of your investigators ;) and when they come its awesome!! and I started teaching a girl from England this week!!! a sister found her and started teaching her out in the country side but she moved to the city and I am the closest American sister so I get to teach her, it is so fun, she is awesome and I am really excited to work with her. she has been living here for 3 years teaching English, and knows Mongolian but our church vocab is pretty different ;) I got all excited to teach her in english, it is incentive for me to learn mongolian better because I want to talk to all people like I can to her about the church.
And it did get cold. really cold. and it isn't even winter yet haha. we got more snow and it is consistently below freezing now so we have the ice, but it is all good, I bought a reallly big coat today from the market. reallly big. I’ll send a picture later ;)
That is all for now, we are learning this new area and only got off at the wrong bus stops a few times this week ;) God helps us in this work and it will go forth, thank you all for everything and love you all!! sister mansfield

Monday, October 12, 2009

October 12, 2009

Hello Family!! thanks for the e-mails, I love hearing from you and you all sound good! I’m glad the new house is coming together and that dad got to go back to the operating room, you all sound good and are in my prayers too! Things are good here, it was an interesting week, my companion's legs started really hurting, so we weren't able to do much work. I want to take a moment and say how amazing all the Mongolian missionaries are. Many of them are the only members in their families, and many of their families have rejected them for believing in Jesus Christ. Their families don't understand missions or what they are doing, don't write to them or support them, but they still come on missions and serve so well! many are serving a few minutes away from their homes, it is like me serving in Provo Utah or down the street from you all, but they serve so well! they have learned so much about the gospel in just a year or two, and are powerful and selfless teachers, I have learned so much from them :) there are about 40-50 mongolian sisters, we have the most sisters of any mission other than temple square!! there are 5 of us sisters from America right now and 6 more on the way :) so back to my companion, we weren't sure what to do, I taught English but we weren't able to go anywhere else, she decided she wanted to finish her mission 3 months early so we met with the mission president and doctor several times, and things were all set for her to be released, but then she decided she wanted to finish her mission!! she is going back to work in the office and I am getting a new companion today :) I got to be good friends with sister Nemaa, I am really glad she will still be at the office :) My new companion doesn't know the area either, so we still don't know the area or members, but now we can learn. Hopefully this week we will be able to work a lot :)
oh and we moved to a new apartment, haha, our other one was really expensive so we had one hour notice, and then moved everything to a close by apartment two elders had been living in. We cleaned our old apartment for several hours, then came home to our new place and cleaned up after the elders haha ;) I washed dishes for 3 hours ;) but our new place is nice too and will be good :)
conference was amazing!!! we watched it with the American missionaries at the mission home, and it was soooo good! Elder Holland's testimony was unlike anything I have ever heard from conference, and each 2 hour session seemed like 30 minutes, it’s funny when I was young I never would have thought that I would wish conference was longer, ;) it was really good and really helpful.
I think that is all for now, this starting from scratch in an area is interesting, and the language is a challenge as always, but it is coming ;) So I am well, it is not too cold yet, I think there is still some Alaskan in me because even when my Mongolian companions are cold I am not. I actually kinda like the cold air :) I love you all, hope you are well and thanks again for everything!!! sister mansfield

Monday, October 5, 2009

October 5, 2009

hey everyone!! That is great you are in the new house!!! please do send pictures, it all sounds good :) Have fun with the unpacking, you all will be very familiar with all our stuff when this is done ;) love you all so much!!
things are good here, i really like our new area, our branch is so strong! i heard it is one of the strongest in mongolia and i think that is true, the members are amazing and there a several branch missionaries that are really willing to work with us (which is great because neither me or my companion know the area at all ;) we went with some of them this week and it was really helpful! We are trying to get to know people and find our way around, so work was a little slow this week but with time it will get better :) My companion is great, she has a strong desire to teach and be a good missionary and i have learned a lot from her already. Her legs are really hurting her so we try and teach at the church when we can so we don't have to walk as much, she is way strong :) I am teaching english, i teach three classes at a univerisity called chinggis khan, three classes at a language university, and one class at the church. It keeps us busy for sure, but the students are fun to work with and are eager to learn. Our apartment is pretty new and really nice, quite a lot nicer than my previous one so i feel like i'm in a hotel ;) there isn't much more to say this week, we are learning the area and people :) oh and it hasn't gotten too cold! it was really cold for a while but warmed up again, this is supossed to be a really cold winter, but this will be a relatively mild month. The winter will be interesting, it gets dark really early like alaska, right now it gets dark by 7, and it is hard to teach in the dark because our area is all ger districts and there aren't lights, and it isn't necessarily the best place to be wondering around at night so we will have to be creative about how to keep teaching lots of lessons in the winter. But the church building is great and central and we can use that :) The language is coming as always ;) I need to repent, i am envious of the 6 months that the elders get haha, i only have a year left and i am just barely figuring things out ;) time really is going so fast. okay i'll write more next week, love you all!! sister mansfield
ps mom i am getting better at cooking! ;)
oh and we get to watch conference this weekend, i am really excited! i have never been so excited for conference before.

kat- oh my goodness!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i am sooooooooooooooooo hhhhaaappppyyy for yyyyoooouuu!!!! ah!!!!! I wrote a letter and can hopefully send it today! i got your two letters and congrats!!!!!!!
cate- hope you and morgan are well and classes are okay! how is photography going?!
alyssa- i hope you got back to colorado okay! have fun with the family!!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

September 28, 2009

Hello everyone!!
thanks for the e-mails, you all sound good and busy, and settling into California and byu :) love you all and Jake congrats on blessing the sacrament! how tall are you now? ;)
Things are good. it was an interesting transfer, the Lord and my mission president know how to push us ;) I am in an area called sukbaatar, it is in the city in an area that is only ger districts. we live in another area that has buildings and "commute" to our area (30 minute walk or a shorter bus ride), there is a great church building and our branch is really strong!! President made me a senior companion, I am in a co-senior companionship right now luckily, the desire to serve is there but many skills are lacking, (especially language) and I feel a little inadequate (okay, a lot, ;) but I know the Lord helps us, and this is good because it makes me depend on Him more, and He is the one that does the work anyways :) We were also "whitewashed" as we call it, meaning both my companion and I are new to the area. My companion is amazing, 29 year old amazing missionary, her leg has been hurting so she has been in the office for a while but the president put her in the area because it needs some help. It has been a hard area for quite a while so president wants us to start over. It is interesting neither of us know the area, people, etc and the info in the apartment about the area is several months old, but it will be good!! we are excited and yesterday at church we met tons of people and already found a new investigator so hopefully things will all go up from here :) My companion finishes her mission in about a month, so I need to learn the area and people well because after she leaves; I might get what we call a "minnie missionary", a branch missionary who works like a missionary for a few weeks. My language also really needs to improve this next month..... boy.... this will be interesting, but good. The Lord helps us do things we don't think we can do :)
Badamgarav's baptism was great, she was so cute when she was in her baptism clothes she said she felt like an angel and was prancing around a bit :) it is so great to see the change and to hear her testimony! the baptism was also a little dramatic, her mother is a church member and has pretty bad health, she has had several strokes and gets these sudden intense pains in her head that are incredibly crippling, and she can't walk very well but as we were bringing a taxi to pick them up, we saw her walking down the street with her cane, and a huge smile on her face. we stopped and asked where she was going and she said she was going to the church :) (way far;) so cute!! but at the church her head really hurt, we gave a blessing to her in the elevator, she couldn't come into the meeting but she was able to wait in the baptismal room and see the baptism :)
And the bishop had all the missionaries over before the transfer and we ate some interesting food, they boil all the insides of a sheep, and cut it up and hand pieces to you and you eat what they hand you. I’ve now eaten stomach, intestine, heart, liver, kidney, spleen, fat (omentum I think?) rectum (yep, I didn't know what it was till I was chewing it ;), and maybe some other things I didn't recognize ;) for the most part it is do able, but you know how we always pray before we eat? I learned it can also be helpful to pray while you eat sometimes ;)
So that is all for now, I will keep you updated on this new area and how things go, I appreciate everything and all your prayers, love you all!!! sister mansfield

Monday, September 21, 2009

September 21, 2009

hello everyone!!!! love you all!! thanks so much for the e-mails, love, and support :) time is flying!!! it is transfers this week, I have almost been in mongolia 3 months, that is crazy. (especially considering how little I can speak, haha, the language really hit me this week, I need to pick up my studying or my mission is going to be over before I can understand these wonderful people) I will let you know where I am next week, either me or my companion is going to a new area, we don't know who so I will let you know :) things are good!! the best thing is...Badamgarav is getting baptized this Friday! yeah!! it is truly amazing to see the change in her, and see how her faith has grown!! we told her one of us was being transferred and she wanted to be baptized before we left, so we taught her for two hours Thursday, 2 hours Friday, an hour Saturday morning, and then she had her baptismal interview and is getting baptized this Friday! so exciting :) you get to be really good friends with your investigators!! and her friend is doing really good too and will join the church in a few weeks :)
and it is now officially winter haha ;) we had December like snow storms this week, and it is September haha. It is the wind that makes it way cold, mongolia is so windy! but it will be good, the mongolian people know how to make warm clothes so it will all be good. We took 6 kids to an activity at the church Saturday night and trying to meet them all and walk to all their houses to pick them up together in a snowstorm was an adventure, these kids are troopers ;) and we went out to the countryside for a bit today as a zone and played soccer in the snow, it was really fun. really wet ;) but so fun!!
I hope you all are well, this gospel can change lives, even after we are already members of the church! thanks again for everything, love you all, and take care! sister mansfield

cate- hey thanks for the dear elders!! that is so funny about your new apartment door!! I sent a letter to your old address last week, sorry, and good luck with school and photography!! love ya!!
kat- my goodness I miss you! and volleyball!! haha ;) good luck with classes and hope all is well, love ya!! ;)
Alyssa- thanks for the note!! great to hear from you, miss you too! and that sounds good about school, and that is cool you want to work with kids with disabilities, they really do grow a special place in your heart don't they?!! are you living in provo this semester? love ya!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

September 14, 2009

hey there family!!!! Thanks all for the e-mails, you all sound busy and good, jake is 16, crazy, ;), boy love you all!!
It was a really good week!! Seriously realizing I can't do this has helped so much, I always thought I had faith, I didn't realize that I had been putting my faith more in myself than I thought, and I know that God is way smarter, and knows far better than we do what we need to do. It has been fun to kind of step back, Let God take more control, have faith, and then just see what happens :) and great things have happened!! This week we had a good little breakthrough with one of the new members we have been visiting who doesn't like to come to church anymore, she doesn't even really like to meet with us (a sweet 12 year old girl), and it was her birthday last week. You know my memory, I can't even remember my best friend's birthday (cate;) sorry;) but a month ago she told us when her birthday was, and then I didn't think about it much, but on her birthday, we had ran home to grab something, and her birthday popped into my head! we put together a little present of a notebook I had felt to buy for myself, but whenever I went to use it, I felt to wait and we were able to give it to this girl with some other stuff, and it was such a small thing, but she has totally opened to us! is willing to try and come to church again, wants to meet with us, etc. This is a little story, but it was Cool to see how the Lord can work through us in ways we don't even realize! a little notebook and a remembered birthday (no thanks to me, thanks to the spirit) opened the door for us to help this girl :)
And something funny happened yesterday with badamgarav and her friend that we started teaching, we always meet before church and then go together, and they are always there, but yesterday they weren't we were worried, and finally got a hold of them, and guess where they were, at the church! and an hour and a half early! how cute is that! they got themselves there, and were waiting for us there :) So things are good, and we are teaching another great family, and the twins are doing really good, (going to seminary at 6:30 am and everything ;) So the work is going well and I can testify that if we step back and let God take control, everything is better :) love you all so much! take care!!
sister Mansfield
ps (I heard about BYU's win, go cougars! ;)

Monday, September 7, 2009

September 7, 2009

Hey Family!!!!
boy I love you all!! hope school, work, and everything is going okay, and that Jake has a great birthday!~!!! happy birthday jake!!!! I can't believe you are 16 (actually I can, I thought you were turning 16 last year haha,) a card is on the way ;) love ya!! and go cougars!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think the zone leaders sent a text, because yesterday I heard they won, that is awesome!!! I always loved byu football, but I didn't realize how much until I heard they one! I am soooo happy!!! hahaha :)
It has been an interesting week, first the good stuff, carothtsetsen was baptized!! It was wonderful, she is so sweet and it was a good baptism, me and my companion were asked to sing, and it is exciting to see the church grow :) and while we were teaching badamgarav her friend visited and we invited her to listen, and then she practically started teaching us about Christ’s atonement and how we can't get back to heaven without it, it was awesome!! She said she had always liked Christ but didn't know much about his church :) the Lord can lead people to us, she came to church and is already reading the Book of Mormon so that made my week :)
I started teaching english this week, I teach at 2 private schools, 3rd grade, 5th, 9th, 10th, 11th, grade, and some teachers. I teach 10 hours a week, and I am trying to like it ;) its worth it if we can be here, and the kids really are great :) so cute and for the most part eager to learn. I realized something this week that surprised myself, and might sound surprising, but I swear it is a good thing! I can't do this. haha ;) but literally I realized I can't do this. I still can't talk or understand very much at all, I have a lot to learn about being a missionary, and now add 10 hours of english teaching and lesson planning which is the hardest because it takes time to plan good lessons, I am inexperienced, they don't have text books or a course outline, and I teach all different levels so each lesson is different, and I am trying to learn mongolian and we have to do our normal studies at all different times of the day because of english, etc. sorry this is rambling but there is a point ;) So I was sitting on a meeker (van thing) riding back from an appointment that fell through, and I thought "I can't do this". And the spirit seemed to confirmed "that is absolutely right" haha! I was really surprised that it felt so good to admit I couldn't do something. But then I realized that I am not doing this work, the Lord is, and He has given us something that we literally by ourselves cannot do. Before when something hard came up I would just think "you can do this, you can do this" and keep going. It got to the point where I can't do it haha. You know that bible story where the Lord says the army is too big, and he keeps making it smaller until there are just 300 people? but then they win!! because the Lord is with them, and they have to acknowledge his hand. So, I can't do this. Just like those 300 people couldn't win. But I am not by myself! So its awesome because I feel so much more able, realizing that I am unable, haha I am making no sense. Basically, I want you all to know that the Lord is leading and guiding this work, and He just asks us to have the faith to do what He says, even if we don't think we are smart enough, strong enough, etc. He makes up the rest. So That was my week :) And mongolia and the people are amazing and easy to love :) Love you all and thanks sooo much for the prayers. hope you all are well!!
sister mansfield

cate- hey! When are you getting a new address? I have a letter for you, when are you moving? :) you can send it to tori, love ya!!!
Kat-I reread your letter about tortoises and the biologist and it made me laugh so much!! love ya!! :) how are classes? could you facebook your address to tori so she can send it to me? love ya!
alyssa- how are classes? hope you are well!!! you are living with kat right?

Donielle Wolfe- there is a saying here that means "your the man!!" and it is chii shew. chiishew!! thanks so much for the letters! they make me so happy :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

September 1, 2009

hey everyone!! you all sound good, thanks for the e-mails! I'm sorry I have no idea why some e-mails come and some don't, days later, oh! and we switched p-day to today because yesterday was zone conference, sorry about yesterday, this week today is p-day :)
Things are good here, still learning and still trying ;) time has flown, I have been here 2 months, that is crazy!! and we have a baptism this week! She is a sweet 11 yr old named saroothtsetsen, my companion started teaching her a month or two before I came, and we are really excited! her sister and her sister's husbands are members, so she has good family support :) I’ll send baptism pictures next week!
We met with jargathsaixan a few more times and tried to help but she is no longer interested, our job is to invite and then it is their choice, but it is always a little hard.
But I want to tell you a bit about Badamgarav, she is a 17 year old girl we have been teaching for a few weeks and it has been so fun to work with her and start to see a change! she has come to church with us three times, and sunday mornings are always a little crazy because we are meeting with people and trying to get them to come with us, last week we were trying to help the family with the boy with cerebral palsy to church, and we missed the time we had set to meet badamgarav so we ran to meet her but she wasn't there, (we look pretty funny sprinting through a ger district ;) (people already think we are a bit interesting haha ;) we ran to the road and got a taxi, picked up the first family but couldn't get a hold of badamgarav or find her anywhere, I was praying hard because church is far and she doesn't have the money to get there by herself, and as we were driving out of the ger district, we saw her walking home and were able to bring her to church! sounds like a good coincidence but if we had left a minute earlier or later, we would have missed her! God helps us even in simple ways. She had been waiting 45 minutes, then thought we forgot her so if would have been really sad if we hadn't found her, but we did! sorry long story, she is an awesome girl :)
I started teaching english today, school started and I teach at two schools, I’ll let you know how it goes! this morning was funny I showed up to teach and instead they had a little opening ceremony and some kids sang and danced, it was sooo cute and I had no idea what was going on but they had me stand in front with the other teachers, and then they said the american english would like to say something in english and handed me the microphone haha ;) I don't really remember what I said haha, but the principle of the school is the mother of one of the girls I taught my 2nd week here! she walked into the church and we taught her, and then gave her to the other ward's sisters. The mom recognized my name from what her daughter had told her about the church, and her daughter is getting baptized this friday! exciting :)
I know God truly knows where we are and what path we are taking at all times, and He loves us sooo much we can't even comprehend. I love you all, and hope you have a wonderful week! sister mansfield

ps grandma and grandpa thanks for the letter! say hi to the family for me, love you all! :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

August 24, 2009 a few days late

Hey there again :)

Thanks for the e-mails!! Tori and dad hope moving into the apartment goes well! remind me what classes you are taking? Mom your seminary class sounds sweet :) We met a family with a little boy with cerebral palsy (they are not sure what it is, I am pretty sure it is cerebral palsy) and he is so sweet, it made we really miss the people I worked with before the mission, we are trying to help them get a wheelchair. Linds how are things in illinois? is the humidity manageable? any fun nursery stories? :) Sarah and jake let me know how school goes :) I have no idea about the pouch mail, if they say it is working it is working youm shiig (there are all these crazy convenient mongolian words I want to use, that means “seems like”) I got a dear elder last week so it is still coming :) and jake that was a crazy rafting story!!!! man I am glad you made it!
Things are good, I am learning a lot, about the people, culture, and missionary work in general. We are asking people to completely change their lives forever and it can be hard, but it is so worth it. I am just realizing that it can be an interesting process to help people realize that, and once they do realize that, helping them have the strength and faith to commit to it can be hard too, but the Lord helps us and His children :) missionary work is hard for a whole new set of reasons now, I know these people better and we want soooo badly for their success!! okay sorry I am rambling. Tamer and her two kids are still doing great, it is fun to teach people who are so ready to hear the gospel :) in our investigator sunday school class dashbelig accidently introduced himself as a missionary, it was really funny! several missionaries had just introduced themselves, and he copied, the mom's reaction was funny :)
um, a lady cooked a whole liver for me and my companion this week, I've had it before but this time it was rough mostly because of the amount. A liver is a decent sized organ even in a sheep and when you are eating half plain, yeah, I think love for people can actually help food taste better (or at least make you think it tastes better;) really its not that bad. We had a fun little birthday party with one of our new part member's families, these are some of my favorite kids!!
um I'm trying to think what else happened, sorry not many other stories for this week, oh! we stand out here right? I'm one of the only american girls in the area, maybe the only one, we are in skirts and carry scripture, etc, but the funny thing is that tons of people think my companion is from china because I am foreign. Mongolians and the chinese don't have the best relationship and she does not want to be chinese, people will ask her if she knows mongolian, and people will say "there go the american and the chinese again". We get a laugh out of it ;)
Thats all for this week, I love you all sooooooo much and think of you all often! take care!! sister mansfield

kat- thanks for the new address!! I wanted that! will you and alyssa send me your school one when you get it? have fun with the fam!!
cate- it was great to hear from you!!!!! love ya and keep having fun with photography!

August 17, 2009 a week or so late :)

hey family!! thanks for the e-mails as always :) love hearing from you! my e-mails keep saying they are sent, and then they come back to me saying they didn’t send, I am not sure why, sorry, could you send me maybe tori's, lindsays, and the kids email addresses too and maybe one of you will get the e-mail ;) I'll try sending two weeks ago again, let me know what gets to you. haha I am having the hardest time typing, some of the letters are misprinted on the key board, and a p is now an r, and h is an n, and I haven't typed much so it is not as normal anymore haha, and yesterday we helped someone move some cement bags and my arms and hands are so spent haha! sorry, moving on, you all sound good! tori I can't believe you already go back to school! that will be so fun, and have fun with that sports pass! take pictures for me :) sarah and jake I'm glad band was cool, you will have to let me know more :) and have fun with the jet skis this week!!! it has been hot here, and I have missed the water a little bit ;) have fun!
Things are good here, this was a bit of a harder week, Satan is aware of this work too and sometimes he fights hard. Jargalsaixan, the lady who could hear, we were getting her ready for her baptismal interview and she was really excited, and then this week we met with her and she told us she had went to a monastery and talked to a Buddhist monk and asked what church was true and you can guess what he said, and now she said she doesn't want to be baptized and said she won't come to church again. It was really sad and out of the blue, she said she believes in our God too, but helping her see that there is only one God is hard, we are trying to help her receive her own stronger answer through prayer again, but she is pretty against it now. and we weren’t able to teach very much this week, we have started teaching so many people and have a lot of investigators, but this week everything kept falling through, work, or other things came up, etc. and I can't remember if I ever wrote anything about a funny drunk, but if I did I take it back, I don't think there is any such thing as a funny drunk, it is all sad. But all is well, a friend wrote me a letter in the mtc with a quote that said "the obstacle in front of you is never as great as the power behind you" and that is true, so all is well, or hopefully will be ;)
Tamer and the twins (dashnamjil and dashbilig) are doing great :) I accidentally told them that we need to do bad things during this life while trying to teach haha, and that it was really cool dashbilig's bike broke. I am learning ;) we do street contacts everyday and I can do one by myself now kinda okay, but yesterday I tried talking to a man and was talking about the church, and he thought I was lost so he started giving directions to the church, and my comp had to step in and say we were missionaries, it was pretty embarrassing. ;) I have a long way to go ;)
Time is flying!! in two months I only have a year left! I don’t know if I like being a sister ;) jk. It was half transfers this week, and I am staying in my area with the same comp for the next 6 weeks and I am glad :) I want to keep working with our investigators and my comp is awesome and fun, she is this fiery girl who is really happy (and she is only angry when it comes in handy ;) so she is way fun to work with, and a hard worker! I think we went to a departure devotional that was really good, a lot of missionaries are with "mini missionaries" for the next 6 weeks (branch youth who act like full time missionaries) because so many left. And Elder Godfrey, the tall one from my mtc group, is sick, he has a muscle disease that runs in the family, and had to go back to america this week, it was really sad, you get to be good friends with the missionaries in your group, but I think in 6 months he will be back! he has a great attitude. Now there are just three of us from my group here.
This week the hong kong temple president and his wife came and we went to a good fireside, the members here go to hongkong to go to the temple, trips are organized every year and the members sacrifice a lot to go, it is neat. someday there will be one here!!
I think that is all, Love you all sooooooo much, hope you are well and good luck with school and tori and dad have a safe trip to utah! say hi to byu for me
;) love you and best wishes, sister mansfield :)

Monday, August 24, 2009

August 24, 2009

Hello all, this is tori. Just wanted to let you all know that we haven't forgotten about this blog. We never received an email from Sister Mansfield last week and this week we only got a quick note. She is doing fine and getting used to the customs, language and the work. It seems she writes emails each week but the internet is shifty and for some reason they haven't been coming through very well recently. When we get something we will post it. Hopefully one day we will get some from the weeks that haven't come through. Thanks for your love and support and we are waiting anxiously too.

Monday, August 10, 2009

August 10, 2009

hey family :)
The e-mails and pictures were great! holy cow sarah and tori you are cute girls ;) and jake is sooooo tall! crazy! Thanks it was fun to see you again ;) sorry last week's e-mail didn't come, let me know if you still didn't get it. Sarah and mom good job on the talks ;) sarah i heard you did great, you really are a good public speaker and sarah and jake let me know how band goes! Dad glad your boss is here and mom good luck with seminary :) califoria looks cool! That will be fun to come back to :)
Things are good here, each week feels more and more normal, I finally started dreaming about missionary work instead of you family and that makes it a little easier to wake up in the morning ;) we are teaching some people that are (this is going to be cheesy, but it really is kinda true) the light my life and when we teach them I get excited like Christmas haha. The first family we started teaching 3 weeks ago and have two 12 yr old twins, and a mom and they are soaking up the gospel, and have come to church 3 weeks in a row! We taught them two days ago and there was no power in their house, so we couldn't read 3 Nephi 11 like we had planned because we were sitting in the dark and couldn't see, so we talked about the word of wisdom, and it was really cute, my comp asked if they were ready to start following it right now and at the same time they said "ready!!" and the mom started following it too. They had offered us tea 20 minutes before, and have already stopped drinking it completely :) and we are teaching a way sweet lady named Jargalsaixan (don't how know to spell that
english...), but she is a little older, and can hardly hear, and can't see very well. We have been teaching her little short lessons, but this week she told us the coolest thing!!! this is a highlight of my mission so far...she said she didn't want to come to church again because she can't hear anything, but she decided to come one more time, and she could hear! "even soft sounds!!" she said. She heard all the lessons and classes, and then she said she even can hear and "clearly understand" me when we teach (and I don't speak clearly). Older people call most younger people their child, etc, (its really endearing, I love it) and she calls me "her daughter", and she said, I can even understand when my daughter speaks! clearly! haha :) she said "I’m not kidding, I can hear, and if I tell other people they will think I am crazy, but I am not kidding, its true!" she bore a great testimony, and said she is always coming to church, and is ready to be baptized :) we started teaching her my second week, it is so fun to see the progress. Miracles do happen! and we talked to a mom and a daughter on the street this week and started teaching them, they came to a baptism and to church so that is also really exciting. As always I wish I could say more, but the people are loving and it is fun to work with them! The language is like college, the more you learn the more you realize you don't know haha, but it is coming ;)
Today for p-day we went to the country side with our zone's missionaries and some of the branch youth and it was reallllllyyy fun, we went to this old monastery and the country side is sooo pretty, I will send pics next week. and then we hiked through this place that looked just like alaska!! Forget-me-nots and everything! I was kinda flipping out my comp was laughing, I felt like I was back in alaska ;) and dad I do play when I can ;) sometimes on p-days we play soccer, and I can't play soccer well at all but I run around and try because it is a sport and its way fun, and some missionaries started calling me the crazy sister (I don't think I’ve done anything crazy haha, don't worry;) but the youth have been fun to get to know and the branch missionaries are great here :) pretty much everyone is a recent convert so there're all really excited about missionary work.
um, other things..., my comp made fried chicken and a cake this week, that was exciting, our little oven was smoking like crazy but she kept saying "its okay its okay" and she was right, the chicken tasted great. oh and at the baptism this week a lady I don't know came up to me and talked and it took me a long time to figure out what she wanted, a few weeks a go someone took a picture of her with me, and she wants the picture, she gave me her name, phone number, and a huge hug and I am supposed to call her when I get the picture. Not sure how I am going to do this one ;) haha, people are so loving here, and love pictures.
k that’s all for me, sorry it is long, love you all sooooooo much, thanks again for the pics and I hope you all are well. love you!!
sister mansfield

kat- I got your dear elder!! thanks!!! you are awesome and hilarious, thanks again! made my day :) have fun sailing and hope all is well!
cate!- hello! :) hope you are well! I hear you are quite the photographer! good for you and that is sooo fun! :) love ya and say hi to morgan
alyssa- how is romania?! when do you get back? sounds like it has been quite the experience, love ya!!
grandma and grandpa mansfield- thanks so much for the letter! I got it last week, and it was fun to hear from you :) love you and the family!

Her email never did come from last week, hopefully we will get it someday and will post it :) Thanks for your love and support. -Tori

Monday, July 27, 2009

Mongolian Pics

July 27, 2009

My Dearest family!!!!! :)
Thank you sooo much for all the e-mails, it was fun getting last week's and this weeks, I had forgotten about you all not having e-mail, and last week the power went out while we were e-mailing so if it hadn't, I probably would have gotten your letters :) Thanks again, they mean so much, and it is fun to hear from all of you ;) california sounds good! the ward, and fancy pants lane, haha ;) hope the little house works until you can fully move in :)
Things are good here! better! it was quite the week, it started with splits with the training sisters. Splits are great, but I was reallllyyy nervous for this one because they wanted me to stay in my area, and have my comp go into the city. that means I would act like the senior comp, lead the way, etc. We had 5 lessons to teach that day, and family, think of how skilled I am with directions..... haha ;) put me in a rep district with hardly any addresses, or among a bunch of identical buildings, surrounded by people who speak a different language, haha, after being in the country 2 - 3 weeks, and I am pretty lost ;) I didn't think i could even find the houses of the people we were supposed to teach, let alone lead the lessons, etc. But, you pray really hard and that always helps, ;) and have faith that God knows what he is doing, and it was actually a great experience! The training sister is mongolian, and the first night she only spoke mongolian and when I didn't understand she would just look at me haha, (we got in the taxi and I couldn't even say how to get back to my apartment, I don't think I have ever felt so inadequate haha) so I was nervous but the next day she spoke more english, and was way sweet and so nice, and we were able to find the places we needed! knowing me, that is a complete miracle ;) we walked, and if it felt right and looked kinda familiar, we turned, etc. we taught good lessons, and as I kept apologizing when we went a wrong way or something, the training sister kept saying "we don't know, but God knows" and that is so true :) I learned a lot from it and have felt more responsibility for this work ever since. I think the split was what I needed!
oh! and it flooded this week! a lot! one of the biggest rain storms in years, we were in a rep district in an investigators home when it hit, I have never seen so much rain and there was tons of hail, people had to shovel it. It flooded the streets in front of our apartment but did the most damage in the rep districts where everything is dirt and mud, streets turned into little rivers and fences, outhouses, and roads were washed away. it was quite the thing to see, and the paths are really rocky now because all the dirt was washed away.
And the language is coming, this week one of the girls we taught asked how many years I have been in mongolia. I don't tell this to brag (I didn't understand the question so that shows I have a long way to go ;) but I do know that it is impossible for us to have learned as fast as we have without God's help. When my comp said I had been here 3 weeks the girl was shocked, I asked what was wrong haha, the Lord truly has blessed us, and it is cool to see how suddenly it gets easier to speak when we are teaching a lesson. I gave a talk in sacrament meeting yesterday, and I know I could not talk for 10 minutes from my heart, without God's help. it truly is a miracle.
Most of our investigators went to the countryside for the next 2 months, so we had to find some new people this week and we started teaching two new families that I am really excited about! This is hard work, but the people make it so worth it :)
um, I think that is all, the work is progressing and I am learning, I love you all sooooooooo much, and hope you have a great week!!!
ashley (sister manspield as it is pronounced here, I feel bad, it is really hard to say) love you!

Monday, July 20, 2009

July 20, 2009

hello family,
here is a little about mongolia ;) the church is growing. and there are some really strong members, and it is exciting to see young families, and the first generation of mongolian children that will be raised in the church :) We keep busy here and not everything is successful, but some are and it is really exciting :) our ward has 10 missionaries (5 companionships) assigned to it, how cool is that?! that there is enough work in one area for 10 missionaries :) our area is broken into 4 areas, each of the elders have one and then the sisters cover them all and teach where ever there are women who want to learn. Each missionary companionship tries to talk to at least 10 people a day and invite them to learn more, and then we all send our referrals in and send them to the missionaries in their area so it is a good and effective system. We get a lot of referrals and it is really cool going from lesson to lesson :) Not every lesson follows through but we do get to teach a lot :) last week 2 girls (14-15) walked into the church just because they were curious and my comp and I happened to be there waiting for another investigator who never showed, so we got to teach these amazing two girls, then they came to church on sunday and it was really fun trying to talk with them even though I understand pretty much nothing, they already have a baptismal date and are so excited about the gospel! They are in the other ward's area so other sisters are going to be teaching them, but it was fun to help :) and the 19-year-old girl I mentioned last week moved so we don't get to teach her but I heard that she is an investigator in her new area so it is all good :) So you have the people that soak up the gospel, and then there are the families that you want sooo badly to accept it, and then don't. It is those times when I wish I could speak a little better, pray with them a little better, etc. But the Lord knows His children and is in control.
I am getting used to mongolia and loving it, each car/bus ride is an adventure and it is fun to see new things everyday, and to meet amazing people. And I am liking their sour milk candy that I thought was so gross two weeks ago haha, its really good. and we ate stomach. very chewy, but it was cut small enough to pretty much swallow it so it wasn't bad. I think that is about all, the field is white and we are working, I feel a little helpless sometimes but the language is coming and the Lord helps. I love you all, hope you are well, and hope to hear from you soon!
ashley (sister mansfield)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

July 14, 2009

Hello family :)
I am so glad you made it to California! That sounds like quite the caravan ;) good job driving everyone, I am glad the one tire blowout wasn't bad, and that you all are safe :) Thanks for the e-mails and updates, dad I am sure you will be missed in Illinois but I am excited for the huge hospital, that will be good :) sarah, jake have fun meeting people, I know that can be hard but you two are amazing, so I am not worried at all ;) Tori, one rule for you... you are not allowed to meet anyone too cool in the singles ward ;) swim a lot for me okay?! linds way to drive the huge truck, you were always the best driver of us kids ;) (so far that is, jake I am not saying anything bad about your driving skills;)
Things are good here. Been an interesting week, I think every day is going to be interesting from here on out ;) mongolia is awesome and the people are so amazing, I still don't understand much at all but I always needed to work on patience, and things are good :) one of the branch missionaries we work with told me "mongolian life is extreme sport" and it is kinda true ;) I always liked extreme sports ;) I got a little sick this week and lost my voice for a few days, it was pretty funny, combine a strong american accent, poor grammar, limited vocabulary with a really hoarse voice, and I was basically impossible to understand haha! ;)I tried saying a simple hello to a group of kids and they stared and one said the mongolian equivalent of "what you say?!" we all laughed when they found out what I was trying to say ;) I am actually grateful for losing the voice because now I am even more excited that I can talk, and it is helping get over the fear of talking.
We got to go to a youth activity, and the youth in our ward are amazing! the church is in good and strong hands here in the mongolian youth. We also have been teaching several kids, and it is cool to see how well they grasp the gospel. Some of the two strongest church members I have met are 10 and 12 years old. Their dad is drunk often (and a really funny drunk, he knows I just came from america so he tried to act out the conversation for me and it was reallllly funny) but the mom is a strong member as well. We also met a 19 year old girl who is related to a family we are teaching and I am really excited about her, she is trying to learn english so we were able to talk a bit more, and she loves everything about the gospel so far! The nomadic life makes missionary work kinda hard sometimes, people often move to rural country side, and have no way to get back in touch with them, but they know where the church is.
The mongolian hospitality is also amazing, for better and worse ;) most food and everything has been fine, there is this hot milk, water, and butter drink that takes some getting used to but isn't bad, yesterday I had some that was realllly old, and that was a bit hard to get down. It is the big mongolian national holiday this week, and we switched p-day and all missionaries got to go to the opening ceremonies and horse races (little bitty kids race! and it is the horse that wins, not the rider, it’s really cool) out in the countryside and it was really neat. I will try and send pictures next week. so a lot of people kill a sheep, and eat the whole thing this week, and we taught a lesson in a little rep a few feet away from a half gutted goat, a bowl of intestines, and the head and feet, it was kinda funny to look up while bearing testimony about God and see the insides of an animal ;) reminded me of alaska dad. oh! and I held a real olympic silver medal this week! A member had us to her apartment, and her daughter won a silver medal in shooting a few years back, it was so cool!
All in all things are good, it is a bit hard to want to badly to teach and help people understand and to be so limited but the spirit can help make up for it, it is good motivation to learn this language though ;) I love you all, and enjoy california! linds and josh, enjoy illinois ;)
love you, ashley, sister mansfield

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

July 7, 2009

Hello family! :)
I am doing so good :) Dad thanks so much for the e-mail, you always know what to say :) it was funny last night I had a dream with the whole family in it, and we were doing normal stuff, and then this morning I heard city noises and mongolian out the window, woke up in a little bed, and was really confused for a minute, haha, it still keeps hitting me that I am in mongolia ;) But I am loving it!!! I am on the very west side of the city, in a ward (yeah we have a ward!) called onop. Most of our area covers a sprawling hillside of rep districts, it is so neat, I have never seen anything like it. it is really hilly and just dirt, and people put a fence made of about anything around a patch of ground, put a rep in it, kinda stick a number on the fence to symbolize an address sometimes, and it just stretches like that way far. My first night we tried to find some addresses of referrals and hiked all over it. People live in such humble circumstances, but they are happy and wonderful people! My companion is this amazing little mongolian sister named monktsetsek (eternal flower;) who is about 4 feet tall, and happy all the time and very patient with my endless questions. She speaks a little english, and knows a few words, it has been interesting communicating but we are figuring it out, and she is helping my mongolian a ton! :)
The language is interesting, I honestly don't understand anything. I catch words here and there but I can't even tell a sentence apart from another, and a lot of mongolians speak really quietly and it is hard to hear, and way fast of course, it has been humbling ;) the first day or two it was hard not to think about the language, it seemed impossible to learn but all is well, everyone keeps saying not to stress, this mission is not about the language so that is now what I believe. My companion can teach, I can add my simple testimony, and smile a ton. If the only thing I can help people know about the gospel is that it makes you happy, that is good enough for now. And I really am loving this! it feels so good to be working with real people even if I have no idea what they are saying and can't even remember their name, (mongolian names for some reason are soooo hard for me!) We have taught a few people so far and visited several, and done a lot of street contacting which is really fun, I really feel like a missionary standing on a street corner and talking to everyone :) it is funny I'll start the conversation and most people laugh when they hear me speaking (or trying to speak;) mongolian, but it is a good conversation starter, and then my comp takes care of the rest. I have been trying to talk a lot because that is how you learn, and a lot of times people laugh but I have no way of finding out what I said. My mission president said his biggest advice was "fear not" and I have been trying to do that. I seriously love this place so it is not too bad :)
our apartment is good, all the apartment buildings are really old and have no lights in the halls so it is pitch black until you can get the door open but we have a great place :) it is on the sixth floor right on the edge of town, we don't have hot water but I hear it sometimes comes on. Food has been fine, oily but totally manageable so far :)
um sorry I am rambling... the work is good here! our ward is so strong, I loved going to church and seeing mongolian youth pass the sacrament, and meet the relief society president (who is one of the most funny persons I have ever met, and I don’t even know what she said ;) and bishop, there were several investigators and the ward is so welcoming, I am glad I am here or the first transfer because I can't take very good care of the investigators but the ward does :) We went to a baptism (they have them every week in the city :) and it was really exciting, 5 people were baptized :)
boy it is hard to describe mongolia in an e-mail! feel free to stop reading if this is long ;) oh! Driving is crazy here. There aren't really lanes, and it is normal to be 3 inches away from another car or bus, the drivers are talented. and buses and meekers (mini vans that 20 people fit into) and fun. and you cross the street frogger style here, walk out into the traffic, wait, cross the next lane, etc, I admit that is the only thing here that has scared me a little ;) other random things, I love mongolian homes :) whether it be a small apartment with no furniture but a stool or two, a rep (which are amazing and homey and comfortable, they are a perfectly great place to live) or a closet under some stairs. Two of our members live in closet like spaces under staircases and they had covered the walls with all kinds of posters, cereal boxes, wall paper, etc and they looked great. And I love mongolian kids. have to be the cutest ever. And they are always willing to talk even with my poor mongolian.
All the mongolian members and missionaries here are amazing and so strong, this mission has I think the most sisters out of any mission because so many mongolian sisters want to serve! i love you all, thanks for your prayers and support, and good luck with the move!! sounds busy, please please drive safe, and know I love you! :)

cate, kat, alyssa, hi! I am out of time but love ya! (cate, I am sorry your dad got that new assignment! wish your family luck for me, miss you and you all are amazing)

Friday, July 3, 2009

July 2, 2009

hello family!!
I made it to mongolia :) they are letting us e-mail to let you know we are alive and well ;) the flights were good and went smoothly, I am feeling the time change and jet lag a bit but it will go away soon, and we got here about midnight two nights ago. We have our transfer meeting tomorrow morning so we have been at the mission home until then, my mission president is amazing and mongolia in an amazing place, I don't really know where to start. We did what they call a Dan Jones experience yesterday, and they sent us out to street contact. I was with two awesome mongolian sisters and we went all over for 6 hours, and I can understand hardly anything. We went out to a rep district and taught a family there, (the buses and vans that are like taxies are a fun experience, driving and walking across the street is crazy here), walked around the city and taught another lesson, and I have a lot of studying to do, but I am happy to be here.
It is hard to explain what it is like but I already love the people, many live in such humble circumstances and the church is growing! I love you all, and I think p-day is monday so I might write again then from my new area, I hope you all are well and it was so fun to talk from the airport! This is truly a unique place and I have never been anywhere like it, this is going to be an adventure.
It is humbling not understanding anything or being able to communicate, but it will come! I am well, happy, and I love you all! ashley

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Travel Update

Hi, this is Tori. I just wanted to let everyone know that Ashley's visa did come in last week and she and her district left the MTC this morning. Right now she is on a plane to Korea where she will then fly on to Ulaan Bataar, Mongolia. We were able to talk to her on the phone and she sounds happy and excited. We will keep you updated with her travels and hopefully hear from her soon. When we learn her new mailing address, we will post it. Mongolia missions use the pouch mail system and is always a free option. Hope everyone is well and thanks for your care and support.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

June 25, 2009

Hello my family :)
oh my goodness you are moving next week! I hope it goes well! and thanks S000 much for the letters and awesome package!! those books are perfect, and thanks so much for the contact solution, and all the other great stuff, it felt like Christmas :) and that is perfect traveling food!! Grandma and Grandpa Mansfield sent a package too with great stuff so it was a really good week for our whole district ;) mom, I am soooooo sorry I didn't get a letter to you by your birthday! Time is really weird at the MTC and I had no idea what day of the month it was, the weeks go by like days, hopefully the little letter got to you by now, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! :)the German restaurant sounded fun, sarah should have played her accordion;) Dad hope you had a great father's day :) dad and jake I am glad the fishing trip was fun, sorry the catching wasn't that great but that is a way cool story about how jake caught a fish off a snagged line! Hey jake if you have time (and it is summer so I hope you do ;) write a dear elder or something about the trip, and the waterpark! did they have any of those 6 story drop slides? how does a water rollercoaster work? Sarah I got your letter and it totally made my week. thanks so much! I will write you today! tori thanks for the letter too, I love them :)
Things are good here, This is potentially my last p-day in the states!!! We are slightly freaking out haha, we might be leaving on tuesday. Mongolian districts have a history of being banned from the travel office because they go there so often ;) and we have checked on visas a few times so they told us not to go back until friday, so tomorrow we find out if they have them or not. Even if they don't have them yet it is a day-by-day thing, so even if we don't find out tomorrow we still might be leaving tuesday. Ah!! it is scary not knowing but its exciting, we got our "flight plans" last week and just seeing them was so exciting, we are so in the MTC mode it hasn’t seemed like we are leaving until this week. There is a phrase in mongolian that means "excited" and if you directly translate it, it means "it became a heap of holidays!" ;) when we get our visas, it is going to become like a heap of holidays haha.
The language is interesting, we all know we aren't going to be able to understand or talk when we get there so as one of the elders in my district put it, we are buckling down for the storm, boarding up the windows, and doing whatever we can to make the learning easier in mongolia, we are all making little handheld notebooks with grammar rules and really important vocab, etc. oh man! I am so antsy! (it that is even a word!) but so excited!
We had "culture day" this week with one of our teachers and it was really exciting, they brought in traditional mongolian clothes, games, tons of pictures, etc and got us all really excited. There is a game you play with sheep ankle bones that is so fun! I can't wait to teach you!
And funny fact, I was telling aunt kerry about the fermented mare's milk people drink before I left, and she thought I had said urine, and we were all laughing about it but I found out she was right! In mongolia, it is not unusual for people to drink their mother's urine (has to be their mother's) when they are sick. It is getting less common, but my mongolian teacher drunk it when she was little and my other teacher was offered it, haha. They also used to use a variety of animal urine as a cure for a sore tooth, craziness, stigma in eyes, etc. kinda interesting ;) Aunt kerry was right!
oh and language mix up of the week- shar = yellow, umce = pants, sharsan = fried, tumce= potatoes. I got a plate without french fries and we had the following conversation, "why didn't you get fried potatoes? I love fried potatoes!" but we were really talking about yellow pants. I totally understood what the elder was trying to say and didn't notice until elder godfrey asked why we were talking about yellow pants. it was funny ;)oh! and all the mission presidents are getting trained at the MTC this week! we have a special devotional tomorrow that we are all really really excited about :)
woah this is long, family I will send info about my flight plans and when I can potentially call from the airport. I love you all sooooo much, good luck with the moving and everything this week, thanks again soooo much for everything and all of your support. This gospel message is so important and so true. It is humbling to be a part of this work and to have already seen how the Lord blesses and helps us accomplish what He needs us to do. Hopefully next time I write it will be from mongolia! love you,
ashley (mansfield egch/edge)

grandma and grandpa mansfield- thanks sooooo much for the package!! my district and I love the candy, that is some of our favorite and that is the nicest toothbrush I have used! :) and thanks for the print out! :) love you both! and the shoes are amazing!!

Cate- hey there friend! love and miss ya! congrats on the Sunday school teacher calling! ;) it is scary but you and Morgan really are both great teachers, you will do great! hope work is good! and you are sooo right, I don't feel anymore at home than when I am at the temple too :) love ya!

alyssa- thanks so much for the letter and blog post, wow that little boy sounds amazing and it would be so hard to see him leave! It is so comforting to know God knows and loves each and everyone of us, especially those little orphans in romania. love ya and keep up the good work!

kat- hope the vegas heat isn't killing you! hope the internship is going good and that you have found some volleyball buddies :) love ya!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Thursday, June 18, 2009

June 18, 2009

Hello my family!!!!!
love you! thanks for everything as usual, mom thanks for typing that letter while dad was gone and thanks for the e-mail :) It is so good to hear from you. Linds thanks for the letter too, I can't believe you are in nursery now! woah, just as you were loving primary, but i know you will do a really good job, and good luck with everything.... ;) Thanks for the update on dad and jake's trip, that sounds so fun! I'm glad they get to go to a waterpark too, man water is one of the things I miss the most ;) but no worries, in mongolia there is no water, and if there was it would usually be frozen ;) when are you all leaving illinois officially? have fun with your day trip to your home town mom :) I keep forgetting that it is summer and that everyone is out of school, and good luck with the moving.
Things are good here, I can't believe it is p-day again already! I don't think I realized how little I would actually know when I left the mtc, 2 weeks is so short a time, and that is all we have left! We are still studying hard, I guess I just hadn't thought it out, you don't become even slightly fluent in a few months ;) we watched the restoration movie in mongolian yesterday and my teacher told us we would be able to understand it, I caught about 5 words, and never even understood a sentance. Me and the elders are pretty humbled ;) But not discouraged, faith and fear don't exist at the same time so we are trying to erase the word fear from our vocabulary, lets just say it is going to be incredibly humbling when we get to mongolia. I am trying to get at least the lessons down so I can say what I want to about the important things and add my simple testimony as we teach, but I think that is really all I will be able to do for a while. but I really am excited!! This message is so important and we are not alone in this work!! If the Lord wants us to learn mongolian, we will be able to learn it.
In the mean time however and with this "speak your language" thing, we have said some pretty funny things. I kept a little list this week.
"my potatoes are talking!" (suppossed to be "discusting")
"our bodies, are like dogs" (“sacred” - this was a funny one, an elder said it while we were teaching and dogs are about as low as you can get in mongolia, big insult)
investigator- "We can pray to God?" me- "no, we can't". (this was bad!i missunderstood the question, we definitely CAN pray to God;)
"I ate the shepherd that was killed." (sheep. they sound similar ;)
"are you drunk?" (ready)
"What is that?!" (who is that)
Thank goodness we have teachers, they read through our lessons and we had accidently said some pretty bad false doctrine:
"saturday is the sabbath"
"we can shop, and do whatever we want on the sabbath"
"we should desecrate sunday"
- and something to do with using a word that meant friend instead of spouse, and when teaching the law of chastity that is not a good mix up ;)
Learning a language is a fun and intersting thing, at the RC yeaterday I was trying to read a lady's name and I looked at it for 5 minutes and couldn't fingure it out, finally I asked someone and they told my it was Ethyl, I had been pronouncing it mongolian style (sounded something like 'ethoolth" with some spit). I also got to call a lady I talked to last week at the RC to follow up, she lived in an area where they didn't have missionaries but we are able to send some from another area, and she had had a really good talk with them, was going to church, and was so excited about the book of mormon, it is amazing how easy it is to share this message! She kept saying, "did you know joseph smith was only 14? its amazing!" :) ah I love missionary work!! and I keep telling myself I love the mongolian language ;) (i really do;)
My companion left for figi, she was such a great companion! I am with the indonesian sisters now who are great too, I've been lucky and have been with amazing sisters this whole time. things are good and still no word on when we leave, hopefully things will be on time ;)
love you all, and have such a good week!!
ashley / sister mansfield

cate- thanks for the letter, hope work is going good! I wrote last week but forgot to mail it! I am going a little crazy ;) love ya and hope you are well!

kat- thanks so much for the letter too! I'm glad you are liking the internship and I hope you have found some volleyball buddies ;) i forgot to mail your letter too! love ya!!

alyssa- thanks so much for sharing that story about how you went on splits with the sister missionaries! that was so great! wow thats cool you get to help with the missionary work in romania too :) I hope things are going good, sounds like quite a unique experience, love ya and I hope things are going good! (and that was so funny you had accidentally been cat-calling the kids! gotta love learning languages ;) love ya!