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