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)