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.

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! :)