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, 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