So, the most awful thing has happened and I have become a clutz here in Mongolia. I have tripped so many times that I cannot even count it (i.e. at least 5 times a day), I have almost fallen down concrete steps on three different occasions (this ones thankfully I have been able to catch a handrail in time), and I keep accidentally dropping my money. Seriously, this one is the worst. Last week I dropped 500 T outside when I was in the country-ish and we were able to chase them all down, one landed in mud and my companion fished it out for me--so the 500 is about the equivalent on $0.25--but yesterday I dropped 500 T again and was not able to catch most of it, I was only able to save 200 T. This one was ridiculous because I was in the outskirts of the city and when it dropped, I was next to a semi-busy street and watched a couple hundreds float off in the wind, we caught one because it was run over and smushed into the road. I hope that someone really needs that money because there must have been a reason that i keep dropping this. Lol, normally it is not a big deal, but my bus card ran out of money and since it was a Sunday, I couldn't put more money on it, so I had to take all the buses with cash. I hate carrying small amounts of cash, so I only had a limited supply and here I was letting go of one bus ride in the wind. The struggle is real, but I made it through. :)
So this has been a really good week in Mongolia. On Tuesday we had a training for New Missionaries and the funniest thing happened when I walked out of the class. I was looking around and everything felt so familiar, I actually reached into my bag to look for my phone because I was going to just call home to check in. This would happen all the time when I was at BYU-I where I would randomly just call home to see what was going on because I had the time. It was in the middle of having my hand in my bag that it ihit me that I was a missionary and that I did not carry a personal cell phone to call home. My body just kind of reverted and I think that a lot of it has to do with the fact that I am more comfortable here and it is not completely overwhelming like the fist month. Even the speech patterns are becoming familiar, not to say that I understand what is being said, but I now look for words that I understand. Haha, needless to say, I was not able to call home on Tuesday, but the thought was there! It would have been about 5 AM for you, so I don't think you would have wanted to hear from me at that time anyways.
One really great thing is that I have started to really LOVE my English class that I am teaching. Don't get me wrong, this is a ridiculously hard assignment, but there is joy in the struggle. This week, they have increased the classes that we teach and now, in addition to the 6-8th graders, I am also going to work with the 10-12th graders; with the increase of the 6 classes, I will only teach the lower set on Thursdays and the older set on Tuesdays, teaching from 8 AM to 2 PM both days. The interesting thing about this schedule is that due to the large portion of the day going into English and then the additional 4 hours of study I do daily, I will be lucky to meet with a single person on those days. For Americans, with the visa and English classes, with the addition of this being a non-proselyting mission, it is important to work with the members. We only have a limited amount of time to meet with people and need to make it count. When teaching, though, I am still being a good missionary so even though I cannot meet with people in their homes during that time nor talk to people on the street, by being friendly and keeping a good attitude will do just as much as anything else. This is the Lord's work and He will lead us to people that are prepared.
On Wednesday I hit my one-month mark in Mongolia! Can you believe it?? During the day, I can feel every minute, but then you look back and realize that the week is already over and it is P-Day again. So to celebrate, I got a little cake and ice cream, it was delicious! Yesterday, though, I met with my first investigator who is starting from ground zero where they have never had a single lesson before. I am really excited to see what happens and if they keep meeting with us! She is really great and we spent about 40 minutes trying to find her house yesterday, it really was a miracle that we found it. We were guided there, I know it. She gave us delicious bread and listened kindly.
I love her. I love the ward that I am in--oh my goodness, one of the members gave me a hymn book that she wrote a letter in and decorated, it was so sweet. I cannot wait to see what else is going to happen on this mission because it is wonderful.
With all my love,
Sister Jessica Olsen