So last week I ran out of time and wasn't really able to get as many pictures sent home as I thought, so we'll try again! I am starting with a plan to write my big letter and kind of planned out what I was going to say about this week--very missionary of me with even planning out my letter to you. :)
To begin, I want to let you know that I absolutely LOVE the ward that I am in! I work in two different Ger Districts and the border of the city--with both of the Ger Districts, one is more out in the country (about an hour bus ride) and the other is more on the border of the city and they both have such a different feel to it. The one out in the country is nice just because there is more room and you can see the mountains better, it has a very calm feeling to it. I just went to the one in the city and it is a bit more crowded and it feels like you are going on a little hike each time you visit because it is up and down hills. I am getting such a work-out every single day!
One really cool thing that happened is seeing how the Lord really does let all things work together for your benefit. On Wednesday, we had a District Meeting and I was assigned to give the Spiritual Thought--they asked that it is about 5 minutes in length and my Mongolian is going out the window because my brain is so overwhelmed--so I put in a lot of effort to be prepared to convey my thoughts. It was amazing because in the meeting, there was a Senior Couple that had the meeting translated into English, so as I was giving my thought, I heard someone else making it into English; they understood everything that I was trying to say! Oh my heck, it was amazing and I felt so much more confident about it. Then that night, we had a last-minute appointment with a less-active member and called her, was invited over, and was on a bus within a 10 minute span; since this was a last-minute appointment, we didn't have anything formally prepared and it was going to be a getting-to-know-you sort of meeting. Well, I was asked to lead the discussion and even though I couldn't understand any of the pleasantries at the beginning of the meeting, I was able to share the same spiritual thought. More than that, I already knew that it was understandable in Mongolian, so I was more confident about everything.
You could see that the member was surprised when I started to talk because I couldn't communicate just minutes earlier. So the way that I learned Mongolian is that I learned how to teach gospel lessons and understand gospel terms, the rest will come by immersion and independent study, so there are large gaps in my communication ability at this point. It will come with time. The member was able to ask questions about different principles and I was able to use to Book of Mormon to help point toward answers. I felt like it was a huge success and the first real lesson that I had since coming to Mongolia in Mongolian. She like us so much, that she even offered us dinner--fish. It was a fish with whiskers and bones. I saw her chop the head off, but I ate it. The Lord really does bless you with a stomach of steel because this fish was given to us when she didn't have anything else, it wasn't from her abundance, so how in the world could I reject even a bite? Being here, I am so humbled by how blessed and comfortable my life back at home is.
The biggest change came from adjusting my expectations for the time of my training. I thought that I was going to be coddled every second of the day, but that is not how it is. I do not just get to shadow for the first 12 weeks while I learn how to be a missionary, but I have to hit the ground running. I have to work hard and be a contributing member to my companionship, even though I do not know what to offer. Even when you are in a new country learning a new language, you are still an adult. Before I came, I pictured my trainer completely different, but in all reality, she is still just a person trying her best to continue to learn the language and follow the promptings of the Spirit. What is even crazier is that they say that in the Mongolian mission, they want you to be prepared to be a trainer after the first 12 weeks and I will most likely be a trainer before my one year mark--just because the mission is smaller in quantity. Something like that, I just hope to learn as much as I can as fast as I can. My learning curve is still there, but I have only been here for less than a month, so I need to take it one step at a time.
It is hard to be completely outside of your comfort zone, but the minute my feet leave the apartment, I completely forget about myself and love what I do.
I love you,