Dear family and friends,This week, I think that my stomach died. It gave up the ghost and I have been in pain about it all week. Almost literally, I have been in stomach pains all week. So, it has been HOT here lately and almost everyone is coming down with some sort of sickness where it is an actual cold like runny nose, cough, and feeling crummy; or it is a stomach sickness where you are nauseous, have an upset stomach, or other awful stomach-related issues. It is call 'Sun Sickness', the Mongolian equivalent means getting punched by the sun. Let me tell you, the sun sucker-punched me in the gut. Life. I now know what it feels like if a baby T-Rex decided to take up residence in my belly and spend four days nonstop roaring. A lot of this is actually caused by the sun and normal symptoms of heat stroke, but the other part is that the food is not really that well-taken care of out here, so bacteria and other fun things like that grow pretty easily. It is a true thing, though, where we have to wash all of our veggies in a bleach bath and even then, you are walking a very dangerous line with raw veggies.
So, food is not my friend anymore. I think we are on a permanent parting--well, until lunch, but then we are off again. Until dinner. Also, I do like breakfast, but after that, I am done with food. But today is Delicious Day and we got smoothies, so maybe I will just glare at food from a close distance. Even when there is a dinosaur roaring inside of me and the sun punching me from the outside, I like food. It is a rough conundrum to be in.
As such, this week has been longer than normal because I could feel every minute passing. However, despite everything, I LOVE being here and being a missionary.
Last week, we met two younger girls named Hungersal and Batchemig who are both 12 years old. They started to go to the English class that the Church sponsors at the main building and these two girls decided that they also wanted to go to church. So when we met with them (they were referred to our ward), they were both on fire and excited to learn. They are amazing! They decided together that they wanted to start going to church without their parents forcing them into it and so when we meet with them, there parents have to be present and also in on the discussion, but the two are the ones facilitating it. It makes such a difference when someone younger decides that they want to learn rather than being forced because they are excited about something good. If I were a parent, I think that I would be ecstatic that my kids were more interested in church than any other sort of nonsense that could get them in trouble.
Through my encounters with the both of them, I am completely humbled by their complete faith and willingness to learn. During our first meeting with them, we taught them both about prayer and gave them a challenge to begin reading the Book of Mormon and to pray to Heavenly Father. This is the most important part, to pray with a real intent to just feel that God knows who they are individually and loves them very much. So, the following Sunday when we saw them at Church, they both came without their parents, but they told us about their experience with prayer and knew that it 'worked'. They knew that they were heard by a loving Heavenly Father and Hungersal said that she prayed for desire and it came, also that she felt peace and knew that was her answer. There was no question about it, the feeling alone was enough because she had a willingness to believe. Then, during the Fast and Testimony meeting, she decided to take a few minutes and write about her 3 experiences with prayer. She did this in her Book of Mormon after reading the introductions (and testimonies on her own) so that she could always remember it. We let her know that she could write anything special in the book that would help her remember how good she feels and things that she learns.
Oh my heck, from the mouth of a child can we learn the most truth. So, I was left asking myself if I had a willingness to believe and am I satisfied with the answers that I receive. I want to be more like these two. They are okay with knowing that they still need to learn, they are okay with faith being a belief in things that cannot be seen, and they are okay with the simple answers that pierce you to the very soul. I love them.
Even though I was sick about 90% of this week, I would go over and through it again to get this experience with them. I cannot wait to see how they progress in the gospel and in life.
I love you all and keep you in my prayers,
Sister Jessica Olsen
So this is my pet T-Rex, he is the sweetest guy that you just want to hug. Also, here we are making our way out in life even though both of our stomachs are dying on the inside.
Hahahha, look at these! Everyday is an adventure out here and I love my life. :)
Oh man, look at this delicious food! So, this was after accidentally taking every wrong bus last week in 100 degree whether, we were burning up, but the food was so good. :)
So this is how you fix dry, crumbly skin. I didn't know that it was a problem until I tried this mask, look at how well it works. It was made out of authentic horse fat.
On a side note, I have eaten horse and it is actually EXTREMELY delicious
So, I will try to send more pictures of Mongolia itself! The first two are from today.
There is this amazing new super store that opened and they sell smoothies, I haven't had a smoothie in MONTHS, so this was something to celebrate. It is located on the other side of town from where I serve, but a convenient 5 minute walk from the mission home.
The other more dry picture is of Takhit, one of the furthest areas in our ward boundaries. It was so quiet and serene out there, but I bet that it gets cold in the winter.
The more mountainous picture is of Zuuncalaa, this is the one that goes furthest north and in extremely pretty--well, most north in my area. If you look closely, there are two boys off to get water.