Tuesday, November 8, 2016

A Week of Changes - Week 45

Dear  family and friends,
So, when someone walks off their mission, it leaves a world of chaos behind and I feel like I was sucked into a not-so-fun vortex this week, but do not worry, things are looking better. I have a new companion and her name is Sis. Austin--she just came here about 2 months ago and I am back to being a trainer again. Also, she is really in the early stages of learning Mongolian, so ever single day is a crazy adventure right now. I try to teach her everything that I know, but there are times where I just stand there as confused as she is. The Lord must have a funny sense of humor because I feel like I have been pulled through so many hoops lately. I have had 6 different companions within 30 days--that is insane. 
I have learned a lot, though, ever since I have had to truly lead. Lol, let me tell you about one of these experiences. 
So here in Mongolia, we use the Cyrillic alphabet (the Russian alphabet) and that is what I can most easily understand. However, when it comes to texting, all of the letters change into the Roman alphabet and it is pure phonics by that point, but it looks insane. So on Saturday, my new companion and I went to visit one of my favorite grandmother's in my ward who is genuinely one of the nicest ladies that I know, but has an extremely hard time understanding American-Mongolian, but she tries so hard. We taught a 30 minute lesson and about halfway through, I received this text:
Hi sisters ta nart 30 min uilchlel hiih zaw bnuu
This has been my first Mongolian text that I received and for the past few months since I have started, I have refused to use the phone. So I have never had to try to read Mongolian through the Roman alphabet. I was staring at my phone a little flabbergasted for about 10 minutes before I just took a wild guess that they wanted us to teach a 30 minute lesson. So I replied:
Margaash uu? Tegne ee. ('Tomorrow? I can.)
Then came this reply which really confused the heck out of me for about 20 minutes:
Uguiee unuudr I sum tsewerlen uilchlele heregt bsiin zawgui bol hepeggui de.
Now this one really had me confused. The first thing (Uguiee unuudr) I knew meant 'no, today'. So now I was racking my brain as to what was happening on Saturday and I knew that it wasn't a lesson, but still had no idea what they were asking me for. The member that I had just visited lived about 15 minutes away from the church where we were going to be having a District Meeting, so the entire walk I was just trying to read the message aloud to figure out what it was asking. When I was at the front door of the church, it finally dawned on what it was asking me to do. They wanted to know if I had the possibility to help clean the church for 30 minutes--ironically enough the same place that I was heading. 
My companion and I were able to help, I understood the message, replied that I was there, and then I received a 'thank you' text from her. Oh my heck, it was so much work to figure out that one. That is only one example of the craziness that I now have to figure out. Some times, I think that this mission is all about humbling the heck out of me and helping me see my own stumbling blocks (like not learning how to read text messages earlier when I had a trainer).
Life is hard, but I made it through the week. I have a baptism this Saturday, so no matter what, even if you have learned as quickly as you possibly could or have slowed down your own growth, the work will go on. You just get to decide how comfortable you will be while everything is progressing.
I hope your life is good also!
Love you,
Sister Jessica Olsen
So these pictures, this is generally how I look now (all bundled up), this is another example of Mongolian writing (handwriting is also completely different from the Cyrillic alphabet, so this language has me learning about 4 different ways of trying to understand it), and of me and my comp as well as roommates as we made a pizza to break the fast yesterday. 

So the other day, my first investigator passed her baptismal interview, so this was my celebratory meal! Also, that night, my companion ate some bad food and started throwing up that night, I generally take about an hour or two to fall asleep, and my other roommate just hasn't been sleeping lately, so we had a minute party. This is a once-in-a-mission sort of party, so we had to take pictures to celebrate.

Hahahahahahahah, so here is some more proof that I officially look like a marshmallow all the time and a little like Baine from Batman. This was me during the 'companionless' days this week and just went on random exchanges with the STL (Sis. Bollwinkel!) and Sis. Brezenski.
In Sis. Brezenski, there was a cat, in a ger, that was completely carpeted, and we sat on the floor. I feel like none of these things ever happen in Mongolia and almost all Mongolians hate cats, so this was a fun moment.

Here are some other pics, but look at how pretty Mongolia still is, despite all of the smog.
I didn't take too many pics this week, so this in kind of it, but my other comp, Sis. Brezenski took some beautiful pics that I will send next week.


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