Monday, December 19, 2016

Have a Very Merry Christmas! - Week 51

Hi family,
Guess what! Mongolia has given me the best Christmas gift this year and it warmed up enough to snow today! Even we are getting snow for the holidays and there are trees with lights set up everywhere for Shine Jil (New Year's) with blues and silver everywhere, but I love it all! Even the crazy blue-dressed Santa, in my heart, I know that it is all for Christmas, Mongolia just doesn't even know. However, I am making a New Year's resolution to be just happier about everything and really become content with everything that comes my way. My mission is too short to be spent stressed out and only seeing the negatives and short-comings--that is not a good way to live. I want to become more positive and just at peace with the world and the people around me.
I sometimes get into this mode where I like to boss people around and delegate responsibility--this is my brattier side that comes out. However, through the continued example of those around me (especially Sis. B), I am starting to just become a more taiwan (hahahahha, it sounds like taa-van in Mongolian, not the country, and means peaceful) person. I hope to go to bed every night knowing that I gave my best to those around me and have served with my full heart. After all, I want to go to bed saying, 'I love my life' because it is too precious to just let it go with nothing else. Otherwise, this has been an amazing week in Mongolia.
English is fun constantly and those teachers are always keeping me on my toes because of all of the English grammar questions they ask and I feel even more prepared to try my hand at a personal English class at home. I bought a 2-year goal journal calendar and have decided that this is how I am going to keep track of the last 6 months of my mission (ever since my mission started, I hate journaling. With a passion. So I just take about 10 pictures a day and write names in my planner, I figure it will all work out one way or another). I decorated my apartment with a home-made tree and have had one amazing Zone Conference to celebrate Christmas.
Sunday is basically going to be just another day here, even though it is Christmas, there will be meetings to attend, investigators to visit, studies to be done, and all the celebrating will be in my heart, but it is just a different way of observing the holiday. I read this article by Elder Holland and he said how his Christmas was singing hymns with his companion, listening to a recorded talk, then getting outside and knocking on doors from morning to night without making it into a single home. If an apostle of the Lord can spend his Christmas like that during his time on a mission, I can do the same. My companion and I have already planned to do something small together to celebrate, then just getting to work. We will share the message of the birth of Christ with others and go to bed knowing that we did our best.
I love Mongolia. I love the people here and how peaceful everything is. I love the snow falling today. And I love that I will be able to call my family in a week.
Life is wonderful and enjoy your Christmas!
Sister Jessica Olsen
P.S. They had this really pretty rendition of Carol of the Bells that was performed by the Stake choir here and it was in English and it made me cry, like full on cry. I could just feel the peace of the Christmas message and even though it is different here (a non-Christian background), this is still one of the most wonderful times of the years. There were only a handful of people who could understand the song in English, most being Elders and Sisters, most were probably missing their families, but all were out serving and working among the Mongolian people. I am so overwhelmed with the goodness of those around me.
Here is my Christmas tree, me asn Sis. Bottorff at the ZOne Training, and we had dinner with the President and his wife yesterday at a members house, we had to translate and my English comp, Sis. Kerby, did so fantastic.

Celebrating my comp's 6 month anniversary and the air-cleaning machine.
Hahahahahah, also enjoying AMERICAN Cola (it is more carbonated than what is sold here). It was delicious.

Look at my cute members! The sled is made out of a car bumper and we were walking on the frozen canal bed (there probably was about 2 inches of frozen water).

Oh, here are pictures of my new side of town and the church building. There are a total of 4 buildings throughout the city, 2 look identical, 2 that I have never been in, then the Bayanzurkh where the mission home is.

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