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Sunday, June 30, 2013

It's been a "Holey" week :)

Ger Booth bus nadz,

Family and friends,

First off missionary work is awesome. Its incredible. There are hard moments but you quickly forget them because of all the moments you feel good. A couple days ago I was blessed with the most comforting peace I have ever felt. I don't know why, but I just felt so comforted and peaceful all day. It was really nice.

I brought my journal today so I could like to share a few experiences and thoughts with you.
There is this thing here that Mongolians don't realize they do. They will look at you and give you an extra long blink. Its a subconscious expression that they care about you. Its got no romantic connotation or anything it just means they like you. I've been blessed to be the recipient of that a few times and its really humbling and it makes you feel really good.

I have been having a confidence issue with the language here. I can speak but there are a lot of 'ums' and 'uhs' and I cant look people in the eye which is a problem. So I've been working on it. A little while ago I was in a lesson and it was my turn to testify and I did a quick silent prayer and let the Spirit speak through me. I looked with the people in the eyes and bore solid witness of my belief. I testified with my whole soul, and afterward I felt the Spirit and I could tell they did as well. It was really powerful reminder that God is all powerful and by trusting in Him you can do anything.
Ok I don't have much more time, next time will be primary about the work more. But here are my overall feelings about my mission. Its such a blessing. I'm glad to be teaching but this has been great for me. Its a great feeling to go to bed each night knowing that you have worked as hard as you possibly could have. I feel the Spirit so strongly here and its interesting to be a part of so many church responsibilities. Because everyone here are converts we do a lot of teaching about callings and helping people fulfill callings. We were able to be a part of fast offerings a few weeks ago, and last week we taught young mens. Its really cool. The members here who are faithful are really incredible. They travel sometimes 1-1/12 hours to get to church by bus, then do the same thing home. There is this woman who is probably in her 60's and she walked with us for 3 days non stop showing us where people live and introducing us to people. The addresses here are a joke so it was really helpful. The faithful members testimonies here are insanely strong, I cant wait for fast Sunday next week.

Ok now a few funny things:
- I ripped my pants AGAIN!!! I was digging the most pointless hole in the world for service with the sisters in my district and I bent two far down and ripped them again (same pants, different spot). So that was embarrassing. I had a shirt on over my white shirt that I had to tie around my waist so they wouldn't see my garments.
- We play soccer or basketball every morning with some of the elders in our area and one morning we were walking to soccer when this drunk guys started following us yelling that he was gonna do this and that and whatever. Anyways we walk faster and ignore him but he follows us onto the soccer field. To ovoid any contention we ask him if he wants to join us. He said yes, so we started playing with him (careful not to offend him). At the very end of the game he gets scored on by an elder here and the drunk guy goes crazy! He starting punching and kicking. He punched that elder and another one. The American elders were standing back to ovoid any other contention and the Mongolian elders were talking with him telling him to calm down and stuff. He wasn't. Me being my friendly self go and try to talk to him. The only relevant words I know though are 'peaceful' 'crazy' and 'friends'. So I walked up to him and just said 'friends' over and over again. It didn't help much but made me feel better. Anyhow we eventually just ditched him and ran out. Everyone was fine.
- My shot. I had to get a shot at the doctor, and as you know I hate shots. I was really nervous because the doctors here are really iffy. Anyways when I went I was shaking a ton and almost probably died from heart failure. Good news, turns out I'm good now.
- OK more about the pointless hole. There is a superstition here that if you build a house on trash (like if trash is in the dirt) its a bad omen. Most members stop believing in that stuff but this lady didn't. So she asks us to come dig this hole for her. We get there an she tells us where to dig and why we are digging (we didn't know what the hole was for beforehand), and tells us to start digging. So over the course of two days, a ripped pair of pants, and rain we dig a hole 4ft deep, 10ft long, and 3ft wide that will eventually be reburied all just without the dirt. 
Also... has the facebook thing affected your mission?
Not yet, we heard about the announcement but I think it will be a little while before it is implemented everywhere.

How are you feeling?
I'm feeling good. I had a viral infection last week, and I had to get a shot (I was more nervous than usual with the whole Mongolian doctor thing and all but it was fine). I am completely healed now.

What type of food do you make for yourself?
We eat out almost once a day, at least. Its about two dollars a plate so its really cheap, plus we can teach more people that way. When we eat at home we make a popular Mongolian dish with rice, chicken, potatoes, and carrots all mixed up. I cant remember what its called here but its really good and cheap and fast. I also drink a lot of soda and juice. They are both really cheap here, sometimes cheaper than water, so we have that a lot. The soda helps settle the stomach after an oily meal.

Any investigators?
Yeah we have around 5-6. We are focusing most of our efforts on strengthening the ward. We have to have a strong ward to bring investigators to before we can really convert them to the gospel.

p.s. we got three baptismal commitments this week. My first three!! :)
love you all
Elder Clement

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sickness in Mongolia

Tyler couldn't email much last week due to the fact that he had food poisoning. So, here we sit glued to the computer waiting to hear from him this week. Stay posted.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Cold showers and drunk people?

Family and Friends,

Well I meant to bring my journal today but I totally forgot so I am probably going to forget a lot of what I was going to say. Also it may be in random order because as I think of it I am going to write it.
Anyways Mongolia is awesome! Day 2 I helped build a ger (a house out here), that was pretty cool. I also got to ride a bus on that day. Buses/all drivers out here are INSANE. A one lane road is really a three lane road of people serving in and out of lanes and cutting people off. To say the least you become accustomed to horns blaring all the time. Also the buses have no person limit so sometimes they are like tuna cans!! It's kinda awesome!! We have had a couple rides where you don't even need to hold on to anything because your so tightly pushed in that no one moves when the driver suddenly slams on the brake or cuts someone off. Its really fun.
I have been learning a ton since being here. My companion will be leaving in a few months and his Mongolian is really good. He's been teaching me and members like to help as well. I've been told a few times now that my accent is really good which is nice since I need to work on my vocabulary.
My thoughts on Mongolian food. Its good. There's a lot of meat, and a lot of rice. They usually have veggies as well; potatoes and carrots mostly. Elder Boyd is really good at budgeting plus we are always outside teaching so we usually go out to eat once a day sometimes twice. Food is really cheap here. A good plate of food and drink will usually cost you about 3 American Dollars. I'm still learning the names of food here but there are things called bodes, and prisky which are both really good. I don't know, I like everything. I haven't had anything too gross yet so that's been good. I drink a lot of steaming hot water, and this salty milk stuff called Hirum I think. Also portions here are HUGE!! That's been the biggest struggle, just eating the whole plate!! Haha its great!
There's a whole lot of awkward going on here. Yesterday we had three different women breastfeed in two different lessons as we were teaching them.
Weather. Its been normal mostly. I think its been around 70-80 degrees the whole time I've been here. Yesterday it rained and it dropped down a bit. We were walking to a ger and by the time we got there we were soaked completely! There is also a lot of dust. My shoes are covered in a nice sheet of dust within the first hour. Also when you sweat (or walk in the rain) the dust sticks to you so you are just super dirty all the time!!! Also our hot water is out, and is supposed to be for a couple more weeks, so we've had -0 showers for about a week now.
Fun Fact. The Book of Mormon has:
   54 Ch. dealing with wars
   21 Ch. are historical
   55 Ch. on visions and prophecies (that has to be aligned exactly with the bible)
   71 Ch. on doctrine and exhortation (that has to be aligned exactly with the bible)
   21 Ch. on Christ
Yesterday I almost got attacked by a drunk guy, then he fell and it kinda looked like I pushed him down. My companion, Elder Boyd, looked back right when this guy fell and he thought I pushed the drunk guy (I'll be honest I thought about it).
Also saw the biggest dog of my life! It was probably as tall as Trenton. Not exaggerating even a little. I would of taken a picture but the owner REALLY didn't like us and we were already afraid he was going to sick the dog on us. My companion peed his pants a little I think.
Ok just one of the many things I noticed here. The LDS Mongolian sisters here are like moms. We were walking (two sisters, one of them Mongolian, and my companion and I) and all of a sudden the Mongolian sister stops us all and tells my companion to tie his shoe. He said he was fine and he kept walking but she told him shes not letting us go until he tied his shoe. And then twice Ive been at a less-active's house with the sisters in our district (a different Mongolian is in this companionship. Her name is Sister Onon.) and they gave us bread. And me, trying to be nice, just used a little jam (they don't have much so I try and take a little as possible) immediately Sister Onon took my bread (both times) and smothered it with jelly. There are just a bunch of things they do that are super motherly. Mom I'm well taken care of here.
What is my area like? I live right in the middle of the city right next to the church, but my area is about 30 minutes away. We get there by bus. We serve in whats called Ger Districts. Its like a new city. All there are are gers, lots and lots. They will extend all the way up hills and down into valleys. Its usually dirt roads and pretty hilly. The gers they live in are usually kinda small. They are round (like a navaho tent) and have a stove in the middle. They have two beds on either side of the stove and then dressers and a maybe a fridge/sink. They have to get water from a nearby well and they store it in big containers inside the ger, usually by the door.
I think that's everything. I'm doing really good though, teaching lots and meeting a lot of people. I really love Mongolia. It already feels like this is my other home.
I love you all,
-Elder Clement
- Ok mom you can ask me questions now (haha.... my first email had a ton of questions in it so I held back this time)
- In the package you said your sending please send a one or two packages of brownie mix, and a good sized flash drive.

Q & A

What time do you email on Mondays?
 Around 11am Mongolia time

What do you do on P-day?
Grocery shop, clean, study, read

Where is your companion from?
He is from Denver, Colorado

If you can't proselyte, how do you meet investigators?
We teach less actives and referrals

When do you exercise?
We exercise every morning for 45 minutes

Sunday, June 9, 2013

First Email from Mongolia Q&A

How was the flight?
Flight was fine, just really really long. I didn't sleep the whole time until the last six hours so I could adjust to Mongolia time.

How long did it take you to get your luggage?
Took me 4 days to get my luggage. I used some extra clothes here in storage and a suit from my companion Elder Boyd.

What is your home like?
I'll send you a picture of my home. Its not much different from a regular appt. Just imagine an American Appt but really really crappy.
How many people live there?

Only my companion and I live there but if people need a place to sleep we are the ones they come to.

Have you been grocery shopping?
No grocery shopping is today.

What type of food have you eaten?
I've eaten everything! They have lots of American food now, so I've had (brick oven quality) pizza, then things called bodes, I'm not sure how to spell it in English, and a bunch of other stuff I don't know what its called. I accidentally had tea yesterday. The lady gave us a white drink and usually its milk, with water and salt and sometimes oil. But she made tea and told us it was the other drink (they look exactly the same). Some fun food customs here, you HAVE to eat all your food (and they give you a ton), and you HAVE to drink everything they give you. And all the drinks are INSANELY hot. I have burned my lips multiple times. As far as if the food and drinks here are bad. Nope, maybe its the spirit helping my taste buds but everythings ok so far.
  Are you allowed to proselyte?
No proselyting, no badges outside of the church or member's homes.
Did Bro and Sis Clark know you?

Yes they knew me. I see usually 1-2 companionship's a day.

How often do you see the other elders in your district?
My companion is really great. His name is Elder Boyd. He has been here for almost two years. I'm "killing" him, or I'm his last companion. He is from Denver.

Have you adapted to the time change yet?
Yeah I'm totally adapted to the time change, it wasn't too bad after a couple of days.

How are you feeling stress wise etc....?
I'm feeling good, just a HUGE desire to learn the language so I can talk to people.

What are the people like there? \Did you get to go to church? How was it... members etc? 

Elder Boyd is REALLY good. People here are really nice! They have a huge respect for their elders (not us, the old people). If there isn't a seat open when an old person gets on someone younger will get up without even thinking. They are really patient too with the language and they love to see Americans speaking Mongolian. The drivers on the other hand are INSANELY CRAZY!! A two lane road is actually a four lane road with people serving on the opposite lane to pass people and horns flying. Its crazy, and walking across the street is a nightmare! No speed limits, so its basically don't hit people is the only rule. Yeah went to church. We have about 500 members with about 70-80 active people. Got lots of work to do.
How is the language? Can you understand what is being said?

Language is being worked on. I can understand basic subjects, and more if its in context. But I'm learning and my companion is helping! So its good.