Tuesday, September 20, 2016

9/19/16 This week from the Onion (Songino=onion)

To continue the current theme of telling you all about my mission...

We need to keep our inviting organization happy... i.e. we get to go on fieldtrips :) Ha-ha... At Royal Academy the Ikh Zasag international university, they were doing a lot of new freshman activities. After a meeting that they had with us volunteer teachers they mentioned that they wanted us to go on this outing to the huduu, at which we said that we would have to get permission to go, so we set our man on it. First off the good old Elder Urness (PoliSci grad who worked for the Republican Party) got to tell the Senior missionary in charge of Deseret International Charities and the English program, emphasizing the key points of this opportunity and the benefits that would ensue. After we got the yes from him, My Fearless Zone Leader and teaching companion dared to ask President Harper... He was down for it. And it was actually a really good experience and built a stronger relationship with our inviting organization.

One of the administrators was one of the first Mongolian boy scouts and five of the six of us were eagle scouts. At this he insisted on a picture and we all got together and took a picture and sang a song... the song he chose happened to be Row Row Your Boat... ha-ha a good time nonetheless.

        This week from the onion: Mission Conference : English : Cowles was sick : Countryside Activity

So Mission conference was pretty great. I felt pretty pumped up to get to work... But that energy was delayed because on our way home Elder Cowles threw up... so that put a damper on our next couple of days. My English schedule is not the worst... but it is three days a week and the commute is not the most pleasant from Songino to Royal Academy.
This week’s English splits were intense: lots of coordination among at least three companionships. On Friday I split with Elder Lamb in the morning and we were together for all of that day and all of Saturday, for the Royal Academy countryside activity, which turned to go longer than planned but not too unexpected.
We did manage to find a new investigator this week! We almost let her slip away, but the Mission conference training helped me focus on trying to secure a second appointment (which was hard because she is a talker). Anyway I feel my language and understanding increasing. Now that I teach English to college students rather than children, I am actually beginning to connect with people, both through English and Mongolian.


Ахлагч Jonathan Wilding

Picture Descriptions:

We had mission conference, and took a MTC group picture
At my school there was a freshman sort of induction ceremony that they wanted us to attend.

On Saturday there was another school activity, we went to the countryside and it was pretty cool, the place was some national park called Hustain Nuruu. They wanted us to go and we wanted to keep them happy and build good relations with our inviting organization. Elder Lamb, Rodriguez, Urness, Whitaker, and Atnip, all went. 

Did you know that there is wild Rhubarb in Mongolia? 

On our field trip we also stopped at some sand dunes that I didn't expect and that was pretty cool.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

9/13/16 A day late and a picture short

The cool thing about my mission is the fact that we come to Mongolia to be volunteer English teachers. When people ask why we are here that is our answer. Last school year I taught at the Ikh Zasag Litzei which was an elementary school and I taught the most rowdy of 3-5 graders. It was slightly unpleasant. Definitely a trying time. We were assured out of it and.... Hallelujah! I am. The DIC (Deseret International Charities) is trying to move to doing English labs at universities, instead of English teachers. The Elders at Ikh Zasag (which is comprised of several schools and universities on one campus) were supposed to start one such lab at their international university, Royal Academy. However... due to the unfortunate problem of losing two English teachers this year we have been asked to fill in! That's pretty chill.... So I will instead be teaching the College freshmen English class... probably... these things seem to be rather volatile. Anyway that’s the plan, and we (the wonderful Elder Jacob Lamb and I) will start this Friday and teach Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays. 

So I also from now the P-day email will come when it comes; probably on Tuesdays maybe, maybe not... we do what we do, when we can. 

Buses are like sardine cans: there are a lot of people that can cram into them it turns out... not particularly ideal.

Letter stuffs:

This week went by fast. I imagine with school starting again that the weeks will feel even faster. This week I really learned the power in Priesthood blessings; that in the moment the lord will give you what to say. No one in our pool's phone would connect that day so we went to meet with a member. The brother we visited, his sister in her 70's was in the hospital and he and his wife brought us there to give a blessing. Now she later passed away, but the spirit in the blessing was very strong and left a clear impression in my mind about how God will give you the thoughts of what you need to say and do.

This week a woman in the ward asked if we could come and cut some wood for her. Then when we got there, she actually had us demolished her shed then cut that up. It was pretty fun and some good help for a single mother. 

The trio seems to be rolling along. I don't have any problems with it, we have some pretty great companion unity and we teach and work well together. 

The camera did not connect to the computer today...\

Ахлагч Jonathan Wilding

Monday, September 5, 2016

9/5/16 A Good ol’ Email

The interesting bits:

Mongolian fall has indeed begun, school for the masses started on the first and there are a lot of people in from the countryside, so the city is busier and the buses are fuller. It’s straight up sweater weather. At nights I even need to wear a jacket! The coal smell has just barely begun and you can definitely smell some in the morning and night time. It's very familiar, it takes me back to my first month in Mongolia. 

My English teaching starts on the 15th and I have been moved out of teaching children. There are 6 Elders that work for my sponsor Ikh Zasag at their various schools, and we are going to be doing an English Lab this year at their international university Royal Academy. Like any College lab class teachers are going to give assignments to do in the Lab and we are going to help. I have gone from Elementary teacher to College TA.

definition: huduu = countryside

In the Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission we are in the country to be English teachers. So our visas are actually sponsored by teaching organizations, different schools around the city of UB. Once upon a time missionaries were working at wherever the mission could get them. As time progressed there has been a great effort made to be more selective, weed out the bad sponsors and graft people into good ones. Ideally everyone would be teaching at a high school or university. It takes a while for these changes to be made because, barring exigent circumstances a missionary stays with their sponsor for their entire mission. There are only a handful of church visas for missionaries (they teach English at the church). These missionaries are more often sent to the huduu. Regular missionaries with regular sponsors have to stay within commuting distance during the school year, but have the opportunity to go out to the huduu.

A more formal email:

   This was a real pick up in work this week, we hit 13 lessons with 8 MPs (Melchizedek Priesthood age men) ! It was a real change from the average of 4-5 and peak of 7 during the summer. The Unity of the trio is working out pretty well, we don't need a gerch (witness) and can meet with all of the women. We also are teaching really well cause we all follow the spirit in the lesson when one of us stops the one of the others picks up with what the person needs. I would definitely say that the language is a killer. Especially at church where it is just three hours of listening, I feel like on those days I just can't even speak. 
   I'm starting to get to know the area some more, as well as the people. By Thursday of this week I think that I'll be pretty comfortable in the area, knowing where things are and who people are. 
   There is a less active in our ward that Elder Cowles has been working with for his whole time in Songino, Batsaikhan and he has just made great progress recently. My first Sunday he came for all of church and met with the bishop. He got a calling as a ward missionary and this week he came for church with a white shirt and nice slacks I can even see a change in his life over just two weeks, it’s truly a miracle to witness the church change someone's life.
   We've got a new investigator from the Unur Sisters, Natsagdorch, and she is already super committed we were able to meet with her twice this week, the first time she talked our ears off, which is particularly painful in Mongolian (mostly because it gives you a headache trying to process it all) but she has a great testimony and is reading the Book of Mormon. She is super excited to get baptized on 10/8. 
    I am really looking forward to English, I think that the Lab at Ikh Zasag will be really good, and that it really is the future of the work here. I like that I'll get to be working closer with students that will have more English experience than just 4th and 5th graders. I really have wanted to be able to connect with students and people in general, this will be good for that I think and will really work to suit our skills better as native speakers and missionaries. I think that it will also progress the work more and that more potentials will come from it than from the more classroom setting.

Ахлагч Jonathan Wilding

And just for fun.

Monday, August 29, 2016

8/29/16 Transferred!

Transfers went smoothly and Nalaikh was looking up last week -- a couple of new investigators! I left Nalaikh and got transferred to Songino (Song-in) it means onion. 

Elder Cowles and I are back together and in the Songino District of UB, the farthest west in Ulaanbaatar. (Apparently they don't want me close to the center of the city or the mission office yet I still have to teach at Ikh Zasag so they put me as far away as they can haha.)

We are in a tri with his companion Elder Munkhtulga (Munk-toll-thug) who speaks perfect English and lived in the US for the past 3 years and went to BYU.  He and Elder Cowles both got baptized around the same time like 2 and a half years ago.  It’s pretty cool! Elder Munkhtulga is in training and has been on his mission for just over a month. He is waiting for his visa to go to the Perth Australia mission. 

The work in Songino is going well, I'm getting to know the area and the members. It’s been only 4 days but it’s going quickly. 

We are thrifty and I like it! Elder Cowles makes a mean buttered noodles! And I'm excited to cook some good old fried chicken for my companions.

Being in the city is pretty different. Songino is in the West Stake (the old UB Stake, a new East stake was organized a couple of months ago and I was in it in Nalaikh). The ward in comparison to the branch in Nalaikh is big and strong, I really want to get to know people really well so that I can help them grow even more. I'm trying really hard to learn the names of people!

Elder Cowles and I are really working on our language. We really want to communicate and make connections like we would in English.  It’s really cool to be with someone on the same page of pretty much everything, language, obedience, diligence. 

Looks like I ran out of time, love y’all

8/21/16 Sickness!

Today’s email will be from the perspective of my companion, and through his poetic words...

"1: Monday night, I (Elder Browning) wake up to use the bathroom and nearly trip over what in the darkness to my tired eyes looks to be a massive, shadow-shrouded slug, recently oozed from the toilet to punish my unhappy night. It turned out to be my companion (Me), who was sleeping on the floor in front of the bathroom door, hugging a bucket. He shifted to look up at me absently (rather like a slug), decided that I was not who he was looking for I guess, and resumed the posture I'd found him in. Anyway, he spent the entire day after that sick out of his mind. So we stayed home Tuesday. And guess what happened to me Tuesday night? Same thing. With the exception that I was able to keep myself in bed and off the floor, thereby maintaining myself as mammal and not invertebrate. Wednesday the pattern continued predictably. I wasn't moving the whole day. Symptoms included but were not limited to: aching, coldness, headache, nausea, wanting to murder my companion for deciding to browse the phone's annoying ring tone selection in the same room as me, being too tired to do so, getting back at him by throwing flour on him as he showered, inciting a nerf gun war with him and the other two elders who decided to crash at our apartment that night, and almost barfing because of too much activity. Neither of us felt chipper Thursday, but were both in the prime of health by Friday. Weird, huh? The doctor's professional diagnosis was that we ate poop-berries.

2: On Saturday, which originally seemed like it was going to be a great day for missionary work, we went to church in the morning as we normally do in order to clean the church. When we got there, all the Nalaikh members had already beaten us there. At first, we thought hopefully that maybe the entire branch had collected themselves and we're going to help us clean. Nope! They were going on a branch activity, and hadn't even told us! They assumed we WERE going, however, because they immediately set us to work putting all the snacks and meats and stuff into the tiny microbus into which we were supposed to fit around 30 people, and then tried to stuff US into it as well. We told them to hold on for a second, then ran home, changed into our outside clothes, grabbed the guitar, and jumped in the bus just as it was leaving. That was a tight fit! The bus in question was only a little bit bigger than a van! We justified going because the Branch hadn't had an activity in a long time, and we've been pushing for them to have one. Gotta support the branch! Plus, there was a bunch of less-actives going, whom we had the opportunity to fellowship (wrestle/eat meat/play cards with). All in all, it was a really successful activity. We ate a bunch of Mongolian traditional food, played in the river, I got to play traditional songs on the guitar while the branch sang along...good stuff! Plus, when me and my companion went to hike up an adjacent mountain."


This week I had also felt rather conflicted. I was thinking about transfers next week and about Nalaikh and myself, and I thought that I wanted to leave Nalaikh, then I felt conflicted that it was for all wrong reasons. Then the branch had an activity this Saturday and all of those fears went away as I got to know the people better and to work more with them. I really found that my language is good and that I can talk well with people, that I love them and that I can handle whatever. I really felt that I have received the Gift of tongues and the Gift of Charity, in greater abundance this week. 

Ахлагч Jonathan Wilding


This week we did a fun split with the Zone Leaders I took Elder Lu out in Nalaikh and we did some great work! We also planned it so that he could touch a camel which he had yet to do and this is his last transfer so... he simply had to, haha.  Any way we recorded some English Songs for the Missionary English program and that went well. We also had a great zone training. This week there were also puppies and I helped build a house! The work is still like it is in the summer, but I feel my personal effectiveness rising as I focus on goals and work hard! 

On another split in the city I ran home with Elder Rodriguez probably 2 miles in 15ish minutes to make it home on time. That was a blast of a race against the clock and we made it! 

All in all Read the Book of Mormon and pray daily and go to church, that is indeed the thing that helps the most with retention and activation in the church. I have seen people start it and seen their lives change as well as the opposite. I know the gospel is true! ​

Love you all! 
Ахлагч Jonathan Wilding
Chinggis Khan Statue for P-day ​

Our oven exploded (died in a flash of electricity), and it turns out you can do most things with microwave and a water boiler... I made pasta in the water boiler and sauce in the microwave.