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.