Archive for November, 2008

Went to God

November 25, 2008

So this week…. managed to keep everyone alive.

I had one of those “whoa” experiences, well not one a lot this week.

I was sitting up on the stand this week, but for once I actually got to go sit down in the seats and watch the primary kids do their presentation. Feels odd now, haven’t got to go sit with members or investigators in 4 months. But it was the thing before this that made it feel even more different. I was looking at all 133 people and I knew every single one of them. And it wasn’t just in general. I looked out and knew almost everyone’s story, what they had been through, how the family was who didn’t come today and all that. Of course, there are some I know much better than others, but I have a general bead on everyone. It’s funny, when I first got here I had to always ask people who they were, but now a lot of times I know more than a lot of the members. Every single one of them is “my peep” now, to speak.

One of the 15 year old teachers came up and asked how long would I stay (I’ve actually been getting asked that a lot lately).

All I could really say was “Dunno, as long as they’ll let me stay. A long time I hope.”

To which he just put his arm around me and said “me too”.

I translated the entire movie The Testaments one morning.

I’ve been working a lot with the branch setting up all of the end of the year stuff and reports (and to Cody, I’m clerk biz dee. and the past people have messed up the account so bad that our standing bank balance is so messed up that the professional district clerk is totally confused) one of the members was joking around and said that “we’d all be screwed if you left”. I’ve spending a lot of time sharpening the saw so to speak. There are lots of dormant people waiting around here.

Then I went “To God”. So, one of the return missionaries wanted to go see one of the largest stone Buddha statues in the world. And originally we had a great plan and stuff and it was going to be perfect, we even got approval to go out there. But at 3:30 in the morning on the day after p-day (after being harassed twice by border patrol and a lot of stuff) when I called the ZLs and said I was home, the story was now a lot different. I am now again mission wide famous for being stu… uh “me”, and the brand new father of the rule that no elder is ever allowed 100 km out of their work area. I will tell that story next week after I stop giggling.

Huur ni ungursuuuuuuuuuun.


Rekh Metchlen

November 17, 2008

Saturday I baptized a guy named Shijirbaatar. My MTC companion baptized his daughter at the start of his mission and I ended up teaching the dad a year later. It’s kind of amusing the way everything ended up. So I started meeting with him 4 months ago at the request of his daughter, Oktyabri. We met with him and everything was good and then out of nowhere his daughter tells us that he’s offended and will only meet with Mongolian elders. So I say whatever and send the other 2 over there to meet with him. I keep track on him for the next few months but never really talked to him until after I had his interview with the Zone Leaders. We’re talking and out of nowhere he just says “I’m sorry”. After staring at him blankly for a few minutes, I finally stumbled out a confused “’bout what?” He explained that the reason he got offended was every time he asked me a question about proof, I responded with the fact that anyone could tell him a billion things and talk and talk and talk (rekh metchlen) but none of that would matter if he never prayed and asked himself. After about a month and a half of that he got sick of it and thought I just wouldn’t tell him. Then he asked the other elders all the same questions and after all they had to say all they could really say was “ask on your own”. And then he did. And the rest is history.

Other than that it was a pretty nutty week. One of the church members lost her baby at the 4 month mark. We had been expecting something might happen but in the best part of a bad situation it happened while she was at church during my weekly meeting with the other missionaries. Sister Anderson and I helped with as much of the initial response as we could and got her on a couch after we cleaned everything up and then I ran down to the hospital, which is fortunately spitting distance from the church building. But in a rather sad light of country emergency response, I had time to get out of the sub basement, down the road and back in the church and be peeved before the ambulance finally got down the road. We got her into the hospital and into the best wing before leaving. This was all at about 11 in the morning. We kept working on things at the church to get everything sorted out when we got the feeling to go check her out even though she said everything was going to be taken care of a few hours ago. We walk in and found out that the people who had promised to get her food had flaked out and the doctors hadn’t even looked at her yet. We got her some food and found one of the nurses who is a church member to make sure she was looked after. Then to make a long story short we got from the hospital to home, paid to have her go see a private doctor because the local doctors had said she was perfectly fine when it was obvious to anyone with better than blind vision that she was still sick. But now she’s doing pretty well. She’s a sweet heart. Even after all this, she found out I had a cold and showed up to choir practice with the Mongolian equivalent of chicken soup in a big canister. I was talking with the branch president who had been talking with her a little earlier, and we had all commented on the fact that even as sad as this all was, since everyone knew she would get to raise her baby in the next part of things that it softened the blow on everyone. Plus her daughter is just as awesome as she is. I worry about them, but in a lot of ways I feel like I’m worrying about them for me than them needing me to worry.

Then a lot of other things happened too but they all pale in comparison: (1) I translated the stake president’s talk on the pre-mortal life into sign language for 3 hours and learned a lot in a lot of ways. (2) Wrestling is now BANNED in the Mongolian mission; it’s the end of an era. (3) The new American elder got here, his name is Shiozawa and I speak more Japanese than him. (4) My companion tried to run a sustaining vote without branch president permission for a calling that doesn’t exist. (5) We built a ger. (6) I learned a Mongolian rap song. (7) You can slam spike in badminton. (8) The handy-tool is sweet. (9) I’m out of time.

Can’t Pick Your Companion but What About His Nose

November 10, 2008

So, this week was a lot of cool stuff marred by a lot of dumb stuff.

Being a trainer is interesting as usual. I’m trying to let him learn the virtue of being quiet on his own, but I think if he tries to take over one more sacrament meeting or priesthood quorum (or branch missionary meeting or district meeting or branch presidency meeting or choir practice or discussion in the hall or…) I might have to protect him from some people. Oh to be that young and full of energy again. He’s learning though and that more than I can say for myself sometimes.

The other American should be here by Wednesday, it’ll be cool to have the whole district here.

Had some cool teaching experiences with some of the branch members this week. Spontaneously started a conversation that turned into a 2 hour meeting on all the things everyone wants to start working on. It was sweet.

I was reading from Jesus the Christ this week and thinking about some of the things that were written about the apostles and the concept of the unprofitable servant. God never expected them to be good at anything at the start. If that were the case the apostles never would have been apostles. God only expects us to DO, not to do well; the well part comes in after we try in faith because that’s where he picks it up for us. I worry too much about trying to do things better than I probably can. Heavenly Father rewards us and the work when we do, and when I think about it in Doctrine and Covenants Section 4 it never said anything about being good at it, just doing it with a dedication to the Father.

I learned this from our 2 youngest branch missionaries this week during a teaching. They went out there and every 3 word out of their mouths was a mistake. Then almost everyone teased them until they were so ashamed they couldn’t speak. In contrast I couldn’t have been more proud of my senior companions at that moment straightened up and didn’t mutter a word against them. Despite of their total lack of experience I could feel the Spirit as they taught and a very tangible feeling of love for them being the ones that went out there. The parable of the servants with 1, 2, and 5 coins seemed somewhat applicable with a switch. Our two branch missionaries had both turned their 2 coins into 4, but in this case the more experienced missionaries had let their 5 sit and do nothing. To defy human logic as usual, their few coins in action were worth so much more than our many sitting idle. I need to remember that God just wants me to try, not to be perfect at first.

Snowing Hard and I LOVE It

November 3, 2008

So my kid did come,

Bundle of joy?

and then we did some stuff.

Parenting is HARD work!

My communication skills have really gone down the hole lately, but as with most things, they come back.

Khuyagaa is a sweet kid. He’ll be really great when he calms down again. Remember when we’d take Teddy and put him in a new place and he would run around freaking out for about five minutes and calm down. He’s kinda like that right now, but then again so is everyone their first week. It’s been kind of interesting to review my own mission sometimes. You think things are going to be one way and you go for it full tilt, but sometimes you head smack into the cold hall wall of reality. We kind of remind me of the missionaries from Best 2 Years.

If I ever make a missionary movie I’m going to add something from this week. We were talking about how to do ITLs (talking to people on the street) and then he got so worked up that he ran up behind the first person he saw to talk to them. The lady responded by running the other direction until he stopped following her. He’s going to be a great missionary when he gets a little experience to go with all the enthusiasm.

Being a part of the branch presidency is interesting sometimes. I’ve heard a lot of “Why hasn’t this happened yet?” But it’s usually phrased in “Byrd, why haven’t you fixed it yet?!” It’s an interesting balance to find weaving around trying to get stuff done and stepping on everyone’s toes. Sometimes it feels like even if someone wants you to do something they don’t want to admit or say that it needs done. But whatever, it always gets worked out. It’s good practice.

Anyways, it’s cold, snowing, hard and I love it.

Nothing Like a Cooling Breeze

I totally forgot DiRegolo’s name. Since you sent that picture of him with his kid, everyone thinks he’s my missionary.

L2R DiRegolo,Byrd,Brimley 2007