Archive for the ‘Choibalsan’ Category

I Want to Eat Breakfast

October 13, 2008

Wow, that’s awesome that the Jay Branch is up to 50 attending Sacrament Meeting. That’s bigger than some of the branches out here. Well, conference was sweet and that’s it. Everything else I could say sounds like complaining, Except that my comp can do a Jordan dunk over a pile of burning Liahona Magazines. That was cool.

Power went out and our meat grew a fur coat, but we defrosted the freezer finally.

Walked to the back of our work area to contact someone without a phone and they weren’t home.

I failed horribly trying to translate conference into sign language, but she was grateful because she’s cooler than me.

I reached my 2/3 mark . . . that sucks . . . 😦 or 😡 (mom’s not sure)

Had a guy tie every English idiom he knew into how he was going to kill us, my favorite being, “beauty is only skin deep so I kill you.” so my comp told him to kharagdaach so he asked us if we thought he chadakh uu and I told him the magadlal was tiim undur bish ee. Then he said we were making fun of him because he was small so he went and picked on some kids.

We met with the husband of one of the return missionaries this week. He usually wasn’t interested and we just go over to eat and talk. But today we we’re playing conference over the computer and he was wondering if we could bring over the DVDs and watch them, and then he started asking if we could tell him about the nature of God. So, we did. He thought about it for a second and then he said that when he was a soldier in Europe that he had asked leaders of the other major churches and none of them had been able to tell them. Then we taught about eternal marriage. He’s been more attentive since then.

I want to eat breakfast.

On yeah, you can send stuff straight to the senior couple’s mail box here. I’ll have Elder Anderson tell it to you.


Busted out the Beanie this Week

October 7, 2008

So, it got cold this week. Yup. Busted out the beanie this week, but the heat didn’t come to our apartment till a few days ago, so it was cold.

I spent all week doing paper work in the church building. To all future missionaries: when you become a district leader, if you don’t do your paper work right I will find you and put your area book where the sun don’t shine. We’ve been going through and trying to figure stuff out from the last year and it’s been like finding body parts in a train wreck. Yeah, we find lots of stuff, but none of its connected or working anymore. We barely went outside some days. If it weren’t for the sweet lessons we had when we got out to work we would have slapped someone. Hard.

Did, or tried to do some service down at a member’s house. It was like going down to our extended relatives’ house. We had to sit down and wait about thirty minutes as the neighbors argued about what we were doing (we’re helping a lady fix up her yard, but there is a broken pipe in one of the neighbors yards that floods up the whole dirt road and bogs up everyone’s yard). We sat for awhile until we realized that no one was going to (or could) stop us so we just started working. We trenched out the water and then started to fill up the low end with dirt we were digging from her new outhouse. Then someone started yelling that we were making things dangerous for old people and children (because a 20×40 foot thing of foot deep mud was safer) so I just stared at the guy until he realized what he was saying didn’t make any sense and he stopped. Finally we just decided to build up the ladies property and let everyone else live in their own mire if they so desired. That, and me and Naisbitt and thinking on a plan to pipe some of the water and make an irrigation system for her garden. The lady is a stud though, and her daughter is one of the cutest little farts we’ve seen. We’re going to go finish up stuff for her in a few days.

We watched Mountain of the Lord for comp study this week. Yeah.

Ate beef ribs chi bas.

We also made our English class do the hokey pokey.

Our best investigator is this awesome old guy who lives in the hospital and grandma, who is going to get baptized when she moves back in town this week.

I finally got enough strength back this week to dead lift someone in wrestling over my head. Kind of sucks, I’ve gotten pretty weak as of late. But whatever, I can work on that later.

Pepsi is better than Coke.

I would send pictures but the USB on this computer is busted, I’ll try and send some later.

A Tale of Three Toilets (and some other stuff)

October 1, 2008

Well, my new missionaries finally got here. It’s nice having a full district now. It sucked for Jargalsaikhan. He wasn’t able to go on his own work for almost 2 full weeks. But it’s sweet now. Elder Tsortgerel and Sister Ser-Od are studs. Everyone gets along great, so we’re pretty stoked to see how things are gonna turn out.

This week could basically be summed up as “apartments”. That’s basically all we did. Finally found 2 good ones a few days ago and we’re moving today or tomorrow. They’re some of the nicest apartments in Choibalsan. Originally, the land lord was going to rent to some other foreigners, but to sum up what she said our missionaries “weren’t stupid”. Score one for us…

Conducted the baptism this Saturday and remembered a word. “Pagtalakh” it means to fail in a comical and embarrassing way. I muddled through my part as conductor, and figured if we could get past my announcement part fast enough we would all be fine, but sadly that was not the case. Both of the speakers locked up and then when she was actually baptized, no one could remember the prayer right except me and Naisbitt, but no one would listen to us because we were foreign. he messed up the prayer 6 times, just dunked her on the 7th time, and then we almost had to yell it at him to get him to listen, and by that time he was so flustered he dropped her like a sack-a-taters into the water. I guess it’s a good thing we’re judged on diligence and not elegance. But everything turned out sweet in the end.

The biggest story of the week is a family that had stopped coming to church because of some dumb stuff that was said. When we first met with them it was one of the most awkward places I had ever been in. They either wouldn’t talk to us or were just mad at everyone. We brought it up with the people they blamed and they blamed them. we didn’t know what else to do so we just went to their house once a week and pestered them to let us to service until they broke down about a month later and let us help put in a floor for them. We came over and did about 3 days of work in a few hours, and had time left over to wrestle and mess around with their kids in the yard. They’re such an amazing family now. The oldest son is totally blind, but he has his family read to him and his retention is absolutely amazing. The daughter trundles off every morning to seminary. They’re awesome. We may not baptize anyone this transfer, but we’re just so happy we got to help them out.

And then we made hamburger helper, mashed potatoes n’ gravy with chocolate chip cookies. Packages are awesome.

Had a kid (well, he’s like 18) get a little to rowdy one day so I dead lifted him off the ground and turned him sideways until he calmed down. He’s a way sweet kid, he just gets “shartai”, it’s a combination of jealous and competitive kinda, but he calms down way fast. We were laughing about it within an hour.

Quote of the week from my companion to an old dude “ta umnu ni manai nomlorgh haptai untj uzsen uu” I’ve never seen a more confused man my whole mission.

There’s a ton of foreigners walking around this week. They’re walking around the center of town in camel packs and hiking boots. That’s just silly.

Stoked about this week, there’s no extra stuff we have to do so we’re just gonna work our butts off.

It’s getting cold now.

I haven’t had any amazing language experience. Well, maybe one. Out of the whole branch, I’m the one that translates from one of our deaf members when her daughter isn’t around. No one else can learn fast enough. I like sign language, there is no such thing as accent.

And then I don’t know what else.

Choibalsan Sisters Not the First . . .

October 1, 2008

From Sister Andersen: The Choibalsan sisters are not the first to have been locked in a church building. It happened to a set of sisters in Darkhan during the middle of the day. The sisters in Darkhan were able to get out of the building, but were struggling to climb over the high fence when the custodian happened to come along. Nevertheless we all had a good laugh about it happening again. We felt bad for the sisters, but chuckled about the elders going through the process of finding them. My husband woke me up that night and told me that he couldn’t go to bed until a set of missing sisters were found. We are so glad that there is a call-in system to make sure that everyone is in each night. It isn’t very often that someone doesn’t make it in on time – maybe 4 times since we arrived. The outcome is always that they are found fairly soon after the phone call comes to my husband.

Chosembawon and the Sons of Ander

September 22, 2008

[editorial note from Mom – the title was the subject line from my last email to Elder Byrd. The mission president is an Andersen and the senior missionary serving as the Choibalsan branch president is an Anderson. The general authorities who spoke at the Bessemer Alabama Stake Conference were Neil L. Andersen, Senior President of the Seventy and John S. Anderson Area Authority Seventy in the North America Southeast Area – that phrase popped into my consciousness and I thought it might amuse Elder Byrd, who apparently didn’t need my help being amused . . .]

Behold the two symbols: one, over here . . . one, over there. . .

Three high points this week:

One, we convinced a drunk man one by one to throw away all over his cigarettes, until the last one, then he just ran off screaming he really wanted to smoke at least half of it.

Two, a man went in a store after lying and saying he was a Chinese and bought us come pickles to apologize. We are going over to his house for buuz this week.

Three, I have DONE IT . . . NOW . . . it is YOUR TIME. [Mom: I have no idea, do any of you?]

And on a totally random note, conducting probationary council interviews and post branch presidency discussions is hard, especially on an empty stomach. Translating all the time has been crazy hard and cool at the same time. This Sunday I ended up translating 3 simultaneous conversations at once. I don’t think I could do that a month earlier. It’s crazy trying to be the mouth piece. There is no such thing as waiting in line in Mongolia, so everyone shoves in and starts talking at once right after church. Before, they would get offended if I didn’t start translating for them right then, but now I just stare blankly until there’s just one person talking and then we go from there.

We made hamburger helper, and there was much rejoicing.

Got duped into singing “Zuud Noirondoo” by The Lemons in English class, but they have to sing “Mr. Lonely” by Akon. So that’ll be cool. Naisbitt’s also got a one on one challenge in basketball and we’re going to see if anyone was serious about wanting to box 😉

One of my elders and one of my sisters left a week ago during mini transfers and their replacements haven’t come in yet. We’ve been going as a threesome with Jargalsaihan. He’s a stud. Actually gave me a run for my money when I played him and his companion at stick pull.

We need to find a new apartment and all this other stuff, so we’ve been crazy busy all the time, but we’ve been getting the same amount of work done in a third of the time, so we aren’t ecstatic but we aren’t displeased.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot the best part.

So it’s Monday night before transfers. We had been having a little bit of a problem with the leaving people staying out a little late to run around and say good bye. I made my usual 9:30 PM call and nothing. 10:00 PM nothing 10:15 PM nothing and I call the Zone leaders and they tell me to go over. Before I can get out the door the Assistants call me and gave me more instructions on what to do. We run over but the other elders call us from their window and say no one has come home or left since they got home early to pack. More calls from the AP’s and ZL’s and we leave the other two elders calling all the branch missionaries and members they can think of while we run over and pound on the door. 11:00 PM we wake up the branch president and get his key to their house and bust in. Nobody had been in since morning. Naisbitt starts calling down the list of all their investigators as I start working out the search party plan with the AP’s who call the mission president. Naisbitt and I step back out into the cold and start rolling around in our heads what could have happened. It then occurred to us that it was Elder Anderson that had been the last to leave the church and that meant that he might have . . . at first, it didn’t seem possible . . . t about midnight we run over to the church and the AP’s called right as we unlocked the door. Eventually they hung up on me since neither one of us could stop laughing nor get up off the floor. Once the sisters stopped crying and yelling at us they said that they had been locked in since around 7:45 PM. They had spent about 30 minutes screaming out the window and someone had sent me a text message (that I never got since my phone is busted). I jury rigged it back on long enough for the message “2 people stuck in your church – sisters” (time stamped 8:20 PM) to pop up. All I could manage was a “my bad” between giggles.

And then I killed the dog. [Mom: He gave his cat CPT everyday for almost 3 years and offered to sell his car to pay for its cancer surgery.]

AND I want it to be publicly known that despite my giggling that I DIDN’T LOCK THEM IN THE BUILDING. I left way before that. [Mom: giggling is compelling circumstantial evidence … thankfully I know his heart]

So yeah, it’s Choibalsan, we rock out. I’m looking forward to the 2 new missionaries to get here; it should be sweet.

Class 5 Rapids

September 15, 2008

So, we had zone conference this week, it was a punch in the face as usual. The talks were about tithing, it was awesome. But in brief, you were right about paying before the government. Our interview went for almost an hour after that. I assaulted him with questions on what to do for the branch. It’s kinda cool being able to ask a member of the 70 for advice, he (well, him and the connection he has) could solve stuff I had been rolling in my head for a week in like 5 minutes. So yeah, we might actually shape up now. 😀

I did my first baptismal interview this Saturday. Don’t know how to describe that really. It was kinda like shooting a class 5 rapid in a pair of floaties.


I mean yeah, you got floaties on, so everyone gets out alive and you ran the rapid, but you think back and it’s really not what you thought “it” would be like. There was so much Spirit it compensated for my incompetence. Managed to say a lot of things I didn’t know I could say.

Mini-transfers and 2 of my missionaries are leaving. Sister Enkhjargal is going to Khovd and Bayarsaikhan is going to the city to be an office elder. Getting the new people in soon so I’m excited to see what happens. My district is going to be really young. I’m the oldest, Jargalsaikhan is in his 4th and the other 3 are all in their 2nd. Right on.

Went out to a mine and climbed the snort. Yeah.

I think everything can be summed up in that one Snow White song:

And on a totally random note I managed to drill a 360 lay-up today. I was happy.

Love you all.

I love China Bob.

Lorraine what are you doing in MI? Weirdo . . .

Naisbitt Slam Dunks & Byrd Sings Karaoke in Mongolian

September 8, 2008

Did a ton of service this week: washed carpets, laid concrete floors, dug trenches etc. Been doing a lot of office and sorting work. Take a look at the sorting method on my computer, and then imagine the opposite. That’s the way stuff is now ha-ha.

We picked up a few investigators by trashing some kids at basketball. While some of the youth were outside playing, we had some kids want to play. Most were okay but a few were street ball wanna-be nut heads dropping ‘bows and playing dirty on fouls and such. We finally got so sick of it that Naisbitt, Ganzorig and I went out and thrashed them 3 times in a row. Nothing deflates your ego like having someone (being Naisbitt) slam dunk over three defenders. They got mad and left, and the other kids thought it was so cool that they just hung around with us and all the other YSA.

We went and watched Choibalsan’s 70th year anniversary show at the theater. Martbold was playing so it was cool to watch. Crazy hot, though. The theater kinda has the 1850’s western feel going on in it, even had the amateur brass band in the pit. The ambiance was kind of a kick just waiting.

Saw the 3rd white person since I’ve come to Choibalsan. They’re getting sick from all the stress of living so far out here. It’s bad, but I giggled a little.

Sang karaoke in Mongolian, which was kinda cool.

Jumped over one of the sisters, her companion thought it was funny.

I Listen in Mongolian

September 1, 2008

So this week in review: Shaved all the hair off my hands during comp study one day, also shaving 2 seconds off my total walking time this week. Been working with some of our church members to help them translate stuff, its kinda funny, I listen in Mongolian and then ask my companion how we say that in English. I used to make fun of my trainer because of that.

That was a year ago. Today last year was my first full day of work in Mongolia. What the freak.

Moment of silence.

Anyways, set up to get one of our member’s babies off to the city to get into a good hospital. The hospital out here has nothing and the little dude looked like death. It’s some kind of bacterial infection, a little proper medical treatment and he should be fine, there’s just none of that in Choibalsan. One of our other investigators is in the hospital too, but she’s just there for a cold, more like the sniffles.

I’m going to start learning moriin huur from Martbold today that should be sweet.

We had to go to the ghetto part of town to play body guard for the branch president. One guy got a little rowdy so we walked in circles around him till he got mad and then started circling a building. He got so worked up going that we just ran off the other direction and he kept going.

Saw our breath for the first time last night. Bye warmth.

Oh yeah, we had our English class write Naisbitt’s ex girlfriend saying why she shouldn’t have dumped him. That was possibly the highlight of the last few months. They got into it. My favorite is still “we don’t understand you” we’ll send copies later.

Chocolate Pancakes

August 27, 2008

We had the cold snap that starts fall and went from needing to down a gallon of water a day, to wearing hoodys at basketball and dealing with cold hands. That’s kinda cool though.

Probably the biggest thing that’s been on me this week is trying to get better at translating. The fact that I’m the only link between anyone and Elder Anderson, I’ve been working on cramming as much new language in my head as I possibly can. It’s odd to think about how you take your own language for granted, or just the ability to talk about anything. I’ve been picking up all those little things that I would never just decide to sit down and study like, light sensor, teeth on a key, weeds, recharger etc, but it’s been good, it pushes me a lot so it keeps me developing. Also translated a temple interview and that was interesting to say the least.

Man, the weeks are flying, it’s hard to keep track of what happened when anymore . . . did service pulling weeds at one of the older sisters houses, which then turned into me and Ganbold having a wrestling match that when on for about 15 minutes until we were so filthy that no one would stand next to us. That was cool.

yeah, we run around and do a lot for the branch, so it’s all cool, also getting used to the new part of the city we work in, we had to start all over again, but it’s picking up pretty fast. Its way out in the boonies, it’s about an hour walk across a field to get to the middle of it, so we’re trying to get the ZLs to let us get bikes out here.

We made chocolate pancakes. They were good.

Got a cold, but it’s all good now. So yeah-yah.

Olympics are over, so maybe we can get work done again. But Mongolia did get its first 2 gold medals ever, so it was worth it.

Burned my companions dear john letter and my shirt today, it was all like, yeah . . . we were happy but the branch missionary with us thought we were stupid.

DUDE, cheese

August 18, 2008

. . . there was much rejoicing.

We went out to tank and the river. We were going to walk the other 2 miles out to the Choibalsan sign but half way out everyone else crapped out, so we’re all going to go out next week.

My comp got his dear john today, but he’s happy ‘cause he guessed the month it would happen all the way back in the MTC. So now we have stuff to burn for his 6 month mark and my year in country.