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Viva la Mongol

June 23, 2009

Hey, you’ve probably already bought the tickets and stuff but if you could get here for the 29th my group is going out to the country side and doing some sick Mongolian food and they want you to come.

Telephoto lens……. doughnut…. gaaaaahhhh

Wow, 1 week left.

Anyways, last week Elder Bodhaine and I destroyed work this week 30 lessons, 80 ITL’s, 7 referrals from members, 9 new investigators, and in all that built a roof on a house, started the home teaching program (which got 5 people to church), and organized a whole bunch of activities for the branch. I’m really happy with that, it was my last real week of no-interruptions (well, other than that me and companion were so sick last week that if we stood up even a little too fast like we would black out). This week is a lot of service,2 days stuck in the city for zone conference, and then helping out with some other branch stuff over the weekend. Really don’t want to leave, so much to be done, but as Elder Stevens from my group noted, ever since we passed our real 2 year mark, everyone’s body has gone to pot, so maybe that means it’s just time to go.

Cats, yagaad ugui geech.

My trainer came back to Baganuur and we went to work together for a few days, it was sweet. Met with a lot of people from 2 years ago, both of us were kinda mad that no one really meets with them anymore, so we’re dumping everything into Bodhaine’s brain before I leave. We have this idea to start up these youth center things in Mongolia, with stuff like skate parks and bmx rings, anything to actually give youth here something to do other than stand around drunk and look stupid.

I’ve been thinking about the trip. I don’t know if I really want a 24/7 guide. one, running around all spaz like for 2 weeks doesn’t sound that cool, and well, I still have a “don’t tell me what to do” thing going on. That and the rent condo money could be better used given to a member family to bum a spot on their floor. Anywho.

Other stuff, Freak, I totally stopped looking at school stuff a month ago. Dang it. House. I dont know what I am doing.

Bah . . . Well, love you, probably see you in a week from now, how weird is that. To say one of those “Called to Serve” movie kind of things, once you get here, you really do straight turn around and leave.

Viva la Mongol

Full Circle = SWEET

June 8, 2009

Actually, because of the cake video I sent you I think caking got banned in the mission. Well, for my birthday I got transferred. I’m back in Baganuur for my last month. Yeah, I get giggly just writing that. Color, life, and the ability to sleep have slowly been returning to me. And the never ending black bags faded out this week. I’m with Elder Bodhaine. He’s from Elder Shiozawa’s group.

It was kinda funny when I got here. Everyone got news that Elder Byrd was back, and when we were waiting on the van to go to the city people were fluttering around looking for me, but all they saw was this new skinny elder with Elder Bodhaine. About 15 minutes later someone finally came up to me and read my name tag and said “Elder… B…Y…..R…..!!! BYRD! How are y. . . You’re really REALLY skinny now! Whoa! This conversation was repeated many MANY times. Only the people I’ve been sending pictures and stuff to recognize me anymore.

It’s sweet being back. Going to rock it out here my last month. We’ve already had some way sweet lessons. There’s been three lessons where people went from saying “I don’t believe and am not interested” to asking how to pray and how to find out what we feel and know. It’s sweet, we have one family we’re working with now that’s doing way good. Taught like an hour long lesson on faith and at the end the mom said “Bi neeree itegchikhmeer baina” which is kinda like “I seriously want to believe in this”. Had another lesson with a guy about the nature of god, it was one of those things where my ability to speak went through the roof and I started expounding scriptures in such a way that I was teaching myself as well.

It’s sweet to be back here.

It was sad leaving Darkhan, I had finally gotten 100% in love with the place. One interesting thing of note is this. Remember when I told you about what happened before the baptism of that young deaf girl? We’ll part 2 happened the day I left. We got a call as we were having our goodbye lunch; she said she wanted to meet us at the church. She had been having a lot of family problems lately, one of her sisters had hit her and she had moved over to her oldest sister’s house. And on top of all that one of her other deaf friends that could speak a little had been coming over and trashing the church. And then on top off all that all of her deaf friends had been pulling the isolation then “we’ll receive you with open arms if you deny your faith thing”. She was pretty shaken up.

My companion’s first response was to in turn bash the other pastor and get into a “who’s right” match, but after that followed the usual course of not working, he looked at me to see if I had anything to say. I then bore a testimony of the savior, the atonement, and what it means to inherit the celestial kingdom that I don’t even know if I could share in English. It was one of those very few times where someone’s attention was totally focused on the things I was being led to say. At the end of about 15 minutes she had decided to keep trying, and for my own part I added that I really didn’t know how many more times I would meet her in this life, but if I woke up on that last day and didn’t see her there it would be a heart breaking thing. It was one of those picturesque moments, right at that time a lot of our other deaf members and investigators and other people had shown up for an activity. The sun was setting over the church and the dusk light glinted off the little moths fluttering over the freshly bloomed flowers, and for the first time in a long time she smiled. I’m happy that’s the moment I left on. If all I was needed for in Darkhan was just those two moments in her life it was all worth it.

Anyways, a 7 hour train ride later I was in the city. It also just happened that I got into the main building the same time as my trainer did. I miss that fool. Ruiz is back for a month to go see all his peeps. We went out to dinner and just caught up on old junk, he’s going to come out here next P-day and the whole branch is going to go out fishing.

Then . . . I got to see the first Stake in Mongolia organized. Score. It was nuts seeing everyone I know. I remember the first conference I went to, the only person I knew was my comp and a few branch missionaries, and at my last one there was a flood of so many people I couldn’t think. There was one point I actually had to tell someone about something happening to her sister in Choibalsan but person after person kept coming up that after having 15 people trying to say hi in the space of a minute I had to grab the person I was talking to and duck outside with my companion. I forgot how many people I love in here. I have already met up with my second family, Dolgor and her daughter. The husband I baptized is out in the country again but meeting up with them is always uramtai.

Anyways, we are going to go be super focused and work our butts off this week, this is gonna be sweet.

One Month Left = NUTS!

June 1, 2009

Wow, yeah, I have a month left and the timer is running, that’s nuts.

Anyways, this week was mostly just working on the open house. Our church is in kind of an untraveled spot so we spent all week running around inviting people in. For 3 hours each of 5 days, 10 missionaries each talked to 30-40 people . . . that’s a lot of talking. It was sweet, sometimes circumstance keep me from doing ITLs (Invite to Learn) on other days, so it felt good to just have some unrestrained time to declare with the trump of my mouth. Pushed it a little hard though and got myself kind sick, it went from an inferno dust storm to a snow storm over one night, and I was just out in a field most of the time, so my immune system got punched in the face. Elder Frisbee just got it over fast and threw up. We both looked pretty nasty, I was kind of a pale gray with raccoon eyes, and Frisbee took on a beet red hue with white accents.

We did lots of service this week. I’ve been missing that. We moved a lady. Another church member’s fence got blown down in a dust storm, so we started putting it back up for her with the same old rotten logs because “oh, it will be fine” and then it seems to keep us from having to come back my point got proven when a brown out dust storm came in and knocked over what was left. So in said dust storm we reset the posts and nailed everything back up. It made for a rather nice instant feedback system on stability. We also roofed a parking garage. They used me and Elder Stevenson as living cranes to pull sand bags up onto the roof. I love leather work gloves, they make everything easy.

Anyways, announcing the Stake next Sunday, really want to go see that.

Tegeed, thinking about putting lamb wool liners in my leather jackets, a skin here goes for about six dollars. Can’t believe time goes by so fast.

Bolderdene’s baptism was Friday; he’s way sweet. One of those amazingly bright kids I wish I could smuggle somewhere he could get a better education. We’re trying to work out him getting a hearing aid. If he could get one better than the Russian junk here, he could hear perfectly fine. We are going to talk with the couples over Deseret International tomorrow.

Wow, I forgot my trainer was coming today, sweet.

Murphy flee before my wrath, flee with great haste, but just slow enough that I can see you open your mission call.

Interesting experience, worked hard enough this week that I was visibly skinnier than the Monday before . . . weird.

Anyways, life is life. Drinking from the bitter cup is easier if you just put some benzocaine on your tongue and grin.

For Once Ulaanbaatar is THE Place to Be

May 26, 2009

News, Sister Garrett got transferred back to the city. Lucky punk, for once all the country missionaries want to be in the city. Everybody and their dog wants to go to the conference. Yagaad gevel they’re going to found the Stake. Yeah, my group had been working to try to get that done before we go home, and now that it works out half of us have gone home or are in the country side missions.

Tegeed, I really need to shiidver gargakh about school. Blah.

My minds drawing a blank right now, its been a pretty nuts week.

On a completely stupid side note, we had a spontaneous “see who can do the most hands together in a triangle push ups” at church the other day. Everyone dropped out at about 7 or so, me and the branch mission leader got to 25 before just quitting, and my companion after bragging about how strong he is suddenly realized that your body is not a static system and that lots of eating plus sleeping though morning exercise equals face plant.

Started drawing again for the first time in 2 years, the part that surprised me is that i haven’t really forgotten that much. so i guess there’s still is hope about getting into school.

Is my sword getting rusty?

Well, It’s been a week. Feels like 3 minutes, why does time have to go by so fast at the end of a mission.

Tegeed, life in Darkhan is status quo. I guess if we can ever single out the reason for our weaknesses and submission to temptation it means we’re ready to get taken off of this rock. I realized the failure of the age old philosophical question of “Who am I?” is that if we were just meant to be a stagnant force, God would have left us as intelligences. “Who am I” is a testimony thing, “Who do I become” is a conversion thing. I realized this week how much I have to convert, but that in all actuality the Savior is with me. I had an experience this week that confirmed it in my mind beyond a shadow of a doubt. It had been another one of those days and nights where nothing was going right. I really wondered if I had done anything over the last 2 years, maybe I hadn’t done anything at all and just wasted the Lord’s time. At that moment a feeling of peace flooded over me, memories of people i had helped and things that had happened on my mission that I hadn’t thought about for months came back into my mind. At that moment, I knew Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are truly there and aware of us individually. I don’t know everything but I can now say without a shadow of a doubt as Nephi ” I know that he loveth his children. ” If there was no other way to gain that other than by being here, then I am glad I am here.

LOTS of Stuff Changes in 2 Days

May 18, 2009

We all know from Jacob 5 and the parable of the sower that success has less to do with the setting and more to do with the work you put into it.

Well, we talked about most everything over the phone. I have another investigator getting baptised in 2 weeks, or preparing to do so, another 3 weeks later. Going to Erdenet for a day to translate some interviews for the second councilor in the mission presidency. Fun, as in its not one of those fun topic interviews . . . tiim baina daa . . . Transfer calls are this week, my companion thinks hes going to switch and go to the other area. Maybe, the president has been bringing it up alot.

Everyone from Erdenet, Selenge and Darkhan went out to Amarbaysgalan Monastery. It was pretty cool; it is one of the huge ones the Russians never found to burn. Going to try and round up pictures of other peoples cameras. Ended up taking a lot of them myself. People shoved me their camera and said “you do it, you make my camera work better”.

The coolest part about it was just sitting in the back of the jammed micro bus (ie Korean van) and shooting the breeze. and in a moment of brilliance it was Elders Stevens, Stevenson and Me (we’re the three biggest in the mission) with Frisbee were all on the back axle. We went across a namag (whatever you call that thing were there is water under the dry ground) and got stuck. They then decided that it would be a good idea just to try to force it out. Not much happened but we dig succeed in digging the wheels half way down into the mud. So, in a feet of civil engineering, we jacked the van up, built a short rock road under it, and then pushed it out. This made the big guys very smelly and we were still sitting together in the back.

It was very hot today.

Anyways, life’s good. I have a half transfer left. That’s weird. I had a transfer left yesterday. Urjigdar I was in the basement of President Archibald’s in-laws. A lot of stuff changes in 2 days ym shig.

My English is getting progressively worse. When Elder Stevens and I talked to each other, it was easier to understand if you quick switched all the words into Mongolian so the grammar matched right. durp.

Stuff to bring: The artificial leg, how do you measure such a thing? Can we get the information and just send it or what?

If I had some basic first aid supplies I could do better than the doctors here. I can’t solve everything, but maybe a small stash of just over the counter stuff like Neosporin and other such things to leave at the couple’s house would be good. Consult with someone who knows what they’re doing to decide all what has the most wide use punch.

Tegeed . . . university . . . still pondering. It seems like a lot of RM’s from this mission go to BYUI. Still pondering it out though.

Love you. Give my mend to people.

I’m alive. My English is BAD.

May 12, 2009

Well, im going to call tomorrow morning so I don’t know what to write.

Translated an interview for the other deaf Elder. Never thought I would be translating for an Area 70, much less in Mongolian sign language. After the Zone Conference his wife came up to compliment me on how well I was doing, but I couldn’t generate understanable English, and at a certain point I just stopped trying to say anything and said thank you.

Elder Byambadorj got up at the end and started talking about his first transfer with me and then said sorry for being so stubborn. Everyone was laughing so hard you almost couldnt hear anything.

Other than that life is good. Got the books and foot ball. Companion is really happy. Translating everything into Mongolian for him, and at the end of the transfer I’m just going to give it all to him. At first he thought I was getting just for my self, but when I told him that they were for him and I would get everything into mongolian for him he was giddy. Imagine a little poor kid getting the prefect Christmas present he never thought he would get. My companion kinda looked like that. No macaroni here, but I can get you a wolf ankle bone pendant. That’s way cooler out here.

Love you Mommy.

Life Rolls On

May 5, 2009

Anyways, I finally got to do a service project for the first time in 3 months. We dug a potato field. It feels good to actually be working on something for once. I think I did more to help out the work in those three hours than the whole last transfer.

Life roles on, working and stuff. Brother Bayarjav is officially my most favorite person in Darkhan. No exceptions, well, maybe his wife and kids, but they are all kinda lumped together. Oh yeah, and he’s already invited you to dinner with his family when you come. He helps us out so much we almost feel bad taking it all. It’s kinda like that story about the 70 who was out interacting with some farmers in some Arabian nation that he didn’t even know the slightest about the language and the governor of the area stated “that man could charm a donkey or a king”. Brother Bayarjav is like that.

Tegeed. Stuff. I dunno. I only have 2 months left, 2 days under two months left. Bah.

Oh yeah, do you want to see Naadam this year?

I’ve been thinking bout where to go after I die: UA and BYUI. Huh, never thought I would even want to go to a school with BYU in it.

Art Shots

May 5, 2009

I Want to Drop Kick Someone

April 28, 2009

Things I don’t want to think about but I have to ym shig.

The mission president said he could write a letter to get me into BYU Idaho. Apparently the Mission President and the President of BYUI were College buds at Harvard Business School. He said he didn’t want me to lose what I had gained on my mission so he wanted me to think and pray about going there.

FREAK I don’t even know what to look at. I’ve drawn like 3 times my whole mission. chaavaas.
I’m actually looking at the BYU I homepage right now (I have permission) this is really uncomfortable.

And freak, these rules….. I’m used to missionary standards and these are annoying.

UKBUKBDKULHBKSHDIOADIOHAUDBKABKBDDDDDQQQWQWLM

Yeah.

Anyways. I want to drop kick someone.

So. We had a baptism and stuff. My companion did the first baptism in Mongolian sign language in the history of the world. That was pretty nifty.

The Elder’s quorum president is now in running for “sweetest homie” on the face of the earth not only is he learning a ton of American slang to go along with his English, he goes with us as a gerch and has been helping us get the families of some of our younger investigators to church. He’s a stud; I love the man to death. Plus he has a car and drives us places, and drives our investigators around. He even took one guy from one end of town and all the way back to pick up his son from preschool.

Tegeed . . . yup.

It’s odd, but I just realized that I just had my last interview with President Andersen until my release interview.

Bah.

District conference was this weekend. Translated 6 hours of material into sign language, only had a little help for a 30 minute gap. The Second councilor in the district presidency mentioned me in his talk (fortunately without name). Well not really a mention, it was kinda the theme of the whole talk. IT was about how the missionaries came over and asked them if they were having family home evening even though they were members going on 12 years or so. At first they scoffed it off, but realized they hadn’t been doing it for 2 years, and then realized how they had been missing that time together. So they did one the next week and fun was had by all. Brother Bayarjav aslo got the family of one of our investigators to the Sunday session as well, woo.

We had Zone conference yesterday. Also translated most of it, but got a 2 hours break, so it wasn’t as bad. Got called on to share what I had learned. It was basically “you’re not here long enough to do very much of anything anyways, so don’t even waste a couple seconds moping around and just go do something, even if you don’t know what you’re doing.

The theme of Zone conference was the atonement. It was sweet. The mission president shared the training he got as a 70 from the presidency of the 70. There was a big section on the difference between being clean and being sanctified. There was another on the combination of giving and receiving forgiveness. He also brought down the hammer on a lot of shenanigans in the mission: if you do not stop, you will go no home, no exceptions. Fortunately I’m not doing any of those.

Oh, and then they invited up a return missionary to talk about her mission, and she started going off on how there was this one elder she used to see 2 years ago that was massive angry elder that she didn’t like, not that she knew him, but she had heard a lot of stuff and the few times she saw him, she figured he was a bad person, then said it was cool that there were sign language elders and that there was translation now, and came and said thanks later. The funny part is she didn’t realize the person she spoke on and the person she spoke to were one and the same person. Mai Chi.

Tegeed. We blessed a really sick baby at the hospital, and now he’s all better. Woo.

Yeah life’s cool.

Tell blue son daddy loves him.

Apologies from Mom

April 27, 2009

Elder Byrd is fine … the jury is still out on his parents.

Mom plans to update the blog soon … or she will just let Elder Byrd take care of it when he is back in Alabama in July!