Monday, April 25, 2016

Week 17: I love Mongolia! Still!

It's been another great week in Mongolia! 
Monday, after emailing and shopping and cleaning, we had a song practice. A bunch of American missionaries are going to sing some Mongolian songs at an English seminar coming up!  It should be fun!  Then, Sister Wilkins and I went to an investigator's home and put on a little FHE.  We taught a lesson about trusting in God and then played our handmade Candyland game! :)  It was a grand old time! :)
On Tuesday, I taught English for the first time!  There were 2 classes and they all spoke great English.  We gave them some prompts to talk about, and I got partnered up with a guy who picked the prompt about Shakespeare.  He and I got to talking about Romeo and Juliet and how they had dumb teenage love hahaha.  Then, I said how sad it was that they both died.  And he responded by saying that if they had gotten married they would have probably started fighting and killed each other anyway! hahahahaha Good times!  That night, Sister Guild and I went on splits.  We got ice cream on the way home! :)
Wednesday I didn't feel great, but I tried to grin and bear it.  I didn't have to teach because we are switching off.  So I just sat in the back of the classroom.  The Wednesday class seems great, too!  Our lesson for that night got cancelled, so that was a bummer.  But it was a slight relief since I wasn't feeling well.  Instead, we did some preparations and English planning.  So that was good.  And on the way home with Sister Wilkins for the night, we got caught in a huge dust storm.  I'm pretty sure there's still sand in my hair...
On Thursday, Sister Guild and I taught the staff members at the Medical University while our companions did some planning.  When we taught, it was all one-on-one, which was really nice.  We personalized the lessons, which makes it more fun and effective.  Then, we met up with our companions again and all went out to lunch.  Then, Sister Wilkins and I went home and planned for the week. 
Friday was really great because we ended up teaching 3 lessons!  They were all amazing!  We taught our first lesson to an investigator about the Sabbath Day.  And the second lesson was to a new member and her daughter who has been a member of the Church for a while.  I taught on faith, asked her a question, and it lead to her teaching US about faith! :)  We got to know each other better, and it got me excited to teach them more lessons!  We went to KFC for dinner, and I LOVED every second.  And then we went to our last lesson for the day.  We traveled over big roads, bridges, and through the city to get to her house.  In the end, we had a great spiritual lesson on faith, and we got to meet her family! 
On Saturday, I taught about 15 women in the ward how to sew.  The ward's bishop, or leader, asked me to teach the women how to make an American blanket.  haha  It was a great time!  We all enjoyed ourselves and we made one blanket.  Then, we had a missionary meeting where we learned about using time more effectively and being a better listener. 
Yesterday, we had church, which is always fun!  After church we ate some noodles and went to a lesson with a member.  They had a piano at their house, and I got to play some music they had!  It was so nice to play again!  Then, we had a little FHE where we played UNO and sang songs (I played the piano) and gave a little thought about God. 
I love Mongolia!  I know I always say it, but it's true!  I have learned and grown so much! I love serving!
Sister Bottorff

"In another ger district. Cuz ger districts are awesome!"

"Relief Society activity!"

"KFC!!! :)"

"On our way to a lesson! This awesome bridge goes over some railroad tracks! I feel like I'm in a movie!"

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Week 16: Another Beautiful Week in Mongolia

I'm loving Mongolia!  I can't believe it's been another week!  Time flies when you're having fun and working hard!
Monday, I went to the zah (kinda like "sock" with a z) for the first time.  It's a black market full of food and clothes and household goods.  It reminded me of China and Fiji.  I love black markets!  I bought a cute pair of boots!  And now my feet are warm!  We also did our grocery shopping there.  It's a great place to buy just about everything!  And it's great for our missionary budget! :)  Then, we went home and cooked breaded chicken and mashed potatoes and buttery carrots for dinner.  It tasted like home! :) 
On Tuesday, all the new missionaries had some more training.  We got a mission cookbook, learned how to budget our money, and went over being obedient to mission rules and living by the Spirit.  Afterward, Sister Guild, Sister Bennett, Sister Wilkins and I went to lunch before heading to our English interviews.  We ate Russian food called Piroshki and then got some cake because we wanted some.  :)  Then, we went to the Medical University and conducted about 70 interviews as a companionship while the other sisters conducted another 70 or so.  We asked "getting to know you" questions to see where they stood with their English skills.  The people seem great, and I can't wait to work with them! 
Wednesday was a day of rest.  Sister Wilkins wasn't feeling well, so we stayed inside.  I studied like crazy all day long.  And it was actually really good!  I was exhausted by the end of the day!  I made muffins from our cookbook.  They weren't bad, but we now call them "mediocre muffins" haha.  That night, I called two of our investigators and talked with them in Mongolian!  I felt cool, and the investigators had no idea they were on speaker phone and that Sister Wilkins was totally feeding me my lines. hahaha 
On Thursday, I had a meeting with the Mission President.  It was good to talk to him.  He gave me some great advice about studying and teaching people.  Then, after studies and lunch, Sister Wilkins and I met with a new member.  She lives at the top of a beautiful mountain and her view is breathtaking.  It overlooks the city.  I feel like I'm in a painting when I look over the hillsides and see gers and the cityscape in the background.  We taught her a lesson and then had to head out.  She walked us down the mountain until she saw her little sister (about 10 years younger than her) coming up from school.  They hugged and walked arm in arm.  It reminded me of picking up Becca from school! :)  Then, we met a family who is learning about the Church.  We had a great talk with them and shared a scripture.  The Spirit was really strong, and I was able to bear my testimony to them. 
Friday was really fun because we planned and then headed to a member's house.  She made me a beautiful scripture case! :)  And I shared a lesson with her.  And she fed us some great soup!  And then she took us to see her neighbor who is having a difficult time.  We shared a scripture with her and asked to come back and see her.  I look forward to meeting with her again and helping her more.  She seems like a wonderful lady! :)  Then, we went to a lesson for three young girls who just joined the church.  They are adorable! 
Saturday we had a meeting with an investigator and it went really well.  Then, we had a district meeting and talked about having and developing Christlike attributes like charity and faith and hope and diligence.  It is always good to review! :)  Afterward, we went to the church building, by bus, to see women's conference!  We met some super cute 11 year old girls on the bus.  We practiced English with them and invited them to English class!  Women's conference was amazing!  I LOVED the part when one of the speakers told us to put down the mirrors and start looking through windows.  I need to do that more.  I am trying to look through windows and help other people instead of looking in mirrors and making the world revolve around me. 
Yesterday, at church, I didn't understand much, but I got to talk with some more people and set up appointments to meet with them this week! 
This week is going to be even better than last week!  I can't believe tomorrow is my MONTH mark in Mongolia!  Where has the time gone??  I am so blessed!  I pinch myself every day!  It's like I'm living in a dream! :) 
I love you all and hope you are healthy and happy! :)
Sister Bottorff
"My new scripture case!"
"Home cookin'! :) The perks of a Southern companion! :)"
"Our cute little friends from the bus!"
"Our church building!"

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Week 15: Another Week in a Desert Paradise! :)

This week was just another great week!  Of course my life isn't perfect, but I seriously love and cherish every minute! 
On Monday, Sister Wilkins and I went to a nearby museum and checked out some cool stuff.  It is a museum of the stuff from a Khan.  I'm not sure of all the details since my Mongolian isn't up to par with Museum type vocabulary.  But we saw some Buddhist stuff and some animals the Khan guy brought back after his travels around the world.  And we saw a ger he had that was made of 120 leopards.  He got it for his 25th birthday.  So mom, you have over a year to plan MY 25th birthday present.  Ready go.  The rest of the day, we cleaned and got our laundry done.  It's nice to have a few minutes to sit on the couch and think about nothing! :)
Tuesday was a zone conference, where about 25 missionaries got together and talked about improving and becoming better missionaries.  I felt really uplifted after hearing from my mission leaders!  They are great!  Later we did some English training.  And then  I went on an exchange for 24 hours with Sister Harmon and Sister Namonaa. 
Wednesday was quite the adventure!  We did our studies and then headed out for the day.  We got stuck in a totally random blizzard on our way to teach our first lesson.  It was blizzarding out, and the little boy didn't hear us knock on his gate.  So we were standing out there and decided to try to get his attention.  We snuck around their crazy scary dog and ended up teaching a great little lesson.  I wrote some sentences in Mongolian, and I started to read them.  Then he said, "Can I just read them??"  I understood what he was saying, but Sister Harmon encouraged me to just keep going.  So I did!  And he got over it! :)  Haha  He was really cute!  Then, we saw another investigator and his brother.  Two grandpas watching their 1 year old granddaughter.  SO CUTE!!!  We taught them about how God loves and knows them personally.  It's my favorite thing to teach about because it's the very core of what I know to be true.  That evening, we had a meeting to plan for this week's English classes.  We are doing placement tests tomorrow, so we planned the tests.  I'm excited to start at the medical school!  I start tomorrow and start actually teaching on Wednesday!
On Thursday, I met up with Sister Guild and she and I substitute taught an English class.  They were middle schoolers, and we had every level from "I don't know how to say my name in English" to "I'm so fluent and I'm not sure how to use big words, but I have them memorized and just want to get them out" hahahaha.  It was a fun challenge.  But we totally rocked it!  And we got cookies afterward, so that made me feel great!  Cookies make everything better.  Then, we went to the doctor's apartment and ate some more cookies while we waited for our English training to start.  Our trainer was stuck in traffic so long that we ended up cancelling the training.  But we LOVED the fresh baked cookies!! :)
On Friday, we planned for the week and then headed out to teach lessons.  We met up with my MTC teacher who went and taught a lesson with us.  She brought us a sheep head that we ate later that night.  Turns out tongue tastes like hot dog.  Then, we visited a member for dinner, and we learned to make Buuz, which are like dumplings.  Ours were NOT as pretty as the member's, but we had some great laughs.  And they tasted great!  We taught 2 other lessons that night, and headed home.  It was a great day!!!
Saturday and Sunday were FULL of general conference.  I felt so uplifted and inspired by the messages from the sessions.  Look up President Monson's talk on choices!  I felt so strongly that I need my little choices to be good because they add up and help me to make really good big choices! 
On Sunday, we met with the bishop of our ward, and he is so nice!  I am so grateful to be serving with him!  He encouraged me to speak Mongolian, and I tried! 
Sometimes I struggle with wanting to speak and then not knowing how to say what I want to say, but I am getting better at trying!  I love the language, and I love the people.  And speaking is important for me to express that love!
I love you all!  Have a great week!!
Sister Bottorff
"Us after our last English training! I love these girls!"
"Mongolian vest and hat I tried on."
"The sheep..."
"In a winter wonderland."
Sister Bottorff :)

Friday, April 8, 2016

Week 14

This week has been so fast!!!!

After I emailed you last week, Sister Wilkins and I ran into two other missionaries who were going to KFC.  So we went with them!  It was so fun to eat American food and relax!  I tried not to listen to the American songs on the radio though! :)  Then, we shopped for food and went back to our apartment and cleaned and did laundry.  The apartment is MUCH better now!  After Pday ended at 6, Sister Wilkins and I went to a member's house for Family Home Evening.  Our travel time took much longer than we anticipated, so we were running low on time.  My MTC teacher was there for the lesson!  It was so much fun to have FHE with 2 families and my MTC teacher!  We were about to leave, and then the mom came out and said dinner was ready.  Because we were running low on time, we decided to scarf it down.  Sister Wilkins and I sat down and I started eating as fast as I could.  And then it hit me.  The soup had been boiling for a long time.  And it was so hot!  And I had a huge spoonful in my mouth.  My eyes started watering and I started sweating and I spit some out on accident.  I looked like a mess!  Haha  Everyone was so worried about me!  But I got through and just ate the soup slower.  Sister Wilkins had told me to slurp it, but I had forgotten.  Oops.  So I slupred the rest and had cold water when I got home.  It was only yesterday that my tongue went back to normal.  And I'll try my hardest to never do that again. 

On Tuesday, Sister Wilkins taught English, and an hour after I dropped her off, I went to the church building to do English training.  We should start next week in our sponsor schools!  I'm really excited!  Sister Hansen and I taught a class of about 35 people that night.  It went really well! 

Wednesday was Sister Wilkins' birthday!  We made chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast and then she had English.  While she was at English, I went out with Sister Guild and Sister Bennett, and we got locked out of their apartment.  So the four hours Sister Wilkins was teaching was spent waiting for the locksmith.  Good times!  We actually had fun!  Then, we got Sister Wilkins from her school and she and I headed out and taught a lesson.  We taught a teenage girl and then her mom listened while she sewed.  Her mom asked us to meet with her to answer some of her questions!  So we set an appointment for Saturday.  After the lesson, we went to the city center and did a split.  Sister Guild and I went together and Sister Wilkins went with Sister Bennett for the night. 

I was with Sister Guild all day Thursday.  We had to take another sister to teach English, and after we dropped her off, we had to take a taxi back home.  And the two of us made it with only minor wrong turns!  We were so proud of ourselves!  Then we did some studying and had English training again.  We learned about assessing our students and learning which level they are on.  Sister Wilkins and I went home after the training. 

On Friday, Sister Wilkins and I planned for the coming week while eating biscuits and gravy!  We scheduled a lesson and it turned out to be SUPER far, so it took about 2 hours to get there.  It was up a mountain and then up some more and then up some more.  The view was gorgeous!  We taught a lesson on prayer.  It was a great lesson, and the Spirit was so strong!  Then, Sister Wilkins and I headed to the church for some training.  I went out with Sister Guild to a member's home.  He made us stir fry with veggies and chicken and rice.  It was so good!  And we spoke English!  He told his conversion story, and I fell in love with his little daughter who is SUPER cute!  When I met back up with Sister Wilkins, she handed me a package from home!  Turns out goldfish and candy and hot chocolate and popcorn have NEVER tasted so good!  Thanks mom and dad!!!

Saturday was great because we met with the woman from Wednesday.  The lesson on prayer and Heavenly Father went really well!  The spirit was there and I was honored to be a part of the lesson.  Then, we met with a couple with a young baby.  We shared a little thought on prayer and they invited us to stay for dinner!  We had a great talk with them, and they invited us to come back and continue teaching them!  We tried to meet with a couple of people afterward, but they were in the countryside, so we headed home. 

Yesterday I went to a missionary meeting with our bishop.  He asked the missionaries a bunch of things and I didn't understand.  Then, Sister Wilkins leaned over to me and asked if I knew how to sew.  I said yes, so she told the bishop.  And then she said, "It looks like you're teaching the women how to sew American blankets on the 23rd!"  So we are going to sew!  And learn words for "thread and needle and sew" in Mongolian!  :)  Church was great!  It's so fun to be around so many wonderful people, even if I understand 10% or less of what they say!  It's always a good time!  We had studies and then had dinner with my MTC teacher, her husband, and his friend.  She fed us traditional Mongolian food.  I tried eating horse for the first time!  Turns out I LOVE horse! 

I love being a missionary!  I pinch myself every day and can't believe how fast my time is going!  I hope you have a great week!  I love you all! 

Sister Bottorff

Sister Bottorff and Sister Wilkins at KFC.
The Ger District where Sister Bottorff works. She said, "No wonder we get lost!"
Celebrating Sister Wilkin's birthday!
The Ger District.