Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Week 26 - Goats, pizza, great service, and a cool museum!

The time is flying here!!  Elections are exciting, and there are signs everywhere.  And people visiting every house from every party.  It's so busy!  And I'm honestly looking forward to it being over.  But at the same time, it's really cool to see how excited people are to vote!!  It's [the weather] also been pretty cool.  Surprisingly so.  It's been rainy at nights, which makes for cooler mornings.  Thank goodness.  The only downside is the battle I have with the mosquitoes every day.  It's seriously a war.  My companion and I hit them off each other every few minutes.  And I look like I had an air-soft war.  The battle rages on....

On Monday, we checked out the Hovd museum!  We saw all sorts of fun animals and traditional clothing and fun artifacts from who knows when.  And it was a great time!  We also shopped and got stuff done around the apartment, so I felt rested and happy afterward.  We had a really cool Family Home Evening activity with the young single adults.  Well, only 2 came, but it was really good.  We talked about wearing the armor of God.  And it made everyone want to be better and stronger.  

On Tuesday we made a map of Hovd.  I can't seem to find any maps around here, and I need one to learn my way around.  Also, we were a little nervous because a really big transfer was happening on Wednesday, and I didn't want to be left alone in Hovd with a new companion and not know my way around.  Don't worry!  I'm still with my companion even though most of the missionaries got switched around! :)  Then, we taught a member how to make some American food.  We made pizza and shared a lesson!  They loved it!!  And so did I!  And then we had a district meeting.  It was really fun because we had 2 districts there, so I got to see lots of sisters in UB!  It made me happy to see them!  We finished the night with a visit to a little grandma and another lesson after that.  Life is good and busy!

Wednesday was fun because we made Xuushuur and buuz.  I struggled making them look pretty, but my companion is really good, and they tasted so good!  The xuushuur had beef and the buuz had goat meat.  Delicious!  Then, we did service with our investigator.  She owns a second hand shoe shop, and she needed help making the new shipment of shoes pretty.  We stuffed shoes with paper and plastic and cardboard to make them look pretty! :)  I loved serving!  Then we had another few lessons.  Then we visited a sister in the ward who just had a baby.  We brought her the traditional cookies and juice.  And then they said they were going to name their baby that night!  Mongolians have a really cool ceremony to name their baby!  So everyone puts a name idea on a slip of paper.  They roll it up tightly and put it in a bowl.  Then they put rice on top of the names.  And then they shake the bowl until a name surfaces.  This couple did the first 3 and decided on one.  Then, they pick the name and whisper it in the baby's ear 3 times.  Super cool!!!  

On Thursday we visited a bunch of people!  We taught some and just dropped by to see other people.  And it was super-hot and the mosquitoes were really bad.  But we made it through and I'm a survivor.  

Friday we planned for the week. And I made cookies.  Because nobody should have to plan for the upcoming week for hours without treats.  It's a rule.  After planning we taught and visited people and found a puppy!  Like a day old puppy.  That fit in my palm.  Literally.  So cute.  And I ate buuz for dinner at a member's house.  They taught me a different way to make them pretty!  So I'm excited.  And the inside was stomach.  Yup.  Sheep stomach all ground up.  Nice.  And God helped me eat them.  So many blessings! :)

On Saturday we cleaned the church building with the relief society sisters.  We scrubbed walls and doors and chairs and floors and bathrooms.  The church looked so good!  And then we went to a member's house who lives about 5 minutes outside of town.  And they own 600 goats.  And it's such a beautiful place.  And we milked the goats!  They corralled them, got the 450 males out of the corral, and lined up the females.  They tied them up and started down the line.  They milked them, and I tried.  By the end I was kinda getting the hang of it.  I'm clearly not a farm girl...but I had so much fun!  

Yesterday at church, the branch president’s counselor got up and announced that I was on the program!  So I had no time and had to give a talk!  Ahhh!! And I did it!  Well I prayed a TON first, and took a deep breath and did it.  And I wasn't anywhere near perfect.  But that's ok.  We also had 3 girls just walk into church because they want to check it out.  We will meet with them this week.  And a girl from Unur came for a visit to Hovd with her friend, so I got to see her!  It's not very often I see familiar faces! :)  The rest of the day was spent studying and visiting.  

I love being a missionary!  I'm learning so much and trying to help people as much as I can!  I love that as I give more of myself, the Lord gives me more than I can receive.  I feel so blessed!  Love you all!

Sister Bottorff

A fun museum exhibit

A mask carved from stone

Sharing pizza with a wonderful family

This is buzz...

and Xuushuur

Lots of goats!

Milking them is not as easy as it looks!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Week 25

Hello from Hovd!

This week went by really fast!  On Monday, we made cinnamon rolls and brought them to our FHE activity!  It was fun to introduce everyone to cinnamon rolls!  Everyone loved them!  We did a testimony meeting, and it was a great evening!  Also, Hovd is known for three things.  Mosquitoes, Dust Storms, and Watermelon.  The watermelon doesn't come out til August, but the mosquitoes are certainly out!  I got like 10 bites on Monday alone...

On Tuesday, we taught 3 lessons and a few others got cancelled, so we met with other people who lived nearby.  It was a great day, and it was a little cooler outside, which made for a much more enjoyable day.  Our investigators are so awesome! :)

On Wednesday, it was. SO. HOT.  They said it was like 90 degrees F, and we tried to go quickly from house to house.  The gers actually stay pretty cool, which is awesome!  We also taught institute that night.  Well, my companion taught!  haha  I'm not quite there yet with my language...After institute, we taught another lesson.  All this teaching makes the days fly.  

On Thursday, we taught more lessons and ran mutual and had district meeting via Skype.  It is always fun to see other missionaries, and we had a great discussion about President Benson's top 4 things he wants us to remember.  1.  Obedience brings power.  2.  Make daily personal study the most important habit you develop.  3.  Work hard.  4.  Be happy.  It's good advice for everyone!  We are trying to be obedient, and it really is bringing power.  It makes life so much better and happier!  And when I work hard, I really am happy! :)  

Friday was our big weekly plan, and next week is going to be interesting.  All the youth left this morning for a week long youth conference near UB.  And most of the other people in Hovd are working at election places.  The election is coming up next week, so everyone working there is always working.  So we will have to be creative next week as we try to meet with people.  But we taught 2 lessons that night, and they went really well.  We tried to meet with one set of sisters, but they weren't home, so we went to a neighbor who is a less active member.  He speaks English and French, so he spoke in French to me.  I tried to remember how to talk back to him, but I couldn't think of a single French word.  Not from all the years I spent in French class.  haha  Our other investigator was so awesome, as usual!  She committed to live the word of wisdom, and I know it will bless her life.  She also has the cutest kids!  2 teenagers and a little baby.  And the baby is so cute.  I can hardly stand it.  

On Saturday, we helped a ward member build a ger!  It was awesome!  It goes on in layers.  First the frame, then the posts go up to hold the roof up.  Then, we put a white sheet on the roof.  Then, big sheets of wool go around the ger.  There are 2 layers.  Then, the wool goes on the roof.  And then the outer cover.  It was awesome to learn how to build a ger!  Then we did studies, cleaned the church, went to a ward council meeting, and taught 2 lessons.  It was a grand old day!  It was also cloudy, so we thought it would rain, but it didn't! Thank goodness!  

Yesterday, we had church, and then we had Skype interviews with President Benson.  He leaves in a week or two, and it makes me so sad!  He really is great, and I'll miss him!  But I'm excited for the Harpers to come!  The interview was so good, and it really lifted my spirits.  It helped me to gain perspective and set goals to be better.  We also taught 3 lessons yesterday, which makes me happy!  

Life is good.  I'm excited to see what this week brings!  And I'm so grateful for the experiences I'm having.  They are making me stretch, but when you stretch, you grow!  It's all about perspective, right? :)  Love you all!

Sister Bottorff

Fresh cinnamon rolls - it doesn't get much better than this!

Helping to build a ger. The frame is almost complete.

Starting to add insulation...

It's ready for the cover...


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Week 24

Well, I'm still alive and I'm still in Hovd!  So both are good signs, right?? :)

After we emailed last week, we shopped and went home.  I did my nails, and nail therapy is always good for the soul. :)  I also made banana bread to bring to FHE.  We hosted an FHE with the YSAs and ate banana bread (which they LOVED and had never tried) and played games after a spiritual thought.  Then, we went to a lesson with an investigator and taught the Plan of Salvation.  We brought two members with us.  One of them is a returned missionary, and he kept complimenting my Mongolian.  It's the little things!

Tuesday was a really busy day!  It was super-hot and we had 5 lessons.  I ate stomach soup.  And didn't throw up! :)  It really is the little things! :)  We had lunch with some people who were in town from UB and it was a really great time.  There were some American tourists in the restaurant and I felt really awkward.  And strange.  I don't see white people very often.....well...like never.....Anyway....One of the investigators we visited got really nervous to have an American in her home.  She cleaned and asked me all the time if the food was good and if I was comfortable.  She was so cute!  I assured her that I was perfectly happy! :)  We had a lesson that night with an investigator, and the men from UB came to the lesson with us.  They were awesome, and they said just the right things.  As we were leaving, we were saying goodbye because they were going back to UB the next morning, and the men said super nice things to me. They said, " This is really hard and far from home and so different from anything, but you will be great.  You are awesome!  You are the man!"  Hahaha

On Wednesday, we taught 4 lessons.  And they were all really good.  We stay so busy!  It is really warm, but it's been raining, which is nice and keeps me cooler.  Also, on Wednesday, I lost my voice.  Like I've sounded like I'm a teenage boy.  And it's even worse when I speak Mongolian.  And I still sound like one today...

Thursday was good because we taught and prepared the youth for their youth conference by teaching them Come Come Ye Saints in Mongolian.  It sounds so pretty!!  We also had district meeting, and it made me so happy!  We spoke in English and I saw other missionaries again!  It's been quite an adjustment to go from seeing tons of missionaries almost every day to being the only set of missionaries for hundreds of miles.  But it made me feel so happy to see them!

On Friday, we planned and taught 2 lessons. One about the priesthood and one about the Plan of Salvation.  I also ate goat.  I'm surprising myself almost every day with the things I'm eating and holding down. :)  Go me!

On Saturday we met with the Branch President and taught 5 other lessons.  It was crazy busy but so good!  Our investigators are doing so well, and I love them more and more as I meet with them.  

Yesterday after church, we taught 4 lessons.  It was awesome to meet more people and get to know them better.  Sooner or later my voice will also come back, which would be a bonus!  

This week has stretched me, and it has also been a great time to see the tender mercies in my life.  The little blessings are abundant, and they really add up!  I teach every day that God knows us and loves us, and it's been a really great blessing to really feel that in such a personal way here in Hovd.  I'm so blessed!  I hope you all have a great week!


Sister Bottorff