Friday, January 27, 2017

Week 56 - My companion has finished training!

My companion is officially not a trainee!  She's done with her training!  She's in denial since she wants to be in training still, but she's done!  I'm so proud of her!!!

On Monday I got my hair cut!  I think it looks really cute, and the sister in the ward who cut it wasn't nervous at all (unlike the man who cut my hair this summer)!  After the haircut, we were inspired to do more hair care so we went to eMart and bought some hair stuff.  The evening finished off with the YSA (Young Single Adult) family home evening activities.  So fun!  Everyone learned a polka and I was the rhythm counter.  Thanks, dad, for making me good at rhythm! :)  

Tuesday we met with an investigator and her husband.  They are such an awesome family, and after a short lesson on prayer, we played Don't Eat Pete with M&Ms. I brought rock candy for dessert.  It was a raging success!  They don't have rock candy here, and everyone loved it! :)

On Wednesday we met with our investigator grandma and our 20 year old investigator.  Both lessons went so well.  We talked to our grandma about how her family can be a family unit even after they all pass away.  We talked about the importance of family.  Our 20-year-old is progressing so well and will be baptized this week!  She is so accepting of everything she learns, and she is excited to see the changes and blessings in her life.  We went to institute with her after the lesson, and she loved that, too!  She is making so many friends!  She was so shy when I first met her, and now I can hardly recognize her.  The new light in her eyes is inspiring.  She is glowing.

Thursday we "taught" English.  Nobody came.  But I caught up on a lot of journaling!  So that's a plus!  That was the last day my trainee had official mission trainings, so we went out to eat - and the restaurant we went to is the best!  They give a 10% Mormon discount!  Just cuz we're Mormon!  And their shakes are to die for!  Most shakes here are called shakes but are really just chocolate milk.  But this restaurant has real shakes with ice cream! :)  Heaven!  Then we went home and finished Sister Shreeve's trainings! She is officially ready to make her own way in Mongolia!  But she's in denial. She claims to need many more weeks before she can be functional on her own! I just tell her not to underestimate the past 6 weeks! haha 

Friday was busy with planning for next week and a cute 9-year-old new member.  She had a long string bracelet, and it turned into us all playing Cat's Cradle.  It brought me back to my childhood!  I loved it, and I taught everyone how to play!  We also taught our 20-year-old investigator.  She is so excited to get baptized!  It's been such a pleasure to watch her progression!  

On Saturday we attended a  district meeting followed by a great lesson with our grandma.  We talked about the temple and how beautiful it is.  We talked about how she can go there and have so many blessings from going.  She is so excited!  Our investigators are amazing, and I pinch myself when I think about how blessed I am to be in this ward with my companion and with the investigators and members here.

Sunday just proved that more.  As I sat in sacrament meeting, I couldn't help but smile.  It was such a special feeling as I looked around at the people I have been loving and serving the past 5 months.  They are so dear to my heart.  The little boy who got baptized a few weeks ago and smiled at me every time he glanced in my direction. The little girl we taught who saw us and screamed, "BOTTORFF!!" and gave me the biggest hug. My sweet members who smile and wave and have me in their home each week with open hearts and open arms.  It's the bishopric members and the relief society members who are so open and excited to welcome our investigators with love and kindness.  I can't imagine being anywhere else.  Heavenly Father has blessed me beyond my ability to express.

I started reading a fresh copy the Book of Mormon recently, and I decided to mark every time Christ is mentioned.  I mark it in blue and then mark His words in yellow.  You should try it!  Wanna know if the Book of Mormon is ACTUALLY another testament of Jesus Christ in which we can learn about Him and what kind of person He is?  Try it!  I dare you! :) 

I love you all!  Thank you for everything!  I am so grateful to have family and friends who support me!!  


Sister Bottorff

A good sandwich is great...

but playing Cat's Cradle is the best!

It really was time for a hair cut :)

Walking in the snow at sunset...

Sending messages in the snow!

Snow angel!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Week 55 - More growth

Well, time is moving by so quickly.  But life is so good!  Last Monday was so fun!  My companion and I just treated ourselves and rested.  We had a blast eating pizza and shopping around the black market and looking at little shops.  It felt like we were on vacation.  And I loved it!  For FHE we went to the church with our investigator and played games and participated in the spiritual thought with the young single adults of UB.  Turns out they are all really fun and fashionable and awesome.  My investigator made friends so fast!  She's doing REALLY well, by the way! :)

On Tuesday we met with a new member who has been super busy lately.  But she is so cute and she has such a strong testimony.  We shared a scripture with her before heading over to our other investigator's house.  We brought Sister Harper with us! :) I translated and it was so fun!  My investigator LOVES Sister Harper (not that I blame her one bit) and she keeps asking when she'll come back with us! We taught about tithing and fasting and ate delicious food!  Teaching with Sister Harper was so fun!  She is so friendly and fun and I learned a lot from her, even though we just taught one lesson with her!  I'm grateful for a mission president's wife who takes time to go out and teach with us!

Wednesday was English class.  Two girls came and we had so much fun with them!  We talked about the old wives’ tales that they heard as kids.  For example, they said if you cry in bed your mom will die. Luckily, that's not true.  And it's a good thing I never cry in my bed. After class we taught our investigator that had gone to family home evening with us.  She is progressing so well - her baptismal date is set for February 4!  She asks amazing questions.  My companion and I went to institute (young adult religion class) after the lesson, and we were both spiritually fed.  It's a really cool feeling to go to institute in a different language and actually gain something from the lesson!  Hello, miracles in my life! :)

On Thursday we had zone training and my companion gave a talk!  In Mongolian! And I was so proud!!!  She wrote it all by herself and I only helped a TINY bit with translation!  I'm so happy for her!  YAY!!  Zone training was so good!  We learned about how to be better teachers.  I can always use trainings like that!  I love new ideas!  Afterward we went out to dinner with Sister Olsen and Sister Wilcox.  We ate delicious sandwiches at eMart.  I love that place.  And I love those sisters.  

Friday we had a fun adventure because we went on a member split.  Two returned missionaries in the ward became our temporary companions while we taught two lessons at the same time!  It's awesome!  My lesson went GREAT!!  The girls we taught were so cute and hungry to learn more.  My companion, on the other hand, didn't have a single lesson, despite having appointments made and then calling everyone in the phone.  But she eased the pain by getting a chocolate bar with gummy bears and pop rocks inside the chocolate. Gotta love what people will teach us! :)  It's a party in your mouth!  

Saturday we met with a newish investigator and ate rice soup with meat.  Literally a bowlful of rice with boiling water (to make soup) and meat chunks.  Not too bad!  And the lesson was so good.  We taught about Jesus Christ and how He suffered for her sins and sorrows.  I love teaching that because not only does it help the people we teach, but it strengthens my convictions and gratitude for my Savior.  We also met with our new member again and another investigator that day.  This investigator has a daughter who is a returned missionary our age, and she rode the bus part of the way home with us.  It was so fun to talk to her and laugh about her fun post-mission life!  She's so cute!  I love the members here!  Their examples help me to be better because they are so giving, fun, kind, and full of pure love.  

Church was good yesterday.  My ability to understand and translate is getting better and better!  We also met with a different investigator and made huushuur together.  Good times - especially when she got out white stuff and cut it up.  My companion was like, "Is that fish??" And I was like..."no...that's fat....."  Oh the good life in Mongolia!  The adventures never end!

I'm so blessed to be here.  Sometimes I feel weird (after eating large amounts of fat) but I feel like I'm in the right place doing the right thing.  Sometimes I walk up a mountain covered in snow and ice and gers and smoke and think to myself, "I would have NEVER pictured myself randomly walking by gers in the middle of Mongolia on a random Tuesday!"  But I'm so glad I do!  Also when I'm on busses where there's not even room enough to breathe out because there are so many people I have the same kind of thought.  But with all the crazy, I also never would have guessed that on a random Tuesday I would meet with a woman who, only months ago, was not excited about even hearing about Christ.  But now, through changes brought by many different sources, she is scheduled to be baptized so that she can commit fully to following her Savior.  She KNOWS Him now.  And through watching her growth over the past few months, I've grown.  I love Mongolia.  I love my Savior.  I love my mission!

Love you!

Sister Bottorff

We've reached our...

1 year mark!

I love huushuur - it's a great comfort food :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Week 54 - I've been out a year already!

It's been another great week here in Mongolia!  Super busy and fun!  

Monday we went down and got measured for the traditional dresses our new member is making!  I am so excited!  I forgot what my fabric looked like, but I got to see it again, and now I'm excited! :)  We then went and shared family home evening with a wonderful family!  I love doing family home evening because the families are so cute and we always have a fun time together.  The moon was also amazing that night.

Tuesday we visited a sister in the ward who has cancer.  It was a sacred feeling in the ger, as her health is slowly declining.  But she is a trooper, and people are taking such good care of her.  We also visited our nine year old investigator and taught her about prophets.  She is so fun, and every time we see her, she screams and runs to us and hugs us. :)

On Wednesday we had a district meeting at the White's house and had the best cookies of my life.  I don't know how she works such magic on her cookies since my cookies ALWAYS turn out like biscuits here.  I gave up for a while and just made breads because my cookies were like breads and my breads were like breads, but now that I've had her cookies, I'm on a quest.  New mission goal.  After the district meeting, we had two really awesome lessons with our investigators.  The first, a twenty year old girl, had a lesson about the Plan of Salvation.  She is such a deep thinker, and I love it.  She asked where exactly God lives and why we needed to get bodies in order to progress.  I loved answering her questions and talking to her.  Our next lesson was with our other investigator, and we talked about baptism and confirmation and the Sabbath day.  I love talking about these things because they bring so many blessings.  I love our investigators so much!  

Thursday was our day to teach English, and nobody came except the two people who popped their heads in to say hi and then left.  Sister Shreeve and I passed the time with journal writing and cookie eating.  And then we had a really fun gospel lesson with our investigator that night.  We had a recently returned missionary come with us, and then on the bus, we ran into another lady from our ward, and she came to the lesson, too!  It was basically a party!  And I'm not gonna lie, I didn't understand almost anything that happened (that's what happens when a ton of Mongolians got together and's just so fast paced and I can't keep up) but everyone felt the Spirit and it was a great night!  

FRIDAY WAS MY YEAR MARK!!!  We had a party with our MTC (Missionary Training Center) group sisters, and I made tacos and Sister Shreeve made a cake and decorated my room! I love my companion!!!  We had so much fun catching up and reflecting on the past year.  These girls are like my sisters now!   I love them so much!  Then I had a meeting with President Harper.  He is such a good man, and he is so good at giving advice and keeping calm.  Sometimes it feels like a big weight is on my shoulders as I try to help others come to know Christ.  It's a BIG deal!  But he has a great way of recognizing that while also keeping calm and helping me feel like it's something that I can do!  I love it!  After the interview we planned for the week and then went to a baptism for a family the Elders taught. I led the music and we ate cake and then we went on an STL (Sister Training Leader) split.  I was with Sister Kerby!

My day with Sister Kerby was so fun!  She and I talked a lot and I learned a lot from her.  We talked about what we're learning and how much fun missions are!  We also taught a few lessons!  We taught a brand new investigator, who is really excited to learn more.  We will go back next week a few times and teach her more!  Then we taught our investigator grandma - her whole family was in town!  So we all talked about God and how He has given us families.  It was so much fun, and we had a great conversation.  Then we visited another investigator who has been busy for a while.  We talked about sharing the light of Christ.  We are making xuushuur together next week.  And then after some miscommunication, we didn't meet with our other investigator, but we did meet with a cute returned missionary and her family!  I love her!  And she is always so good and nice to us!  We finished off the day making goals and then switching back.  And I got a package!  It was filled with happiness and Christmas joy!  I loved it!! Thanks, family! :)

Yesterday we talked in the long distance branch!  People from all over Mongolia who live really far from church services sit over the phone.  We got to give talks, and it was so fun!  I talked about repentance.  Then we attended church services and after church and studies, we went to the Sutphin's (the senior missionary couple who runs the branch) house for dinner!  We had a lovely evening! :) Thank you, Sutphins! 

I love my mission!  I can't believe it's been a year since I started this amazing adventure!  I love the people more than I knew I had the ability to love.  And I have grown so much!  I am so excited to see what's in store in the coming 6 months.  If it's anything like the last 12, I can't wait!  It's going to stretch me and be a fun and crazy adventure!  

I love you all!

Sister Bottorff

< Sorry - no new photos this week >