Friday, May 26, 2017

Week 73 - It's Colorado in Mongolia, and faceplants!

I went to Colorado this week for P-Day.  We hiked Bogd mountain, and the whole time the 3 Coloradans in the group kept getting overwhelming feelings that we were back in Colorado.  It felt like home!  It felt so nice to breathe the fresh air and feel the warmth of the sun and to finally get to the top after quite a hot and steep hike up.  But it was breathtakingly beautiful!  We died a little afterward.  I may have been sore up until yesterday.

We had zone conference this week, and they assigned the STLs (Sister Training Leaders – I’m one) and Zone Leaders to come up with activities that would last an hour.  They also encouraged us to get people out of their seats.  I thought everyone would hate my idea of playing Book of Mormon character charades, but it turned out to be a party!  The people in our zone were divided up into 4 groups and rotated every 15 minutes.  And the charades station was sometimes a little too fun.  I had fun running the station and seeing the over-the-top presentations of the characters.  One was Abinadi, and one of the sisters was wearing a yellow skirt that she waved around to act out the fire.  One was the story of Nephi on the boat, and the characters were making me a little sea sick with the way they portrayed the boat, leaning and running sideways around the room in perfect synchronization.  

I went on 2 splits this week!  One with Ulziitei in Jargalant and one with Sister Brezenski in Bayngol.  The views from the ger in Jargalant made me almost pass out.  I was in love. I miss ger districts a lot.  Being back climbing mountains and looking out over vast rolling hills of gers and little shacks made me feel like I was home again.  That day was rainy and cold, but we had a blast!  It was also National Marathon Day, so the main roads were closed, encouraging people to get out and walk and bike.  We spent the majority of the day in the middle of the road! :)  

My split with Sister Brezenski was also super fun!  It consisted of a lunch appointment with an overload of food, KFC, good talks, and good times.  We are going to go to the big Chinggis (Khan) statue together today!  I love Sister Brezenski!  

Our investigator family is doing so well!  The triplets will be baptized on June 2.  Their parents will follow in a couple of weeks.  They are amazing examples of faith and willingness to follow their Savior.  The kids were decorating cookies as we walked in for the lesson on Sunday night. With excitement, they presented 3D cookies of us, flowers, and other creations.  They are quite the artists.  They proceeded to answer the baptismal interview questions with ease and faith.  They are such good examples to me.  I love them so much, and I'm grateful that I can be in these sacred places with these most incredible people.  

I've been thinking a lot this week about love.  Mostly because my heart feels like it's going to burst every time I see my ward members and my investigators.  I'm smitten.  And I think it's a little tiny portion of what Heavenly Father feels for us.  Little babies were waddling around Sacrament meeting this Sunday.  One would take a step or two and literally faceplant on the ground.  But everyone just looked at him and smiled.  And helped him up.  He didn't seem phased at all.  Not the 1st or 10000th time.  And I think that's what God does for us.  He sees us faceplant and instead of freaking out, He lovingly reaches out to help us up.  He smiles.  And sets us straight and doesn't look back.  What's repaired is never brought up again.  I love it.  And I'm so very thankful.


Sister Bottorff

Who knew - Colorado just outside Ulaanbaatar!

This looks just like the entrance to a Colorado state park...

but with an amazing view of UB

I love the air in the pines

I love crab cakes! Crab Pringles - hmmmm...

These ger districts are special to me

Chiggis Khan is still larger than life!

Dinner in a ger within a restaurant

For all the wonders of Mongolia, the people are the most wonderful!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Week 72 - Mothers' Day and a walk to the river...

So… I basically had one of the best P-Days ever!  Turns out my companion is a gourmet cook, so she whipped together a beautiful sandwich made of roasted vegetables and we headed to the river by our house.  It was awesome.  And the weather was perfect.  We went just in time to miss the mosquitoes.  And the food was so good.  It was so relaxing.  We continued walking and ended up at the Zaisan national monument.  The view is breathtaking, and it was so fun to look out and recognize the areas I have come to know and love. Those are the places where I've grown and learned and laughed and cried.  And the people I've come to love are living in those gers on the mountainside.  I love Mongolia.

The choir performed at Stake Conference this weekend.  One of the members of the quorum of the 70 (a church general authority) came and gave a great talk during the Saturday night session about loving our neighbors and serving them.  Later we were talking to the Stake President, who lives near our apartment, so he and his wife offered to drive us home.  They had to drop off the member of the 70 at his hotel first.  We jumped at that opportunity and had a nice little talk on the way to drop him off.  He is such a kind and good man.  I loved the opportunity to talk with him more casually.  The men who lead the Church are such good people.  And they work so hard to try to make the world a better place.  I'm so grateful I had that chance.  The Sunday session was also great.  The choir sang, and it went really well.  It was great to play the piano again - I have missed it!  I got a million requests for piano lessons.  And people were so kind afterward.  

We have been walking non-stop here.  Why take a bus or taxi when you can walk?  The weather is absolutely perfect, and I can't get enough of the sunshine and warmth on my face.  That hasn't happened in a long time.  I'm also sporting a pretty sweet, faint, of course, tan line from my missionary shoes.  It's pretty great!  

I got to Skype home for Mother's day, too!  That was the best part of my week!  I miss my family, but it was so good to see them all!  It really made me happy to see them and talk with them like we were all together again, in person. They are the best!  

Life is good. Sorry for the short update.  But I love you all!  And I hope you have a great week!

Sister Bottorff

A really pretty gate in a really pretty fence in really pretty light

Ah - I love my life!

Yes - I really love my life!

Fun time at the river

Genghis Khan on a hillside

Panoramas are awesome!

A great view of the city

Sitting on a high wall looking at the city

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Week 71 - Sugar coma!

Hey everyone!  

So this week was super fun! I got to go to Unur and take my companion fabric shopping!  We met up with my new member from Unur and she helped us shop.  It turns out my companion is a pro. She was super calm about fabric shopping and got her fabric in about 30 minutes.  I can't explain how impressed I was, considering the hours on end I spent almost ripping out my hair and wanting to give up.  In my defense, there were just so many options and I had no idea what I wanted.  It's an overwhelming experience for someone like me.  But I guess my companion needed no help.  She just wasn't stressed at all.  And her fabric is beautiful.  I'm excited to see the finished product (deel / dress)!  We also emailed from a super fun place last week.  It looked pretty futuristic. The lights were turned off and all the computers and mice and keyboards were lit in neon.  And the keyboards clicked louder than normal.  It made me want to be a professional gamer when I get older.  Ha totally kidding.  Anyway...

We got to be in a companionship of three for 24 hours!  Sister Brezenski was waiting for her trainee to arrive from the Philippines Missionary Training Center, so we got to be together.  Sister Brezenski was trying to get over a bad cold, so we went to her house and deep cleaned while she slept.  And then we walked over to the grocery store and my companion fell in love with these Belgian waffle cone things filled with cream.  Yum.  With the new groceries, we made banana cake with cinnamon glaze.  They tasted better than they sound.  They tasted so good that we left them at her house and then made our own the next day.  And then we were in a sugar coma.  Oops.  

The Stake Conference choir is sounding absolutely beautiful.  After about 2 hours of practice, they went from not knowing parts at all to singing parts with the piano accompaniment.  It felt so good to be back at the piano.  With beautiful singers.  I melted.  

On the way to English class, we happened upon a really fun Russian singing competition.  And the one song my Mongolian companion tried to teach me was the one song that we saw!  It was awesome!  Other than that, the students were adorable, as always.  One girl spoke NO English and it reminded me of my first little bit in Mongolia.  It's not a fun feeling, but I know she'll improve with time.  

Remember that sugar coma?  Yeah.  Well it all started when my companion had to get her blood drawn for her visa.  And we went to lunch afterward with Sister Wilcox and Sister Weaver.  We ate at the best bakery ever and stuffed ourselves silly with savory donuts and cream cheese tarts and peach pies.  Heaven, I tell you.  Then, we went home and taste tested the candies and goodies in Sister Tillemann-Dick's newly arrived package.  And then we opened our fridge and it had 2 bananas that were perfect for making banana bread.  They were kinda funky smelling, so we HAD to make banana cake RIGHT THEN.  And after all that, we felt pretty sick.  I couldn't bring myself to eat anything healthy because I didn't want to eat anything more.  Oops. You'd think I would have learned by now...

Oh yeah - the elders in our ward keep making cupcakes.  I'm not complaining.  They share every time.

Our investigator family is doing so well!  They are progressing and loving what they learn.  Next time we will teach them the 10 commandments!  As they progress, I feel so blessed to be a part of their progression.  It's really fun to see people who are good turn into people who are even better.  I have experienced that so many times.  The people here are all such good people and it's so fun to see them come to have more peace in their lives as they follow the example of Jesus Christ.  It's the way to true happiness.  And I've seen that in myself and in so many others.  

Love you all!

Sister Bottorff

A monument to the Fab 4 (Fab 5?)

I never dreamed that I'd be sitting next to a Beatle!

There's got to be a good reason for painting the tree...

Isn't this cool??

THIS is how to cut onions :)

I dropped my ice cream. Oh, well...