Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Week 78 - French food, protecting eggs, and a battle with stickers

Well, I have inadvertently kept a photo shop in business.  I have tried my best not to spend an arm and a leg and a mini fortune there, but the Mongolian photos are just too fun to resist.  I have such cute pictures from last week!  Sorry I can't stop.  And I'm also sorry because I haven't actually seen the finished product yet, but we sure had fun on Pday last week getting them!  And my cute companion just hit her year mark, so we celebrated with her MTC group sisters and ate lunch at the best little French bakery called Tous les Jours.  It's pure heaven.  That day it was pouring.  The pictures are on the other cameras, but when I get them I'll forward them.  Everyone was soaked, and it was quite the sight to see.  We flagged down a taxi after standing in the pouring rain for a while, and 6 of us stuffed ourselves in.  The Mongolian law says only one person can be in the front seat, but it doesn't matter how many were in the back.  So we put the most soaked sister up in the front and then everyone else sat on laps.  5 adults in the back seat.  Good times.  And our taxi driver had just purchased a tray of 30 eggs.  I had the job to keep the eggs safe, despite all 5 of us squished in the back.  
My ward is so good to me.  Have I ever said that? I can't say it enough!  They are so good!  They set up a dinner calendar, and we have been loving going to the different houses and getting to know everyone better.  We went to one beautiful home where one of the daughters is a student at BYU Hawaii.  So I kinda made plans to go to Hawaii.  I can't pass up that kind of offer!  And she fed us chocolate covered macadamia nuts.  I'm pretty sure heaven is in Hawaii, and I got a taste of it this past week.  We also met with the bishop's sweet family, and the little 2 year old daughter lovingly licked my arm as I gave the spiritual thought.  It got nice and moist.  And it kept her busy through the lesson.  We all got a good laugh.  
During church yesterday, we brought a cute little sticker mosaic activity to do with kids who seemed bored.  The idea was that the parents could listen and we could keep the kids happy!  It was a success!  So we pulled it out during Sunday school for the 2 little toddlers.  The activity was maybe a little advanced, but we were having a great time!  The kids were happy and quiet.  And then, I had to go to the bathroom pretty badly, so we left. And when we came back, there were sticker backings ALL over the floor and little mosaic stickers stuck in the toddler's hair and on the ground and on the chairs.  Probably not the most spiritual lesson I've ever sat in, but it was pretty funny.  The parents laughed at the end of the lesson, but in my defense, I had it all cleaned up by the closing remarks of the lesson.  So I guess we win some and lose some.  Maybe I won't try mosaics with my toddlers when I'm a mom.  Lesson learned.  
This week has been great overall.  I love the people here.  I love my calling to be a missionary, and I'm so grateful the Lord allowed me to come here of all places.  Heavenly Father is so kind and merciful, and I'm learning more and more about His love every day.  I feel so happy and loved getting licked on the arm.  And I feel so many tender mercies in eating macadamia nuts and talking about Hawaii.  And even through making a big mess in Sunday school, I felt God's love for His children.  That's what my mission is doing for me.  My capacity to love is getting bigger and stronger and faster.  Instant love is what I feel when I'm surrounded by God's beautiful children each and every day.
Love you all!
Sister Bottorff

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Week 77 - I'm a grandma!

What a week!  We went to the most lovely cultural show last pday!  It was complete with a contortionist and throat singers and dancers and a FULL orchestra that included every traditional Mongolian instrument.  Like a clarinet shaped as a ram horn.  And beautiful instruments I can't even describe because I'm not exactly sure what they looked like.  Sister Olsen and Sister Shreeve joined us, and right before the show, Sister Shreeve got a call announcing that she would be training a new sister missionary!  Since I trained her, it feels like my daughter is having a daughter!  And I'm so excited!  Glad I got to be with her in that moment! :)  The show was amazing.  And we topped it off with gelato on the city square afterward.  The perfect night.  
Our sweet grandma was coming down her apartment stairs as we were going to visit her.  She linked arms with us and swept us away.  We can't really understand each other, so we simply followed her lead.  And she led us to a government health office where she walked in and was a celebrity!  Everyone called her name with such love and kindness. And they gifted her a brand new cane!  She was so excited!  Everyone was taking her picture and beaming with excitement.  We all walked home together.  Sister TD held the cane.  Why use a cane when you have 2 sister missionaries?? :)  She's a smart one.
Monday night was transfer calls.  Sister TD left me and I am staying in Tuul.  That makes a total of 5 areas on my mission!  My new companion is Sister Austin!  She's really great.  She's my 9th and final companion.   Looks like I have a clean run of practically perfect companions!  I'm so blessed!  Sister Austin is fun and works hard and is so kind and happy!  So basically, I'm happy!  
It was hard to say goodbye to Sister TD.  I won't say if we shed tears or not as we said our final goodbye prayer together before leaving the house. But even if we did, we got bingsu (Korean shaved ice) on the way to transfer on Wednesday because there would be no other way to end a perfect 2 transfers.  She'll do great in her new ward, though.  I have no doubt.
Since transfers, we have had some really great experiences.  One being that we were referred to a new investigator!  She is so prepared!  How did this come to be?  Well, let me tell you.  Two elders were walking down the street in another area when the young woman’s dad stopped them and said she would be coming to school in Utah in August, and that she wanted to learn more about Mormons.  So, we got the referral and met with her yesterday.  She is lovely in every way.  And so receptive to the Spirit.  Miracles happen.  Every day.  There's no way I could ever question that fact.  
Another miracle?  I have one!  We cleaned the church on Saturday and who showed up to clean other than the FIRST Mongolian I met in the MTC!  She's home from her mission in Utah, and she met my family while she was serving at temple square.  Coincidences don't happen! :)  And also a sweet sister missionary I met when I got to UB who was waiting for her visa also returned home and went to an appointment with us!  She remembered my name when she saw me in the church one day, and I couldn't believe it!  My name is hard for people!  And we met like twice!  But it's no surprise, really, because she's basically the best.  I love Mongolian people.  I think I annoy my companion sometimes because I say SO often that the people here melt my heart.  But I promise that every time I say it, I MEAN IT!  I love my people!  I love my mission!  And I'm feeling like I'm on top of the world!
Love you!

Sister Bottorff

Gelato makes a hot, sunny day really cool!

Three generations of sisters - me, my daughters, and a grand daughter :)

No wonder cashmere is so soft...

I just loved this sight!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Week 76 - Tom's, Twix, and tender mercies...


Another great week has come and gone!  Time keeps flying!  Tonight, I get my LAST transfer call ever!  And I can't believe it.  I'm kind of in shock, but I'm excited to see what my last transfer has in store!  

As for this week, though....

It's been great!  On Pday we went shopping with Sister Tillery and Sister Mason!  I got some summer clothes and some cute Toms!  Real life Toms and they were $12!  I'm in love with this place!  My companion also bought Easter lilies for me.  Just because.  I'm so spoiled.  And the flowers have been gracing our presence ever since.  When I study across the room from them, I can smell their goodness.  

Our investigator family is doing just great!  The triplets are off to camp.  I miss them so much.  But they will be back soon.  And I can't wait to see them! :)  I love them so much!  

We went to Hard Rock for lunch this week with Sister Shreeve and Sister Olsen.  Good times.  The food is to die for, and the company was top notch.  I love the sisters in my mission!  They are the best!  Sister Olsen heads home this week! It's been fun to spend some quality time with her! :)

The sweet grandma that we visit got knee surgery this week.  She walked there and back all by herself. She didn't tell anyone she'd be getting the surgery, and we happened to stop by RIGHT as she was walking in.  So we helped her home.  It was a tender mercy.  I may have had a mini heart attack, but all is well now, thank goodness.

We also visited another wonderful grandma.  We stopped by unannounced, and she was excited to see us.  Unprepared to greet us with snacks, she sent the men of her house to the store, and halfway through the lesson, we were interrupted with a bag of Twix and a thing of cookies.  She forced us to stuff them in our bags and take them home.  She's the best!  On the way home, we came across a cute little group of kids riding their bikes and hanging out, so we handed out the Twix.  They were so excited, and it made me happy, too! :)

Life is so good!  So full of blessings!  This week has been no different.  

Love you all!

Sister Bottorff

Real Tom's - they're so comfy!

Lunch at Hard Rock! What else can I say?

These lilies warm my heart

The pollen is so thick it looks almost like snow

I love the countryside here

I still haven't ridden a camel, but these statues are cool!