Sunday, October 28, 2012

Mongolia--October 15-28, 2012

 Picture from the top of Zasian Hill which is the place where Elder Neal A. Maxwell dedicated the Land of Mongolia for missionary work in 1993. There are steps up to the top, one step for each of the 300 workers who helped build the monument. You can see part of the city of Ulaabaatar in the background which has a 1,000,000 people.
 The soldier at the hill is holding a concrete flag that is 44 meters tall.
 While we were at Gandin Monastery a wedding couple came to the Buddhist temple. Notice the typical dress that is worn by Mongolians.
 Picture of God's feet at the monastery. Sister Hunt and Sister Farmer are in the picture. They are two of the Mongolian missionaries. If you are a good person then God will step over you but if you are not a good person then He will step on you and crush you.
 There were pigeons all over the grounds of the monastery. We could buy bird seed and they would eat right out our hand.
 Each of these booths held a prayer wheel that a patron uses to offer prayers on behalf of an ancestor. There were seven booths, one for each day of the week. The patron had to turn the prayer wheel three times on the correct day that his or her ancestor died. If they were saying prayers for several ancestors then they had to visit several booths.
 We visited the Black Market in Ulaabaatar. We loved the 100% wool rugs that were made in Erdenet, a city about four hours by taxi from Ulaabaatar. One of these room size rugs costs about $144 US.
 At the Black Market they had many material booths. Sadly the fabric was not a cotton material for making quilts. However the material could have been used to make a beautiful picture type quilt.  The fabric was used to make the typical Mongolian apparel in the earlier picture.
This is the train we rode from Erdenet to Ulaabaatar. We got on the train at 7:40 pm and arrived at 7:40 am. We had a sleeper car that we shared with the Farmers (the Family History couple in Mongolia). The guys had the upper bunks and the girls the lower bunks. The whole train was sleeper cars and was very long.
When we arrived back in Ulaabaatar we discovered it had snowed while we were gone. Notice the snow.
All of the trains and railroad tracks were a gift to the Mongolian people from Russia.
 Garnalee doing training with the Family History consultants in Ulaabaatar. We also did training in Darkhan and Erdenet. We spoke in both Erdenet branches in Sacrament meeting. The training and speaking in Sacrament meeting was made possible with the help of interpreters.
 Tom doing the training of Priesthood leaders in Ulaabaatar. We were blessed that there was a meeting scheduled with the Mission President which he graciously moved back an hour so that we could have all the Priesthood leaders in our meeting.  

 This is an example of the headstones in the cemetery we visited in Ulaabaatar. Part of the cemetery which runs for several miles will be destroyed to make way for buildings. To preserve the information on the headstones the Farmers are working to organize a youth project to photograph and record each of the headstones.

We attended a program of traditional Mongolian dance and music.  This performance was very colorful and we enjoyed it very much.  

 This young lady, a contortionist, did things the human body is unable to do. The picture shows her suspended by a spoon in her month.
The musical instruments of Mongolia only have two strings except for the harp. The music was beautiful and entertaining. The young man on the left is a "throat singer." Throat singing has a deep guttural sound but is very pleasant to listen to.

The flight from Hong Kong to Ulaabaatar was a direct flight of 4 1/2 hours. When we got off the plane we said, "Oh, Idaho weather!!" We were scheduled for 5 days there but we got to stay an extra 2 days because our original return flight was canceled. Dinner the first night cost us $59,600 Tuks. We got half a million dollars out of the ATM machine at The Chinggis Kahn hotel, however that was Mongolian money which was about $360 US. In all we spent $1, 100, 000. We are millionaires.

To my dear sister in Washington, I now understand why you complain about the dry weather in Idaho. Going from Hong Kong to Mongolia was very hard on my skin. My lips were dry constantly and the skin on my legs and feet looked like snake skin.

Anyone that has a car is also a taxi driver if they want to be. You flag them down and negotiate a price for the trip. The roads and sidewalks can be very treacherous with potholes and broken pavement. The cars will dodge into the opposing lane of traffic to avoid a pothole. Tom had the "ride of his life" in the front seat during our four hour ride from Ulaabaatar to Darkhan. For a former driver's ed instructor it was terrifying to have the car dodge into the opposite lane of traffic with a car coming at us at 100 km per hour and no brake on your side.

The training and presentations we gave were well received and hopefully will motivate and inspire the leaders and members of Mongolia to move forward in doing Family History. The Mongolian people are very interested in their ancestors.

In a few weeks we plan to go Jakarta, Indonesia.

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