Saturday, June 29, 2013

Learning lessons

I'm learning many lessons these days, like how to interpret between Mongolian and Sign Language, or learning that losing a wallet is unpleasant and a big headache. I am learning through my work here how important it is to be and have a righteous father. I thought about that on Father's Day.  I'm learning more about the city of Ulaanbaatar since we get around in teaching our investigators.  My companion and I met up with one of our investigators in a big city square near a giant statue of Chinggis Khaan--a different one than we visited a few weeks ago.  I'm always learning more about how to work hard and be an effective missionary. I'm grateful for the time off from teaching school so that we can work full time as missionaries.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Silent Life

Well, I have had my first week in my new area assigned to teach in Mongolian Sign Language.  You forget you can talk sometimes.  At least, you forget that most people can hear you.  I am learning so much.  We teach in all areas of the city as needed, which means a lot of time spent on busses.  Of course, that means teaching and meeting wonderful people!  But it also means we get to see some of the surrounding countryside, as much as most American missionaries get to see, anyway.  In the summer, the mountain outskirts where many of our investigators live are very green and nice.

Learning signs in Mongolian Sign Language isn't too hard, but the language isn't really standardized.  Many people who are deaf don't speak it that well, and so it can be difficult to interpret what they are trying to say.  We do a lot of miming.  And sign language leaves out grammar; you just sign root words to make yourself understood.  If you do a sign one way, it might mean "teach me," but the same sign done another way can mean "teach you."

It is fun to teach about the Restored Gospel in Sign Language!  The signs are cool.

In my district, the sister missionaries know some sign language and one of the other Elders was the previous Deaf teaching missionary, so we all get along well.  My companion is very hard working and he knows the city very well.  We work hard.  I can communicate with him fairly well.  It can be hard to understand others sometimes because everyone signs differently, but I'm getting there.  Yesterday, we taught a brief lesson to a speaking family (which we can also do), so I taught most of it and also translated for my companion.  Actually, I have to translate a decent bit now.  So when we go to a store, I do the talking and I translate for my companion.  Probably seems weird to Mongolians to see an American do this.  It's great training for me in both languages!

Since I don't teach English during the summer, we have three months to be full-time missionaries!  Hooray!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Signing Off from Unur

Well, my time in the beautiful Unur Ward has come to an end.  We have had some good times here.  We really have great investigators.  We have to hand them off to the new Elders in our area, but they'll be in good hands.  KFC and Cinnabon have opened in Mongolia, so we Americans have enjoyed some nice American food.  The KFC is way better than I ever remembered it in America!  

I have received my new assignment to the Enkhtaivan area across the city. 

But wait, there's more! My companion will not be a native speaker of English....or of Mongolian! My companion, whose name is Oyunsukh,  speaks Mongolian Sign language and soon, so shall I. I have been assigned as Sign Language Elder, an Elder-at-large who teaches all deaf investigators. (Deafness is relatively common here.) It will be a different experience than what I have had so far. I have a lot to learn in a short amount of time, but as it says in the Book of Mormon: "Believe in Christ, for all things which are expedient unto him are possible to him that has faith in Christ."  Since this is my assignment from the Lord, I know it is expedient in Him.  I must have faith.  

But wait, there's more! In my district of six missionaries, two are sisters, two are zone leaders, one is deaf, which means.... I'm district leader! No joke. 

 Well, there's my new assignment.