Monday, July 22, 2013


Naadam (The Three Games of Men) is the summer festival in Mongolia.  We were able to go to the Games opening ceremony.  Here's a picture I took:

Naadam, Opening Ceremony 2013 in Ulaanbaatar, National Sports Stadium

From Joshua's mom...

Naadam traditionally consists of archery, wrestling, and horseback riding.  The opening ceremony features parades and various demonstrations.  This is a huge national holiday.  It has been celebrated for centuries, but it now actually marks the nation's independence (1921) and is held July 11-13.

If you really want to read more about the festival, the government puts out a description in general:

Happy Birthday To Me

Greeting my first companion, Elder Lloyd, at a meeting in July

(Sung to the tune of one of the Primary birthday songs):

Happy Happy Birthday, from me to all of you,
I wish it were your birthday, so you could party too.
Happy Happy Birthday, may all your dreams come true,
I wish it were your birthday, so you could party too!

(And a different Primary birthday song):

I've had a birthday, shout hooray! 
You want to sing to me today!
One year older and wiser too,
Happy Birthday from you!
(And then sort of the normal Happy Birthday song tune):

Happy Happy Birthday from Joshua,
Know I'm having fun in Mongolia,
I sure wish I could be there today,
but have a happy birthday anyway!
I celebrated my birthday by opening a brand new toothbrush in the morning and having a great time brushing my teeth.  Then I celebrated further by translating our Church meetings for two hours (between Mongolian and Mongolian Sign language).  

Then my district treated me to a surprise cake and song, for which I was very grateful. 

At night I opened two ties I got from Grandma and Grandpa Sims; they are very nice ties! 

I celebrated my birthday-on-American-time by eating a breakfast of toast.  I will further celebrate it by buying a book about Mongolian names if we have time to get to the bookstore on P-Day.  I'm happy to be 20!  It's been a good two decades, and I know that in my life I have been greatly blessed.  

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


People on the streets who don't really like us tend to mock us by calling us "Yesus!" which is "Jesus" in Mongolian.  Not a terrible name to be called, since we are his missionaries, but that's what they call us.  Anyway, a few days ago, I was on the bus going home.  I gave up my seat to an old man (which is the rule on the bus anyway, but he was carrying a big load).  When I stood up, someone else on the bus saw me and said, as expected, "Yesus!"  But then I had the thought that by being courteous to someone in hard times, even though it was no great deed, I was trying to be like Jesus, and I was glad to be acting like Him when I was called by His name.  It reminded me of the responsibility carried by me and all of us to be examples of the believers, so that whether people call us Mormon or Jesus or any other name, we are worthy bearers of it!

Monday, July 8, 2013


Funny how things happen sometimes....

Yesterday, a German businessman walked into Church.  He said he was just looking for a Christian church to attend that day, as he was in Mongolia on business.  In German, I informed him that this is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He was acquainted with the Church's name, but he didn't seem pleased all of the sudden to be there.  He left.  But then a Mongolian Church member approached me after hearing me speak in German.  He had lived in Germany for a while and could also speak German.  He hadn't been to Church for a long time.  In fact, Sunday was his first day back in a very long time.  Hearing me speak German gave him the courage to talk to me, and now we have arranged to meet with him to help him find his way back to full activity.  If he hadn't heard me speaking German, he might not have approached me.  But he was there at the right time, and now we can help him!  This is how the Lord blesses us.

My German isn't as good as it used to be, since I am mostly speaking Mongolian, but it was enough.  Sometimes we cannot know how the Lord will prepare us to serve Him, but if we work hard and always act in faith, we can be sure He will prepare us to serve His children.

Our district had a baptism last week!  The sisters taught a father of a part-member family.  I was able to perform the baptism.  I think this family will now be much stronger because both parents are now members.

I've noticed throughout the Bible that the Lord makes constant emphasis on His covenant people.  When the covenant people became wicked, He didn't just walk away from them.  He strove consistently with them, even if he had to withdraw his priesthood for a time.  He worked for millenia to make sure He could gather His covenant people again.  That is why we have the Restored Gospel.  So today, the covenant people here in Mongolia are the 10,000 members who have entered into a baptismal covenant.  We stress to our investigators their part in that covenant, that it's important for them to do their part and keep the commandments.  But the Lord makes half of that covenant, too, and He will not forget His covenant people.  Part of our covenant and duty as members of the Church is to help the Lord with His "half" of the covenant--that is, to not forget His covenant people, even if many of them have forgotten Him.  We must keep working to help them remember Him and their part in the covenant.