We have had a lot of rain in Choibalsan the last couple of weeks. Roads aren't all paved and drainage is, well, lacking, so roads become rivers pretty quickly. One day, we got to an intersection in the Ger Khoroolol (yurt district) and it was water from side to side with no place to pass. We waited and then flagged down a huge flatbed truck and asked for passage across. He let us climb in to the truck bed and we rode that way across the pond. It was pretty good. Even when the rain lets up, the roads are full of little streams and lots of mud.
We had an appointment on a Saturday with an investigator preparing for baptism, but we couldn't contact them on the phone and the road to their house was horrendously flooded. So we took the chance, hopped across some dirt mounts and concretes slabs and, sure enough, they were home. It was a blessing. We will be having a baptism on the 4th of July!
Missionary work can easily become frustrating, since much of our day depends on whether people keep their appointments with us. But we have to trust in the Lord. For example, that Saturday our schedule was tumbling apart about noon, but I didn't let it bother me and I went happily, trusting that the Lord would provide for what really mattered. And He did. Though some appointments fell through, He brought us another person to teach and also let us get through that flooded street to meet with our investigator.
A focus on the Lord's blessings past and promised--and trust in Him--has helped me to be very happy lately, regardless of circumstances. During times that could have been boring or tedious or frustrating, I have been just happy, going about the muddy streets with a smile because I know the Lord loves me and that I'm glad to be doing His work.
Teaching on the Army Base is great fun. The students are motivated and respectful. For the first couple of weeks, they would stand at attention whenever I called on them. And they applauded me at the end of a class. Now that they have realized I don't expect that level of discipline, they aren't standing at attention anymore. But they still work ten times harder than some of my past students. I will be sad to leave this teaching job at the end of the summer. All of my students are soldiers or officers. They know almost no English except a few memorized words, so they are definitely a beginning class that wants to learn. The sergeant major gives us a ride home after I teach. I could get used to that!
I am learning a lot as a counselor in the branch presidency. I have conducted sacrament meeting a few times.
I take notes when I read the Book of Mormon. I was reviewing notes from the Book of Ether recently. Near the end of the first chapter, the Brother of Jared prayed that their language would not be confounded; the Lord blessed him as he asked. But then when the Lord said He would scatter the nations, Jared and his brother did not pray that they not be scattered; they asked only to know where they would go. Jared said faithfully, "who knoweth but that He will lead us to a land of Promise?" (v. 38). They had faith that what the Lord willed, though different than what they had, could be better. They trusted Him and wanted to be faithful. If we look at how Jared and his brother prayed, we can see patterns of trust, faithfulness and humility. They never asked to go to a land of promise; they trusted that the Lord's will would be the best for them and asked only for that, deciding to be faithful as well. It's a good pattern for us today.