I debated telling these stories when they happened because I thought mom would probably freak out, but here they are:
A few P-days ago we all went to one sisters’ apartment to make huushuur. P-day is supposed to end at 6 but we weren’t paying attention (we were still cooking) and when we realized it was almost 6:15, all 8 of us bolted out of the apartment. It’s on the 7th floor and not wanting to walk down the stairs or be even later by waiting to take the elevator in batches we all crammed ourselves in the dumb waiter sized lift. I’m not sure what we were thinking (we weren’t) but as the last sister stepped on the lift it began to go down, even though the doors weren’t closed. We quickly pulled her inside and pushed the doors closed only to finally process the fact that we were falling – the elevator had broken. We screamed and thought we were about to die, but the elevator stopped. We didn’t know at the time but we had fallen almost 4 floors. The lift wobbled when we leaned and we thought it might be hanging by one cable or something so we tried to stay perfectly still. We opened the inside door but couldn’t find an outside door – we seemed to be between floors. There was a number to call but no service. Finally after my legs had gone to sleep from standing in such a weird crammed position we heard voices. We pretended we couldn’t speak Mongolian (we had to be English teachers) but eventually we got out. Now I freak out a little every time I get in one of the already claustrophobia inducing boxes, but at least it makes me grateful when nine story buildings only have stairs (:
Yesterday I had another near death experience because the manholes here are not actually safe to stand on even if they’re covered. When we were walking home last night I stepped on one and started to fall in but the other missionaries caught me. So now I have to only look down.
Don’t worry, It just means I’ve conquered 2/3 dangers of the fire swamp. :P
Me: Please stop jumping in the elevator.
Comp: Don’t worry, if we die on our missions we go straight to the Celestial Kingdom.†
Me: YEAH BUT WE HAVE TO GET MARRIED TO GO TO THE HIGHEST ONE.
Comp: Okay fine *stops jumping*
† Not confirmed doctrine.
Teacher’s Day is like Mother’s Day but for teachers so they have a big party for all of the teachers in the city.
We have 5 investigators with baptismal dates now, who all seems to be excited when we meet with them and are keeping their other commitments but 4/5 have a hard time getting to church so we have to keep pushing back their dates. It’s hard because nearly everyone here works on Sundays…I’ve been fasting to try to figure out how to best help them get an answer that will help give them courage to make changes.
The one investigator (who’s name means Gentle) is amazing! She’s 15 years old and already has made great friends in the ward. On the first lesson (and everyone in between) she asked US how soon she could be baptized. She is so excited and we’re trying to see her everyday we can to keep up with her desire to learn. She had a really cool answer when praying the Book of Mormon. She was praying to open her nightly study and then afterward opened the book to find this verse:
12 And according to his faith there was a mighty change wrought in his heart. Behold I say unto you that this is all true.
When she read the last line she said she felt a strong feeling and Heavenly Father’s love. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I had the privilege of feeling a similar confirmation in the MTC as my teacher taught an example lesson about the Book of Mormon shortly after I had finished it. It helped confirm to me that despite any communication issues there may be in language the Spirit speaks every language and can touch anyone if honest, sincere testimony is borne.
Some questions and answers
Questions were asked by Shanti’s parents.
Q: Are you happy and healthy?
A: Happy, yes, more and more every day. Healthy, enough. Some things you have to just accept from eating completely differently haha.
Q: What are your impressions of Mongolia now that you’ve been there over a month?
A: This is a really hard question…it’s really beautiful…part of me wants to be here forever but I also want to have a real washing machine someday haha.
Q: Can you tell us more about your class? We loved receiving the photos. They are seriously the cutest kids ever and they obviously love you.
A: We teach the little kids for half the time (3-4) and the big kids the other half. The big kids are learning as fast as we give them material… it’s amazing. The little ones would too but it’s harder to get as much valuable learning time in with them. We teach mainly through songs wich is fun and singing for three hours a day is something I’m pretty used to so …haha
Q. How much are you getting to teach the gospel?
A: About 5 or 6 lessons a week with investigators, plus seeing members :)
Q: Is there a possibility of transfer next week? You still never explained why you had to change apartments…!
A: Nope we just had transwers last week. But you’re supposed to be with your trainer the first two transfers anyway. But mine goes home in a month (2 weeks before the transfer ends) so I’ll have to switch at some point. We moved into our area which is so much better. President was wondering why our money was running out (we had to take taxis several times a day) until he realized we weren’t living in our area. So now we can walk!
Q: How was it seeing Sister Harmon finally arrive in Mongolia? (Remember Sister Harmon was delayed due to medical reasons)
A: AMAZING. I LOVE BEING ALL TOGETHER AGAIN!
Q: What does A Day in the Life of Sister de Ruyter look like?
A: My day – MWF:
Get up at 6:30, rush to the bus or just run to the kindergarten to be there by 8:30. Teach untill 11:00 and meet up again with our companions.
Go home, eat lunch and then do 4 hours of study until 4:30ish, then teach a few lessons and maybe eat with a member (really annoying actually because it means we don’t get to teach investigators) and rush back home, plan for the next day, sleep.
T is just reversed because I teach in the afternoon, but we usually don’t get to teach any lessons.
Th and S are our only normal missionary days :)
Q: What are your impressions of the church ward? How is it different than our home ward in Newbury Park?
A: The ward is great and I’ve really gotten to know the people lately. It’s amazing because every single adult (and even a lot of the primary) are converts so everyone has these amazing stories and fervor for missionary work. The biggest difference for me is probably that the kids run around durning sacrament (even on the stand) and people answer phone calls during the meeting. But we’re working on it and it’s getting better!
Q: How is teaching the lessons in Mongolian going? Do you have a favorite experience to share?
A: I wrote my favourite story in my blast (“storytime” section above), but teaching is great! My companion really pushes me – I’ve been teaching an even half of the lesson since my very first day in the country. I really love it though. I’m happiest when I’m teaching lessons. I love the people so much.
Q: Can you share any “Only in Mongolia” occurrences yet?
A: OIM: Dogs sit on the corner dutifully waiting for the light to turn green and then look both ways before they cross, and the people just go.
I’ll try to make a list – nearly everything in my daily life fits in this category haha.
I know that Heavenly Father gives us the answers we need in our own ways.
I love you all!!!