Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Winter is here!  With it ice covers the sidewalks and streets.  Occasionally street workers like those seen here come to chip off the ice.  We think it would have been easier to clear the snow before it turned to ice.  Snow shovels like we know are not seen here.  Sometimes we see a homemade one--a stick attached to a sheet of cardboard or something similar--used to push the snow away.  Usually they use brooms to clear the snow.

Bayankhuu, one of our English students, took us outside the city for a little cross-country skiing.  Yes, seniors--you can still have fun on a mission!

Our Relief Society had an activity to make baby clothes for the new babies in the branch.  We made seven fleece outfits styled like a Mongolian deel.

Here is one of the babies wearing hers!

Buted, a Mongolian opera singer, is the wife of our patriarch here.  She had a performance in which she received many awards.  She teaches at a music school and many of her students performed with her.  (Annette is standing by her picture here)  We really enjoyed her program.

This cute little boy was hauling water for his home on a sleigh.  Just moments before a horse-drawn sleigh passed by, but I was too late getting out my camera.

Every day I am more thankful for running water and indoor plumbing!

These two pictures show the beauty of the Mongolian countryside in the winter.  This is at a sports camp where there are many Larch trees.  Larch trees look like pine trees in the summer, but lose their needles in the winter.

Christmas day was spent with the missionaries.  We had a morning full of talks (we gave two of them) and devotional activities.  We were pleasantly surprised when our new Mission President, President Clark, sang, "O Holy Night."  He is a very good singer and I am sure we will enjoy more music from him.

In the afternoon we had a nice dinner and then a talent show put on by the missionaries.  They had a lot of fun doing their talent.  Many of them sang.  They are quite musical.

Guess who came to the party?  (Thanks to Elder Powell)

The dinner was good.  Here are some seniors getting their food:

Some Santa look-alikes from the talent show:

Christmas night we attended our Stake and District combined choir program.  Unfortunately, I did not take my camera!  They looked as beautiful as they sang.
After Christmas we were privileged to have a special tour of the government building.  This 20 meter long painting has 999 figures of people showing things that happen every day in Mongolia.  The larger figures represent qualities of life in Mongolia.

These figures are showing the Mongolian style of wrestling.  Wrestling is an important sport here.

Our new Mission President has arrived!

President Mecham was our new president in July, but had to return to the states for medical treatment for his wife in early September.  President Jay Clark and his wife Pat have finally arrived here.

Here are all the seniors in the city at the Parliament building gathered around the "Nine Horse Tail Flags."  These flags are really made from horse tails.  If the flags are white, it is a time of peace.  If they are black, they are going to war.  Above the flags is the state emblem with the "Fabled Steed" and the "Golden Soyombo"- a symbol that is on the Mongolian flag.
A holiday dinner with our English Class: Bayankhuu, Naraa, Nyamaa, and Boloroo.   They fixed quite a feast--Mongolian fish cakes, chicken, Khoshuurs, and a green salad (the European part of the meal).  They also served wild boar (which is a little like thick, strong-flavored bacon).

New Year's Eve we were invited to this member home with some other missionaries.  The two boys (aged 19 and 16) did all the cooking and did a great job.  We had a good soup and some mutton buuz (like dumplings). 

All the missionaries in Ulaanbaatar on Christmas Day:
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!