My Experiences as an English Teacher and Missionary in Mongolia Ulaanbaatar (Jan 2016 – Jul 2017)

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Sister Jennifer Hansen
Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission
(Sorry I'm home now)

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Week One

I've nearly completed my first week at the MTC. The spirit is very strong here. In our first orientation meeting thing, we sang "Bring the World His Truth" from the children's songbook, but the last words were changed to "We are as the army of Helamen, we have been taught in our youth, and we ARE NOW the Lord's missionaries to bring the world His truth." It was very neat.

My companion Sister Bottorff
As you know, before I entered the MTC we met Sister Bottorff at Zupas during lunch. Little did we know that we would be companions for the next 9 weeks, as well as best friends. I have a testimony that our companionships are inspired, because neither of us would have made it through this first week without each other. We get along so well, and have to laugh all the time, because if we weren't laughing we'd probably be crying because Mongolian is so difficult.

We arrived at the MTC on Wednesday and immediately began language class. We taught our first investigator on Friday in Mongolian. Before we went in to teach our lesson, Sister Bottorff and I were still using our flashcards to learn the alphabet. For lack of time, it was a train wreck. Friday was very discouraging. Mongolian is so extremely difficult and we practice and study for hours and hours and hours a day, it is so exhausting. I'll say a sentence 100 times then not remember how to say it 2 minutes later. Then each morning when we wake up it is nearly impossible to recall what we learned the previous day. We've quickly realized that we will never make it without help from the Savior.

Elders: Wilding, Urness, Cowles, Garcia, Heacock,
Sisters: Olsen, Guild, Bottorff, Hansen
We taught our second lesson the next day. (I would tell you our investigators name, but it is in Mongolian, and I can't spell it in English, and I don't know how to type in cyrillic.... but it sounds like Gerscthaye, sorry you're just gonna have to use your imagination) We still knew very little, and had a very limited vocabulary, but we taught of families and also prayer. We taught her how to pray, then I had the impression to sing the primary song "I pray in Faith" that tells us how to pray. We sang it in English, but changed the words "in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen" to Mongolian. The Spirit was so strong in that classroom! She began to cry and said thank you, thank you. Another testimony of the power of music. Even though words are not understood, the spirit can always teach through music. I'm so grateful 

Besides that, things are well. Our district is amazing. There are 9 of us- 4 Sisters and 5 Elders. We have all become very good friends, and need each other because we are all struggling through Mongolian together.

Our written prayer in Mongolian
  Funny story, we were in a class with lots of other missionaries, and a sister not in our zone made a comment that "language class is hard, but for the most part you can understand what the teachers are trying to tell you." Our district all looked at each other and said, "She's learning Spanish."
Hahaha yeah. Try sitting in Mongolian for an hour, then see if you understand what they're trying to tell you.

We have 3 teachers- Boyd Ax (brother) Higgs Ax, and Standley Ax. They all are previous Mongolian missionaries. Higgs and Standley were companions, and just got home in July.
In our zone we have missionaries learning Thai, Mong, Laus (spelling?) Cambodian, and Vietnamese. I don't know if you heard, but since I've been in the MTC they've opened a new mission in Vietnam. Very exciting.

Sunday was amazing and so needed. We were able to take a break from studying and focus on feeling the spirit. We realized that because we have been so overwhelmed and stressed with the language, we have kind of been missing out the spiritual edification that the MTC offers. We are now trying to set goals to help make the two more equal. But Sunday, Sister Bottorff and I sang with the MTC choir, and it was wonderful. The director is awesome. He started by telling us a story of a date that his daughter went on, then said "I just like talking about dating to people who can't." He's a huge comedian, and really lightened the mood in the room. But we sang Joseph Smith's First Prayer, and he bore a powerful testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.
We get to go to the temple today, and we are so beyond excited. It is so needed. Hope I answered some of your questions, and hope everything is well at home.

I know that God is more involved then we realize, and he is closer than we think. Even though that is hard to remember sometimes.

Until next time....

Love, Sister Hansen

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