Jen's group departed the MTC on Thurs (Mar 17) for Mongolia. Her flight time was almost 36 hours total and included a stop in Seoul, Korea.
|Flight status of her Los Angeles to Seoul Korea leg|
She spent 71 days (10 weeks) in the MTC. The Mongolians now have the longest tenure in the MTC due to the language difficulty and the necessity to certify as English teachers.
Kenna Hardy, one of our good friends and neighbors, was on her flight from Salt Lake to Los Angeles, and sent us this picture. Kenna was traveling with the Davis High Cheerleaders, which Jen classified as "The noisiest group ever."
Jen was able to telephone home from the Airport, and we talked for a while. It was great to hear her voice again.
[Update] We got surprise call from the Korea airport. She split a $10 calling card with one of her companions and checked in during her 8 hour layover in Seoul. She said she had not slept well on the 12 hour flight, so she was incredibly tired. They got a quick shower in the airport. One more 3 hour flight to Ulaanbaatar, then she will be in Outer Mongolia for 16 months.
|Heidi and Joseph Benson (both served in Mongolia)|
[Update2] On Saturday morning at 8:45 am MST (10:45 pm Mongolia time) we received a phone call from President Benson. He told us she arrived fine, but tired. He said he talked to Jen at dinner and discovered that both were rock climbers in Logan Canyon. I'm sure Jen has a new appreciation for her President.
In addition to the 8 arriving from the Provo MTC, there were also 8 new Mongolians. They were all fed a big dinner, and put to bed. He said that in the morning (Sunday morning in Mongolia), Jen will be farmed out to some sisters and sent to church with them, then returned to the office for interviews and training. She won't receive her companion assignment until Monday. President Benson was cheerful and happy. Dispersing 16 new arrivals was a welcome problem for him.
[Letter From Jennifer]3:10 am Sunday Morning (5:10 pm Sunday evening in Mongolia)
Hello from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia! President Benson is giving us a few minutes today to email home and let you know that we arrived safely- although you already know that from President Benson's call last night. We joined with the new Mongolians on our flight from Korea into UB, then all came to the office together where we had dinner with President and Sister Benson and their kids. Flying into Mongolia was a bit of an out-of-body experience for me, because all we could see was the Gobi desert for ever and ever. I'll write more tomorrow when we meet our new companion.
All is well, we are tired but very excited to be here!
|Dinner in Mongolia|
Hansen, Guild, Bottorff, Olsen, Harker, Tao, de Ruyter, Kerby (picture borrowed from Sister Harker's blog)
[We didn't receive a follow up detailed email from Jen, but Sister Bottorff's letter provides some information]
[Sister Bottorff] When I woke up the next morning, I had breakfast, and Sister Hansen and I were picked up by two sisters, Sister Nelson and Sister Wilkins. We went to our first lesson! We traveled by meeker, a 10ish passenger van, to a ger district. Then, we walked around the neighborhood to find the ger of a really nice woman and her 3 boys. Besides a spider landing on Sister Hansen's shoulder, the visit was great! We left and went back to the Sisters' apartment to eat grilled cheese sandwiches before church. I only went to Sacrament meeting because after that, I needed to get in line to have an interview with President Benson. Sacrament Meeting was great! I understood approximately nothing, but I felt good about it. Sister Nelson did some translating, and I just enjoyed picking out the few words I could catch. They speak really fast....But I love them! Afterward my interview, we ate a quick dinner of leftover Indian food and headed off to our last lesson of the night. They gave us this milk drink in cereal bowls. It was made of milk, water, butter, and salt and then boiled. Sister Wilkins kept looking over and saying, "Are you drinking it?" And Sister Hansen and I kept nodding and smiling, hoping to get out of it. But then about the 3rd time, Sister Wilkins told us that we couldn't start the lesson until we finished. Oops. We finished as quickly as possible and I understood most of the lesson! It was a great first day! We got dropped off to the office where we slept for the night. I was exhausted, but I loved my first full day!
Today, Monday, was also pretty crazy. Sister Hansen and I had pancakes with the President and his wife. They are the best! Then, we got picked up and went to the hospital, which is an old Russian hospital, to get some tests done before we went to the Immigration office to get our visa paperwork finished. When we got home, I felt so car-sick! The driving was crazy and bumpy! I got to lay down for a little while, which was so nice! Then, some other sisters took us out to lunch at a local Mongolian restaurant. It tasted ok....haha After lunch, I went back to the office to finish packing. My new trainer picked me up. It's Sister Wilkins!