Missionary Paul – Part 9 of 10

This is part nine of a ten part series chronicling Paul’s Mission. It is told mostly in his own words using excerpts from his letters and photographs sent home.

The Prophet Joseph Smith
Photo credit Travis S.

January 2006

I spoke in church yesterday about agency. [Dad], you looked thin in the wedding pictures. The CD pictures were nice. Elder Checketts from Texas is my new companion, we stayed in the office but moved to the Oakland 6th Spanish ward. They must have messed up the paper work for the doctor visit. Sister Bauman sent me to the doctor to have them look at the ring worm on my arm. Don’t pay the bill yet, I’ll talk to her today and get it figured out and maybe have her give you a call.

They paid the doctor bill. The powerball is working well. Four other missionaries have them now but no one has beat my record yet. The pictures came through fine and download really fast at the office. We are on a cable modem. We go to a Spanish ward now. There is probably about 200 members that come. I’ll write you an essay on office work but maybe not until I get transfered out of the office. We stay really busy. This week we are going to see the new Joseph Smith movie during zone conference. It should be fun.

I sent a big shipment back to the salt lake distribution center of surplus supplies that we had. We got a pallet from Safeway and stacked 25 boxes on it and wrapped it up. We have a baptism set up for Ivan Quintanilla for the 29th. It should be good. Beranice Martinez got baptized last Saturday so we drove out to Concord to see it.

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Mongolia

Now that Daniel will be serving his mission in Mongolia, friends have asked questions about that country. This Wikipedia article is a good source of information and here is the official government tourist website.

The Church came recently to Mongolia. In 1984, Monte J. Brough traveled to Mongolia on a hunting trip. In May 1992 Elders Merlin Lybbert and Monte Brough, members of the Asia Area Presidency, traveled to Mongolia to explore the possibility of the Church providing humanitarian aid. Prior to this trip, the Mongolian ambassador to the United States had traveled to Brigham Young University, which had paved the way for Elders Lybbert and Brough by providing positive contact with the Mongolian government.

After several months of negotiation, permission was granted to send six missionary couples to assist the country’s higher education program and to teach others about the Church.

Timeline

16 September 1992
First missionary couple, Kenneth and Donna Beesley, arrive.
20 September 1992
First sacrament meeting held in the Beesley’s apartment.
6 February 1993
First converts, Lamjav Purevsuren and Tsendkhuu Bat-Ulzii, are baptized.
15 April 1993
Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve and Elder Kwok Yuen Tai of the Seventy visit Mongolia.
August 1993
First six young elders arrive.
September 1993
The Ulaanbaatar Branch is organized.
24 October 1994
The Church is registered with the Mongolian government.
11 April 1995
The first Mongolians receive mission calls.
1 July 1995
The Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission officially established.
1996
Church-sponsored humanitarian projects include the support of the Mongolian Scout Association, training of professional accountants, cold weather housing, teaching English, and relief for victims of grass fires. Seminary and Institute classes begin.
March 1996
First four sisters arrive.
15 September 1996
The Ulaanbaatar Mongolia District is organized with Togtokh Enkhtuvshin as president
12 June 1997
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve visits with Dr. R. Gonchigdorj, chairman of parliament.
1999
Membership reaches 1,850 in nine branches.
6 June 1999
The first LDS meetinghouse, a converted cinema, is dedicated by Elder Richard E. Cook.
2000
The Church responds to an appeal by the Mongolian government for help after a severe winter followed by the worst drought in 60 years. Three shipping containers of clothing and quilts are sent, in addition to 8,000 food boxes.
Fall 2000
Construction began on the five-story Bayanzurkh Church Center that will house the mission home and office, service center, meetinghouse, and Church Education System offices.
2001
Translation of the Book of Mormon into Mongolian completed.
June 2001
The Darkhan meetinghouse is dedicated by Elder Richard E. Cook, the first Church-built meetinghouse in Mongolia.
2002
Membership reaches 4,358 in two districts and 21 branches.
2003
Membership reaches 5,455.
2005
Membership reaches 6,735.
1 Jan 2007
Members 7,306; Missions 1; Districts 2; Branches 26; Percent LDS .2 or one in 468.
1 Jan 2008
Members 7,721; Missions 1; Districts 2; Branches 21.
1 Jan 2009
Members 8,444; Stakes 1; Missions 1; Districts 2; Branches 21; Percent LDS .28 or one in 360.
1 Jan 2010
Members 9,239; Stakes 1; Wards 6; Missions 1; Districts 2; Branches 16; Percent LDS .28 or one in 360. The name of the stake is Ulaanbaatar Mongolia West, organized 7 June 2009, first president being Odgerel Ochirjav.

Source

“Mongolia” 536-537, Deseret Morning News 2011 Church Almanac.

External Articles

Mary Nielsen Cook, “A Mighty Change in Mongolia,” Ensign, June 1996, 75–76. Scroll down to second article.
Don L. Searle, “Mongolia: Steppes of Faith,” Ensign, Dec 2007, 54–59.
Blog post, Mongolia Specifics.

Updates

2010: Added membership details for 2007 and 2008.
2011: Added membership details for 2009. Adjusted some dates.

Missionary Paul – Part 8 of 10

This is part eight of a ten part series chronicling Paul’s Mission. It is told mostly in his own words using excerpts from his letters and photographs sent home.

October 2005

Elder Bodily and I didn’t get transfered so we are both here in Concord for another transfer. Yesterday we went and played soccer in Oakland with all of the Spanish missionaries. It was fun. We are going to have the mission president come do a fireside in our branch on the 16th which should be good. We watched all the sessions of conference. This next Tuesday is transfer day so I’ll see if we move anywhere. Working on Hondas is no fun. They are over engineered. The photos came through fine. Tell Steven he has to get married before I get back as well. I don’t like weddings.

The mission is going well. We are teaching a lot of people. The other elders in our branch had a baptism yesterday and we have one coming up on the 6th of November that looks like it might fall through. The couple is having some serious marital problems. I am the junior companion. I haven’t heard from Jake C. I currently weigh 175 pounds. We ran two miles Saturday morning. You don’t need to send anything. A CD with the wedding photos would be fine, the branch mission leader has a computer.

I am currently serving in the cities of Concord, Clayton, Martinez, and Pleasant Hill California. Many of the Latino people here are receptive to the gospel message and the work is moving forward slowly but surely. Many of the people we meet are from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Peru. The food here is excellent. I think I like Mexican food the best. It is wonderful to be able to learn about many different countries without having to do any traveling and invite everyone to come unto Christ.

I am fine. I lost weight don’t worry. Make Daniel get a hair cut.

November 2005

A day usually goes like this:

6:30 Wake up, exercise
7:00 Breakfast, shower, get ready
7:30 Book of Mormon study
8:00 Personal study
8:30 Companionship study
9:00
9:30 Personal study
10:00 Language study
10:30 Leave apartment
11:00 Something: appointments, meetings. Usually we go tracting
11:30
12:00
12:30
1:00 Lunch: sometimes it moves or is dropped according to the schedule
1:30
2:00 Something: sometimes appointments. Sometimes we go tracting.
Check contacts, media referrals, you name it
2:30
3:00
3:30
4:00
4:30
5:00 Dinner: sometimes it moves or is dropped according to the schedule
5:30
6:00 Usually appointments or drop-in visits, member visits
6:30
7:00
7:30
8:00
8:30
9:00 Return home, plan for the next day
9:30 Get ready for bed
10:30 Sleep

We usually have a lot of people we need to get a hold of. The Spanish culture is kind of lax so appointments fall through alot but drop-in visits work well too. We have two baptism dates set right now, we expect to set three more soon. Transfers are next week on the 22nd, I could move or stay. I’ll probably eat with the mission president for Thanksgiving. They put out a newsletter every month, I’m saving them up and you can look at them when I get back.

I was transferred to the Oakland-Berkeley University (Student Single) Ward and I’m over referrals and supplies in the mission office. Use the mission home address if you want to send anything. Elder Vernon my MTC companion is
the new assistant to the president and we’ll live in the same apartment. The apartment is on top of a convenience store across the street from the temple. It should be fun.

Office is fun, we use computers. My main job is handling referrals and supplies for the mission but we get pulled into a little of everything and stay really busy. We ate Thanksgiving at our bishops house. It was fun. I’ll try and think of something for you to send me. I liked the last Christmas picture, that one can last can’t it?

December 2005

In the singles ward almost all of the members go home for the holidays as they are students away from home. We do have the new Kruger’s Christmas DVD that seems to be pulling in a lot of referrals. Our ward doesn’t have church on Christmas so we have to pick one to go to. I don’t know which one we will choose. Church will probably be at 9:30. We have two lines and two cell phone numbers at our apartment so you can call any time you feel like if I’m there, they shouldn’t be busy.

[Aunt] Susan’s package came right before the 1st. My companion and I are really enjoying opening them every night and we always read the accompanying scripture story. Send some of that Cukaburro licorice, it’s really tasty and some beef jerky and a bacon cheddar cheese whiz with ritz crackers. We have a huge stockpile of candy so don’t send any more and there isn’t room in the suitcases to bring anything more home so don’t send any trinkets.

I order supplies for the mission ie. Books of Mormon, manage church media generated and visitor center referrals, baptism records, and keep the office running. You’d better get reading [the Book of Mormon]. If you can manage a little more than 8 pages a day you should finish.

We are going to the Berkeley families ward for Christmas. We’ll leave for church around 9 PST and won’t be back until 1:30 PST or so. We might have somewhere to go after church so I’ll try and email you again to say when would be the best time if it’s not after church. The call is 30 minutes, the last two times you went over so have everything planned out this time. Write down some things to talk about so we don’t have to talk about the weather again.

We watched the Christmas devotional and we’ll watch the Commemoration broadcast as well.

Missionary Paul – Part 7 of 10

The Book of Mormon.
This is part seven of a ten part series chronicling Paul’s Mission. It is told mostly in his own words using excerpts from his letters and photographs sent home.

August 2005

There are about 110 to 200 people that come every week to the branch here. They all are Spanish speaking although some of the kids don’t speak Spanish very well. Si me amáis, guardad mis mandamientos.

You might want to consider picking up the institute Book of Mormon manual. I like it. Today we had a big barbecue and ate all of the food left over from the stake’s youth conference. The library’s Internet is hardly working today. It took the whole hour to look at the pictures. The pictures normally download quickly, but we had to use the computers later in the day when they run very slowly.

I am getting transferred to concord. It will probably be faster to wait until next week for my address than to send them to the mission home but it’s up to you. Dad’s [conversion] story came though. I spoke yesterday in church about missionary work—twenty minutes. Send me some socks, not the green striped ones they don’t last. The ones with the gold toe are good.

September 2005

If someone asks for my address you are supposed to give them the mission home address so they don’t send mail to my old apartments. Have Steven send the camera TV cable with the socks if you could. Tell Jake C that they have been holding all the mail because of transfers so if he was expecting a reply from a letter he might have sent I still haven’t got it. My new companion is Elder Bodily from Pittsburg Pennsylvania. My room mates are Elders De Olivera and Gionet from Brazil and New Brunswick so I am learning a little Portuguese and French.

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Missionary Paul – Part 3 of 10

This is part three of a ten part series chronicling Paul’s Mission. It is told mostly in his own words using excerpts from his letters and photographs sent home.

October 2004

The building I am in has fourteen apartments in it I think. We live in the basement. Out the window we look into a hill which ramps up to the car dealership behind which you can’t really see because the hill is steep and tall. The Hilltop english ward is the exact same chapel as the rock gardens with a different color scheme. Our apartment is in the Hilltop Bay View complex. These computers are really locked down tight! Sarah’s email has a little bit of news for Mom. Tell her to get well.

The Malara family has three more weeks until their baptismal date. We taught them a third discussion yesterday. The Dad is really neat because he somehow managed to learn everything correctly from the Bible and already knows all of the doctrine. Usually if you run into someone that knows the Bible they fight every point and nothing gets accomplished. He is working on changing around his work schedule so he can come to church.

[Sarah,] what is happening at your work? Mom said you were working full time. Have you moved out of the grunt work yet? How is your new computer working? School started didn’t it? What classes are you taking? Do you have one more year left after this one? Ok, talk to you later.

I am well. The apartment locks the packages in a closet and puts the key in your locked mail box. My indoor soccer shoes are in there right? Put in my allen wrenches, the two sets that fold up into a metal handle if you can find them. The missionary work is good. This past week we had a big party in the Centro de Estacas, I think it is called the Inter-Stake Center in English, where all of the Spanish wards and branches in the mission came. There was a lot of food and a dance after. It was good, the Malara family came and my Colombian bike racer friend came with his two teenagers that are not members. Photo of Paul with little girl

Tomorrow, Tuesday, we are going back to the ISC (interstake center) to watch the BYU ballroom dancing company. The Malara family is coming again and hopefully William the Peruvian will come too. The Colombian former professional bike racer is fun. His name is Don Carlos Vargas, a recent convert and 50 years old. My companion and I went on a bike ride with him. 48 miles with a 7 mile uphill at the end to the top of a mountain. It was tiring. I couldn’t keep up with Don Carlos but I came in a couple of minutes behind him, the first missionary to ever make it up the mountain at the end. Our branch president, President Gomez, as well as another member named Walter are the only ones from Chile. There are not very many people here from the countries that are well off like Chile and Argentina. Most of the members are from Mexico and El Salvador.

It drizzled for a couple of days, not too much rain. For Christmas send me those laptop speakers that Steven has with a power adapter and will run them and the cd player. If someone has an old one that will be perfect. I think Daniel has one that he might want to sell. If not there is one here for 12 dollars, nothing fancy, it only has to play the Book of Mormon cds. Also if you can find the Hymns in Spanish that would be really neat.

I can usually understand people pretty well if I focus. Like this Spanish guy who is talking to his friend sitting next to me using the computer. When I read I understand a lot. I’m not too bad at reading out loud, however, I don’t speak very well. Those pictures sound interesting, how did your camera work out? It has been good. We are currently teaching the Malara family and committed all three of them to baptism yesterday. We are also teaching William, Miguel, Eduardo, Jarbaf and Ayuso. I buy a little bit of food like bread milk and cereal but we usually have dinner with a member so I don’t need much. There is a Food Max across the highway that is close. I usually buy my cereal, bread, and milk from Costco. You just missed the letter I sent to Jake C, I’ll have to him to go to YSA next time. I’ll write it in my planner.

This week it was a little cold in the chapel when we got there. I didn’t think much of it and went to Sunday school. A few minutes later my companion called me out and we went to the heater room. He says to me, We’ve got to get the some heat in that chapel before everyone leaves. The chapel was 57 degrees. I tinkered with the thermostat computer for a while until I figured out that everything was good to go on that end. I felt the vents and they were cold. I felt the pipes going into the heater and they were cold as well. We followed the pipes into the boiler room and the temperature gauges read 60 degrees, no hot water. I tinkered with the boiler a bit and got the pump motor to start humming but not turning. I pulled out my pen and jammed in in the shaft to start it turning and it fires up. I cut the heat to the rest of the building and had the chapel up to 68 degrees before sacrament meeting. It was good.

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