Presented here are portions of Elder Daniel Willoughby’s third email from the Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission.
Everyone looks great with the new baby! Congratulations!
Wow! Mongolia is truly incredible! The plane ride was really short — I was able to study a lot and also sleep. When we arrived at the mission home after some driving we instantly were thrown into the work here. It was a dream come true to see how organized this mission is. I feel like I have a million things to learn and it’s just what I’ve always wanted. Elder Weaver and I were even able to be in a new member lesson on Friday the day we got off the plane. We were so jet lagged — I love the feeling — it was such a challenge to pay attention. Reminded me of track. I was able to contribute a bit to the lesson.
The weather is warming up. We spent two hours in the Black market. It was freezing but I bought a coat and Mongolian traditional clothes. I am perfectly warm now. :) So far it’s has been amazing to see this country.
The people are incredible. We are allowed to walk up to people and talk to them about our church. Some missionaries said they don’t know what that one rule was about, the “they have to ask you why you are here” kind of thing. They are so, so receptive to the Gospel. The AP’s get 15 referrals for 20 contacted people. Our first day they took us out to start talking to people. I jumped at the opportunity. The Mongolians understand me! I just need to learn more words so I can talk more to them. I mostly said I came from America because Christ’s church helped my family and I know it can help yours. There is so much work to do here. The members are amazing, in the classes they teach about praying about the Book of Mormon and gaining a testimony.
I’ve noticed that our investigators are always willing to pray and they have great faith. So far I’ve been able to bear testimony to Star Son. We focus on strengthening members by inviting them to have faith in Christ. Yesterday we taught Namsoran who is a less active member about tithing. I was able to share with the help of the Holy Ghost my testimony of tithing. She is developing her faith again and we are going to keep working with her.
My hero is President Andersen! It’s a dream come true to see how much effort he puts into the work here. This mission is running great. Its everything I wanted. I was so happy to see how dedicated they are. My trainer is Mongolian, he is awesome and very patient with me. My language I guess is pretty good. The Mongolians understand me and I have so far received six referrals almost all by myself. The Lord has greatly blessed me with the gift of tongues. My companion is Athtangepeth (sounds like that). :)
I am in the Central area. I’ll have to get back to you with more details. Church was pretty full so like 50 attended or so. There are eight missionaries in our branch. Mongolia knows what missionary work is all about. These are amazing people! Elder Weaver and I bore our testimonies in sacrament meeting. They said we did a good job on our testimony, I know it was the Holy Ghost helping me.
The Mongolians are really kind and considerate people. In the Meker (a van we ride in) I dropped my water bottle and one picked it up for me. I was able to talk to them and said they were a nice couple. Then they were interested in the Church.
Yesterday my pen froze and wouldn’t write and the lady I was talking to warmed it up for me so I could write her information. I got out my space pen (that can write in space) and it worked but still didn’t work too well. Ha ha it’s cold — it’s so cool!
I really enjoyed so far what I’ve learned. My companion is really helping me with listening comprehension by speaking a lot of Mongolian to me. He is pretty good at English but is helping me learn Mongolian. I’ll start to teach him English more in the next few days so it won’t be all focused on me. The Mongolians always welcome us into their homes. We taught in a gar, it was really cool! They are preparing for their big holiday but other than that most have always been open to hearing the gospel. The Lord has a reason for the delay — I learned a lot in Georgia, I honestly can’t say why we were delayed.
I could go on and on and on. This is a dream come true for me. I am loving it! So much to learn so much to do! Its amazing. I am starting to understand my companion more and more each day. I’m still in training but I really want to be a good instrument for the Lord.
I love you Mom and Dad. I realize how much you’ve really done for me now that you’re not around! Thanks! I’ll write more but we are heading out. With pictures I’ll collect a lot then send a DVD home with them on soon, maybe next preparation day.
Love, Elder Willoughby
If anyone wishes to ask Daniel a question or to send him a message, write it in the comments and I will make sure he receives it.
Todd Neuberger says
It was great to find this post.
Our son was just called to the Mongolia mission and is very excited.
I will pass along this link. He can’t wait to get started.
After a year in Mongolia Daniel and the rest of the missionaries, except for couples, had to leave and were not allowed back. He ended up finishing the last year of his mission in Washington and Oregon.
I would be interested to know if the situation has changed and the missionaries are now able to serve in Mongolia. Also, Daniel is home now and would be happy to respond to any questions about life in Mongolia you may have.
He really enjoyed his time in Mongolia.
My son was just called to Mongolia. Would love to contact Daniel to learn more about how to best prepare for the cold weather (buy stuff there vs. bring your cold weather gear), etc.
Here’s a letter that was sent to Daniel by the wife of the mission president, with some specific information: http://www.rickety.us/2008/07/mongolia-specifics/
Daniel says he will respond tomorrow.
Thats so exciting your son gets to go to Mongolia! They are such amazing people. Mongolia is cold, really cold. Most of the cold weather items can be bought here or there. I used most the things I brought, but I didn’t really bring that much. When you leave you can give most of your stuff away to the people so it doesn’t matter if you over pack. (for example I went to mongolia with 12 white shirts and left with just 1 or 2). Although you’ll have tons of books/study material that you get in the MTC that will take room/weight in your bags so plan on that. I think my carry-on was like 40 pounds..
Bought in America:
I did not find the need for boots (you often have to take your shoes off when going into houses), but I did get a good set black shoes that had about an inch and a half sole. I bought about 4 pairs of thick wool socks that went to my knees, and my feet were kept warm (sometimes though, your feet are just cold, not freezing, just cold, you kind of just get used to it). The socks also made my legs stay warm so I didn’t need many thermals, in fact I had one pair that I wore a few times. I was fairly used to cold weather though, so yeah… You can buy a coat that covers the lower part of your body.
I brought some big snow gloves, but I found I only used them on preparation day. I found it annoying to have such big gloves. If you have big gloves you always have to take them off to write down people’s address when you contact them on the street. I had a space pen(the pen that writes in space) that worked most of the time for writing in the cold, but I lost it. You can just use your breath to warm up your pen and it will write for a few seconds, repeat. Anyway, I wore thin gloves that I bought in Mongolia and kept my hands in my pockets to keep them warm (towards the end of my mission in Mongolia I didn’t even have gloves, but some may consider that crazy).
Scarfs are great and important.
Bought in Mongolia:
The mission recommended I buy a coat in mongolia, because it was way cheaper (about $30) and was perfect for the extreme cold. I recommend this as well. But if you are arriving in Mongolia in the winter, the mission will make sure you can get a coat when you get there, but you’ll need jackets/sweaters for the first day. Brr…. the first day was Freezing. haha
Custom Suits are very cheap in Mongolia if you go to the right place ($60 – $100). Its handy to have 2 suits in the MTC since Mongolian Elders/Sisters are there for 3 months, but I wouldn’t buy super nice ones. You can get really nice suits in Mongolia.
Cashmere mittens were amazingly warm and cheap, but kind of hard to find.
Almost anything clothing wise item can be found eventually in Mongolia. YOu may find that you don’t have much time to always go shopping, so consider buying most of what you think you’ll need before going to Mongolia.
Its really depends how used you are to cold weather, theres a lot of other things I can mention and recommend. Mongolia is a great place to serve a mission! If you have any questions contact me anytime, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jennifer Danelle Sexton says
I so enjoyed this. I have two Mormon nephews. Years ago one was returning from a mission in Italy and the other one was leaving for a Mongolia mission. The Simpsonville Ward, Simpsonville SC USA had a Sister who recanted waking up from a dream crying. She thought she was selected for the ” dreaded” Mongolia mission. A bomb was put in a 2006 Ford Escape xlt It didn’t go off. I was in church. I knew it was over. It was dedetonated then put in a Russian plane headed to Sydney Egypt. I hope to get the 50 million President Vlamir Putlun offered. It was the worst air disaster. Like Tom Steyers said USA climate atmosphere etc is in emergency situation. I miss the Kentucky Derby winner. Have a great day