Missionary Dan Email #12 from Choibalsan, Mongolia

Daniel with frozen eyelashesThis week wasn’t quite the adventure week like last one. We did get some good experiences though. I got a snap shot of my frozen eye lash. It really isn’t as cold as it looks like. Well maybe it is, I can’t tell because my body has adjusted to the cold.

I enjoyed reading Jake’s journal entry article. I’ve kept a steady journal since I turned 16 years old. In that time I’ve probably only missed a couple of months and that is it. Going back when I was 18 or so and reading those entries was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I am sure I’ll love it even more as time goes on. I remember the ones I enjoyed the most were the times when I recorded what I was thinking and feeling. Also my third grade teacher had us write a journal daily too as well throughout the school year. That worn out journal is more precious than gold could ever be. Reading from that allowed me to recall memories and feelings that I had when I was nine years old. Truly a great experience. It’s not always easy to keep a daily journal and at the time it seems completely pointless, but as time goes on anything you’ve written becomes a treasure of your own.

This week was a normal week for working. We had some great experiences as well. I can say it was my first real time translating from English to Mongolian. I translate all the time from Mongolian to English, but rarely the other way around. The couple missionaries needed a translator for institute. I don’t think I did very well, but the spirit was strong in the class nonetheless. As long as we’re thinking about translating, I might as well say I translated for my first time in sign language too. On Saturday the other missionaries gave me the chance to translate for the deaf people. Sometimes I did alright and translated well and other times I was completely lost and did horrible. It was really fun and they thanked me for my efforts in trying to learn. I enjoy learning sign language — it also is helping me to progress in Mongolian as well.

Daniel ready to baptize

Daniel ready to baptize Ounbelick on 2 January. From the ...Couple Things... blog.

Some of our new investigators are coming along as well. Most of them are in families that already have a family member that is a church member. It makes it a lot easier for them to attend church and keep commitments when they have that support system. In one lesson something really funny happened. First a little background information. All Mongolians think that Americans and most foreigners have big noses. Mainly because we do have big noses compared to theirs. So in our lesson a three year old started picking her nose. Her mom said, “Don’t do that, it’ll make your nose bigger.” Then her 6 year old brother said pointing to me, “Yeah like his.” Ha ha. I should probably stop pickin’ my nose eh?

My companion and I were also determined this week to find new investigators again to increase our work and get some baptisms. So on Friday we contacted every referral. It had good success and six of them said they could meet us on Saturday. We were really excited so Saturday morning we packed up six Books of Mormon and set out early to go teach them. The first lesson was a let down and then we called the next two only to find out one went to the countryside and the other had work come up. So we decided to go straight to the next referral without calling and trap him into a lesson. It turns out he gave us the wrong address. So our last hope was down to two referrals. One wasn’t home and the other was, as his family said, was slightly crazy and that we shouldn’t come back anymore. So instead of getting six new investigators we ended up with none.

But on the bright side one investigator that before was really busy came to church. He said that as seeing his dad become a member and seeing the marvelous change in him inspired him to want to be better. He said that he is going to stop working on Sunday and start coming to church. His dad is one of the most inspiring people to watch. He is 60 years old with one leg that is bad. So he walks with crutches to get to church. It probably takes him around 40 minutes to get to church and I know its not easy for him. Not only does he go to church faithfully, but he also sits in institute on Saturdays. He is one of the greatest examples to me of sacrificing to get to church and he increases daily in his gospel knowledge. Not bad for an old man.

Well that sums up my week. I know the work I am doing is the work of God and that He truly loves all of His children.

Love Elder Willoughby.

Baptism Photo Credit: …Couple Things…

Presented have been portions of an email from Elder Daniel Willoughby serving in the Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission. If anyone wishes to send Daniel a message, write it in the comments and I will make sure he receives it.
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Missionary Dan Email #11 from Choibalsan, Mongolia

Daniel translating

Daniel getting in a little translating.

This week was by far one of the bigger adventures. Sometimes I think I’ve seen it all then something else happens. Not bad for an old man like you Dad to have your own cell phone.

This week’s adventures start out on Sunday night as my companion and I diligently worked to plan out our week’s work. We had a goal to contact all uncontacted referrals. So we called them all and a lot of them said we could meet with them later this week.

We had received a referral from a member that said he had met with her early on the street and said she hadn’t met with the missionaries yet. Of course the missionaries hadn’t met with her yet because we kind of forgot about receiving the referral :). So I told the member we’d make an effort to contact her soon. My companion talked to her, she is probably 15 years old, and asked if we could meet with her. The girl said maybe but her family doesn’t really investigate other religions. We passed her information to the Sister missionaries and thought nothing more about it.

Munkhchuulun, Daniel, and Tuul

Munkhchuulun, Daniel, and Tuul

We went to bed and had our regular Preparation Day like usual. We went home Monday night and started planning for the next day. We wanted to make up for last week’s work not being so good so we spent about an hour planning. After we finished we got a phone call from a referral that we contacted yesterday. This time it was the 15 year old’s father demanding how we had got their phone number and why we had called. We calmly told him from a member and his name. He demanded that we give him his phone number so he could talk to him. The member doesn’t have a phone so we couldn’t. The man asked his daughter if she recognized the name of the member, but of course she denied because he was so angry. My companion said about his anger, “Out of all Mongolians I have never seen one so angry like that.” The phone calls continued off and on with the man not clearly understanding what we really were intending and what really happened. He time and time again threatened to kill us, talk to high authorities to shut the church down, and went on and on about how he could accomplish it.

After about an hour my companion had calmed him down somewhat to the point where he said he’d meet us at the church tomorrow. He said he was going to kill us etc etc. So by this time it was 10:30 pm. My companion and I had no idea what to do so we called the district leader and told him we were coming over to talk to him about something. We then called President and the church’s lawyer to find out what to do. They told us that tomorrow all missionaries were not to leave the apartment the next day and that all church activities had to be closed for that day as a precaution. So the district leader had to call all seminary students telling them the church is closed tomorrow. Someone asked why and sometimes he said because someone wants to kill the missionaries. It was quite a serious thing, but few people believed him.

So Tuesday came around and we stayed home all day…. Which was too bad because we had spent an hour planning the day. Our plan was really good that day, but what can you do? Nothing happened on Tuesday, everything was fine. It was a very boring day, but we got to do some things that we normally don’t do. Like take a nap. We don’t even know where the man is or who he is. He hasn’t tried to call us or contact us. We figured he was bluffing. So Wednesday, President said we could go to work, but to be careful.

Damdindorj family

Daniel (far right) with investigating Damdindorj family

Wednesday was awesome! It was a complete miracle. We taught 5 lessons and found 4 new investigators. We usually struggle to find 4 investigators in one week, but we managed it in one day. The rest of the week was similar with finding investigators and by the end of the week we found a total of 8. A record for me personally on my mission. Truly a blessing. Our work this week was still good despite the little event on Tuesday.

On Sunday all new members came again. I got a call in the morning saying I was giving a talk. So I gave a talk, my first one since first transfer. I talked for like 8 minutes or so about tithing. I think I did alright. It is almost easier to give a talk in Mongolian than English. The language is at a point where I can say what I want and people understand me, just sometimes I don’t understand so much other people. I really need to work a lot harder to get better. It is hard to see progression at this point.

Well that sums up that crazy week. This week should be a really good week getting to know our new investigators better.

My grandpa! What big teeth you have (like little red riding hood). If that one is taken: You look good for how old you are grandpa.

Love Elder Willoughby.

Presented have been portions of an email from Elder Daniel Willoughby serving in the Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission. If anyone wishes to send Daniel a message, write it in the comments and I will make sure he receives it.
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Missionary Dan Email #10 from Choibalsan, Mongolia

Daniel with cow's head and stomach

Daniel with cow's head and stomach

This week work was slow because of the new year. On new years eve everyone was preparing for the new year and new years day everyone was sleeping forever. It was kind of funny. They had a huge celebration. Tons of fireworks. Nothing that I’ve ever seen in Utah. Almost everyone had bottle rockets and were shooting them for 15 minutes or so. I don’t even know where they got them. I’ve never seen them in the store. From China I guess. All missionaries had to be home at 6 pm. So we went to bed early only to be woken up by the fire works. It was cool.

My companion got really sick after that so I got some extra study time the day after new years. His ear is hurting him a lot which was a problem he had when I was with him before. We aren’t sure what to do about it. There really isn’t a doctor out here to look at it for him. We’ll see what happens.

We had all of our new members come to church this Sunday. That was really neat. 8 of 8. I think that’s the first time in my entire mission. Three of them bore their testimonies which is always wonderful. So it seems we are holding on to our new members in my area. That has been a focus in the mission the past couple of months. My other just baptised new member received the priesthood. He also invited one of his friends to come to church with him. He came and we are going to start teaching him soon.

Daniel with missionaries

Daniel (top left) with other missionaries

The couple missionaries decided to feed us after church which made us completely full. We went to another house and they gave us a lot of food. Then our last appointment we ate again. It was quite the challenge. I guess that is just part of missionary work. No we still can’t talk to people on the street. I haven’t heard anything more about it either.

Outside right now it is -35 degrees C. You can kind of tell that its colder but it kind of feels like any other day. The wind really gets to ya though. I still don’t wear gloves and I just put my hands in my pockets. When I have to grab something they get cold really fast. It is  funny. I think they have adjusted a little because in Utah my hands would freeze way fast and I had huge gloves on. It will be really fun to come to Utah when its is only 0 degrees C and wear like my short sleeve shirt and stuff.

That’s weird Jake C is engaged. Tell him that he should save me some ice cream. I don’t care much for cake. Also tell him he can have my remote control car for his present or my old shoes. Which ever one he wants. You can make his furture wife choose, that would be funnier. Congratulations. I’m trying to send some pictures. One is a cow head and the other is cow stomach. Believe it or not we eat stomach almost every day. It doesn’t taste that good, but its not too bad.

I will see if I can get some more photos sent from here, but this computer doesn’t work too well.

Happy new year etc.,
Love Elder Willoughby.

Presented have been portions of an email from Elder Daniel Willoughby serving in the Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission. If anyone wishes to send Daniel a message, write it in the comments and I will make sure he receives it.
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Missionary Dan Email #9 from Choibalsan, Mongolia

Christmas was great. We had a branch party at the church. Lots of members came and had a good time. It was definitely a different Christmas than I have ever had before. Sounded like everyone there had a good time. I’ll be honest, everyone sounded really weird. I didn’t even recognize Jake. Who is he anyway? I enjoyed talking to Paul. Thanks for the good counsel, I wasn’t really speaking into the microphone. Everyone else sounded great.


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Choibalsan is located in NE Mongolia about 50 miles east of the Chinese border and 160 miles south of Russia. On our map Choibalsan is at bottom center and country borders are in white. Pan left to find Ulaanbaatar 377 miles to the west. Cannot see map? Click here.

So the visa problem is complicated. So the American elders and sisters haven’t been able to come. I don’t know if they ever will, but there still is a chance for them. So the government found out that we were sending people to be English teachers and be missionaries. Which I’m sure they knew the whole time, but this time they got mad that we were doing missionary work and threatened to throw all of us out of the country. So for the past two weeks or so American missionaries aren’t allowed to talk to people on the street. Before we would talk to 70 people a week and get referrals that way. But, for now we aren’t allowed to do that. Meaning talk to people on the street about the church to try and meet with them. Mongolian missionaries can still talk to people freely. We are getting some branch missionaries set up to talk to people for us to get some good investigators that way. My visa is fine for two more years and as far as I know the problem is calming down.

This week was a little harder to do missionary work. Everyone is busy getting ready for the new year. Elder Od Bayar and I still did alright on our work though. We found three new investigators which was quite an accomplishment. We were really blessed. Hopefully they will progress well. I really love being with Od Bayar again. He has changed since last time I was with him. Today I got this email from President Andersen:

Elder Od Bayar specifically wanted to be with you again. He thought that you were his best companion and wanted to learn obedience and diligence from you again. I think he is ready to learn this time with you!
Pres. Andersen

I was surprised to read that. It did make me happy though. It makes me want to work harder. I have been trying to accomplish some good goals this transfer and being with Elder Od Bayar has been helping me a lot. He has definitly changed in how he teaches and his desire. I can really tell that he wants to do good work and become a better missionary. He is my favorite companion and teaches me more than I teach him. It has been a great opportunity for us to be together again.

My mini missionary, Munkh Chuluun, who I was with last week came to a lot of church activities this week. He got a branch missionary calling and is doing his best to repent and prepare for a mission. I heard from the Branch President that two weeks ago he met with Munkh Chuluun and he said he didn’t want to serve a mission. He did the mini mission with me and then met with the Branch President again. This time he told the President, “I want to serve a mission!” I was glad I was able to help.

That week was truly a miracle as I see God’s hand preparing houses for us to go to and teach them. We had really good work and taught many lessons. I felt the spirit strongly with Munkh and I know it will impact him the rest of his life. He asked me for some little reminder that he can carry for when he has the desire to smoke. I gave him most of my mints before not knowing that he had a problem with smoking. He told me that he was using those when he had the desire and it was helping. So I’m going to give him some more! It makes me very happy to see him want to change and be better. I pray that he’ll become a great missionary and help many others receive the Gospel.

I know this Church is true and it really blesses many people’s lives. God hears our prayers and answers them in His own time and own way. He truly loves us and helps us every day. I know that I have been called of God to do His work among His children that they might have everlasting life.

Love Elder Willoughby.

P.S. This computer’s USB isn’t working. Sorry no pictures again :(. And I don’t have a mongolian accent.

Presented have been portions of an email from Elder Daniel Willoughby serving in the Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission. If anyone wishes to send Daniel a message, write it in the comments and I will make sure he receives it.
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Missionary Dan Email #8 from Choibalsan, Mongolia

Choibalsan sunset

Choibalsan sunset

The party looked really fun. The house looks really good too. It makes you look really rich. I haven’t seen something like that in forever. The pizza looks really good too. I like pizza.

So this week my mini missionary and I had a good week. He had been inactive for about six years or so and just barely started coming back to church. We took the opportunity for him to serve a mini mission to strengthen his testimony and get him on a mission as well. He was lots of fun to work with and had great desire to learn. The change I saw in him was incredible. Last week he was sad and not confident looking. By the end of this week he was smiling and laughing all the time. It was a great experience for both of us.

My new companion is my old companion Od Bayar. I was really surprised that I’d be with him again. He is full of energy. We worked well together so I figure president wants us together again. I am excited to be with him again, next to my trainer he is my favorite companion. He comes today by airplane.

Last week I also relearned the sign language alphabet. I learned it before, way back in my first transfer like my second day in Mongolia. I couldn’t really learn sign language well then because I didn’t know Mongolian even. Now I am picking it up fast. It is way fun to learn and really cool to talk to deaf people. They have a special spirit about them. So I’m going to keep learning, they have a class that we go to learn. I want to get good so I’m going to work hard at it.

So I can call at 6:30 pm. That will work fine. The call is limited to 40 minutes. Yes, my apartment is big, there is a kitchen, bathroom, living room, and bedroom. I wear my coat, no I’m not cold. The church is close to my house. Choibalsan is great and I love being here. OK, that answers a few of those questions. Merry Christmas!

Love Elder Willoughby.

Presented have been portions of an email from Elder Daniel Willoughby serving in the Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission. If anyone wishes to send Daniel a message, write it in the comments and I will make sure he receives it.
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Missionary Dan Email #7 from Choibalsan, Mongolia

Missionaries and branch missionaries at Choibalsan sign

Missionaries and branch missionaries at Choibalsan sign

Thanks Mom for reminding me to answer your questions. I totally forgot that there was any. There is no need to feel like you’re rambling because I really like reading what’s going on.

I got my package on December 10th. So my companion and I opened the first ten days together. We had lots of fun guessing with the scriptures. I got the tuna fish right. I even guessed it was Starkist brand or whatever its called, I can’t remember now. Thanks again.

I know that we will be calling on Christmas day for y‘all, so for me it will be the day after. It is ridiculously cheap to call from here to America. It is $2.50 for about a 3 hour phone card. Speaking of cheap the yellow jacket I modeled in the pictures was about $2.50 too. Tell me next week what time you’d like me to call and that’s when I will. Probably in the evening is best from 6 to 9 pm your time. Of course the phone call is limited to about 30 minutes so have some good questions ready.

The weather is getting colder. The thermometer I got is way cool. There is one slight problem though. It only goes to 0 degrees F. The other day it was 2 degrees. I haven’t needed to wear my big coat yet so it really isn’t that cold. As I was talking to my investigator yesterday he said right now it’s warm outside and later it will get much colder. He laughed at me when I asked if he was serious. So my thermometer won’t be able to measure the temperature here in a bit but that’s OK, it is cool to see when it is below -20 degrees C.

President Andersen wasn’t able to come here. The night before he was going to leave some problems came up. With some missionaries running away (which happens a lot so it wasn’t the main reason) and the visa problems he had to stay to attend some meetings. I’ll say a little about that later or when I call. I was able to have a phone interview with him. He said I will be staying here in Choibalsan and will most likely get a Mongolian companion. So that was exciting to hear, I really like being here.

Baptism of Munkhtushig (center).

Baptism of Munkhtushig (center)

The assistants, Sister Andersen, and the new couple that will be staying in Choibalsan came. The old couple left with my companion really early Saturday morning. We had zone conference which was way different as there are only 8 missionaries out here. We cooked up some chili for all of us to eat and it turned out way good. In the picture I’m frying up the meat.

Right now I have a mini missionary for my companion. He is actually my new member who was baptized last summer. He is 21 and preparing to go on a mission when he reaches his member year mark. I really like doing work with him and he could almost be a missionary right now. Mongolian missionaries have tons of opportunities to prepare for their missions so they come out really prepared and ready. I’ll get my new companion next week at transfers.

The 12 year old is my recent baptism and the other is the one baptized Friday. It was Elder Armstrong’s very last day of doing missionary work and he was able to see Munkhtushig get baptized. Surprisingly to me he asked me to baptize him. It was great. On Sunday he received the Holy Ghost and as he was receiving it I felt a warm burning feeling. It was neat to recognize that was him receiving the Holy Ghost to help and guide him in his life. I know there is great power that comes from the priesthood and it greatly blesses our lives.

Anyway I’m out of time for today. Thanks for all the emails.

Love Elder Willoughby.

Daniel wearing his new yellow jacket.

Daniel wearing his new yellow jacket

Elder Armstrong and Daniel

Elder Armstrong and Daniel

Daniel preparing chili for zone conference

Daniel preparing chili for zone conference

Elder Armstrong (left) and Daniel (right) and the baptism of Jargal Caikan

Elder Armstrong (left) and Daniel (right) at the baptism of Jargal Caikan

Daniel opening his Christmas packages.

Daniel opening his Christmas packages

Daniel opening days one to ten

Elder Armstrong opening days one to ten

Presented have been portions of an email from Elder Daniel Willoughby serving in the Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission. If anyone wishes to send Daniel a message, write it in the comments and I will make sure he receives it.
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Missionary Dan Email #6 from Choibalsan, Mongolia

The house looks really comfortable. Thanks for sending pictures. I liked the comics too. Good job Dad :). Congratulations on losing weight too. That graph looks really fancy. I think I have gained a few pounds since I’ve been here, but there is really no way to tell.

Daniel wearing someone else's glasses.

Daniel wearing someone else's glasses.

Jargal Caikhan got baptized this Saturday. It was really good. He has been an investigator for quite some time. He is 12 years old and his aunt who he lives with is a returned missionary.

The church opened this week so we got to have church. The branch president forgot his paper when he went to announce newly arrived missionaries, so he didn’t even get close to saying my name right. It was funny. Later as I bore my testimony I said a little joke how Mongolians can’t say Willoughby at all. That made them laugh. I need to remember to record them trying to say it, it is funny. I have already met a lot of church members, so it didn’t seem like I was a new missionary in the branch. Church was really great; my other new member who is 60 years old received the Priesthood. That was a really good thing that happened and it made me happy.

We worked hard to find new investigators this week. We didn’t have much success until Sunday. I met a really nice person on the street earlier and he said we could come by. He talked to us for quite a while. He lives in the countryside though so we may not get to teach him that much. It is always exciting to find new investigators.

It’s not hard to deal with the cold really. You wear a coat and its fine. Later this month is when it really gets cold as the 9 nines starts. That will be fun, I’ll probably wear my bigger coat.

Well that’s all I have for this week. The computer’s USB isn’t working so I’ll send some pictures next week.

Love Elder Willoughby.

Daniel by the river in Choibalsan

Daniel by the river in Choibalsan


Presented have been portions of an email from Elder Daniel Willoughby serving in the Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission. If anyone wishes to send Daniel a message, write it in the comments and I will make sure he receives it.

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Missionary Dan Email #5 from Choibalsan, Mongolia

Daniel (fifth left) at a couple missionary's home for Thanksgiving

Daniel (fifth left) at a couple missionary's home for Thanksgiving

This week was full of adventures. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. All the missionaries went to Elder and Sister Anderson’s house to the dinner. They are the couple that is assigned to our area. We had chicken instead of turkey. The stuffing was really good. That is always my favorite and we had some great pumpkin pie.

The house looks way awesome! Congratulations I hope all goes well. It is exciting that Steven and Ada are having another kid. They could have a third one on the way before I get home :). Congratulations a second time.

The sisters apartment lock broke and they weren’t able to get in their house. So they had to take over our apartment while we slept at the district leader’s house. We fixed their lock today so we get to be at home again. It was really strange to find a long black hair on my sheets.

Daniel with a member called Purvee

Daniel with a member called Purvee

The church was closed again so we took the sacrament to the members again. We did it 9 times to 58 people. Hopefully the church will be open next week. The Branch President returned from his temple trip so we got to meet him. He is young and really cool. The members are still very thankful to receive the sacrament.

I mistook the words “work cow” for “husband” at one of the member’s houses. She was asking if we could give the left over blessed bread to her husband. She said, “He eats vegetables, fruit, paper, meat, just about anything. I thought for a moment and it really didn’t make sense to me. So I asked her, “Your husband?” That was funny, we laughed very hard.

I got the Primary letters last week. The package will be coming with President when he makes his trip out here for zone conference on December 11. So I’ll get it then. Also that is when my companion leaves. When I get my new companion I’ll be to a total of 11. That is quite a few for only being half way. Maybe soon I’ll have a companion for more than one half transfer. Anyway thanks for the all letters. They are way fun to read.

Love Elder Willoughby.

Presented have been portions of an email from Elder Daniel Willoughby serving in the Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission. If anyone wishes to send Daniel a message, write it in the comments and I will make sure he receives it.

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Missionary Dan Email #4 from Choibalsan, Mongolia

Daniel ready for snow.

Daniel ready for snow.

The new car looks really fancy. What happened to the other two cars? Good job on your talk too Mom. Happy Thanksgiving this week! Eat lots of stuffing etc. We are going to the senior couple’s house for dinner. It should be really fun.

The church is closed for another two weeks. So yesterday we took the sacrament around to all the members. We basically followed the same route as last week. It went by really fast and was still a good opportunity. Seminary and institute is allowed, as well as all the schools started up again today. The mission got the all time high for lessons taught per companionships in one week. We are doing what we can to keep the members and progressing investigators strong and faithful. The Lord has greatly blessed us in that outstanding achievement.

Other than that, every day seemed to be much the same. Time goes by really fast but at the same time goes by really slow. My companion only has 23 days left I think, so before I know it I’ll have a new companion. There isn’t much more to write about this week. This next week will have plenty of excitement so I’ll write about that more.

To Steven

Happy Birthday Steven! Sorry… I remembered on the day it was your birthday — I just kept forgetting to say happy birthday.

Thanks for all the support, Happy Thanksgiving!

Love Elder Willoughby.

Daniel by the river in Choibalsan

Daniel by the river in Choibalsan

Presented have been portions of an email from Elder Daniel Willoughby serving in the Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission. If anyone wishes to send Daniel a message, write it in the comments and I will make sure he receives it.

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