Missionary Dan Email #3 from Choibalsan, Mongolia

Daniel was rich for 30 seconds this week.

Daniel was rich for 30 seconds this week.

Those comics were way funny dad! I showed the one about Atlanta with Elder Weaver from my group. He laughed hard too. I like to say to someone who doesn’t recognize the name of a Mongolian person… you know the one with black hair and brown eyes. Of course everyone has that color so you get a good pity laugh. Also I think the one about eating goat’s stomach could get a little laugh too.

You may be wondering what all the money is in the picture. Well I had this brilliant idea came to me so I decided to do it. I took out the money in my savings account and exchanged it into Mongolian bills. I figure that when the exchange rate is better I can then exchange it back and get some good profit. Good idea eh? Well it would have been a good idea seven months ago because the exchange rate was 1.8 then but now it is 1.5. [Rickety note: What really happened is a banker allowed Daniel a few minutes with the cash to take the picture]

Missionary Work

This week we have plenty of time to do just missionary work. It was great! We met with lots of people and our investigators are progressing great. They think the church may be open again, but they don’t know for sure when. So like last week we went to all the church member’s houses for sacrament. This week we were able to administer it 10 times to 47 people. We started early at 8:30am, trying to catch our less active member before she went to work, but we missed her, just barely. Every other appointment went according to plan and we were busy the whole day. It wasn’t nearly exhausting as last week for some reason. I think because we had already experienced it. I shared the same spiritual thought 10 times. That was actually a really good experience. It was 3 Nephi 27:21. I asked, “What did the Lord want you to do?” I think that’s translated right. We got many answers but few said that the things Christ did He wants us to do as well. So it was a good teaching moment. I felt the spirit strongly and it helped me adapt the lesson to what the people needed to hear.

We made horse pizza last night too. I say that because the meat we used was horse. It was really tasty. Can’t say it tastes much different than beef, but I will anyway. Basically the thought that runs through my mind when I eat horse meat is, “Hey this isn’t beef… it tastes like horse.” I don’t know how else to describe it. So I had pizza for the first time in awhile.

We taught English at the church right before the church got closed. We also teach at the Red Cross center, or we are going to start teaching there. There haven’t been any English sittings allowed really so we haven’t taught. We just have been busy doing missionary work. I know it is Heavenly Father’s work and He is helping us every day. He lives and loves us very much. Thanks for the emails and support.

To Mom

The things that helped me prepare for a mission the most were the small and simple things we are taught to do every week and day. Scripture study, prayer, attending church, and opportunities to serve others. I am happy that I always liked going to church. I can’t really remember a day when I wanted to stay home and not go. I learned that from Dad and your example of always going yourselves. Also I don’t know how you taught me, or where I learned it from, but the discipline to wake up every morning is very helpful. I just remember always waking up myself with my alarm for school every day, and giving me that responsibility early was probably a good idea. That seems to be a struggle for some missionaries.

After turning 18 years old, going to mission prep class each week really helped. It made me want to go and got me excited about it. I learned a lot from there, especially how I like to take notes from teachers in that kind of setting, as in the MTC there is tons of things to take notes on.
Other important preparation was just the fact that I knew Dad and you loved me and always wanted to help. Sharing of your testimony and love for the gospel were all things that influenced me to get ready to serve a mission.

To Dad

I really like the comic idea. Those are really funny. I really like your character too. It looks just like you. I’ll usually send everything that I think is funny home. If I have some really good ideas I’ll send them your way.

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 #2 from Choibalsan, Mongolia

Daniel and Elder Armstrong (the driver) cruising in Choibalsan.

Daniel and Elder Armstrong (the driver) cruising in Choibalsan.

Well I am here in Choibalsan. It is wonderful and I love it already. We actually have cars here. I attached a picture of our car. It works very good, but we walk most of the time. The other picture is the sunrise when we went out for a little walk to see the river in the morning with my district.

The day after I got here we went walking around. It felt very peaceful and quiet. I knew that was probably because there are few cars and no buses, but it felt so very different. Completely different… I wondered why… Then I realized. There are no mountains here. It is completely flat. That was a great discovery! Afterward we continued walking around. While walking, I felt like some burden had been lifted off my back. I was so relaxed and felt so good. I thought about why I felt that way the entire day. I couldn’t accept that just because I came here some burden would be gone from my back. Then I realized… I wasn’t wearing my backpack. Ha ha. That was funny. My backpack came later with my luggage by truck. It really isn’t that heavy either.

Missionary Work

My companion is Elder Armstrong. He is from Hawaii and is 26 years old. This is his last half transfer. He goes home in December. He is a good companion and we get along really good. We have quite a few investigators that are progressing rapidly. It was fun to meet everyone. We had a wonderful experience when we taught an investigator that had met with my companion before, but had just returned from the country side. We taught her the first lesson and asked her how it made her feel. She said she felt feelings of peace and comfort. That made me feel very happy and thankful. Also when we asked her if she had any questions she asked one after another after another. She told us that she had been reading the Book of Mormon while she had been in the country side. That was one of the best things she could have said. After resolving the questions she set her baptismal date.

Sunset in Choibalsan

This whole week the church hasn’t been allowed to hold any sort of meeting at the church. The government isn’t allowing it because of the swine flu or what’s it called. So we have had lots more time to go out and meet people for about the next week or two. This Sunday there wasn’t any Sacrament Meeting at church, so all the elders in my district were given permission to take the sacrament to all members in our area. I think every elder in the mission did the same thing actually. It was a good experience. We gathered members that lived close to each other and administered the sacrament eight times to probably forty people. I felt really good to be able to give people the chance to renew their covenants, but at the same time I’m glad we don’t always go to everyone’s house to give them the sacrament. I felt the spirit strongly as we prepared and blessed the sacrament. I know that it is a very important ordinance and covenant that we make.

It was strange on Tuesday it was really warm. We didn’t even wear coats. Then Wednesday it got freezing. Well not that cold actually just around a mere -15 degrees F. That was only in the evening though. It hasn’t been that cold lately. When the wind blows it pierces your skin etc. If I am wearing enough clothes and my coat it doesn’t affect me much though. I am excited for when my eye lashes will start to have ice on them and all that good stuff. That comes in December and January when it is around -35 degrees F. My companion said you can’t tell the difference between -20 and -40. It is just plain cold. Anyway I need to get going. Thanks for the pictures Dad!

To Mom

Congratulations on losing all that weight. I still weigh what I did when I left. A while ago I was 175 pounds, but then I dropped right back down to 165. It is impossible to gain weight here. I am surprised I still weigh the same. My apartment is the same. It has rooms and walls. We have a cleaner that comes once a week. That was exciting to find out. She is a member that has been to the temple. So for the first time in my life since I was eight years old someone else is going to do my laundry. That’s cool. Ummm…. Things that I need. I need a new watch battery CR2016. That would be really cool to get. Nothing else that I can think of. Thanks Mom, I love you!

Thanks for the love and support.

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 #1 from Choibalsan, Mongolia

Presented here are 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.

Munkh baatar and Daniel (right) wearing masks to church because of swine flu.

Munkh baatar and Daniel (right) wearing masks to church because of swine flu.

This week was one full of changes. I was with Elder Wright for one week. He recently got his appendix out so he did the best he could, but we didn’t get much work done. We taught a lot of English and things so that was fun. Elder Wright was my first district leader in Mongolia so that was a nice reunion. We made cookies to celebrate.

Transferred To Choibalsan

Elder Wright (left) and Daniel with celebratory cookies.

Elder Wright (left) and Daniel with celebratory cookies.

This Saturday was transfers. I am heading out to the countryside today to Choibalsan. [Editor’s note: check out the LDS chapel] I get to travel by plane because it is so far away. It is near China I think. So Saturday, Sunday and today I was with Elder Munkh Baatar. His area is my old area so I got to go around there for two days again. We took a picture together with the masks. They gave us masks at church to wear because of the swine flu or something like that. I don’t really think the mask does anything but whatever. It was cool to see my old area again.

The missionaries put on a little Halloween party at the church. We celebrated Elder Huder’s (my zone leader) birthday as well. The party was good and lots of people came. I almost had Otgan Bat’s little sister come, but at the last moment she couldn’t make it. She came to church the next day though.

Baptism

Daniel (right) with Elder Hansen receiving his cup.

Daniel (right) with Elder Hansen receiving his cup.

Nyanaa was baptized by her son and to our surprise her husband came to support her. Od Bayar came too and we were really excited to have a baptism. It went very well and we were happy. At church she received the Holy Ghost. It was one of the busiest Sundays that I have had. My less active family came, Bat Munkh and erden Jargal. They haven’t been to church for such a long time. They came to say goodbye. It was very exciting. My new members said goodbye as well. I am going to miss all of them. I didn’t really want to leave, but at the same time I am very excited to go.

I got Elder Hensen a cup that he has been wanting forever from my investigator. I had her bring it to church yesterday. So that was exciting too. He leaves in December for home so today is probably the last time I’ll see him.

My old companion that left, came back Saturday. We talked for awhile and he is doing good. He is with another elder in my district. They are making some areas bigger because of the delayed missionaries from America. Last I heard they won’t be coming for awhile. We have around 160 missionaries now from 180 a while ago. So that is why transfers was a week earlier. Anyway nothing else is that new. Thanks for all the love and support.

To Mom

The missing elder is Elder Weaver. He had an emergency transfer to Choibalsan right before our year mark. So he wasn’t able to be there. Sunday here is just like Sunday in America. We go to church and do the normal things. I don’t bless the sacrament, but sometimes the missionaries help pass. Yeah they have a primary. It is big, lots of kids come to church. The mothers nursing their babies was really disturbing at first. They do it whenever they want with no warning. By whenever, I mean in the buses, during the sacrament, in a lesson when you’re talking to them, walking around on the sidewalk, just about everywhere. Yep… I accidentally sent that picture — by the way there was another one that was better. Oh well. Thanks Mom, love you!

Love from Elder Willoughby

Daniel's English class

Daniel's English class

Related Articles

List of Daniel’s missionary posts.
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Missionary Dan Email #38 from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Presented here are portions of Elder Daniel Willoughby’s thirty eighth email from 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.

Daniel (left) with a member family

Daniel (left) with a member family

Thanks for all the great letters and things. It was really fun to read them all. Thanks for the pictures as well. Paul’s costume made me laugh really hard. Steven’s costume was rad too. Remind me later and I’ll tell you more about that. That hike you went on seems like it was crazy mom! Sorry to make you worry about me. I am good and I did the best I could to help my companion. It’s exciting that we are getting a garden. I really like strawberries and pears. Peaches are good too.

Baptism

So I told the story of when we had a special fast for one of my investigators that hadn’t been able to be baptized for 4 years. She passed her interview this Saturday and we are happy to see her baptized this Friday. It is exciting that her own son gets to baptize her, an opportunity that came for having to wait for so long. I am very excited to have a baptism.

My Companion

This week was a long slow one. My companion met with the President last Monday that took an hour or so. The first 15 minutes or so was just trying to get him to talk. Afterward it seemed that the problem maybe was fixed as he woke up instantly the next morning and went to work. But, the next day he didn’t get up, didn’t want to work, and was a struggle the whole week to just get him out the door. He slowing started to turn inward. He didn’t talk to hardly to anyone. On Saturday I went on an exchange with the Zone Leaders. Elder Romney, my good friend went with me, and my companion with his companion. After that exchange, I was hoping things would be better, but they were only worse. I prayed really sincerely to know what to do and things I could talk to him about. Sunday my prayer was answered and we talked for about an hour about church callings we’ve had and of course video games. It was a relief from the almost completely silent companion the whole week and the one word answers.

So today he had another interview with the President. Since he hasn’t woken up at all this week and has little to no desire, President said he is going to go home this week and think about whether or not he still wants to be a missionary. He’ll come back Friday and tell him. So I have a new companion now, well actually at this very moment I’m waiting for him. I got special permission to write my email in the mission office. This computer is fast. Anyway, President said I was the perfect companion for him. I was patient and didn’t judge him too harshly. He said now he has to do a little for himself. I told him that I hope to see him back in the mission field and that we need him.

I learned a great deal of how to love those that are hard to love. I really did love him for who he was, I just didn’t love what he was doing. I hope that the best comes to him and he can finish his mission. I hope too that everything I wrote makes sense. If you have any questions just ask, I wrote it kind of fast and by wrote I mean typed.

New Member Family

A birthday for the child in a black suit

A birthday for the child in a black suit

My group went bowling today for our year mark. I wasn’t able to go, but before they left we got a picture.

The other pictures are of one of my new member families. They had a birthday party for their kid in the black suit. The yellow shirt is a member and the orange shirt (bottom photo) is trying to quit smoking so he can be baptized. The green shirt (top photo) is the yellow shirt’s friend that is our investigator. She is great and progressing quickly. I told a little about her awhile ago. How she met with missionaries 3 years ago and then didn’t get baptized because of work.

To Mom

Yeah I use the dictionary. It is actually really useful. The games on it distracted me a little but they aren’t that fun so only for a little while. I think I’d like to get some Skittles for Christmas. Other than that I don’t really know. That was an insane hiking story. I am glad you are OK.  I got a postcard from Texas. Is Bryson walking yet? Anyway no need to worry. I love you Mom.

To Paul

Thanks for the article. I read one similar to it awhile ago but the one you gave me was really good. I think your costume is the best. It is almost better than my fence costume. Maybe you could wear both. Microfence, stopping waves since 1203.

To Dad

There is also a Britain store in Ulaanbataar. It’s on the main road and I always see it when we travel to the main building. I always want to snap a picture but have always forgot. I think you will win with the weight loss competition. I think simple is the best way to do it. Plus you are such an old man it shouldn’t be very hard to loss weight. :) I love you Dad! Thanks for all you do.

To Jake

Thanks for sharing about your experience. I did my best with my companion and I hope the best for him. There are some things we simply couldn’t do for him and he had to make the decision himself. The story you told is very inspiring. Our 15 new members will be 16 this Friday! I look up to you more than you look up to me probably though. Keep up the good work.

Yep, so that that about sums it up. It’s been quite the adventure. So long till next week.

Love from Elder Willoughby

Daniel (left) with member family in Mongolia

Daniel (left) with member family in Mongolia

Related Articles

List of Daniel’s missionary posts.
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Missionary Dan Email #36 from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Presented here are portions of Elder Daniel Willoughby’s thirty sixth email from 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.

Daniel (second right) with missionaries from his zone in Ulaanbaatar.

Daniel (second right) with missionaries from his zone in Ulaanbaatar.

General Conference

General Conference was great! It went by extremely fast. We were sad when it was over. It was so exciting to watch. Waiting for it to start was like going to a midnight showing of a movie that just came out. Luckily I didn’t read any spoilers. Ha ha. Elder Holland was really into his talk on Sunday. It reminded me of when he came to the MTC and “yelled” at all of us to stay on our missions. He is one of my favorite speakers. Also all the Elders from my MTC group were there. We planned our year mark party that is coming right up.

Missionary Work

My companion and I are getting along good. The first week with him was quite a challenge, but I’ve adjusted. He gets to call President Andersen every morning now because he didn’t wake up on time a few times. That has really been helping him to get out of bed in the morning. He is lots of fun and is helping me learn Mongolian better. He is also feeling much better. The doctor gave him some Tums. It is funny because the word tums in Mongolian means potatoes. Those have helped him out.

A Funeral

I don’t know much about funerals in Mongolia. I went to someone’s house that recently had someone die like one week ago though. We helped them peel tons of potatoes and cut lots of meat. Apparently they have lots of people come over and eat food. They also have a little black box that plays somewhat strange music. They let it run until the battery is dead. It is next to a picture of the person that recently passed away. Other than that I have no idea what they do for funerals.

Dogs and the Weather

Dogs are everywhere in Mongolia. We run into at least five a day. They aren’t much of a problem though. All the dogs I have met are always afraid of us. If they start to approach you, you can just pretend to pick up a rock and they run for their lives.

The weather has actually stayed very warm. Today it is actually hot. It is strange because last year at this time it was very cold. It is kind of handy that the only winter I am in Mongolia for hasn’t yet come. They say January is the coldest month.

His Work and His Love

We didn’t take a single picture this week so there isn’t any to send. I’ll do better this week about that. I am thinking of taking some pictures of the families I meet with every week.

I know this Church is true and that the Heavenly Father and His Son are helping us do His work each day. I have come to know more fully of His love for us, His children. I know He does indeed love us.

Love from Elder Willoughby
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Missionary Dan Email #35 from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Presented here are portions of Elder Daniel Willoughby’s thirty fifth email from 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.

Daniel (second right) with missionaries from his zone in Ulaanbaatar.

Daniel (second right) with missionaries from his zone in Ulaanbaatar.


Thanks for the pictures of Bryson. He looks really happy. A few of our new members have children about 7-9 months old. They are fun to play with when we visit them.

Zone Conference

Yesterday was Zone Conference. We learned about how to help our new members. We are now doing more to help new members in their change to becoming a member.

Byyz

Afterward we went and ate at our new member’s house. They cooked up some nice byyz. Byyz are dumpling like food with sheep meat inside of it. These byyz were somewhat more difficult to eat though. I completed the task and finished them all. There was a lot of them. My companion and I went home and then to sleep and I woke up at about 3 o’ clock with my stomach hurting. I threw up all the food I ate that day. Feeling better I went back to sleep only to again throw up 3 hours later. Afterward I felt much better. I was discussing with my companion how my stomach was hurting etc. He surprised me when he said the meat in the byyz wasn’t sheep meat, but that it was goat stomach. I thought they tasted a little different… Ha ha. Anyway I am doing good now and feeling better.

General Conference

With General Conference this weekend, we don’t have much time to do missionary work this week. I am excited to watch conference though. Our investigators are progressing along quite nicely.

To Mom

I am guessing the mail system is broken or just really slow. I got a letter from Aunt Susan about 2 weeks ago. It made me happy to read it. Bryon is having some crazy experiences. Other than that I haven’t received any letters. Anyway have fun in Texas!

Thanks for all the support and emails.

Love from Elder Willoughby
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Missionary Dan Email #34 from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Presented here are portions of Elder Daniel Willoughby’s thirty fourth email from 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.

Daniel with Mongolian children.

Daniel with Mongolian children.

Transfers

Thanks for the great pictures and the fun emails. I always enjoy reading them. Transfers were Friday and my companion was transferred. My new companion is Tumup ocip (not sure how to spell it in English). He is great. His little sister is a missionary in our district. I think that would be weird to serve in the same district as my younger sister, but lucky I don’t have a younger sister. He doesn’t seem to mind it either.

Investigator

This week we met with our new member’s friend, Odon bat. About 3 years ago she investigated the church and received all the lessons but because of work she never became a member. We were excited to hear that she remembered most of the Joseph Smith story. She said she had a dream about the story and she was able to recall most of the details. She recognized too that it could have been an answer to her prayers to know if the church was true. We were very happy to meet with her and she came to church yesterday too. The Lord has greatly blessed my companion and I with great investigators.

Elders Warner and Weaver

I am still in the same area. I’ve been here for 3 months now. It doesn’t seem quite that long. Maybe next transfer I’ll get to leave the city, since I haven’t left it yet. Lots of missionaries like the country-side, so it would be fun to be able to see what it is like. Now in my district is Elder Weaver. He was in my MTC group. Now there are three of us in the same district. Elder Warner, Weaver, and I. It is really fun to talk to them. All of my MTC group’s elders are in the city so we’ll probably have a year mark party together.

Came To Church

Our less active member that we’ve been meeting with diligently for 3 months came to church yesterday. We met with her Saturday and she said there was no way she’d be able to go. About 2 weeks ago she broke her arm trying to come to church. She said maybe after her arm healed she’d try to come. She hadn’t been to church in probably two years. I was so excited and shocked to see her. She met up with some old friends and it was wonderful. It made me really happy. We’d been thinking on giving up on her and her family for about a month now, but then she came. It really made all the visits to her worth it.

To Melissa Lee

My Mom sent me a package September 3 and I got it September 15. So a package probably takes about 2 weeks is my guess. We’ve heard the American group has been delayed. That is cool that Justin gets to be in Montana. It was a good experience for me to be in Alabama while I waited for my Visa.

Thanks for all the support.

Love from Elder Willoughby
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Missionary Dan Email #33 from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Presented here are portions of Elder Daniel Willoughby’s thirty third email from 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.



Daniel (front, second from right) with his zone on his birthday

Birthday

This week was great! My birthday was awesome. It was also my old companion’s birthday, Ganbileg. The whole zone came in the morning and we had cake. It was good. They sang happy birthday etc. Then I went on a split with Elder Warner (on the left in the photograph), he was in my MTC group. We went and taught English where they also sang to me. It was really fun to teach English that day because the class simply talked to us and we didn’t have to teach much. It was fun teaching lessons with Elder Warner as our language is close to the same. It made both of us happy to do more of the talking during the lessons.
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News From The Mongolia Ulaanbataar Mission


Mongolian Sunset.

Mongolian Sunset. Credit: Elder Dan Willoughby

The following is from the Mongolia Mission Moments July 2009 edition. President Andersen wrote that “Perhaps we should stop more often to recognize the significant accomplishments already accomplished, that we might have faith to continue to improve.”

  • A stake has been formed with full priesthood leadership.
  • A patriarch has been called.
  • Erdenet branch has been split. Other units should soon be able to split.
  • A new building will open in Khan-uul this month.
  • Sacrament meeting attendance has increased by 400 per month over last year.
  • Missionaries have increased from 90 to 180.
  • Local missionaries serving in Mongolia have increased from 30 to 120.
  • Baptisms increased from 488 in 2007 to 731 in 2008 to over 800 expected this year.

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