I remember people saying if you were bad they would send you to Outer Mongolia. In this case it's different, because James is good he's going on a mission to Mongolia.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Alive and Well in Mongolia

Here is James' email from August 17th. I also added mine email I sent him at the bottom instead of in a different post. I don't think he got it yet, because he didn't mention anything about it in his email...oh well, maybe he'll get it next week.

Ok, so Mongolia isn'tperfect. Letme just say that rightoff the bat. Therefore, I amhere in an internet cafe typingon a keyboard that has a slightlybroken spacebar. Therefore, someof my wordsare going tobestuck together. This e-mailis goingto require your cognitive thinking skills to decipher if I meant something or the other. Atleast it's better than the keybopard I just had thatwas missing the A key. I neededthat, I don'tnecessarily need a space bar :). Goodluck!

SO, ifthere is anyone that would like to communicate with me, there are a few ways. THe regular mail willwork and I'mprettysure you have the address to send it to. It's the Mission Home. Then, you can use DearElder.com and write an e-mail to me and they'll print it and i'll usually get it in like a few days. Then you can just regularly e-mail meat my e-mailaddress: james.cappuccio@myldsmail.net Anyofthose three ways willwork. Now, if there is any confusion on the waytosend packagaes, send it throughthe USPS, FedEX, UPS, orwhoever elseyou want. Fromwhat I've heard, the USPS isthemost reliable. Send those boxes to:

ElderJames Ammon Cappuccio,

Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission

UB49 POB 242

Ulaanbaatar, 210649


Ok,next item of business: I'm alive! Last week i was on the brinkof death as the different Mongolian cuisines teamedup on my stomach to reek havoc. I amhappily able to say thatI am fullyfunctional and in verygood condition! Last Monday night i received a priesthood blessing frommy districtleader and it really helpedin quite a few wells. Since then I have been ableto adapt to the food. In fact, just a few days back I was eating the heart, intestines, ribs,liver, and side ofa goat. What madeit a littlemore personalwas the fact that when we firstgot to the house, the goat was still in the process of being cleaned out.He was on his back, his skin acting asthe table to do thebutchering on. After they had taken all thevital organs out, theyscooped out all the blood and saved itfor later. Then they cutup the restof the bodyinto sections. I didn't trythe blood just yet, but everything else I had was alright. The intestines were very hardto chew...They just wouldn't break up! Haha anyways, another thingthat i am getting usedto is the milk,water, salt combo drink they give you in a lotof the gers. The secretis to drink it when it's hot. Nevertheless, it still is pretty tough toget down.

ANyways, after receiving a blessing of myown,I was ableto take partin two blessings thisweek and experience both endsof the priesthood at work. Iwould just like to testify ofhow powerful the priesthood is when used righteously. It truly is the power ofGod that is to be used as a tool to bless the lives of others. Iamvery grateful for the opportunity I had this week to exercise and magnify my priesthood callingin that aspect.

Just the other day I witnessed a veryinteresting experience. Wewere heading back to our apartmentsfrom anotherareaand there was a traffic jam up aheadon a bridge. Our van driver expertlymanuveured pasteveryone else and we were soon at the epicenter of thejam. Just then, this herd ofCows and Sheep and Goats came across the bridge right through allthe cars! It was awesome! Probably one of the neatest things I've seen out here in Mongolia. On a sadder note, the reason the traffic jam even startedwas because a semi truck had hit and killed someone. Itotally missedthe fact thatthere was a dead body on the ground with blood all around it. Iwas too focused on the herd! Nevertheless, he had died and they were trying to figureout what to do with the body.

Oh, we've had some reallly greatwork days lately. It is interesting and tellingof how the Lordworks asI've analyzed our days. The days when we are focused,we striveto center our day around the people and do all we can for them,in unity of companionship,we are blessedwithgreat work. When we have issues, when we're not entirelyobedient however, plans fall through, people aren't home, and lessons just aren't recieved as we hope they will be. I am thoroughly convinced and have gained a strong testimony of the truth of the statement in D&C 1thirty:20-21. Every blessing we receive is predicated upon obedience to a law that God has made. It would be veryinteresting to readthat ledger that holds all the laws and the specific blessings tied to each one. At the same time,I amconvinced that we can make our own ledgers that will mirror God's as we live our lives in obedience to the laws He has given and notice the blessings that result. And of course we havethe words and promises of the Scriptures and the Prophets. Thoseare great sources forunderstanding what blessing is applicable to which commandment. THe greatest blessing of all, eternal life, is predicated on our following all of the commandments. One of course being repentance which allows us to make upfor the other commandments we overlook sometimes. It allows us to retry at that law until we get it right, as long as we have the right attitude about it.

This Gospel is wonderful, as I see what itdoes for the people here I am convincedof the universality ofit! I know thatit will work for anyone anywhere. The law and plan of God supersedes any culture, language, or climate. This is because underneath all those confusing boundaries thatdivide thehuman race, every single one of us is of common heritage: we are Children of God. Every day, I labor to let the people ofMongolia know thatthey are of divine heritage and birthright. It is a wonderful workindeed

Ok, So I've got a very good Idea that I think you need to puttogether for me and mail out tome. Mydistrict leader has this homemade calendar of all the months from the start ofhismission till the end and each month is accompanied with a picture of family or friends and a quote or favorite scripture. If you could putone ofthose together with our family and some of my churchleaders and like the familiesof my friends out on missions and what not. That would be awesome! And then also please send candy and good non-perishable food items. and maybe some receipes soI can learn howto cook. Oh and most importantly, send me your love andyour prayers!

Any mailore-mails you are willing to send mewould be greatly appreciated. I can only e-mailfamily butI can send letters,theywilltake about weeks though. Hey mom,tellthe kids to write me e-mails! I wantto hear how things are going. Especially Amy as she starts school at BYU. I love you all! ~ElderJames Cappuccio

Dear James,

It was good to hear from you, but I hope you are feeling much better than when you last wrote. My mom is worried and wanted me to check to see if you let the mission president know when you are sick I said you probably did, but she thinks you might try to be tough. I should have told her the story of you cutting your foot and just sitting there screaming and bleeding on the carpet until I came to your rescue, and then she might believe me..... Anyway just want you to take care of yourself, so if you have a Doctor's name ready, you can give me ,so I can tell your Grandma you are taken care of if the need should arise....or she might have to fly out there to check on you! I am sending some medicine and some vitamin supplements for you along with some good stuff, so you should get them in a few weeks =). I am also sending your Carnegie Hall CD, a CD player and portable speakers as you requested. I hope they make it. The speakers stick to together in a ball, you just have to pull them off the middle part to use them.

Well, we are still in the same ward, in case you were wondering, but Ben is in Ray 1st ward. Our ward boundary is a lot different. Everything south or Orchid and then the whole block from Mcqueen to AZ ave and Ray to Chandler.

I like the way they have there names, it sounds much like how the American Indians create names. FirmAxe Cappuccio does h ave a strong sound to it. I might have to move to Mongolia for the driving freedom. I haven't had much luck lately with photo radar and red light cameras. And I guess you might like us to send you some Tabasco to put on your food, so you can spice it up a bit. Maybe you can buy some there in a foreign food market. My mom says her friend who went to Mongolia recommends the German Markets for good and healthy food source.

Sounds like you have a great companion and already have been able to teach some lessons. So can you actively contact people on the street? How are the English classes that you are required to teach? Do the native Mongolian missionaries also teach with you? We wold love to hear more about what your average day is like. It would also be nice to hear how the people you baptize were converted.

Enough from me right now, hope to hear from you tomorrow.

Love always,

and....Keep the fire burning!


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Thankful for the "Word" Document

James sent this email on Aug. 11th just posting today and I posted his previous week's email just below this entry

Alriiiiiight, so I’m typing this up on a Word Document so there ain’t no way I’m losing it! Hello everyone! I’m back in the PC café.

Ok, so I’ll start with the bad news so that the letter can get progressively better and there’s no sad feelings at the end. Alright so right now I am sick like a dog! All last night I found myself at the toilet numerous times getting rid of every ounce of liquid in me from whichever direction it came from. (If you don’t put this in the blog that’s totally fine). So last night was pretty restless. I’m not exactly sure what you call the sickness I have but it felt a lot like the flu. I was sweating and shivering and aching. So yea!

Alright, away from that boring subject. Mongolia is crazy! There’s no way you could understand it unless you lived here for quite a while. It is just so different from anything I’ve ever experienced in America. As I already mentioned, the roads are wild. Like, they do have traffic lines and some stop lights, but for the most part it is just a free for all. Yet, of all the crazy driving I’ve seen, I haven’t seen 1 accident yet. Not 1! They’re just really good drivers. (Then again, if we could use the sidewalks and parking lots as part of the road I think a lot of things could be avoided too). So let’s see…

The food! Alright so a lot of the food here taste the same. All the meat tastes the same, all the rice tastes the same, all the potatoes taste the same, and all the dairy products taste the same. Yea, so that means your cheese your milk and your yogurt pretty much all tast the exact same. Oh, and they’ve got this stuff called ааруул which is dried milk. I’ll definitely bring some of that home for you all to try. But yea, it’s very strong and very bitter. I think I’m getting used to it though! Then there’s the айраг. That’s the fermented mare’s milk. Most of it is alcoholic but if you get it new then we’re allowed to drink it. So I did! And WOW. It’s like got the tangy taste that yogurt does with the cultures and what not. But it’s multiplied by probably…1000x. And then you’ve got the half-milk half-cheese taste that all dairy products have here in Mongolia. The restaurants here don’t really have any health codes or anything so that’s why it’s so easy to get sick. If you could send a lot of stomach medication in your care package that would be much appreciated. So yea, as of now I haven’t eaten anything extreme. I’m on the outskirts of the city in the сонгино (congin, Mongolian for Onion) branch so it’s still pretty urbanized. I’m sure that I’ll be eating a head or two in the near future. Our teacher in the MTC told us that by the end of his mission he had eaten every part of a sheep at least once. So that’s most likely in my future as well.

My companion! He is Mongolian. His name is эрдэнэбат (air-den-bat). In Mongolia all their names are word combos. Like for instance, сүхбаатар. If you translated that to English it would be ‘axe hero’. Then there are ones like ‘firm iron’, ‘sun beam’ couple joy’ ‘eternal joy’ ‘new joy’ ‘eternal light’. So yea, I’m sure for the Mongolians it is just like having names like John is for us in America. I don’t think they really dissect it like we do. But I still think it’s funny. Who knows, I might just name one of my kids like a Mongolian! “Firm axe” has a nice ring to it.

Anyways, I diverged. So he is awesome, when we get into lessons he can just speak so well and he has tons of great ways of explaining the doctrine. I’ve definitely taken some of his ideas and tried to use them. I hope he doesn’t mind because I’m sure I butcher then when I use it. Compared to him, my Mongolian is like…a 2-year olds. However it is a goal of mine to leave this transfer (11 more weeks) speaking like he does and understanding him. It’s a very lofty goal but I think, with the help of the Lord, and diligence, I can make it there.,P> Our investigators! Alright this week we had a baptism and we set appointments for two others which means we’ll be having at least 4 baptisms after a month. As of now I still can’t exactly follow everything that happens in the lesson but afterwards my companion tries to explain it. I’ve had experiences with new contacts where they’ve wanted the 2nd lesson and I’ve had others where they don’t want the next lesson. That’s always disheartening. You want so much for everyone to accept the message and when they say no, or that they already are Buddist, I want so bad to just tell them what they’re missing out on but I can’t. Those that do accept the message are so uplifting though. It’s awesome to have them say they would like the next discussion.

We had this neat experience this week where we were about to take a bus out to one of our areas to do work out there. We were waiting for some time but the bus didn’t come. Then this girl approached us and identified herself as someone we were supposed to teach earlier that didn’t show. We decided to teach her back at the church so we headed back that way and just as we were leaving the bus stop, the bus to take us out to the area we ere headed to showed up. I truly believe that God provided for us to be there still so that she could catch us. She received the first lesson very well and went to church the following day so it’s really exciting.

Alright well I guess I’ll end this weeks e-mail, I can’t really think of much else to write. Plus, I’m not feeling very good and I need to rest. So I hope everything is going well! I’m going to send another e-mail with just a couple pictures. One is of a hat I got Joseph for his birthday. I think over the next few weeks I’ll try and get something for the whole family and then send it all out in one package. I’ll have to see the feasibility of doing something like that. Well, I love all of you!

~Elder James Cappuccio

To Sister Infanger/Brother Cannon: Hey, Mongolia is great! At the Congin church I met this man called намсрай that says he knows you Sister Infanger! He’s pretty short, about your height and he’s working as a security guard for the church building. Oh, and maybe it’s just the area I’m in but like the whole whistling in buildings doesn’t apply and the ‘don’t touch anyone on the head or shoulders’ doesn’t apply. Oh and one thing you can teach the new batch of missionaries that will really help is to do ITL’s (invitations to Learn). We do them all the time here. Have them practice talking to people a lot. Like they don’t even have to be round about it. Just say that they’re missionaries for the church and then have them practice talking about the church. Then have them practice taking down addresses and numbers. That would be such a help.

To Elder Hatch: Hey! How’s the Czech Republic? If you can have your family forward your e-mails to me so I can hear of all the great work you’re doing over there.,P.

Left in Suspense

Sorry I haven't updated the blog lately, but I'm doing way better on this than my journal writing: On Aug 3rd, James sent this email:

Hey, not to be a downer or anything, but I just spent upwards to an hour typing out an email for ya'll and then it lost it. So...yea...basically, I'm still alive, and my companion is mongolian and awesome. and the food isn't killing me. I'll write a real one next week. Oh, our P-day is mondays. See ya, bye!

I sent him this in response:

Dear James,

I was a bit disappointed about not getting your email you spent an hour writing. Hope to hear from you tomorrow(Monday). It's probably early Monday already in Mongolia. I'm writing at about 3pm Sunday afternoon. They are showing the Olympics on TV now and I figure your time zone is probably close to Bejing's. Tonight they are announcing a ward boundary change. I wish I knew what the new ward boundaries were for sure, but tonight we are having a meeting at the church to let all the Ray wards know their new ward boundaries. I have heard 2 rumors that people say they heard from someone who knew. One has the boundary at Orchid north going to Ray 1st and the other has the people north of Ray rd going to Ray 1st ward. So there is a possibility we will be in a different ward after tonight. If I get home and you haven't written me back already, I'll write you a quick email to let you know.

Sister Finuf forwarded me an email with a picture of all the new missionaries she got from your mission president. I guess he doesn't have my email address so I didn't get one. Maybe I should email them also. Anyway, it was nice to see your smiling face along with all the other missionaries. I hope you are doing well and having a great experience every day.

On the homefront we are still sweating it out through the hot August days and the almost as hot nights. After church I can barely touch the steering when I first get into the car, for fear I might sear a permanent steering wheel tattoo onto my palms! Just thought you would enjoy a warm remembrance of home.....

So what interesting food have you tried so far? I know you enjoy eating, but wasn't sure how adventurous you would be. I can see you eating just about anything( within the Word of Wisdom) to impress an investigator though. "i'll eat this eyeball and monkey brain, if you'll read the Book of Mormon." Let me know if you ever use that line =) Help will be coming soon by way of a care package in case the food gets too crazy.

Hope to hear about your first 2 weeks and what your day is like over there. Keep the fire burning!

love always,


Sunday, August 3, 2008

James IN Mongolia

Hellooooooo from Mongolia! I made it here safely and i'm sitting in a PC cafe with a group of missionaries writing you. This is amazing. Like nothing I could have expected. The moment we could see the country from our plane i felt this overwhelming surge of love. As much as i tried to imagine it and prepare myself, there was no way to prepare myself for the sheer beauty of it all! The country is beautiful. Mountains, hills, lakes, clear skies. And I havent even seen the whole of it. So far I've done a terrible job of taking pictures here, but I'm going to repent of that and start takin more and then send them back home to you! I might be able to get on my blog from here, I'll have to check with the leaders in my area and the mission rules and all that.

President Andersen is awesome as well. Him and his wife are great and already I can tell how much they care about this work and this people.

So let me try and describe the atmosphere of this place. Right now its a cool...i don't know, maybe 65-75 degrees. Here in the city (Ulaanbaatar) there are people and cars everywhere. THe driving is crazy, anyone can do anything on the road pretty much. If someone decides to pull a U-turn in the middle of a road, everyone just pulls over and waits for him to finish. If someone needs to get into the lane next to them, they just honk and nose their way in. Its a very interesting thing to witness. Also, they definitely use the car horn like it was meant. I've started to realize that in America we hardly use it! Here, while it might appear to be rude to honk, its actually just like letting the other car know that you're there and you're going to be really close to them. I like it. Maybe you should start implementing that in your driving. Dont be afraid to honk. It's ok! Anyways, the people are all over the place as well, they cross the streets whenever they can but the cars have the right away. Uhm, they're all sorts of ages and sizes and it is so great to see them all out and about. Tomorrow we will be doing something called the Dan Jones box where we go out and just street contact. Im excited. Even though I can't speak Mongolian like they do yet, I am excited to try.

Oh, we had our first taste of Mongolian pizza! Its different thats for sure. Whether it's a good or bad difference is yet to be decided. Hmmm....what else...I love this place! I know this is where Im meant to be. I dont actually go to actually area until Saturday so from now till then we'll be doing various orientation activities.

Wow, so i don't really know what else to write. We were in Korea for 7 hours and it was interesting. I've got some Korean money now which I dont know what to do with. haha. We've met quite a few of the Elders here and they all seem great. i can echo the President in saying that this mission is the best mission and that it gets the best missionaries! Im pretty lucky to be able to learn from them all.

Well, I don't know what else to say, so I guess I'll start puttin a close to this E-mail. You should be getting an e-mail from me every week if conditions permit. DearElder.com letters and packages and e-mails and all sorts of stuff will get to me. I can only email family members and I dont know how i'll get a hold of other people but i'll do my best. No guarantees.

This church is so true! I absolutely know it. No long distances change it, nodifferent languages change it, nothing changes it. It is the Gospel, the same as it was with Christ and with Adam. And how grateful I am to share that precious and consistent Gospel with the people of Mongolia. Well ill be in touch, I love you all. Bye!