Anyways, let me first assure you that our apartments are not even CLOSE to those ones. I'll have to put some pictures on of ours. From what i've gathered, the apartments in my area are probably some of the nicest in the mission for the regular missionaries. Senior missionaries are nicer of course...anyways, this past week has been great for showers! Up untill yesterday we had no hot water in the apartments! That meant we were showering in REALLY COLD water! The kind that feels like ice when you run your hand under it. So that's how I cleaned up for the past 6 days or so. It was great. Anyways, a little secret is to sing while your in there. That or scream. Either way it just doesn't seem as cold for some reason. :) So yea...the hot water is back on and it fluctuates a lot! I almost got burned today!
Alright, so the food has been much better for me! I got to eat some homemade hooshoor from a new members house last monday and it was SOOOOO GOOD! They killed the lamb that evening and then cooked it up. Man, it was good. Then with my new companion, we've been to some nice restaurants and eaten. Those were way good. By the way, a nice restaurant in Mongolia is usually around 5 to 7 dollars a plate for food and it's usually a lot of food. Other places are just like 2 or 3 dollars if you're really hungry. Just to give you an idea of things, we live off of 50 dollars a missionary (give or take) each week. Most of the time we don't even spend that much. So, my new companion! His name is Elder Alexander. His real name is Elder Shaw though. Shaw in Mongolian is a REALLY bad word and so they changed it. He's from Provo Utah but he grew up in New Jersey so he's got an accent that's pretty rich. One cool thing is that his family actually fed Elder Clawson and his companion not too long ago and he mentioned that he had a friend serving in Mongolia! Now we're companions! He's a pretty neat guy and I think you'll be hearing about a lot of good work coming through us pretty soon!
Ok, so today I wanted to share some neat things that make Mongolia unique. The first thing is: names! So i talked about it a little bit, but the names are wierd here! the can all be translated to mean various things. Sadly, some of them aren't the best names. For example, nergui. That means 'without a name' and it's fairly common among Mongolians! Another is guluk which means 'puppy'. The worst I can think of that is actually a name is khuunbesh which means 'not a person'. Crazy huh! We went to a cementary today to explore and we found other names like 'yellow son' 'brown child' 'not this'. SO there you go! If you thought movie stars name their kids wierd...think about Mongolian names!
The next thing...Shith pirates. These guys are people that go around all day picking up empty glass and plastic bottles to redeem for cash. They carry big bags around on the sidewalks and streets and say thinks like "We'll take glass!" and then just take it to these centers that give them cash for it. There's a lot of them around here and there's actually one that goes to church and brings her bag with her. So yea, shith or shil is glass and so we call them (originated from Elder Morrison) shith pirates. The people taht collect all the glass from them are called shith lords. Haha funny eh?
Alright, and then there's Horse meat. It's WAY GOOD! I don't know if you've ever tried it, but they eat it here a lot, especially in the winter because it's a hot meat. I'm excited for the winter if that means more horse meat :).
So that's some stuff about Mongolia that's just a little different from America. As more things come out i'll make sure to mention them! But what is this about McCain choosing a woman? And how is he winning? Have the people forgotten who was just in the White House for the last 8 years? Goodness. I might not want to come back if things keep heading this way. So, I do miss politics, dearly. If you could maybe send a little information, bite size stuff, that could be appreciated. Not too much though, i've got to keep my head in Mongolia and on the Lord's work.
We didn't have too much happen in terms of missionary work this week because I've been showing my new senior companion around and basically rebuilding the area's work up after my last companion left. It's hard but we've had some really neat lessons where the Spirit has been strong and it's then I know that the Lord does prosper this work and those that seek to build His kingdom through His methods will be blessed for it. And knowing that makes me so glad to be here in Mongolia doing what I'm doing!
I got a short letter from Sister Oakey which was really nice to receive. If she could forward me Dan's letters or somethging and you do the same for Elder Oakey that would be cool so i could stay posted on him and hear his stories.
ALright, so that's just about it for this week's e-mail. I decided that if you wanted to send another package soon it should most defintely include: Kool Aid packets, beef jerky, American candy, soup cans (maybe?) and then more Gillette Fusion razor blades, and then if Joseph or Amy could put together EFY cds that would be wonderful!
Alright, I love you! I hope this letter finds you well and that work keeps going good for you! Your Son and Missionary,
Dear James, This is the 2nd email I received about apartments for rent in Ulaanbaatar, so I was wondering if you were trying to give me an idea of what your living conditions were like.? I don't know how I got on this Realtor's email list, but at least these apartments look nice.? Are your apartments similar? I am sure you don't have the one with the big red round bed....? Anyway they all seem like the could be just down the road.? I hope you food has been more boring this week. I was eating breakfast when I read about the fingernail and unlike you i made my stomach turn. it reminded me about the time in Jr High when I found one of the lunch lady's band aids in my lasagna. I hope you received your care package by now.? Besides the food we sent there is the small cd player, speakers and your choir cd.
Well got to run to choir practice- we miss you at choir practice. When you get back you have to sing in church with Ben. I always like to hear you sing. I especially liked when you sang "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" in the play about Joseph Smith. Take care and keep the fire burning! Love Always,