September 11, 2011

Miracle in Mongolia

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
We arrived in Mongolia late at night after another long day of traveling. Besides the fact that it was dark, we were all so tired we didn’t notice too much about Mongolia on our drive from the airport to the hotel. Except we did notice the crazy driving and the bumpy roads.
Our first night here was an experience that will go down in our books as CLASSIC. In an effort to save money we stayed in a cheap motel. And “cheap” doesn’t even begin to describe it! It was:
1.       Old, dirty, Cigarette smoke FILLED and infested, No hot water, TINY beds squished into a TINY room.
6.       Wet towels. Not just damp, but full on wet! Weird, but it was like they washed them and then stuck them in the room to dry, which they hadn’t.
7.       Naked lady paintings on the wall!!
8.       No plugs, No heat, and people up and noisy all night long.
And the very best part, we discovered it was… ummmm…  “a house of ill repute”! We checked out the next morning and decided sometimes it is worth paying extra for a hotel! Oh boy.
As we drove around Ulaanbaatar the next day to visit the families I was struck by the destitution in this country. It seriously looks like a war torn Afghanistan after the Al Qaida invaded, destroyed and took over! There are thousands of apartment buildings that are old, run down, dirty and look abandoned. They look like they need to be demolished. Then, with a closer look, I noticed laundry hanging on the balcony or dirty, torn curtains hanging in the window. These apartments weren’t abandoned they were lived in! The few paved roads in the city are full of pot holes. There are no curbs, or if there are they are broken and falling apart. There is no greenery or pretty landscape. Garbage is everywhere. It is a sad reminder of what communism does to a country and to a people. Russia controlled and occupied Mongolia up until the early 1990’s. It makes me so thankful for the country I live in. How blessed we are. I don’t think I’ll ever complain about the poorly planned road construction in Mesa again!
It is difficult and heart wrenching to drive around this country. By mere appearances it is depressing. But the amazing thing is we were privileged to go into people’s homes! And herein lies the Miracle in Mongolia: it was incredible to enter these homes and suddenly feel a peace. These homes were kept nice and clean. As I looked around I saw pictures of the temple or the prophet pinned to the wall. It was a privilege to be with these faithful families. It was a sweet and powerful reminder of how the Gospel and faith blesses lives.
In what seems a horrible place, miraculously, these people were happy. The Gospel of Jesus Christ brings peace. The power of the Gospel to bring peace and happiness to anyone; wherever they live, whatever their circumstances are, is truly manifest in the Miracle in Mongolia. The Lord loves all his children and He will bless them wherever they are.


  1. What darling little girls! I wish I were there to meet all these people too. Hey, did you get any Lonely Planet travel books by any chance? They always have the good cheap places for backpackers to stay and those places are usually great -- very basic, but fine.

    Hurry up and get to your next place. :-)

  2. I remember when Richard Cook went to Mongolia to open it to the hearing of the gospel. Now I understand the Mormon church is the largest Cristian denomination in Mongolia. The families are adorable. There was a sister on Temple Square who left a yurt with dirt floors to come to Salt Lake City on a mission. What culture shock. but what great stories and testimony. You can do a great work there. Jim