Sunday, February 28, 2010

Day 4: Welcome to Mongolian Churches

We got up earlier today. It's hard, because we don't really know what time it is, it's all still dark outside when we wake. Breakfast is settling into a porridge routine.

Our first trip today was to a Mongolian church, "World Harvest Mission Church". We caught a taxi, which was interesting - UB isn't really massive, so taxis are fairly economical. There are official taxis, but there are also lots of unofficial taxis, or at least that's how it seems. So catching a taxi seems to involve flagging down a vehicle that looks like it might be taxi-like.

We were running a little late, but that turned out to be early! Mongolians don't necessarily run to time, as evidenced by our service starting 23 minutes later than supposed. The whole service was in Mongolian, so we understood very little. Singing was difficult too, though some tunes were very familiar (Lord I lift your name on high, among others). Seumas has a bit of a grasp of the alphabet, and tried to read a bit off the overhead. Visitors and newcomers are warmly welcomed - i.e. we all came up the front and a bunch of stuff was said we didn't understand and then lots of people came and shook our hands and hugged us. Rachel found it a bit confronting to be hugged by men she hadn't met(!) - Gender relations work a bit differently in this culture. It was really lovely though totally bewildering.

We walked home, and it was a bit cold (for us). We stopped into "Home Plaza", a nearby korean supermarket, which had lots of stuff. Even Red Bull. Most of the labels are incomprehensible, but the packaging usually gives you an idea, and sometimes there are some words in English. We bought some noodles, some pasta stuff, shampoo and conditioner, and some chocopie. (No Red Bull).

We were only home for an hour or two. Mongolians don't really do evening church. Afternoon church is the go instead. So we walked up the road to UBTC (the bible school), where an international church meets. It's about 50/50 Mongolians/Foreigners, but the church runs in English. Many Mongolians come to improve their English too. It was a real relief and comfort to be able to understand what was going on, sing in our own language, and hear a sermon on John 13. We met a few foreigners who gave us some good advice (though meeting a Canadian who sounded like he was immune to all cold wasn't the most encouraging!).

Now relaxing at home and preparing for some dinner.