Sunday, January 10, 2010

Gifts Bags for Orphans

December 30, 2009

Baagii Chuululan and her husband Richard decided that rather than give each other gifts for the holidays, they wanted to donate 200 New Year gifts bags (the tradition is to give New Year gifts instead of Christmas gifts) to orphanages in Mongolia.  She asked Elder Lasson and me if we had any suggestions for where she could take them.  We had already given her one idea from our files, but we looked through our files to see what else we could find.  We found the names of several other orphanages and gave them to her.  She made some phone calls and decided where to take her gift bags.

She called us and asked if we could round up some volunteers to help her put the gift bags together.  We were excited to help.  One evening, she and Richard had a mountain of candy, bottles of juice, chips, fruit and bags delivered to the Bayanzurkh building.  We rounded up as many volunteers/senior couples, etc. that we could quickly and started assembling the gift bags.  It was really fun and we could just imagine the excitement on the children’s faces as they opened their New Year gifts. 

When we were finished, Elder Lasson, Baagii, Richard, Battsegtseg and I piled part of the boxes into a mission car and took off to deliver them to The Children’s Development Center where Azaayaa had a ger full of poor children and parents eagerly awaiting our arrival.  As Baagii handed out the gifts, one child who touched me the most was a tiny tyke who was all bundled and looked like a pink all.  She waddled up to Baagii and loudly, but in a sweet, child-like voice said, “Bayarlah!”  Everyone around her chuckled!

On the way home Baagii asked Elder Lasson to stop the car along a cold dark road.  She had spotted several little children, wearily trudging along the road.  “I want to surprise them,” she said.  She hopped out of the car and quickly took several gift bags over to them.  They couldn’t believe their eyes.  As we left, we noticed they were excitedly chatting and their walk quickened as the continued on their way.

The next day, Baagii and Richard drove about three hours to Darkhan so they could put 81 gift bags in a taxi from there to deliver them to an orphanage in Selenge.  Elder and Sister Anderson in Selenge were to receive them and deliver them to the orphanage.  Before Richard and Baagii left , they asked us to deliver 14 gift bags to a tiny orphanage called “The Family,” so the children would have them for New Years. We had a wonder experience with the children in this tiny orphanage as we visited with them and they sang and danced for us. 

After we delivered the gifts, we were visiting Hospital #1 when I received a phone call from Baagii.  She and Richard were on their way home from Darkhan and the gifts were on their way to Selenge, but she had left the contact information for the orphanage at home and they were miles away.  She was concerned that the children wouldn’t get their gifts.  I told her I would look for it as soon as we returned to our office, however, I was quite worried because I had already searched my files for it and thought I remembered giving Baagii the original information.  I was also worried because we had another commitment, I think it was to teach English, and we didn’t have very much time to look for it.

As we arrived in the office, I started tearing through our contact files, orphanage files, etc.  I couldn’t find anything.  Elder Lasson entered from parking the car and with his hat still on I told him that we needed to have a prayer to find the contact information. It would be terrible if Richard and Baagii had made all the effort to take the gift bags to Darkhan and have them shipped from there to Selenge, only to have us not be able to tell her where the orphanage was and have the gifts arrive in Selenge with no one knowing where to take them.  Richard and Baagii would arrive home late at night.  Elder Lasson and I needed to leave soon, and time was running out.  So, Elder Lasson took off his hat and we humbly told Heavenly Father our need and asked for his help. 

As we ended the prayer, Elder Lasson, Battsegtseg and I looked again for the information.  I looked again through my contact lists and orphanage lists, Elder Lasson dug into his files, and our new translator, Battsegtseg started looking on her computer.  A moment or two later, Battsetseg said, “I think this might be it!”  It was! I had looked everywhere else, but hadn’t thought to look on Chintuya’s computer.  Chintuya (our former translator/assistant) had translated a request from the orphanage and, just as I thought, we had given the original to Baagii, but the copy of the translation was still on the computer, and  I was relieved to see it included the contact information.  

I quickly called Baagii and she relayed the information to the Andersons who would be meeting the taxi full of gifts for the orphans.  We were grateful for the inspiration Battsegtseg received to look on the computer and for one more tender mercy from Heavenly Father. 

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