26.06.2012 - 06.07.2012
After spending the night inside of our cars, we awoke to find a huge truck in front of the Hyundai. The kind Mongolian man inside pulled us out of the mud with a rope, and guided us back to Tsuganuur.
In Tsuganuur, we regained our energy and began our drive through Mongolia. Because we lost a day during our Kooka adventure, we decided not to go to Ulaangom but straight to Hovd. The journey was full of dust, rocks, mountains, multiple popped tires, discomfort, and lots of pain. Because of our less than prefereable conditions, our team expirienced occasional arguments and lost tempers. We drove through the treachery of Mongolia for an entire day, spent the night in our cars again, and finally arrived in Hovd the next morning.
In Mongolia, we did a three day "plashyadka" [day camp] for the Mongolian kids. The three days were full of games, Bible stories, songs, and lots of fun. I was surprised by how cooperative Mongolian children were - they probably don't expirience these kind of day camps often. Although there was a language barrier between us and the children, kindness and love were enough to get our message accross. I am glad that I was able to do my part in planting a seed in this nation. I am excited to see how it will grow in the future.
After spending four days in Mongolia, it was time to drive back. The return trip from Mongolia was just as problematic as the trip to Mongolia. Many of the guys in our group, myself included, did not have the opportunity to shower for an entire week. We were dirty, tired, crowded, and uncomfortable. We would constantly bicker with one another. The Lada and the Nissan would expirience constant car troubles. If I remember correctly, the Lada suffered six popped tires and other engine malfunctions. We lost lots of precious time sitting around and waiting for the cars to be fixed.
The entire expirience taught me a lot about patience. I read somewhere that the development of patience is like the development of a muscle. When someone excercises, a point is reached when the muscle rips. Then, when nature repairs the broken fiber, it overcompensates and the muscle grows in strength and power. In the same way, our patience muscle grows. At times, there were pressed situations where I wanted to explode. But then, I would think about how much bigger my patience muscle would become if I kept my cool. Now, I feel like I have patience muscles of steel.
Whenever a situation would get heated, to grow my muscle and not lose my temper, I would just go outside to play with my camel friends.
The biggest test for my patience muscle came on the border of Mongolia and Russia. I ate a Truebar energy bar with a subheading that read "I am a coconut cashew bar with nothing to hide." Apperently, it had a lot to hide - like that fact that it would give me food poisoning. For the rest of our ride back, I was sick with an upset stomach and digestion problems. I couln't eat anything and I lost a lot of weight. I was weak and fatigued. We spent the night in some cabins in the Altai mountains, and I got up during the night 5 or 6 times to use the rest room. The wooden outhouse bathroom became a second home to me. I had to say goodbye to 2 pairs of underwear and thousands of baby wipes.
But, when I looked at my situation from another perspective, I found reason to be happy. I was able to rid myself of excess body fat without dieting or exercising. I was skinny and I didn't have to work for it. The only thing it cost me were 2 pairs of boxers. Sweet deal.
When we finally arrived back to the Bible College in Omsk, I was able to wash, clean, shave, and rest my poor little skinny dirty self.
Though I was suffering, I was happy. Happy to be done with another chapter of my journey.