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For week ended February 20, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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Summarized by Rosemary Pollock

Mongolian Missionaries
Twin Falls ID Times-News 19Feb00 D1
By Joan Bean: Times-News correspondent

TWIN FALLS, IDAHO -- Two Mormon missionaries serving in Twin Falls Idaho are originally from the same place. Both men, never having met before, joined the church in their homeland of Mongolia. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints currently has more than 50,000 missionaries serving around the world. Approximately 75 percent of them are young men between the ages of 19 and 26. The chances of being from the same country and serving in Twin Falls, Idaho are pretty slim.

The church had a good reason to assign them to Idaho. "That is to give them a chance to come to a place where the church is well established," Brent Nielson, president of the Twin Falls West Stake said. "A lot of the time we talk about sending missionaries to Mongolia, and now the Mongolians have come here." "They can kind of see how it operates, so that when they go back to Mongolia they know how the church operates in a place where it's organized."

Twenty-two-year-old Elder Chinzorig and ninteen-year-old Elder Surenkhuu have been learning English skills since attending a missionary language training center before coming to Idaho. Elder Chinzorig and Elder Surenkhuu are both from Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, yet never met before now. Chinzorig studied clothing design in college, while Surenkhuu was a business management student in college.

Mongolia is between China and Russia, covering a large area the size of Alaska with a population of 2.7 million. Elder Chinzorig describes the area as "having a lot of sheep, horses and cows and grow lots of vegetables." Mongolia has four season, with a very cold winters. Skiing is a popular outdoor activity.

Sirenkhuu would like to return to the Unites States sometime in the future. "It's a very nice country," he said. "I met many, many nice people."


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