News Story

Mormon Volunteers Clean Up Mongolian Landmark

More than one thousand members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Mongolia recently joined with touring members of the Brigham Young University-Hawaii Concert Choir to remove debris from Zairim Hill Memorial — a World War II site that honors soldiers who fell in defense of Mongolia.

Despite challenging weather conditions, Mormon volunteers clad in protective gloves and masks  gathered hundreds of bags of trash — garbage that detracted from the appearance of the distinctive cone-shaped memorial site — and filled five large city trucks with the rubbish.

For local members of the Church, the service was an opportunity to be involved in the community, reports Soyolmaa, director of public affairs for the Church in Mongolia. “We hope we can do more of this in the future,” the director said.

And for the BYU-Hawaii choir members — in Mongolia as part of their tour schedule — the service significantly broadened their touring experience.

“The service project was incredible and fun,” reported Monica Fiala, a BYU-Hawaii junior from Ashland, Virginia. “The service gave us personal contact with the people.”

Mongolian natives who attend the Hawaiian school responded to the opportunity to serve in their homeland. Enkhtugs Purevsuren, a senior at the university, was “a bit nervous, at first, to work and perform in my homeland, but then everyone seemed to love us. I think the people could see we were there to help.”

Narangarvuu Enkhbaatar expressed surprise to “see so many people participating in the cleanup project.” The young choir member attributed the large number of Church volunteers to the recent growth of Church membership in Mongolia.

Local government and community leaders expressed appreciation for the community service and the concert choir performances. The service project was attended by the deputy mayor of Ulaanbaatar, and Dr. L.K. Haguasuren, president of the Health and Science University of Mongolia, said, “After I heard the choir sing, I realized that only love can change the whole world.”

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