Mongolian members at home in D.C.

When Mongolian members of the Arlington 2nd Ward of the McLean Virginia Stake celebrated the Mongolian New Year last February, they invited family and friends to help them make dumplings. But making these staples of Mongolian culture for special events is more than a culinary art; it's a deep-rooted family tradition that brings all generations and genders together.

Mongolian youngsters learn from their mothers their family's individual way of rolling out, filling and shaping the dough, and they will pass that technique and the happy memories of doing it with loved ones to the next generation.

"It's part of our culture," said Barhas Gombojav, one of the first Mongolian members baptized in the ward. "We tell family stories and jokes as we prepare the dumplings so we can remember our traditions and who we are," she explained.

This emphasis on family, tradition and respect for elders so characteristic of the Mongolian people is at the heart of what helps draw them to the Church. Since 1993, when the missionaries first began teaching English in Mongolia, the number of baptisms has steadily increased, especially in the U.S.

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