Leaving Little Rock, I was emotionally, mentally and logistically ready to go. There were moments in the process leading up to boarding the plane that I had wells of joy spring up as well as moments of uncertainty on what to expect.
Korean Air was amazing, on time, friendly and large beautiful planes. An interesting note, was that as Americans we drink way more water than other nations, so after asking my flight attendants for the sixth time for a bottle of water, she was a bit frustrated with me, as well as the woman I was sitting with.
We were greeted with top-level security and a monk named Lama Tenzin (he will be a main character in this amazing journey) . An oxymoron, needing security for those who are for peace. Lama Tenzin was our protector and friend, I know that I will work more with him in the future, supporting his mission to save little girls and educate them in India (more about that later). Actually, the governmental escorts and security while I was in Ulaanbaatar was due to the election, that happened days before my arrival. The “peoples leader” was elected, preceding a president that had ruled since the 90’s when Mongolia became a free democracy. The newly elected President was a student of the man who was hosting me, The Oracle of The Dalai Lama, Ven. Thupten Ngodup, who goes by Kuten la. ( in layman terms, he is The Dalai Lama’s wise man).
The young , vibrant newly elected President, Khaltmaagiin Battulga, supports religious freedom and aspires to continue peace, integrity and allowing the people of Mongolia to have a voice. Therefore, my arrival came at a very exciting and celebratory time in the history of Mongolia. Capturing this on film/digital/video, my images and recordings would be apart of the transitioning history of Mongolia as a country. Such an opportunity that I became passionate about.
The new president owned the hotel where we all stayed and the new President resides in his home behind our hotel, as his palace was being renovated. Knowing that the floor where I slept was directly below 15 monks, Lamas and other dedicated souls praying and meditating for our world was unbelievable. Their dedication, determination and commitment to love was felt through the walls. Kuten la, would spend the next week being available to blessing and prayer for those in need. People drove from all over the country to go to the 12th floor of our hotel just to be heard and loved. So, needless to say, I was able to be in this sacred place, photographing his journey to Mongolia. It’s hard to describe what witnessing this was like. I can just say that I was grateful to be witnessing such a beautiful encounter of humans.
My invitation here to Mongolia is kind of long story, but the story revolves around the very revered man Kuten la which he is the Dalai Lama’s “main-man” and lives in Nechung Monastery in India. He is the Dalai Lama’s wisdom counselor and mystic. Facilitating peace projects around the world. I was introduced into this project by one of the most enlightened woman I have ever met, Rev. Susan Smith of Little Rock, Arkansas and her mission is so big yet so simple……love everyone. Her desire for understanding and respect between different religions across the world is what sprouted the Inter Faith Center in Little Rock. The motivation for this “seemingly impossible” and whoo-hoo idea has taken on a form of its own and now these projects are actually coming to fruition. I am honored to have been invited to capture this very momentous time, especially since you have probably not heard about it on the news or in the media. You can follow my blog, as I am flying home now and will be sharing more about my journey, with hope that it will bring you hope for our world.