S: MONGOLIA 2010-2011 School Year
FC: MONGOLIA 2010-2011 School Year
1: TWISTS & TURNS Upon returning to Mongolia in the fall of 2010, I had planned to continue serving in the Gobi. However, I was unable to find an affordable place to live there. So a week before my residence permit expired, I returned to Ulaan Baatar (UB) and praise the Lord for providing an apartment on the edge of the capital city. It is near the Immovable Cornerstone NGO, (Non-Government Organization) where I will assist with a church plant (which may be why God seems to have closed the door for me to continue working in the Gobi). It was difficult to say good-bye to friends I had made acquaintance with last year in the Gobi. After living out of a suitcase and sleeping bag for 50 days, I finally moved my belongings back to UB. (After 7 moves in 8 years on the field I hope to put some roots down here now!) Though it took me awhile to adjust to these sudden changes, I find comfort that the twists and turns of life don't take our Sovereign God by surprise.
2: Apartment in Ulaan Baatar (2nd floor in building on the left)
4: 'Immovable Cornerstone' NGO | cor.ner.stone n. 1. a stone placed at the corner of a building to mark the start of construction. 2. the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation, important since all other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure. | "...you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit." Ephesians 2.19-22
5: Dariimaa, Amka, Oogii | Oogii & Dariimaa grew up together in a rural town in Mongolia. In 1992, Dariimaa came to faith in Jesus Christ and has served in several Christian NGOs. She is a gifted communicator with visionary and leadership gifts. Jesus delivered Oogii out of alcoholism in 2000. He is a quiet, godly man who loves to study the Word. He is a gifted guitarist. He is also a hard worker with construction skills. Both Oogii & Dariimaa relate well to people of all ages. They have a passion for introducing others to Jesus Christ.
6: The birth of an NGO | Initially, I postponed getting settled into my apartment while pushing ahead with Oogii & Dariimaa to get the NGO set up... | The outhouse had to be dug & built. | The ger had to be winterized & furnished.
7: Please pray for the NGO to have favor in the community and for people to participate in NGO activities.
8: Finally, on December 1st the opening ceremony for the Immovable Cornerstone NGO was held! In attendance were the director of the district and 15 neighbors of Oogii & Dariimaa...some of the very neighbors we are hoping to reach with the gospel. It was a chance to get acquainted with these precious people as well as introduce ourselves and the NGO to them.
9: Through the NGO we hope to build friendships with those in the neighborhood, looking for opportunities to share the gospel. Please pray for the 3 of us to have wisdom in conversations with people who are steeped in superstitions, animism and Buddhism. Please pray that the Holy Spirit would prepare their hearts to be aware of their need for a Savior.
10: ON YOUR MARK... GET SET... GO ! | I taught several beginning-level 'English as a Foreign Language' courses for high school through adult students.
11: Please pray for wisdom & health for Dariimaa as she provides leadership for the NGO. | Oogii & Dariimaa attended an accounting course the beginning of 2011 equipping them to complete quarterly tax reports for the NGO.
12: Character Training lesson in a local school
13: Friday afternoon Fellowships provide further opportunities to get acquainted with folks in the neighborhood, plus practical skills training. This may include sewing, crafts, health education, Character Training lessons, etc.
14: OFF TO SUNDAY WORSHIP It's Sunday morning and I make my way carefully over slippery sidewalks to the bus stop, past grandparents in bright colorful dels (traditional Mongolian dress), children bundled from head to toe, women clicking along in high heeled boots, and men urinating along dilapidated walls. I stand shivering at the bus stop waiting for the 30 minute ride to the last stop outside of UB. The conductor defies the lurching of the bus by grasping the back of each seat to keep her balance while gathering the 300 tugrik fare from each passenger. Eventually, we empty out of the bus and I begin the 15 minute climb uphill through the snow to the NGO ger where the warmth of the wood/coal burning stove greets me along with fellow worshipers. We enter into a time of worship and teaching from the Word, praying that those in the surrounding area would join us in worshiping the Creator of the universe.
15: PREPARING BIBLE LESSONS Several evenings a week, Oogii, Dariimaa & I meet for prayer and Bible lesson preparation. I pray that our times together will encourage them in evangelism and shepherding the church. We want to prepare carefully for the planting season and long to see a harvest. Please pray for Oogii as he prepares to teach the Word and lead worship each Sunday.
16: Over the past school year we were thrilled to have several visitors at church including some of Oogii & Dariimaa's relatives, Oogii's construction friends, English students, and relatives of my friend Naraa in the Gobi.
17: Our church family had a wonderful Christmas celebration singing carols, listening to a devotional, watching a Christmas video in Mongolian and sharing a traditional Mongolian meal together.
18: As the new calendar year began, I encouraged those coming to church to participate in a one year Bible reading program which takes then through the 8 Old Testament books and entire New Testament available thus far in Mongolian. Also, many are participating in the church Scripture memory program. Currently more seekers are involved than believers! Pray God would draw people to himself through the memorization of His Word. | Oogii judging a quarterly competition
19: an English student participating in the church's Scripture memory competition | CONGRATS! to the winners
20: buuz | LUNAR NEW YEAR Mongolia celebrates Lunar New Year along with its neighbor, China. Preparation entails weeks of gift shopping, making hundreds to thousands of buuz (steamed mutton dumplings) and many other dishes, as well as a thorough cleaning of the home and car. The holidays lasts 3 days (although most stretch it to 5-7 days) during which time Mongolians visit relatives, co-workers and friends for the traditional New Year's greeting and feasting. It's always fun to ask kids how many buuz they've eaten during the holiday. This year, during part of the holiday, I stayed in the NGO ger (as tents are susceptible to theft, particularly during holidays) while Oogii & Dariimaa visited relatives both in UB and out- of-town. I find winter camping to be a bit extreme. : )
21: Celebrating with Boloroo's family & friends | Sharing the Good News | During the Lunar New Year holiday I received several invitations to friend's homes and had the opportunity to share the gospel with a 90 year old woman.
22: It has been my experience thus far overseas that any holiday affords an opportunity to share about the Lord. On the occasions of Women's Day (March 8th) and Men's Day (March 18th) I gave small gifts to each student accompanied with a verse about God's incredible love for us. | h | o | l | i
23: d | s | y | a | During April, one of the lessons in the English textbook was about holidays, which provided an opportunity to explain the spiritual meaning behind many important holidays. Oogii, Dariimaa & I invited friends and English students to a showing of the Jesus film in Mongolian on Good Friday. Nine guests came to watch the film! Afterwards, Oogii shared the gospel and 2 university students stayed for hours asking questions about what it means to follow Jesus.
24: Dariimaa spent time in the hospital over the winter. While there, she became acquainted with one of the six women in her hospital room. Byambasuren is a very poor woman whose kidneys are failing so doesn't have long to live. She only has one daughter in 8th grade. This spring Dariimaa & I visited them-delivering food, sharing the gospel and inviting them to worship with us on Sundays.
25: Ingrid, Byambasuren, Dariimaa Urelmaa
26: At the end of May parties were held to celebrate graduation from English courses. | Graduation
27: Children's Day | June 1st is Children's Day, a national holiday in Mongolia. Traditional gifts were presented to each child who attended or visited our church this year.
28: All of the church & NGO events currently take place in a ger (traditional Mongolian round felt tent). In the coming years we trust the Lord to provide for a community center to reach out to this neighborhood of 13,000. Through the NGO we seek to assist people in laying practical foundations in their lives through various training while introducing them to the Immovable Cornerstone. As individuals come to faith in Jesus Christ, they will have opportunity to meet for worship, prayer, and Bible study in the community center.