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Updates from Mongolia

Family News, Mongolia

A long-awaited day!

In March we had the privilege of doing something that I have long-wanted to do! We helped with getting the place ready. As the flow of people began to increase I helped with registration as best I could with my limited ability in Mongolian. Part way through the first session I walked into an auditorium where nearly 200 people were seated, listening attentively to the message of a seminar that has greatly influenced and impacted our family’s life.

This is the third Mongolian Basic Seminar that has been shown now. What a blessing to see a people group that I love, listening so attentively to the Seminar in their own language!

One of the neat stories that came out of this week was from a couple who recently had begun coming to church. They came to the seminar and there decided that they were going to burn and destroy their idols! It is amazing to think of the reality of some of these things here in Mongolia. Praise the Lord for working in many lives during the week!

As the attendees were leaving after the last session there were “thank you’s” that came from many. One staff person noted that by the end of the Seminar there were more smiles on the faces of the attendees than at the beginning.

The following week, though it was much smaller, we were able to hold the same seminar for English speakers, most of which were Koreans. Our whole family was able to attend the Seminar as well, which was a blessing as I have not been through the whole Seminar for a few years.

Basic Seminar Follow-Up Course

Following the Basic Seminars my Dad began teaching a seven-week, condensed, follow-up course to the Basic Seminar. With so much information and many practical truths shared in the 32 hours of the Basic Seminar, it is helpful to be reminded of the truths shared in the Basic Seminar at a slower pace, as well as being able to ask questions. With about 45 people in attendance, my Dad shares on a principle for one night, sharing on a new principle each week. Many sit and hungrily listen to the life-changing truths that are shared; many of them taking notes as my Dad goes through the power-points. And, if he goes to fast for them to take down what is on the slide, they let him know so that he can slow down or go back to the slide he was on so they can copy it down. They are hungry for the principles of God’s Word! We have had several that have shared testimonies for the group, of what God has done in their life through applying these Basic Principles of life.

Trainings at the Ulaanbaatar MK School

We have gotten to participate in some trainings, as well, while we have been here. One of the on-going trainings that Samuel and I have been involved in is for the UBMK (Ulaanbaatar Missionary Kids) School. It is a school for Korean missionary children whose parents are serving in Mongolia. We have the opportunity to speak into the lives of 60+ children and teenagers. The leadership have been very gracious and hospitable. It is a nice way to continue our connection with the Koreans even as we are here in Mongolia.

A Final Class for Some College Seniors

The opportunity was given to Samuel and I to teach the final class for a group of College Seniors. There teacher, a Korean lady, had invested in their lives in the previous 15 class times and wanted us to give them a challenge as they go out into the world. There major is English, which allowed us to teach them in English without translation.

What a privilege and exciting opportunity! Samuel and I planned what we would teach and arrived at the University. God’s ways are so much different than our ways! Samuel and I walked into the University, only one of us a graduate from high school (though Samuel is very close, graduating this year!) going to teach a class of students who were going to be graduating from College! It was a special opportunity though as we shared about the importance and impact of the choices that we make.

One of the illustrations we used was of a block tower. Each block in the tower represents a choice that we make. If we choose to make right choices we will have a solid tower, however if we make wrong choices, our “towers” will not stand when the pressure comes. After completing the building of a good tower we tried the tower with a couple of tests. The final test was having 170lbs. of weight placed on the tower-in the form of Samuel :-). As Samuel stood on the tower he was challenging the students with the question of, if little choices really matter. Does it really matter if I steal money? Even two dollars worth? As the students sat there and watched, some agreed that that would not be a problem. Each block however represents one choice. When Samuel was ready, I pulled one of the blocks from the tower he was standing on. The tower fell to the floor and Samuel, having much practice, came down and safely landed on his feet. But, the tower was ruined! Did one choice really matter?

As we were nearing the end of the class time, we asked if any one had any questions. A young man in the back row raised his hand, “How can we rebuild the tower once it has fallen down?” “I wasn’t listening to that part could you tell it again?” We were able to explain to the class how when we do what is wrong, we can make it right by going back to the one we hurt and asking for their forgiveness. What a blessing to know that the message we were sharing had reached this young man’s heart. And that he, a young man probably in his twenties, was willing to raise his hand and ask that question in front of all his classmates.

Fun on a Mountain!

With only twelve short weeks here, we decided that we should take advantage of the free Saturday we had and take a climb up Script Hill. I really don’t enjoy hiking, but today I was actually one of the ones suggesting we go.

Rebecca prepared some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and some chocolate chip cookies to bring with us on our hike. We got ready to go and walked down to where we could get a bus that would take us within about three-quarters of a mile from the foot of the mountain. We could have taken another bus from that point, but we just walked instead.

Script Hill is a steep shorter climb and we made it up in about 20min. We ate our lunch at the top of the mountain, before hiking further up the real mountain. It was a lot of fun and I actually really enjoyed the hike. We got to climb up some steep parts and got to take a lot of nice pictures. It was a special time of building memories and of walking through memories from the past. At the top we each ate our second cookie and sang a couple of songs in Mongolian before heading back down the mountain and returning home.

Trip to Turtle Rock

A driver was called and before too long we were on our way! After driving for about an hour and a half we arrived and were able to climb “Turtle Rock”. Adam came to Mongolia for a 12 day visit and was able to join us for this special trip, which included each of us getting to ride Mongolian horses as well as camels! Below are some pictures!

Thank you for your prayers for us!

In Christ,

Sarah Waller

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A Visit to Mongolia

Adam's Updates, Family News, Mongolia

It was 1:15 in the morning when the boarding announcement came over the speakers at the Incheon airport in South Korea. I joined the crowd of weary travelers to board the plane for Mongolia. High winds that morning had delayed the plane coming over to Seoul, detaining our departure by seven hours. A rather frequent occurrence in the springtime, I gathered from my discussion with a Canadian businessman sitting beside me in the airport terminal.

Nevertheless I had much to be thankful for as I presented my boarding pass and made my way down the gate to the aircraft. Our travel agent in Korea had called our office to apprise us of the delay, so I had made the most of these extra hours before leaving for the airport with Mr. Moon.

The rest of my family had arrived in Mongolia at the end of March, but preparations for the first Korean Basic Seminar and related technical projects necessitated my continued efforts in the Korea office. But twelve days could be spared for a visit to Mongolia to spend some time with my family in this unique country. Lydia and Samuel would celebrate birthdays that week, and I know this season of life as a family is both brief and precious.

But the Lord had another blessing in store for me as I took my seat on the airplane. The lady next to me was on her way back to Mongolia from Tokyo with her two-year-old daughter. The poor little girl had been traveling for seventeen hours, and was completely exhausted. A family picture and some words of encouragement helped put the mother at ease, knowing that I was not bothered by her baby’s crying.

As our conversation turned to what my family was doing in Mongolia, the lady’s interest deepened. Gerelay said that she had seen in on TV how people would go to a [church] and they could just talk to God and share the burdens of their hearts. She wanted so much to do that, but didn’t know how.

Tears came to my eyes as I experienced the joy of sharing the good news of the Gospel to a longing soul that had never before heard why Jesus died! It seemed so wonderful that Jesus would take the punishment for the bad things we have done, so that we could be restored to a relationship with God. She wanted to visit our apartment and talk more, so I left her with some contact information.

Gerelay was thrilled to accept our invitation to come to church with us on Sunday, and asked if she could also bring her two sisters. It was her first time to attend a Christian church service, and the preaching was from the book of Acts, outlining one of Paul’s sermons. “Wow, that’s amazing!” she told me, “Those are the same things you were telling me on the airplane! Did you plan that?”

We invited Gerelay and her sisters to our home for lunch afterwards, and talked again for over an hour, sharing as clearly and simply as I could the message of the Gospel. It was all so new to them, but they were so hungry for the truth! Gerelay and her sister came back to join us for the evening church service, this time bringing her sister’s husband.

They came back again on Monday night for the Basic Seminar follow-up course and were impacted by the testimonies that were shared. One lady was a former Shaman, deeply involved in spirit worship, but had been set free from the fear and bondage of this false religion. Praise the Lord for His working through an airplane seating assignment to bring the light of the Gospel to a family so ready to hear the truth!

Time with family was wonderful! There was not much room at our place in Mongolia, so I rolled out a bed on the floor of the office each night. Quarters were small, but that had no relation to the ministry opportunities abounding all around us. Sarah and Samuel were teaching at a Korean Missionary Kids school two days a week, while Dad led the follow-up course meetings and Financial Freedom seminar.

Translation is under way for the Financial Freedom textbook, a manual outlining Christian principles for managing finances. Sodoo, one of our staff, explained to me that currently there is only one book available in the Mongolian language that talks about finances from a Christian perspective, so this comprehensive manual will be very helpful for Christians all over Mongolia as it explains concepts so different from those taught during 70 years of communism under Soviet rule.

20 Years of Christianity

During my visit I had the opportunity to attend a Christian Symposium event, marking the 20-year anniversary of Christianity in Mongolia. In just twenty years, the number of Christians has grown from almost zero to tens of thousands. It was touching to hear the testimonies of some of the pioneer missionaries that came to Mongolia in those early days.

After the fall of communism, the Russians pulled out in a single day, leaving the nation to fend for itself after 70 years of having the government provide everything for the people. Stores were empty, people would stand in line for hours to buy bread. Even the most basic medicines were all gone. And yet missionaries came, braving these difficult circumstances for the joy of bringing the Gospel to those who had never heard the name of Jesus.

Korean missionary Dr. Hwang told of being forced to move 40 times in those early years, and of having windows broken and stones thrown by Mongolians upset with foreigners disrupting their country and thrusting their nation into poverty by taking away socialism. But still the missionaries persisted, knowing that the love of Christ would ultimately win the hearts of the Mongolian people. Dr. Hwang’s voice broke with emotion, tears streaming down his cheeks, as he rejoiced to see this glorious day with hundreds of Mongolian pastors and Christian leaders gathered to thank God for His work over the last 20 years in Mongolia.

An Alaskan man came to present to the Mongolian Christian leaders the oldest known Mongolian Bible in existence today. This 1846 New Testament bears tribute to God's work in this nation over previous generations.

What made the event so touching was that we knew a number of these people. In the slide show we saw pictures of Pastor Enkhee, a bold Christian leader in the early days that had preached at Isaac’s funeral, and Pastor Dugermaa that prayed over us as we left in 2007. Officiating the event was Batjargal, the director of a Christian radio station where I had participated in some radio broadcasts in 2004. It was this man that drove our family out to the burial site for Isaac on the day of the funeral.

It was also a joy to see Ewen, the man that I had helped some years ago to make the Mongolian Bible available electronically for the first time in Mongolia. He is now on the committee for the Mongolian Bible Society, and working hard to finalize an important revision for the Mongolian translation. Right now there are no Bibles left to be purchased in Mongolia, and Ewen and a handful of others are working as hard as they can to finalize some typesetting issues so that more Bibles can be printed and brought in to Mongolia.

Video Highlights

Here are some brief video clips from the Symposium.

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Rick Leatherwood and his wife were some of the first missionaries to arrive in Mongolia in the early 90’s. Rick went on to oversee the team that translated the Mongolian Bible used by most of their churches today. The translation was completed in 2000, and a container of 10,000 Bibles was brought in for the people of Mongolia. Within 24 hours, they had completely sold out.

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Margret Currie came to Mongolia in the early days when food was difficult to obtain. In this video excerpt, she shares some of their experiences trying to purchase eggs. Margret went on to be involved in a prison ministry, reaching out to men in prison that were dying of starvation and exposure while doing forced labor in the rock quarries.

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This missionary from Austria shares some of her firsthand experiences in Germany and Mongolia. These are the kind of stories that you don’t hear from the media! Her whole message was excellent, but I was only able to capture the last four minutes in this video.

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