We are promised in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” And when God sets those plans in motion, the enemy strikes, attempting to thwart the good intended.
Mongolia has a population of about three million people, most of which live in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar. Only about two to three percent of Mongolians are Christian, and most have never heard the name of Jesus.
That’s where our current mission trip to Mongolia comes in. Through March 25, 17 It Is Written volunteers and I are conducting medical clinics and evening seminars in two cities in Mongolia. In past trips, we have always worked in the capital city, but we wanted to share Jesus with some of the other cities as well. The original plan was to work primarily in Bulgan, hosting a medical clinic at a local church there, along with an evening “Jesus Talk” plus a children’s story and health feature. We were informed the Monday before we left that the plan had changed: a virulent livestock disease had broken out, and Bulgan was under quarantine!
“No problem,” according to our fearless local leader, Enkhe! Plans were quickly made to work in two different cities, Erdenet and Darkhan, to conduct our clinics and evening Jesus Talks.
Please pray that people come to these evening meetings. It is illegal here to advertise this sort of a meeting so personal invitation and word of mouth are our only sources of advertising.
Below are updates and pictures from the first few days of our mission trip.
Wednesday, March 14
We were 20 minutes from an uneventful landing in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar when the captain informed us that due to high winds (common in March-April), we would have to circle the city for 20-30 minutes longer and hope that the winds would subside long enough for a safe landing. The winds didn’t let up, however, so instead we had to fly to the Russian city of Irkutsk. After a three-hour layover in Irkutsk, we finally reboarded the plane and got into Ulaanbaatar about 7 pm local time. Thursday will be an orientation and sightseeing day as we acclimate to a new culture, temperatures, and time zone.
God is good! And He is on His throne, directing this mission trip. We thank you for your prayers.
Departure from Beijing to Ulaanbaatar
Thursday-Friday, March 15–16
Our group of 18 volunteers all safely arrived into Ulaanbaatar, and we’re slowly acclimating to the local time zone. Initially, it had been quite cold with a daytime high of 20°F and lows in the night of -1°F. However, it is warming up (spring is almost here, too!), and yesterday it reached 40°F!
Following are pictures that show and tell more about the mission work here.
Ghers (yurts) are a very common sight in this vast country.
Everywhere you look, big sky exists.
Animals roam freely in Mongolia. This herd started crossing the road on our bus ride from Ulaanbaatar to Darkhan and Erdenet.
A tired but very happy It Is Written team sitting in the Darkhan church. We were waiting for their members as they prepared a wonderful lunch for us.
We are blessed to have a culturally diverse team. Tiffany, who hails from Paris, France is on this mission trip with her mother, Laurence, who lives in Belgium.
A local church member in her traditional dress poses with our team member Sandy. The hospitality we receive everywhere we go is incredible. The people are so happy we are here!
It Is Written group leader Bert Logan participating in the traditional welcome: drinking Mongolian milk.
Rosie, a dental student from Ukraine, partaking in the welcoming ceremony.
A local church member wearing his traditional dress.
Dr. Patricia, Charlene, and Dr. Shade (from London, England) await our tasty Mongolian lunch—all hand-prepared!
Local Darkhan church members as well as Mongolian translators.
Saturday, March 17
On Saturday, we split into our two teams and headed to Darkhan and Erdenet to preach and interact some more with our local leaders and community members. I am leading the Darkhan team, and the Erdenet team is led by Dr. Gordon. Our local leader, Enkhe, helped plan and organize the mission trip with It Is Written Evangelism Director Yves Monnier. She has been a tremendous asset in providing translation and organization for this trip. We would not be here without her work and support!
Our meetings will be held Sunday-Friday, at 6 pm local time. Please pray that God will impress the hearts of those who need to hear His word. We cannot advertise the meetings, so it is only through personal invitation that people hear about them. Our meetings will include song service by the church (in Mongolian), then a translated health talk, and finally a translated Jesus talk.
Enkhe, our local and energetic leader.
The Darkhan team posing after church, with Pastor Kim on the right, and one of our translators, Daighee (third from right). Daighee, who used to be a Buddhist, has an amazing testimony of giving her heart to Jesus.
Darkhan church, where we hold church and the evening Jesus Talks.
Sabbath morning song service. The young couple in the middle are the assistant pastor and his wife. They are due to have twin girls next week. His wife was one of our translators on Sabbath.
Mission trip leader Bert Logan preaching on Sabbath in Darkhan on God’s grace and mercy.
Corina taking a photo of It Is Written team member Marta holding a 4-month old Mongolian baby.
Left to right: Dr. Cherisse (from United States), Rosie (from Ukraine), local translator (from Mongolia), and Darkhan Church Pastor Kim (from Korea), hold the Sabbath School lesson in their mother tongue. It is wonderful to be part of this worldwide movement of sharing the gospel.
Corina, Laurie, Sandy, Dr. Patricia, Dr. Gerry, and Dr. David after Sabbath School.
Three generations of local church members.
Dr. David teaching a new game to a young boy at church.
Dr. Gordon (far right) and team sing and preach at the Erdenet church.
Dr. Gordon with his translator.
Sunday, March 18
Isaiah 1:17 says, “Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.”
On Sunday, March, 18, we went to a local orphanage here in Darkhan to provide medical services. It is one of two orphanages in this city. This one is privately owned and operated and has been in existence since 2001. It currently has 40 children ranging in ages from 3-17. The orphanage runs solely on funds given by donors, primarily Japanese donors. They run a bakery, car wash, and tailor shop, and the kids all work in these industries as well.
We also learned that it is not possible to adopt children from this orphanage, and the director told us that she considers all of the children her own, even after they grow up and leave. They stay in touch when they go on to college and have families of their own. Many children go on to college in Japan, China, Germany, and elsewhere. We sense a lot of love on this campus from all the children and the staff. It was actually a very happy place; not sad or depressing at all. It was very evident that these children were very well loved and cared for. In addition to the medical work we provided, our team presented a financial gift to the director at the end of our day to help continue the great work that is being done in this orphanage.
At the end of our visit, we were treated to a 40-minute acrobatic performance from the children. These kids are so talented!
Arriving at the orphanage. It was quite a happy welcome from all the children and staff!
Sandy and Dr. Gerry with the U.S. and Mongolian flags at the orphanage.
Enkhe and the orphanage director.
This is the bakery at the orphanage. The older children learn how to bake and cook, and they shared some of their delicious cakes with us.
Sandy and some of the children.
Dr. Patricia performing an exam.
Dr. Gerry working with children at the orphanage.
Dr. Gerry examine a child.
Dr. David getting a medical history from a child.
We brought balloons to share with the kids. It’s amazing how much joy a little thing like this can bring and the amount of playtime they got with them.
Dr. Cherisse performing a dental exam.
Learning about proper dental hygiene.
Laurie demonstrating how to properly use floss.
This little girl posed, without prompting, the heart sign. She was quite the talker!
Dr. David getting to know the orphanage director’s biological son, who helps run the orphanage. One of our team members invited him to come to the evening meetings at the church and he has attended both Sunday and Monday thus far. He is 30 years old and grew up with no religion, he told us. He said that he respects all religions and when we prayed at the evening meetings, he bowed his head in prayer as well.
This building is where the children learn the arts such as their traditional dance, acrobatics, and different Mongolian musical instruments.
Our team posing with some of the children and staff after the performance.
Rosie and one of the children.
Our team was just amazed by the hospitality and love demonstrated here; not only toward the children, but also to our team. Here we present the director with our donation to continue this great work.
Monday, March 19
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8.
There has been a lot of praying going on in our team here in Mongolia, both in Darkhan and Erdenet. And we feel the results of your prayers for us as well. Please don’t stop!
The day here in Darkhan started out with eager anticipation because it was our first day doing medical work at a local healthcare clinic. It is illegal to do healthcare outreach at the churches here in Mongolia so we are grateful for this invitation and opportunity to serve the Mongolian people.
As the morning progressed, one of our team members saw two policeman enter the clinic. They didn’t say much but observed what we were doing. About an hour later, a gentleman from the local health authority showed up. He requested to see all of our professional medical volunteers’ licenses, and then he entered our pharmacy area to examine our medication bottles for expiration dates. We had to shut down for about an hour. After he left our pharmacy room, we sent up a prayer to God, asking that He would move on this man’s heart and allow us to continue our work.
Enkhe, our local leader, worked and negotiated with him and he gave us permission to continue through that afternoon. He told Enkhe that she needed to go to his office on Tuesday with copies of all of our licenses and to do additional paperwork. She did, and we are now cleared here in Darkhan to continue our medical work through the end of the week. Praise the Lord!
The situation is not as positive with our sister team in Erdenet. They were doing medical work in the morning and got word from the authorities to shut down. Sadly, for the rest of Monday, they could not administer care to the people of that city. They were able to hold the evening Jesus Talks at the church in Erdenet. On Tuesday morning, Dr. Gordon (our medical director for this trip) visited the health authority with a local church member. They were told that they could do medical work in a nearby town, just not Erdenet.
The enemy hates our good God and will always try to disrupt or stop anything good that He wants for us. Our mission trip here is no exception, as evidenced by the last 24-48 hours. But, God is still on His throne, and He is in control!
It was a long, busy, eventful day. But it ended well. We are all safe and patients have been ministered to, by the grace of God.
Morning sunshine and smog/haze in Darkhan. The medical clinic is the building on the left.
Darkhan Healthcare Clinic.
Local Mongolians waiting to enter the clinic.
Laurie and Enkhe advising a patient on the medications she had just received.
It is a small clinic. This is the hallway where the patients register and queue up to be seen by our physicians. From an American perspective, it is quite chaotic. The people are very happy we are here and want to be seen.
Dr. Claudia, working with a patient in Eredenet healthcare clinic.
Diane, Laurence, and Tiffany manning the pharmacy in Erdenet.
Corina, Marta, and our Mongolian translators preparing for the day with Dr. Gerry on the right.
Beautiful smile of a Mongolian man in the clinic.
The people here are so glad we have come and are very appreciative of the care they are receiving.
Dr. Claudia, in Erdenet, examines a precious little boy.