The 36 hours that followed our first church camp in Ulaanbaatar offered a continued collision. A collision that shifted my perspectives. Erdenet, Mongolia. The 2nd largest city of roughly 90,000 people. The very evening we concluded the Root of Blessing church camp, we boarded a train where we spent 12 hours traveling to our next destination. We had a few hours of light at the beginning and some at the end of our ride to soak in the beauty of the countryside along the way.
How did my world collide with Erdenet, Mongolia? It is amazing what God can do in our "less than 12 hour" stay. We arrived at a YWAM / Mongolian Missions Center base. The facility itself holds a precious story of God's provision. The staff welcomed us with a delicious breakfast, and a taste of the infamous "arig", aka fermented mare's milk! Following breakfast, we joined the staff and students for their Monday morning worship. What a beautiful time of worship, testimony (thank you Brian Miller for sharing your heart) and prayer. I was reminded (look out for the shift in perspective), that worship isn't about the PowerPoint or the instruments or the key the songs are in (which all CAN be a part of worship, but it's not ABOUT those things), and it wasn't about what others are doing around me, but worship is coming before our Daddy, our Abba Father, and pouring our hearts out to Him - it's about surrendering to Him and experiencing His presence and His soft whisper in our ear. Worship - the actual definition uses the words "show reverence and adoration to..."
After worship, we toured the facility and could see the passion of evangelism. The Mongolian Missions Center longs to see the Gospel, the Truth of Jesus spread not just in the country of Mongolia, but all over. Their goals and visions were clear.
I was challenged, my perspectives were being shifted - Do I have this same hunger to save the lost? Just because my neighborhood, town, state and country is so-called Christian, have I lost site of sharing the simple Truth of Christ? Right in my own community? Yes, there are churches in "every town" in America. But is the Gospel? Is the Truth shared, the Truth that brings one into relationship with Jesus Christ in such a way that lives are completely transformed and are lived out differently than the rest of the world? My heart collided with the heart of this Mongolian Mission Center.
From one ministry to the next - next we experienced Rainbow Kindergarten School. I must flash back a bit to the summer of 2005. Martins Creek was sending a team to a place called Mongolia where they would be involved with a school. Our soon to be 7-year-old, Brady, caught wind of this, and decided that instead of birthday gifts, he wanted money so he could buy things the team could take and give to the children at the school. He and I took the money he was given and filled two shopping carts with toys and activities that the team packed into suitcases and took along. Who knew that 11 years later, Brady and I would have the chance to visit that very school.
Needless to say, the moment we stepped on the school property, our hearts were tugged. When we heard that the school began in 1998, the year Brady was born, he and I felt another stirring and connection. While the lady shared with us about the financial struggle they were facing, her passion for the children of their town was clear. Their purpose is to provide a strong, safe start for children who may not otherwise be able to afford preschool/Kindergarten. When asked what they needed most, she responded, "Your prayers..." The faith that God will provide for what He has called them to do flowed into her words. Our worlds collided 11 years ago. Brady has been impacted as he soaked in the Spirit there in that place. The Spirit is still stirring, and maybe in a future blog, I will share what Brady is currently being nudged to do on behalf of Rainbow Kindergarten.
Eternal Springs Cafe' and Youth Center was next. This was founded back in the early 2000's by missionaries who sought to provide 2 things: a place where they could mentor and support individuals as they provided employment opportunities, and to provide a safe place where youth could gather and grow. Much discipleship and training in many layers of life have been experienced by many. They are currently in the process of transferring ownership and leadership to a Mongolian Christian, Sara, who has chosen to give up her plans to follow what she feels the Lord is now calling her to do. As she shared with us, I could see her ideas, passions and visions as if they were literally written around her. She was humble, yet so driven and focused on her God-given assignment. She has visions, not just for the youth there in Erdenet, but to package up what happens there and take it to the countryside towns throughout Mongolia. Oh, the depths of God's plans were so evident as she simply shared her heart. I was inspired. How did my perspective shift in this collision? I would say it was more of a solidifying. I believe God used this encounter with Sara to encourage me to keep on His path. Continue to pursue that which He has called me to join Him in - giving up MY plans (as Sara did) and walk with Him.
Throughout our time at Erdenet, we were greeted and accompanied by a dear couple, Jeremiah & Sandy Hsu. They have poured their heart into Mongolia for 17 years, and will be heading out in October. We were able to hear their heart and get a glimpse of how God has used them mightily in so many ways as they shared with us throughout the day. Their passion and testimonies were also inspiring, reflecting the blessing of being in step with God as He leads us on the path He specifically designs for each one of us. I very much appreciated the time they spent with us, walking through God's creation and plan in Erdenet!
(We actually, even in this packed 12 hours, had a bit of time to visit their home where they graciously hosted us, and brought a bit of July 4th into our day by making us delicious chocolate brownies!!! What a special, thoughtful treat!)
Before we boarded the train for our 12 hour journey back to Ulaanbaatar, we were able to go to a "mountain" top and overlook all of Erdenet. (This was possible because we had two amazing drivers who drove their vehicles up and down the rugged terrain!!) As I prayed over the city, gathering up Rainbow Kindergarten, Eternal Springs and the YWAM/Mongolian Mission Center in my prayers, I was struck in my heart how very dear the whole world is to God, our Creator. The same God that speaks to me, speaks to His children all over the world - with the same voice, and the same heart, and in the same love. He is God. He is God of each city. He is God of each country. God of all. Creator of all. He is at work. He's got the Whole World in His Hands.
I am so thankful for these 36 hours of my life.
What perspective might God be desiring to shift in you?
Worship - How do you pour out your reverence and adoration to your Heavenly Father?
Do we/ How can we have that drive and passion and boldness to spread the salvation of Jesus to those around us?
I John 4:9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.