Even though many books have been written and sermons preached on the last verses in the Gospel of Matthew known as the Great Commission (Mt 28:19-20), those words can be summed in one simple sentence: Make friends for Jesus.
That’s exactly what one team of volunteers determined to do from September 30 to October 11 during the first medical mission trip of the It is Written “Mission: Mongolia project”. From across the United States, 18 It Is Written partners and friends (six doctors, one nurse practitioner, four nurses, one optician, and six helpers) converged upon Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. Most of them arrived as mere acquaintances, however, by the time the journey was over, they had become family because of the powerful experience they had making friends for our Lord.
Their mission involved working with two churches, the Amazing Grace Church and the Tolgoit Church, located in neighborhoods where the poorest of the poor Mongolians live, called Ger Districts. These are neighborhoods where there is no running water and in some cases even no electricity. Imagine these places in the dead of winter when temperatures drop to -40°F/-40°C below zero and people, for instance, have to fetch water at the local water station up to a mile away. Living in Mongolia is definitely not for the faint of heart. Thankfully with money provided by It Is Written friends, wells were drilled so that churches would have running water—something that made the churches very popular places in the community.
On the first day of clinics’ operation, the It Is Written team and the faithful local church members transformed the churches into makeshift clinics. They set up waiting rooms, consultation rooms, and even little pharmacies. Once done, they wondered if anyone would show up. They didn’t have to wonder long because at both locations long lines of people quickly formed with people eager to meet with the foreign doctors.
With the help of dedicated translators, the team began to see patient after patient—700 altogether. While we all realized that one doctor’s visit was most likely not going to heal anyone, we determined however, to reflect the loving presence of Jesus through words and actions to a people who have no clue who Jesus is (over 97% of Mongolians are Buddhist or nonreligious). All consultations ended with a prayer and an invitation to a health presentation in the evening.
Every evening a miracle took place: the two churches’ meeting halls were full. Keep in mind that these are churches that usually have just a handful of people in attendance. Every evening, though, it was standing room only—to the point that one of our physicians donated money for more chairs to be purchased. The nightly health presentations were conducted by one of the health professionals followed by what they referred to as “Jesus Talks”, a short personal and heartfelt talk to introduce people to Jesus. These nightly presentations were so successful that on Sabbath morning the regular church attendance actually doubled. What a blessing it was on Sabbath morning to see all these special guests attend the worship services and receive their very own Bible in Mongolian (around 500 Bibles were donated). You all should have seen their smiles.
“The Mongolian people I saw seemed to sense a need beyond Buddha and were open to learn who Jesus is, what He did and can do for them.”, said Dr. Gordon Guild, one of the volunteers that joined the medical mission trip.
One of the guests was a young pregnant woman who was suffering terrible back pain. She was so moved by the kindness of the Christian caregivers that she came every night to hear about Jesus and then even attended worship services on Sabbath. This revealed the power of combining the health message with the gospel and making friends for Jesus.
The opportunity in Mongolia is huge. The time is now. Please keep this important evangelism project in your daily prayers as It Is Written, in partnership with a handful of committed Christians in Mongolia, does its little part to be a witness in the “uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
Mission: Mongolia is It Is Written’s three-year project to share Jesus with the people of Mongolia. The project will culminate in a city-wide evangelistic series (Revelation Today series) by John Bradshaw in the capital of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar. The project includes four mission trips involving medical, dental, and evangelism specialists to pave the way for the big evangelistic series in 2017.
If you’re interested in also making friends for Jesus in Mongolia, we have two upcoming mission trips in April (13-25) and August (10-22). We need health professionals! Physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners, nurses, etc. Please contact Pr. Yves Monnier for more info at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Yves Monnier (IIW Director) and Yure Gramacho (MM Communication Director)