This will be the last of these journal ramblings. There are just a couple of things that I wanted to complete before closing this book forever.
One is very minor. The drink that we reluctantly sampled when we visited in the herdsman's ger, the fermented mare's milk, is spelled "airag". You will remember that I spelled it "erek", but I did say I was spelling phonetically, and I stand by it. That's pretty much how it's pronounced. However, if you should choose to check it out on the internet, you wouldn't find it under my phonetic spelling.
Now, for the important thing! I have a follow-up on Little Nate, and I know everyone will want to know how he's doing. I'm very happy to report that he's doing wonderfully well. Those of you who are receiving this who were part of the expedition already know about Nate's progress, but this journal is going to a lot of people who weren't with us, and therefore haven't received the updates that we have.
We have received some emails from Jerry Smith, and I'll share part of it with you. You will remember that when Little Nate was found and brought to the CTW (Change The World) compound, he was pitifully thin, weak and frail. He could barely hold his head up, and was completely unable to sit up unaided. Remember, this child is four years old. Had he not been rescued, he probably would have lived only a few more days.
He has been with the CTW staffers now since the second week in August, and there have been some changes. For one, he's had a haircut. A very close one, for sanitary purposes, I'm sure. He has been getting at least three square meals a day, and enjoying them very much. We're told he particularly loves ice cream. He has been bathed, and held, and rocked, and loved on a lot. He has received visual and verbal and tactile stimulation. A kind and talented man built him a little chair, similar to a high chair, in which he is gently supported, and he is able to sit up comfortably for the first time in his life. I don't have all the details, and I'm no expert, but I'd be very surprised if he doesn't make some tremendous progress in his motor skills and abilities over the next year or so. Just look at these pictures, to see how far he has come:
Can't you see the hopelessness and despair in this little boy? He's tired, and weak, and just doesn't have the spirit to try any longer. He just laid his little head on Jerry's shoulder, ready to accept whatever life was about to deal out to him. Bless his sweet heart, he just had no idea!
How many four-year-old children have you seen who would just lie there passively, and submit to the examination being conducted by two big strangers? There was a frightening resignation in his manner on that first night.
Isn't it amazing, what can be accomplished with a little food and a lot of love? This child is the embodiment of what Change The World Ministries is all about. Jerry Smith frequently says they are trying to change the world, one child at a time. Who knows who little Nathan will be in twenty years? If he can learn to talk and communicate, even if he's not able to walk normally, he can still be a voice for God someday. If he never learns to do more than smile and make someone's day brighter, he will still be living proof of what can be done by an individual or an organization that seeks God's will and tries to follow it, to help to ease some of the suffering in this world and let a little light into the dark places.
I have never been so moved, so impressed, so spiritually touched as I was in Mongolia. There will be another expedition next year, and if my health and finances permit, and if there is a place for me on the team, I will return. The work that is being done there is absolutely amazing, the growth has been astonishing, and the potential is limitless. Remember, this is a country that only recently was under Communist control. It is primarily Buddhist (or atheistic), with a strong animist influence as well. We talked about this in an earlier installment.
The government does not normally look kindly upon Christians. However, in the few short years that CTW has been active there, the Mongolian government has gone from barely tolerating their presence, to deeding more than a hundred acres over to the ministry, free and clear. This leniency and generosity on the part of the government is making it possible for a lot of things to happen there much, much sooner than anyone expected. Because funds didn't have to be used to purchase land, they have been able to build dormitories for the children, greenhouses, kitchens, storehouses, feeding stations for outreach in the town, and to begin work on a lovely worship center. They will be able to house, feed, clothe and educate children who would otherwise be living in the sewers of Darkhan and other cities.
These children will be led to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, gently and patiently, one at a time. No child is coerced, but they are taught by example that God is Love, and that they are loved as well. The work is young there, but who can tell where it will lead, and what will be accomplished as these children grow into Christian adults and spread out over Mongolia, taking the Word with them? Who knows, my mischievous, smiling little back-massager may go out one day and lead his country from darkness into God's light.
It has been an indescribable privilege to be a tiny part of the work that is being done in Mongolia. It has been a joy to get to know some of the kind and gracious Mongolian people. It will be my ongoing joy to continue to participate in that work by sending a little money now and then. It won't be a lot, I don't have a lot, but I can send some, and I will. By the grace of God, I'm not living under a staircase!
If you'd like to participate in the Change The World ministry, here's the address:
P.O. Box 153029
Irving, TX 75015-3029
You may be wondering, why an Irving address? That's because Change The World Ministries has a local base, with a local account, and contributions are gathered into that account and handled as a whole, rather than having the money sent to Mongolia in little individual checks that they would then have to try to cash over there, which would be virtually impossible.
I make no apologies for this little commercial. This is a genuine, working, fruit-bearing ministry, and it must have funds in order to continue to function. I firmly believe that God will bless every little dime that is given, and the rewards will be totally out of proportion, above and beyond whatever the amount may be. God can take a little, and turn it into a lot!
Well, that's the end of my journal. I hope each one who has read it enjoyed it. Most of all, I hope everyone got a sense of what is happening through CTW in Mongolia. God is at work there, and God is good.
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