After the fashion show, and some visiting around, Jerry left momentarily and returned carrying the child who has become, for many of us, a symbol of the work being done in Darkhan. If you read last year's journal, you know the story of Chinzorig, or Little Nate. We named him for one of our team members, Nathan, who was with the team that found him and who took such a personal interest in him. For those of you who have just joined the journal list, here's a brief synopsis. Last year, our humanitarian aid team discovered a four-year-old boy, handicapped and developmentally very delayed, hidden in a closet by his family, with the apparent intention of letting him starve, thereby reducing the drain on their almost non-existent resources. He was rescued by Jerry and company and brought back to our hotel, where he was examined by our physicians. The consensus was that while he does have some deficits, probably from a birth injury, much of his problems at that time stemmed from lack of nutrition and little or no stimulation and basic human contact and care. He was a pitiful sight, indeed. Obviously deeply depressed, he just lay in passive resignation to whatever his fate might be. Well, things are different now, after a year of loving attention, affection and good food. He's had some basic physical therapy as well, and his progress is astounding. You be the judge:
When Little Nate was rescued last year, he could barely lift his head, and as I recall, he was unable to roll over on his own. Now, he is still unable to walk, but with a friendly hand for balance he can stand and bear his own weight. He is never without a huge smile, and the smile widens considerably whenever anyone makes eye contact with him. He is just joyful all the time! He obviously loves Jerry, and fairly wriggles with happiness when he sees him. Jerry loves him, too, and takes great fatherly pride in every little increment of improvement and accomplishment that Nate achieves.
This little boy is what it's all about in Mongolia. Jerry tells the story of how he went to Mongolia to plant churches. That's what he thought God wanted him to do, and he was willing. Then one day, a tiny child tugged on his pant leg and asked for food. This was a first for Jerry, and it started him thinking. That's how a Christian listens for the voice of God. If your heart and mind are open, God will enter and plant the seed of what He wants you to do for Him. So, when Jerry made himself available to God's prompting, it soon became clear. He said it was a very clear mandate. God told him to feed His children, and He'd take care of the churches. And so, in the late 90's, Change The World became an active ministry in Mongolia, feeding children, taking them off the streets and out of the sewers.
I said Little Nate is what the mission in Mongolia is all about, and that is true, because he and the other children are the passport into the whole Godless society. Through the children's home, and the feeding programs, and the medical missions, and the demonstration of God's love that the people see every day, they begin to realize that there may be something they're missing. Jerry is fond of saying that when you do something for the Mongolian people, sooner or later they will ask you why you're doing it. The answer is "because my God told me to." Naturally, someone who comes from a background that may be atheistic, polytheistic, Buddhist, animist or whatever, is going to ask "Who is your god?" At this point, Jerry fairly dances with glee, and says "I'm so glad you asked!" And he tells them. Obviously, it works. People have been baptized by the hundreds, the church ger is overflowing, local churches are springing up in the towns and in the countryside, meeting in private homes if necessary. Pastor Midor seems to be going everywhere at once, and it's all just beautiful to see.
In a country where the land is 95% government-owned, and owned by a government that doesn't recognize or embrace Christianity, something very special has taken place. That government has deeded over some beautiful land, over a hundred acres of choice riverfront. That's unheard of. They know full well what the Change The World mission is all about, and yet they gave the land anyway. Does this sound like God is at work? I can hardly wait to see what the next ten years will bring.
Right now, there is an urgent need for operating funds. For the past month, the CTW staff has worked without paychecks. It has been necessary to remove the children from the excellent but expensive private school they were attending, and they're now in the public school system, where they only go for a half day and the quality of education is poor. At least they're in school, not scavenging in a gutter. There will be no more new clothes, other than what the housemothers can make for them, and the supply of fabric is running low. Food is not an issue. There is plenty. Not only do they grow a lot of food in the greenhouses and fields at the CTW compound, but a whole shiphold container has arrived, filled with food from the states. No one will be hungry. Still, Jerry wants the best for his kids, including a quality education, and the staff cannot work forever without paychecks. They have personal responsibilities, too.
So, here it comes. I included a little commercial in last year's journal, and I'm going to do it again this year. Any gift you could see your way clear to send would be appreciated, and put to very good use. Nothing is wasted in Mongolia, and that's even more true of the Change The World operation. Every penny is used wisely, and stretched beyond all reason. I would ask that you think about it, pray about it if you wish, and then send whatever you feel God would want you to send. Here's the address:
Change The World/LifeQwest Ministries
P.O. Box 153029
Irving, TX 75015-3029
You may wonder why an Irving address? Can you imagine the difficulties it would cause if hundreds of checks, drawn on American banks, began to arrive in Mongolia, in denominations of $500, $100, $20, $5? The logistics are staggering. So, a central post office box was established here in Irving, and some of our church staff gathers it and deposits it into the CTW account here in a local bank. This bank account can be drawn on by the mission in Mongolia. It simplifies everything, and eliminates unnecessary cost.
I was asked by an acquaintance if I thought I should send money to a mission in Mongolia right now, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when so many of our own citizens are in need. I can answer that easily. Yes, I do think I should. The victims of Katrina picked the best country in the world in which to experience a disaster. There are hundreds of agencies already at work, churches and private citizens are at work, giving aid and assistance to those who need it. The government is at work also, and I am contributing to this, as is every other American, through my tax dollars. So I feel perfectly free to make the personal decision to continue to help in my small way to finance the work in Mongolia. When I remember the light in the eyes of Little Nate when I reached out to ruffle his hair, and the huge smile he gave me when I took his little hand for a minute, I have no doubt that I'm doing the right thing. I can't do much, but the reward is huge.
Well, the fashion show is over, the children have been taken back to their homes, lots of good-natured kidding and joking has taken place this evening, I have my cherished scarf, and it's getting late. Eloise and I wander back to our room, taking about half an hour to make a 30-second walk, as we stop and chat with people who have become so dear to us. Badmaa, true to her promise, has managed to buy two bottles of the hotel's catsup for me, and refuses to let me reimburse her. She is such a joy, and has such a generous, giving spirit. I thank God that I can call her my friend.
We have sorted and packed our belongings, leaving a few things behind for the staff. Those things will be used, we have no doubt. As we get ready for our showers, we realize that the bathroom floor has large, white globs on it, and there are some in the bathtub as well. In addition, there is a puddle, as water is steadily dripping from overhead. The water isn't particularly clear, either. Apparently someone is staying in the room above ours, and their plumbing must leak as bad or worse than ours. The water has seeped through the ceiling and loosened the plaster, which is falling in ploppy chunks, landing in the water on the floor. Hmmm. This could be a problem. Since all the plumbing leaks to some degree all the time, we wonder about just what might be growing in the floor/ceiling that the water is filtering its way through.
Then we remember that we're missionaries in Mongolia. We are resourceful. We don't dash from the building, screaming "Black mold! Run for your lives!" Instead, we pull the heavy-duty plastic wrapper off the case of bottled water that was provided for us, and slit it down a couple of sides, so it makes a strip about three feet long and two feet wide. We attach this by means of a a piece of string and some tape, to the exposed upright pipe that extends from floor to ceiling. The pipe is just outside the bathtub, and by shaping our plastic just right we are able to catch about 90% of the dripping water and funnel it into the tub. Ha! It works! I wish I had taken a picture, but I didn't. Of course, we have to stand in the channeled stuff when we shower, but that's what soap and water are for. We just washed our feet last, before getting out of the tub.
We make a final appraisal of our luggage, and decide that we're leaving enough in Mongolia, in one way or another, that we'll now have room for the fruits of our shopping trip in China. At least, maybe I'll get by without having to buy another bag like I did last year.
It's getting late, and we have to be up early in the morning. Tomorrow, we go back to Ulaanbaatar, and from there on to China, and in a couple of days - home! What a beautiful word - home.
15 hours ago