Tent Making in Mongolia

Mongolia –A not much known land between China & Russia, is known as the land of Mysteries and the land of the Blue Skies. Mongolia was the biggest empire which world ever saw, called the “Mongolian Empire” in the 13th century under the notorious emperor Gengish Khan.
Modern Historian Prof. Jack Weatherford in his book "Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World" highlights the military brilliance of Genghis Khan; while the Roman empire took 200 years to reach its fullest extent, Genghish Kahan's conquests covered an empire nearly four times its area between 1206 and 1227. Eventually, by the 1270s, the Mongol Empire would cover an area "considerably larger than all of North America".
Indian Moghul Emperors were descendants of Gengish Khan. It is a land where you can experience wide open spaces & skies, snow covered mountains, forests, deserts, crystal clear rivers and lakes, extreme climates ranging (-)40C to +25C, and the traditional hospitality of the nomads.
Mongolia has significant contributions to the world – They introduced the paper currency, postal system & the concept of diplomatic immunity.

During the 19th and 20th cetruries Mongolia underwent many violent battles and occupations by Chinese and Russians. Recently till the Russian Perestroika in the 1980s, Mongolia was a satellite country under Russia. Now Mongolia is a true independent democracy with a democratically elected government and a secure place to live.
Due to Mongolia's strategic position between China & Russia, US & India were the first few countries who recognised Mongolia when it became free. There are US & Indian Embassies here although the foriegn population is very less. Indian president Pratibha Patel visited Mongolia last year.
While in the country side although life is nomadic with people living in tents named 'Ger', you can see herders on horses talking on mobile phones. Majority of Mongolians are poor herders and live in harsh conditions fighting extreme weather, their daily income is around US$1.5.

The capital UlaanBaatar match the US city Manhattan with Sky scrapers and locals living in true western style.
Monglian government encourages population growth, mothers with more than 3 children are given medals on Mothers&Children's day. Unwed single mothers are very common and official marriage solemnization is rare. In the case of  a family breakup, it is usually mother's responsibilty to bring up children. In Mongolian culture women have an upper hand over men.
Regarding religion-Historically Mongolians were animists and considering the open Blue Sky as god, now the religions are Tibetan Buddhism, Muslim, Christian and Shamanism. Christians forms a small minority of 2% in a population of 2.8 million.
There is tremendous religious freedom in Mongolia. You can practice and spread your religion without any hindrance. People are very friendly and responsive. Churches need to be registered under government and foreign missionaries need work permit like any other profession. Getting permits for Missionaries are very tough and usually they come as part of Non-Governmental Organizations(NGO) working in development activities. There are not many foreign missionaries. Few who are there,  are concentrating in cities and near suburbs.
There are very few churches of the pattern of New Testament local churches both in the cities and the country side. Although these have been started by   foreign missionaries, currently they are administered and run as typical Mongolian churches by local leadership. Church worship & other activties are in local language. The capital has an Interdenominational Congregation which meets on Sunday afternoon with a crowd of over 500. Most of the inner Mongolia on the country side is unreached for Gospel. These places are difficult to travel and most of the year have severe cold weather and difficult living conditions. Practically no foreign missionaries venture to these areas.

It is just over 20 years that true Gospel reached Mongolia in receent times. The churches are new and believers are of first generation. Many of them have come from the traditional cultural back ground. They need to go a long way. There are brothers and sisters from broken families who have come to Christ. So they have all the problems of their traditional  cultural life style versus following  Jesus. When you interact closely with the believers, you understand their many problems. They need a lot of spiritual nurture and nourishment. It is happy to see that they strive to mature spiritually sacrificing many things in their life.
Mongolian economy being in the nascent opening up stage, educated youths are crazy of learning English. Hence English classes are used as an opportunity by local churches to woo youths in the cities – the text book prescribed is often the New Testament and Gospels! While learning English, they learn about Jesus.
Mongolia has its own language with scripts similar to Russian and full Bible is available in Mongolian language.

The author is in fellowship with a local church in the capital city. Along with tent making, is involved in the ministries of the church and currently helping in porting the Mongolian Language Bible in mobiles & smart phones.  Author also takes bible classes for the youths on sundays. It is motsly a mentoring job.
Within the last three months, the church had two baptisms, an indication of God visiting the people of this country. (In the picture is seen the Author with 2 youths who got baptized recently at the Mongolian church).

It is wonderful to have spiritual fellowship with the saints in a strange land .
PRAY FOR MONGOLIA.

And they sang a new song: "…….because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation”.

No comments: