Mongolia. The word holds a new meaning. It’s no longer a place. A land where a great warrior once lived. Now it’s a home. It is the faces of children I love. It is a language that somehow sounds like whispering and coughing at the same time. It is a land of sky and green rivers. It is a land of cities and poverty and meat. It is cow poop outside my tent and laughing till I can’t breath with a people that don’t even speak my language. It is cows and sheep and horses. It is a passion for Christ unlike I’ve ever seen. It is friendly smiles, sudden rainstorms and an unending wind. It is the freshest water I have ever tasted. It is ice cold baths that hold your breath captive. It is hooded eyes and squatty potties. It is flies that swarm in the hundreds, the smell of a petting zoo and the most delicious soup I have ever tasted. It is thankfulness, freezing mornings, and the feeling of watching the sun rise from the top of the wall every morning. It is the land that never truly sees darkness due to the thousands of stars that light up the night. It is chasing cows away from our tents every hour. It is learning new games. It is sleeping on the floor, and enduring yet finding yourself enjoying the bumpiest 4 hour drive ever. It is hikes at 5:30am. It is a moon that fills the whole sky. It is a never-ending view of God’s creation. It is teaching children puppets. It is watching the same children struggling to say “water bottle.” It is feeling tears drip down your face during a multi-language worship. It is chuckling as a child asks for an “American” name or seconds of the American food. It is relationships based on smiles, “San Ban,” and thumbs up . It is struggling to swallow “interesting” food and laughter for the children watching your face. It is the little boy, Anton, who calls your name every morning and makes a handshake with you. It is watching a Mongolian woman literally scream and run as fast as she can to get a spoonful of peanut butter. It is testimonies lit by campfire and friendships that no one else will ever be able to comprehend.
It is Mongolia, a place, a people and a love that will remain in my heart forever! -Aubrey Sweitzer
This week has been full of transitions. On Tuesday evening, we commissioned our Mongolian friends to their mission trips. It was an emotional time as we said “Good Bye” to new friends and we’re excited for what God has in store for them. Wednesday was a full day as we totally dismantled the Boot Camp, loaded it into a truck and drove the 38 km back to the Teen Missions storage container to delicately put everything back into place. Aubrey S. said it was like a big game of Tetris. We finally arrived at the Teen Missions’ Summer House, where we spent the last days of our time here in Mongolia.
Thursday we all got to ride camels! We spent the day enjoying the countryside as we drove to a National Park where the team members enjoyed riding on camels, horses and purchasing souvenirs. Friday the team spent a portion of their day exploring the “Black Market” which is more like a huge swap meet than an actual black market. The team enjoyed practicing their bartering skills as they purchased small trinkets to take home with them. Finally, today has been a very busy day. We woke up early, loaded our duffels in a small van and then departed for a local orphanage. The team has been able to connect with a local missionary kid who lives in Ulaanbattar and she works in a local orphanage. The team enjoyed the opportunity to spend a few hours holding babies and playing with toddlers. Then the team returned to the Teen Missions apartment where we had a few bible classes before we boarded our bus for the airport. We are now sitting at the airport awaiting our departure for S. Korea. We anticipate arriving into S. Korea at 4 am tomorrow and then we will drive 2 hrs to our project location.
We appreciate your prayers as we transition into this project and say Good Bye to this amazing country. We know that we will probably be spending long hours teaching English for the next week and we would appreciate prayers for energy and health as we minster to the youth in S. Korea.
Here are a few testimonies from other team members:
Irina Peters – Mongolia is one of the most beautiful countries I have ever been in. This was my 2nd bootcamp and it was the best experiences I could ask for. The kids here are amazing and have taught us so many fun games. Even though there was a language difference we all managed to figure out what the other person wanted. It’s amazing to see how God has changed them in a short time, I love this country and I love all the people I Have gotten to know here this has been an amazing opportunity to have.
Joshua Burd – The time I spent in Mongolia was a very wonderful experience. The area that God blessed us to have the Boot Camp on was surrounded by the most beautiful scenery. There were hills on either side of the came and among them were herds of cows, sheep and the horses. Every so often a herd would come to the river, which was in our Boot Camp, and take a drink. I truly I felt a peace physically and spiritually. I would like to come back to Mongolia in the future.
Sarah Weaver – Our time in Mongolia has been amazing! I was so excited when I found out we were going to run the Boot Camp here, but I was also a little worried about the language barrier. Despite not speaking the same language as the kids we were still able to bond with them and show them the love of Jesus. I will miss this beautiful country and all of the friends I have made here.
Reagan McLaughlin – The moment I stepped off the plane into Mongolia I knew I was home. It’s something about the crisp air and vibrant starts that completely melts your heart. I have never met such a happy group of people that love the Lord as much as these kids. Tears of joy during worship from the kids is something that will change your life. The beauty of the country is unfathomable. At first when I learned that our team was going from Boot Camp to Boot Camp I was worried. Now I don’t want to leave. It feels now like this is the reality and home is a dream.
Colton Kostner – Mongolia is seriously one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. And I’ve been to a lot of places. I believe God has taught me patience while in Mongolia. After digging a 100cm hole and then being told we have to dig it again somewhere else because we can’t dig there and after moving the Big Top twice because it wasn’t safe where we put it the first time. Teaching puppets class for a week also had an impact on my patience. And I’m grateful for what Mongoila has taught me. And it will really impact the rest of my life.