We were encouraged to hear of a Kazakh man in Mongolia praying his first prayer to Jesus when our partners reached out to him amid the coronavirus restrictions.
Three years ago, I found myself visiting Mongolian children who had participated in our partner’s Life Skills programme. The team visit schools, taking classes on issues such as teamwork, and the value of others and of oneself. Why? Because many in Mongolia have never learnt of their own intrinsic value as creatures made in the image of God, nor have they learnt to see it in other people.
A visit to one particular family stands out in my memory. As we entered the family home – a small, two–room building made of concrete blocks – a giant rug hung on the back wall. Before it sat a man in a wheelchair, both legs missing from an accident in an illegal coal mine. His wife and three children stood beside him.
This family were from a Kazakh background, a minority group in Mongolia who tend to follow Islam rather than the animism of the native Mongol people. The man’s younger daughter had recently won a national calligraphy competition, her work proudly displayed before us.
His son had been attending the Life Skills classes at school – an opportunity which he greatly valued. He told us that as a result of the classes, his desire was to one day work for an NGO and to help other people. His parents told us of the positive change they had seen in him, particularly in his relationship with his sisters, and questioned why these classes had never been taught to previous generations.
We stayed for a drink of tea and enjoyed good conversation. When we departed, I was asked to return and was promised a good meal on my next visit – something which would come at great expense for this poor family.
Fast forward three years and imagine my surprise when I see this man’s face appear in my inbox. And imagine my delight when I read that this man had for the first time prayed in the name of Jesus!
Over the past few years, the team have continued to visit this family. Most recently, they have been reaching out to them and to other poor households with essential provisions and with the hope of Christ. How wonderful to hear that the Spirit has been at work, drawing this man and, we pray, many others nearer to himself amid this time of crisis.
I hope to one day take up this kind man’s offer of sharing a meal together. For now, please join me in praying that he and his family would draw ever nearer to the throne of grace and put their faith in He who sits upon it.