Sunday, June 29, 2008


    I will try to include a picture of the image I see out my window this afternoon.  A quote from a movie comes to mind; “dozens of the prettiest little homes you ever did see. . . . “

            Last October, 27th to be exact—just 8 months ago today, we pulled in to our new town where Jeremy had been living and working off and on all summer and the girls and I had visited 2 or 3 times.  A fresh snowfall welcomed us and our truck of belongings accompanied by the helping hands of our field director and his wife and my mother too!

  Our neighborhood consisted of 5 finished log cabins and two in progress, all on the edge of town.  We were told our neighborhood would be twelve families in all.

             Today it looks like I am viewing a city of little Lincoln Log homes—roofs every color of the rainbow—red, blue, green and silver too!  Our “neighborhood” is multiplying overnight—now easily thirty little homes.  You can maybe imagine the excitement that courses through us as we rejoice in where God has us and the work that He is and will be doing here.  Sometimes we find ourselves asking, “Now God?” This God?”, searching for just how and when He will establish His blessing and pour out His Kingdom here.  Yes, it feels very much like school again as we learn to wait, to pray and to recognize the path before us.  We are learning that Mongolians, while they are friendly and very hospitable, especially to strangers, are also very guarded and slow to hand out that trust and friendship that we long for.  We are learning that they place value on their group or circle of belonging and approaching a Mongolian as an individual is scary for them and unyielding for us.  Quick friendships often but not always dovetail in requests for money or a ticket to America.  Mongolians have a strong desire to be linked with the global community and would like to be contributors to wealth and not just receivers—and especially when it comes to showing off their skills with a herd—whether it be racing, milking, or creating useful dairy products.  We are learning some of their felt needs:  Learing English (not always a need shared by both children and parents alike)

To create a better life for the next generation

To contribute to the global community

To better themselves through status and education and acceptance by the group

At this point in my writing I feel as though I am writing a report or an anthropological study.  We want you all to know that we value your prayers, your support, your contact and connection with us (even during these somewhat uncomfortable times for us Americans—the waiting).  As we visit neighbors next door and 40 Km into the countryside, as we have opportunity to pray and see the Lord’s hand of blessing on this land through rain, and income for the people, as we welcome the neighborhood into our place for hours of fun in the sun and wait out a quarantine for HFM disease, as we watch new life surge in our garden, and pray for new life to exceed all we ask or imagine in the form of Mongolian believers—we are thrilled to be where God has us in this moment.  Please join us in our rejoicing!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Home on the Range

Sometimes my job includes splashing through mud and water on a high speed chase.  At least yesterday it did.  I went out to visit a family on their (mobile) farm.  Two little white tents by a low sheep corral.  Outside it's brown dirt floor is a lawn of immeasurable green stretching miles to the jagged horizon dotted with green trees reaching toward a sky full of grey potential.    

Sometimes openings into the spiritual side of life just open up.  When sitting down to tea in this family's mobile home (without wheels), the man of the house started asking about Jesus.  The most pressing question?  Can I mix belief with Jesus into my current belief system?  That doesn't sound so bad does it?  We all came to Jesus with out own views values and biases.  We accepted Him as Truth, through all our veiled view of what we consider to be true.  But the way this man asks it though, religious red flags go up quick.  Can I mix Jesus into my Mongolian religion?  Its the same feeling you might get from a friend who is agnostic about prayer: "can't hurt, might help".

We go back out toward the car, and drive across a stretch of grass the length of a par 3 fairway. Perched on a little ridge is a string of probably 10 or  more ponies all neatly dressed in colorful horse blankets.  They are all tied to a high rope, and like all Mongolian horses, they're ponies but special ones.  These are the race horses, being trained for the upcoming festivities in July, the equivalent of the state fair called Naadam.  The word means game, but is closer in meaning and feel to rodeo.  My host gets out and grooms a few of his pest ponies, then it's off to the races.

Today is the first day of exercising the race horses.  A few drops of rain tickle our heads, but are shaken off as only a tease.    My host points to the grey horizon.  It’s visibly raining 10 miles away.  He explains how all day yesterday it was the same thing, raining over there, but not here on his own pasturelands.  For a people who make their home on the range, rain is regarded as wealth because it makes the grass long and rich, making their animals give more milk, bringing more money at the market.  Summer rain is liquid gold.

So the owner of this mobile ranch motions to the clouds that won’t seem to come and says, won’t you pray to Jesus for that rain to come over here?  I indicate affirmative and gaze into the grey through the windshield of the car.  We drive along behind the horses as they walk along a dirt road they use for a race track.  Then we wait until they start to run.  My horseman host starts yelling with a shrill of a Cheyenne, whether at me or his horses at first I’m not sure.  Turns out it’s both  I’m to follow those running ponies so he can continue his war cries toward equine ears and those of the child jockey bouncing and pulling away.

A few minutes after we get back, it rains and rains until the water is streaming down the gulley.  At least two inches of rain fall in about 15 minutes.  The horsemen and his helpers whipped off their shirts to get a rain shower, the only kind available out here on the range.  We drive back to the corral area.  We roar through a two feet deep lake/river that flooded over the grass.  In a half hour the fairway has turned water hazard.


Invited into the little white round felt home of the ranch for tea, I notice there’s rain water on the floor and on the only stool.  I sit on it anyway.  The tea helps warm us up enough to press on with the next task. 


The calves hanging around the corral have vanished in the storm.  Everyone is scrambling and searching, yelling across roaring waters asking who has looked where.  We get in the car and head down to the river and see the group of calves galloping away on the far side of the river which has tripled in size.  We crawl though it and try to punch in front of the leader of the group.  We stop to pick up two of the horseman’s daughters who have run all the way their trying to retrieve their livelihood.  Finally, we get in front of the calves and turn them back, herd them across the river toward home, only to find their mothers have entered the scene.  So we have to turn and herd the cows back up toward their day pasture from where they had just run to seemingly rescue their calves.


It wasn’t until after I dropped off the rancher/horseman at his home that I realized his request for rain from Jesus has been answered.  He got his request whether he knew it or not. But my joy was a little less for having failed to pass along his prayer personally to Jesus.  The blessing fell from the sky, whether I prayed for it or not.  But my role in the result was diminished missed my chance to pray. 

To sum up, the storm was a rush to experience.  But I missed the rush that comes from praying in faith and having God powerfully and immediately answer. Quicker to pray next time.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Election Days

Mongolia is alive with election fever.  Each party has their own flag, and they are FLYING!  Loudspeakers are blaring the benefits of their party, most of which are promising cash dividends the citizens if they are voted into power.  Like the promise of a tax break in America I suppose, one party says they will deliver 1000 dollars to every citizen from the precious metals and ores being mined in Mongolia.  I seriously doubt this will happen, but people talk to me about it like it's really going to happen.  So I guess these tactics work.  

A guy came by today and tried to give us a book on his candidate.  He's not the first Mongolian to ask if we'll be voting in the election.  I told him like I usually do that I don't think they'll want non-citizens joining in the process.  That seemed to satisfy him.  

The one good thing from this campaigning activity is that guys like him are probably getting paid.  In a country where work is scarce the pandemonium of electioneering is actually profitable for the people, no matter if those campaign promises pan or piddle out.

Got it Good

"There has been no sacrifice.  I have only received" - Hudson Taylor, Pioneer Missionary to Inland China in the 1800s.

There are times when the above statement really rings true for me.  We've got it good.  With the recent blessing of multiple days of rainfall in a row, you become really thankful to have a roof over your head.  Hearing that beautiful pitter patter of rain again tonight on our metal roof while I sat on our porch with a great book, and looking out at the space we have been planted, gratefulness breathed upon me.  

In contrast, my neighbor Otgoo had been living in a Ger (round tent) while he built his house. He got the frame up last summer.  This spring he was just getting the rafters started, and the owner of the tent he was living in said he needed it, showed up the next day, took the tent down and left. All his furniture was left just as it was before in a tidy little circle, but his home was missing around it. Looked like a tornado just raptured their Ger. It was like the most cruel version of eviction.  In stead of throwing the person and stuff out, they just skinned the house off the stuff.  So he had to move all his stuff into his unroofed house. Fortunately since then, he got the roof on.  But with all this rain, his stuff may still have some drying out to do.  Did I mention he has a 4 month old baby?  Thank God they have an apartment to stay in for a while yet.  Did I mention Mongolians are tough, and patient?  They are in the old english term, long- suffering.  

Nevertheless I think Otgoo would say he has it good too.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Kitchen Help

Posted by Picasa

Clara at Work

Posted by Picasa

Maggie in the Saddle

Posted by Picasa

Bed Time Stories

Posted by Picasa

Rainbow After the Flood

The rains are coming, and our yard holds the evidence of a whole day's worth coming in about an hour. No wonder they've been putting in flood canals all over town. Had to be around 3 inches of rain in an afternoon. How else do you explain our sandy, rocky yard on the dry prairie turning into a lake? Not bad having a private pond in a dry country, at least for an hour or so...
Posted by Picasa

Clinic Backyard Picnic

Our team doctor hosted a Dentist and his assistant to several Mongolian towns to fix people's teeth for free. They came to Bulgan and set up shop in a billiards room not far from our house. Here we are enjoying a Mongolian food lunch on a nice June day. Several people we know showed up to get teeth pulled or filled. Everyone was thankful for the service. We thank Dr Anderson for coming.
Posted by Picasa

Traveling Dental Team

Posted by Picasa

Pool Draws a crowd

Posted by Picasa