Saturday, February 20, 2016

Riding in the New Lunar Year

After all the mutton dumplings of Lunar New Year celebrations, we planned a trip to visit the northwestern provinces of Mongolia.  We have churches that belong to our association in both Arhanghai and Hovsgol Province.

We left on Monday morning about 7 am, and arrived at Tsetsereleg about 7 pm that night. We stayed two nights there in the home of then leaders that joins the church hall.  The family vacated their home so that us 5 could sleep in their beds!

Our team consisted of 4 Mongolian teachers.  They taught on Celebrate Recovery, Financial Freedom, Family Counseling and Godly Character.  Not all the lessons occurred int he small church hall.  Much of the teaching happened in the local school.  The lesson on character was well received by close to 100 high-school students.  Financial Freedom courses were being asked for by their teachers who appreciated CAMA's expertise in organizing savings groups.  Pray that CAMA's services will be a blessing to churches and communities around Mongolia.

Wednesday morning we left at 7 am across more snowy roads to Hovsgol Province's Moron City, the capital.  We got in there closer to 4 pm.  We had to follow GPS because the dirt road in places is covered with snow and hard to find.  Without someone who knows the road, you run the risk of getting lost.

The road was also rocky in places.  Probably trying to make too good of time, we may have traveled too fast over some, and had a bad blowout flat tire.  The thing just exploded!

Thank God we had a spare that worked, and being mid-day, was not too unbearably cold to change.  We all got fair bit dusty but were grateful to be underway again.

In Hovsgol, we were received by a "Vacuum" CR rehabilitation center.  They had around 10 guys living there to follow the steps to sobriety and new life in Christ.  The center is so-called because it is tightly controlled.  They're not supposed to be let out of the center, like no contact with the culture around them.  I met guys with 3 and 4 years sobriety.

We again slept in a church building.  Down sleeping bags are required even inside with a fire.  I was a bit chilly in the night, even though the temps outside were above zero F.

The next day our team taught at a different church the Financial Freedom philosophy.  We left just after noon.  We stopped and saw our old neighbors in Bulgan.  Otgonbayar and his wife fed us more mutton dumplings.  That is all we ate in Tsetsereleg as well.  But I was able to balance out all the grease with Aaruul, or dried yogurt, and lots of tea.

I had coffee with some Pioneer missionary friends at their home in Hovsgol before we left.  They are amazing examples of persistence raising 5 kids over 20 years in Mongolia.

We got back to Darhan around 7 pm.  When you think that before the blacktop, that trip would have been at least 16 hours, it makes you grateful for development and progress.

Getting some new air and blowing out of town after a big bunch of feasting and celebrating the New Year is a good idea.  Out Mongolia team of teacher enjoyed it too.  I think the churches we visited and our Cama "Combo" team were all mutually encouraged.

To God be the glory.  It's good get a way sometime and 'ride in the new year'.

I even got to ride a camel along the way, far smoother than tiny Mongolian horses.

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