Well, today was the last day of teaching Hermeneutics. This morning we looked at the prophetic books followed by wisdom literature. After we broke for lunch, which consisted of a big bowl of soup and a large plate of rice, potatoes and meat (fat included), we discussed interpreting the book of Revelation. I closed in a word of prayer, asking God to bless the men and women, their churches and the spread of the gospel in Mongolia. We then went outside and had a group picture, capturing all their happy faces at one time. I passed out the test at about 2:35 and they took their time answering the multiple choice questions (I was able to mark them when I got back to the apartment and they all did very well).
Then they all sat close to the front and Sundui, one of the organizers, thanked them all for coming. They then presented me with a very kind gift of a “ram” enclosed in a picture frame. This gift was hand made by a Christian in one of the local churches. I thanked them for the kind gift and told them we would hang this up at our church in Canada so we would be reminded to pray for them and the churches in Mongolia.
Then two things happened which are very memorable to me. First, one of the men stood up and gave a funny poem he had written about the week. I couldn’t believe it! If you are familiar with the Carey Family Conference held in August, you will know that there are two men in particular who WOW the people with their poetic finesse and musical ability – the first being my dad and the second being Paul Martin. And so I come to Mongolia and what happens? At the end of the conference, a man stands up and in the Mongolian language, delivers a poem about our two weeks together. I could not understand a word but it was a great time seeing the men and women laugh. One woman had tears running down her cheeks. We had worked hard for two weeks and it was a real blessing to see the joy on their faces.
The second memorable event was after the laughter (a little poetry of my own), they asked me to sit on a chair and they all gathered around me and prayed. Again, I did not understand a word but it was a real time of unity and blessing as they prayed for me out loud and I quietly prayed for them once again. I had been told before they wanted to pray that God would bless the ministry in Canada and that I would have a safe journey back. We then said good-bye to one another and the only words I spoke to them so they could understand was a prayer once again: God bless and keep you.
At 5:00 tonight the team from the organization that planned the conference took me out to supper at, get this, a Korean restaurant that was Korean – I know, it sounds too simple to be true. It was a very filling meal as I had beef, rice and French Fries (I don’t know if French Fries are considered Korean but will let this pass so as not to make it too confusing) followed by a very spicy bowl of soup. They asked if I wanted more and I had to say that I was still full from lunch and I could not eat anything else. We had a good time talking as I heard some of their testimonies of how the Lord worked in their lives. And then one of the men, who had grown up in the country and had ridden a horse since he was 6, asked me if I had ever ridden a horse. Well … this gave me the opportunity to tell him my famous story about the last time I hopped on a horse and almost smashed my face in the side of a mailbox as it turned into the driveway. The moment was somewhat lost as a mailbox sticking out of the ground is really an unknown object in Mongolia but after it was explained the story was somewhat of a success. I was then told that when you ride a horse in outer Mongolia it is very relaxing as there are no mailboxes. I thanked them for the encouragement and assured them it was probably much safer in Mongolia and I would probably enjoy the ride.
The Lord has been very gracious these past two weeks and I thank Him for the opportunity to serve the “infant” church here. All of them were very thankful for the teaching of the Word. One of the leaders of the team that I went out to supper with this evening expressed his thankfulness because he said the church really needs this teaching in Mongolia. I responded that as I have spoken and watched the pastors, I can see that the Lord has begun a good work and we trust that He will bring it to a completion in the years ahead.
So thank you for your prayers over this past week. God has been gracious, as He always is, and has done much in my life and the lives of the men and women in the class. I now look forward to returning to my family and church and seeing them all once again. I leave tomorrow night, Lord willing, at 12:00 landing in Korea at 4:00 a.m. and then fly out of Seoul at 9:35 p.m. and land on Toronto tarmac at 9:35 p.m. I will have spend 13 hours on a plane and not gained a minute!