Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Praying for the Church in Mongolia

This past Sunday night I was able to show some pictures of my recent trip to Mongolia. I showed the people Sunday night a little embroidered picture of "gers" with the word "Pray for Mongolia" - a gift given to me by the students. How then should we pray for the Mongolians?

Pray for the leaders - there are many challenges in "the early church of Mongolia" for which they need much wisdom. Pray that God would give them wisdom as they are lead by His Spirit.

Pray that there may be a burden to preach God's Word. One of the pastors shared with me that after my last visit, he determined to preach more in his church. While there was a little opposition, he persevered and now preaching is part of his weekly work. God's people will be built up through the preaching of God's Word.

Pray for the church as they grow. The Lord continues to work as hearts are changed in repentance and faith to the finished work of Jesus. Pray that the people would mature and continue to have a heart for evangelism.

Pray for families. While family units can be strong, alcohol and other vices rip families apart. Pray that the gospel works in marriages and families so they live out the gospel in a radical way.

Trusting that God will continue to work in amazing ways in the country of Mongolia ...

Monday, October 06, 2008

Arrived and Settled

13 hours after take off from Seoul, I landed in Toronto to meet my family. Missing them for two weeks, you can imagine how fantastic it was to give them all a big hug! On the trip home, they regaled great adventures of home life while I tried to match them with a few stories from Mongolia.

I am thankful to be home once again and look forward to showing pictures and sharing the work in Mongolia this coming Sunday night at Grace. Thank you for your prayers and I thank God for hearing and answering.

Now - I think it is bedtime, isn't it?

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Landed in Seoul

Last year when I left for Seoul from Mongolia, snow fell in the morning with high winds, causing a delay in departure. Last night the weather was perfect and the plane left on time - 12:20. We landed at around 4:30 (Korea is one hour ahead of UB) and I was able to land a hotel room and have a good rest.

This morning I wake up feeling refreshed and looking forward to the final flight, leaving Seoul at 9:00 p.m. Thank you again for your prayers and I trust that as God's people meet today at Grace, His presence would be known in amazing ways.

A Nice Day for a Walk

Today is the day I wait for my flight at 12:20 a.m. I woke up this morning and after I marked the tests with my cup of "wanna-be-bucks" (my term for powdered coffee), I went for a walk downtown. There is a large square downtown with the statues of Mr. Khan and his offspring.

As I walked through the square, there was a wedding with bride and bridegroom with some dressed in traditional clothing.

At 1:00 I met with a family and had a tremendous time of fellowship. We met (get ready for this Nick) at the Khan Irish Restaurant and it was quite a revelation when I told them that Genghis Khan was actually Irish - history changing, really.

Following the terrific lunch, I walked around the black market - a huge market where they sell everything.

Along the way, I found my dream van ...

... and the store that - well, what else could you include?

And now I am going to shut down my computer, pack it up, vacuum the apartment and wait for my ride to come and pick me up. It has been a gift from God to be in Mongolia but I am very thankful to return to my family and Grace Bible Church.

Friday, October 03, 2008

All Done - but the flight

Well, another teaching session in Mongolia finished with the study of Romans 15-16 and the final test. We ended early today at the request of some of the pastors who come in from the countryside. So after the test, we had pictures, lunch, a final prayer and I hopped in a taxi and went back to my apartment. It was a privilege to study God's Word and in particular the book of Romans with these church leaders. Together we worked through the book chapter by chapter, seeking to apply it to our own lives and learn how to take the Word and preach Christ.

One lady who took the class embroidered a nice little picture of "gers" (Mongolian houses/tents) with the words PRAY FOR MONGOLIA. I am looking forward to taking this back home and showing the people at Grace, a simple yet profound reminder to pray for the growing church half way across the world. I am also thankful for Grace Bible Church as they supported my trip. Again, I wish I could take all of them to Mongolia with me so they could see the impact of their giving and allowing me to be apart from them for these three Sundays.

This afternoon I went to the Mongolian market and wandered around. The market is absolutely huge, enormous - even gigantic. You have a huge section for shoes, for jeans, for rugs, for food and for many more items. It was relaxing after a busy two weeks. Tomorrow I plan to meet with one of the pastors tomorrow around 1:00 and then look forward to packing my stuff and heading to the airport around 9:00 for a 12:20 a.m. flight.

Thank you for your prayers - God has been gracious, providing abundantly more than we could ask.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

So ....

So ... today we travelled through Romans 6-10. One of the great advantages of working through an entire book in one week is you can begin to see the big picture. After introducing himself and his love for the people, Paul begins to preach the gospel declaring all are under God's wrath. BUT there is a righteousness outside of the sinner sent by God received through faith - Jesus. Paul then turns to the Old Testament and shows how Abraham was justified by faith in the promised seed and this took place before he was circumcised, so the promise is offered both to Jew and Gentile. But if justification is a declaration, what about sanctification? Romans 6. And what about our relationship with the law? Romans 7. And what takes place between salvation and glorification, including our suffering? Romans 8. But is there a problem with God's Word if the Jews are not believing? Romans 9- 10. And God's plan for Jew and Gentile? Romans 11.

One of the joys of my day was taking the students through Romans 8. We will suffer, as our Saviour suffered but He will keep us as the Spirit intercedes for us and as the work of Christ is applied to our lives. Will anything separate us from the love of God? If God is for us, who can be against us? Imagine, after Romans 1-3, we read God is for US!! It was such a joy to rejoice in the gospel together and celebrate the love of our God.

Romans 7 went smooth - or at least for a while. I went through Romans 7 with them, expressing my view (I'll keep it a secret for now so I do not lose 2/3's of my faithful blog readers, assuming the three views are evenly divided!!) and then asked if there were any questions - NO. OK, we move on. But we got sidetracked on a totally different question and when I thought I was clear, a student asked about another view. Rats - they caught me!! So we spent some more time on it and I told them that I held all three - loosely;). Actually, whatever view one holds, all agree that our position with the law has changed and we rejoice to be under the new covenant with the leading of the Spirit.

Now, Romans 9 and "Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated" - (as you can see - a BIG day in the small classroom on the ninth floor of an anonymous Mongolian apartment building where church leaders are studying Romans to bring back to their people so those outside the apartment can maybe one day hear the gospel!!). We went through the various questions and at the end, one of the men stood up and said that it really helped clarify his understanding!! I rejoiced in the good providence of our sovereign God. One of the amazing things about teaching in Mongolia is they do not have years of baggage - it is so clear in God's Word and therefore, it is accepted and believed.

So ... tomorrow we start again. While exhausted at the end of the day, there is an inner joy as my heart has been nurtured by God's Word and Spirit.

Now ... on a totally different subject I know I have ranted about traffic in Mongolia and I assume you are still reading so if you will permit me another rant - elevators. I am on the 12th floor and I leave the apartment about 8:15 so I can meet my ride at 8:30. Here is how the elevator works in this apartment: if there is someone lower then the 12th floor (in other words - everyone!), then the elevator will stop, go all the way down to the first floor and drop them off. It starts the trip up again and if someone happens to be on the 4th floor, it stops, picks up and then drops them off. I saw - I saw the elevator stop at the 11th floor (there is a crack in the wall) and I heard it travel down. Seriously - 10 minutes waiting.

So... why did I not walk down? A good question - a very, very good question. I have three views on why, let me share them with you ...