Thursday, May 20, 2010

On My Way Home

Yesterday ended with a test for the students and a meal with the leaders of BKH. The test went well as for many this would have been the first test in years! We began the day putting together a sermon from Genesis 6, looking at God's command for Noah to build an ark. After we pieced together a theme and outline, we finished the morning with an encouragement to preach God's Word, knowing that we are never alone - the Spirit blesses His Word. Following lunch - the test! 50 multiple choice questions on Systematic Theology. One of the challenges of taking a test is the language barrier - what may seem like a simple sentence in English can be difficult to translate in Mongolian -so the test ended up being out of 43!

After the final day of teaching, they presented me with some kind gifts (I am now starting my own "ger" collection ;)) and then the leaders took me out to dinner, once again expressing their gratitude that Grace would send me into the countryside to teach their leaders. The meal was fantastic - a bowl of rice served, adding beef (of course!) as the meat from a main plate as the meal progresses. This is followed by Thai soup (I told them I could only have a little otherwise my wife would not recognize me when I returned - I would have eaten so much) and then some apples. A very kind gesture.

I am presently in UB after a wild flight. It was a semi-windy day and for most of the flight we bounced, swayed and dipped. However, I was still able to down a ham sandwich and a can of 7UP. Tonight I am staying at a hotel I stayed at last year, ready for some sleep. I leave tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m. to catch the flight to China, Vancouver and then final my family - I mean Toronto.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

And They Caught On!

Today we worked a lot on developing a theme and main points of the message. We first worked on 2 Corinthians 4.12-16 and after they spent some in time class working on it, we discussed their work. At that point, it was a little discouraging because they seemed to miss what was being taught. So we worked through that example and tried again, this time with James 1.2-4. They spent around half and hour studying and putting together a theme and outline. When we discussed the theme, almost all of them that spoke had a similar theme (complete in a sentence and not only stating the truth but making it interesting for the people) and relevant points. It was really exciting seeing them grasp putting together a sermon.

The Lord has been really gracious in the two courses taught this time. Systematics gave them some basic truths of Scripture they had never been taught and Preaching has given them tools to bring God's Word to the people. They have been very attentive and as the week has gone by, have asked more questions. They also sit on very thin benches with no backs for about 8 hours - and they are soaking in the teaching (except when some get really tired and I see heads dropping on the desks ;)).

After class, Jeff, my translator and myself met with the 2 leaders of the church of BKH. The one leader served us supper at his house and we had an extremely positive and productive meeting. They are thankful for the teaching and so thankful that their church leaders are being taught God's Word. There is no one else offering this type of teaching in this area (the leaders are unable to go to the city for training) and they are so thankful someone would come all the way into the countryside to minister to them. It speaks a lot to them that we went out to them.

So I am so thankful for Grace Bible Church and their gift to the ministry, the leaders and the people of Mongolia. I wish you could have sat with me during the visit to hear their appreciation for the service to the people of Mongolia. So I thank the Lord for Grace Bible Church who serves a people they have never seen but Lord willing will, one day in glory!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Found One More Picture

Goat's Meat and Preaching

On Sunday I was able to preach at the "ger" church in town and then have a lunch with the leaders. The lunch was a real Mongolian BBQ where they cut up goats meat and through it in a boiling pot of water with potatoes and spices. Because of the hard winter, goats meat is at a premium so the goat we got was probably fairly old, if toughness of meat says anything. I had one tender piece and it was delicious. All you need to do is pick it up with your hands, make sure the goats hair is off (our goat had lack hair and plenty of it!)tear it with your teeth and and chew! A great meal all in all. The church service was exciting - I am always thankful to experience church in Mongolia - reminds me of how the gospel is going throughout the world!

Today was a good day of teaching, working through how to practically put a sermon together, starting with choosing a text to getting the theme of the passage. The students have been very eager to learn, many of them being called to preach but no practical training at all!

I have added some pictures (which I think are at the top - still figuring this thing out!). Jeff took some pictures of teaching the students. Please do continue to pray as we have two more days of "putting together sermons".

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Tired Day

Well, this was day five of teaching and a Saturday on top of it all. After finishing up a few matters from the first course, we began the preaching course. After lunch, the group was looking rather tired and after about an hour I saw more than a few heads land on the table. I thought either I am boring or they are tired - I went for option two and called an early break. After en extended break, we continued but the eye lids kept dropping so we called it an early day, stopping at 4:00.

Tonight I was able to take Jeff, Shauna and their daughter Kaylee out for a meal (they are the family that is hosting me and have been very kind, hospitable and helpful). We went to a restaurant called the Byanburd, and Shauna and I had some amazing chicken - the first time since leaving Canada. Jeff had this bowl of rice, some cucumbers and other various matters at the bottom.

Tomorrow I have the opportunity to preach at the "ger" church in BKH and afterwards meet with the leaders. We are also going to have a lunch with something boiled in milk - I forget exactly how Jeff explained it but I do remember him say, "oh, you have never had it - you are in for a treat." I will definitely keep you posted!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Camel Time on Mongolia!!

Today was another busy day of teaching and this time with lots of discussion from the students. We looked at perseverance of the people of God, the church, baptism, Lord's Supper and church discipline - each carrying a lot of practical discussion on how to apply God's Word in their various churches. Does baptism save? What if you do not have enough water in the Gobi Desert to immerse? What do you do if someone is caught in sin but is repentant? It is always encouraging to hear their questions as it lets me know what they are thinking and what the church is struggling with in their ministries.

After the teaching, Jeff took me out into the countryside with a few others and we had the opportunity to ride a camel. Mongolian camels have two humps and because it was such a harsh winter, one of the humps on the camel was "limpy" (you will see the "limpy" humps in some of the Mongolian art work). It was a great experience and as I rode I looked out over the Northern Gobi thanking the Lord for the beauty of His creation and the opportunity to be sharing God' Word. I will say the dismount from a camel can be a little awkward - front knees first and then settling down on his hind legs. Every time the camel had to bend, he would let out this groan as if to say, "Oh man, not again."

It was a good day and I look forward to the opportunity to begin to teach homiletics tomorrow for four days. Sunday I am preaching in the large "ger" church in town, looking forward to worshiping with them. Now, as you are in the middle of your day, I think I will head to bed!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thursday In Mongolia

It was another beautiful day in Mongolia. The sun is warm with a cool breeze, the Mongolians enjoying the first signs of spring. Jeff and I traveled to the church where we are doing the teaching and from 9-5 we are together learning God's Word. For many of the students, this is the first time they are hearing from Scripture an explanation of the Trinity, God's sovereignty in salvation, special revelation and other teachings from Scripture. So they are thankful for the opportunity to train and hear the teaching of God's Word. It is amazing to see their enthusiasm and patience as they sit for a very long day.

After teaching, Jeff took me to the large hill in the middle of the city. I was able to see the mountains surrounding the city, the mountains further back still having snow on the tops. The city of BKH is large, filled with gers surrounded by fences in a neat, orderly fashion. While we were up on the large hill, a group of 10-15 grade 5 boys and girls began to talk with us and wanted us to take their pictures. And that is how it began - we would take some pictures and they would look at themselves, then they wanted to take pictures and look at them and then they wanted to run with my camera down the hill to take pictures of their friends... and look at them. It was amazing to see their joy and their laughter at the "tourist". We finally recouped our cameras and drove down the hill, with one guy hanging on the back tire for about 10-20 feet.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

First Day of Teaching in BKH

I landed in BKH yesterday morning at around 8:00 and was able to settle into the house of Jeff an Shauna, have a coffee, study my material, meet some of the men and then hit the bed at 7:30. That's right, I hit the sleep wall and fell right into bed. Slept for almost 12 hours.

Today I began teaching Systematics. I was thankful for all the pastors that attended and we had a good day studying God's Word. We not only covered the material prepared but got into many practical ministry questions. It was good to be able to talk together with them.

This is a short blog, with just a quick update as I have to run. Please do continue to pray. Jeff asked some of the pastors if they had ever heard some of the teaching and they said no - so I am thankful to be sharing God's Word with them.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Sunday in Mongolia

Well, I finally landed in Mongolia at 6:15 this morning to a bright, sunny and rather chilly morning.

I am thankful to be hear because if I took my usual route, it would have been much more than a 9 hour delay. During my last three trips into Mongolia I have flown with Korean Air from Korea to Mongolia. This time was different as I was booked to fly with Miat, the Mongolian airline. This was considerably more inconvenient as I had to go through customs, collect my luggage and re-enter rather than just do a transfer as I had done my previous times. But the Lord was gracious because while Miat flew out 9 hours late, the next Korean Air flight landing in Mongolia would not be until Monday night! If I was on that flight, I would have missed my flight to BKH tomorrow morning at 6:15 a.m. and probably would have had to take a 12 hour van ride, not arriving until Wednesday. So I am thankful to God for His provisions and feel a little rebuked for the earlier grumbling about the inconvenience.

Presently I am staying in an apartment with a couple who have been very kind to me. We went to church after I slept for 3 hours and spent an enjoyable afternoon getting to know one another and more about the ministry in Mongolia. I also talked to Jeff from BKH and he has said everything is ready for the conference and the leaders are looking forward to the time. I continue to pray for God's good grace to shine.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Sitting In Seoul

Well, it is 9:28 a.m. Cambridge time and 10:28 p.m. Seoul time on a Saturday night and I am still sitting in the airport in Korea. Apparently there was a lot of sand flying around Mongolia today so instead of a 6:00 departure, it will take place at 3:30 this morning.

God has been gracious in terms of travelling mercies. I am still absolutely amazed at how such a large plane carrying everyone's kitchen sink can stay in the air for so long. I do look forward to arriving in Mongolia and meeting up with the family I will be staying with for the night. They will then drop me off Monday morning and I will fly to Outer Mongolia, hopefully meeting with the pastors, Lord willing.

I could write more but I am not sure you want me to regale you with stories about how tough it is to chose between Robins Donuts and Bean and Tea place. It just may not capture the imagination of the masses. Anyway, I do appreciate your prayers for my safety and for the Mongolian people - I have had some time to focus on/pray about the opportunities of teaching and ministering to these men. I do pray, as we read in John 15, for abiding fruit that will build up God's people and spread God's glory.