The 600 kilometre trip (at least that is what I was told) began at 5:30 in the morning. The first hour we were on a paved road, but the road is not yet complete, so for about 100 kilometres we did some off-roading. The key is to try to find the least bumpy path among the many that have been created. After a few hours we stopped by the house of one of the church leaders who was in the vehicle. When we dropped him off, we were invited to have a meal at his place. After an hour the meal was ready, and after eating we went into their "church ger". I was asked to say a few words and then offer a prayer for the new church.
We soon got back on the road again, and after travelling for another hour or so, we stopped again. Two other vehicles were travelling to UB and one of the vehicles developed tire problems. That meant we had to divide those who needed a ride between the two working vehicles. We included two more passengers in our vehicle, so we now had four in the back seat. I actually tried to get in the back seat but they would not let me (teacher must go in the front). I gained some extra luggage up front but those men sat like that for the remaining seven hours of the trip!
The countryside is majestic, a vastness that is remarkable. As one looks out it is almost velvety, the rough grass coming together in a blanket covering the rolling plains. In the background are the hills which range from rugged to gently rolling. We passed herds of sheep, goats and horses while the birds flew overhead (eagles, falcons). Dotted along the way were either single gers or a community of them. I wondered what it would be like to be riding a horse or herding sheep or goats, all alone in the vastness. I thought that in the solitude, it would be a reminder of the smallness of my existence and the wonder of such a glorious God, displaying His glory without shame. Psalm 8 asks that foundational question, in fact the question that is the beginning of the search for life and purpose: "What is man that you are mindful of him?" I prayed that this question would lead those on horses or in gers to Christ,
After arriving in UB, we dropped a few people off at their destinations and I finally arrived at my hotel (Flower Hotel - yes, it is true, what can I say?) at around 7:30. After a good night sleep, I caught a taxi to the airport, flew into Beijing at 2:00 in the afternoon and am presently on a four-hour flight once again. I look forward to this next part of the journey and am praying that GBC may be an encouragement to those serving diligently and faithfully.