This Advent we’re sharing stories from past Christmas outreach events in East Asia and prayer points so you can pray for this year’s events as they happen – follow #EastAsiaAdvent on social media for regular updates and prayer points.
We’re looking forward to sharing how your prayers have been answered in the New Year.
OMF worker Kirk Matthews shares about a memorable Christmas morning in Mongolia:
“Last Christmas morning, Esther and I had a young man Andrew* and his younger sister Dawn* for breakfast.
They grew up in a nomadic herding family, but Dawn was now in her final year of nursing school. After breakfast and our sharing about shepherds and uniqueness of the manger, she asked if she could share something with us.
Looking serious, she thoughtfully reflected,
‘I remember when you came to our home and shared Jesus! I was just a little girl! You see the fruit of your prayer now! I am a Christian and my brother is studying to be a pastor! God cares for us, like he did the shepherds!’
A few times Dawn was so overwhelmed by God’s grace in her life that she could not speak and started crying. She said she thinks God may be calling her to work one day with children with disabilities and has been volunteering through the Christian Nurses Association.
Indeed, years ago we shared the gospel with Andrew and Dawn’s parents, not paying much attention to their children in the background. Andrew was often out tending the goats. Andrew listened to us and also read the gospel booklet that we had given to his parents. He prayed to trust in Jesus for his salvation. Jesus said ‘let the children come to me’ (Matthew 19:14) even as he came into the world as a child.
Andrew grew up and studied ecology in another province, and joined a church, leading the worship there. In time both Andrew and Dawn went to the capital, Ulaanbaatar to study, and they are both active in church. He is studying at Union Bible Theological College and hopes to serve in his remote home county. He has already completed his compulsory year of military service. Dawn completed nursing school and the national nursing exam, and currently works at a hospital. Andrew teaches guitar to Kazakh youth. Over our Christmas breakfast we had talked about possible ways they could share Jesus’ love with those around them.
Christmas Past and Christmas Present
When we first came to Mongolia more than twenty years ago, people here were not familiar with Christmas, not even the tinselled trappings of Christmas. Now, even though Christmas is still a work day, Santa Claus, reindeer and colourful decorations abound in stores and restaurants around this time of year. For some, Christmas has become just a prelude to New Year’s partying and drinking. The ‘Christ’ in Christmas has been overlooked. But Andrew and Dawn have a true joy with Christ dwelling in them.
Many churches here in Mongolia will have Christmas events with preaching, praise and prayer. Some will partake in hot meals together, creating a family atmosphere. We rejoice that Christ is being proclaimed, and that people learn that Christmas is not just some Western holiday about Santa Claus. Some church members will also invite friends and neighbors over to their homes to share in heart-felt and spiritual Christmas cheer. Who will you be spending Christmas with?”
Will you pray for Mongolia this Christmas time?
- Give thanks for Andrew and Dawn and their plans to serve Jesus all year round. Praise God for how the good seed of the gospel does bear fruit in time
- Pray for Mongolian churches’ Christmas events, that many will come and hear about the true meaning of Christmas
- Pray for Mongolian Christians inviting people into their homes over Christmas. Ask that their hospitality and welcome would be a great testimony to Emmanuel, God with us.
- Pray for more people in Mongolia to discover what Christmas is truly about