From the planting of EHC’s first Christ Group of 30 members in 1998, EHC Mongolia has continued to actively pursue the lost in this nation that is the 19th largest in size but is the most sparsely populated country in the world. From that initial Christ Group, 276 more church fellowships have been the result of EHC’s efforts to plant bodies of believers where no churches exist, supporting new converts in their walk and growth in the Lord. In Mongolia the population of believers has grown from just four in 1989 to an estimated more than 180,000 converts today.
Somewhere between 40 and 45 percent of Mongolia’s families live in the city of Ulaanbatar with an additional 25 percent living in other cities. EHC has been diligent in reaching those living in the cities where the majority of Christ Groups are located.
However, another 30 percent of all households live the nomadic lifestyle—following their livestock from one pastureland to another. It is this 30 percent of the population who remain unreached and who present the greatest challenge for EHC in its home-to-home quest of reaching every family with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. An even greater challenge is discipling the nomads once they accept the Lord.
Mongolia is known for its long winters and short summers. During the winters nomads hunker down with their herds hoping that their livestock can make it through the cold, wind and heavy snows. During the winter of 1999-2000 many nomads’ lives were claimed with a deadly combination of snow and cold as well as the loss of more than 2.6 million head of livestock, leaving many of the surviving nomads with little food. The wolf population increased and the many carcasses of the dead animals caused the spread of diseases. EHC was there to take parcels of bread and rice to families as workers visited the nomads’ gers (yurts). (The ger is the traditional dwelling for the Mongolian nomads, a tent-like structure made from a wooden frame and covered by wool felt. The ger is easy to collapse and assemble again and can be carried on horses, camels, reindeer, or yaks.) Once again the winter of 2009-2010 was especially brutal. During that winter herders lost 9.7 million animals or 22 percent of their total livestock.
Facing uncertainty, their livelihood depending on the last few head of livestock, they could end up becoming hired hands to those who have larger herds.
EHC has been able to share the Gospel with several of them and pray for their well being. There were a great number of requests from the nomads asking for the workers to come back and teach them more. The reality is the rural Christ Groups are often unable to do follow-up with new converts because of the rugged terrain, harsh environment and the cost of reaching the roaming herders.
EHC Summer Advances present the best opportunity to reach the nomads. In 2011, 60 Christ Groups were planted among the nomads.
This summer EHC pioneer missionaries and Christ Group volunteers equipped with gospel booklets, the Jesus film, and Be Fruitful and Multiply (BFAM) discipleship curriculum are scheduled to trek the steppes in search of those who have not heard the Good News.
Please pray for the nomads of Mongolia. EHC workers report that they are open to the Gospel and many have responded. From previous efforts there have been conversions and physical healings among them. May salvation be proclaimed in every corner of Mongolia!