A country that has suffered much is Mongolia. After the fall of communism the propped up economy began to teeter and then eventually fall. The result was rising prices, fewer jobs and a great less hope for an already struggling people. As people began to leave the land and gravitate towards the city in search of non-existent jobs the reality of a broken society began to catch up to people who in many cases had little education and few contacts within the city.
Today the capital city, Ulaanbaatar, is home to well over a million people that include thousands of homeless. These homeless people are amongst the most disadvantaged and poorest people on earth. For many of them winters in the capital city means they must seek shelter from the harsh weather underground amongst the heating pipes that crisscross the city.
Living underground in such conditions is dangerous because many of the pipes are old and burst at a moments notice. In many cases the people huddled around the pipe are severely scalded when the pipes burst and in the most severe cases killed. A lack of nutritious food, too much alcohol, bursting steam pipes, unsanitary conditions and hopelessness leave broken and defeated lives.
Why am I telling you this? Because Monday evening a man by the name of Puji (our English abbreviation of his very long name) who is working tirelessly to make a difference for his people sat in my front room. I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew that God had brought him all the way around the world for a reason. What possible connection could a group of people have, living in a prosperous seaside resort town, with a hard working pastor from Mongolia?
As soon as Puji began to talk and show us his pictures we knew we were in the presence of no ordinary man. He has worked as a Christian pastor in a Buddhist land for over twenty years, and almost everyone of his congregation are homeless. When the rest of society forgot these people Puji, following the Gospel call to care for the orphans, the widows, and the broken made it his life job to care for them.
Now here is what is amazing—he takes nothing for doing this almost impossible, one-step forward, two steps backwards ministry. He feeds his congregation when they have no food, provides fodder for livestock, gives coins for showers, cares for released prisoners, attends to the burned and broken victims of the heating system and is the spiritual advisor for hospice. He supports himself by driving taxi, doing odd jobs or whatever it takes to keep his family of five going.
At one stage of his talk he broke down into tears as he explained how he feared the police calls asking him to go identify another homeless victim living on the street. Every person is precious to Puji and it is easy to feel the presence of God radiating from the man in his pure honesty, compassion and love.
I won’t get into how he ended up here in Ruth and my front room but it is a series of miracles that resulted from the prayers and dedication of Puji’s friends Paul and Carolyn. Ten minutes into meeting Puji he was our friend as well.
Puji has never asked anything of Paul and Carolyn. In all the time they have known him he has only requested their prayers for the ministry. People like Puji give me a renewed confidence in the Gospel and the way that God leads and directs in this world. Suddenly last evening as I fought back the tears I rediscovered how big God is and how powerful He is and how capable He is and how much He loves us to allow us to be part of His plans.
When we began our Bible study groups we had no idea that God had a plan to introduce us to a Pastor from Mongolia who works with the poorest of the poor. We had no idea that through a mission trip people from our group would meet Puji and be touched by his love for his people. We had no idea that as we prayed and tried to figure out how we could know more of Pugi’s ministry and whether or not we could help that God already had plans to bring him to us.
I don’t know how we are going to make a difference yet, but we are seeking direction from the Holy Spirit and we know that it is going to take sacrifice on our part. I have no desire to play church and be part of a system that spends millions of dollars on buildings, committees, flying administrators around the world and end up talking to ourselves.
I can’t tell you what to do and I have no moral right to do that. What I will say, however, is please start to pray about what God really wants you to do for Him. If you want to help us support Puji’s ministry great, if God lays another ministry upon you please make that part of your life.
This is not about how much theology we can teach or whether or not we can get these Mongolian homeless people to believe the same as we do. It is about giving of our means to alleviate the suffering of fellow Christians who have nothing. It is about praying for God to lift the burden of poverty and hopelessness of their shoulders and the shoulders of believers in Syria, Sudan, Egypt, Iran, North Korea and around the world.
Pray and ask God to use you for ministry. Ask of Him what He wants of you and then be willing to give. As we move closer and closer to the end of time we need to say God here am I-send me.
* There is persecution of Christians in Inner Mongolia. In the capital city of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, there at least 5,000 homeless. The population of Ulaanbaatar is about a third of the state of Mongolia. These people need our support and continuous prayers. Please take the time to read some of their stories at http://thebeggardanced.com/nine-oclock-club/ there is much more on the internet…