Inspirational... that is how I describe my recent time in Mongolia and another country. I was in Mongolia as a faculty member for the final session of our fourth class of pastors and the outcome was simply inspirational! Many of the twelve graduating pastors developed similar plans as Pastor Sundui (pictured here). Sundui, led by the Lord through the Asian Access program, developed plans to start 500 churches and see 10,000 people come to Christ in the next eight years.
Another graduate, Oyunchimeg (pictured below), developed similar plans and joins numerous other Mongolian pastors in planning to share the gospel and plant churches across the road once devastated by Genghis Khan stretching from Mongolia, China, Central Asia and all the way to Turkey in the west. Their goal is to redeem the areas conquered by Genghis Khan through sharing the love and truth of Jesus.
All together, the Lord led these twelve pastors to develop plans to see hundreds of churches planted in Mongolia and neighboring countries (3 pastors alone plan to plant 500 churches each) and to see tens of thousands of new followers of Jesus (again, those same three pastors desire to see 10,000 new converts from their churches alone). Simply amazing!
Over and above all of this, countries like Mongolia face tremendous social problems: poverty, alcoholism, abortion, children without parents, etc. To answer these challenges, the church stands in the gap. They have set up NGO’s (non-profit agencies) to reach out to these underprivileged in the name of Christ. What a joy to stand beside the church in these efforts as one of our core beliefs at Asian Access is that God raises up the Church to stand in the gap on behalf of the world’s problems and social challenges. This is why we invest in building up church leaders so that the church is well equipped to deal with the challenges in their societies.
After a wonderful graduation ceremony, I was given opportunity to preach in two Sunday services. What a joy to experience these two radically different services. The first was in a Mongolian Ger (our Kazakh friends call this a Yurt) and the second was a service in downtown Ulaan Baatar held in a theater-like atmosphere. The first place felt like a camp meeting and the second felt like a modern rock and roll service. Here’s a picture to give you a feel for the Ger environment.
In another country, I met with more than 22 pastors from all over the region. They all shared what a blessing the ministry has been for them and the common theme was how it strengthened them as church leaders and unified the church in the country. One pastor shared of a church near his province that was facing persecution because they had too many members (over 10,000 people in their network). A few of their leaders were thrown in jail and so we prayed for their release. However, as we prayed, many of the pastors asked that God would bless and encourage the government officials who were persecuting them – that they would be led to the joy of Christ. What an example of Christian leadership: praying for those who persecute you!
I was also able to reconnect with an old friend, Pastor David, who recently went through some challenges in his church. A friend from Rolling Hills Covenant asked if Asian Access could help David and guess what happened? The Asian Access family had already rallied around him and helped him out! One of the A2 graduates welcomed David to join his church movement and today David is so happy to be back in ministry and so are we. David is a faithful witness who has spent time in prison on several occasions for the sake of his witness. One time after I visited his church, the next week the government shut down their home fellowship. Praise the Lord that the seeds he plants don’t die. Even though persecution comes, the word of the Lord will last forever!
One missionary leader recently said of the work there, “If you see anything of significant substance happening here, you need to look at Asian Access. Much of what is happening in the church is directly or indirectly related to the influence of Asian Access ministry.”
Why do we receive such positive praise? I believe it’s because our core focus is rooting ourselves in our “love relationships with God”. Core to our training, more than any other single element, is our commitment to seeing the principle of John 15 lived out in the lives of church leaders: that we would abide in Christ. It is the first of our four essential outcomes in ministry and the one we spend a great deal of time developing. It is only through being connected to the vine that we bear much fruit.
Your prayers and support are helping build momentum for these types of transformational endeavors in Asia. Thank you for your faithful and sacrificial financial support during this challenging economy. As we come into the final few months of the year, we do ask for your prayers and for some special Thanksgiving or Christmas gifts for our family and for Asian Access. Like most missionaries and ministries, we receive 30-40% of our ministry funding during November and December. So, we’d appreciate your prayers for this season and your prayerful consideration of a special gift.
You’re awesome and we so appreciate you!
For His Kingdom,
Joe for the family