Christianity in Mongolia is a reality for the first time in modern history! Perhaps only 4 Mongolian believers existed in 1989, but by 2010 over 40,000 believers worshipped in hundreds of churches and groups around the country! The Church is less than one generation old, but it already sends missionaries to unreached areas, runs national ministries, and develops its own Mongolian-style worship music.
The difficult economic situation, a major challenge for the government, deeply affects every aspect of life - employment, education, children's welfare and others. The very feasibility of traditional nomadic pastoralism is under threat. "Insider capitalism" yields great wealth for a few but gripping poverty for many others. Failing to address this adequately has already caused the collapse of one government. Pray that the leaders of Mongolia might rule with fairness and wisdom.
Mongolia's traditional religions, Lamaistic Buddhism and shamanism, have experienced resurgence since independence. Buddhism numerically dominates, but most do not understand it well. Deeper in the Mongolian psyche are beliefs in shamanism, traditional ethnic superstitions and even occult practices. Increasing numbers of Mongolians, especially younger ones, are consulting shamans for help with health, finance and relationship issues. Pray that Mongolians might find complete liberation and have transformed lives through following the Lord Jesus Christ.
Developing Mongolian church leaders is a strategic need and the key to strengthening the Church. Good training is central to this - most churches, especially rural ones, desperately need biblically astute leaders and teachers. There are eight Bible colleges, mainly denominational in character. The largest is the interdenominational Union Bible Theological College, which focuses on training church leaders. There are also other Bible training centres, run by local churches and missions. Given the country's vast size and rapid church growth, developing a TEE programme that serves the far-flung congregations is possibly the Mongolian Church's greatest need. Pray for the right models of leadership and appropriate support structures to develop, from high-level academic study to informal training of laity.
The expatriate Christian workforce has a significant role to play. Many, as members of NGOs, focus on aid and development. Missionaries are now shifting from evangelism and discipleship to helping train and serve the Mongolian church to rightly assume those roles. Joint Christian Services (a network of nearly 15 Western-based agencies) and another umbrella group of Korean agencies are striving to coordinate work, along with the MEA and other Christian groups. Most work is based in Ulaanbaatar, but increasingly is moving into rural areas - pray for this to continue. Pray especially for unity among agencies, long-term commitment, willingness to truly learn and adapt to Mongolian culture and close, humble relationships of trust with Mongolian leaders. Pray also that openness in Mongolia continues so that Christian ministry can carry on.
Bible translation is a very important issue. One main translation is used by most churches and is currently being revised. A couple of other translations exist, one using a different set of religious vocabulary. Pray for increased use of Scripture by Mongolians and for the Holy Spirit to teach, grow and guide many through God's Word. Braille Bibles and audio Scriptures are available for those unable to read.
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Content taken or adapted from Operation World, 7th Edition (2010) and Pray for the World (2015). Both books are published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.