When Grain of Wheat’s Krasnoyarsk team from Western Siberia heard about the deep poverty both physically and spiritually that engulfs the majority of the Mongolian population, they were compelled to do whatever it would take to bring the Good News of Jesus to the children. Little did they know what discouragements and blessings lay ahead.
The team had made arrangements with a school and carefully prepared the whole program for a day camp, only to arrive and discover the school had given its campus to another group for the entire summer! Quickly, plans were changed and a resort camp became available, which gave the children a peaceful and uninterrupted place to learn about the Lord. This would be the first of many blessings in disguise for the Grain of Wheat team.
No one on the Russian team spoke the Mongolian language, so imagine needing to use translators to greet the 100 excited children that arrived the first day. Then at night, trying to sleep while mice ran around their beds. Mongolian people drink green salty tea with milk. It took several days to convince them to just give the team plain boiled water.
A camp leader recalls, “One day I killed a snake. Our Mongolian friends were hysterical with fear. They simply refused to continue working with us. According to their superstitions, if a person kills a snake, misfortunes will come their way. The children who slept in the same tent as me, took their belongings and moved to another tent. They strongly believed that I would die that night. To their surprise, in the morning they saw their camp counselor very much alive. This experience gave us the opportunity to tell them about our Great God Who is stronger than all the evil powers.” By the end of camp, almost all of the children started praying; many wanted to give their life to Jesus. “I felt like I was in a fairy tale when I was at camp,” says Arkiz, age 9.
After camp, 96 children came to a camp reunion, and brought their parents! They were invited and encouraged to come to church and to the children’s club. Even the Mayor of the city came to give a speech in support of Grain of Wheat’s work with the kids.
This summer, the team plans to go back to this city to hold a training seminar for local Christians with the goal of teaching them how to organize and lead a camp on their own. One boy said, “My friends and I have decided to organize a similar camp when we grow up!”
It Takes Courage
Just as it took courage and faith for the Russian team to travel to an unknown place like Mongolia, it takes courage and faith for us to give generously to support and help them. As we do, we too will experience the unspeakable blessing of knowing we were an important part of helping those on the frontlines, introduce spiritually impoverished children to their Heavenly Father