The Beginning of the End

Mongolia has been an intimate part of our lives for over ten years now. Renee' and I visited at the end of 2003 and moved here in the middle of 2006. Our children spent formative years here, and they both still think of Mongolia as something of home. We have Mongolian friends who have become a beautiful part of our lives.

But as with all things, an end must come.

Our time for living in Mongolia is coming to an end. Renee' and I both feel that God is leading us to something new. We actually don't know what that new thing is yet. However, we do know it is not in Ulaanbaatar in our current capacity. There are many reasons for this; indicators, if you will. I won't get into them all here, but it mostly has to do with trajectory. In any case, we are leaving Mongolia under our current organization.

Currently I'm feeling this enigmatic forward looking sadness. Every week when I meet with the boys for discipleship, or time like the other night when Renee' had a group of girls over to make spaghetti, every "Open Mic" night, I experience waves of grief, thinking about how much I will miss these people who have become so very much a part of our lives. We love them deeply and will be so sad not to have them as a daily part of our lives. On the other hand, Renee' and I will be doing an early celebration of our 25th wedding anniversary in Prague and Wroclaw, Poland, followed by reuniting with our children and family, as well as some dear Mongolian friends who are currently studying in the US. We look forward to that with eagerness.

It's a mixed bag right now.

We will always "remember Mongolia". We have to. Again, it's such an intimate part of our lives. I will be back for sure at some point, as I am planning to do my PhD field work here. Who knows? We might come back for short or long term in some other capacity. It's not like the ability to speak Mongolian is all that useful in most other parts of the world. However, this season is coming to a close. And something new and, at this juncture, unknown is about to begin.

I have been thinking a lot recently; reflecting on our time here. Pondering what the future may hold. In that process, a lot of other thoughts swirl through like the sand in a whirlwind.

For whatever reason, I've been thinking about a somewhat well-known quote by William Borden.

Borden and I share the same birthday, the difference being he was born eighty years before I came around. He (like me) grew up in Chicago and (unlike me) grew up in an affluent family. Perhaps some of you are familiar with "Borden Milk)"? Yeah, it's the same, although the company went under in the 1990s. But it wasn't just dairy products. Borden's father had also amassed a significant amount of wealth with a Colorado silver mine. All that to say, in the early twentieth century, William Borden was heir to a lot of money, and would have been a significntly wealthy and influential member of society.

But he followed Jesus, and left it all to serve muslims in northern China with the China Inland Mission. While he was doing his training in Egypt, he contracted cerebral meningitis and died at the age of 25, never making it to China. His epitaph is moving, and something we could aspire to have said of us:

A man in Christ

He arose and forsook all and followed Him,

Kindly affectioned with brotherly love,

Fervent in spirit serving the Lord,

Rejoicing in hope,

Patient in tribulation,

Instant in prayer,

Communicating to the necessity of saints,

In honour preferring others,

Apart from faith in Christ,

There is no explanation for such a life.

After his death, Borden's Bible was found to contain these words scrawled in pen: "no reserve, no retreat, no regrets"

I've always been kind of moved by this sentiment. In many ways I still very much am.

However, unlike Borden, God has graced me to live longer than 25 years. In fact, I'm not too far from doubling that. While I would never in any way wish to dampen zeal like Borden, I am learning perspective on things like reserve, retreat ... and even regret.

I'm going to write more about this over the next few weeks, as we close our time in Mongolia.

I am also going to be taking the time over the next few weeks to close out this web site. I believe it has run its course and will have served its purpose well. I am not going to take it down. At least not for now. I'll let "Remember Mongolia" keep it's little spot on the Internet. I will always remember Mongolia, and I really want any of you who have followed us to do so, as well. However, after this month there will be no new additions. I am working on a new project (in terms of a personal website), that I will officially "open" at the end of the month. Here's a sneak preview, but bear in mind it's not finished, yet.

I guess "unfinished" is the nature of a lot of things in our life right now.

Stay tuned. More to come.

“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”

Frank Herbert



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Reader Comments (2)

Well, since I was only introduced to this website last week, I'm glad I can still do some catching up! I'm grateful you're leaving it up. It'll still be a valuable resource for travelers to Mongolia.

April 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Sarah, I am happy you found the site! I may add a few things here and there, even if we're not living here. We'll see. :)

Search the archives. There's a lot here from over the years.



April 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBernie

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