For the past year or so, every Thursday night we had a group of boys invade our Ulaanbaatar apartment. They eat. They talk. They laugh. They sing. They study. They pray. That's just what Thursday night had become for us. Some nights Renee' was teaching English, so it meant I had to make the food and host them. But on most nights she was there and the boys were always excited to eat what she had prepared. Some nights there were just three or four. Other nights we had up to ten. It was a small and diverse group on many levels.

This group of boys were at varying stages in their spiritual journeys. Some of the leaders of the group had been involved with Christian discipleship for several years. Others were not believers at all, yet and were still asking a lot of questions. And yet others were somewhere in the middle. This was the iron-sharpens-iron kind of discipleship that I think is best for young men. They don't need a lot of books and notebooks and study sessions. They need a Bible and one another and people who are willing to help speak God's word into their lives with firmness and without judgement.

I will miss Thursday nights, because I will miss these boys.

On the last night we met, one of the newest ... and one of the youngest ... showed up a little late for the fellowship. Actually the fellowship was over and everyone had left when I heard the knock at the door at near 10:00 PM. I thought maybe one of the others had forgotten something, and was surprised to find the small bespectacled kid standing at the door. I invited him in and he gave me a hug as he proceeded to hang up his coat and take off his shoes. I told him that everyone had left, and he said, that's okay, he wanted to come by and meet us anyway.

Renee', being much more attuned to these things, immediately saw a reason he came. As he turned the corner and saw that our table was empty and the food had been finished off, she watched his eyes fall. It doesn't matter how many boys are there, whether it's three or ten ... they eat all the food. This young man was too late. Now, I didn't see his downcast expression, but offered him an orange and something to drink, which is just good manners in Mongolia. We talked for a little while. Small talk really. School. Girls. Music (this kid loves music). Finally he stopped, near mid sentence and said, "Bernie ah, do you have anything to eat. I'm really hungry." Renee' jumped into action, grabbing the few random ingredients we had left in our near empty fridge, and made a pepperoni breakfast burrito (hey, it was what we had) that was an instant hit, and filled this kid's stomach.

While he ate we talked some more.

This is what he told me: Bernie ahaa (That's the Mongolian word for "Older Brother" or, literally, "My Brother, Bernie"... it's an endearing piece of Mongolian culture, and I will deeply miss being called "Bernie Ahaa"), you know that I am not a Christian. But some of these other guys have explained a lot to me about what it means to be a believer. I want you to know that I am about 80% sure this is true, and am thinking about being a Christian soon.

I smiled and told him that's great and that, in the end, he has to be the one to make the decision to follow Jesus - 100%. Talk to the other guys some more. Ask them why they believe. Read the Bible, and you make the call for yourself.

He attended a Mongolian Church for the first time the previous Sunday.

I thought this was a good story to use to end our story on this website. Mainly because this young man's story is not finished. He's only 17 years old. He has a life ahead of him. And he will need to decide how he will live it.

I don't know how his story will end. And right now, I am deeply aware that our story is not finished, either.

Renee' and I have officially left Mongolia with our current organization (In fact I am writing this in an airplane flying 36,000 feet over Russia). We have no idea what's next. But I do know the story doesn't end here. In fact, we are all just so many unfinished stories.

My hope is that whatever happens, there will be someone who will remember Mongolia. Remember these boys. Remember the fatherless. Remember the young ladies who may never find a husband for making the choice to follow Jesus. Remember homeless children and alcoholics. Remember a church that needs encouragement and strengthening and equipping. Remember young people who need Jesus.

Remember Mongolia. Please.

If you are interested in continuing to follow our personal journey, we have created a new little spot on the Internet. Like our lives, it's currently a work in progress, but I hope to have things tidied up there soon.

I may add some things here from time to time. Maybe. I don't know what will happen next, but I cannot imagine Mongolia not being a part of our life. I just left at least half of my heart at the Chingess Khan International Airport.

I will never be able to forget.

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Reader Comments (1)

I've enjoyed visiting this website over the years and reading of what God has been doing in Mongolia. Thanks. Your name and renown LORD are indeed the desire of our beings. Amen.

August 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTim
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