57,000 Buriats in Northern Mongolian live as semi-nomadic herdsmen, migrating seasonally with their animals. Urban Buriats live mostly in Soviet-built apartment complexes in major towns, where violence, alcoholism and gangs are significant problems. Northern Buriat Mongols were traditionally Shamanists, but most Mongolians have practised Tibetan Buddhism since the late 1500s. Today, about half of Buriat Mongolians are atheists, but many others have returned to Buddhist beliefs. These people need to find the true peace that can only come through knowing Jesus Christ. Pray for translators of the native Buriat language and for the distribution of Christian tracts, scriptures and testimonies.
Many families in Mongolia are broken. Due to lack of education and opportunities and even alcoholism, widespread in Mongolia, many children grow up in families unable to care for them properly. There is a real opportunity in Mongolia to reach families by offering life skills training. Ministry teams meet with families who are in need of help and teach vital skills to improve family life and the environment in which children are growing up. Through this practical help, teams are also able to introduce families with no exposure to Christianity to Biblical values and ultimately the Gospel itself.
A spring training school run by our Mongolian Missions partners is currently in full swing with 13 students. The term ends in mid-May. They have plans in place to reach out to Buriad Mongols living outside Mongolia. Scouting trips have already taken place for this new work to communities in both China and Russia. The Buriads (Buryats) are a Mongolian sub-group that has emigrated and resettled elsewhere over time. They are the primary people group now in Siberia. Please pray this month for the Buriad people, scattered in some of the world’s least-hospitable environments.
Today, there are about 40,000 believers worshiping in Mongolia in around 600 churches across the country. The challenge is that the 40,000 believers represent only about 1.2% of the nation’s population. That’s why Reach Beyond and FEBC have committed to put a Christian radio station in each of the country’s 21 provinces, blanketing the nation with gospel broadcasts. There are currently six partner stations on the air, pray as they plan to add another three stations this year, and for a good response to the current broadcasts.
From as few as four Christians in 1989, the Mongolian Church now has more than 40,000 members. It has been a steep learning curve but Mongolians are now running many former foreign-led ministries, are producing their own worship music and theological books and developing national effective leadership. There are also Mongolian missionaries serving both within and beyond their own borders - all within one generation. There is so much to give thanks for! Pray for many more Biblically astute leaders as well as for breakthroughs amongst the unreached peoples such as the Muslim Kazakhs and the Nomads.
The Mongolian Church has a goal to have 10% of the population as active church members by the year 2020. This means approximately 3,000 more churches need to be planted. Although this is an ambitious goal, Mongolian church leaders are committed to playing their part to bring it about. Pray for our partners who have taken on the task of developing provincial leaders to oversee church planting and pastor the pastors. Additionally, they will provide small loans to help rural churches develop small businesses that will generate an income for church planters to release them to carry out this work.
Pray for mothers in Mongolia, the least-densely populated country in the world. For expectant mothers living in the remote steppe in the far west, to have an ultrasound scan often involves squeezing into the back of a van for a 100-hour roundtrip to the capital Ulaanbaatar along non-existent roads, navigating around 13,000 foot high mountains. When medical emergencies arise with babies, getting access to the medical services is that much more challenging. MAF’s aircraft support mothers through organisations such as Reaching the Light and Nurses Heart to Heart. Pray that healthcare and infrastructure will improve in this vast country, and for mothers and young families isolated from healthcare when it’s urgently needed.
In Mongolia, particularly in the countryside, students often lack the necessary textbooks for their courses. This is an even bigger problem for students who are poor. It is not unusual for two or three students to share one textbook and sometimes they are forced to transcribe all their lectures because there are no textbooks at all. This can leave students at risk of being inadequately educated which in turn affects their capacity to graduate, obtain a job and work competently in their field of study. Thank God for a new church initiative to distribute textbooks to primary, middle, high schools and one college as well as providing more readable blackboards. Pray that these tools will help students to receive a good education.
Population: 3,081,677 (2016)
Official languages: Mongolian
GDP (PPP) per capita: $12,275 (2016 est.)
Life expectancy: 68 years
Religions: 50% Tibetan Buddhist, 40% Agnostic or Atheist, 5% Shamanist, 4% Muslim, 1% Christian