During the communist era, Mongolian men were given nonskilled jobs such as construction and factory labor, whereas, except at the highest tiers of government, women were made executives and company bosses. The addition of rampant alcohol addiction has contributed to a lack of leadership skills among Mongolian men. Bernie Anderson, “Out of the Ruins,” Alliance Life magazine, May 2008
A young Mongolian student played the guitar at church today. I must confess that it made me smile.
Ten months ago, he couldn’t play a single chord and now he’s playing with the worship team at Cornerstone Church of All Nations in Ulaanbaatar. Ten months ago, he didn’t know anything about Jesus.
Today, he loves Jesus and is being discipled.
That’s the power of a music lesson; that’s the power of the gospel. I see the future and the hope of the church in Mongolia represented by this young man and his guitar.
When the Alliance team in Mongolia began working with college students through the Grain of Wheat Community Center* in 2009, we were at a loss on how to reach young men. Some would visit the center, but most would not stick around. It was somewhat frustrating and, at times, even discouraging.
The church in Mongolia is only 20 years old, and this poses a plethora of challenges, not the least of which is that most churches have very few men. A key strategy for seeing the church established in a place like Mongolia is to disciple, equip, and train men to lead and serve in the church. However, it seemed like many young guys were slipping through our fingers.
Zolo Danjuu began working with us in 2009 after the opening of the Grain of Wheat Center. He is a gifted musician and whole-hearted follower of Jesus. His idea was to work with young people by teaching them music.
Music and the Good News
At first we still were seeing mostly young girls coming through the center, but persistence paid off. When the Grain of Wheat Center moved to a new location and began operating in its own building in 2010, a fresh crop of young men began music training with Zolo.
“We started music lessons because it was an interest of so many students,” says Zolo. “Music lessons continue to be a useful tool for the gospel here, especially for reaching young people.”
Zolo formed his students into a small band. He taught bass, guitar, and drums, as well as keyboards and vocals. It wasn’t long before he was able to share with these youth more than his knowledge of music. He earned their trust, and they began to share their lives with him, asking questions about his faith, the Bible and, ultimately, the gospel.
Gradually their chord changes became smoother, they learned how to play more songs together, and seven or eight of these youth became Jesus followers.
Today’s guitar player is one of these young men. I am trusting God for many more like him. The dream is that some of these guys will eventually enter our Leadership Training and become solid leaders in their families, churches, and communities.
*The Grain of Wheat is a Community Center operated by the Alliance team in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. It is home to the UBean Coffee House and Roasterrie. Outreach through the center includes English as a foreign language (EFL), youth and student ministry, family services, and leadership training. Counseling will soon be offered through the center.
Written by Bernie Anderson, serving in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
What You Can Do
“The prayers and generous support of the Alliance family allows our team to live and serve in Mongolia and provide for the work of the Grain of Wheat of Center,” Bernie observes.