Our time in Mongolia (5 weeks) can be summed in many ways, but I think the best way that we all felt was that we went back home. It was so great to go back to the place that was/is so familiar, you really have no issue getting around without a vehicle, where you can speak the language well & the air was cool/dry.
We were curious of so many things, like after 4 years of being away, would the city look very differently, had things changed to the point we would not know what to do anymore, would the places we knew & loved still be there or would have moved or even closed. I think the question that was most important in our minds was, would people remember us. All four of us had already talked about it & together answered by saying that most people would have forgotten us. So many times I ask myself, what impact do we really have, many times thinking not much. We were so wrong! Mongolian cafe workers, taxi drivers, restaurant owners, office clerks & corner store/small shop workers faces lit up with joy & were so happy to talk with us when they saw us. Everyone asked the same questions. "When did you come back? How long are you here? Are you moving here again?" All four of us could not believe how many people remembered us. Ha ha even the middle aged Russian man that lives in our old building remembered us as we all were walking down the street. He really did not like us, but when he saw us walking together half smiled when I said "good afternoon."
It was so nice to see Mongolian friends & family again. It was so nice to see our Mongolian language teachers & their families. They both with their families consider us part of their family. Teresa & the kids were able to meet with a girl from a government orphanage who used to stop by to see us when we still lived in Mongolia. She now is a woman, married & has a newborn son. They were so happy to see each other again. I was able to meet a friend (Mongolian pastor) who I used to work with his churches men's shelter. We had a great time sharing our lives together & all the changes over the last 4 years. It was exciting to talk with many of the Mongolian staff of organizations we knew.
While in the city we reconnected with so many of our missionary friends, Our kids catching up & having fun with some of their old friends. It was so good how they shared with us & were able to help us in areas of our lives that needed guidance.
It was also nice to be able to serve our friends in Mongolia. I have learned that having become a missionary it is an honest challenge to not naturally serve others. It was a real gift for us to help our friends while we were back. Cutting, chopping & splitting wood to prepare for winter. To cook meals, clean homes, do small repairs to homes & kindergartens. We also were listening ears to our friends as they shared some of their very real challenges & asked for prayer.
Mongolia has encouraged us in many ways!