We have now been in Mongolia for 20 days. Each one has come with its own story and memory. Although our time here has been relatively short thus far I find it hard to remember what “life” was like before. Maybe it’s the jetlag but I think it is because I just feel comfortable here. It kind of feels like we’ve been seamlessly intertwined into the everyday comings and goings of this children’s home/farm/chess training facility. I like that our presence here does not seem like an incredibly big deal. They have made us feel like we are just a part of the group (the part that looks completely different and that doesn’t understand it when you talk to them). Carlie and I see more and more everyday why we are here and why we get to experience this experience. We are here for us, we are here for the kids, and I hope that we are also here for you: to give you a little glimpse into how God is working and breathing His life into an orphanage in Mongolia. I hope that we both get see that helping and giving money to places like this is more than charity or giving to a cause, it helps real people with names, faces, and dreams.

This last week has been fun. I just want to tell you about yesterday, Sunday. All of the kids (minus Khurlee and Toya) and staff loaded up into the van and drove to a forest to collect wood for the winter. Luckily for me, Baatraa doesn’t really know how to drive a manual and the normal driver was driving his wood collecting truck. So…I got to drive the van. I decided not to ask if that was legal because I think I already knew the answer. It was kind of like 4x4ing with a vanload of kids. Actually, that is exactly what it was like. The roads here are very tiny and dusty roller coasters. So once we arrived at the forest we chopped and dragged and piled and loaded already fallen trees into the back of Bodom’s truck. After our first load we had lunch. I normally would not take the time to tell you about each meal but this one was special. It was the insides of a goat: intestines, kidney, stomach, liver, and heart. Azaa graciously told us before we left what we we’re having so we brought rice and peanut butter (not eaten together). But I did try a small portion of intestine filled with blood. It actually did not taste bad but I wanted to keep it in my stomach so one bite was enough. This is where the day got fun. We started on our second load of trees when Baatraa said it was time to go. Apparently, the police stopped Bodom as he was taking our first load back to the house because of the wood. We were given permission by our next-door neighbor Forrest Ranger to cut the wood but the police did not believe him. So we had to leave our second load and head home. Baatraa had to drive since the police were making their rounds. And of course with the way the day was going, we got a flat tire from the sharp rocks in the road. As we were changing it the police pulled up and Azaa told Carlie and I to leave. She later told us that the very corrupt police would charge them a lot of money for bringing Americans into the forest (although they had permission). So Sunday afternoon was fun: four-wheeling, goat intestines, flat tire, and hiding from the police.

We had a great worship service on Sunday night. I talked about trusting God out of Proverbs 3:5-6. I think that everything I was trying to say was clearly communicated. They got a real kick as I had Odka do a trust fall (stand up on a chair and to fall back, trusting I would catch him, which I did!) I said that I would not let Odka get hurt because I cared for him and loved him and how much more should God be trusted even more than me because that is how he feels about us.

We have a busy week ahead of us harvesting potatoes and chopping up all the wood that is now finally in our possession. We will be celebrating Zaya and Odka’s birthdays this week so Carlie and I are going into town tomorrow to buy some presents, cake mix, and chicken (a rare treat in Mongolia).

Please be in prayer for all of the kids as they are getting back into the routine of school. Be praying for Odka as he has been having very bad stomachaches and this will be his first birthday celebrated at the orphanage. Pray also for Burnee and Tsingel. They both have holes in the ears that will require surgery soon. Carlie and I will also probably be making a trip this week to visit Azaa’s sister who has leukemia. Please pray for her complete healing and peace. We also got a new caretaker today (the Forest Rangers wife). Please pray that she might be a great fit with the kids. And pray that every child and worker may know and trust God’s love this week!