Mongolia

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Mickey Cofer grew up in Rosman, NC and their stateside home borders The Wilds camp. For ten years the Cofers have ministered in the harsh rugged land of Mongolia. Their town just received electricity a short time ago. It is a resort area but only in the summer, since the winter is bitterly cold. A few years ago an old Soviet Union wool factory became available. Most people would have looked at the rough buildings as a great liability. The Cofers saw ministry opportunity! Mickey remembered talking to Matt Collier when CampsAbroad was just getting started, about wanting to do a camp in Mongolia.
With a lot of work, this property is the answer to the Cofer’s prayers. Campers are coming on Monday! Right now, we are in the middle of Staff Training. We have about 50 attendees. Most have traveled great distances over very rugged terrain to serve in this inaugural year.  The Mongolians have eagerly accepted the CA training material. They are also a fun and competitive people. We got them ready for sleeping last night by reading them the sweet bedtime story of The Cat in the Hat. For those of you who know the game, you realize how passionate it can be. The intensity was high but the competitive faces were full of smiles and laughter.

Report by Dan Brooks


 

My translator is a pastor who used to be a lawyer. He’s a most gentle soul, very versed in Scripture, very active in everything. He pastors in Ulaanbaatar, the capitol. He’s almost finishing my sentences for me now. We’ve worked very hard together. This is the guy Mickey wants to run the place. He would be excellent. His name is Guunba—one of those very sweet souls I’m privileged to meet.

Rick Jensen is building two new large bathrooms in a basement area to try and meet the needs of the camp next week. He’s working far too hard. One of the guys, a retiree, and he have become great friends.
Mongolians are the proud descendants of Ghengis Khan, who conquered of most of the known world in the 1200’s, and still revered by this very proud, nationalistic people.

The little known fact is that Christ’s Church in Mongolia is only 25 years old! Mickey and Trina Cofer are in a crucial spot in church history in Mongolia. Everyone is trying to get into this unspoiled country that is rich in beauty and natural resources. The Russian, the Chinese, eastern Europeans and even Americans are doing all they can to have a presence here. Abandoned by the Russians, with the fall of the Iron Curtain, Mongolians adopted a free-market economy and they are beginning to prosper.

We expect somewhere between 60 and 80 campers for the week. This is considered the last “safe” week before the Mongolian winter may make an appearance. The campers will live in the traditional Mongolian gers used for centuries by their people. These six-sided, super strong, super energy efficient houses will hold 10 comfortably. They are complete with their own stove for these very cool late summer temperatures. The theme will be the Mongolian Horse Race. The food is delicious; featuring the protein rich dishes of yak and lamb, rice and bread, along with Mongolian donuts that seem to show up regularly at meals.

Campers will be with us from as far away as the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar, some 29 hours from this little tourist town of Hatgal. The camp is adjoined by national forest lands and is the destination point for tourists from all over the world. Beautiful Lake Hövsgöl, 80 miles long and 9 miles wide, far and away one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. In a land-locked country, this is their “Mother Lake.”

Every Mongolian wishes to see the Mother Lake before they die. We will hike 60-80 Mongolian children to see their dream come true. This will be like seeing Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon to American children. We are only an hour’s hike from the Lake.

The purpose of all the work and travel, of course, is the souls of the hope for the future of the Christian church in Mongolia—these teenagers, ages 14-18. This is a Buddhist and Shamin-filled land. A child trusting Christ is seen as disloyal to his country and, as such has dishonored himself and his family.

Please pray that as the gospel goes out, a number of these beautiful young people trust Christ as Savior regardless of the cost.

Report by Ken Collier


This is certainly what we came for. God is drawing kids to himself. For most of them, this is entirely new.
Christianity is new to their ears. In some cases, the charismatics and “health and wealth” people got here first and there is a lot to overcome, but the Word is powerful and strong.

To mention it again, these kids are averse to bedtime. Their “usual” is to stay up to 1:00-2:00 a.m. Even then, I think an active, highly structured program won out last night. Like it is true with teens universally, there is some push-back to structure. The counselors are tired and are beginning to “clump.” We hope to have a great closing day with “Three Musketeers and tonight’s Tic Tac Challenge. Just keep in mind, these kids have Genghis Kahn blood in them. They conquered the world. They are seriously competitive!

One of the teen girls who trusted Christ was telling Trina of her decision. She wanted to express it in English. So, she said, “I hope Christ.” That will do nicely!

Report by Ken Collier

The first session of camp at the “Brave Heart Camp” in Khatgal, Mongolia is history! Mickey and Trina and their staff are amazing. For one thing, there were more activities at this camp than just about any overseas camp you can imagine and they provided that in the very first year. Between what they had and what CampsAbroad brought, it was an amazing experience for the campers. When you add on the beautiful weather (most of the time) and jaw-dropping vistas everywhere you look and you wonder how it could be better.

The staff did well learning the ropes of a brand new philosophy of camping. The whole idea of a highly structured program was hard to catch up to for them at times. As for spiritual results, we are rejoicing. It looks like there were between 25 decisions to trust in Christ and that may be an underestimation. Many of the young people were un-churched, so now the important action of the groups that brought campers has begun. We are so happy for these wonderful people who have worked tirelessly and the many volunteers and donors from the States, who made this possible. We would have done a few things differently, of course, but that would be said for any week. We watched the Lord guide in scores of decisions that made things amazingly good for these campers.

Report by Ken Collier


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