by a Pioneer recently in Mongolia
Some people think that missionaries have all the answers about how to start a church: that we know just when a group of believers becomes a church and just how we are to go about organizing it. Well, some missionaries might have all, or at least, most of these answers. I am one who doesn't. This summer, my wife Yeroltma and I faced a difficult dilemma. Here we had five adults (two couples and a widow) who we, without doubt, believe have been born again. They aren't perfect and neither of the two men are ready to become leaders or elders of the church. Yet, we are leaving and there isn’t a church or any other believers in the county. What are we to do?
While the situation isn't exactly like ours, the Apostle Paul faced something similar in Thessalonica. He had been in this city for only a short time before he was run out of town. Paul tells us that the believers were facing great suffering for following Jesus. Yet, Paul had to leave. In his letter to the church, Paul tells how the church there had grown and become a mighty witness for Jesus not only in Thessalonica, but throughout the entire province. We don't read of him appointing elders or such. By reading the narrative, it seems that he had no time to organize a church at all. Now, our believers aren't experiencing outright persecution, nor would we say they are suffering, but they have been left alone.
Our last meeting with our friends was a time of sharing about the church at Thessalonica. In God's sovereign will, the believers had been forced to rely on the Holy Spirit for His power and leading. The believers in Totsonsingle are doing the same thing. While I did not appoint the men as elders, they are now the leaders and teachers of the church. After living in Mongolia for 16 years, by the grace of God, I can finally say, we have a church with nomads. We can honestly say God did it. Your years of giving and praying have borne fruit.
When we return to Totsonsingle after my wife Yeroltma graduates from nursing school, only God knows what we will find in our county. We may find the same believers just hanging on for dear life. We may find that they are no longer around. Or we may find that the believers have grown in faith and in size. I don't need to tell you which one to be praying for!