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Mailis in Mongolia and China. October, 2002.

October the 1st.

Dear Friends! My trip will start tomorrow night with Finnair from Helsinki. God willing, I will arrive on Thursday morning in Beijing and on Friday morning in Ulan Bator. Please pray for a safe journey...
I got this word from Jesus at the church service last Sunday: Gen.28:15.


3.10 Beijing
Here I am now, in China. The journey went well, I could even sleep for a few hours. My Finnish friends who are working for Nokia came to meet me at the airport. It is China's national holiday week now. We are going to see Tianmen Square today. The sun is shining and the temperature about 20 degrees.
Tomorrow morning I will fly to Ulan Bator.
I got another word from Jesus. "See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared." (Ex.23:20).
4.10. Beijing
I am sitting at the airport in Beijing. The plane is already four hours late. Nobody has told us the reason why we are late. Neither do I know whether I will make it for the Bible weekend which is supposed to start in Ulan Bator tonight and where I was to be the main speaker.

Is it the Lord who tries to teach me patience? Or is it Satan who tries to prevent me from doing my work. I do not know. But I know that your prayers are a great support for me, my friends.

5.10 Ulan Bator, Mongolia
It was the monsoon which changed direction and caused heavy winds. The summer in Mongolia came to an end and the winter started. It was summer in Beijing but the mountains around UB are covered with snow.

Finally we had to wait for 13 hours. It was a long day, but luckily I had my computer with me and could write with it. There was turbulence on the way and our plane flew like a duck the last 15 minutes before landing. Probably we were all praying, each his or her own god(s). It was almost midnight when we landed at UB airport. The city looked the same as before - very Russian if you know what I mean.

About my program: I will have a course on Basic Christianity for two Lutheran congregations here in UB next week. Please pray that people would come and I would get wisdom to teach. Perhaps there also will be a visit to the women's prison and a couple of lessons in the Bible school.

One more project is the Glad Tidings guide on Mark, which should be finished while I am here. (Luke was printed five years ago and they don't have any other books for this purpose.)

Sunday has come. I preached in a small church and started the course on Basic Christianity. I will have lessons from 6-8 every evening from Monday through Thursday this week. Please, pray that people would come and I would have the enlightening of the Holy Spirit for my teaching. I am very nervous now and don't know exactly what to say. I would like to teach these young Christians to distinguish between the law and the gospel, and to know what is the theology of glory (which is abounding in this country) and what is the theology of the cross (which is lacking everywhere). But this should be done in such a concrete manner that I don't know whether I will be able to do it or not.

Pray also for the interpreter.

Next Monday morning we will leave for Arhangai which is 500 km from here. We = three Finnish "girls" (Paivi, Anu, and me) plus an interpreter. We will drive the four of us. The road goes through Karakhorum, the ancient capital of Chingis Khan, which I always wanted to see. But we don't have an interpreter yet. One girl who knows English promised she would go if she can cancel her driving school. She is not a Christian but has gone to church for a long time in Germany where she lived for 9 years. 

Today I may have a chance to visit the women's prison where I have been many times before. I want to ask if it would be possible to start a Bible study group there. Please, pray.

8.10 Ulan Bator
Yesterday, when we were driving to the prison, the hood (the bonnet, konepelti) of our car got loose and was thrown against the windshield at full speed. All of a sudden we couldn't see anything. It was a sheer wonder that the windshield didn't break up and that the driver was able to keep the car on the road. This is the car we will use on our trip to Arhangai next week...

Yes, I met the director of women's prison who is my old friend. We agreed that I would go back on Friday to meet the prisoners. "May I speak from the Bible?" I ventured to ask and got permission. "May I give the women something to read?" I asked next and again got permission. Please, pray for this visit. Pray that the Lutherans could start a Glad Tidings group inside the prison. Pray for my interpreter.

Wonder of wonders, I found one. Her name is Khaliun and she is 18 years old. She has spent half of her life in Germany and is fluent in English. The only problem is that she doesn't know the Christian vocabulary in either of these languages (Mongolian or English), and I have to teach those words to her. She has been going to a Catholic school in Germany, but is not baptized yet. I really hope and pray that this sweet young girl would learn much about Jesus while interpreting me and eventually be baptized. By the way, Klaliun promised to teach me German conversation during our week in Arhangai.

Yesterday evening I had my first lesson on Basic Christianity. I try to teach the law and the gospel and things like that. Eight people came to hear my message and more that ten came after the meeting was over. I was happy to see that those who were present really listened to what I said, although they were tired. I do need the help of the Holy Spirit to be able to do this job. Please, please, pray for these lessons.

My dear friends
Yesterday evening we had Basic Christianity II. Ten plus people came, which is not bad considering the size of the congregation. Again they listened to my long message intently, but I was not happy with it myself.

What I am really worried about now is next week. God willing, we will leave for Arhangai early Monday morning. To drive 500 km will take us the whole day. There will be four of us, three Finnish women and our interpreter, a young Mongolian girl. I don't have an international driver's license, which leaves two drivers.

There is a flourishing congregation in Arhangai. They are not Lutherans (nor anything else yet) but they want to hear our teaching. There are many meeting places over there, one of them in men's prison with half of the inmates Christians.

We will be there the whole week, possibly living in a two room's flat with the pastor and his family. (I do hope that won't happen!) But the problem is my interpreter, Khaliun. I have to teach all the Christians words to her beforehand, and it is a formidable task. Nobody is there to control over what she says, because none of us Finns understands Mongolian.

I must confess that I am in panic when I think about this problem. But it helps me so much if I know that you pray. Can I count on it?

Late at night 
The third session of the Lutheran theology course is now over. I was freezing during the day and thought I will become ill. But somehow I got the strength to speak for more than one hour and those ten people listened with great interest and asked questions. The theme for tonight was the theology of glory and the theology of the cross and the person I used as an example was Jacob of the OT. It they really got half of what I said into their hearts, it will guard them from many a heresy.

I have never before experienced air pollution and traffic jams in this country, but now I do. The Mongolia I have loved for 12 years is disappearing rapidly.


11.10 UB
3 o'clock at night
This morning I feel depressed. Yesterday was no good day. I got a virus through my e-mail, and got into panic. This happened for the first time and the boys who always help me with my computer problems are thousands of kilometers away! Finally this morning I found out how to scan the computer, and the result was no viruses. But yesterday was lost anyway.
All day yesterday I was feeling not well and during the night I got diarrhea, a very bad one. If this didn't happen in Bangladesh last year, where did I get it now???

And then I committed the sin I so often do: was impatient. The girl who is working in the office of our mission got insulted. I apologized, but it didn't help much.

Last but not least I have not been able to establish internet connection for three days.

But the last Basic Christianity meeting was OK. The participants wrote what they have learned during the course and I must say that they had learned what I taught.

Today I will visit the prison, diarrhea or no diarrhea. There were only 30 New Testaments in the Christian bookstore here, and I bought them all.

6 o'clock 
I have never ever in my whole life known that there is so much liquid in me. Every time I go to the toilet I think that this is the last of it, but no. Out comes more and more and more. And it is no use drinking, because the water does not stay inside me more than 10 minutes.
I feel desperate: what will become of my program? My visit to the prison? The Finnish Bible study tonight? Sermon on Sunday? And worst of all, the trip to Arhangai???
But I have all God's promises here to support me and Jesus by my side.

13.10. Ulan Bator
Yes, I have heard that there was an explosion in Helsinki. Marja told me. But I don't know any details, because I have no access to newspapers here.

On Friday morning from three to nine I felt miserable. Had to go to the toilet every few minutes. But at 9 o'clock I got up and realized that my legs still support me although my head was dizzy. After that I duly made my visit into prison as planned, preached an evangelistic message there and distributed New Testaments to all who wanted to have them. More that 20 women did.

After this effort I lied down in bed and stayed there for more than a day. The Finns didn't want any viruses from me, and forbid me from coming to the Bible study. But today I have preached in church again. Khaliun was translating in prison (which went well) and in church (which didn't go very well). I don't really know what will happen in Arhangai. How much will the hearers understand of what I want to say?

One Norwegian friend who has been in Arhangai told me today that "there is no road to Arhangai, only as far as Karakorum. The last 120 km are just a track of wheels out on the steppe". Well, after hearing that I am even happier of the promise the Lord gave me before this journey: "See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared. Pay attention to him and listen to what he says." (Ex.23:20-21).


Last night we arrived at Ulan Bator again. What could I tell you about our trip to Arhangai? So many wonderful things happened there that I simply don't know where to start.

First of all the last 120 km of the road were just a track on the steppe as my Norwegian friend had warned me. Everybody tells me that by Mongolian standards it was not bad at all. Well, all I can say is that I have never experienced anything like that road in my whole life. It took us four hours to drive those 120 km in the dark. 
We four girls did stay in the pastor's one room flat, but he and his family had moved to the church for a week. The shower didn't work at all, the toilet didn't work properly and there was no warm water. The hardest part for me however were the cockroaches of which there were plenty of in that apartment, especially in the kitchen where I slept. But the Lord heard our prayers and none of those animals came to my mattress, as far as I know.

There is a youth revival going on in Arhangai. 50 youths between 15 and 18 years came to our seminar. I taught GT Bible study and some other themes such as how to become a Christian and how to stay as one. Those who completed the course got a Bible or a NT each (only one third of them had it before). You should have seen how happy those youngsters were!

We visited a prison ward for dangerous criminals and gave each of the 20 inmates a loaf of bread and the gospel of Luke. I could hardly contain my tears when I saw those people in their cells. Many of them were quite young and had such bright eyes, and all of them were thankful of what they got. The oven of the prison is not working at the moment and that is why they haven't got bread for a long time. There was also one woman in that ward. The guard told us that she had killed her child. She was so happy about the gospel and told us that she already believes in Jesus. Perhaps she has heard of him in some other prison.

There are plenty of poor people in Arhangai. We tried to help some of them, but my heart is aching for the children who have to live without proper clothes and food through a cold winter. We were told that some of them die every winter.

Dear friends, guess what the best part of our week in Arhangai was! That our interpreter Khaliun found Jesus as her Saviour. On our journey to Arhangai she said that she doesn't know if Jesus is the only true God or not. She had never seen a teen ager who believes in Jesus. But in Arhangai she met plenty of them and became a good friend with them. She also heard my teaching, took part in the Bible studies and read the gospel of Mark both in English and in Mongolian. Now Khaliun wants to be baptized and serve Jesus for all her life. That is what she told us yesterday.

The interpretation was quite good. Not perfect, because the girl knew neither Mongolian nor English well. But we prepared properly and Khaliun was quick to learn. She is a bright girl, had been the best student in all Nurnberg on the 10th grade. I have seldom met a girl like that and feel really happy to have got to know her. We Finnish missionaries were so happy when we could witness her finding Jesus. Thank you for your prayers! As you can see, they were not in vain. 
On Thursday morning I will get into a train and spend 30 hours on my way to Beijing. China is waiting. You know what you should pray for my week there.

I arrived home today safe and sound. Thank you for your prayers!
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