The Shepherd of Mongolia

by LA UBF   06/26/2010     0 reads



The Lord is the Shepherd of the Mongolian People

Key Verse: Psalm 23:1-3

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul.  He guides me in paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake.”

First, God is my shepherd.

Hello!  My name is Matthew Lim.  I was born in Sept. 1965 in a small country town of South Korea, as the second among four children.  My father was a carpenter.  My mother was a housewife.  I graduated from high school as an honors student.

In 1984, I got admission from the physics department of Korea University located in Seoul.  So with great expectation I began my college life.  But soon I realized that I was merely one of many thousands of students.  College life grew meaningless.  Soon I stopped going to school and eventually dropped out.  However, I could not merely wander on the street.  The following year I applied to the Nuclear Engineering Department at Hanyang University and I got accepted.  Still not knowing the purpose of my life I felt empty.  So I squandered my life drinking and watching movies.

In the fall of 1984 I was ready to quit school once again and go back home and become a farmer.  At that critical moment God invited me through one of His servants, Shep. Moses Kim to 1:1 Bible study in UBF.  I had nothing better to do, so I accepted the invitation.  As I studied the Bible, John 5:24 touched my heart: “I tell you the truth, whoever hears My Word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”   I was born again!   The Lord filled me with the joy of salvation.  Finally I found the purpose and meaning of my life, that is, the life that lives for the glory of God, not for my own glory or the glory of my parents.

With great joy I invited many students to Bible study.  With passion I engaged in 1:1 Bible studies with Hanyang University students.  With enthusiasm I prayed to raise 12 disciples of Jesus, complete my graduate study and become a professor shepherd.  I also had a dream to go to the USA or Europe for a doctoral degree.

However, after graduation from college, I ran into one failure after another.  All my Bible students ran away.  I applied to some of the best graduate schools such as KAIST.  But no school offered me admission.  I became penniless.  When I look back, I realize that God closed all the doors, for He had another plan for me.

When I grew desperate God visited me with Gen. 15:1, “After this, the Word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: ‘Do not be afraid, Abram.  I am your shield, your very great reward.’”  Through this Word, God showed me the vision to live as a missionary.

Second, God made me lie down in His green pasture – The Land Of Mongolia.

In 1990, God planted mission vision in me for the communist countries, such as mainland China.

In Spring 1991, Shep. Peter Suh asked me, “Are you willing to go to Mongolia as a missionary?”  When I heard this direction, strangely, I was excited.  So I said, “Yes!  I will go.”

On Oct. 4, 1991, I received a tourist visa from the Mongolian Embassy in Seoul.  Hanyang UBF leaders put their hands on me and prayed for me; then I left Korea for Mongolia.  At that time to many Koreans, Mongolia was an unknown country.  Yet with a bold and courageous spirit.  I said, “If I perish, I perish.”  Then not knowing where I was going, by faith I left for this strange and mysterious country.

Today it only takes a three hour flight from Korea to Mongolia, but at that time, Korea had no diplomatic relations with mainland China so it took six days; first to go from Seoul to Hong Kong, then from Hong Kong to Beijing and finally from Beijing, I arrived in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, six days later.

Since I did not know where I was going, the Lord led me all the way.  At Beijing Airport I was seated on a bench all alone; but suddenly I saw a couple who looked like a UBF shepherd family.  They were Aquila and Josephine Shin.  They were employees working at the Korean Embassy in Ulaanbaatar.  We were all strangers until then.  But at that moment God brought us together for His mission.

So we went to Ulaanbaatar together and there started the life of mission with one mind and one heart.  Had I not met them at Beijing Airport, I would not have had any idea about what to do in Mongolia.  Amazingly, God helped me to meet them in far off Beijing Airport of all places.  In this way, I experienced God’s practical provision in every small detail.  Since then, God has continued to guide me in every way – entrance into Mongolia National University; providing the best place to live-the dormitory; studying the language; and meeting the Mongolian people.

Since there was no Mongolian-Korean dictionary or books, it was very hard for me to learn the language.  So when the professor taught me the Mongolian language, I had no idea what was going on for about one month.  The land of Mongolia is sixteen times larger than South Korea, yet the population is about three million; half of them live in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar.  The remainder live in the countryside raising sheep, goats, horses and cows.  Mongolians live a nomadic life.  Even children know how to ride horses.  Their main dish is lamb and beef.  After World War I, Mongolia was affiliated with the Soviet Union and adopted the Soviet style of socialism.

Yet, in the early 1990’s the country was slowly changing to a free market system.  The normal supply of all basic essentials from Russia stopped.  It was quite rare to get even basic groceries in the markets.  People lived on lamb, beef, bread, potatoes and cabbage.  For months we had to live without any fruit, vegetables, or fish.  We missed Korean vegetables and fruit so much.  Even in order to get a potato or cabbage, we stood and waited in a long line.

During the winter, it was below 23-40 degree (Centigrade).  While waiting for hours in line I memorized new vocabulary words daily and tried to master the language.  As a result we began having a Mongolian language worship service from Easter of 1992 onward and invited our sheep to the service.  After two years I returned to Korea.

I was thirty years old.  God knew that it was not good for a man to be alone.  Upon arrival at Hanyang UBF, Shepherd Peter Suh introduced Maria Lee to me who was working as a nurse at Hanyang University Hospital.  At first sight I knew that she was the woman God sent me.  Later, I learned that she also felt that I was the right man that God prepared.  What impressed me the most was that she was ready to live for the mission in Mongolia.  When I met her at a restaurant for our first date, I was overjoyed.  She was beautiful, bold and faithful to the Lord.  In this way, the Lord established a very happy marriage between us.

A life of mission is more than excitement and joy; the challenges were many.  We had no fixed income.  My only job was working as an interpreter or translator for ten years.  It was OK for me and my wife to suffer; however, it was another matter to see my two children endure hardships from their early childhood.  The educational arrangements for children were difficult.  Sometimes I thought about going back to Korea because of their future.

But as I endured by faith, God graciously provided us with all we needed.  He blessed our family beyond imagination.  God has made me fruitful as a pioneering missionary.  I have become one of the key leaders in the Korean community in Mongolia.  Since I mastered the Mongolian language as a pioneering missionary, I had many opportunities to serve as an interpreter, advisor and negotiator for Korean businessmen and even visiting Korean government officials.

On many official functions, I represented both Korea and Mongolia.  I was an interpreter for influential people such as the President of South Korea, Kim Dae-jung.  I also translated important legal documents for Korean business people.

My expertise in Mongolian business and legal affairs grew to a professional level.  By God’s grace I studied law and got a graduate degree from Mongolian National University.  Since 2004, God helped me to work as a legal manager at a law office.

Third, God restores the souls of many young Mongolian people through the ministry of God’s Word and prayer.

Until 1991 Mongolia remained a socialist nation.  They did not allow preaching on the campuses; there were no Mongolian language Bibles.  So me and several Mongolian shepherds started translating the Bible into the Mongolian language every week.  While translating the books of Genesis, Exodus, Daniel, and Romans, God blessed our struggles and sent many Mongolian young people and the Holy Spirit worked mightily.

In 1994, at our Spring Conference, 40 Mongolian young people came.  Many students repented their sins.  As they experienced the grace of forgiveness, they wrote sincere life testimonies even until 3 or 4 a.m. in the morning.  The work of the Holy Spirit seemed unstoppable.  Students, who were born again started inviting their friends.  The Bible Center became overcrowded.  Bible teachers were few and those who desired to study were many.  Often it was not uncommon for many people to wait at the center for their turn for 1:1 Bible study.  In a matter of a few months the number of Sunday worship attendants increased from 40, then to 80 and even 120 members.  We had to change our prayer topics several times a year.

In 1998, Msn. Paul Kwon pioneered Mongolia II chapter.  God raised 20 ‘Eagle’ team shepherds in 1998.  Among them 15 people grew to be key leaders in Mongolia I.  After that, every Spring and Summer conference God sent many young people.  God raised the ‘David’ team in 1999; ‘Mark’ team in 2000; and the ‘Apostles’ team in 2001.  Every year 20-40 new leader candidates received training.  As of now, there are 16 house churches in Mongolia I, 9 house churches in Mongolia II UBF.  They are working as CPA’s, company officer’s, International Office specialist’s or college professors.  God established Bayarmagnai as a full time shepherd.  He has been growing through receiving training for the last four years and from 20007 he has been serving Mongolia I Sunday Worship message and ministry.

As the number of leaders grew, it was easy for the leaders to relax and lose the Spirit.  So we set the direction to send them out as pioneers.  With this new direction and as the fruit of our prayers, in 2008 we sent out shepherd Gansukh to pioneer another college campus, Muis Univeristy.  It was very heart-moving to see the Lord sending out a native Mongolian shepherd to pioneer a campus on his own.  This year we pray to pioneer two new chapters and establish two new house-churches.

Mongolians are the descendants of Genghis Khan.  God can use them for His world mission purpose.  May the Lord use the Mongolian people as shepherds and missionaries for all nations!

One Word:  Mongolia, A Kingdom Of Priests And A Holy Nation.