Area 1,565,000 sq.km. Grassland, forests in north, three major mountain ranges and the great Gobi Desert in the east and south. Subject to climatic extremes.
Approximately 40% are nomadic pastoralists.
Capital Ulaanbaatar (Ulan Bator) 774,000. Other cities: Darkhan 85,000, Erdenet 80,000. Urbanites 62%.
Mongolian 90%. Seven distinct dialects. Halh (Khalkha) 2,130,000; Oirat 210,000; Buryat 52,000.
Turkic 6.6%. Kazakh 182,000; Uriankhai (Tuvinian) 34,000 in far west.
Other 3.4%. Chinese, Russian, Evenki, Korean, Westerners.
Literacy 87%. Official language Halh Mongolian. All languages 12. Languages with Scriptures 2Bi 1NT 7w.i.p.
A pastoral agricultural economy with 90% of exports being livestock and animal products but severely limited by Mongolia's distance from the sea and poor roads and infrastructure. Over-dependence on foreign aid led to inadequate preparation for the severe winters and great losses of livestock which impoverished many. Nearly a third of the population lives in extreme poverty. Changing from a USSR-dependent, centrally planned economy to a market economy has been traumatic. HDI 0.618; 119th/174. Public debt 64% of GNP. Income/person $390 (1.2% of USA).
Unified as nation in 1203 which, under Genghis Khan, became the greatest land empire ever known stretching from China and Korea to Central Europe. Under foreign domination between 1368 and 1911-1919. Autonomous from Chinese and Manchu domination in 1911. A Russian-supported revolution in 1921 installed a Marxist revolutionary government. A multi-party democracy was instituted in 1990. The People's Revolutionary Party was elected in 2000 with a massive majority.
The Constitution honours Buddhism, Shamanism and Islam as Mongolia's main religions but grants certain religious freedoms to all people. Restrictions apply to 'foreign' religions in cases where they are perceived as a possible threat to national security. Persecution index 59th in the world.
2 In 1989 there may have been only 4 Mongolian Christians. By 2000 there was an average of 4,000-5,000 gathering on any given Sunday, with an estimated community of 8,000-10,000 in over 60 churches and about 100 other informal groups around the country.
1 The daunting economic situation is a major challenge for the government and deeply affects every aspect of life much unemployment, poverty, 200,000 malnourished children, etc. Corruption with great wealth for some and failure to develop the economy to benefit all led to the rejection of the previous government. Pray that the leaders of Mongolia might rule with fairness and wisdom.
2 Lamaistic Buddhism has revived, monasteries have multiplied and many Buddhist sites and images have been restored. Underlying all are the pre-existing shamanism, astrology and occultic powers. Probably over half the population now practice Buddhism and/or Shamanism. Pray that Mongolians might find complete liberation and have transformed lives through following the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 The Church in Mongolia is a reality for the first time in modern history. In the Middle Ages there were Mongolian Nestorian Christians. There are now many churches in the capital and small congregations in almost every one of Mongolia's 22 provincial centres. Yet there are challenges:
a) Great interest in the gospel has often been with misconceptions about missionaries and mixed motives material benefits, escape overseas from poverty. Turn-over in attendance has been high leading to some inflated claims about the number of Christians. Many are 'Christians' only for a year or two. Pray for effective discipleship and Christ-like living among believers.
c) Christianity is still too foreign and has not really become culturally Mongolian yet biblically centred. Many missionaries have entered with inadequate cross-cultural preparation. Pray for a better contextualization of biblical truths to fit Mongolian culture.
e) Rural churches have little support or teaching due to a lack of finances and their distance from the capital where most of the training and resources exist. An effective nomadic church concept has yet to emerge.
f) Spiritual unity. Out of the Mongolian Partnership of the 1990s has emerged the Mongolian Evangelical Fellowship, a coalition of 45 church groupings. Pray that this Fellowship may truly serve to bring all the churches together.
4 The multiplication of other religions and sects is a concern. Groups such as the Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses and Baha'i are very active and are forming groups in the capital and in other parts of the country. Pray that evangelical groups may do more strategic networking in order to reach the whole country more effectively.
5 Mongolian church leaders are increasing in number and many are being trained at the Union Bible Training Center (100 students in 2001 from 45 congregations). Several other Bible training centres are run by local churches. There are over 600 involved in TEE courses. The Mongolian Mission Center is a discipleship and mission training school equipping Mongolians for ministry within and outside of Mongolia. Pray for the right models of leadership and appropriate support structures to develop, and that these men and women might lay good foundations.
6 The expatriate Christian workforce has grown. Most are members of non-religious aid agencies which are not permitted to engage in religious activities but which are often viewed as trying to 'buy' converts. Joint Christian Services is one such umbrella body, coordinating the work of 16 agencies. At present, many are concentrated in the capital. Pray that more expatriate and indigenous Christians might move out to work in rural areas. Pray for spiritual unity, stickability, effective identification with Mongolian culture and close, humble relationships of trust with Mongolian leaders.
7 The desperate economic plight of the nation has led to suffering, exploitation and social upheaval. There has been a breakdown of family life and social values. Crime, alcoholism and promiscuity are widespread, and the problem of street children is increasing. Most agencies are involved in health, relief, education and literature programmes. Pray for integrity in implementation and for maximum long-term benefit to the people and the emerging Church.
c) Ethnic minorities. There is one church among the Chinese. The Russians are nominally Orthodox with a few attending one of the three Orthodox congregations. There is no known witness among the Uriankhai or Evenki.
a) Bible translation has been a rather divisive and controversial issue. There are three translations of the NT which are in use. One translation of the whole Bible was published in 2000 and another translation of the whole Bible (Bible Society of Mongolia) was to be published in 2001. The two main translations use different terms for God. Pray that the churches and agencies may come to a whole-hearted agreement on a culturally appropriate biblical terminology and that God's Word may have an impact on lives and Mongolian culture.
d) MAF was granted permission in 1999 to commence flying operations in a joint venture as Blue Sky Aviation and the first plane arrived in 2000. Pray that this may increase effectiveness for ministry to outlying parts of this vast country.
e) Christian radio and television. FEBC was registered in 2001 and is operating a Christian radio station in the capital. A TV station, a joint venture between a Christian organization and a Mongolian company, has been airing some Christian programmes which includes testimonies of Mongolian believers.
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The above information and prayer material is an excerpt from the full text of Operation World for today's date. To view the prayer calendar for the year click here. If you would like the material for other days in the prayer calendar, you can purchase Operation World (click here for more information). Operation World content © 2001 Patrick J. St. G. Johnstone. All Rights Reserved. See Policy for use and reproduction permissions. Published by Paternoster Lifestyle (an imprint of Paternoster Publishing). Web site development by Global Mapping International..