It’s been a whirlwind couple of months since we said, “Yes! Here I am … Lord, send me …” to an opportunity to serve the least of these by being a host family for a young boy from Mongolia in need of heart surgery and his mother.
This quote by Kristen Welch has been an invaluable encouragement in an experience that has been outside my comfort zone:
“Our yes to God should scare us.
Not to keep us immobile, but to keep us dependent on the One who asks us to say it in the first place.
Fear keeps us moving towards God.
Yes, there is fear in obedience. But peace keeps us on the journey.
And the joy that follows our yes to God is wild.”
And throughout these couple of months, I have indeed experienced that wild joy.
After waiting for almost a month, Ochiroo finally received his heart surgery. I’m in awe of how brave his mother, Boloroo, is. That’s why I’m writing today.
She’s the reason for a big portion of that wild joy that followed our yes to God.
When our family first said yes to this opportunity, never in my wildest dream did I expect that, at the end of this journey, not only would Ochiroo go back home to Mongolia with a new heart, but that his mother would also.
Jesus became real to Boloroo right here in Canada, thousands of miles away from the comforts of her own home, a traditional Mongolian ger in the middle of the Gobi Desert.
It happened right here after she had the opportunity to watch “The Jesus Film” in her native language.
It was right here where a Christ-following interpreter, a volunteer with Samaritan’s Purse Children’s Heart Project, invested in her and patiently answered her many questions.
And it happened right here while being in a community with Christ-followers who are being Jesus’ hands and feet to her.
Boloroo has a brand new heart. It’s such amazing grace.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NKJV).
I’ve witnessed this mother’s transformation from full of anxiety to full of joy. That’s what our Jesus is still doing today.
To top it off, we had the immense joy of seeing her baptized before she headed back home to Mongolia.
She’s taught me what it means to be brave. This is a woman who calls the Gobi Desert home, who herds animals as a livelihood, and who lives a nomadic lifestyle.
At first, she couldn’t fathom getting on an airplane, not to mention flying halfway across the world to a strange and foreign land where she doesn’t speak or understand the language. She didn’t want to come. She wanted to send her son with a relative.
Yet she chose to be brave and to step out of her comfort zone so that her son could have a new lease on life.
She’s also taught me what it means to rely on faith. In the First World, we rarely find ourselves in situations where faith is all we have to rely on. Our over-educated brains are always one step ahead of us. If not, Google always has an answer to our questions. But it’s not so for Boloroo.
While I frantically Google information so I can read about this particular open-heart surgery for tetralogy of fallot, she just simply trusts that the surgeon will do his best job.
While I queried the doctor over and over about Ochiroo’s recurring blue spells, which were becoming intense before his surgery, and about the risks of stopping all of his medications, she just simply trusts that he’s getting the best possible care.
As our pastor said a prayer over Ochiroo and my mind wandered in a few different directions thinking about the surgery risks, I looked over and saw her simply trusting and fervently praying along. That’s what faith looks like.
She’s also taught me what it means to choose gratefulness. As Ochiroo’s original surgery date got canceled and subsequently kept being delayed, days turned into weeks. I became increasingly impatient with each passing day, and my attitude of entitlement started to rear its ugly head.
Boloroo, on the other hand, waited gracefully and patiently and regarded all the medical care that Ochiroo received as a gift.
She exuded gratefulness despite being away from home for so long, despite being able to talk to her husband only once during that time period because their home is not reachable via telecommunications, and despite being horribly homesick. This is what it looks like to choose gratefulness.
Instead of the estimated five to eight hours, Ochiroo was safely out of surgery in just four. His heart repair was successful. Please continue to pray for him, that his recovery will be swift and smooth.
As much as we would love to visit Mongolia one day, the reality is that we may never see each other again in this lifetime. But I’ll always remember Boloroo and the joy that she’s brought into our family’s life and the valuable things that I’ve learned from her.
It’s wild joy knowing that there will be a day when we’ll all worship God together again in the same place on the other side of eternity.
Saying yes to God can be scary, but the joy that follows is wild. I’m so glad our family said, “Yes! Here I am … Lord, send me …”