Mongolia Mission moves forward in its work amid COVID-19.
As the newly appointed director of the Sabbath School and Personal Ministries department of the Mongolia Mission church region, I had a number of plans for 2020. But from the beginning of the year, things have been changing because of COVID-19, which has been spreading throughout the world.
Since Mongolia shares a border with China, where the virus began, Adventist leaders said they have had to be more alert. Mongolia’s government made some urgent decisions, such as closing public meetings, including those in church buildings. From January 23, 2020, we have not been able to gather in churches for worship. Doors of all kinds of churches were supposed to be locked until March 1, but this has been extended until April 30, when the virus crisis was declared a pandemic. Nevertheless, we believe that “the word of God is not bound” (2 Tim. 2:9, ESV).
When travel restrictions and public gathering bans were announced, as leaders we decided to have online Sabbath Schools and worship services. We have done this for about two months so far. Of all Christian denominations, the Seventh-day Adventist Church was the first one broadcasting online worship services in Mongolia.
For the first few days, pastors formed small groups in their churches, and members of each small group gathered at a house to worship together on Sabbath. When the situation got worse, however, we were not able to do house visitation for everyone’s safety, and the online church program began to air. God blessed us with the ability to keep worshipping Him despite the limitations.
We have been surprised to discover that many non-believers have been watching our videos and engaging in our programs. Also, people who drifted from the faith have been now joining the program. It is something that has helped them to rejoin the church and be revived in their Christian lives!
Through the live-streamed Sabbath School program, all Adventist members in Mongolia are receiving the same message, singing together, and praying together with one heart.
As far as tithe and offerings are concerned, members are returning their tithes and giving offerings through online banking. Those who do not use online banking bring their tithe and offerings to their church treasurers. In our live-streaming videos, we encourage them to give offerings and return their tithes.
We have been encouraging our Adventist members to celebrate the Sabbath by joining the online worship starting every Friday evening. Every Friday, I have an arranged vespers meeting from the house of one of our pastors. We produce a video containing their testimonies and how they are preparing and worshipping with their family. It serves as an excellent example for the church members.
On Sabbath, we begin live streaming at 11:00 a.m. If someone is late for worship, he or she can watch the video later.
As the COVID-19 situation has continued for months and has prevented people from going to the church building, they have been feeling thirstier than ever for the Word of God. It is the reason the Mongolia Mission is trying to reach every church member and feed them through online and social media.
It is time to stand firm on the belief that God is with us and His word cannot be chained!
The original version of this story was posted on the Northern Asia-Pacific Division news site.