February 24, 2009

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The Alliance launched a multipurpose ministry center, including a student outreach, in Ulaanbaatar, the cultural hub of Mongolia. The grand opening of the Grain of Wheat Student Center took place on February 16, 2009.

Each year, 250,000 students pour into Ulaanbaatar from across the country to attend university. “The center is located in the heart of the city, close to several major universities,” says Bernie Anderson, who serves with The Alliance in Mongolia. “The center exists for the benefit of students who come to the city to study.”

Many students enter the university dormitory system, which consists of up to 10 students sharing one room with no furniture. “They have no quiet place of their own to study,” says Anderson. “There is no place in the city to simply ‘hang out,’ with the exception of the abundant number of bars and pubs. Alcoholism is a huge problem in Mongolia, and much of the time it begins with university students.”

The Grain of Wheat Student Center will help meet some of these needs, providing a warm and inviting environment for students to gather. It will feature a library and eventually computers for research, a quiet study area, and a coffee shop. Students will be able to attend English and vocational classes as well as movie and music nights.

The Alliance ministry team in Mongolia believes that the best way to build relationships with the people of Ulaanbaatar is to have a visible presence in the city. Dennis Maves, field director for Mongolia, says, “Our first priority is to establish a beachhead in this strategic city by purchasing a permanent location for a multipurpose ministry center that will serve as a tactical hub for student outreach and outreach into communities throughout the city.”

The Alliance is a fellowship of evangelical believers joined together in local churches, dedicated to caring about the whole person and meeting people’s needs. The Alliance maintains a “big tent” stance in reference to many doctrinal matters, encouraging believers of diverse backgrounds and theological traditions to unite in order to share the love of Jesus Christ through tangible acts of compassion. 

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