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by Mark


We are sitting on the 15th floor of an apartment building in UlaanBaatar watching the fireworks go off around us.  There is no official show, just the big mortars bought on the street. Its strange because in Mongolia most of what we consider Christmas does not start being celebrated until the 26th.  Santa shows up on New Years (Grand Father Winter), the Christmas tree is the New Years’ Tree  Why?  Part of it is the Russian influence during the years of the CCCP or USSR as you know it in English, Christmas was stripped of any religious meaning and shifted towards New Years to even further remove it from any religious significance.  Mongolia still retains much of that tradition.  However it seems that Christmas is growing in popularity.  I think in part its because of western movies and the inter-net.  Many here talk about THE MOVIE, you know the one with the little boy at Christmas (HOME ALONE). On Christmas we watched out the window as parents dropped off their children at pre-school.  Its strange to be walking through Nomin in Darhan and realize they are singing Christmas carols- in English over the loud speakers. I was walking into the store heard a Mongolian singing the words in English.  Did they understand it?  Who knows.   But than again I’m reminded that that is why we are here.  There is a wonderful celebration that is to be embraced.  There is worship to be given.  There is a beauty that is to be seen.  There is hope beyond all else to be imagined.

No eye has seen and no ear has heard nor the heart of man imagined what God has prepared.

Happy New Year



We have traveled in many different vehicles here in Mongolia (though not yet by camel).  Our goal in the next several years is to be able to purchase a vehicle to help with our work here in Mongolia.  As you may imagine, Mongolia is not the easiest country for cars (see above photo) which means there’s a need for a vehicle with 4-wheel drive as well as maintaining a fund for repairs and replacement parts. Our goal is to raise around $35,000 US.  Part of the expense includes purchasing a heated garage in which to store our vehicle, as well as the need for a durable and reliable 4-wheel drive vehicle.  Vehicles are not cheap and importing one from the States is difficult at best (a whole other story). 

First please give to the The Great Commission Fund– this helps keep us in Mongolia.

Second as you consider your year-end giving, would you prayerfully consider giving to our goal of purchasing a vehicle?  Every little bit helps.

There are two ways you can give. 

1) Electronically  Wood Vehicle Fund (click and follow the directions)

2) By check 

The Christian and Missionary Alliance
Office of Donor Accounting
P.O. Box 35000
Colorado Springs, CO 80935-3500

(866) 443-8262

*Checks should be made payable to The Christian and Missionary Alliance. Please indicate how you would like your monies designated in the memo line.



Questions about giving?

Telephone  toll-free at (866) 443-8262 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. (MST) or e-mail us at

by Mark

Yesterday I posted about Advent.  A helpful part of the Advent season is an Advent candle.  There are a few different explanations of the candles circulating.  I am not very clear as to the time of their exact origin, however they are helpful in focusing our attention during the Christmas season and drawing out its true meaning.  The Mongolian church is learning about the church calendar.  The following is the other part of an advent pamphlet that was written previously.


The Advent Candles

Our greatest desire is to glorify God. Many of the symbols that surround the Christmas season are rich in meaning and draw our affections to glorify God. However symbolism without understanding at best is empty and at worst is idolatry. We desire to avoid such emptiness and instead be drawn to the awe and wonder of this season.

The candles symbolize the light of the world, Jesus Christ. They are to draw our attention to Him. The colors of each candle are meaningful. Purple is the sign of royalty to remind us of Christ’s deity and might. Liturgically, purple is also the color of penance and longing in anticipation of Christ’s coming. Rose is a sign of joy and hope at the coming of Christ. White represents purity and brilliance proclaiming the light of the world.

The wreath symbolizes the eternity of God who is from everlasting to everlasting. The holly represents the crown of thorns to remind us that the one who came as an infant was to hang on the cross for the sins of the world. At the center of all stands the white Christ candle, a symbol of light for the hope of the world.

1st Sunday Purple Hope

2nd Sunday Purple Love

3rd Sunday Rose Joy

4th Sunday Purple Peace

Christmas White Salvation

By Mark

Today is December 1st (well it is in Mongolia).  Many people think that the Christmas season begins in December, except for Wal-Mart who thinks it begins in October.  The Advent season is an opportunity for the Church to observe and reflect on the coming of Christ.  Advent is marked by the four Sundays prior to Christmas and began this past Sunday.  I did not grow up in a tradition that observed Advent but have found it a meaningful season to draw my heart and affections past cheesy decorations and back to the expectancy of Christ.  Below is an article that I wrote during my time in Russellville about what Advent is.  Several Advent devotionals are available on the web as well. 


The Meaning of Advent

The Advent season is a time to pause and reflect upon God who became man in Jesus Christ. The four Sundays prior to Christmas day, which make up the advent season are filled with Joy, hope, and excitement as well as contemplation and confession in seeking to understand the meaning of the birth of Christ. The word advent comes from the Latin word that means to come to. It is a time to stop and think about what it means to celebrate Christmas; Christ the Messiah, come in the flesh.

We cannot celebrate the birth of Christ without also confronting our absolute dependence upon Him for salvation. The presence of sin in our lives inhibits our fellowship with God. It is only through Christ that we can be reconciled to God, therefore the celebration of His birth calls for a time of contemplation and rejoicing. As we anticipate the celebration of the birth of Christ and long for His return, may we make this a season of confession, prayer, meditation, and hope. As we seek God we must engage His truth and prepare ourselves for the celebration of Christ. We need to remind ourselves that our joy and celebration is not found in what the world offers. Our joy is through the means of grace found in our Lord Jesus Christ. Our hope, which is joy and light, is found nowhere else in the world around us. In this season may we prepare ourselves and hold nothing back. Let us shout for joy for the one who has come: Emmanuel, God with us.


December 2009
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