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Miracles in the Heart of Asia

DEAR FRIEND,

Look closely at the picture above from my recent trip to Mongolia. What do these dozens of young people have in common? They were all born with potentially fatal heart defects, but they are alive and thriving today because of the way God has worked through our Children’s Heart Project for more than two decades.

They are among more than 400 young people Samaritan’s Purse has helped in Mongolia, a former communist nation located between China and Russia that has no doctors or hospitals that can perform complicated pediatric cardiac surgery. We started the Children’s Heart Project in 1997 to bring boys and girls like this to the U.S. from war-torn Bosnia, and we praise God that since then we have been able to expand into more than a dozen countries like Mongolia, saving the lives of over 1,300 children worldwide.

Beyond the physical healing that has taken place in these boys and girls, the Lord has also transformed the spiritual hearts of our patients, their families, and their communities through the power of the Gospel. Hundreds of children and their family members have come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ through the witness of host families, churches, and medical staff. In Mongolia, where there were almost no churches just a generation ago, God is now working through our patients to build His Kingdom!

It was a blessing to meet some of our heart patients and hear what God is doing in their lives. Otgo was a sickly boy who has grown up to become a Mongolian herdsman, and the Lord has used his testimony to plant a church in his nomadic village. Miiga and Munkhuu are now young women in medical school who hope to become the heart specialists that Mongolia so desperately needs. Uugna and Zaya (pictured at right), who had surgery just a few weeks earlier, sang “Jesus Loves Me,” and Uugna recited John 3:16 in perfect English.

Mongolia is a vast and beautiful country with more horses than people. We traveled 140 miles across the steppes to visit one of our patients, a 4-year-old girl named Ulzii. Her family lives in a round felt tent called a ger, and they raise sheep, goats, and horses.

“We could have lost our daughter if she didn’t have surgery,” her mother Myadagaa said. “Samaritan’s Purse basically gave life to my child.” Through our Children’s Heart Project, we brought Ulzii and Myadagaa to a partner hospital in the Cayman Islands, where her mother heard the Gospel through her host family. “That’s when I heard about Jesus Christ,” Myadagaa said. “I made a decision to receive Jesus as my Savior on the day my daughter had surgery. I read the Bible every day to grow in my relationship with God.”

I also had an opportunity to meet with dozens of Mongolian church leaders. One of them was Pastor Bat-Ulzii, who was born with two holes in his heart, leaving him with bluish skin and too weak to play sports. “I felt hopeless because the doctors could not do this kind of operation in Mongolia,” he said. Without heart surgery, he probably would not have lived beyond his teens. Now a father himself, Bat-Ulzii accepted Christ and was baptized when we brought him to Texas for surgery 12 years ago. “I was so excited to receive the Lord as my Savior,” he said. “The Holy Spirit was working in my heart.” Through his ministry, he has helped lead 100 youth into a saving relationship with Jesus.

We praise God for all He is doing through our Children’s Heart Project. Pray that He will use the testimonies of former heart patients to build His kingdom in the heart of Asia. Thank the Lord for giving us a wide-open door to share the Gospel in Mongolia, just a generation after the fall of the Soviet Union. “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26).

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