When God Shows Up in Unexpected Ways

I have never been so excited for something I don’t understand was the only thought swimming through my mind as my team ran into an overly enthusiastic Mongolian couple yesterday who spoke no English and yet were overjoyed to see a bunch of Americans on their home street.

We had just left the church we were staying at here in Mongolia, each with a list in hand of things the Lord had placed on our hearts during our morning prayers, and ready for big things to be thrown in our paths. Because if there is anything that we have learned from the past two weeks in Ulaanbaatar, it is that we should be prepared for anything. Since we don’t understand Mongolian and barely anyone here speaks English, our days have been nothing short of unpredictable. You might set out in the morning planning to venture over to the square in the center of the city to pray over people and then all the sudden you are on a bus towards the countryside preparing to watch little eight-year-old boys race horses through the mountains. Expect nothing, hope for everything. That has been the mindset I have learned to obtain while doing ministry here in Mongolia. God shows up even if we are completely unaware of what the plans for the next day or even the next hour holds.

Yesterday our team leader, Emma, felt the Lord place on her heart to go on a treasure hunt. What a treasure hunt entails is that you pray for God to show you people who you are supposed to encounter today. You can ask for attributes, like a red shirt or blue glasses, or needs, like back pain or grief. Then you can pray for a location or a name or whatever else the Lord feels is necessary for you to find/touch this specific person.

So, of course, after feeling called to do so, our team closed our eyes and asked the Lord to give us lists for our treasure hunt. We came back together and found not only a lot of overlap, but very specific needs and attributes that we would be looking for. A girl named Anna wrote down a man with a dragon tattoo who had depression. Another girl, also named Anna, wrote down a flower shop with a woman in a red dress who had back pain. There were other things as well, after all there are 10 of us so our list was quite long by the time we set out from the church that morning. But with expecting minds we prayed for direction and headed out on our treasure hunt.

We hadn’t even gotten to the main road yet when we were stopped by a Mongolian couple who were smiling, cheering, and shoving Mongolian chocolates in our faces.

“America! America! Our son, healed 100%! 100%! Halleluiah! Jesus!”

The words we were able to understand from the couple were sporadic, fragmented, and few, but as I looked around at our team each one of us were smiling, laughing, and tearing up.

“I don’t know what is happening but it must be good,” someone said.

Then, heading towards us was one of the women, Khoso, from the church who had been helping us to translate the past week. We all motioned for her to hurry because we needed her right now. So, Khoso ran over and started speaking with the couple. Within a few minutes we were all cheering, crying, hugging, high fiving, and even sniffing one another (the Mongolian equivalent of kissing of the cheek). Turns out this couple’s daughter had a son who was 3 months old who had a heart condition. An American had helped their family find the Indian doctor from Kansas, Denver, New York, or the Cayman Islands (this part is still a little lost in translation) who performed heart surgery to heal the baby. They had just gotten the call at 9 this morning that the surgery was 100% successful and now they were going around the city praising the Lord, sharing the news, and handing out candy to everyone they ran into. The couple was especially excited that we were American and that Emma, our leader, had the same hair as the Americans who helped them. The whole encounter lasted a good half hour after which we were all high on God’s healing power and love, and super pumped because we were almost certain that we had been invited to the couple’s house in the countryside. You can never be sure when your “translator” speaks minimal English.

After the beautiful encounter with the couple’s testimony of healing, we continued on our treasure hunt where both Anna’s found exactly who God had placed on their hearts that morning. There was a man with a dragon tattoo who, when approached by Anna, admitted to having depression, was open to a prayer of healing, and even came over to the church that evening to hang out with the team and participate in open mic night. Then there was a woman in a flower shop who was wearing a red dress.

“Do you, by any chance, have back pain?” Anna asked her. The woman in the red dress nodded. Then, Anna and her stared at each other wide-eyed and open-mouthed for a few moments out of utter shock.

“Can I pray for you?” Anna asked once she had regained her words. The woman nodded again and a prayer of healing filled the small flower shop.

Afterwards, all ten of us and Khoso started filing out of the small room, but I made a point to move slowly. I wanted to be the last one out because I wanted to study the facial expression of the woman in the red dress as we started to leave. When it was only me left in the shop she slipped into the back corner and looked over at me with tears falling down her cheeks. I smiled, waved, and then slipped out the door.

I have never seen God show up and deliver needs in such blatant ways before. So in this country where the language barrier was thought by our team to be a hindrance, we went back to the church that evening thanking God for bringing excitement to places our English, goal oriented minds couldn’t understand.


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