Societal cues, existing ministry, and partnerships pave the way for expansion into former communist country
Lutheran Hour Ministries remains steadfast in its commitment to expand international outreach that shares the Gospel with unreached peoples, in urban areas and among the burgeoning number of youth worldwide. LHM’s new ministry center in Mongolia illustrates our passion to reach the unreached.
Once home to only a handful of believers, Mongolia has recently been characterized as a “modern day Acts,” where in just three decades the number of Christians has steadily grown to as many as 100,000. In post-communist Mongolia there has been a new openness to Western business and culture—including religion. In response to this shift in culture, Lutheran Hour Ministries has established a new ministry center in Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar.
“In October our center became officially registered as a Non-government Organization, or NGO, in Mongolia,” says Rev. Peter Kirby, LHM’s Regional Director for Europe. “In Mongolian the center is called ‘Yel Dauisi,’ which means ‘Voice of the Nation.’
“We already have extensive experience doing outreach in Kazakhstan, and we believe that that can be our entrée to beginning work in Mongolia,” Kirby explains. “Many people of Kazakh heritage live in Mongolia’s two westernmost provinces; we are working to reach out to them in the Kazakh language and help them connect with their Kazakh culture while also sharing the message of Jesus Christ. We are working closely with the Far East Broadcasting Company’s WIND FM station in Ulaanbaatar. WIND FM is planning to open satellite stations in rural areas of Mongolia, and one of the first will be in the western city of Hovd, which is home to a large number of Kazakh speakers.”
Voice of the Nation began broadcasting on November 15. The ministry center’s two-hour Kazakh-language program is presented in a “magazine” format: 15 minutes of history and “biblical connections,” 15 minutes of local news, and an hour and a half of Kazakh-language classical and Christian music.”
“Our aim is to connect listeners who respond with the local evangelist and to direct them into ‘Bible-listening groups,’” Kirby adds. “As that develops, we will look to launch another satellite broadcast in the Ulaanbaatar-area city of Nalaikh.
“We’ve been very encouraged by the support we’ve received from the LCMS missionary in Mongolia, as well as Lutheran pastors and other Christians working there. Please pray for our Director Karligash, our partners, and all efforts to share the love of God through radio, print media and relationship-building.”
Adapted from the January-February 2015 Lutheran Layman. Coming: a companion article on the continuing international impact of Christian radio.