February 10, 2017

From ‘Importer’ to ‘Exporter’: Mongolia Sends Out First Homegrown Missionary

YURE GRAMACHO, with Adventist Review staff

A handwritten note a Seventh-day Adventist Mongolian pastor received during a missionary trip to a foreign country twelve years ago, motivated him to become the first homegrown missionary to be sent out of his home country borders, only a couple of decades after the Adventist message made inroads and was organized in that landlocked and sparsely populated East Asia nation.

Pastor Nyamdavaa D., former ministerial secretary and evangelism director in the Mongolian Mission, recently accepted the call to move together with his family to an undisclosed location abroad, where he plans to share the gospel message in a place with no Seventh-day Adventist official presence.

Northern Asia-Pacific Division president Pastor Jairyong Lee, center, prays with staff for a missionary. (NSD photo)

Twelve years ago, during a mission trip abroad to provide training to members in an area where mission work is somewhat restricted, a lady gave Pastor Nyamdavaa a small card where she had written, “Never forget us. Remember that you also have ‘other sheep’ (John 10:16).”

“During my trip back to Mongolia…I cried, because [the note] deeply touched my heart,” said Nyamdavaa as he remembered that day. “Eventually, in 2016, my heart felt such a big burden, that I couldn’t sleep at night because of the sense of God’s call.”

Nyamdavaa and his family finally decided to enrol in the Pioneer Mission Movement (PMM), an outreach initiative of the Northern Asia-Pacific (NSD) region of the church, a territory which includes Mongolia and several other countries in East Asia. The Pioneer Mission Movement looks for ways of planting new churches by sending missionaries to do cross-cultural work, mainly in areas where no Seventh-day Adventist Church exists.

“Once a missionary, always a missionary.”

Pastor Nyamdavaa’s decision is a milestone for the relatively new administrative unit of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which historically depended on “importing” Adventist missionaries from overseas for managing the church work in the country. The recently renamed Mongolia Mission, based in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, was only formed in 1997. Currently, this administrative field serves a church membership of almost 2,200 baptized members who meet in six churches across the country.

In a recent uplifting send-off ceremony to pray and commend Pastor Nyandavaa and his family to God, Pastor Kim YoHan, president of the Mongolia Mission, said how moved he was by Pastor Nyamdavaa’s decision and asked every leader and member to pray for the family.

“I have prayed a lot for him and his family, so that God may stand by him during this new missionary challenge,” said YoHan. “I’m sure that our Lord will help him fulfill His mission and will.”

Pastor Nyamdavaa held no doubts about the lifelong motivation which drives him to such a challenging enterprise.

“Once a missionary, always a missionary,” said Nyamdavaa. “[To be a missionary] is my life purpose!”