On June 9, 2019, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the Gateway Project on a 58-acre (23.5-hectare) piece of land in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Leaders from the Northern Asia-Pacific Division (NSD) and the Mongolia Mission (MM) attended the event with about 80 local church members and other invitees.
Mongolia Mission is a new mission field compared to other areas in the NSD territories. The church has been growing since the baptism of the first Mongolian nationals in 1992, some of whom are now serving as MM church leaders. In 2019, the church reached 3,000 members. According to official records, the MM runs several Adventist institutions, including a youth training center, a dental clinic, a university student dormitory, and a newly inaugurated FM radio station.
Recently, the MM initiated the building of the Gateway International Education Corporation for mission. Regional leaders reported that several institutions will be established under the corporation, including an international academy, a vocational school, a wellness center, an agricultural center, and an income-generating resort.
In his remarks at the ceremony, MM president Yoh Han Kim emphasized that this is a project driven by faith.
“Our first step is to build an international academy,” Kim said. “The MM will not wait until they have enough funding to start the project. We are beginning this project by faith.”
The church-building project in this area is also a move of faith. The location of the project is only a 15-minute drive from the new Ulaanbaatar International Airport, and the city is expanding closer to the project's site. More than half of Mongolia's population of 3 million live in Ulaanbaatar. Having a center of influence in a strategic location in the city will have a substantial impact on the mission, leaders said.
Joanne Kim is the manager of the Gateway project. She was one of the pioneer missionaries who came to Mongolia in 1992 when there were no Adventists in the country. After 25 years away, she has now returned to Mongolia with her family and serves as the education director of the mission.
“We have a long way to go ahead of us,” she said, “but we are confident that since the Lord has led us this far, He will continue to be with us in the future.”
NSD president Si Young Kim reminded ceremony attendees of the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. The people of God were united, he said, and God helped them to miraculously complete the project.
In the same vein, NSD education director Richard Sabuin pointed to Zechariah 4:10, where the Lord encouraged His people not to despise the day of small things. “Indeed, the Gateway Project begins small, but it aims for greatness, for God’s glory,” he said.