Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Home Group (11/29/07)
- TITLE: WITHOUT WALLS
By Emily Blakely
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“Yes, I would. When do you meet?”
“At 5:30 in the morning.”
Answering in the affirmative I wondered, did the surprise I felt show on my face? In all my 60+ years, I had never been invited to gather with fellow Christians for prayer at this early morning hour. But, I wasn’t in my familiar surroundings. In America, a 5:30 prayer gathering would definitely be in the p.m. For me, the only comparison would possibly be attending an Easter Sunrise Service at 6:30 or 7:30 a.m. That’s once a year. This invitation came from believers in a remote area of Mongolia who met regularly on Saturdays at the breaking of day.
This home group consisted of seven adult neighbors, relatives and friends. Rural Mongolians are mostly farmer/herdsmen and routinely start their day with chores soon after first light, so the early hour was not uncommon for them. This would be my first home group meeting without walls. I worried that I might not wake up in time, but sleep right on through.
As explained to me about this regular event, the group meets and climbs to the top of a hill overlooking the village where they pray; an idea that had appeal for me. This practice had been established through an outreach of a Christian veterinary group that invited me to Mongolia as a followup to encourage these new believers. I was reminded of the New Testament passage, “And in the morning, a great while before day, he (Jesus) rose and went out to a lonely place, and there he prayed.” (KJV Mark 1:35) This gave me a chill. I came to encourage them, but received the greater encouragement and blessing! So typical of the Potter’s Hand as He works and shapes the clay.
High anticipation was finally overcome by sleep, but it aided in my waking at 5:00 a.m. I quickly dressed and roused the three accompanying me. By his glare, the dog in our compound did not seem to appreciate being disturbed but at least he didn’t bark. Stepping through the gate into the roadway, the damp, chill night air enveloped us. The moonless sky was lit with only a tinge of daylight, just enough to safely walk the few hundred yards to a crossroad where we waited for the remaining three to arrive. Sleep hung heavily on these travelers and kept conversation to a minimum.
The roadway seemed eerily vacant of both animal and man until dark shadows could be made out moving slowly toward us, the companions we were waiting for. We began the ascent to the nearest hilltop. Once there, we each found a likely spot to settle on the ground and prayer requests were shared with petitions for those present, their families, and the community as a whole being made. The prayers of these Christians in Mongolia were the same as many I have heard at home in America: concerns for illness, alcohol abuse, sharing the Gospel, and thanksgiving.
By the time prayers were finished, the sun had risen. It gave striking rays of warmth and hope for another day that bathed the landscape in gold. A magnificent scene. One of my thoughts was, how many magnificent sunrises do we routinely miss? They are so brief yet so exhilarating, and more so when combined with a gathering such as this, for sharing and prayer. Then we slowly returned to the crossroad and separated to each one’s destination.
The following day, the group would once again gather for Bible study and prayer; this time within the walls of one member’s home. I was privileged to be there on Sunday also, to share from God’s Word. At first, speaking through an interpreter felt awkward; however, that feeling soon dissipated as the message of Jesus as The Living Word began to flow, revealed from Genesis through Revelation.
In this predominately Buddhist village, a small home group is all the Christians have at present. As we shared a meal together that day after Bible study, they spoke of their hope and plan to one day build a church. They, in my opinion, have an excellent start that will long be remembered by me as I pray for their progress, and praise the Lord.
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