Global Ministries

The United Methodist Church

Connecting the Church in Mission

First Is Not Easy—But Sometimes Best

By Tsetsegdari Munkhbaatar*

My name is Tsetsegdari Munkhbaatar, a Global Mission Fellow, international class of 2016-2017. I am the first Global Mission Fellow and the first United Methodist missionary to come from Mongolia, where the Methodist Church is still a young mission initiative. In truth, the editor of New World Outlook mentioned this to me in an email when she asked me to write an article for the magazine. That made me nervous—old feelings that I felt after training and the five months that followed. This made me seem so responsible. Maybe things feel like this when you are not sure you are meeting people’s expectations.

IMG_783 copy.jpgA big change for Global Mission Fellow Daria Munkhbaatar. She is the first United Methodist missionary from Mongolia serving two years with GRENCODA on the island nation of Grenada. PHOTO: COURTESY TSETSEGDARI MUNKHBAATAR

For missionary service, I have gotten used to answering questions, such as: “Why did I decide to be a missionary?” In part, I became a Global Mission Fellow because my mom said: “You have to go, my daughter. You will do God’s work. Working for God’s glory is the most peaceful job in the world, because every moment you get the chance to think about God. That’s what is most important in a human’s life.” She repeated it until I went to the training. Remarkable, really, when you consider she is Buddhist.

Another question I was asked was: “Is that your only luggage?” When I reached Grenada, my new friends asked me this. I took just a medium-sized suitcase and a small backpack to live for two years. I did not worry about anything because mom said: “God will provide, live simply.” She also said, “Do not complain and don’t let me hear any bad words about your placement site.” And she hasn’t heard a complaining word from me about my work place and my daily life. But that’s not because she forbade me to do so. In truth, I had little to complain about. My missionary life so far has been filled with blessings for which I thank God.

Here are just a few of the blessings I speak of: when I arrived in Grenada, Hilary and Relin (last year’s Global Mission Fellows) were still here to talk to me, advise me, and help me, so I did not feel lonely. And I am living in a brand-new house—practically. They made repairs and finished other maintenance just before I got there. My work place and coworkers are the most caring people that I have ever known. When I think—I was physically sick for four months before my first training, and the doctor said I was too tired. I made friends with vaccinations and pills, and even stayed in the hospital. But once I got to Grenada, a magical thing happened: I have not felt sick since I got here.

Warm Winds of Grenada

This gave me courage that my decision to enter missionary service was the correct one for me—though, it was almost made by my mom. But now that I am here, I think this is a great opportunity, to be the first one. Through this I understand that if you love God from your heart, God will give you a humble soul to pursue the work God has for you and to experience its fruits.

I am serving as an accounting officer for GRENCODA (Grenada Community Development Agency) in Grenada, the “Spice Isle.” (Grenada is an island country in the southeastern Caribbean Sea. There is one large island of Grenada and six smaller islands at the southern end of the Grenadines island chain.) Our organization exists to provide guidance and support to rural individuals, families, and communities to improve their quality of life. It does this by encouraging people’s participation in community-based initiatives, which build self-reliance, particularly among small farmers, women, low-income workers, and youth. If you want to know about our work, check out our Facebook Page using the name Grenada Community Development Agency–GRENCODA.

8 copy.jpgDaria (far right in first row) poses with coworkers in Grenada. Two other Global Mission Fellows, Relinjoy D. Pabrua (first in first row) and Hilary Glover (third from left in back row) have since finished their terms in Grenada. PHOTO: COURTESY TSETSEGDARI MUNKHBAATAR

I have been working with community members and youth on the issue of saving and developing the environment, especially climate change and Grenada’s coastal ecosystem. These are interesting new topics for me. I already have a big heart for Grenada. Learning about the people and their culture makes me fall in love with them more day by day.

Grenada is an entirely new world for me. (I come from the frozen plains of Mongolia, after all.) It’s a great place, even though it’s hot. For hot days, I can go to my fridge and dream about home and winter. No need to be sad. I yearn to be more Grenadian and work with a missionary heart now. Grenadian fruits and beaches make me jealous. It’s beautiful here.

Good Enough to Serve

I have been asking God: “Why me? What if I can’t do this?” I had no idea about missionaries and I didn’t see myself as a good Christian. My mom, older sister, and older brother are not Christian and my younger brother does not go to church every Sunday. Only my younger sister and I went to Chingletei Church. I didn’t even ask my family or my boyfriend to come to church. Seven years ago, when I was 15, we moved to a new place and found an announcement about free English classes. So, I went.

There I met a young American woman named Erin Eidenshink who was a mission intern serving in the Chingletei Church. My first missionary! I went for language classes, but I found God. And I have been growing in the faith, thanks also to the strong words of the Rev. Sun Lae Kim, Chingeltei’s missionary pastor. Now I understand what missionaries do. It was with me from the beginning. Missionary work can’t be described or limited by a person’s words, profession, appearance, or even self-doubt. God knows me better than I do.

This adventure and experience the past few months has affected me mentally and physically. My words cannot describe how wonderful this program is or how big my blessings are. I wish many more young Mongolians would join in this work to experience how God transforms the world through people.

And when I return to my homeland, I will tell people in my generation that we also can become God’s hands to give light to the world.

*Tsetsegdari Munkhbaatar, a Global Mission Fellow (Advance #3022236) from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, is a member of the Chingeltei United Methodist Church. She holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the Global Leadership University of Mongolia and completed additional academic work in accounting at Ming Chuan University in Taiwan.

Copyright New World Outlook magazine, Fall 2017 issue. Used by permission. Email the New World Outlook editor for more information.