NEWS & PRESSRELEASE

Prayer Focus

Mongolia

20 February 2007

The Mongolian constitution honours Buddhism, Shamanism and Islam as Mongolia's main religions, but grants certain religious freedoms to all people. Restrictions apply to 'foreign' religions in cases where they are perceived as a possible threat to national security. According to the Persecution index, Mongolia is 59th in the world. Christians constitute only 0.71% of the country's population.

Though Mongolia was once one of the most closed countries in the world, it is now relatively open despite restrictions, with around 400 expatriate Christian workers.

As recently as 1989, there may have been only 4 Mongolian Christians. By 2000 there was an average of 4,000-5,000 gathering on any given Sunday, with a worshipping community of 8,000-10,000 in over 60 churches and about 100 other informal groups around the country.

Prayer Concerns
The daunting economic situation is a major challenge for the government and deeply affects every aspect of life.

Lamaistic Buddhism has revived, monasteries have multiplied and many Buddhist sites and images have been restored.

The church in Mongolia is a reality for the first time in modern history, yet there are many challenges. Though there has been a great interest in the gospel, it has often been with misconceptions about missionaries and mixed motives.

Age-imbalanced congregations are the norm of the day. Most are comprised of youth with a few old folk, but the churches need to reach more working-age people, especially men.

Christianity is still too foreign and has not really become culturally Mongolian, yet biblically centered. Pray for a better contextualization of biblical truths to fit Mongolian culture.

Persecution of Christians occur, mainly through discrimination and bureaucratic difficulties created in registering churches and also from within families.

Rural churches have little support or teaching due to a lack of finances and their distance from the capital where most of the training and resources exist. Pray for Bible students to receive training and return back to their villages.

Spiritual unity. Out of the 1990s Mongolian Partnership has emerged the Mongolia Evangelical Fellowship, a coalition of 45 church groupings. Pray that this fellowship may truly serve to bring all the churches together, and for Christian leaders to come together for joint action and work

The expatriate Christian workforce has grown. Most are members of non-religious aid agencies which are not permitted to engage in religious activities. Joint Christian Services is one such umbrella body, coordinating the work of 16 agencies. At present, many are concentrated in the capital. Pray that more expatriate and indigenous Christians might move out to work in rural areas.