Awake, Alive (and Exhausted) in Mongolia


I am still in Mongolia, but I have heard the news from the U.S. this week: the shooting, the bombs, the black fruit of hate. I invite you to another place for a few minutes. I want us to remember that there is bigger news going on——-that the kingdom of heaven is breaking out all around us. And even in faraway places where His name is not known. Come with me for a moment to see something beautiful and good?

I left Kodiak Friday night, spent the night in Anchorage, then flew out early Saturday morning. The planes were delayed everywhere. We landed in Mongolia in blasting winds Monday, 3 am. after circling for almost an hour, waiting for the winds to lessen.

I did not sleep for a second in all those hours. But when I woke up later, I saw this.


Three days ago we drove out of the city into the countryside, into the tawny brown hills and mountains that have already seen snow since September. But this day, the snow was gone. We saw herds of animals everywhere.


Half the country lives on the steppes, herding animals. In a nation of 3 million people, there are 30 million animals. It’s a hard hard life. Every year 40,000 move to the city, to escape living in the lap of a bitter wintry mother nature who plunges this land into -40 temperatures. Some years more than half the livestock dies.

Many Mongolians still live in gers (yurts), even at 40 below. I cannot imagine this life.

I thought of all this as we drove. We drove to Turtle Rock in Terelj National Park, a place called “Little Switzerland” for its alpine views. But for us, who did not come in tourist season, everything was brown, dry dead. Still, I loved the sparse beauty of it.


In the short 3 months of summer, it looks like this:

Turtle Rock--Mongolia.png

I would love to road trip through ALL of Mongolia, but I did not come to tour. I came to teach, to share what little I know with my brothers and sisters of God here.

And that itself is a grand adventure.

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Yesterday, I went to the School of Ministry with the women of LifeSprings. It was going to be an easy day. I was going to attend Jan Johnson’s all-day seminar, watching the rhythm of it to prepare for my own all-day seminar the next day.

But that’s not what happened. Jan’s notes didn’t show up. 100 women were coming through hours of traffic, on trains, in cars and busses from far parts of the country. They had waited 6 months for these classes. And now there was no class. There were no notes. No notes for Jan. No notes for the students. (The why of this doesn’t matter . …it was no one’s fault.).

There was only one option: ”Leslie. I hate to even ask this, but can you teach your class today?” I had finished preparing it the night before. I had my computer with me this day, by chance. but I was tired so tired. I had taught a 3 hour parenting seminar the night before. I had jet-lag brain, which is to say, no brain at all. I even brought a pillow to sneak away during the day to rest. How would this be possible?

But It was almost time to start. The women were coming in the door. I felt butterflies, I felt dread. I felt unprepared. But It was clear. This was what God was asking of me today. I posted an on-the-fly “HELP!” to my Facebook friends, asking for prayer. (YOU DID!) And at that moment, Duncan was in Alaska on a bush plane and he said he had an overwhelming urge to pray for me. (He DID!) Then the Lifesprings women, my new dear friends, surrounded me, laying hands on me, praying. I cried tears of fatigue. But when the prayer was over, I felt ready. God was going to do this with me, through me today. I was not alone. And He only asked for what I could give. He would do the rest.

And He did.

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Mongolia--Leslie and Pagma.JPG

He blessed far beyond my expectations. Do you know why? Because God LOVES these women! Because God has miraculously saved every one of them from atheism, Buddhism, from hard hard lives, and they NEED God as much as they need breath. (And isn’t God the very breath in our lungs?) These women have NO Christian resources in their language—-except what we were bringing them. And this day was GOD’S design—-not mine. I only had to say Yes.

And now, just the day after, I am seeing ALL the reasons God ordered it this way. SO many reasons. Women keep coming up to me and telling what God did—-something entirely new. Something so so deep. I only had to get out of the way of my fear. I only had to remember that God’s plans for these women were far greater than mine.

Mongolia--yurt with gorgesou mountains behind.jpg

It was a good good hard glorious day. And the fruit will go on and on. Not because of me. Because of Him.

I will tell some of these stories next time. I just want you to know that God is on the move here in this country. In incredible ways.

I am awake. I am exhausted and I am so wide awake. Because God is among us here in Ulaanbator.

And He is with you.

The next time God overturns your plans and asks you to do something hard, say Yes. Walk into it. Know the eagle-of-his-strength is with you and over you!

And watch what He can do through YOU!!

(And if you don’t believe me, listen to this incredible song [this is one of my favorite bands]):

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Have you experienced the eagle-of-His-strength recently? I would love to hear!!