Far from Home, a Mother Finds Jesus Is Her Greatest Friend

May 15, 2020 • Worldwide
Uuganaa is grateful to Samaritan’s Purse and our Children’s Heart Project ministry partners for making it possible for her son, Batnasan, to receive life-saving heart surgery.
Uuganaa is grateful to Samaritan’s Purse Children's Heart Project and our ministry partners for making it possible for her son Batnasan to receive life-saving heart surgery.

A mom from Mongolia travels to New York for her son’s heart surgery, and now knows God is working in her own heart, too.

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Uuganaa thought she gave birth to a healthy baby boy. But, soon, her son Batnasan started crying persistently each night—in a way that was not typical even for a newborn.

Batnasan is now free from the breathing and sleeping difficulties he experienced prior to surgery.

Batnasan is now free from the breathing and sleeping difficulties he experienced prior to surgery.

The sleepless nights of worry were difficult, especially as the family lives in a ger (tent dwelling) in rural Mongolia, several hours away from the nearest hospital.

Their concern for Batnasan escalated when he began to pass out inexplicably. After being evaluated by medical professionals in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, Batnasan was diagnosed with a heart defect that could reduce the amount of blood flow to his brain, causing periodic losses of consciousness.

“I was always scared that his heart would stop,” Uuganaa said about her now one-and-a-half-year-old son.

Learning to Pray

Since cardiac surgery isn’t readily available in the country, Uuganaa was put in contact with our Samaritan’s Purse team in Mongolia. Children’s Heart Project staff screened Batnasan and confirmed that he was a candidate for heart surgery.

Later, a local pastor working with our team invited Uuganaa to attend the church within walking distance of her home. Touched by the group’s prayers for her son, she agreed to go.

Roasting marshmallows is one of the outdoor activities the host family organized during Batnasan’s stay.

Roasting marshmallows is one of the outdoor activities the host family organized during Batnasan’s stay.

“I always thought there was no God, there wasn’t anything,” Uuganaa said. “I didn’t believe God was real.”

The pastor continued to visit the family at home, explaining what it means to trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and praying for Uuganaa and Batnasan. The pastor gave Uuganaa a Bible, prompting her to ask questions about God.

Our Children’s Heart Project staff, in partnership with Gift of Life (Rotary District 7190), arranged for Uuganaa, Batnasan, and an interpreter to travel to New York state in February 2020 for Batnasan to have heart surgery at Albany Medical Center, one of our partner hospitals.

Uuganaa prayed for Batnasan during the trip and recognized his successful heart surgery as an answer from God.

A Friend Like No Other

Uuganaa has studied the Bible every day with her interpreter, Unuroo. During the first week of her stay in the United States, Uuganaa placed her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

She said that reading about the fates of a rich man and a poor man in Luke 16 made her consider where she would spend eternity—heaven or hell.

“If I live like this rich man, thinking about myself—only myself—and living for myself, it’s not good,” Uuganaa said. “When I saw the Christian people here, they’re serving others and helping others. It made me realize that I can go to heaven through knowing Jesus.”

“I can go to heaven through knowing Jesus.”

That also was the day she was studying lesson six of The Greatest Journey, a series of Bible lessons we developed for Operation Christmas Child shoebox recipients. The discipleship booklet is among the Gospel materials we provide to our Children’s Heart Project interpreters to read with the mothers and children. Lesson six is titled “Jesus is Our Greatest Friend.”

“During that lesson,” Uuganaa said, “I prayed and received Christ.”

Extended Time for Discipleship

Unuroo and Uuganaa are getting an unexpected, extended time of studying the Bible together since the coronavirus pandemic has limited travel and lengthened their stay in the U.S. with their host family, the McCartys.

Unuroo leads Uuganaa in a study of God’s Word.

Unuroo leads Uuganaa in a study of God’s Word.

“As I’m reading the Bible, I still have a lot of questions,” Uuganaa said, “but I am trusting in God now more.”

At first, the host family was able to take them to church in person. Amid COVID-19 stay-at-home practices, they have since watched services online.

Uuganaa said she is going to read the Bible with Batnasan and looks forward to taking him to church in Mongolia.

Unuroo and Uuganaa plan to stay in touch. Unuroo lives in the capital city, where Uuganaa, 27, is studying to be a physical education teacher specializing in judo, a popular sport in the country. Unuroo has invited Uuganaa to go to church with her when she’s in Ulaanbaatar.

“I love to pray and talk to God,” Uuganaa said. “God can work on my inside, and that’s why I believe there is a God.”

SUPPORT
About one out of every 100 babies has a heart defect that surgeons can routinely repair. Unfortunately, many of them are born in poor or remote places where their families cannot access the cardiac care they urgently need. Through our Children’s Heart Project, Samaritan’s Purse transports boys and girls from places like Bolivia, Mongolia, and Uganda to hospitals in North America. Doctors, hospitals, and host families and churches donate their time and services, but airfare is a major cost—typically $2,200 per person for international flights. For $22, you can share in this cost so that we can offer life-saving surgery and the unsurpassed hope of the Gospel. “But I have trusted in Your mercy; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation” (Psalm 13:5).
Save a Child's Life About one out of every 100 babies has a heart defect that surgeons can routinely repair. Unfortunately, many of them are born in poor or remote places where their families cannot access the cardiac care they urgently need. Through our Children’s Heart Project, Samaritan’s Purse transports boys and girls from places like Bolivia, Mongolia, and Uganda to hospitals in North America. Doctors, hospitals, and host families and churches donate their time and services, but airfare is a major cost—typically $2,200 per person for international flights. For $22, you can share in this cost so that we can offer life-saving surgery and the unsurpassed hope of the Gospel. “But I have trusted in Your mercy; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation” (Psalm 13:5).

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