A teenaged girl who received life-saving heart surgery in North America now shares the Gospel with other Children’s Heart Project patients in Mongolia
The birth of a baby is a joyous occasion, but when Khandaa was born in 1990 her parents’ celebration was short-lived.
Khandaa and her family are from a small town in the deep countryside of Mongolia. Her father, Byambajav, works at a flour factory, and her mother, Erdenechimeg, has a cleaning job at a local school.
Not long after her birth, doctors discover Khandaa had a heart defect. They said the baby would die because surgery was not possible in Mongolia. From that day, Erdenechimeg lived in fear.
“I didn’t worry so much because I was a child, but the person that was worried most was my mother,” Khandaa said. “She was so afraid, and she spent those years in worry and in fear.”Fifteen years later, a doctor working with Children’s Heart Project visited Khandaa’s village. Her family doctor told Erdenechimeg, and she took Khandaa for a screening.
Khandaa was put on a waiting list, and the following year was accepted for surgery in Indiana through Children’s Heart Project. The project regularly brings children with heart defects from developing countries to North America for surgery.
“Right after the surgery, when I woke up I felt like I could do anything (but I wasn’t even able to click the call button),” Khandaa said. “Inside my body was so strong even though my body was so weak. This was because it was such a big hurdle I had passed over in my life.”
After Khandaa spent 45 days in the U.S. for surgery and recovery, she returned home. Our staff conducted post-surgery visits to ensure that she continued to heal properly. While in her home, they also encouraged the family to attend church. By the third visit, Khandaa and her sister had found a church nearby.
In 2008, Khandaa graduated from high school and entered the Economical University of Ulaanbaatar. She graduated last year with a degree in accounting. Recently, she began courses in English, and she stays in touch with Children’s Heart Project staff.Three years ago, Children’s Heart Project began hosting Heart Camps in Mongolia. The camps are a place where former patients can come together to fellowship and learn more about Jesus Christ. While at the first camp, Khandaa accepted Christ after going through “The Greatest Journey,” a discipleship program for children.
“When I think back, I realize it was God’s plan for me to wait to have surgery in the states,” Khandaa said. “I heard about Jesus, but I had never believed in Him. But now I know Him.”
In 2012, Khandaa became a leader in training at Heart Camp and mentored younger girls in their relationship with Christ. When camps started this year, Khandaa became a full counselor.“(Many of) our kids are small and they do not know what is wrong or what is
right, but I am sure in their lives they will come to a point of decision,” Khandaa said. “One day they will come to a point of choosing what is true. All our hard work is for when they come to that point.
“We want them to choose Jesus. I am very happy to be a part of that work. It is not only about having fun or having a good time together. It is preparation for them to have God in their lives.”