Zaya’s daughter was accepted for surgery through Children’s Heart Project, the Samaritan’s Purse project that brings children from their home countries to North America for life-saving surgery. While in Canada, Zaya accepted Christ and is now determined to share it with her husband.
Emily Arneson is the Children’s Heart Project manager in Mongolia.
BACKGROUND: Anuujin (Anuka) was diagnosed with a heart defect when she was two months old. She didn’t sleep well and often turned blue. Her parents knew something was wrong, so they took her to the local children’s hospital where she was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot, a heart defect that requires surgery for repair. Her parents didn’t know what they would do as that surgery can’t be safely performed in Mongolia. She was enrolled in Children’s Heart Project, the Samaritan’s Purse project that brings children from their home countries to North America for life-saving surgery, after a visiting cardiologist screened and recommended her in the spring of 2013. Four months later, she was chosen for surgery in Canada and had a successful surgery in December.
I had the pleasure of debriefing Zaya after she returned to Mongolia from her daughter’s heart surgery in North America. It was probably one of the best debriefings I have heard. I wanted to take a moment to share some of the highlights she told us.
When Zaya and her daughter, Anuka, arrived, the host family gave them vitamins, which really showed Zaya how much Children’s Heart Project cared for their physical needs. The way the entire small group at the church came together to support and care for them showed her the body of Christ and the church. Every need was met, and they were showered with great gifts like clothes, which they were so thankful for.
The peace in the host family’s home was beautiful for Zaya to witness. Lives and jobs are very stressful in Mongolia, and there are lots of arguments. Seeing a peaceful home environment and no stress from daily life showed her the power of Christ. When the host mom’s father passed away, she continued to care for Zaya even though she was going through so much herself.
The emphasis on prayer will impact Zaya forever. She saw God’s hand in her daughter, Anuka, being accepted for surgery in Canada; the hospital; the host family and small group that supported them; Anuka’s quick recovery; and so many other things. She recognized how God was working for her daughter and family.
Zaya is a completely changed woman in every way. She spoke of how she once lived her life and now she is changed because of Jesus. Her heart now belongs to Him. What seemed to strike her most is how her host family’s everyday life spoke of their relationship with the Lord. Their home was peaceful and everybody supported, loved, and served each other well. Their knowledge of life, death, and salvation was one that Zaya had never seen before, but now she can begin to understand this as a believer.
She looks forward to applying what she learned on this trip to her personal life and growing to know Jesus more. She was so thankful to the interpreter for teaching her how to discipline her daughter and for helping her understand the Christian lifestyle.
Zaya learned many big life lessons from the host family’s daily life. Zaya talked with her husband, and she wants to change their lifestyle. The relationships Zaya and her family have with their friends are not positive, so they may make some changes in the people they hang out with. She wants to find genuine friendships.
When Zaya returned to Mongolia, the interpreter on her trip connected Zaya to her boyfriend’s church. She thought it would be good if her boyfriend could meet with Zaya’s husband since he is such a strong Buddhist and the interpreter’s boyfriend once was. A big prayer request is for Zaya’s husband to come to know the Lord.
Never before has Zaya seen such generosity, kindness, and compassion. This hosting was the hands and feet of Christ. I pray Anuka can, as she gets older, share of the powerful work Christ did in her life. This is why we do what we do. Go Jesus!