Nine Children Take Special Flight Home to Mongolia After Life-Saving Heart Surgeries

June 30, 2020 • United States

After extended stay, mothers and children returning home with stories of health, salvation, and discipleship.

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Nine mothers, along with their nine children, boarded the Samaritan’s Purse DC-8 aircraft this morning in Greensboro, North Carolina, happy to be heading home to Mongolia after spending the last several months in North America. They came as part of our Children’s Heart Project to correct congenital heart defects in their little ones. Most came in February and were scheduled to return home six weeks later. But then the COVID-19 pandemic erupted.

The children and their mothers have been waiting to return home since March.

The children and their mothers have been waiting to return home since March.

After the worldwide outbreak, Mongolia banned most international flights in an effort to protect its population. And it seems to have worked, as the country has reported just over 200 cases and no deaths. But the border closing meant that the nine families—all thankful for successful, life-saving heart surgeries—were unable to return to their loved ones—until now.

Samaritan’s Purse worked diligently with U.S. authorities and the Mongolian government over the past several months to gain permission for the 18 family members, along with seven translators (also onboard our DC-8), to be able to return to their homeland. Last week, the Mongolian officials gave their approval. The news was greeted by the moms with great excitement—and a touch of sadness by some.

“I was happy but a little bit sad when I learned we would be returning home,” said Uuganaa, whose son Batnasan underwent heart surgery at New York’s Albany Medical Center. “Sad because I met some very nice people here in America, and I met Jesus.”

New Hearts for Mothers and Children

Uuganaa and three of the other moms accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior during their visit and were baptized. And the extended stay with their host families allowed them time to study the Bible and grow in their newfound faith.

Uuganaa's son Batnasan had heart surgery in New York.

Uuganaa’s son Batnasan had heart surgery in New York.

“The extra time was a blessing because I got to know God better,” Uuganaa said. “I’m really happy to know Jesus. I want to know Him more and more.”

Purevsuren, who invited Christ into her life on her birthday in March, echoed those thoughts. “It was a good time to study the Bible and get to know God more,” she said of the additional months in the U.S. “If we had gone back to Mongolia on time, I wouldn’t have had the time to read the Bible. I am thankful that God allowed this extra time so I could know Him more deeply.”

And as an extra bonus she got to celebrate her first Easter as a believer with her host family who were instrumental in her coming to know the Lord.

Before coming to the U.S., Purevsuren knew nothing about Jesus. She placed her faith in idols scattered around her home. But when she met her host family in Austin, Texas, she was overwhelmed by how much they cared for her and her 5-year-old son Erdene. “They became like blood relatives to me,” she said. “They were so loving and caring. I felt God’s love through them.”

Enjee is returning home much healthier after surgery in Ohio.

Enjee is returning home much healthier after heart surgery.

Even before Erdene underwent heart surgery, Purevsuren began reading the Bible and going through The Greatest Journey, the 12-lesson discipleship course designed for Operation Christmas Child shoebox recipients, with her translator Gerlee. Through the Scriptures she came to realize that Jesus is God and that He paid the price for her sins by dying on the Cross.

Purevsuren now loves to read the Bible and has memorized whole chapters and the Psalms. And she is reading a children’s Bible to Erdene who said his favorite story is the Good Samaritan because of the kindness he showed to a man who was robbed and beaten.

Purevsuren said she is grateful for Children’s Heart Project. “I know now that it’s because of God and Samaritan’s Purse that everything happened,” she said. “My son now has a new heart—and so do I.”

Mandaa, whose daughter Enjee was another of the heart surgery patients, also came to know Christ after reading the Bible and The Greatest Journey. Before arriving in the U.S., she believed in shamanism and worshipped nature. “But after I came here I really understood that God is real. That there is one true God,” she said.

Purevsuren came to faith in Jesus during her time in the United States

Purevsuren came to faith in Jesus during her time in the United States. Her son Erdene had life-saving heart surgery.

She also said she is thankful for the Samaritan’s Purse project and for all of the donors who make it possible.

“Thank you to everyone who supports Samaritan’s Purse. You are a gift from God to us,” Mandaa said. “Thank you for helping to save our children’s lives. Our kids can now live long, healthy lives because of you.”

Children’s Heart Project arranges life-saving operations for hundreds of children with congenital heart defects who live in countries where the required medical expertise and equipment are not available. We match them with North American hospitals and surgeons that donate their time and services. We also match them with host families from nearby churches. Samaritan’s Purse pays for the airfare for the child, a parent or guardian, and an interpreter. Since 1997, we have arranged heart surgeries for more than 1,400 children.

Please pray for the nine mothers and their children, along with the seven interpreters, as they return to Mongolia where they will live in quarantine for 21 days before returning to their families. Pray for safe travel and for their continued growth in Christ as they share the Good News of the Gospel with their families and friends.

Please pray for the children and their mothers as they travel home. Pray that they will continue to be strengthened in their relationship with God.

Please pray for the children and their mothers as they travel home. Pray that those who have come to faith will continue to grow in their relationship with God, and for others to come to know God’s love for them.

Update July 2: We thank God that all have arrived safely back home in Mongolia.

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 $50, you can share in this cost so that we can offer life-saving surgery and the unsurpassed hope of Jesus Christ, "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6).

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Suggested Gift: $2,200 | Share the Cost: $50
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