Outside Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia – July 2011
Sometime around five years ago, I decided that James 1:27 (“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world”) ought to be taken literally. I am still determined to adopt someone someday, and while I’m not opposed to single parenthood, I’m holding out for a marriage first. For a while, though, I considered working in an orphanage. When I mentioned this to Gany, a Mongolian girl working as a temporary interpreter in my hometown in Illinois, she invited me to visit the orphanage her church runs in Mongolia. Several months later, I did just that.
Every summer, The Children’s Place orphanage goes to a camp in the countryside to escape the polluted air of the capital city. Gany and I joined them for several days. Our taxi played a Backstreet Boys CD on repeat as we bounced down country roads and avoided massive potholes flooded with water. At the campground, the door to a simple one-room building opened, and five children ran to greet us. I had never met any of them before, but one grabbed my bag and two more grabbed my hands. I immediately knew that my heart wasn’t going to escape this visit untouched. Continue reading