College students from all over the world have been exposed to the gospel at a university in perhaps an unexpected location: Mongolia.
Mongolia International University is the only university in the country that teaches all of its classes in English. But even more importantly, the university was founded in 2002 with a missional purpose to reach students in Mongolia with the gospel.
“When I first came to Mongolia over 20 years ago, many missionaries focused on church planting,” shared MIU President Oh Moon Kwon at a vision night hosted at Oriental Mission Church in Los Angeles on Sunday evening. The vision night served as a way for MIU staff and recent graduates to share testimonies of how they witnessed God at work through their experiences in the university.
“They [missionaries] asked me to do something that church planters need, but can’t do. So I decided to invest in building schools, and that opened up ways to partner with churches,” Kwon explained.
The school started with a little less than seventy students and five departments, and grew to become a ACBSP accredidation candidate (Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs) with undergraduate and graduate courses, 60 faculty members, and almost 700 students.
Many of these students come from various foreign countries, including Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Nigeria, Germany, South Korea, Japan, Pakistan, and New Zealand, among others, due to the fact that all of the classes are offered in English.
“This is a place where people from all parts of the world are coming to you -- it’s a wonderful opportunity to share the gospel,” said Reverend Jim-Bob Park, the senior pastor of Oriental Mission Church. Park has been the chairman of the board of trustees for MIU for several years.
“Some of the exchange students from South Korea have received Christ during their time at MIU,” said Joanne Lee, the director of the MIU language institution, who has been a part of MIU’s staff for over four years now.
Lee said her position as an English teacher and as faculty allowed her opportunities to talk to students about Jesus. She also had the chance to lead a team of MIU students on a mission trip to the Mongolian countryside where she said they “witnessed how God keeps his Word, and the fruits of church planting there.” Students lead their own campus worship services, and faculty and students join together in “Praise Him Daily (PHD) worship services” during lunch times.
“The faculty at MIU were really like extensions of Jesus, and they showed me how to live as a Christian,” shared Martha, one of the recent graduates of MIU.
Graduates go on to work as professionals in various fields, including education, technology, business, and government. Some pursue graduate level studies in Mongolia, and in other countries including South Korea, United States, and England. Many go abroad to other countries and serve in local churches in their respective places.
Though the staff and graduates shared much of the blessings that they’ve experienced through the university thus far, Kwon said there’s still much work left to be done to move forward.
Some of the aspects that he asked prayers for include starting more partnerships with mission agencies and local Mongolian churches; hiring more people to be a part of the faculty and staff; training professors for the English curriculum as Mongolia’s national language recently switched from Russian to English; and most importantly, Kwon said, for God’s wisdom in all of these aspects.
Kwon especially encouraged Korean Americans who are interested to consider taking on a short- or long-term position at the university.
“The network of Korean Americans, and their familiarity with diverse communities can really serve to help them to become great leaders for the university,” Kwon said.
“Let’s plant the seeds of God’s dream together,” said Pastor Jim-Bob Park.
“We don’t want to do something on our own, but be a part of what He is already doing.”