“All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing…”
December 1, 2011
Dear United Methodists of the New York Annual Conference:
Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ our Savior and Redeemer, the Prince of shalom, Healer of our brokenness, and Hope of the world!
I am writing to share with you that I have been assigned by the Council of Bishops to serve as the first presiding bishop of the Mongolian Mission of The United Methodist Church. As you may know, bishops of our church, in addition to the residential responsibilities, share in oversight of our work within the United States and around the world. For example, I have been assigned for several years as presiding bishop of the Northeastern Jurisdictional Korean-American Mission. I anticipate that I will travel to Mongolia once a year to conduct an annual meeting and to supervise, support and strengthen the mission of our church in that part of the world in collaboration with the General Board of Global Ministries.
Mongolia lies between China and Russia in northern Asia. It is slightly smaller than Alaska and is a nation of vast semi desert and desert plains. With a population of 3.1 million, Mongolia won its independence from China in 1921. It has been a democracy since the fall of communism in 1990. The capital of Mongolia is Ulaanbaatar, a city of nearly one million people.
It is estimated that there are approximately 40,000 Christians in Mongolia. The majority religion is Buddhism. United Methodist mission work began in 2001. In 2002, the first United Methodist missionary, Helen Sheperd, arrived to start a hospice in the extremely poor area of Ulaanbaatar. Initial support came largely from Korean United Methodists and the North Georgia Annual Conference. Currently, there are 4 full time missionaries in residence and 6 United Methodist congregations. There are two mission centers which host classes for children, youth and adults (computer, language, cooking, recreational activities and music programs, as well as bible studies and small group ministries), senior citizens’ fellowship, and meals for the homeless.
Mongolia is a nation undergoing rapid social and economic changes, and church leaders are finding a people longing for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am thrilled to be part of this effort, and ask you to pray for our missionaries and the people of Mongolia. I also covet your prayers for me. I believe that Mongolian United Methodists and New York Conference United Methodists can be a blessing to each other, and I look forward to being part of what God has in store for all of us for the sake of our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
I pray that God will bless each of you and your churches in this season of Advent in which we prepare to receive again our wonderful Savior, Jesus Christ.
Jeremiah J. Park