First of all, I just want to say that the outpouring of prayers and financial help for Bogi and Enkhmaa have been overwhelming! Thank you all for donating so that we can move them into a new apartment and cover their rent for a year (about 130 USD per month). We are well over halfway there and are SO excited that God has enabled us to do this for them. Thank you again and again for being a part!
For those of you who have been carrying us with your prayers, a big "thank you" as well. We have felt the grace of God so strongly these past few days and know that it was He alone who has comforted us and also helped us to comfort others.
In other news...
It was with VERY mixed emotions that we said our goodbyes to Nate today on his first day of school. He looked so sharp in his suit and bow tie. September 1st is a big deal in Mongolia and it was a big day for us, too. I took pictures but our digital camera is refusing to cooperate and I don't think I'll be able to salvage any. I'm very upset about that!!!
At the opening ceremony, (remember I said that Sept. 1st is a big deal?) the teachers gave the 1st graders gifts. In the gift bags, among other things was a Buddhist book. Nate promptly removed the book and gave it to his daddy. He took his Bible from his backpack and told me that he was going to show it to his teacher and tell her not to read "that other bad book".
We were told to pick Nate up in the park where the kids would be playing at the end of their first day of school excursion. But after about 30 minutes we got a phone call from the teacher who said that Nate was tired and wanted to come home. Hetee went to pick him up and we found out that the real reason for wanting to come home was because the class was going to see the Buddha statue. He didn't want to go anywhere near it so he showed the teacher Hetee's phone number I had written and tucked into his backpack for just such purposes.
Ack! Buddhism is everywhere you look in this country. Hetee told Nate's teacher that we are Christians and to not push any Buddhism on Nate, so hopefully that'll be the end of that. Nate himself is all riled up about it and keeps saying how it's not right that the teacher would think that everyone believes in Buddha. He is very serious about showing her and his classmates that he is a Christian.
Hetee says we're just lucky they didn't bring the local lama over to "bless" the school. All of this 'religion in the schools' is illegal, by the way, so I don't think it will be a big deal. Just letting go of my baby for a few hours a day period is hard but having to do it in the face of such religious differences that have become such a part of Mongolian culture, is even more difficult than I imagined.
Nate is happy about going back tomorrow and actually staying in the classroom. I told him there would be no more field trips to the Buddha statue and he is happy. I am, too.