Mongolian student and his family experience deportation, miraculous return to seminary
“I am the Lord your God … You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:2-3). This is the very first commandment that God gave His people.
In our lives, we tend to easily get distracted from God. This was definitely true for our family in the past few years. Even in seminary, life can distract us from relying solely on God. My story as an international seminary student is a little peculiar compared to some of my peers (at least that is what I have been told). Although both my wife and I are from Mongolia, we had spent some time living in the U.S. prior to coming to Minnesota for seminary. We had already gone through a smooth visa process and had a good idea of navigating life here. My wife was able to continue working remotely for her previous employer in New York City and provide for our family so we had financial security. We were very much dependent on her job and planned most of our activities around her 60-hour work week. Even though my wife and I had discussions around the possibilities of her staying home when she was first pregnant with our oldest daughter, it didn’t seem to be financially feasible.
In the fall of 2018, my wife needed to apply for an extension for her work visa, which is the normal procedure that takes place every three years for foreigners. We were not worried as we were assured by her company and their lawyers that it was an easy, straight-forward process. However, one morning in mid-December, she received a call letting her know that her visa extension was denied and that she had to leave the country immediately to avoid deportation. No real explanation for the denial was given, but we were told it would take at least 10 months for an appeal. The news came at a time when my fall semester finals were starting and when Namuun was 28 weeks pregnant with our second daughter. We had two days to pack and leave.
We were advised to have my wife return as my dependent so that I could finish seminary, but this meant that she would not be able to work. We were part shocked, part angry, and part scared. Why had God allowed this to happen?
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths,” says Proverbs 3:5-6. This was the verse our family held onto during our time back home in Mongolia as we went through the strenuous visa process for my wife. What happened during the one month that followed that shocking call was nothing short of a miracle. God provided and made a way for each and every obstacle that we faced. Looking back, we are in awe of how God worked things out His way and worked in us during that time. God taught us to trust Him and only Him. God taught us to depend only on Him. We trust that He is in control of our yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
As I start my last year of seminary, Namuun is able to stay at home with both kids, and we are able to refocus our energy on our future ministry in Mongolia. We are so much happier now as a family, and it has been a real treat to live on campus in community with fellow seminary families and Bible students. We want to thank Pastor Molstre, Laurie Nash, Pastor Terry Olson, the Free Lutheran Seminary, Hope Free Lutheran Church, and all our brothers and sisters in the AFLC churches who have supported us through prayers for us and financial support. We are grateful to be part of this community of believers.
Ganzorig Enkhjargal [FLS senior] is from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
This article first appeared in Kinship Magazine, Fall 2019 Edition.
Kinship is a magazine of the FLBCS. Stay up to date on the latest news, student stories, classroom highlights, and fun tidbits about life on the FLBC and FLS campus.
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