The United Methodist Church, which has established mission in over 100 countries, began mission in Mongolia in 2002. It was not until June 2004 that the UMC acquired property for a mission center in Ulaan Baatar, the capital of Mongolia with one-third of the population.
The new center will be a step towards establishing United Methodist churches in Mongolia and training clergy and leaders. The center will help support the children, youth, and adult ministries as well as provide job training and special services that address social issues, such as alcoholism.
Helen Shepherd is the missionary currently working in Mongolia, and is to be joined by Rev. Millie Kim in September. Rev. Kim will focus attention on children and education.
Ms. Shepherd works hard at the hospice ministry, which is currently in place. Rev. Jong Sung Kim, speaking positively notes that, the hospice ministry has opened the door for many Mongolian families (UMNS).
Responding to questions about the new mission center, Rev. R. Rangy Day, the chief executive of UMC’s General Board of Global Ministries says, “We were warmly welcomed, and I can see a bright future for a United Methodist presence in Mongolia." He added, “Helen Shepherd is doing a remarkable job in expressing the love of God among a wonderful and positive people; Millie Kim’s ministry will multiply our witness and service.”
The center is made possible by a $100,000 contribution from the US Korean United Methodists, and the UMC Board of Global Ministries will match the donation with another $100,000.
Rev. Day and Rev. Sam Dixon expressed deep appreciation to the Korean American United Methodists for their leadership, in terms of both financial and volunteer effort, in the mission, UMNS reports.
Mongolia has 2.4 million people, of which roughly 22,000 are Christian. UMNS reports that, this is a "number that has doubled in the last five years”. According to UMNS, Mongolians have expressed new interest in religion since the fall of communism in the early 1990’s.