“Wake up everyone! We have to be at the airport in two hours, so let’s make it fast!”

Yes, the day had finally come – the 10th of April! This was the day that would take us across the ocean, into China, and straight into Mongolia.

We all quickly finished packing and rushed to the buses. Upon arriving in Vancouver, an ocean of red flooded the airport. Our red shirts could be seen for miles, and questions kept coming as people read them: Mongolia Mission Trip 2017. Latino environment dominated as Mrs. Pasos quickly instructed us on what to do to the dot. We all prayed for a smooth passage through the airports, and even though there was over a hundred of us, everything went smoothly. From airport to airport and through our layover in China, God kept us safe.

“Please fasten your seatbelts. We will be landing in 10 minutes.” Finally, after 48 hours consisting of passing through security, sitting on the plane and walking around the airport, I finally stepped into the country of Mongolia. For some of us, culture shock hit pretty hard, but for a few of us it was like we had just arrived at home.

We went from temple to temple, from house to house, and from memorial to memorial carrying our instruments and wearing our filming uniforms. The first days of our trip went somewhat like this: wake up, eat, film, sleep, and repeat. During our breaks, we got to play with local kids. Laughter and smiles shone all around us as the kids jumped rope, played soccer, and tried to repeat our names. These Mongolians had so little, but yet they had such an atmosphere of contagious happiness around them, that there was no way that you could say, “Today’s been a bad day.” The Mongolians could find happiness in things that often we didn’t even take notice in. They can see the rainbow coming before the storm has passed.

After three days of filming, the rest of our time in Mongolia was spent visiting schools, teaching English, visiting homes, and exploring the city. Ulaanbaatar itself was a sight impressed in our memories. It had the appearance of a never-ending construction site, filled with ordinary people in an extraordinary environment. With every step we took in Mongolia we felt like we were being observed. Often people would either ask for pictures with us, or they just wanted to talk. They were intrigued by our presence and amazed at the reason for our visit.

Several times while in Mongolia, Fountainview and its students were put to the test. But every trial that took place it gave us a little more faith for the trip – for we could see that God was with us. We had our last concert on Friday night. Before leaving the concert hall, we all stood in a circle – Mongolians and Fountainviewers, side by side singing “I want to go to heaven.” The next evening found us all gathered together in a giant ceremonial ger out in the countryside as we ate a delicious goodbye supper.

The sky was painted in a majestic pink and orange, and the sun shone brightly through the mountains as we left the ger and walked back to the bus. We didn’t want to leave. Mongolia’s people and culture had claimed a piece in our heart.

When I had stepped into that plane two weeks before, I thought we were going to Mongolia to impact the people, but the end of those two weeks resulted in my life being impacted more then I could have possibly imagined. I thought I was going to impact them, but in doing so they impacted my life forever.

Catarina Dias
Grade 10