Mission to Mongolia

By Alexandria (Zuzu) Schmitke –

My name is Alexandria Schmitke, but most people know me by my nickname Zuzu. I am a senior at Southwest here in Edgerton, and for the past three years I have been going on eight week summer mission trips all over the world with an organization called Teen Missions International. In 2015 I went to Ecuador, in 2016 I went to Uganda, and this summer I went to Mongolia. I left on June 13 and came back on August 11.

Before I was able to actually go to Mongolia, Teen Missions International requires you to attend a two week training camp called the Lord’s Boot Camp in Merritt Island, Florida. Now, Florida may seem nice in the brochures, but as soon as you leave the beach it is a hot, smelly, mosquito infested swamp. There 700+ teenagers, who have all given up their summer to go serve the Lord all over the world, gather. The team going to Mongolia consisted of eighteen teenagers and three leaders. As a part of our training, we lived in tents and woke up at 5:30 A.M. We would run a 3/4 mile long obstacle course filled with challenging, team-building obstacles. Once finished, we would spend the rest of the day in classes learning how to evangelize and work in other countries. We do this for two weeks, and by the end everyone is both prepared and excited to go to their missions overseas. The Lord’s Boot Camp is very intensive and everyone who has gone will agree that it is very difficult, but it is one of the best ways to prepare for a mission trip.

After the two weeks of training, my team hopped on a plane at the Miami International Airport. Twenty-five hours, twelve times zones, and three planes later, we arrived in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. My first impression of Mongolia was this oddly beautiful city. As we drove through, I saw that many people lived in big white tents they called Gers, though temperatures would often get down to -40°F. Cows and yaks walked alongside cars in the heavy mid-day traffic while men on horses called them away from the road. Strangely clad Buddhist monks would walk by reciting holy scriptures. Men would collapse in a drunken stupor in the middle of the road. I began to realize that this country was different than any I had ever been to.

For the complete article, please see the September 6th edition of the Edgerton Enterprise. If you do not currently receive the Enterprise, CLICK HERE for information on how to subscribe!

The Shrine in the middle of our campsite to the Shaman

My entire team dressing up in Traditional Mongolian Clothes in the Chinggis Khan (Genghis Khan) Monument.