– Visit our Children’s Heart Project landing page to learn more information.
– Read about how these Children Take Special Flight Home to Mongolia After Life-Changing Heart Surgeries.
On July 2, Samaritan’s Purse safely returned nine children to Mongolia after they received life-changing heart surgery through Children’s Heart Project. These children and their mothers came to the United States in early February, but their visits were drastically altered because of the introduction of COVID-19. In this episode, Kristy Graham joins these mothers, children, host families and translators to learn how these additional months in the U.S. changed their lives.
On a cool Monday morning, Kristy and the podcast team drove through the mountains to a hotel in Greensboro, North Carolina, to meet these nine mothers with their children that traveled to the U.S. for heart surgery. The episode begins with the sounds of laughter and excitement—this hotel was their last stop before returning to Mongolia after their six-week trip turned into four months. As thankful as each mother and child was for their health and restoration, they were thrilled to soon be reunited with their families in Mongolia.
Kristy first introduces Cindy Bonsall, the director of Children’s Heart Project at Samaritan’s Purse. Cindy explains that although the families were eager to go home, they still have to fulfill a 21-day quarantine in a government facility in Mongolia before uniting with their families. Ken Isaacs, the Vice President of Programs and Government Relations, explained the volume of agencies and authorities required to authorize the flight.
Pujee was one of the mothers who was enthusiastic to share her story. Her five-year-old son, Erdene, was diagnosed with a heart defect before he was a year old. The surgery needed to heal his weak heart is unavailable in Mongolia, and Purjee was desperate for hope and healing for her child. She and her local hospital reached out to Samaritan’s Purse for help, and Children’s Heart Project accepted her son’s application. On February 8, they arrived in the United States for his heart surgery. Only three weeks later, Erdene underwent his successful procedure, and he is now energetic and healthy.
Although Purjee, Erdene, and their translator had to stay an additional four months, Purjee was deeply impacted by her host family and accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior on March 4.
“I’m thankful to everyone, including those in the hospital, those who took care of Erdene. All the Christians, missionaries, churches, host families—I’m so thankful. There are not enough words to thank them. I now understand that God uses these people as His tools, and that’s wonderful. I want to be like them.” – Purjee, Children’s Heart Project mom
The host families play an integral role in the process by opening their homes to bring the mission field to them. By accommodating a mother, child, and translator, these host families took on extra responsibility when the standard month and a half commitment turned into four months. Kristy hears from Michele Nelson, a host mom from Rochester, MN, who has been hosting for seven years. Michele portrays what it was like to host five people— two mothers, two children, and a translator—for those four months. She said that the extended time was like a gift to show them what Christ’s love looks like in action.
“This gave us more time to be able to share who Jesus is. Over a period of time, we were able to warm them to what love looks like. I think that’s our biggest gift: having this longer period of time.” – Michele, host mom
The episode wraps with specific prayer requests for these mothers and children to safely return to Mongolia and share the love of Christ that they experienced with their families. Please continue to partner with us and lift up these mothers, children, host families, and translators in prayer.