Well, we made it! 1,500 miles, 8 pairs of shoes, 6 giant jars of peanut butter, and countless lives impacted. I had originally planned to update the blog during the expedition but as it turns out we only found 3 places in all of Mongolia that had free wifi. Not to mention I was a little occupied. The following is a brief update of the Expedition:
July 17th We landed in Ulanbaator, Mongolia. We spent a full day at the Children’s Place Orphanage where we got to see how they were using the donations we sent over. They had an old cook stove that they used to cook 3 meals a day for over 35 people and were anxiously awaiting the new 8-burner stove and double oven they had ordered. They were repairing the heating system (it was already freezing temps at night) and putting in new playground equipment and sand. The children had prepared a performance for us in thanks, and just watching their precious faces and smiles made me wish I could take every one of them home with us. All said and done, the orphanage will receive over $20,000 because of your generous donations!
July 19th We flew out to the western border town of Olgiy and the following day drove to the Russia/Mongolia border where Brian started running. We camped every night. At one point, we were so remote that we were 900 miles from the nearest hospital! Even though we were on the MAIN ROAD across Mongolia, we wouldn’t see a vehicle for several days. It was just us, our little team, and 1,000s of wild camels, horses, goats, sheep and shepherds herding their flocks.
The daily routine
5:40am Wake up 6:00am Breakfast in the meeting tent. Brian would eat and drink as much as possible. Breakfast usually consisted of hot rice or wild rice soup.
7:00am Figure out the right gear to wear. The weather was so unpredictable.
7:30am Brian would walk/run from camp. I (Lissa) would begin packing up. Brian usually walked the first 2 miles to loosen up.
10:30am The support vehicle with me & the kids would catch up with Brian somewhere around 10 miles. He would have a snack, change layers if needed. We would go ahead 5 miles and wait.
11:30am Lunch at 15 miles. Brian would appear and we’d have a picnic lunch followed by a 20 minute roadside nap.
1:00pm Again we would jump ahead 5 miles, wait.
2:00pm 5 miles and wait…
3:00pm 5 miles and wait…. (of course we came up with all kinds of primitive entertain, theres so much you can do with rocks, sling shots and goat horns, I never knew, not to mention who could catch the feistiest lizard and come out triumphant in a cage match.
4:00pm After Brian would reach us and have a snack, the kids and I would go ahead to set up camp as he finished out the 30 miles for the day.
6:00pm Dinner in the meeting tent (always some form of noodles, potatoes, and either horse meat or sheep, it’s not like the Mongolian Grill, I promise!)
8:00pm Into our tent for reading out loud ‘Lord of the Rings’, wrestling and sleep to prepare to do it all over again the next day.
August 29th We made it back to the capital city right on schedule. We took our first shower in 43 days! The next two days were spent with an amazing man named Baska. He does outreach to the children living in and around the city dumps. These children’s situations are so heartbreaking and devastating, mostly living in extreme poverty and neglect. Baska, now in his 40s, was raised in the very dump we visited and is only alive today because a man from a local church saw value and worth in him and rescued him from his situation. Baska regularly feeds over 200 homeless and starving children. They all know him by name and come running when they see or hear he is near. We were able to feed 300 children over the 2 days we were there. We were also able to give Baska $4,000 to purchase land to place ‘ger’ homes for the children as a safe place to feed them and for them to seek refuge at night. We were truly blessed to meet Baska.
September 1st We left Ulanbaator and headed towards the eastern border. Brian would run 6 days and rest on the 7th. During the last 2 weeks, he was running 33 miles a day to make up for lower mile days in the beginning. On September 17th, Brian touched the Mongolian/Chinese border, thanked the Lord for his provision, hugged everyone and took off his shoes with a giant sigh of relief! We flew back to the capital city and headed out for good ole’ USA on September 21st.
From our family to yours, truly, thank you for your support! You made this happen! You fed those precious children, you bought them a new safe place to take refuge at night and you provide them with heat this winter. You made this expedition possible! Thank you for believing in us! Thank you!
Love, the Hunters