Dr. Amarsaikhan Bazar in Mongolia Dr. Amarsaikhan Bazar in Mongolia 

Christian dentist works to end 'Gospel poverty' in Mongolia

Dr. Amarsaikhan Bazar, director of the Accelerating Ending Gospel Poverty project in Mongolia, recounts his activities in the fields of healthcare and evangelization.

By Linda Bordoni and Edoardo Giribaldi

"I worked more than 32 years in Mongolian National Medical University, and just two years ago, I moved more from the professional to a more evangelism side."

Speaking with Vatican News, Dr. Amarsaikhan Bazar described Pope Francis' Apostolic Journey in Mongolia as a milestone in the country's transition toward democracy and "freedom to know God and how God is so powerful."

Listen to the interview with Dr. Amarsaikhan Bazar

Humanitarian mission

Dr. Bazar's perspective is unique, as it blends a more practical and hands-on approach to Christianity through his job as a dentist, and a more "institutional" one as the director of the Accelerate Ending Gospel Poverty project in Mongolia; an initiative sustained by Haggai International.

“I'm working to coordinate all the Christian activities in order for the Mongolians to have more access to Gospel, and of course and as a medical professional, I am now leading a medical humanitarian mission in Mongolia.”

Religious freedom

Dr. Bazar expressed his enthusiasm for Pope Francis' visit, providing a brief overview of his country's history. Firstly, in the 15th century, influenced by Buddhism for over 400 years and then, "from 1921 to 1992," by communism.

"In the last 31 years, Mongolia has enjoyed democracy," Dr. Bazar explained, highlighting how the country is still undergoing a period of transition "from communism to market economy," also in what regards religious freedom, especially compared to formerly communist countries in Eastern Europe.

Cultural and economic influence

Tracing back one more time to Mongolia's history, Dr. Bazar spoke about how the country's geographical position, "sandwiched between China and Russia," has, throughout the years, forced Mongolia under their influence, not just culturally but also economically.

Dr. Bazar and his collaborators
Dr. Bazar and his collaborators

"Mongolia needs a lot of help from the Western countries," Dr. Bazar explained, "in terms of learning democracy, running government and governing people, but also education, and healthcare management."

Pope Francis' visit

The news of Pope Francis' visit immediately spread in "all major newspapers and social networks." People were described as "very excited," as they regard the Holy Father as "one of the most prestigious, most renowned religious leaders in the whole world."

Dr. Bazar also spoke about his personal experience. His academic formation brought him from Mongolia to Cuba and then to Tokyo, Japan, where he got his Ph.D., to end up working "almost 30 years from professor to vice president of the Mongolian National Medical University."

Mongolia's conversion

He recalled how, under communism, "we didn't know anything about Christianity. Everything was prohibited, and everything was not allowed."

Dr. Bazar and, most generally, Mongolia turned to Christianity mainly over the last 30 years thanks to the work of missionaries worldwide. "I received Jesus Christ as my Saviour, and that is my transformation in my life, and now I am very grateful that I know the Gospel," he affirmed.

Dr. Bazar operating in a Mongolian prison
Dr. Bazar operating in a Mongolian prison

A national conversion that brought, according to the data provided by the Center of the Global Christianity of the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, 1.9 percent of the Mongolian population to profess themselves as Christians.

“As a medical doctor, I say we have to love the people and cure them physically and spiritually.”

'A river in the desert'

Speaking about medical care in Mongolia, Dr. Bazar underlined the difficulty of reaching people living in rural areas in a country vastly extended, 1.5 million square kilometers, with a population of just 3.4 million people.

"If you look at the world map," Dr. Bazar concluded, referring to Mongolia, "there is only one country in the heart of Asia shining like a river in the desert."

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01 September 2023, 12:00