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Gym visit turns into witnessing opportunity

ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia (BP)–Six days a week, two hours a day.

You could say Will Everett* religiously maintains his weekly workout schedule — one he kept when he moved from Mongolia’s countryside to the capital city of Ulaanbaatar in 2005. Each day at the gym, Mongolian weight lifters and body builders waylay Everett for training advice or a discourse about the latest vitamin supplements.

Then on Sundays, some of these muscle-bound Mongolians gather to study English and the Bible with their mentor and friend. The gym is one of Everett’s mission fields.

Sükh* was one of the biggest drunks in his town, picking fights and instilling fear. When depression hit, he began going to the gym to feel better.

Through Everett’s mentorship, Sükh accepted Christ — surprising everyone who heard. A policeman who goes to the gym said, “You shouldn’t let that man in there. He’s a very bad man.” After hearing Sükh’s story, the officer said, “I can’t believe it. I’ve seen everything.”

“[Sükh] is the best evangelist,” Everett said. “He witnesses everywhere he goes. You see yourself multiplied so much more through someone like him.”

When Sükh began looking for a wife, he told Everett, “I want one like yours.”

“An American wife?”

“No, a godly wife.”

Sükh met a Christian girl, and they decided to “holy date.” Abstinence is a foreign concept to Mongolians who usually marry once the woman conceives a child.

The couple kept their dating promise. At their wedding, Sükh’s former teacher told Everett that Sükh was the worst student she’d ever had.

“I told him, ‘If you don’t straighten up, you’ll end up dead or in prison,'” she said.

Then, she told Everett about the visit Sükh made to her house a month before the wedding, apologizing for his behavior in school. He told her how to believe in Jesus, and the teacher did. She urged him to tell her grandsons because they were struggling just as he had.

He did, and the entire family accepted Christ.
*Name changed. Dea Davidson is a writer for the International Mission Board.

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  • Dea Davidson