Serving with Bold Faith in the Military

Naomi Arnold and Liz Hartwell

Early in his military career, Alton Tsagaanbaatar* would wait outside a laundromat. Soon, a friend would of his arrive. Then another. The young men were meeting to pray for each other and for other cadets. Ten years later, Alton’s faith continues to define his life.

Alton is a second lieutenant in the army in Mongolia. He served in Afghanistan and is currently part of a brigade in his home country in Central Asia.  

“I’m so thankful to God. I didn’t choose Him. By His grace, he has chosen me,” said Alton, who accepted Christ as his savior in middle school.

Years later he attended the military university in his city. While there, he was invited to attend a leadership seminar hosted by the military ministry of Cru in Mongolia. The military ministry helped him grow in faith more.

After graduation, he decided to follow a career in the military. He said he decided to serve in the army and serve with military ministry, in order to reach places where no other Christians have been able to go.

“Serving in the army is always a challenge. Colleagues are persecuting me and always against us,” said Alton. He found that in the most difficult times, his friends came to him and prayed for him. Sometimes they even studied the Bible in the car.

Both as a cadet and later as a lieutenant, Alton helped lead the ministry. “I wanted to show others how you could serve in the army as a christian and with bold faith,” said Alton. So he led Bible studies, helped with outreaches, and shared his faith with those around him.

Alton’s perseverance was not in vain. God raised up even more Christian leaders within the military. There are now 4 believers in his regiment. They reach out to the people around them, host events and study the Bible together.

“He is really passionate” said Sumya, who leads the military ministry of Cru in Mongolia. Alton and Sumya were cadets together. Both are committed to seeing God transform the people serving in the military of Mongolia.

Slowly, people in the army are starting to have a more favorable view towards Christians. While things are still hard, Alton is hopeful that some of the believers God has raised up will take be placed in high positions in the army. That way they can open doors and use their influence for the Gospel, just as they are now.

“I decided to show [others] how to serve in the army as a Christian with bold faith,” said Alton. Desiring to have a more effective witness and face the realities a person in the military must face, Alton went to Afghanistan. Next he is preparing for another United Nations peacekeeping assignment.

Alton’s passion to help other officers has led him to pursue more training and education. He is currently pursuing a degree in masters military psychology.

Although he sees that the Christian officers are rare, Alton hopes that eventually these officers will reach the top positions in the military.

“I believe that in 8-10 years, many Christian officers will be high-ranking officers and they will open the darkest, most closed doors of our country’s army,” said Alton.

Check out Cru Military Ministry International

*Name changed for security reasons

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