An Artistic Approach to the Gospel

Chris Lawrence

Mongolian art and culture flow through Ankhchimeg Bagbaatar's blood -- her father is a famous dramatic actor, and her brother is a painter. Ankhchimeg herself is a musician, playing the piano and the shanz, a traditional Mongolian three-stringed lute.

At age 13, Ankhchimeg began attending a prestigious music academy in Mongolia's capital city of Ulaan Baatar, a city renowned for its art and culture.

Ankhchimeg was immersed in the art scene. But she was miserable.

"One of my deep desires was to find friends whom I could share with freely," says Ankhichimeg, who is now 20. At home, her family had trouble relating, except when discussing art. At school, the environment was so competitive that it only increased her loneliness.

About 4 years ago, a friend from school invited her to attend a meeting of Action, the Cru ministry to students in Mongolia. At the meeting, the speaker gave a talk on loneliness -- how God's love is the greatest love a person can experience. Ankhchimeg was struck, committing her life to follow Christ.

Not only did the living God become her friend, but so did many of the other students from the gathering, including many who share her affinity for the arts. "They gave me such a warm welcome," she says. "Several of them dedicated time to help me understand the knowledge of God."

Just last year, Action ministry leaders started a group specifically for art and culture students. Ankhchimeg is on the leadership team, and 35 students attend the meetings each week.

Ankhchimeg often tells other artists she meets about her faith. One of them was an opera singer named Sogii, who indicated a decision to follow Christ. The most powerful thing she tells students like Sogii is how God became her greatest friend. "There is no loneliness in God's presence," she says.

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