Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | April 9, 2010

Inspired by Minjin

   I first met Minjin in Mongolia in 2008 when I took a team of volunteers from Kingsland to serve at my friend Jerry Smith’s homes for children. Jerry cares for children previously living in the sewers of Ulan Bator, abandoned in fields outside of Darkhan, or found living at the train stations along the Trans-Mongolian railway. Jerry and his wife Susan have done an amazing job of caring for and educating children who otherwise might be dead. Mongolia’s winter is no respecter of persons and claims vulnerable victims every year. Jerry rescued many of the kids under his care in the nick of time. His kids live in a warm, clean, and loving environment. 

Jean and Minjin

   Jerry recruited Minjin to serve as one of the translators for my 2008 team. Her mother is Mongolian and her father is half Mongolian and half Russian. Minjin’s father abandoned the family when her mother was pregnant with her younger sister. She has not seen him since. Raised by a single Mom in one of the toughest places on earth, Minjin is a remarkable young lady. She is intelligent, highly-motivated, and speaks excellent English. Minjin was 16 years-old at the time of our visit and became very good friends with Jean Carter, one of the older members of our team. Jean and Minjin have stayed in touch by e-mail over the past couple of years. 

   A few months ago Minjin came to the United States. The story of how she came is nothing short of inspirational. Minjin searched the internet for colleges in the United States and found a school in California that agreed to accept her. She made several trips from Darkhan to Ulan Bator to complete the paperwork to get a visa to travel to the United States. She and her mother saved the money for her travel and first-semester of school. Minjin boarded an airplane for the first time in her life in Ulan Bator and flew to Tokyo and then to Los Angeles. She enrolled in school and is working two jobs in order to support herself. She does not have a car. One job requires that she ride a bus for an hour and a half to a part-time job that pays her $7.00 per hour. Then, she rides the bus back after her shift ends at 11:00 PM. 

   Minjin does not have a computer so she goes to the school library to use public computers to complete her assignments. She took a computer class (without a personal computer) but could not afford the $150.00 book. But, she still passed the class! Minjin lives modestly and makes lots of personal sacrifices so that she can stay in school. She doesn’t complain, has a positive outlook on life, and is determined to stay in school. Her example makes it hard to tolerate the whining of kids who have every advantage and yet fail to accomplish much of anything. 

   Jean arranged for Minjin to travel to Katy during her Spring Break. We celebrated Minjin’s 18th birthday at Jean’s home last week. The following day, through the kindness of Kingsland members, we purchased a laptop computer and presented it to Minjin in my office. We also gave her a little stipend to assist with her living expenses. Minjin wept. She could hardly believe that folks who do not know her would express such kindness to her. Minjin’s visit to Katy became an opportunity for Minjin to experience the warmth and kindness of people who love others because they love God. Minjin is back in school in California. I know that God is going to use her to accomplish good things and to make a difference in her own country when she returns. She is an inspiration.


  1. Way to go, Jean!

  2. As a student, I can say that Minjin’s story is truly inspirational and motivating!

  3. I brought Minjin to Katy because I thought it was a ‘nice thing to do’. Getting to know her better turned out to be one of the greatest blessings for me!

    Minjin is a rare and remarkable young lady with the values we would all want in our daughter.

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