On the way home – 2014 (John)

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Telling Jonathan’s story

It has been two years, Jonathan.  First time I went in 2012, I was inspired by your dream and wanted to be part of the team to live it out.  I went without knowing much about this country Mongolia that fascinated you, except that the people are traditionally nomads and their country neighbours my motherland.

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2012 Mongolian Team

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The kids at Soccer Camp 2012 singing us a naadam song as thanks.

 

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On his way to the naadam horse race (2012).

With Candace’s and the boys’ great emotional support, I packed my bag and went!  I was blown away!!  I went home deeply inspired and touched.  I then understood why you were so fascinated about Mongolia!  The people there are so pure, content, positive, and happy.  Living their simple lives in the endless plains of the Mongolian Steppes, enjoying happy times with their family closely bound by their deep traditions in the warm gers, going through harsh winters with perseverance and strength, without fears… They have so much in common with you!  I was touched by their courage and strength to live… as nomads, as warriors against cancer.  I learnt the love that drives them to go on: the love of lives and nature; the love for their families.  I was moved by the innocent smiles that the Mongols patients had, even when battling life threatening diseases… just like you did.  I was touched by the love that the parents showed by being with them and holding them tightly… just like your parents did.  I learnt fatherhood at a deeper level when Steve was running around collecting Mongolian stones for you, and when he was praying in silence in Karakorum, and him turning your love into helping others.  I was inspired by the love of the doctors and nurses in Mongolia taking care of their little patients, even putting them before their own families… just like your doctors and nurses did.  I got to know two missionary families who went way way way before us to the Land of Blue Sky answering the Lord’s calling, taking care of Mongol children and being living testimonies of Christ’s love.  Two years later, these inspirations didn’t fade a bit; they only grew stronger!

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Bone marrow needles used by the hospital in 2012. They now have single-use needles.

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A mother holding her child tight.

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Visiting with patient and her mother.

Thank you so much, Jonathan.  I would not have the opportunity to learn and experience all these without you.  Thank you for having such wonderful dream and letting us be part of it.  Jonathan, I thank our Father for giving you such a loving heart and being such strong living testimony of His love and sacrifice.  I can tell you that we made many friends in the Mother & Children’s Hospital and we are honoured to partner in battling childhood diseases in the U.S. and in Mongolia.  There are many things that we have learnt from each other.  We are making many changes to take better care of the patients entrusted to us because of you!  Although I may not be able to go back to Mongolia in the near future, I am forever bound with them via the friendship that is beyond time and space, just like ours.

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2014 Mongolian Team.

Please continue to watch over us and inspire us.  We are honoured to partner with you to do all these and I will continue to tell these amazing stories… all started by one child’s dream.  The time will come when we meet again and chat and laugh over our little travel stories in person (milk curds in coffee, fly camp, Russian van…), until then, take good care of yourself and your family.

Video: WJXT Shares Jonathan’s Story & The Mongolia Bound Mission

Donate to Next Year’s Mission Online!

Thanks to the support of our beloved friends at Wolfson Children’s Hospital, you can now donate to the next Mongolia Bound mission online here.

There is so much work to be done, from helping to get essential medicines to proper equipment to medical training; your contribution will help establish a life-saving pediatric oncology program in Mongolia’s only children’s hospital, Mother & Child Hospital.

Reflecting on the Journey: Sally Shares

I just said goodbye to the rest of the group which means my time in Mongolia is nearing the end. I can’t believe how fast the week has flown by and how much has transpired each day. From the time I landed I knew this was going to be an adventure of a lifetime and that it was! When the baggage belt stopped at the airport and I was left standing without luggage I knew this was going to be fun! Looking back on the week, losing my luggage made me like the Mongolians we met in a way. They make do with the resources they have! So what if you wear the same dress for almost three days and don’t have all those things we think are necessities. I will admit I was overjoyed when my luggage arrived just like the doctors and nurses were happy to gain the resources we had to offer!

The first time I met the nurses on the hem/onc floor they were apprehensive but we soon became quick friends. Zina, who has worked on that unit for over 20 years, also has 2 additional jobs to help provide for her family. She welcomed me and I followed her around with my interpreter, Toggi, at my side. There are two nurses who care for 24 patients and they do everything from mixing their own chemo to doing their own type and crossmatching. On top of the inpatients, they also see the patients who come for outpatient chemo. They are truly amazing!

As hem/onc nurses we share the same passion to provide the best care we know how to give. The nurses asked me lots of questions about how I take care of patients with leukemia and how I talk to parents. I was happy to share. One thing they didn’t know how to care for was a child who had mucositis. Eric and I had noticed a few children with mucositis and the nurses say they see it a lot but didn’t know how to care for it. I told them about our “magic mouthwash” and they were so excited. John talked with their pharmacists and they have all the ingredients to make it so it will soon be available!


Giving a lecture to the hospital’s nurses


An infant patient with ALL waiting to be seen

Each day brought a new experience. From early morning explorations with John to watching a Mongolian dance and singing performance with Rita I enjoyed every minute. On my last day, I was stopped by a parent in the hallway of the hospital. She surprised me because she knew English well. Her daughter had been diagnosed one month ago with leukemia and they were going home to the countryside soon. She was nervous about taking her home and asked me to tell her how to care for her. We discussed the important signs to watch for and what to expect. She was grateful and it was the perfect way to end my week.

After leaving the hospital on our last day, we visited the orphanage where the rest of the group had been all week. The children were adorable and it was apparent how much they had enjoyed the week. I was humbled when one of the workers invited me into see her ger. As I entered, I followed Margie and took off my shoes and then stepped over the threshold which is the Mongolian custom. We sat down for snacks and conversation. But the next thing that happened took me by surprise. She offered for me to try on her deel (traditional dress) and I did with much enthusiasm. She dressed me in her ornate deel, her grandmother’s hat and placed her medal (which all Mongolians receive for having 4 children)on me as well. We took pictures and she asked me send her the one of the two of us. I was completely honored! See the picture below.

A good friend told me to bring a notebook and each night I came home and recorded everything that had occurred that day. I’ve already reread it several times and I’ll forever cherish the memories of this incredible experience.

Welcome to Mongolia Bound!


photo via

Welcome to Mongolia Bound! We are seven people who are bound together by a common mission: to help mend the bodies and spirits of children in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital city.

This journey would not be taking place were it not for the special bond that our son, brother, patient, and friend Jonathan Soud shared with Dr. Eric Sandler, his hematologist-oncologist.

Jonathan, a merry traveler who was constantly ‘visiting’ places he hadn’t been by using Google Street View or watching Globe Trekker, counted Mongolia his favorite place to visit in the future. He shared with Dr. Sandler that his very favorite episode of Globe Trekker focused on Mongolia; unexpectedly, Mongolia was also on the top of Dr. Sandler’s list for places to visit because he wanted to help children who had leukemia there but didn’t have access to the same sophisticated treatments.

Jonathan was known by all for his radiant smile and compassion for others. With the expertise of our medical team (Dr. Eric Sandler, John Ng, and Sally Hendricks) and the support of our volunteers (Justin, Steve, Paul, and Natalie) we hope to spread this love and joy at The Children’s Place of Mongolia and Mother & Child Hospital in Ulaanbaatar.

We will also be lucky enough to stay in a traditional ger (yurt) in the country as well as experience Mongolia’s national festival, Naadam.

Stay updated on our trip by signing up for email updates on the top right and following us on Twitter & Instagram @mongoliabound.

We can be contacted throughout our journey at mongoliaboundteam@gmail.com.

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