Mongolia has little arable land and suffers from corruption, poverty, alcoholism, and human trafficking. Despite the government’s provision of education for every citizen, the poverty rate is still near 30%. The government also demands that religion be kept out of the public spheres, keeping schools from discussing religion at all. Priests cannot dress as priests in public, and it is illegal to publicly profess one’s faith. Much of this regulation comes from the philosophy that religion is just “the opium of the people.”
This blog post describes the beginning of Mission Hurst's work in Mongolia and recounts the difficulty for a Philippines-born priest to adjust to a cold environment with a new language. There were no native Catholics, no english speakers, and no Catholic texts translated to Mongolian. Despite these challenges, the priests fell in love with the people of Mongolia, and immediately began helping them in any way they could.