Bone Flicking

Have you ever heard of “bone flicking”? I didn’t think so.  Well, let me tell you about the unique Christian outreach program envisioned by one of our remote veterinarians.

Tserendorj was born in Govisumber Province in 1980. Being a veterinarian’s son and a herder’s grandson, he grew up close to animals and livestock. His path to becoming a vet began when he started spending summer vacations with his grandparents at their herding site. He tended sheep, rode horses, and even milked the cows occasionally.

Plastic toys had not been introduced to Mongolia at that time, so children invented their own games from whatever was available.  Sheep ankle bones were a popular choice.  One game that has remained popular is played with a piece of bone about the size of a Mongolian 50 cent coin (a bit larger than a U.S. quarter).  The bone is ‘flicked’ with the middle finger through the air at a small target just over 15 feet away, and teams of six compete against each other, two at a time from each team.  Think of it as bone bocce ball.

Tserendorj became addicted to the various bone games at the competitive level, and he became the champion of Govisumber Province. All was going well until he became a veterinarian and came to work with V.E.T. Net. It was there that he met his future wife, Undraa (you can read about their story in Tend My Sheep). Tserendorj quickly found he had to make a choice – either give up “bone flicking” or give up Undraa.  Tserendorj and Undraa now have three children.  Good call!

Although Tserendorj sacrificed the sport he loved for the woman he would marry, he never lost interest in the game. Here is what he says:  ”I love horse riding, singing, and poetry; and most of all I have loved playing the ankle bone flicking game since I was seven years old. One of my dreams is to build a Christian ankle bone flicking team. I see this as a chance to minister to the ankle bone flickers in Mongolia.”

Here is the rest of the story:

Tserendorj recently left to return to Govisumber Province with one of our V.E.T. Net interns, Ugnaa.  It so happens that during the several months he has been at V.E.T. Net, Ugnaa has been constantly exposed to the Gospel and to Christians living in service to the Lord. Before he left on his trip, he was asked by one of the teachers if he had decided to follow Jesus. Ugnaa simply replied, “Jesus is itching me.”  What a unique and wonderful way of putting it!  Could it be that the Holy Spirit is tickling Ugnaa’s heart?

Ugnaa is also a “bone flicking” enthusiast, and he and Tserendorj will play as a team in an event during their trip. As Tserendorj says, “I want to get close to Ugnaa through our love of this sport so that I can help him give his life to Christ.”  God truly works in mysterious ways!