Runaway Mongolian Cowgirl


I was once a runaway Mongolian cowgirl. Before I start, lets clarify a few things. I am not Mongolian, but I was in Mongolia. Second, I didn’t actually run away, my horse did.

When I was eleven my family moved to Irkutsk, Russia. Yep, I spent my junior high years living in Siberia. For our family vacation one of those years we went to Mongolia. I loved it the moment I saw the mountains out the window of our propeller airplane. It was beautiful and felt strangely like home.

One of our days there we went with some friends out into the most rural of places. Eventually we pull up to a ger ( a ger is a type of portable housing similar to a yurt). The rolling countryside was dotted with white gers and the nomadic families who live in them. Herds of animals were roaming the hills all around.

We visited a family in their ger, ate some very interesting food & absorbed stories of their nomadic lives. Then came the fun part. They were going to let me ride one of their horses. This was fun until I saw the saddle. It was made of wood. An uncomfortable sport just got more uncomfortable.

There were no fences. Just thousands of miles of rolling hills. My incredibly adventurous parents told me to go wherever I wanted , just don’t loose sight of the ger. So I did. I roamed free and it was grand.

The ger where my family was waiting had become just a white speck so I decided to go back. But along the way something happened. I heard a yell from a herd on the next hill over & my horse took off. It soon became evident that the families assist each other in gathering their livestock & this guy needed some help. He recognized the horse I was on and called for us to come help him. Clearly the horse knew the drill and soon I was herding goats with an old Mongolian cowboy. Wish you could have seen his face when a 12 year old American girl showed up instead of the horse’s owner. I would venture to say that this nomadic herdsman had never seen a white girl in person. At least that is what his expression communicated.

I was completely useless. The cowboy kept giving me instructions but I had no clue what he was saying (this was most likely due to a combination of my not speaking Mongolian & his not having many teeth). Thankfully my horse knew what to do. I just sat on him & held on for about 10 minutes while the horse did all the work. Round & round until all the goats were gathered.

How do an old Mongolian cowboy & an adolescent American say goodbye after rounding up goats? Neither of us knew, so there was a very painfully awkward attempt. I bid farewell to my perplexed Mongolian cowboy buddy and rode my horse back to my ger. It was one of the most unusual experiences of my life.

I was thinking about this story the other day & I realized something. I realized that it is how God works. When He asks us to do something, it doesn’t mean go figure out how to do it. I could never have figured out how to herd goats with a stranger in Mongolia. But I was riding on a horse who did.

All we do is hold on to God while He does it. We simply go with Him wherever He takes us. He knows how to do the things He has called us to.

Our job is to go along for the ride.


Filed under Uncategorized

13 responses to “Runaway Mongolian Cowgirl

  1. amazing post….and to be honest, I was expecting to get to the end of this story and read that you made the whole thing up….but you didn't! What an experience!

  2. Melissa, it really DID happen. One of the strangest stories, I know! Glad you enjoyed it!

  3. What a story, and a great reminder. We don't have to have it all figured out {Praise the Lord!}, just trust and hold on tight. That's what matters and He'll show us the ropes 🙂

  4. Somehow I have never heard that story, though I do remember you disappearing on your horse for a while

  5. Incredible, Elizabeth. Thank you for sharing. Something about you and your writing voice makes my feet feel so firmly planted – like, man, everything's really okay and this is not too hard to do – this journey.Thanks for the encouragement in just being available and being like a kid at heart. peace and Joy! to you and your precious family.Sue in Waco

  6. Well, next time I disappear on a horse in a foreign country, you should ask what happened.

  7. Sue, that may be one of the best compliments I've gotten. Glad my blog blesses you. Thanks for letting me know!Liz

  8. That WAS an adventurous day! I remember that the saddle (I rode for a while, too.) was terrible, but the non-adjustable stirrups were worse…so high that my knees were almost under my chin!

  9. My memories from that day were 1. Watching your pink sweatshirt gets smaller and smaller as you rode away.2. How incredibly beautiful the countryside smelled in spite of the horses.3. Drinking the Mongolians herder's traditional drink of fermented mare's milk.

  10. Oh, yes. I remember how funny you looked with your knees so high.

  11. I think we should go back. I loved that trip!

  12. Pingback: And Her Children Will Rise and Call Her Blessed…

  13. Pingback: How They Blog Interviews Liz Griffin

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s