(ABC 6 News) -- A young man from Mongolia is in Rochester to say thanks to the church and family that saved his life twelve years ago.
He was one of the three sponsored children who traveled to Rochester for a life-saving heart surgery at the Mayo Clinic.
Bayassa Bars, age 26, is a typical young adult. He's happily engaged, has a career plan, and he recently finished college all the way in Mongolia.
"To be an interior designer," he said.
But the fruition of his dreams could not have been possible without a life saving surgery in 2002.
"I had a hole in my heart," said Bars.
He was one of three children from Mongolia who went to Mayo Clinic for heart surgeries long ago, thanks to the Samaritan's Purse, an international relief organization supported by Christian communities.
"I really thank God, who brought me here for this amazing project," reflected Bars.
Twelve years later after his surgery, he sent a Facebook message to the family who took him in during those crucial weeks.
"When we said goodbye to him at the airport, we were all sad and crying, we thought we would never see him again," said Kim Schmidt, who's parents, with the support of their church, volunteered to care for Bayasaa, following a mission to be a part of the Children's Heart Project, one of the many programs through the Samaritan's Purse that reaches out to those where vital healthcare needs are inaccessible.
"So we are his American family, his church family here in Minnesota," said Schmidt.
This week, Bayassa will be doing some reaching out of his own, giving out his eternal thanks to those who helped him along the way.
On Tuesday, a benefit concert for Bayassa will be held at Bethel Lutheran Church which helped sponsor a host family for him twelve years ago.
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