Sunday, Nov. 18
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." - 2 Timothy 4:7 (NIV)
Most of our North American team members returned to their respective homes on Sunday after traveling for more than 1 1/2 days. They brought with them many memories from the orphanage, trekking in Humla, sharing the Gospel, encouraging the church, and serving with brothers and sisters in Christ.
Members of the trekking team enter the village of Thehe in Humla, above, while Caryn Stiteler shares a special moment with two orphans in Kathmandu, below.
Saturday, Nov. 17
We worshiped the Lord in two Nepali churches in Kathmandu with 11 team members attending Pastor Tej's SARA church and two of the team going with Megh Gurung to his church. Gary Fallesen shared with the SARA (Savior Alone Redeems Asians) church about Tej's prayerful desire to build their own structure after 16 years of renting and five moves. He read from 2 Corinthians 9 and told how God had spoken to him through verse 9 ("As it is written: 'He has scattered abroad His gifts to the poor..."). Climbing For Christ delivers many gifts - from financial to prayer support - to people the world considers poor. These people, however, are rich in their knowledge and relationship with Jesus. After praying for the church and Pastor Tej, he asked Tej to share what the Holy Spirit was putting on his heart.
Tej talked about Jesus seeing the multitudes and being filled with compassion (Matthew 9:35). "The laborers are few so we have to pray for who He will send," Tej told the church. He went on to speak about the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).
"I was so blessed when I heard the news from Humla because I knew it would happen," he said about Climbing For Christ's recent trek. "We had been praying. It was so far to go, no (roads), and small (planes). We count four (who came to Christ), but there are more because many have heard. Jesus had compassion on the Humli and He sent you."
Tej standing on property where he envisions a church being built.
Worship at the SARA church.
The team members who had served in the SARA orphanage outside Kathmandu also sang with the children and told "The Best Story of All."
At Megh's church, Mike Heitland and Pearce Beissinger taught about the Gospel and church unity (Philippians 2).
There is a unity of purpose among the Climbing For Christ laborers who are being and will be sent to serve in Nepal alongside Tej and Megh. They are helping to grow the body of Christ here. As Gary told the SARA church: "Climbing For Christ's mission is to build the church - the body of believers - and to build churches." A priority from this mission will be the construction of a SARA church in Kathmandu. We are joining Tej in prayer for this blessed opportunity.
Friday, Nov. 16
Our 13-member team combined to do outreach into a village on the outskirts of Kathmandu, handing out tracts and sharing the Gospel in a mostly Hindu community. We then visited the orphanage, where five of our team spent more than a week serving children sponsored by our Project 1:27. The trekking team members who had been to Humla during that time got to meet the orphans and they sang the songs and did dances that the orphanage team had taught them. We also were blessed to deliver gifts sent by six of the sponsor parents in the United States.
Ann Marie Pavone, left, and Jill Stojkovic lead mission team members and orphans, below, in song.
"When they came (at the start of the trip), the children were very quiet," said Pastor Tej, whose ministry oversees the orphanages Climbing For Christ supports. "Today they were singing and happy.
"Sincerely they served," he said about the orphanage team (Leanne Bohn, Kathy Maniace, Ann Marie Pavone, Caryn Stiteler and Jill Stojkovic). "You could see how much it meant to them; today they were crying."
The women will see the orphans once again at church on Saturday. Most of the team will help lead worship at Tej's SARA (Savior Alone Redeems Asians) church, while Mike Heitland and Pearce Beissinger will help Megh Gurung lead worship at his church. Churches in Nepal worship on Saturday. After worship and lunch, most of the team will prepare for evening flights back to North America.
Thursday, Nov. 15
SARA (Savior Alone Redeems Asians) church in Kathmandu hosted a women’s seminar taught by our orphanage team and 37 women attended. Caryn Stiteler began by sharing the importance of maintaining a Godly home. She included portions of her personal testimony in her sharing time. Jill Stojkovic spoke on the high calling of being a mom and the importance of Scripture in the home. The ladies then shared a lunch of homemade Nepali foods they had prepared. After lunch, Leanne Bohn spoke on several areas of concern in regards to person hygiene.
Our team then pampered the women with a hand-softening treatment and enjoyed some “girlfriend” time while painting their nails. Each of the women received a special gift. This time together was concluded with a focused time of prayer as each woman came forward to be prayed over. We shared many laughs and tears with these sweet sisters in Christ.
Wednesday, Nov. 14
The two teams were reunited this evening in Kathmandu after a day of travel for the trekkers and another day of VBS camp for the orphanage workers. Stories were shared and people who are experiencing for the first time this sort of mission experience in an undeveloped nation began to process some of what they have seen.
The trekkers flew back from the remote Far West district of Humla, leaving Simikot shortly after sunrise and flying through Nepalgunj along the border of India and then on to Kathmandu later in the day. This team, which had been in a part of the country where there are no roads and the only pavement is a short mountain-side runway, returned to Nepal's largest city at the height of the Tihar festival of lights.
The only pavement in Humla: Simikot's airport runway at 9,730 feet (2,985 meters). The nine trekking team members accounted for most of the 12-passenger flight out of Simikot.
The noise and bustle of Kathmandu cannot drown out thoughts of what occurred during the past week in Humla: four people being led to Jesus, worship in a small house church in Simikot, praying in secret for the only two Christians in the village of Thehe, showing the Jesus Film in three villages, and presenting the Gospel to children at a small school in Limtang and on a rooftop in Thehe. To God alone be the glory!
In addition, today the orphanage team continued thier work with the orphans as well as the children at the SARA (Savior Alone Redeems Asians) church. Jill Stojkovic shared a lesson on Easter/the Ressurection. The children then made beautiful butterflies to symbolize new life.
After lunch, Caryn Stiteler shared a lesson on the Good News. Every time Caryn said "Good News" the kids were instructed to give a thumbs up. The kids paid close attention and raced to be the first to put their thumb up. Then the children made tote bags that they can use as an evengelism tool when sharing the Good News with others. It was great to work one on one with each child as we painted the bags together.
Then it was time to say goodbye. We will see some of the children on Saturday at SARA church, but others will attend their own church. Saying goodbye is always hard, but saying goodbye to these beautiful children was especially difficult. However, there is more work to do! The team is looking forward to all that the Lord has in store for the women's conference tomorrow.
Tuesday, Nov. 13
HUMLA – When we arrived in Hildum on Monday there was one Christian living there. When we hiked out this morning, two more Hindu had joined the body of Christ. We were blessed to share with, witness to and pray for Ram and Reshma, our new brother and sister in Christ.
Megh Gurung giving an audio Bible to Ram
after he asked to receive Jesus in his heart.
Melissa Waheibi, left, and Brandy Everts played
volleyball with and helped bring Reshma to Christ.
We trekked only 90 minutes to climb back to Simikot, where the trekking team is scheduled to stay one more night before flying back to Kathmandu.
KATHMANDU – Today was day one of VBS at the SARA (Savior Alone Redeems Asians) church. We were especially blessed by the 75 children that attended. Leanne Bohn and Kathy Maniace shared about the Good Samaritan in the morning and the children put together first aid kits. Singing time has been exuberant and spirit filled. In addition to the English songs we have been working on, the children shared some of their favorite Nepali songs as well. Jill Stojkovic taught the teen boys to play "go fish" as the younger kids made more sparkling fish crafts left over from yesterday’s time at the orphanage; whole ocean's worth! The kids were dismissed for lunch downstairs in groups of 20 and we kept the rest entertained until it was our turn for lunch. In the afternoon Ann Marie Pavone shared about Samson and the children made a necklace craft.
It is festival week in town and every day a different animal is honored. But, at the SARA church, we gave all honor, glory and praise to Jesus Christ!
We’re looking forward to meeting up with the trekking part of our Mission: Nepal team and sharing the God moments we’ve experienced with one another. Thank you all for your continued prayers!
Monday, Nov. 12
HUMLA – In a district where there are no roads, only trails, the trekking team continued to make its way from village to village. The third day of trekking began in Barkhang, where a dozen people had watched the Jesus Film on Sunday night. We prayed for the Buddhist family on whose property we'd camped, and then again hit the trail.
Brandy Everts, in red, and Adrianne Michele tie bracelets
on the arms of school children in Thehe.
The nine Climbing For Christ members and two friends descended for about one hour down 1,200 vertical feet on a steep trail that led to Thehe. There are two Christ followers in Thehe, a fairly large Buddhist village. We met with more than 75 school children and gave out Gospel bracelets while telling the greatest story ever told. We then went inside the cave-like home of Dhankali Borah and Dhansashi Bandari to pray secretly for them to be strong in their faith.
Dhankali, holding one of her two children.
Dhankali and Dhansashi, a sister and brother, are very poor. But they have a great reward in heaven.
It was another three hours of ascents and descents to Hildum, a small village on the way to Simikot. We again showed the Jesus Film, this time to 14 people. "He who has ears, let him hear" (Matthew 13:9).
KATHMANDU – Twenty-seven pairs of eyes patiently waited as we prepared for our lesson at the orphanage today. Kathy Maniace and Leanne Bohn shared a teaching on loaves and fishes and then the children diligently made a beautiful sequin fish craft that they added to the other crafts proudly displayed on the classroom walls. Then we all hopped into a bus and traveled off road on an adventure for a day of play and lunch.
The orphanage team practiced their trekking skills by walking up 4 million stairs, up a mountain side. OK, maybe not 4 million, but lots. Instead of walking all the way to the top of the steps, where a shrine is located, we stopped and sang and prayed to the one true God. We then enjoyed outdoor games and a picnic lunch. An exciting time at the picnic was not when the ants invaded, but when a whole barrel of monkeys came down the hill, making the children and us laugh hysterically. Then the rain came. So back in the bus and back down the bumpy road we all went. At the end of each day it is becoming harder and harder to say goodbye.
After our time at the orphanage, the five orphanage team members ventured out for dinner and encountered a few street children. We offered them their choice of dinner and of course, they chose ice cream! Guess some things are universal: all kids love ice cream. We're anticipating another glorious day Tuesday with our orphanage friends and the children from the SARA (Savior Alone Redeems Asians) church. There should be around 60 of God's most precious ones there. Thank you all for your continued prayers.
Sunday, Nov. 11
HUMLA – On Saturday we said we were blessed to start the day the best way possible (in worship). But today started in an amazing way as well – with a young woman accepting Jesus into her heart.
Chhoringin, who is perhaps 15 years old and a neighbor of the family that hosted us in Torpa, was treated by Dr. Pearce for bleeding on Saturday evening. She had bled for one month. This morning we shared Mark 5:24-34 – the story of the bleeding woman – and told Chhoringin about the healing power of Jesus and the Great Physician who is our God. After she heard this she said she wanted to pray to our God.
We did some more teaching with her before praying for our new sister in Christ and giving her a Nepali Bible. All the angels in heaven rejoiced with us.
Our Buddhist host, whom we showed the Jesus Film Saturday evening, also expressed an interest in learning more about Christ. We gave them each Gospel bracelets, which tell the story from Creation to Paradise. Then we prayed that they would come to salvation as well.
It was then time to trek and the team hiked for five hours in light snowfall as well as warm sunshine, climbing up to Limatang at 10,840 feet (3,320 meters) before descending to Barkhang at 9,520 feet (2,920 meters). The team visited a school outside Limatang and gave eight students Gospel bracelets. When Elaine Fallesen started to teach about the bracelets the children did not know who God was, so she explained a little but more about God and creation.
KATHMANDU – It was the second day of Vacation Bible School today. The team was blessed to be joined by 11 new children; 9 from an orphanage 6 hours away. Ann Marie Pavone shared the story of Daniel and the kids made an angel craft with LOTS AND LOTS of gold glitter!! The children sang the new songs they have learned, now complete with hand motions and dancing. They especially liked "Whenever it Rains," when we used spray bottles to make it “rain.” The kids enjoyed a boondoggle and plastic canvas bookmark craft and took their time making them exactly the way they wanted. A box of popsicle sticks and two skeins of colorful yarn soon became beautiful "God's eyes" and brought smiles and some happy tears to our eyes. The orphanage team is in love!
Saturday, Nov. 10
HUMLA – The day began in the best way possible: in worship. In Nepal, the Church meets on Saturday. Our trekking team returned to the lone house church in Simikot and joined 8 local believers in singing praise, praying and speaking from the Word of God. Each member of our team shared an encouragement and Gary Fallesen focused on 1 Corinthians 12, specifically verse 27: “now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” He told them that they are not alone in their belief, but that we are with them as part of the body of Christ.
The team then offered more from the Word, as God put it upon their hearts. Elaine Fallesen read from 1 Timothy 4:12 because members of the Simikot church are young; Chris Michelle read John 6:37; Michael Heitland read Matthew 5:11-12, and Pearce Beissinger read from Ephesians 2 and 6.
Worshiping in the house church in Simikot.
After praying again for the church at Simikot, the trekkers hit the trail and hiked for four hours to reach the village of Torpa. The team has been joined on the trek by Hari from the Simikot church and a Buddhist friend of guide Megh Gurung’s, who is helping us meet people in the various villages. We shared the Jesus film in Nepali with one such family at whose home we are camping.
KATHMANDU – Today the orphanage team attended service at one of Pastor Tej's SARA churches. Even though the team could not understand the language, they could definitely feel the Holy Spirit moving in the people through their worship and prayer. Jill Stojkovic spoke during the service sharing various scriptures to strengthen and encourage them. After service a group stayed and Jill shared about the importance of the body of Christ using their spiritual gifts to support Pastor Tej and SARA (Savior Alone Redeems Asians).
Three out of the five of the team members served in the Sunday school classroom, sharing the greatest story of all with a very enthusiastic group. The children especially enjoyed dressing up in costume and playing out the story. The orphanage team looks forward to a wonderful experience for all when the children share the skit at service next Saturday!
Friday, Nov. 9
HUMLA – The trekking team had an early morning flight on a 14-passenger prop airplane from Nepalgunj to Simikot, the district headquarters for Humla. Our nine-person international team (seven Americans, one Canadian and one Nepali) arrived safely on the mountainside airstrip in Simikot.
An airport view of the beautiful Himalayas.
While meeting with some locals to discuss five days of trekking, we learned there is a small house church (10-12 people) here and we were introduced to one of the youth, a young man named Sonam. After planning the route for this Evangelic Expedition, the team went for an acclimatization hike – climbing up from 9,730 feet (2,985 meters) to 11,840 feet (3,305 meters).
Megh with a man who accepted Jesus after meeting our team on the trail.
Along the way our walk intersected with Ratan, and guide Megh Gurung began sharing the Gospel. Ratan was moved to accept Christ and Megh gave him a Bible. He also invited him to worship with us Saturday morning at the Simikot Church.
The team went to the church late in the day for praise-and-worship with three youth: Hari, Than and Narendra. They told us the HIStory of their 5-year-old church and we prayed for them in the face of the persecution they experience in this village, which is predominantly Buddhist with some Hindus.
KATHMANDU – Our orphanage team had its first contact with the children today. They are teaching VBS lessons for three days at the Project 1:27 orphanage, hosting a two-day childrens' camp, and putting on a women's seminar. Today, the children learned about creation and Christmas, then enjoyed a "stained glass" craft.
The team learned many new names and faces, and made many new friends. Everyone looks forward to continuing these precious relationships in the days ahead.
Thursday, Nov. 8
Our one team split into two as the trekking group left Kathmandu and flew to Nepalgunj, a Mid-Western city located in the plains near the India border. It was only a one-hour flight on a turbo-prop plane and there is another, shorter flight to Simikot on Friday. But the 1 1/2 hours of flying take two days because of limited domestic connections and Simikot's remote location.
Arriving in Nepalgunj as the sun goes down through the haze that is southern Nepal (along the border of India).
Nepalgunj was eye-opening for several of the team members as they began to better see the stark poverty of Nepal. Eight of the 13 North Americans (Pearce Beissinger, Brandy Everts, Elaine and Gary Fallesen, Mike Heitland, Adrianne and Chris Michele, and Melissa Waheibi) are en route to the Far West with Nepali member and guide Megh Gurung for an evangelic trek.
The other five North Americans (Leanne Bohn, Kathy Maniace, Ann Marie Pavone, Caryn Stiteler and Jill Stojkovic) stayed in Kathmandu to work with Pastor Tej and minister to the Project 1:27 orphans, and the children and women of Tej's SARA church. They'll begin teaching the orphans on Friday.
While team members are separated, they remain one in the Spirit.
"There is one body and one Spirit - just as you were called to one hope when you were called..."
— Ephesians 4:4 (NIV)
Wednesday, Nov. 7
The surprise (for the team) visit of Sumitra from the village of Dapcha was a highlight of our first full day in-country. Sumitra is the young lady who has inspired our outreach in this predominantly Hindu and Buddhist nation.
Sumitra, the “poster child” for Climbing For Christ’s ministry in Nepal, visits with our team in Kathmandu.
Sumitra and her brother Prajwal came to Kathmandu from the church at Dapcha, which was the first of two churches Climbing For Christ has helped build in Nepal. The visit was arranged by Gary Fallesen and Pastor Tej.
Earlier in the day, the team made a cultural and religious survey of the city with visits to Swayamblu temple and Pashupati. Swayamblu, also known as the "Monkey Temple," was overrun with people preparing for another religious festival. They will worship crows, monkeys, ox, and man.
"People want to own the righteousness by doing this work," Pastor Tej said, referring to walking circles around prayer wheels, burning candles and incense, and other deeds.
After climbing up to the monkey temple, the team went down to Pashupati to observe the burning of bodies in the Bagmati River. This ceremony is done in the shadow of one of the world's most significant Hindu temples of the Lord Shiva. Shiva, known as the destroyer god, is one of 330 million gods and goddesses within Hinduism.
Sumitra and her family were Hindu before she was healed from paralysis at the church at Dapcha, and converted to Christianity. Read her story on our achived Web site. CLICK HERE
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God." — Ephesians 2:8 (NIV)
Tuesday, Nov. 6
The 11 team members from North America landed in Hong Kong at 2:30 p.m., 1:30 a.m. in New York City, the place we'd taken off from 15 hours before. A short layover, during which we added our 12th member (Michael Heitland of Fargo, ND), and another 7 hours of scheduled flying to Kathmandu with a stop in Bangladesh.
The team came together at customs in Kathmandu. Pearce Beissinger (Oregon) met us as we finished 26 hours of flight from New York City, making our number 13 for members from North America. This is the largest Evangelic Expedition we have done. All 23 bags arrived, too, many carrying things for the Project 1:27 orphanage and the VBS work that will be done here, and the rest with gear for the trek to Nepal's Far West. Pastor Tej was waiting for us in the late evening dark outside the terminal. We give thanks for safe travel and arriving in His perfect timing.
Sunday, Nov. 4
Eleven of the 13 North American teammates came together in New York City today for an afternoon of training, fellowship, and prayer. Melissa Waheibi, who lives in Manhattan, had the shortest trip, but perhaps the most challenging. The power in her apartment came on only Saturday morning in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. She needed to change the subway three times to make the short journey. The hotel where the team was staying was filled with those who lost homes to Sandy.
Our team focused on the glory of God, studied Hinduism and Buddhism, read devotionals, prayed together, and ate our first group meal. We have been called to GO to the ends of the earth, but pray there also are servants who will minister to those in need closer to home.
Saturday, Nov. 3
Packing VBS materials and gifts for orphans and women our team will minister to was done Thursday night at Hope Lutheran Church in Rochester, NY, USA.
“For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” – Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)
Thirteen team members are ready to GO from North America. The second Mission: Nepal of 2012 and the good that will come from it (empowered by the Holy Spirit) were planned long ago by our good and gracious God. The team that is living His plan consists of Leanne Bohn, Elaine and Gary Fallesen, Kathy Maniace, Ann Marie Pavone, Caryn Stiteler, Jill Stojkovic and Melissa Waheibi of New York; Adrianne and Chris Michele of Virginia; Pearce Beissinger of Oregon; Brandy Everts of Alberta, Canada, and Michael Heitland of North Dakota. These servants are being blessed to be a blessing. So … let’s … GO!