By Gary Fallesen
Climbing For Christ
Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013
Team members safely returned to the States this evening, marking the end of this short-term expedition. More to come. “Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised in the city of our God! His holy mountain, beautiful in elevation, is the joy of all the earth...” – Psalm 48:1-2 (ESV)
Friday, Oct. 4, 2013
The remaining team members parted ways – with Celeste, Jordan and me starting to fly back to the States and Alyssa and Nick staying on in Nepal – after seeing Pastor Tej briefly in the afternoon. Tej had been in Thailand attending a conference while our team was in the Far West.
As we go in separate directions, we continue to pray for the work the Lord is sharing with us, including:
- The construction of a church in Kathmandu;
- The support of an orphanage through Project 1:27;
- Outreach in the Mid-West and Far West;
- Planning for 2014 expeditions into the Everest-Makalu areas and back to Humla in the Far West;
- Ongoing work by indigenous members Tej and Megh.
While this short-term mission is ending, what we set out to deliver – HIS love – is never ending. “For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” – Psalm 100:5 (ESV)
Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013
Team photo: (left to right) Gary Fallesen, Subash Gurung, Jordan Rowley, Megh Gurung, Michael Heitland, Celeste Mosby, Karina Barger, Alyssa Kaelin and Nick Koinis on the roof of the Gurung house in Kathmandu.
The team returned to Kathmandu and enjoyed its last meal together: lunch at brother Megh’s house. His wife, Bhim, served up a wonderful home-cooked Nepali meal, which blessed the team. We then began saying our goodbyes – first to Karina, who is staying on in Nepal indefinitely, and then to Michael, who began his flights back to North Dakota.
Jordan and I met with Megh and Subash to debrief about this trip and plan the next year of our work together with the Lord. There is much to pray for, knowing that “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps” (Proverbs 16:9, ESV).
Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013
Our flight out of Simikot was delayed several hours by cloudy conditions and fog so we missed our connection in Nepalgunj and were unable to make it back to Kathmandu. Some of us used this change in travel plans to study, pray, and reflect on the work God has done the past 10 days in the Far West and Mid-West.
Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013
Hari and his wife-to-be Jaskala.
We attended the engagement party of Hari and Jaskala at the church at Simikot this evening. They are to be married on Wednesday, the first Christian wedding in Humla. Hari trekked with us last November on Mission: Nepal 2012. It was a great blessing to participate in this time of worship and fellowship with 16 brothers and sisters in Christ living in Nepal's under-reached Far West.
The team returned to Simikot today after climbing up from Dandafaya, ascending about 1,200 vertical feet and dropping down over the mountain to finish six days of trekking. Michael was able to witness to villagers in Dandafaya about forgiveness after he and Nick's bags were stolen (and recovered – by the grace of God) Sunday night. Jordan also prayed with an older man who was suffering some paralysis from a rock-fall accident.
We were surprised in Simikot by Chhoringin and Konjok, the two girls from Torpa we'd spent time with earlier in the trek. By evening's end Konjok had accepted Jesus (as Chhoringin did last year). She prayed with Karina, Celeste and Subash. It is our prayer that these two friends can grow together in the Lord and withstand the feeling of isolation that threatens so many believers in this remote area.
Prayer remains the order of the day: leaders from the church at Simikot asked us to lift up the purchase of land and construction of a building (as there is no church in Humla), the health of the pastor, the equipping of leaders, and outreach to the villages scattered throughout this rugged district.
Monday, Sept. 30, 2013
There is no better way to start the day than in worship , which is what we did in Syada. Six brothers and one sister in Christ sang songs of praise in Nepali and we offered words of encouragement and prayer. I shared Hebrews 12:1-2 and spoke about them growing in the faith and spreading the Good News through their Hindu village.
Nick talked about how we are family through the blood of Christ. Michael exhorted them to fulfill the Great Commission here, and Jordan emphasized perseverance as believers run the race.
Before leave Syada, a woman with whom Megh had been sharing (a sister of a believer here) accepted Christ. The team was blessed with the opportunity to pray with Lal Hira. Megh then led her brother Karna to the Lord. Many others heard the Gospel, but were not ready to receive.
After being delayed by rain, we broke camp and headed back down toward the river and climbed steeply about 1,800 vertical feet to the village of Dandafaya.
We showed The Story of Jesus for Children to about 15 children and 10 adults. While the film was being projected on the street in this small village, a thief snuck into Michael and Nick's tent and stole their bags. But the enemy would not succeed; the bags were found in the dark on a hillside. Praising God for everything!
“...and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us...” – Hebrews 12:1 (ESV)
Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013
We climbed out of Simikot, ascending 750 vertical feet, to go over a mountain heading in the opposite direction of where we trekked previously. Our destination was Syada, more than five hours away. An 11-year-old girl from Simikot showed us the way. Krishna was baptized with six other new believers in Simikot on Saturday.
There are only seven or eight Christians in Syada, a Hindu village of 185 houses perched on the side of a mountain. We cam here to encourage our brothers and sisters. To do so, we descended 3,000 vertical feet, crossed a raging river on a hanging bridge, and climbed another 1,400 feet to Syada.
“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” –Isaiah 40:31 (ESV)
Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013
We awoke after a heavy overnight rain to cloud-cover on the mountains around the village of Torpa (10,300 feet/3,125 meters). It was about a 2 1/2-hour hike back down to Simikot, where we worshiped with the church. Chhoringin, 14, and her friend Konjok, 13, went with us from Torpa and Prakash, 16, joined us from Langduk.
I shared with the church how my heart was heavy after trekking the past three days. I rejoiced that there were 21 brothers and sisters in worship with us, including a new believer from the far-off village of Thehe. But I asked them to consider how many live in the villages who are going to hell. We talked about how Buddhism has a stranglehold on the people. (One man in Torpa told Megh that the people in his village aren't interested in our Christianity.)
Our team worshiped with 21 people in the church at Simikot. Eight children also were in Sunday School in another room of this house church.
Last November, when we were introduced to the small fellowship in Simikot, I'd encouraged them by telling them that they were not alone. They are part of the body of Christ. Today, I told them that believers like Chhoringin and Prakash can't be left isolated in their communities. The body must support its parts – or else it will wither and die.
I told the church that the darkness can and will be turned back by the light of Jesus. It must start with prayer – in Simikot and throughout the Climbing For Christ world. Pray for an awakening in Humla. Then it will require workers to GO! The church at Simikot must evangelize, but it will not do so alone. Climbing For Christ, starting with Megh and continuing with short-term teams sent to Nepal, will be called to serve alongside our brothers and sisters.
“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” – 1 John 3:16 (ESV)
Friday, September 27, 2013
After ascending about 1,500 vertical feet under a hot midday sun, our team paused at a cliff overlooking Simikot. A 16-year-old named Prakash was sitting there and Jordan struck up a conversation with him. Prakash (which means “Light”) has been going to church while living in Kathmandu. But after returning to the Humla District in the far west the pressure from his Tibitan Buddhist community has caused him to turn away from the Lord.
This is a recurring story in Humla.
Those who accepted Christ during our 2012 missions in both Hildum where we started the day, and Torpa, where we finished, have fallen away. Megh took time to again share with Ram, the man of the house where we stayed in Hildum, as well as Ram’s brother-in-law.
Megh sharing Matthew 11:28-29 and John 14:6 from his Nepali Bible with three men in Hildum. The man to Megh's right, Ram, accepted Christ during our visit last November, but had fallen away.
After trekking several hours up to Torpa, we met Phhoringin, the girl who prayed Jesus into her heart last November. Phhoringin has been ill and medicine we left helped her. But she confessed to reading only one page of the Bible we gave her, and as the only Christ-follower in her village, she felt pressured by the rest.
However, she agreed to trek with us to Simikot on Saturday to worship with the small fellowship there. We’ll also be joined by Prakash, whose village is on our way. We are excited about connecting these people who have been stirred by the Holy Spirit and building a Christ-centered community that can overcome the dark pressure of this Buddhist stronghold.
Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013
We were torn between joy and great sadness as we returned to the Far West district of Humla. The Far West is regarded as one of the least explored areas of Nepal. It is the way for Buddhist pilgrims to go to Tibet's sacred Mount Kailash. This area is a stronghold for darkness.
That was what produced our spiritual extremes. After an early morning flight from Nepalgunj to Simikot, we met with those we'd been introduced to on Mission: Nepal 2012 last November. We learned that the sister and brother who were the only Christians in one remote village we'd visited had brought their entire family to the Lord. We rejoiced in this news.
Then we set off on our six-day trek, reversing direction from last November and starting where we'd finished - in the village of Hildum. Here, we met the two people who had accepted Christ on our last visit. Neither was following Jesus now. This grieved us greatly.
We are praying against the lies of Tibetan Buddhism, which prey on the souls of so many in Humla. The way to the so-called sacred mountain is actually the path to hell.
Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013
We prayed for the church at Korchabang before breaking camp and leaving the village. Our next stop was the village of Dharmasala about 6 kilometers away. A small fellowship of 11 people was started there last year and the church has grown to 35 believers. We met with them and worshiped outdoors.
The church at Dharmasala worshiping the Son in the sun. Megh is front right center in sunglasses.
The church currently gathers inside a house, but has outgrown its surroundings. They sang praise and worship, and I shared some words of encouragement and prayed for the believers in Dharmasala. There were nine unbelieving women sitting outside the fellowship, watching, and it is our hope they will soon be part of the church.
As we left the village Megh pointed to all the houses in the surrounding mountainside and said there are many opportunities for evangelism. “The harvest is ripe,” he said.
It took 5 1/2 hours of hard driving to return to paved roads and another three-plus hours to get to Nepalgunj, where we are overnighting before an early morning flight into Simikot in Humla.
Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013
“Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” – Psalm 100:3 (ESV)
We enjoyed a sweet time of worship in the church at Korchabang. The last time Climbing For Christ was in this remote village in the mountains of Nepal's Mid-Western district of Rolpa (about 20 months ago), the church sat on mats outside under the sun. Thanks to God's provision we were able to support the construction of a church building.
I spoke about God's love for them and how He pursued them because they are His people. My sharing was interspersed with praise-and-worship music by Jordan as we rejoiced in the building of the church and the growth of this body of believers, which numbers about 100, in an area that is a Maoist stronghold. The Korchabang church leader is a former Maoist leader who came to Christ through C4C member Megh three years ago.
Worship leaders from Korchabang church and Megh's son, Subash, on the Climbing For Christ backpacker guitar, right.
The church at Korchabang, above. Below, the church – the body of believers – inside.
I introduced our team and each member spoke encouragement: Celeste reading Jeremiah 1:5, Karina reading Jeremiah 20:9, Alyssa talking about how worthy the Lord is, Nick about how Jesus has pursued him to enter the mission field, and Michael about perseverance as Megh translated.
Our team then went out into the congregation and prayed for each person as Jordan continued to sing. It is our prayer that the love of Christ that resides here now will live on, and this village on a hill will shine brightly before others who are lost in the darkness of Nepal.
Monday, Sept. 23, 2013
It was a long day of travel to reach the Mid-West district of Rolpa. “The way was very hard,” Megh said after we finished an arduous six-hour-plus drive on the dirt road into the mountains.
Alyssa and Nick took an overnight bus and the rest of the team flew from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj in the morning. We met at the airport and rented two trucks for the drive. The first three hours were on paved roads.
The road to Rolpa.
Banner inside the church at Korchabang.
One of the trucks was stuck in mud on the mountain road several times. But we finished the 68-kilometer (42-mile) drive up the dirt/mud road to Korchabang and saw for the first time the church Climbing For Christ helped build. Brothers and sisters were waiting to greet us.
Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013
We talked about what love does during our morning team gathering. Then, later in the day, we put those words into practice by delivering gifts to the orphans at Pastor Tej's SARA orphanage outside of Kathmandu. These were gifts sent by sponsor parents in the States and several bags of goodies provided by a Climbing For Christ member in Rochester, NY for all the children who remain unsponsored in our Project 1:27.
Some of the orphans smile and say “Jesus” on the steps inside their orphanage. Several of these children still need sponsors to support them.
Before visiting the orphanage our team started doing daily devotionals and praying together and then visited Hindu and Buddhist strongholds such as the Monkey Temple and Pashupati to gain a better understanding of the darkness deceiving this nation. We went from the Buddhists' so-called holy monkeys on a hill overlooking Kathmandu to the Hindu holy water of the Bagmati River, where bodies are cremated publicly, to an example of Christ's love. The Lord shines brightly through these children for whom He cares deeply.
“We love because he first loved us.” –1 John 4:13 (ESV)
Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013
“Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!” – Psalm 150:6 (ESV)
Celeste Mosby, Jordan Rowley and I arrived in Kathmandu after about 30 hours of flying and layovers. Pastor Tej Rokka picked us up at the airport and took us to his Savior Alone Redeems Asians church for worship. SARA is still renting a room in a building on a road in front of property where Climbing For Christ is helping them construct their own church. A building permit must be approved and that is a challenge for a Christian ministry in a predominantly Hindu and Buddhist country. Pray that opposition – both spiritual and among those looking for bribes – would be overcome.
Worship in Kathmandu. Glory to God!
We praised God with about 75 others, including team members Alyssa Kaelin and Nick Koinis, during worship. Karina Barger joined us after as most of the team gathered for lunch and fellowship. Only Nepali member Megh Gurung could not attend as he was worshiping at his own church. This was a first meeting for many of our team members.
Friday, Sept. 20, 2013
Celeste Mosby flew from Colorado and met Jordan Rowley and me in New York at JFK. Together, we jetted to Doha, Qatar en route to Kathmandu. We are scheduled to arrive in Nepal Saturday morning, local time. The rest of the team is already there. Michael Heitland (from North Dakota) has been teaching a pastors conference this week as part of his Equipping Saints For Ministry program. Karina Barger (Texas), Alyssa Kaelin and Nick Koinis (both Wyoming) arrived on their own last month for longer stays and work in Nepal.
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” – Galatians 6:9 (ESV)
Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013
The only pavement in Humla, a district located in Nepal’s Far West, is the airstrip – perched on the side of mountain – that greets visitors flying in 12- or 15-passenger planes. Step off that plane and start walking. The only way around the 3,500-square-mile district is on foot.
The north, which borders Tibetan China, is Buddhist and the south is Hindu and Buddhist. “Last year, we did evangelism among the Buddhist and Hindu people living in the lower part of Humla,” recalls Nepali Climbing For Christ member Megh Gurung, a climbing guide and church leader from Kathmandu. “We won the souls of Buddhists and Hindus from different villages in Humla.
“Why are we returning to Humla this year? Because our vision is ‘Humla for Christ,’” Megh added. “We are going there, empowering those who are Christians and praying for new souls to come to the Lord. These people belong to God. (But) Humla is a stronghold area (for the enemy). We can do more evangelism among the people of Humla.”
A team of seven Americans and two Nepalese will do just that. This team consists of Karina Barger, Gary Fallesen, Megh Gurung, Michael Heitland, Alyssa Kaelin, Nick Koinis, Celeste Mosby, Tej Rokka, and Jordan Rowley.
Our Mission: Nepal 2013 team also will:
- Spend time in Kathmandu, encouraging the church and visiting an orphanage that Climbing For Christ supports;
- Travel to the Mid-Western district of Rolpa to see a church built with C4C funding, encourage believers there, and visit another group of Christ followers nearby.
“Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.” – Isaiah 45:22 (ESV)
CLICK HERE for Mission: Nepal 2013 Prayer Calendar