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Trip Report: Nepal 2021
Gary Fallesen

Trip Report: Nepal 2021

‘Don’t be afraid. Just have faith’

By Gary Fallesen, founding president, Climbing For Christ

We were in Simikot in Nepal’s northwest corner waiting out the weather to make a trek to visit a house church in one of the villages. My wife Elaine and I spent the time in Bible study together.

Different stories or verses resonate at different times because the Bible is God breathed and alive. This particular day, the Living Word spoke to us through the story of Jairus, the local synagogue leader who comes to Jesus to plead for the healing of his sick young daughter. Before Jesus can act, Jairus is told it’s too late – the girl is dead.

Don’t be afraid,” Jesus tells Jairus in Mark 5:36. “Just have faith.”

A breath prayer was born.

Mission: Nepal 2021 was, in Elaine’s words, “long but I took it one day at a time to glorify God. I repeated many, many times over on this mission the breath prayer, ‘Don’t be afraid. Just have faith.’ And God saw us through every pretty-much-daily challenge, trial, or obstacle on this never-ending journey of things that went wrong. At least in our limited eyesight.”

We had plenty to fear – from COVID-19 travel to six flights on Nepali airplanes (one of which was stuck by lightning and another which had to return to the terminal just before takeoff because of “technical problems”) to long Jeep rides on dirt-turned-to-mud roads to a fender-bender that we thought might cause us to miss our flight out of Nepal. There was always something – from beginning to end – including the late-monsoon weather conditions that caused landslides that killed people, blocked roads, and destroyed trails.

Flying into Simikot, one of 12 flights we took on this trip. (Photo by Gary Fallesen)

Kingdom worker Megh Gurung agreed that this trip – Climbing For Christ’s 18th to Nepal – was “challenging and (full of) obstacles. But God is good all the time; all the time God is good. We were victorious everywhere in Jesus’ name.”

Megh called the lowlight of our 20-day mission “too much rain and muddy ways. All the trails were bad.” But that did not deter us from what became Elaine’s No. 1 highlight: “Worship with Nepali brothers and sisters in Pokhara, Korchabang, Ghapa, Dharmashala, Simikot, Thehe, and Kathmandu; attending more mountain baptisms; dedicating another C4C church (this time in Pokhara); and inspecting the Ghapa land that’s being cleared for the next new house of worship. Go God!”

We preached and taught in seven churches – lessons on abiding (John 15:1-17), doing ministry in and through marriage (based on Aquila and Priscilla in Acts 18), and how Jesus esteemed women who were marginalized by their culture. Most Christians in Nepal come from lower castes and know what it means to be marginalized by society.

Megh in our rooftop camp in Thehe. (Photo by Elaine Fallesen)

“I felt God used us on this trip because ‘The Lord has no equal,’” Megh said, quoting an Isaiah 40 line from my abiding lesson, which he translated seven times in two weeks.

Another breath prayer was born.

‘The Lord has no equal’

Just as Elaine and I read the Mark 5:21-43 story, “Jesus heals a bleeding woman and restores a girl to life,” we witnessed the miracle healing of a demon-possessed man in Dharmashala in the Mid-West district of Rolpa. We prayed over Yam, a husband and father who had tried to kill his family and turned the knife on himself when they fled from him. When he convulsed on the floor, frothing at the mouth, the rainstorm outside the church raged harder. The noise of the storm coupled with the people praying intensely over Yam was almost deafening. A spiritual battle royale.

After he had been freed of his demons and sat quietly on the floor speaking to us, Yam said he could see himself outside under a tree, awaiting the outcome of this fight between good and evil. Then he returned – born again.

It had been nine years since Elaine visited the Humla district in Nepal’s northwest, a place where I have gone seven times. “Seeing the Simikot church building (completed in 2016) for the first time” was among her highlights. “It’s really well done. Too bad the pastor isn’t.” The sloth-like attitude of that church’s shepherd was her lowest point.

But she was uplifted by seeing so many familiar faces and trekking again to Thehe – a Hindu village we first visited in 2012 when there were only two believers there – and worshiping in a new house church that can boast in Christ of having 50 believers now.

“The last time I was in Simikot, (God) taught me that I just need to show up,” Elaine recalled. “This time I think he taught me a bit about just having faith, and the peace that can guide me through the day when I trust Him with everything.”

Ghapa-gangers: Looking like a church – a body of believers – in a remote village in Nepal’s Mid-West. Soon a house of worship will be built on the land behind them. (Photo by Gary Fallesen)

Most of the churches Climbing For Christ has helped build and build up are growing and healthy. We delivered $7,000 USD for the construction of a house of worship in Ghapa, a third-generation church in Rolpa. First there was Korchabang, where we helped build a church in 2012; then there was Dharmashala (2018), and now there is Ghapa. It will bring to nine the number of churches we’ve been blessed to help build in this Hindu and Buddhist nation, where anti-conversion laws are being enforced.

“The trip was good and the ministry fabulous in every area,” said Megh, who envisions Climbing For Christ continuing to win souls, equipping believers, and sending them to be harvesters and plant churches all over Nepal.

Climbing For Christ will also continue to support the next generation of believers. At the end of our trip, we again visited and spent time with the youth from ministry partner Pastor Tej Rokka’s SARA Children’s Home. Thirty-one children are sponsored by C4C members and supporters through our Project 1:27 (based on James 1:27). We have partnered with SARA (Savior Alone Redeems Asians) for a decade – building two churches, supporting daily ministry, helping during emergencies (2015 earthquake and the COVID-19 pandemic), and loving on God’s children.

Elaine teaches the SARA children about prayer. (Photo by Gary Fallesen)

As Elaine shared in a letter to Project 1:27 sponsors: “I can assure you your support is well-spent. Pastor Tej informed us that Christ-centered SARA Home is rated the No. 1 orphanage out of 30 orphanages in the greater Kathmandu area! Quite a feat when the local government’s Department of Women and Children inspect SARA Home every two months. Tej says, ‘Sometimes we have to hide the Bibles’ and the inspectors can be biased, wanting the children to celebrate the plethora of Hindu festivals.

“It is a challenge Tej continues to deal with as he provides Jesus’ love to these kids who are precious in His sight.”

We know “The Lord has no equal,” and because of that we – and other Christ followers in Nepal – can breathe the words of Jesus to Jairus: “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith.” 

Mission: Nepal 2021 was Gary’s 16th trip to this Himalayan nation in 10 years, but the first since November 2019 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the two breath prayers in this article, he constantly breathes: “Apart from You, I can do nothing” and “When I am weak, You are strong.” God IS good all the time. Amen.

CLICK HERE to read daily Dispatches from Mission: Nepal 2021.


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