Trip Report: Nepal 2022
Speed of sound
By Gary Fallesen, founding president, Climbing For Christ
Prayer flags litter the mountainside in the Buddhist village of Gyabla, Nepal. (Photo by Gary Fallesen)
We arrived in the Buddhist village of Gyabla, about 9,500 feet up in the Kangchenjunga Conservation Area, on Day 4 of our Mission: Nepal 2022 trek. The first local we met asked where we were from. When I told him United States, he said something about a school and pantomimed shooting.
He was giving us the news about the school massacre in Uvalde, Texas.
A few days later, a Nepal plane carrying 22 people crashed into the side of a mountain, killing everyone on board.
“What is this happening?” Damson Samson, our Kingdom worker in East Africa, messaged through WhatsApp from Malawi. “Hope you are well there by His grace.”
From Turkey, our Kingdom worker also messaged: “I was very worried about you because there was a plane crash in Nepal. I was so scared.”
Bad news travels fast. Mass shootings in America are heard about in remote villages on the other side of the world. Plane crashes in remote reaches are learned about – and stressed about – soon after they happen. If only the Good News could travel as quickly.
Our team – consisting of Americans Adam Copper (Canon City, CO), Corey Slider (Pittsburgh, PA), Dave Stoessel (Rochester, NY), and me, along with Nepalis Megh and Samuel Gurung – trekked into eastern Nepal at the end of May to survey a new area. It seems no other ministry is working there.
We hiked more than 67 miles (108 kilometers) with 46,500 feet (14,200 meters) of elevation change in seven days to begin a new work. Delivering Good News isn’t always easy. But there is nothing more important.
Sharing about Jesus only happens as fast as getting the words out of our believing mouths. But for all people to hear, believers must be sent and must GO. To the ends of the earth.
That can take time. To reach Kangchenjunga, the Americans on our team flew for three days across 11 ¾ time zones, then flew on another day on one of Nepal’s precarious domestic flights, then rode for a full day along curvy, unpaved mountainous roads in a four-wheel-drive vehicle, then started walking. And walking. Up and down, and down and up, along rough, rocky trails.
Tshring Sherpa showing us around his village of Gyabla. (Photo by Corey Slider)
When we met Tshring Sherpa of Gyabla on Day 5, he told us the horrific news of yet another mass shooting back home. Then he took Corey and me for more walking to see his village. Two miles up and around.
Gyabla, like so many of the villages we visited, is a dark, depressing place, with prayer flags flapping hopelessly in the breeze. An old woman sat outside her house uttering mantras over and over to a god or gods that cannot hear nor help her.
We carried with us “The Treasure,” an audio Bible in Nepali and English. These were delivered, lovingly, to Tshring and others in Gyabla, Amjilosa, Phale, Ghunsa, and along the trails in between. This is how sowing starts. Sharing the Truth, praying, and then returning to water the seeds that have been planted.
And watching God make them grow.
Kingdom worker Megh Gurung, center, shares an audio Bible and the truth about Jesus with a family in Gyabla. (Photo by Gary Fallesen)
In Amjilosa, Lakpa Nurbu Sherpa asked Jesus into his heart after Megh witnessed to him. We are confident in the Lord that others will follow.
We pray especially for Pema Chhophel Lama, a Buddhist monk in Ghunsa, and his two sons, Tshring Tashi Sherpa and Nupu Chhiring Sherpa, who operate guesthouses. We also lift our lead porter, Tshring Sherpa, who has the local knowledge and loveable personality to be used in a mighty way by the Lord.
Tshring, the porter, sat with us on our final night in the Kangchenjunga area and helped us map out a route for Mission: Nepal 2023. More dark places, a high (and cold) pass crossing, all to be bathed in prayer. His marvelous light will shine.
There’s Good News to be delivered. As fast as our feet will take us there.
Tender loving care, C4C style
The Colorado orphanage team with the Rokka family. Pastor Karna, left, is Tej’s brother. Karna and his wife Hanna, right, care for the kids at SARA Home.
Climbing For Christ members Adam and Laura Copper asked for our help in 2020. They wanted to take high school youth from their church (Christian Family Fellowship in Canon City, CO) on a mission trip. Laura had been to Malawi with us that year to serve the orphans supported since 2010 by our Project 1:27. She wondered about GO-ing to Nepal to see even more of our Project 1:27-sponsored kids.
We said we would help. Originally, though, we did not intend to be a part of their group.
But as the COVID-19 pandemic lingered, plans changed. Mission: Nepal 2021 was postponed from July until October, making it impossible for the Colorado youth and their teacher leader Laura to GO.
Eventually, we had a vision for Mission: Nepal 2022. It included the Kangchenjunga trip, which I invited Adam (Mission: Kilimanjaro 2018) to join, followed by time with the 39 kids in the care of ministry partner Pastor Tej Rokka’s SARA Children’s Home. My wife Elaine would join Adam’s wife Laura and five senior-high youth (Brendon Chavez, Danica Clanton, Grace and Rachel Comstock, and Joel Leone) in traveling to Kathmandu, where Adam and I would be waiting after our 11-day survey of eastern Nepal.
“This was the first time for most of our youth to leave the United States, and the first time for all of us to go to Nepal,” Laura said. “As I reflect back on Mission Nepal, it brings joy to my heart to think about the transformation I have seen in all five youth. I never heard them complain about anything, including the 30-plus hours of (air) travel each way.
“They stepped out of their comfort zone and tried new things. And they truly enjoyed it all! They connected with the SARA kids so well and it was bittersweet to watch them have to say goodbye to head back home. They all wanted to know when we’re going again.”
The youth taught Bible-based lessons, played games, did crafts, and entertained the SARA kids, who in turn entertained and gave their hearts to the Colorado crew.
Elaine summed it up, saying, “It was an incredibly successful mission trip all around – from the trekking team’s exciting and challenging foray into a completely unreached area to a Colorado youth group’s first taste of mission work abroad. Many seeds were planted, both in Kangchenjunga among Buddhists who heard the name of Jesus for the first time, and in five teens whose futures, I believe, have been changed forever as a result of what they accomplished for Jesus at SARA Home.”
Mission: Nepal 2022 was Climbing For Christ’s 19th expedition into that predominantly Hindu and Buddhist country. Our 20th trip is being planned for mid-May 2023.