Fifth Nepal trip for Prineville team
In late April, Calvary Chapel in Prineville sent their fifth group of trekkers to the Himalayas in Nepal.
This has been part of the vision to touch and impact remote and rarely reached regions of the Himalayas with the transforming Hope that we have.
Many of these high and distant villages survive on an income of two dollars a day per person, have an immensely high number of people trafficked, severe health problems with limited access to medical aid, sicknesses due to unclean drinking water and lack of education for children, which is not helped by child labor practices.
Trekking teams must prepare months in advance for such an excursion. On the physical level, daily workouts regularly include stair machines using a high altitude training mask, high intensity body weight reps, weighted bench steps, stadium climbs, steep hikes, rucking-style jogs with a vest or pack, and a one-hour 10K endurance check.
On the spiritual level, much prayer and fasting takes place to prepare our hearts for the purposeful task at hand of spreading good news. There is also regular reading with intercessory prayer concerning national and specific people group outreach and its current state, as well as how to engage a culture so vastly different from our own.
On a financial level, team members take leave from work, purchase gear (which includes packs, sleeping bags with pads, poles and down jackets) and cover costs for the journey which includes a flight to the other side of the globe, lodging in guest houses, and sustenance from their homemade meals. Thankfully, Calvary Chapel has a vision of supporting a portion of the cost of each team member in order to make the trip more feasible.
I was excited this year to include my wife, Lindsey, and to be joined by a fantastic caliber of brothers and sisters, which included David and Lisa Neuberger, Michelle Munck, Kortni Papineau and a friend from Corvallis, Philip Marks.
We prepared for a repeat trek to the beautiful Langtang valley but at the last minute made the currently less-engaged Helambu Sherpa people our goal. The Helambu trail started just north of Kathmandu. When we began, the temperature was around 80 degrees F (with a tad too much humidity for this Central Oregon boy), but we soon went up in elevation and down in degrees.
Over the seven days, the team would see around 18,592 feet of total ascent, 16,989 feet of descent, 51 miles hiked, and a high point elevation of 15,294 feet at the Larabina Pass.
Of course, the view of the Himalayas is notoriously famous for being able to strike awe in those who gaze upon its majestic peaks. These mountains cause one to crane the neck and lift the eyes to survey the lofty ridges, even when standing at an elevation of around 15,000 feet.
But the real treasure of these high places is the beautiful Nepali people who dwell year-round and toil in the notched edges of the insanely steep hillsides. The high points of our trips were the conversations and relationships we got to build with the Helambu people and sharing the assured hope they can have through grace.
One random individual we approached ended up being a cousin of a Tibetan friend of ours in another village. This friend had three years of visions in his early teens of the Buddha's instructions accompanied by signs and wonders telling him to forsake worship of Buddha to follow Jesus. His whole family witnessed the miracles and became followers of Christ. We were able to point the cousin in the same direction and encouraged engagement between the family members.
A late Easter afternoon with some German hikers was an epic opportunity to share of Christ's resurrection and make friendships that will continue through texts and email. We also had the unique experience of sharing with a number of young travelers from Israel.
The fact that it was Passover and that I have made many journeys to the Holy Land provided an amazing catalyst to share from the Scriptures the great evidence that Jesus is the Christ. A broken down bus proved to be providence for one such roadside discussion while we waited for a fresh leaf spring bracket to be delivered by motorcycle.
This fifth journey to Nepal was wonderfully refreshed our love for the Nepali people and their beautiful Tibetan mountain culture. It added fuel to our continued drive to make Jesus known among the unreached and unengaged nations. It also spurred me towards conversations of eternal significance here at home and to pray for those who are reaching out to those people groups all around the world, including Europe and Israel.
Rory Rodgers is the pastor at Calvary Chapel of Crook County. He can be reached at 541-416-9009.