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The group had been grounded for two years due to regulations concerning COVID-1

PMG FILE PHOTO - Rory Rodgers, Calvary Chapel Prineville PastorIn April, eight from Prineville had the long-awaited chance to rekindle the mission to the heights of Nepal. Chris and Michelle Cross, Shiloh Binder, Lisa Neuberger, Jake Childers, my wife Lindsey, oldest son Russell and I made up the team. We went to reach those of the Himalayas who have never heard of Jesus and the salvation that is preached in His Name.

Along with most of the world, we had been grounded for two years due to regulations concerning COVID-19. In 2020, our trekking team was just two days away from flying out for their time in the mountains when Nepal shut their borders down. This was a major hit for the team who had been training for months to scale high elevations. As hard as the cancelled trip was, the team was glad that Nepal had closed access to tourism before they had to make a difficult call themselves on whether or not to cancel the trip amid the virus spread.

Calvary Chapel Prineville's history in Nepal stretches back nearly eight years, with six trips now in the books. The previous five journeys were with a focus on helping bring gospel-centered aid to people of the mountains who have very high rates of human trafficking and substandard health, hygiene, education, agriculture and child labor practices.

Our previous host organization left the field of Nepal last winter, but after much prayer and fasting, a new friendship was formed with local native Nepali folks who had a very similar vision. It was an incredible thing to witness the Lord open and shut doors with various hosts and to hear our prayerful petitions for direction in prayer and fasting over the matter.

PHOTO COURTESY OF RORY RODGERS - After a two-year wait, a team of missionaries got to make the trip to Napal.The new hosts had in incredible model of evangelism and discipleship, with a great number of young converts traveling into the Kathmandu valley for training at their Bible college. These trainees would then to be sent to plant churches and serve in various ministry capacities. Viewing the fruit of such intentional discipleship, mentorship and aggressive faith was fascinating and caused us to marvel at what God was doing. We were very encouraged by these new friendships, seeing the great potential especially in natives who speak very similar dialects as the villages we hope to impact.

Gladly, we were also able to encourage them with the heart of God to expand to the unreached and unengaged souls of the Himalayas who have had limited to no effort and resources extended their way for evangelism and discipleship. Our new Nepali friends received the mission of God toward the unreached through His Word with great joy and eagerness.

In past trips, we have quickly made our way from the southern valley of Nepal up into the Himalayas to begin trekking into the rugged wilderness where Jesus is unknown. This journey had a different flavor with more time in the big city, building relationships with Bible college students, seeing the Nepali religious sites and how other religions of the area practice their belief. A long Jeep ride then took us to a few other lowland villages for more relationship building and ministry to established Nepali churches. These were rich and edifying times for all. Eventually, we made our way up to trek in a lower hill country (Oregon's mountains would be considered hills in Nepal). We set up camp in a shed that is used for a small church just within view of the epicenter of the 2015 earthquake.

In this mountain village, we huddled into a breezeway to escape an early monsoon storm and shared with approximately 20 Nepalese the riches of God's grace and His call for them to go out and be a light to their unreached kin. The response was epic to say the least, as a number of these individuals joined us, or rather let us join them, in heading up into nearby villages to declare freedom, hope and life in Jesus.

Our trip closed out back in Kathmandu with some outreach opportunities to a leper colony. Individuals whose bodies show the marks of being ravaged by the disease responded to the gospel as they gathered around to hear the hope of a God acquainted with suffering and grief who bore the chastisement for our peace.

All in all, as broken as we were, having been hampered by two years of regulations responding to a pandemic, and seeing the closing of an era of great relationship with a previous organization, we were thrilled to see how the Lord is able to keep opening doors and build new friendships where other doors have closed or old friends have moved to new locations.

Rory Rodgers is the pastor of Calvary Chapel of Crook County. He can be reached at 541-362-1125.

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