One of the aspects of this outreach we were all looking forward to the most was trekking in the Himalayas. The trekking plans had been changed numerously. They’d been pushed back, shortened, and pushed back again. I was beginning to wonder if we were going to at all. Finally, the day came and we were really on our way to trek.
We took a 16-hour bus ride from the lake town city we had been in for two weeks into the city where we would take a plane to the district’s bazaar which we then would be trekking out from. I don’t know quite how to describe this plane ride, but two words stick out in my mind: beautiful and terrifying. It felt like we were so close to the mountains we could touch them. We saw rice terraces beneath us, and we could see the vast Himalayan mountain range, completely snow-capped in a 360-degree view all around us.
The view was beautiful. The actual plane itself was terrifying. It was so small, so loud, and my seat started getting extremely hot so I panicked and started entertaining thoughts of, are we going to blow up in this plane ride before we even get to trek?! It was a very janky plane ride, definitely a one of a kind experience. The “best” part was when the plane hooked a left that I very firmly believe it did not have the capacity to do, praise God it was able.
When we arrived, we went to the guesthouse we were going to stay at before and after our trek. There were a lot of the same teams who had been with us in the guesthouse in the main city. It was great hearing their experiences and how difficult some of their treks had been, and listening made the level of our expectation for what we were about to do rise!
Not long after we arrived in the district, about one day, we set out. Our bags were packed with 350 bibles, and we were all as ready as we could be. We started and it was beautiful! In the video I’m going to post, you’ll be able to see the scenery and fall in love with this country just like I did! We crossed bridges, walked through pastures with cattle grazing, walked along rivers, and passed through some villages where kids would run out and say “Namaste” to us.
We had walked about two hours when we were told to stop by our translators. We wondered why, because we had been walking for such a short time. When they explained that this was as far as we were going to walk, our jaws hit the floor. I was so shocked. Back in Hawaii when we were told the location our outreach was going to take place in, we were warned that we would need to do crossfit at least 3 times a week to be able to do the trek that was planned!
When it really set in that we would be going no further, I started becoming frustrated with God. I asked him, “Why did I have to prepare this much to end up doing this little? Why did you let me tell my friends and family about our giant trek in the Himalayas if you knew that all we were going to do was take a two-hour nature walk? Now when people ask me about this incredible adventure, I’m going to have to say that we did hardly any trekking!” This cycle of thinking went around in circles for some time in my mind. I was salty and disappointed because I didn’t believe that my expectations for what I thought God wanted to do were met. I felt like God owed me something.
As I was stewing over how I felt, I could feel God slowly starting to work on my heart. I could feel my frustration start to fade away and my heart to return to a posture of openness to listen. I had just been shouting at God, and I wasn’t giving him the space to move and to talk to me like the way I always need to let him. As I was able to let go of the unmet expectations I had placed on God, he started revealing more of his heart for the people we were going to meet. The most important realization was this:
The lost who are near are no less deserving than the lost who are far. Don’t overlook children who don’t know yet that they are mine.
It sounds really simple, but it was a hard thing for me to grasp because pride had slipped back into my mind without me even realizing what had happened. I wanted to be able to say that I did a nearly impossible trek in the Himalayas, and so I let my pride put God’s will and God’s plans into a box. I am learning not to have expectations for the way God is going to work. I am learning to not put God in a box, because that’s not where he belongs.