Hello! This is my blog about the adventure that is my life: serving and loving the Lord by being His hands and feet wherever I go. I hope you enjoy reading these testimonies and reflections, and I pray that your faith is stirred as you read about the ways God is working in and through my life.
On our first day of class where we learned the Inductive Bible study method, we practiced on the book Philemon. I’m pretty sure that I had never read it before. When our school leader said the name Philemon, my first thought was, “Is that really a book of the Bible?” I had no clue it was even in there!
When I flipped to it and glanced over the single page, I wondered why it was even included. It seemed just like a random letter that didn’t have any relevance other than to Philemon himself, the one who the letter was written to. How could one page of a personal letter possibly have an important message to convey?
By the time we finished the book, I was absolutely blown away by how much there was in this single page, just 25 verses in one chapter. I was shocked at how much substance there was, when I had read it only 2 hours before and quickly decided from the shallow read that there was nothing important in this book.
During our last week in the capital city, we visited our third major temple for ministry. It a massive Buddhist temple on the outskirts of the city. Another team from Hawaii had joined us and now instead of 13 people trying to navigate the buses in this hectic city, there were over 20 of us.
I thank God for our translators who worked at the guesthouse, or else we would never have been able to get anywhere or talk to all the people we did! It was a long trip as we hopped from bus to bus until we finally arrived. The temple itself is very beautiful, but there were eyes painted on the top that were very haunting.
Because of our massive group, we split up into pairs to evangelize and pray for people more effectively. During that week the leaders from our school had flown out to check on all of the teams and make sure everything was going alright. I was paired up with one of the school leaders and knew instantly that it was going to be a wild time of ministry.
Our final day of official outreach was the day we went to the last of the villages. I was sick and almost didn’t go. At the last minute I chose to push through, leaning on God’s strength because I couldn’t do it on my own. I am so grateful that I did, because it was an incredible experience.
The plan was the same as the other villages: distribute Bibles, share the gospel, and invite everyone to the Jesus film and another gospel presentation later in the evening. We split up into two separate groups and got started.
This village was the easiest to distribute in, because there were many instances when the heads of multiple different households were all hanging out at one person’s home. We were able to check off many houses at the same time because of this. On average the village had a higher level of education than the other ones. People would immediately sit down and start reading the Bible.
At one of the houses where we were able to give Bibles to multiple households, as the first woman sat down to read, other women started to follow her lead until nearly all of them dived straight in to the Word. It was a lovely sight to see people hungry to learn more about this God they had only heard about a few minutes prior.
After our time in the first village, it was time to leave for the second. We chose a path that took 8 hours. It was one of the most physically taxing experiences I have ever had. We stopped when we reached out to the top to take a break, have a snowball fight, take lots of pictures with a 360 degree view of Himalayas all around us.
It was about an hour before dusk and we arrived at the second village. No house would take us in, so we had to zig-zag across this mountain to the tippy top to see if the last house in the village would take us in. If not, we were going to be out of luck.
The first village we distributed Bibles in was the farthest from the guesthouse. We passed the villages we would later be living in on our way back to the guesthouse. We walked with a river on one side and rice terraces on the other. The houses had colorful roofs, and kids would run out to take a look at us, the strange looking foreigners. There were herds of cattle, goats, and even a few horses.
Before we stepped foot inside the village we began collecting a group of kids who followed us everywhere we went. We spent a while trying to find a family who was able to host us for a few nights, and all the while these kids were right beside us. The timid ones watched us from a distance, the less shy ones giggled when we smiled at them, and the brave ones held our hands and spoke in circles of broken English. They laughed at our feeble attempts to speak their native tongue, and we laughed at ourselves as well.
The girls and I were walking in a marketplace near our guesthouse when Sofie saw a picture of a green bubble jacket and heard the words, “back pain”. We started to head home when she saw a man in a green bubble jacket and the Holy Spirit confirmed it was him. We crossed the road to talk to him and make sure he was the one Sofie was thinking about. She straight up asked if he had any back pain. He looked shocked and mildly uncomfortable, probably because it wasn’t a regular occurrence for a group of five abnormally excited girls to surround him with tangible expectancy for what was going to happen next.
We had good reason to be excited because God was going to move in this man’s life. He looked at us apprehensively and then said, “yes”. I for one breathed a sigh of relief when we realized he spoke English perfectly because we didn’t have any translators with us at the time. We told him there was a God who would heal his pain if Suraj wanted him to. He said that yes, he did want to be healed. We asked if we could put our hands on his back and after he gave us permission, we started praying. I’m not quite sure how long the praying went on for but it felt very short because all of a sudden he jumped around and said, “How did you do that?!” We asked him to clarify what he meant and if he had any more pain, and he exclaimed that he had no more pain in his back!
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!