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Climb Every Mountain

Trusting God in the Himalayas

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With each step, the snow grew deeper and the night grew darker. Slowly, we realized the truth: we were lost.

An hour earlier, I watched the sun paint colors across the Himalayan sky. Our party of five had stopped and relaxed as we witnessed the sunset above the clouds. The trail had been clear, and we knew a guesthouse with a warm fire and hot tea was just a couple of miles away. But now an unspoken fear arose inside each of us: Would we make it?

We were plotting a new hiking trail, one that would bring jobs and business opportunities to dozens of villages on the other side of a high mountain pass.

In Nepal, tourism is an opportunity for a better future for poor, remote villages. Locals start small businesses, run teahouses, and find employment as guides. On average, for every five tourists who come to explore the Himalayas, three jobs are created. These jobs are lifeblood for the community: they keep kids in school, help families save financially, and provide essentials like health care.

Dangers Ahead

For the past three years, I’ve helped start a ministry and business that helps poor villages develop tourism to provide jobs. This also gives us inroads into the community, where we can share the gospel.

Now we were undertaking our most ambitious project: to open a new hiking trail that will lead to these villages.

As we set off two days before with our local guides, the community donned white scarfs around our necks (a Nepali sign of blessing); we joined hands to pray to God for safety; and then the locals informed us we were the first bideshis (foreigners) to attempt to hike this mountain pass.

We spent the next two days climbing steep trails, wading through snow, and plotting the new trail. Now we were just an hour away from the first outpost of civilization—a high-altitude teahouse where we could sleep in a warm bed and replenish our food. But with deep snow covering the trail and darkness obscuring our path, it felt like we might as well have been on the moon. We were exhausted, cold, and out of food.

Still, we pushed forward. The snow kept getting deeper, and the mountains we crossed grew perilously steep. As I looked down the slope, it disappeared into the night. One slip would be disastrous.

At this moment we cried out to God. Our team stopped, gathered together, and prayed for Him to intervene. Although our guides weren’t Christians, I told them we needed to trust in Jesus for safety and to guide us. As we prayed, I felt strongly that we should not continue. We decided to trust God to lead us back to a safe place to stay the night.

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Trail’s End

We backtracked to a spot flat enough to pitch our tent then huddled together for warmth. The high-altitude air quickly sucked the heat out of us, but we were safe for now. I remembered a Snickers© bar stashed in the bottom of my pack, and we split it five ways for dinner.

The sun shone brightly the next morning, warming the tent. As we packed our backpacks, we still weren’t sure if the path would be safe to cross, but we could at least see the dangers better in the light of day. We put on our packs and set off to attempt the trail again.

After a little bit of hiking, we spotted another trail lower down the valley, clear of snow and much safer to cross. We practically skipped down the trail as we thanked God for His protection. He had been our light in the darkness, protecting and guiding us when we could not see the dangers ahead. I got to share this with the two local guides, and they agreed that Jesus had protected us.

As we arrived at the teahouse, we celebrated with high-fives, hugs, and a big pot of hot chocolate. The trail we just completed, with its panoramic views of the Himalayas, had incredible potential to bring adventure-seekers into the area. With tourists using the path, the locals would have jobs as guides and cooks and running teahouses.

Wild Adventure

For the past few years, our ministry has been working in this area to provide hope and transformation to villages that are vulnerable to exploitation.

Many villagers here rely on subsistence farming for survival. They work tirelessly to eke out a living from the steep mountainsides. But most people can grow only enough food to feed their families, barely scraping by.

This does not allow the locals to save money, so if a crop fails, someone gets sick, or money is needed for a marriage dowry, the people have no way to pay for it. This poverty makes them vulnerable to human traffickers who prey on people in need. The traffickers promise quick cash and a job working in India or other parts of South Asia. But a job working as a maid often turns into forced prostitution or other types of slavery.

This is where our ministry steps in, providing income opportunities to the vulnerable, working with families to keep children in school, and building trusting relationships to share the gospel. We believe we can stop injustice before it happens.

Working in these areas requires daily trust in God. Many of these villages are remote and often hostile to Christianity. Often, I feel as I did on the mountain trail—surrounded by darkness and not sure which way to turn. Yet God continually shows His faithfulness. When we cry out to Him and admit our weaknesses, He always shows up.

The adventures I’ve had in Nepal are often wild, but they pale in comparison to God’s journey for us. He is always challenging us to take that step of trust and faith, to keep our eyes fixed on Him, and witness the amazing story He unfolds.

When God Prepares the Way

We were visiting a village to meet with leaders about future projects in the area, but because of time constraints, we could spend only one night in the village. Getting there requires a bumpy six-hour bus ride and a four-hour hike, so I wasn’t too excited to travel up one day and back the next. As I futilely attempted to get a nap on the bumpy Nepali roads, it was hard to keep a good attitude. We arrived in the late afternoon, sweaty and tired. We decided to visit Sanjay*, a man in the community with whom we had been building a relationship and who had a heart to stop trafficking in the area. However, because there is no phone reception in the region, he had no idea we would be coming. So when we arrived at his home, we sat outside his door and waited for him to return from working in the field. To our surprise, he walked up and greeted us only moments later. He had a big smile on his face, and he told us he had a feeling we were coming. Then Sanjay invited us to come into his kitchen and have a meal. As we sat around full plates of Daal Bhat, the typical Nepali meal of rice and lentils, he shared that he knew we were coming today. Puzzled, we asked how he could have possibly known this. “I had a dream about you last night,” Sanjay revealed. Immediately, I recognized this was God opening a door for us to share the gospel. “God gave you that dream,” I told him. “He wants you to know that He loves you and that we have an important message for you.” We then proceeded to share the hope and salvation of Jesus and discuss it for several hours. We ended the evening by praying for him and his wife, and they decided to pray and tell God they wanted to follow Jesus. Now Sanjay regularly travels five hours to meet with a local pastor we introduced to him. Sanjay has emerged as a key leader for the entire region and has influenced his village to vow they will not send their children away for work. But because he is one of the only believers in the area, Sanjay has not been able to openly declare his faith. He would likely be beaten and cast out from the village. Yet, we continue to meet and pray with him, encouraging him to persist in following Jesus. It is incredible to see the journey God has for Sanjay and his community. Although we can often feel surrounded by darkness, we serve a God who turns the darkest night into day. I often think of John 1:4–5 that speaks of the light of Jesus: “In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” We serve an incredible God, who brings light to our darkness, who gives men dreams and visions of Him, and is the hope for all mankind—even in the most remote and poor Nepali villages.

*Name changed

3 responses to Climb Every Mountain

  1. Dear Alliance Marketplace Workers, beloved, dearly treasured children of God, be strong in the Lord and filled with the Holy Spirit and fire. May the Lord supply every need in His perfect timing. God bless you and strengthen you with the power of His love, joy and might. Your testimony fuels my prayers for you and others in the field. Peace.

  2. Wow! Thank you for sharing this story. It is beautiful and inspiring. Praying for this amazing work you are doing.

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