I have been astounded by God’s goodness. This trip posed several challenges, most of which centered around weather. We waited five days for a flight in to Simikot, waking up at 4 am morning after morning in hopes that the weather would clear. On our way home, we had the same experience. Morning after morning we awoke to rain and cloudy skies with zero visibility. The trouble with flying to Humla (or from for that matter) is the unpredictability of the weather. The planes that are able to fly in and out of the airport don’t have instrumentation that allows them to fly when there is no visibility, which means if the pilots can’t see, they don’t fly. Couple that with traveling during monsoon season, and it’s a high probability that you will find yourself on an extended stay.
Despite traveling difficulties, the trip was a success. Weather during our trip was perfect, our team made it with no sickness and minor bumps and bruises only, and we were able to make it all the way to the Tibetan border despite all the lost days waiting for a flight from Nepalgunj. As for a few trekking specs, we traveled a total of 112 miles, 80 miles of actual trekking (we caught a truck from Hilsa that shaved a couple days off our trek), and the highest elevation reached was 14,956 ft.
We’ve spent the last few days collecting our thoughts and reflecting on how the trip went, and to sum it up, God is faithful. Relationships that were begun on our first trip have more solidity after this second trip. The family we planned to stay with in Kerme was gone for, we were told, several months during this time of year. We stayed with the other family we met on our first trip, which enabled us to build that relationship more. The man who owns the “hotel” is having trouble with one of his feet and walks with the support of a cane. He mentioned that if he had boots like our trekking boots he might have an easier time walking. We plan to buy him a pair to bring to him on our next trip in a couple months. His wife is having trouble with boils of some kind showing up on her face, and we were able to pray for them both for healing.
In Yalbang, we visited the gov’t school again. The guys were invited to play soccer with the staff and students after school. They even invited us to teach a class, so we split up into two rooms. This is something we’ve learned to expect when visiting schools. They are very open to having foreigners step in and teach a class. We asked what the kids would like to learn about, and they threw us a curveball and said science. Science?! Awesome…we know nothing. Somehow we made it through and shifted more towards geography, but the kids were great and we had fun. We also spent time with our friend Gotuk (sp?) and his family. He has two small children and they are wonderful with Ransom. It felt much more relaxed this trip, and more like spending time with good friends rather than being patrons there for a service. We are so glad to call them friends.
In Yari, the young man we met on the last trip seemed like a new person. He was much warmer and very interested in spending time with us. His family owns the hotel there. He hiked up the hill with us, and some of our team had opportunities to talk with him about his beliefs, and share our Christian beliefs as well.
We were surprised in Hilsa to meet our other friends from Kerme, who were staying there for business, restocking supplies they purchased from China. Seeing them there added some substance to the relationship, showing them we weren’t just tourists using them for a place to stay, but were actually interested in building a relationship. This, we feel was very beneficial to our friendship with them, and absolutely God-ordained. One of the Nepali policeman allowed us to walk onto Tibetan soil, and we got a picture in front of the sign that marks the Chinese side. We were lucky they didn’t come confiscate our cameras, but now we can officially say we’ve been to China! The same policeman walked around with Jason and Gil for awhile which allowed them to ask questions and learn some helpful info about the gov’t and culture.
And of course, everywhere we went, people flocked to Ransom. Children would peek in the tent to see him, some would hold his hand and walk around with him (with our supervision). A couple kids tried to walk him across a board layer between the roofs of two buildings. Ha ha…no. They would scoop him up and play with him so we could finish our meals, try to comfort him if he was fussy, and many of them remembered his name.
There are so many things we are grateful for. The evidence of the Lord’s hand is all over this trip, from the timing to and from, the relationships more firmly established, the open opportunities to be in the schools, the health of our team, and the way our own characters have been stretched and transformed along the way.
One verse in particular hung in my mind during our entire trip.
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3
A good friend of ours wrote a song in our time in college, and it played constantly in my head. I could hear him singing it in the difficult parts of the trek, when I felt both physically and mentally stripped.
“You keep in perfect peace our minds when their stayed on Thee. So what is good, and what is true? I will dwell on for you.”
Each time it brought me back to the person we are doing this all for. It reminds me of Jesus’ worthiness. There were times when I found myself thinking, “What in the world are we doing out here? What are we doing with a BABY out here?” And the difficulty reminds me that there is a reason there are no others doing ministry in this place. It’s hard. In fact in every aspect it is one of the most difficult things, probably the most difficult thing, we’ve ever done. I’ve been stretched physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. But all of it, the aches and pains, the stress of taking care of our son in the middle of nowhere, building relationships, and the risk we are taking with each flight, or each narrow pass, or higher altitudes, all of it is worth it if it means a chance to share the gospel. All of it is worth it if it brings glory to Jesus’ name.