Thursday, June 26, 2008


The video shown here was shot as we rested after a vicious climb. We first met up with 3 guys that were coming down from the highlands gathering the medicinal worms (see previous post for explanation). As God would have it they were all believers and the guy in the bandanna Phurpu had baptized more than 10 years ago! Then as we had fellowship together more and more people showed up. All of a sudden we had about 15 believers standing around praying and encouraging one another. As you watch the video you'll hear words like "danye bhat" which means "thank you" and "Zai Mashe" which means something like "Jesus is powerful" or "Jesus is Lord". I first of all want to state that as we travel and bring the Gospel to the world we are in no way trying to rob people of their culture. We just want people to have the opportunity to know the Savior. These guys all continue to be Tibetan. They just follow Christ now. We don't want to change people into Americans, we just want them to know our friend Jesus. The big scary looking American is Tony Lellie and dear friend and fellow football coach at Statesville High School. This was Tony's first mission trip and I beleive that he had a blast. It was surely great having him along. More to follow.....

Monday, June 23, 2008

Don't complain about your job!

I've seen alot of crazy stuff in my 42 years, but this one was a top ten. In the Himalayas there are no roads, so every item that is made down the mountain has to be carried up either by donkey or by man. In this video this man or more appropriately "superman" is carrying an office desk and the chairs that go with it. He is heading up a trail that will gain over 4000' in elevation. I'm not sure where he was going, but I do know he gets paid by the kilogram, a little over a dollar per. Wearing shorts and shower flops this guys was moving this massive desk up this mountain. I was amazed and hope you can appreciate the labor that some people in this world perfom.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Day 2 and 3: Movin' on up







With my puking behind me and a lot of miles ahead days 2 and 3 were days where we made up some time, moving from altitudes about 5000 ft up to 10K. The trails were steep and long. The weather was amazing though. The beginning of June in Nepal is the rainy season, that's why many tourists don't go there. It can be extremely dangerous during the monsoons. Flooding and landslides are common during this time. Many of the trails hug the river and make travel easy when its dry but when the river comes up you have to go over the higher trails which are longer and more treacherous. In these two days we made it from a village called Tal and got all the way to place called Dhukaru Pohkari. Prior to that we stayed in a place called Timang Besi. It was there that we all got hot showers. Oh my goodness what a blessing. It was there too that I ate for the first time in 48 hours. My meal consisted of boiled potatoes and salt. It was one of the best meals I'd ever had. Phurpu and James thought I was weird for eating the skins on the potatoes. I guess they weren't all wrong. We also had the opportunity to treat an injury there. One of the local boys had a nasty cut on his shin. He got injured when his sister was cutting wood and missed and hit him. I figured that might be half true. But we cleaned up his sound that probably should have had stitches. but it was good enough to keep infection from setting in. We had the guest house to ourselves and it was awesome. I got to call home and talk to Tammy from there for about $3 a minute, but it was worth it, every penny.

The next day was our first glimpse of the big maintains. After a long climb turned a corner and there it was, our first 20K plus peak. Tony had never seen a mountain like that and he was hanging in the back that day so I waited on him with my video camera to catch his reaction. He ambled around the bend and I said, "Hey Tony....look up!"

He did and he just said a long drawn out, "Whoa!"

Words sometimes will ruin a moment. The sight of that mountain was indeed beyond description or pictures, words and pictures would only cheapen the majesty of seeing that for the first time.

I think "Whoa!" sums it up best.

That same day we met a group of young guys coming down the mountain from their jobs high above the treeline. They go up to about 14 or 15K and search in the thin dirt there for this worm that grows a mushroom out of its backside (I'm not kidding). This worm and mushroom combination is said to having amazing healing powers. One guy even told me it cured AIDS. The worms sell for 300 rupees (about $5) in Kathmandu. That is an unbelievable amount of money. So the young men head up to the high country to harvest these things.

Well this group coming down happened to be believers in Jesus. And right there on the side of the trail we had church. We encouraged each other, prayed for each other and fellowshipped for about an hour. One guy looked at Phurpu and said, "I know you". Turns out that Phurpu had bee in that are 10 years before and baptized a bunch of people and this guy was one of them. How's that for coincidence. It was a blessing.

So days 2 and 3 we covered about 24 miles gained some mad altitude and met some great folks and had a hot shower. Not too shabby.....more to follow!

Monday, June 16, 2008

DAY 1.5: The church no one knew was there!



While puking my brains out and getting a heavy dose of humility handed to me, the rest of our team was fully engaged in Kingdom work around us. We stopped in one village for lunch and as our guides were probing the locals, we find out that in that village they had a church with a pastor. It was quite a surprise since none of us thought that an established presence of believers had made up that far. I was forced by my illness to take refuge prone at someones kitchen table while the rest of the team went to see the local meeting hall with members of the church. It turns out they had a full blown sound system and a place big enough for many families to meet. In fact they told us there were about 150 believing families in the area. And we had no idea. Its really a comfort to me that God's Kingdom is so much bigger than me and my plans. It is never all resting on my shoulders, and thank God it isn't. What a glorious surprise to find that the seeds of the Kingdom were taking root on the sides of the Himalayas. More to follow!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Nepal Day 1:Broken!



When you are broken everything else ceases to matter. My vision of our first day in Nepal was shattered by a rude awakening at twilight. I arose to get sip of water from under the hard wooden bed in the trailside guest house we were sating in. The trail is the Annapurna Circuit in central Western Nepal in the heart of the Himalayas. Flanked by some of the world's tallest mountains, this area is truly a work of art. Our mission consisted of 8 men, Tony Lellie my friend and fellow football coach at Statesville High, Dave and Caleb Moss and Brent and Jared Bowman (the father and son duos), our Tibetan guides James and Phurpu. Our mission was to trek about 50 miles into the heart of the Annapurna range and distribute materials to unreached villages along the way and then hike the 50 miles back in about 9 days.

Day 1 began with leg cramps at 4:00 am. So I began to hydrate with water. When day broke I grabbed the water bottle and noticed that it looked strange. The water in the bottle looked as if I had gathered it from a stagnate puddle somewhere. I realized through my powers of deduction that I had the wrong water bottle. Where it came from I have no idea. About 15 minutes later it began, the wrenching stomach cramps, the runs came and then the vomiting began. Being the good soldier I am I strapped on my pack and began the days trek. About a mile in and heading up an incredibly steep grade I began to vomit violently. Phurpu stayed back with me and took my pack which I gave up reluctantly. He carried mine and his pack for the nest 10 miles as I struggled to make each step. My legs felt like they had lead in them. Phurpu would stop with me and pray in Tibetan. I was miserable and broken. After about 4 hours of this I sat down on the side of the trail, out of sight of the rest of my team, Phurpu with me, my insides screaming. I sat and began to pray and realized that without God's help I was not going to make it. There are no ambulances in the Himalayas because there are no roads. As Phurpu prayed for me I began to break inside. God spoke very clearly, "In your weakness My strength is made perfect, My grace is sufficient for you." I sat there in my vomit and I wept realizing that I had nothing left but Jesus to get me through. All of my strength gone, all of my pride stripped. James and Phurpu took turns nursing me. I collapsed about a mile from our destination for the day at the base of a vicious climb. I slept there for about 2 hours trying to stave off dehydration with Sprite. James shooed flies off of me. He sat there, never leaving me. After sleeping I had enough energy to attempt the climb. Finally we got to the top and made it to the next village. The team was there ahead of me and greeted me at the city gates and a Christian family there had a bed waiting on me. And I slept! For about 16 hours solid. Absolutely what I needed. I realized that Jesus had been with me the whole day, through the encouraging words of my friends, through his servants James and Phurpu. I was broken but healed at the same time. What is it about brokenness that teaches us so much? You never want to go through it, but I wouldn't trade that day for anything. The following video was filmed prior to the day's now infamous activities....enjoy!

Friday, June 13, 2008

1st pics from Nepal



Here is the first picture out of Nepal. I took this about 0500 one morning. Even with a cruddy camera its hard to mess that one up. The peaks you are looking at are Annapurna 2 and 4, both over 7100 meters. More to follow!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Home!

My bed, my shower, my family, my dog, my country....my goodness it is good to be home!
I got home about 11:15 last night after 40 continuous hours of travel from the Himalayas to rural NC.

I'm suffering the effects today, jet lag and some sort of gastrointestinal disorder that I wouldn't wish on anyone. But, I'm home, not in some airport or stuck in a hot airplane waiting on clearance to land.

I'll get started chronicling the trip to Nepal tomorrow after I download some pictures and videos. This all depends on how I'm feeling. But, hopefully tomorrow there will be some pictures up and some commentary on our trip. It was a blessing.

In the meantime check out one of my guide's website. His name is Phurpu (poor poo). It means Thursday in Tibetan. That is what day of the week he was born on. He was raised in a small village near MT Everest and came to faith in Jesus through a German mountain climber. Its a pretty cool story.

Our other guide was named James. James is a gifted musician and plays traditional Tibet style music but writes praise songs to Jesus with Tibetan themes. If you'd like to know how to get his music just contact me.

Both guys are Tibetan believers and are two of the greatest servant leaders I've ever met. I learned so much from them.

Phurpu's website is www.reachinghimalayas.org

Be back tomorrow.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Nepal

Greetings from Kathmandu!

I won't have any pictures till next week but it was an adventure. When I get back to my computer at home I'll update each day with pictures so you can follow along with our trip.

Here are the nuts and bolts of it all. We hiked about 100 miles in 8 days going from altitudes just under 4000 ft to almost 13,000. In one case some of our team went as high as 15,500.

We averaged over 12 miles a day and this morning I really feel like it. Shin splints, back spasms, and general exhaustion are the rule.

We had many incredible opportunities to share the good news and I will update you on these as the days come.

We met two amazing men of God who have a heart for the Himalayas and treated us with unreal servant hearts.

An incredible journey no doubt.

But I long to hear these words, "Welcome to America son!'

I'll be home in a few days.

The songs of life- Thanks to mom

My home was filled with music and people growing up. Mom loved music and can play an assortment of instruments but her favorites are th...