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!