Bridge in Phak Ding with Lukla behind. (Photo by Jim Doenges)
We will seek to discern how God can use Climbing For Christ to serve the Sherpa people. A missionary from the U.S. who has been in Nepal for more than three years will join our team. We will also trek with an English-speaking Nepali guide (sirdar). Team members will learn about Hinduism, Buddhism, and the culture of the Khumbu. We will have stark reminders that not all religions are true, the same, or part of some larger whole. Our team will pray together, share devotionals, and worship. We will enjoy the spiritual unity found only in Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:26-28).
After flying to an airstrip in the village of Lukla at 9,300 feet, we will begin our trek. The Khumbu is completely roadless so we will walk – more than 80 miles in 16 days. We will sleep in tents, which are warmer and quieter than lodges that cater to tourists. Tenting also provides more flexibility on where we can stay.
The many villages we will visit include: Lukla, Phak Ding, Monju, Namche, Thame, Gokyo, Lobuche, Gorak Shep, Pheriche, and Pangboche. Local people working as porters, cooks, and guides will support us. The contact time with these wonderful Sherpa people will provide opportunities to learn from them and share the Truth with them.
Porters or pack animals transport all goods in the Khumbu. Almost all climbers and trekkers employ porters. Porters existed long before the tourist trade ever started. They are as essential to the Khumbu as truck drivers are to America; they transport food and goods from village to village. Unfortunately, some tourists exploit porters and treat them poorly. As we do on Kilimanjaro, Climbing For Christ will treat our porters in Nepal with love and respect, limit the weight of our gear, and pay them well for their hard work.
In the Sherpa language Everest is called “Chomolungma,” which means “Goddess Mother of the World.”
We will stay at Everest Base Camp for several days, where we will pray and fellowship with Climbing For Christ member Bud Allen of Georgia, who will be climbing the mountain. We will also pray for another member, Mark Lewis of England, who will be climbing the Northwest Ridge of Everest. Instead of attending the idolatrous puja ceremonies common at Base Camp, we will lovingly offer our worship of the One God of all creation, and seek to share the Truth with climbers from around the world.
From nearby Kala Patthar, at over 18,192 feet (5,545 meters), we will see the South Col of Everest, the Khumbu icefall, and have a magnificent view of Nuptse. Other mountains we will see include Cho Oyu, Pumori, Lhotse, Thamserku, and Ama Dablam. We will prayer-walk at Buddhist monasteries, and pray that God uses us to plant seeds among some of the many tourists from around the world.
We also hope to visit with the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC) while in the Khumbu. The SPCC is a Sherpa organization working to promote environmental stewardship. Lots of visitors leave lots of rubbish. We will explore the potential for LNT (Leave No Trace) practices, and see if existing tree nurseries are effective in combating deforestation that has been a major concern in the Khumbu.
We will conclude our mission with several days in Katmandu, the capital of Nepal. It is a medieval city of breathtaking architecture, dark alleys, and sacred cows. It seems like there are many Katmandus, layered on top of one another in a crazy morass of chaos and a crush of humanity. Thanks to the hard work of missionaries and the working of the Holy Spirit, followers of The Way are proliferating in the Katmandu valley. We will worship at a Nepali home church, encourage believers, and prayer walk at a Hindu temple.
— Jim Doenges, Climbing For Christ