Mission: Possible 6
‘Only God makes things grow’
With great expectation, our dedicated team of four anxiously awaited the end of the grueling five days of travel from our homes to our destination in the valley. How would God reveal His glory to these nomadic people? How would He build on the previous trips to this area? What had He done in their hearts since we had been there last?
We were entering the unknown and trusting that God would again provide and protect. Mission: Possible 6 was about to unfold.
Even though many of our team members already had relationships with our friends in the valley, we were struck with the frustration of not being able to speak their dialect. Are we going to make a difference here when our cultures are worlds apart? We can’t share our hearts when we can’t speak the language. It is such a long, long way to get here, is it worth it? Should we just send our money and support our missionary? Maybe that would be a better use of our resources. Lord, we surrender our all.
When we arrived in the valley and set up camp for the first few nights, we watched our crippled monk friend walk down the hill and cross the river with his niece and nephew. When visiting with the family our team was encouraged, as it was evident that our friend’s health was improving. His limp was less prominent and his speech, which was only grunts in the past, had graduated to obvious efforts of word formation.
The family still longs to see the crippled monk fully healed. His disgruntled father expressed that he was less than impressed with the higher Buddhist monks because they could not heal his son.
Before leaving the valley our team longed for an opportunity to lay hands and pray for Jesus to totally restore this crippled monk’s health. Unfortunately, rumors were being spread that “we had come to convert the family,” and certain members of the family did not feel comfortable with us praying for our friend. So we had to honor the situation and step back, allowing for God’s future timing.
We began to notice an encouraging change as we moved further into the valley. During a 7½-hour hike of 20 kilometers (more than 12 miles) at an elevation of 14,000 to 15,000 feet, we began to be stopped by people who were going about their daily duties. Some were en route to the nearest town on their motor bikes to sell caterpillars, roots that are in high demand as a natural medicine throughout that part of the world. Others were families going to gather caterpillars in the hills. Still others were children and their families inviting us in for tea and a rest before carrying on our journey.
The scenario was consistent with every group of people that would stop and talk to us. Every group would ask “Frank,” the English name we call our translator: “Where are you going? What are you doing here?” Then they would tell us that they remembered us from previous trips.
Frank would joke around with us and say, “Everyone remembers you — you are like superstars here!”
We would think: “Maybe Jesus Christ Superstars. Without Him, we are nothing.”
We found it interesting how many people remembered us, when we couldn’t remember them.
In our devotion time, we again discussed whether it was important for Climbing For Christ to continue making these trips. Or would it would be better for us to use our resources to support Frank, because he knows the language and the culture and seems so much more effective?
God continued to speak to us, showing us that it is important for us to just show up and that He will do the work.
“So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” — 1 Corinthians 3:7 (NIV)
We unanimously agreed that we would continue to be obedient to His calling in this valley. Not only is our presence a testimony to Jesus and His faithful love as we continue to return to the area, but it is also an encouragement to Frank that he is not alone out on the battlefield.
In this large nomadic valley — with families spread widely — it was interesting to discover that their primitive, but very effective communication system included Frank’s passionate sharing of the Gospel and the love of Christ. As questions were asked, and Frank answered, the subsequent months would buzz with communication throughout the valley, as this nomadic peoples group would ponder and talk amongst each other about this foreign God and how He is different from the Dalai Lama.
When arriving at another local friend’s house, we were welcomed with open arms as excited children ran around, not able to contain their feelings as they once again saw their unexpected visitors. The next day we played with the children while Frank and our friend went to find caterpillars.
When they returned, Frank was ecstatic and wanted to talk to us right away. Our nomadic friend proclaimed that “Jesus Christ is real and that He does not want to follow Tibetan Buddhism anymore!”
He said that he had listened to the radio that we had given him in 2009, enabling him to listen to a Christian program broadcast from a neighboring country. He then read the Bible as well as the discipleship package that we had prepared for him and others in the valley. With these tools he had made a decision: “Yes, Jesus Christ is real!”
He continued to tell Frank that due to the persecution of Christians, he was concerned for the safety of his eight children and all his grandchildren. Frank was able to encourage him as he shared his own similar testimony about how he also was ostracized from his family and village, but because he knew that the Gospel was true, he was willing to put it all in the hands of Jesus.
This was affirmation that we should continue to go back to the valley. We will continue to visit our nomadic friends, explore more of the valley, and spread the Truth of His love for this unreached people group. We are planning Mission: Possible 7.
This story originally appeared in The Climbing Way (Volume 22, Autumn 2011).
Posted Jan. 11, 2012