After a long wait with prayers and earnest desires, May 4th came when we flew with Yeti Airlines. This airline was well-known for flying on time. Nepalgunj welcomed us with about 40 degree Celsius temperature. But Hotel ‘Siddartha’ has a lot to do for us. Indeed, it made us cool. Wil and I had a plenty of time to spend there since our next day flight to Jumla was not until 11:00 a.m. So we went to see the leaders of ‘Jyoti Niwas Church’, one of the oldest Churches in Nepal. We had a good time with them there. Next day we headed to the Nepalgunj Airport or Ranja Airport ahead of time. We reached there about 8:30 and waited about four more hours since our flight time was delayed. My friend had missed his Bible at home in Kathmandu which was left indeed due to my mistakes. I asked some of the Leaders of Jyoti Niwas Church, whether they have an English Bible available or not. Since I found no hope during that limited period of time I helped Brother Wil to connect wifi through Buddha Air to download the Bible from the net. He was laughing saying ‘sometimes Buddha can help to get the work of Jesus done’.
Our twin-otter aircraft was heading north smartly until the first half of the flight. But when we got over the Kalikot mountains we saw clouds everywhere. I started to pray while I was looking to the clouds constantly. The Pilot was skillfully flying the aircraft finding the way. But the moment came when the Pilot seemed nervous not knowing how to escape of the clouds. Then I thought I may die in the Mid-Western Himalayan sky within few seconds. Life is short. Nobody knows when it ends. I thought in my heart that I may not see again my family, my church, my friends etc. My heart was bumping hard at the moment. Later my friend had testified that he had closed his eyes and was praying hard knowing the situation of the moment. I know for sure that it was the most frightened flight in my life. God’s hand was upon the Pilot in the moment. He diverted the aircraft to the sharp left. I thought that our Pilot might have lost the path, or he may have been diverting the aircraft to Nepalgunj airport. Thank God within few minutes mountains were seen below the aircraft. But still I didn’t know what’s happening. Since high mountains were still visible I thought then that the aircraft is not diverting to Nepalgunj anymore. Slowly the aircraft was lowered to the ground crossing the high hills both sides with much craftiness. High valleys were passed but not in the straight path but in ‘s’ shape flight. Off course I had to watch out the flight with much alertness. I could not see Jumla city as I had the seen it in our first time visit to Jumla. After a long wait I saw Jumla and the airport beneath. Then my hope increased greatly. But still I was waiting for the final success of landing. Nobody can tell what will happen with the flight until the last moment. At last the wheels of the aircraft touched the ground and slowed the speed. Then I raised my ‘thumps up’ to my friend with much joy and we said jointly ‘praise the Lord’. I felt that the war was over and victory was given to us. Now the next war was ahead of us.
Hotel Snow-land received us by sending a jeep by the door of the airport. Indeed, Jumla had welcomed us wholeheartedly. While we were roaming in the city by the evening cool, Uddav Prasad Dhital of Deepal 6, Phoyu showed up and greeted us. I thought that he knew me before. As I talked with him I came to know that he really wanted to be our guide for Rara Trek. And he explained about his village which is just 45 minute walk distance. I expressed our desire of visiting his village next day. He was really excited about that.
It was the good morning of 6th of May, Uddav showed up early in the morning to our hotel to lead us to his village. We started our trip to his village following the river Tila. In Dhansagu two rivers Tila and Juwa meet and flows together in the name of Tila heading South-West to assist to be the bigger Karnali. Now the river Tila is one of the members of Great Karnali. We crossed river Juwa with a suspension bridge and found a small town called ‘Dhansaghu’. There again we found another suspension bridge to cross river Tila. There in the bridge we met numerous students heading to Jumla city for their schooling. When we began to distribute Gospel tracts they happily received them. We found out that most of them never heard about Jesus. It was amazing that God had taken us there for a good purpose. Whoever we met on the way we distributed tracts. We explained the gospel when people had time to listen to us. We reached Deepal which is a beautiful town situated in the heart of beautiful valley created by river Tila. In Deepal there are about 300 houses making a beautiful town. There we saw a health post being established many years ago to serve for the people of that valley and the surroundings. After another half an hour we reached Phoyu village where there were about 80 houses crowded together. When we reached at Phoyu village, youngsters, women and children got together to see us. Then I began to talk about Jesus among them. Some men asked some difficult questions. What are the differences between Hinduism and Christianity? They asked us if we had only brought the message of Christianity or for their physical supplies also. They were not difficult questions indeed. Religions say ‘Do and live’. But the Bible says, ‘It is already done, believe and live’. Some of the men were local leaders of some political parties. Brother Wil preached the gospel to them for a good space of time. And when we told them about our plan of distribution of some medicines then all of them turned into another phase. Some said they had headache, some showed their stomach problem and some complained about their other health problems. We distributed paracitamols, ibubrofin, worm medicines, antacids, ointments for cuts, wounds, bandages etc. They were excited for the medicines. One sick woman came later and complained she had a fever and headache. By then our medicines were already over. We told about the Jesus Film too. They all expressed their desire to view it. They all were busy but they gave their time for the film. We had got a good opportunity there to share the gospel. Some of them were telling us to come back again to show the video in their community hall. Expressing our positive response we headed to Jumla Khalanga. On the way to Khalanga we entered into the Health Post in Deepal and met the staffs there. The staffs were very friendly and talked with us generously. When we asked about the needs of the health post, the immediate reply was their need of fences for the security of the compound and need of the medicines. We saw some opportunities of sharing the gospel along with health camps. Then we headed to Hotel Snow-land. We were assisted by Uddav. It was a good day that the Lord had made.
7th May was our departure date to Jumla-Rara trek with the gospels. We were ready for the trip but the final decision was not made yet due to couple of factors. The owner of the hotel Lalit Mahat had informed us that his jeep was supposed to go to Rara on 8th. And he had managed a tour guide for us who was supposed to meet us by 6th. He didn’t show up on 6thbut came to meet us on 7th. His name was Ship Bahadur Buda. Since Mr. Lalit could not returned back from Sinja on 6thwe couldn’t make any decision for the trip on 7th. So the 7th became the most confusing day for us. We went to South-West part of Jumla Khalanga city and preached the gospel along with distributing tracts. On the way a drunk guy followed us for long way. He would stop the people and forced to say ‘Jay Mashih’ and he himself would hand over the tracts to them. I did not want to give him tracts to distribute but he himself would try to take them away from me. He was speaking a lot about the politics, political leaders, sports etc. It seemed that he knew a lot about politics and political leaders in the Capital city. I was praying that the Lord may make us free from the man. And surely he did. We distributed a lot of tracts on that evening too. By the evening Mr. Lalit showed up in the Hotel and we made a round table talk with Mr. Lalit and Mr. Ship Bahadur Buda about the plan for Jumla-Rara trek. We made the decision that we were going to Rara by Jeep and we would go there without the guide.
On the next day morning which was 8th May, our decision was changed. We planned not to go to Rara on the basis that we would not meet plenty of villages on the way. Instead we chose to follow the river Juwa and cross couple of hills and come back following the river Tila. To confirm our plan we decided to follow the river Tila for some distance towards its source. So we headed to North-West direction from Jumla city following the river. Day was clear and temperature was increasing. We took some tracts along with some toys for the kids. River Juwa was blue and clear on that day which was running towards its destiny. High but beautiful mountains and narrow valleys appeared on the way. We felt very hot in some points and our baggage were seemed as being heavier. We found a shade which was felt as a bonus for the trip. We sat there and felt refreshed. Then we started our trip and walked a long way under the strong heat of the sun. On the left we could see high and steep mountains and on the right the river Juwa was flowing in its rapid speed. We reached at Rana, a small village, where we got a shade with opportunities. In Rana village there are about 10 houses. There was a water tap serving fresh and cold water for the thirsty travelers. People would stop there for the shade and water. And we talked with the people and shared the gospel along handing the pictorial tracts and some of the New Testaments. Very few had heard the gospel in that area. Most of them confessed that they never heard the gospel. It was always a sad news to hear from them. On the other hand we were happy to be there that we could share the gospel to them. God gives opportunities to the people to hear the gospel. We could say humbly ‘Lord we are here, use us for the salvation of many’.
We met a young guy on the way who was also heading towards the same direction. Oh, he could walk so fast. I stayed with him walking side by side preaching the gospel. And we reached at Urthu which was a bigger village in that area. In Urthu, there were about 120 houses. The young guy expressed his desire to read New Testament. I gave a New Testament for him. Then he parted leaving us in Urthu. It was our destination for that day. We sat in an open place before a small tea shop. We ordered tea and waited for the opportunities. After a couple of minutes a huge number of Children from a school crowded about us. Brother Wil placed a Christian sticker one each student. In the beginning no one had courage to come to him for the tag. Later it was very hard for him to handover tags to them due to their aggressiveness to get them. They crowded him in this manner that he had to stand up to protect him from pressing down. We distributed some tracts there. Then the school break was ended and all the children went back for their classes. We took a time for rest along with our lunch in a solitary place on the bank of the river. Then we headed to Jumla city again. It was a cool day to us. So we were sure then that we could follow the river next day for a couple of days to find the villages for the gospel.
It was 9th May and we were almost ready for the trip. We were trying to get a helper to carry our baggage for the trip. Since we could not get anybody for our help we packed our baggage. It was heavy and brother Wil felt almost unable to carry his baggage. But we decided to move at least up to airport. God be praised that we got a tractor right beside the airport. So we sat upon the fully loaded tractor with packets of rice. As the tractor began to move with a loud sound I just found out that the hotel room key was with me. I informed Mr. Lalit, the owner of the hotel about the mistake. He said to send the key back with someone going to Jumla city. At that time tractor has passed the airport area and there was no one through whom I could send the key. Tractor was rolling forward about 30 km/h and it passed the way in a quite speed. Soon we came to the rocky mountain area where the road was quite narrow. Below the road the river Juwa was following its own speed. Suddenly the tractor shook badly. I almost fell from the roof of the tractor. But I was saved due the help of a rope under me. God be praised for that. He was the one who is controlling the situations. Soon we reached Rana and then Urthu. After Urthu our tractor crossed the big river Juwa. It was amazing. Then for a long time we couldn’t see any villages. We saw big trees, rocky and steep mountains. At last we saw a big village. Later we found out that it was Lorpa which has about 200 houses. Then a wider valley showed up before our eyes. It was Lassi. Now the Lassi has about 40 houses. There we got down just in front of the hotel Himnadi. We immediately decided to stay for about two nights in the hotel for the evangelism in that area. It was a center for many villages like Lorpa (200 houses), Jamna (90 houses), Luma (250 houses), Dillichaur or Chaudabisa (60 houses).This beautiful valley is called Dillichaur or Chaudabisa where Dor Bahadur Bista, the author of famous book ‘The People of Nepal’ has established a school and served the society. This school today is known as one of the best school in Jumla. But he was suddenly disappeared some years ago. In the Himnadi hotel we booked a room which didn’t have door to lock up. But the hotel was a fine hotel. We paid Rs. 50.00 per night. And Dal bhat, a nepali regular food was quite tasty here. After the arrangement of the hotel, we went to see the village Lasi where the hotel was situated, to see the opportunity for evangelism. We distributed pictorial tracts there whoever we met on the way. Then we saw a school which has a big play ground. But all the class rooms including the office were closed. It was a government primary school which was closed due to the lack of students. But just above the government school there was Jumla Dynamic Englisn Mediam Boarding School which has 150 students. It was running the classes from Nursery to grade III. All the students were in their class rooms. We were received by the Principal and the Founder of the school in their office. We introduced ourselves with them and told them about our purpose of the visit. They were very much appreciated for our visit. Then the Principal asked brother Wil to teach some English classes. He gave pronunciation classes to Upper KG, I, II and III. In Nepal English is a compulsory subject from Primary Level. They learn English starting at the primary level. They memorizes a great numbers of word spellings, they know English grammar, the can write letters, articles in English very well but they struggle always in pronunciations. It’s always an opportunity for the Nepalese schools to have such English speaking travelers for some English pronunciation classes. It was Friday a day of activities. The students performed some dances and participated spelling contest program. We distributed prizes from our toys, crayons and coloring books to the students who had achieved I, II and III positions along with the students who had participated the contest. Thus, we were allowed to distribute the gospel tracts and preach the gospel to the teachers and the students in the school. And the Founder and the Principal of the school invited us to show Jesus film in their village Lorpa on the next night. We were so much appreciated to God for all such open doors for the gospel. We didn’t plan all the details of the programs for the evangelism but God was leading us for his purpose. It was a good day indeed.
It was 10th of May, we got up early in the morning. Oh! it was a beautiful morning. We saw Mt. Kanjirowa in the East standing as a testimony of that part of universe. It was so clear and white with all its beauties. We headed to the plain of Patarasi, the highest paddy land in the world. We walked in a heat of the day. And we reached at Luma and sat in a shadow of a newly built house where a great number of villagers had got together to celebrate for the new house. As we began to talk many children and adults were crowded about us. We distributed tracts, toys and medicines there. Some had shown more interests for the gospel. And the owner of the house invited us to join the feast. But since we had taken our lunch already we could not join them. Then we went further and crossed the River Juwa with a traditional wooden bridge. Then we turned towards Lasi and entered into the original village Luma. In Luma village there were about 250 villages. We distributed tracts there and came back to Lasi. By the evening we went to Lorpa, where we were invited to show the Jesus film. We were received by Mr. Man Bahadur Buda, the Founder of Jumla Dynamic EM Boarding School. We had good time of meeting with Mr. Man Bahadur Buda, Pricipal Prakash Khadka and others. Then we were led to a house roof where we showed the Jesus film. About two hundred people were crowded on the roof. After the film I preached the gospel and we distributed tracts, toys and medicines to the villagers. Then we were led to a house where our meal was prepared. It was a good meal. After the meal Mr. Chandra Singh Buda showed us his desire to help us to carry our luggage. We praised God for his providence in our great needs. It was already 10 pm, we returned to Lasi where our hotel was situated.
On 11th May we got up early in the morning. Chandra Singh and Man Bahadur arrived to our hotel. Then we headed towards Lethi lek. While we were walking I preached the gospel to both of those brothers. We reached at Tirkhu village where 120 houses were crowded together. We were led by Chandra Singh to his relative’s house. There we drank some tea and distributed some tracts and medicines. Then we went up to Lethi lek pass. On the way I preached the gospel to the men with us. Man Bahadur Buda received the Lord by the wayside as his Lord and Savior. Then I taught him about the assurance of salvation. Brother Man Bahadur returned back to his home by then. We were so much excited to see a salvation of a soul on that morning. We saw two huge flocks of sheep going towards Lasi. They were brought from Jajarkot. We reached at the summit of Lethi lek where about 10 houses were built. There we took some tea. There we distributed some tracts. And the owner of the teashop ordered Lunch in his house in Murali for us. God had done his best all the way for us. He had planned already for us for his glory. After a long walk we reached the village Murali. There were about 110 houses in Murali. We reached the home where our Lunch was being prepared. We were welcomed warm heartedly. We distributed tracts and handover a New Testament there. After food we asked the price of the Lunch. But they would not receive the money. With much insistent she was agreed to receive the money. Then we went down through the village. By the way a couple of old women asked us some medicines. We distributed tracts with some medicines. One of the women was making some jokes to us saying if we had given a lot of medicines she would read our small tract. We laughed and took our way towards the river down. We met the river Tila then. That tiny valley was so beautiful and calm. We met another big flock of sheep on the way. It was interesting to gaze how the shepherd dogs were leading the flock and took care of the security of the sheep. We saw horses with their little ponies on the riverside. It was river Tila. Water was so clean and cool flowing under the high pine trees. In this river, plenty of common trout fish were found. What beauty God had created. We came to Pibleri, a tiny village, located by river side. There are about 5 houses in Pibleri. We found a tea shop there. We distributed some tracts and took some ships of tea here. By the evening, we reached at Gothigaun. In Gothigaun there are 200 houses. We were taken to a house by Chandra Singh. That was his relative’s house. There we showed Jesus film and distributed tracts, toys and medicines. The household prepared meals for us and showed their hospitality greatly. There we spent a night.
We got up early in the morning on 12th of May and headed to Gothichaur after tea provided at the house. We distributed some of the tracts on the way to Gothichaur. After one and half an hour we reached at Gothichaur which is a wide and beautiful valley down below the beautiful Himalayan picks. This beautiful valley was one of the sources of river Tila. There we met another drunk guy who was loud with trembling feet. When we talked with him he was calmed down and he took one of tracts too. Then we observed a Nepal government sheepfold. It was interesting. The valley is a large pasture land for the sheep. We saw some big flocks being pastured in the pasture land. And we distributed tracts to the travelers, who were going to Dolpa to collect ‘Yarsagumba’, a kind of herb which is regarded as highly proteinase herbal. It was sold in Rs. 1500.00 per piece in the previous year in Jumla. This time we found most of the young guys gone out of home for Dolpa to collect the herb. This was one of the reasons why we could not get a helper for our trip. As we continued our trek over the mountains we could see beautiful high mountains in the South and East. We were somewhere in mid Himalayan region. And we saw beautiful valleys towards West. Oh, what a great sceneries God had made. We were now heading to Jumla. We came above Garjyangkot from where we saw a school in a lower land. We saw a soccer field there. We had a soccer ball left in our bag. We decided to give it to the school. As we entered into the school compound we saw numerous students around us. And the teachers came out of the office to see us. And we were received in the office and began to talk. We gave our introduction with gospel tracts and the soccer ball to the school. They were so friendly that one of the teachers, Mr. Harihar Upadhyaya invited us to spend the night at his house. It was wonderful. We were planning to spend our night at Garjyangkot but his house was at Ukadi, which was 1 hour walk from Garjyangkot. In Garjyangkot there are 600 houses. We accepted his invitation. And brother Wil was asked to teach English pronunciation class for 6th, 7th and 8th grades students. It was a wonderful time in the school. We followed Mr. Hari har to his village. And we were following then the beautiful river Tila. On the way we met Pyakurelvada village. There were 45 houses in the village. After a long walk we came to his village Ukadi. In Ukadi there are 143 houses. We were received at the mud roof of the house where a huge number of people could sit together. The villagers slowly found out that there were new arrivals in the village. They got together one by one on the mud roof. There we preached the gospel and distributed tracts and New Testaments. Some of them had asked questions concerning Bible and Christianity. We gave answers to their questions. We spent a night there. It was another wonderful day for us.
Next day morning Mr. Harihar came to our room and shared his life stories. One of them was his marriage story. Harihar Upadhyaya, a teacher in Shree Shanker Lower Secondary School had a love with a girl in Jumla Khalanga in his teen age. They had loved each other deeply and decided to marry with each other. While he was studying in class eight, his father arranged a marriage for him. His was quite happy that he is going to marry the same girl whom he had loved. But at the day of marriage he found out that he was going to marry the younger sister of her beloved girlfriend. He was so upset with the event. But he was not in the position to oppose the arrangement of his father. Unwillingly he married the girl whom his father had arranged. His beloved girlfriend also was really upset and got confused thinking what’s going on here. Time came when he got opportunity to her house when nobody was at home. And he shared all the stories how the event had taken place.
One day Harihar’s father met the father of his girlfriend and asked him his younger daughter for his son Harihar. And immediately he agreed to give her younger daughter to Harihar. And all the arrangements were made. Harihar came to know right at the marriage ceremony spot that he was not going to marry his girlfriend. Instead of her he was going to marry her younger sister. When his girlfriend heard the story she wept bitterly and Harihar also wept a lot. They wept together almost whole night and parted from each other.
He went down to Surkhet for his further studies. Three years after his marriage he heard that his girlfriend got marriage with a man somewhere in Jumla. And he gave his congratulations with a heavy heart. It was a tragedy story of Harihar Upadhyaya. Concerning his marriage Harihar confessed that his father won but he lost the game in his marriage.
We were served tea by Harihar’s family. We greeted each other and parted for Jumla. On the way we met village Bingade. In Bingade village there were 90 houses. We distributed some tracts there. While walking I preached the gospel to our helper Chandra Singh focusing his personal life. He was so much responsive towards the gospel. He confessed that he is a sinner and he needs Jesus. Then we came to Dansanghu where we ate our breakfast. Dansanghu is the place where two beautiful rivers Tila and Juwa met together. It’s a beautiful place. After crossing Dansanghu the story of our helper Chandra Singh was started.
Chandra Singh of Lorpa, Jumla had a love with a girl from another village in Jumla. They loved each other so deeply that they had decided to marry each other. He used to go to her house time to time to visit her and her family. After three years of their love, brother of Chandra Singh arranged a marriage for him. The girl was from her own village. He refused to marry the girl whom his elder brother had chosen. But he couldn’t cancel the arrangement his brother had arranged since his brother was playing the role of a Parent. Time came he married the girl his brother had proposed. After the marriage his former girlfriend complained many times for his diverted decision for marriage. He was not happy with the marriage life. He complained his elder brother about his wrong arrangements. As a result they parted from each other. Many times in solitary hours he remembers his former girlfriend and regretted for his own folly. After few years his former girlfriend got marriage with a man from her own village. This was a tragedy story of Chandra Singh Buda of Jumla.
Oh, man this was the day of stories. Interesting! And we reached at Jumla Khalanga. While we were sitting in the hotel compound in Snowland Hotel we talked again with Chandra Sing about his spiritual life. We approached the gospel again and he was then ready to accept the Lord Jesus as the Lord and Savior. And I gave a New Testament and taught from some verses for his assurance of salvation. Praise God for the salvation of another soul. After Lunch and prayers our beloved brother Chandra Singh parted from us to his home. Soon he would be leaving for the high mountains to collect Yarshas, the precious herbals in the Himalayas. God loves the people in the Himalayas.
We looked back our stay in Jumla and the surrounding villages and it was wonderful. God leads his preachers by his Spirit and the Word to preach out his gospel. In this trip we felt his leadings and blessings. God is always ready to lead his preachers so that the people might know God and his callings. God be praised for all his love and guidance for his beloved children. I thank God for his love and guidance.
May 14th was our day of rest. We took plenty of time for rest in the morning. Then we headed to Jumla city around to see opportunities to handouts some tracts and New Testaments. And we met some young guys preparing to go to high mountains to collect yarshas. When we talked with them about Jesus they were responsive. Along with tracts they wanted to read New Testaments. So we gave them some New Testaments. By the evening some Church Leaders came to visit us in Snowland. They testified that in Jumla and the surrounding districts the gospel is preached in very limited areas. Most of the preachers and the missionaries come upto Surkhet only. They would not come up to Karnali high mountains. Let’s pray for the people in Karnali high mountains.
We got up early in the morning on 15th of May. It was day to fly back to Kathamandu. The weather was excellent that morning! God is good to us. Praise God. I had learnt a great lesson from the Lord that morning. Weather life or death, both are good for the Children of God. “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting?” 1 Corinthians 15:54,55. “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21. While we were crossing the high Himalayas in Jumla and Kalikot I did not afraid of death. God does good always towards his children (Rom. 8:28). If God wants me take home that’s fine for me. So I enjoyed the flight a lot while we were coming back to Nepalganj. Actually my heart was singing at the moments when our twin otter was struggling over the high Himalayas. At the same day we arrived in Kathmandu and joined my family in Kathmandu. Praise God for all his goodness.
Pastor U. J. Gurung