Death and life in Nepal
By Gary Fallesen
Founding president, Climbing For Christ
Padam, right, praying to accept Jesus with (left to right) brother Megh, Dr. Matthew, and another new believer named Prem on March 23. (Photo by Gary Fallesen)
adam was one of two young men who came to see our doctors on the rooftop where we had camped in the village of Takla during Mission: Nepal 2015 in late March. This was our first visit to Takla in four Evangelic Expeditions to the Far West district of Humla.
Dr. Matthew Fisher of Canada and our Nepalese brother Megh Gurung offered medical assistance and then spoke about the Great Physician. Padam gratefully accepted both.
Padam and his friend Prem, who also accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, were the first two Christians in this remote village.
Three months later we received word about Padam. He was dead. He committed suicide.
“Before his suicide he had written a letter for others,” Megh reported, after learning about Padam’s death from Pastor Harka at the Simikot church, where Padam had worshiped. “(He wrote) ‘I am (killing) myself. Nobody is to blame. Don’t go to the police. I have cancer so I am (killing) myself.’ ”
Our hearts were made heavy by this tragic news.
Climbing For Christ has spent many weeks evangelizing in Humla and encouraging a growing local church. Villages where there were no Christians when we first arrived in 2012 now have numerous believers. The church at Simikot, the district headquarters for Humla, has grown large enough to need its own building. C4C has been working with Pastor Harka and church leader Thana to help them purchase land for the construction of the area’s first church.
When I preached to the church at Simikot on Mission: Nepal 2013 I warned of the coming storm. I told them that new believers could not be left isolated in their communities. “The body must support its parts – or else it will wither and die,” I said. I told them that there would be spiritual opposition. The growth of the church would not go unnoticed by the enemy.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” – Ephesians 6:12
In June, while Central Nepal continued to recover from devastating earthquakes in April and May that claimed more than 8,000 lives, the church in Humla faced its own battles. Thana and his wife Dipa, who gave birth to the first baby in the Simikot church shortly after our Mission: Nepal 2015 team left, took their newborn child to Nepalgunj for treatment for illnesses suffered since the birth. Kali, a brother from Thehe who trekked with us and followed up where we had visited, also took his daughter for medical care in Nepalgunj near the India border.
And Padam took his own life.
“Satan is clever; he destroyed the follower of Jesus,” Megh lamented.
The church in Nepal is constantly challenged – by spiritual forces of evil, by majority Hindu and Buddhist believers who oppose Christianity, by the lies of the enemy. When a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck northwest of Kathmandu on April 25, there were allegations that the gods were angry at the people in this former Hindu kingdom. Christians were being used as a scapegoat.
But the church responded in love: caring for those in need, delivering relief, and praying with and for those who were hurting.
This has and will continue. Climbing For Christ has raised more than $30,000 in the United States and Canada. Funds have been used to:
- Provide relief supplies in and outside of Kathmandu.
- Repair the C4C-supported orphanage that is part of member Pastor Tej Rokka’s SARA (Savior Alone Redeems Asians) ministry.
- Begin recovery projects in villages throughout Central Nepal – from Dapcha to the east of Kathmandu to Phulkharka west of Kathmandu.
The Tamang Heritage Trail in Langtang National Park, where our Mission: Nepal 2012 team trekked.
We sent brother Megh to Langtang, an area north of Kathmandu flattened by the April 25 quake. Travel, even in late May and early June, was still difficult. There were boulders blocking the one road to Langtang that needed to be cleared.
“We got to Syabrubesi and spent the night under tarps,” Megh said.
There was no way to deliver relief supplies to Gatlang, a village where our Mission: Nepal 2012 team trekked in January. The people from Gatlang came to a school above Syabrubesi that C4C visited to receive supplies and the Good News that was shared.
A girl, above, smiles after receiving a sketch book (among other things) from brother Megh and a relief team. Below, supplies being distributed. (Photos by Megh Gurung)
“All the people were so happy with relief,” said Megh, who took tarps, mattresses, school bags, and other gifts for children. “They were telling, ‘Thank you. Thank you very much for the donors.’ ”
In early May, in our weekly e-couragement to “One Team, One Mission” members of C4C – those active members who support the ministry through prayer, giving and GO-ing – I shared the following:
My heart aches for those who have not heard. It has been especially burdened the past 10 days – in the wake of the earthquake in Nepal (one of my homes away from home) and then spending time with brothers and sisters who have served in some of the darkest, hardest corners of this broken world. I am grieved.
“I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” – John 10:9 (KJV)
I received word about devastation in the Langtang region. Climbing For Christ went there in January 2012. We trekked from village to village in places that may now be buried under avalanches.
I photographed an open door with the sun shining on it during our time there. It was the door to the house where we were staying in a village called Thuman. It remains one of my favorite photos from thousands I have taken in Nepal because of what it symbolizes in my heart and memory.
A little boy stood at that door singing a Nepali song that, in essence, begged the sun to rise. When the sun finally crept over the mountains around us, the boy jumped for joy. It was a precious moment. One I can see every time I look at that photo.
As I look at it now, I wonder if that boy is still alive. If his family survived. If his village still stands.
We intended to send a Nepali team back to that village to do more evangelism. Intentions don’t save.
“How are they to hear without someone preaching?” the great missionary Paul asked in Romans 10.
In October, we will return to Langtang to follow up on this work.
Megh again returned to his home village in the Dhading district to distribute tin roofing and help 150 families make shelters from the monsoon rains after having their homes destroyed by earthquakes.
Delivery of roofing to protect earthquake victims in Phulkharka. (Photo by Megh Gurung)
“If we have not tins in the rainy season, we can die,” a villager told Megh, who added: “They have seen our love and God’s love, too.”
When Megh – and a group of foreign trekkers he brought with him – were leaving Phulkharka to return to Kathmandu, he said: “Many people were standing there. I thought, ‘What is going on?’ I was a little bit shocked. They were waiting for us to see us off.
“At that time, our team shared very nicely the Good News for the community. It was amazing.”
Continue to pray for the people of Nepal, who are coping with fear caused by aftershocks and facing a long road to recovery. Join us in giving thanks for the support C4C has received to assist the ongoing work – from earthquake relief, to building our fourth church in Nepal, to sending another student to Bible college, and more.
If you wish to help, send donations to Climbing For Christ c/o Nepal, P.O. Box 16290, Rochester, NY 14616-0290. Or CLICK HERE and give online via PayPal and send an email to info@ClimbingForChrist.org to tell us about the gift.