Sunday, August 31, 2014

An uneventful day.

Yes, they have Pizza Hut here. And
yes, we ate there. Very good.
This will be a quick post. We had a monsoon kick up today. That pretty much shut down our plans. Tomorrow we are leaving for another town. Hopefully I'll have better internet access then!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Darjeeling diaries

Today we awakened to a fantastic view of Kachenjunga, the third tallest mountain in the world. It's cold here in the morning, even though we are the same latitude as Miami FL.
We did tons of walking today. And up and down steep hills, stairways, and alleys. This is an amazing town that National Geographic should do a cover story on (if they haven't already). The homes are stacked on top of each other on the steepest of hills. There is hardly any western influence in this remote place.
We met with some relatives of our guide this morning after breakfast and drank tea. It is a black tea with milk and sugar. Then we went to meet with a member of the Indian military. While waiting, we were served tea again and were then brought some noodle soup. It was good but I was floating.
We then walked up to the top of the city's summit and met a student who is from the target country. He is Buddhist. Madison spent lots of time with him and shared the good news. Madison also picked his brain about how many of his people lived in Darjeeling, who we could meet, and a dozen more questions that might help us. Turns out there is a refugee camp nearby that we plan to visit tomorrow. The student may turn out to be a good resource for us-and who knows? He may just become a brother.

They have any kind of fish you want, as
long as it is carp.
We walked around the city some more talking. Before taking a long break in a coffee shop and discussing our strategy. We have been looking for a church to worship with tomorrow. Since we haven't found one, we decided to just have our own...publicly. Yes, it could be a little dangerous, but we think it is worth the opportunity it would give us to let some of our new friends experience Christian worship. As we planned, we realized we need a guitar. After asking around we were unable to find one.

 The student took us to a tiny hole-in-the-wall restaurant that makes momo--a kind of meat-filled dumpling, kind of like what Mijung Kang has cooked for us before. Mmmmm! I ate a plate full with their homemade hot sauce. Don't tell his new wife, but Madison ate two platefulls.

Dogs hanging out.
Chickens hanging out.

Many of these houses seem to hang
off the cliffs.

Looks like a church meets here.

This is the inside of a home of a lady who
served us tea. This wall is her kitchen.
The blue and yellow jugs hold fermenting
millet mash for homemade wine.

This wall is the god shelf, full of
Hinduidols that she worships.
 Our Sherpa guide saw a music store toward the base of the town so we went back down. We found one store that had a few awful Indian- and Chinese-made guitars. We asked if there were any more music stores and found out there was one more. Further down the mountain.  Away we walked. Again our guide found the store. The guy working was a Christian and his dad a pastor! We are going to meet his dad later to see what he knows about our target country. Well, I bought a really cool name brand guitar: an Alvariz. Heard of it? Yes, I spelled it right. All the crappy guitars in both stores have names that are misspelled name brands in the fonts of the name brand. I could have gotten a Gilson a Peevy, a Marten, or an Epiphune. I told Madison that where ever he is right now, Bryan Parris will get a cramp if I buy one of these. I bought one. $35 (including a pick and a backpack case). We'll give it to a church when we get back to Kathmandu.
Here's my $35 guitar. It actually plays ok.

The Alvariz's pick guard is a decal.
I'm so sorry, BP.

It's been a long, good day.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Jeeping to Darjeeling

The internet service here is terrible and we only have an hour to use it (the first 30 minutes it didn't work). I hope this posts! Ill try to get some pictures up, too
Long journey today. First a flight on Yeti Airlines to Bhadrapur, Nepal. Then we jeeped to Darjeeling, India, which is populated mostly with Tibetans and Nepalis. Its a very interesting place. I have yet to see a Westerner here but there is an amazing religious diversity. Hindus, Buddhists, and even Muslims are here in abundance. According to our driver and our guide, there are a good number of Christians here, too. Mosques and temples are ubiquitous, but I've only seen one church building and it was on the drive to Darjeeling.
The flight was good. It was really cool to see Everest and other peaks that are among the tallest in the world. I wish there would have been fewer clouds. Still awesome.
The peak of Mount Everest is the pyramid-
shaped white peak you can see amid the
clouds about 11:00 from the red dot on the
wing. This window picture doesn't do justice. 

The drive today was gruelling. It was about six hours long. 99% of it was straight up mountain roads. Scary doesn't even begin to describe it. We were flying up one-and two-lane roads that had nothing keeping you from falling 1000 feet.
Tomorrow we hope to go to the target area (I need to speak in code) border. This is the part that is the primary reason we came. We will probably be on trails and in some uncharted territory. Depending on your prayers.
A Muslim mosque in Darjeeling. 

Of course you can't tell that we're going fast, horn blowing, and there's a 900 ft. drop to the left. Our driver folded in his mirror and had inches on either side. Cool line of Jeeps, btw!

God is at work here. We are sitting now next to our guide who is a Christian Sherpa. Pretty awesome guy. I'm very excited about what God is doing here and about our prospects for starting a work.
We're only traveling with backpacks right now going as light as possible.  I AM, however taking my lice & bedbug prevention stuff! I have had perfect health and bodily functions thus far. I pray this continues. The food has been awesome. However some of the restaurants we've been in have been a bit roach infested. Yeesh!
Despite the difficulties, Jesse, Madison, and I are having a blast. Three is unending conversation and laughing.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Productive Day

There are some amazing people here. After an early start, we ate breakfast with a Sherpa couple who have awesome testimonies of God's saving grace. The husband's uncle was there, and is also a rather recent convert. His life's story is amazing. He has a very obvious tragic injury to his face and head. I'm not trying to be shocking here, but half of his face is severely deformed from a very serious wound from very long ago. Turns out it was from being mauled by a bear when he was in his late teens.

We've met with several contacts today. One has been given an incredible opportunity to work in a closed country where we'd love to plant. He's got a close friend who is a best friend of the ruler. Like...of the country. Another contact is the only Christian in his mountain village and only one of about three in his entire people group. He is going to be our guide when we "jeep" and walk up near our target area. By the way, I love that they commonly use the word "jeep" as a verb here, even in the native language. I don't think I've seen a real Jeep (brand) vehicle here. We will ride in a Mahindra or Toyota Land Cruiser or something tomorrow. Madison promises that this several-hour 4x4 trip will be very rough, and not fun at all. We will probably not have internet service after leaving tomorrow, so it may be a couple of days before I am able to post again. Please pray for us as we fly to Darjeeling and "jeep" to the border of the closed target area. This is where it gets dicy and this is why we came. The next two days are very important.

As you have probably been able to tell, we have been doing a lot of walking throughout the town. A lot of walking. I'm constantly thinking about how cool it would be to wear a Go Pro. There is no way to describe the madness of the streets here. Motorcycles darting in and out of crowds of people walking in eight-foot-wide alleys with the occasional car wedging its way, all the while everyone is honking horns.

But the people here are great. They are interesting and most are very kind. The colors of this city are stunning. Here are some pictures. They are straight off my phone in unedited form.

I snuck the following shots while waiting for Madison who was in the bank. They were all taken within a period of two minutes.

A Buddhist monk. These guys are everywhere!

This is one I took out the window of a coffee shop.

And one more...this is me with the driver of this truck FULL of Mountain Dew!! They love it here!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Luggage Found. And a Few More Pictures

Good news!  The airport called the place we are staying and said they had our bags. Whew! Thanks much for praying.  The trip there was the typical insane drive through Kathmandu to go get it. Our host graciously gave us a ride. He is a confident driver who just talks and checks texts while driving through the absolute chaos. Honestly, I've never seen anything worse (and I've sees some terrible driving in this world)! But we made it there, got the bags and arrived safely
Here are a few more photos from our area:

And yes, the food is still great. No one has yet had stomach issues. (Lord, please continue this great grace!)

A Taste of Nepal (and Tibet)

We are in Kathmandu, Nepal, reconnecting with some of Madison's friends and contacts before traveling closer to our target area. We have already gotten some great leads. Here are some pictures of our day thus far.
Lunch. A Tibetan Buffalo and noodles dish with some kicking hot pepper paste. Awesome. Oh, and Darla will be pleased to know that Mountain Dew flows abundantly here--the real deal made with cane sugar. Mmmm!

The view outside the place where we ate lunch. The lady is sweeping rainwater off the street with a homemade broom.

Madison and Jesse walking on the street. Notice the rough-cut marble and slate cobblestone street. 

On a street overlooking the Tibetan population area of Kathmandu. Notice the building with a cross on on its red roof. It is the only church we've seen thus far. I think we're going to worship there Sunday. 

Very common sight: fresh produce sold at a store on the street. 

Madison walking with an old friend who was surprised to see him. It was a reunion I wish I would have gotten on camera. 

I'm drinking Nepali tea, sitting with a Buddhist monk. He's drinking American black tea. Ironic.
I'll try to post more later. Right now we have some sporadic, slow, and weak internet, and I'm having to post with my phone (my cord to get pictures from my phone to my computer is in my bag, which is still missing). We hope to get our lost bags back. That would be a good thing for you to pray for. But especially pray that God will open doors and show the way to the unreached people group he wants us to work with. That's the real prayer.