Friday, December 7, 2012

Doors and Reflections..

      Reflections of my Nepal Mission Trip- 
      I've never been one to consider open doors and closed doors as a critical evaluative process. Mostly, as I have seen how my interpretation of closed door and open door thinking is often flawed by my own heart- my position of late years is that in looking to be useful to God- I consider the opportunity- surrounding Biblical motivations, the gifting, the practical availability and finally the stirring of my own heart.  I think that all of us, no matter how much we deny it- at some point and to some degree are compelled by the subjective interpretations of our heart.  I pray only that as my heart is now in the hands of a great God- that His "will" would be my motivation, and with that, I go out into this life with the confidence of His sovereignty.
  With this notion, I now consider the "open doors" of Nepal...

As a group formed from across the country, we teamed together under the organization of "Climbing for Christ" Mission Group( C4C ).  Reaching lost people in mountainous areas or mountainous countries is a daunting task.  Many people go to the awe-inspiring and beautiful country of Nepal each year.  Few people venture into Humla, the "hidden Himalaya" region.  What seemed like a conceptually difficult challenge proved to be an exciting opportunity to see God working in amazing ways. It appeared at first much like this picture of the plane heading towards the wall of rock - that the plan of coordination was on the fly, haphazard, unforeseen and with ill-defined goals. 
 Missional thinking had been an area of "pre-training" and certainly the attitude of a servant's heart had been cultivated prior to my departure, but the desire to grasp at logistical planning was still at the forefront of my heart. I had to abandon much of the "control" I had deceived myself I actually maintained in my "reality life"….this was the new reality.
     In my own limitations, it was overwhelming to consider what logistics would be required to make a "successful" attempt at being useful in the "Hidden Himalayan " region of Humla.
     What became clear as the mission trip unfolded in front of my eyes is the definition of success is established by God and for God and I am merely a broken and cracked pot held together with enough band-aids to be useful for His glory. Our leader- Gary Falleson  was excellent at negotiating all the details of this effort. The following account is my attempt to best summarize the events that transpired over the past month while visiting Nepal, both in Kathmandu and Humla regions.

     Having left my family in Portland, Oregon in early November, I flew  from Portland to Guangzhou, China and then to Kathmandu, Nepal where I met the rest of my team as they had just arrived within minutes of my flight. Our early time together seemed to be one of revelation as we surveyed each other up and down- establishing common grounds of doctrine, backgrounds, and goals and learned together of the culture for which we would be temporarily immersed. These relationships would be a great opportunity of encouragement and of growth.  We were purposed to be a divided team. Half of us would go and serve in a local urban orphanage while the rest of us would take a 3rd world puddle- jumper plane to the Simikot airstrip of Humla Nepal . We would then trek through the mountains there and discover what God was doing there and see how we could get involved to further the Kingdom.  
   As it turns out, those first two days in Kathmandu turned out to be the growing of a beautiful fellowship.  We spent our time there getting acquainted not only with each other but also with the world around us.  Nepal, being primarily Hindu and secondarily Buddhist, has very few Christians.  What we saw together, prepared our hearts for the work ahead.  With the blending of Hindu and Buddhist traditions to form Nepali culture, we found that we were not only confused, but so were many of the Nepali people we initially encountered.  Much like America, the culture blends components of multiple backgrounds and faiths.  Taking trips to the Monkey Temple and the Hindu Temple&Cremation site PashuPati put things into context for our outreach ministry and service to the local people.  At night we would fellowship over dinner or play cards.  
     With just a short, but rewarding time together, our group divided into an orphanage team and a trekking team.  The ladies of our orphanage team went with Pastor Tej to one of his local orphanages to stay with the children there for a week and serve them mightily with arts, crafts, music, encouragement of love and the hope of the gospel.  Strong bonds were made there that will be lifelong as several of the children received sponsors from the US who would now be supporting and praying for their growth and well being.
      I left with the trekking team for the Humla region by way of a short stay-over in NepalGunj.  After finally arriving in Simikot, the capitol of the Humla district, we were encouraged to learn of 6 people from a local "house church" that were living in this region.  I think in retrospect, it was a mutual encouragement.  Being a Christian in Nepal where the caste system, fledgling democracy, and remnants of the Maoist Communist efforts dominate opportunity for liberty and growth, it is difficult to get a church off the ground and running.  We met, prayed, and worshipped with the local believers and even brought one into our folds as we headed out into the mountains in search of more opportunity.
Our journey took us up and over several mountains and valleys which led to overnight stays in the villages of Tharpa, Taehae(sp?), and Barkhand (sp?)  .. Looking over our shoulder, we would often see our previous route and the village of Simikot sitting high on the hill.
     We met with school children , village locals, and elders sharing hope and good news, bringing trailside medical care, hygeine training, and various blessings of comfort care (hats, toothbrushes and floss).  Of the various people I encountered and/or treated, the diagnoses included the following:
Peptic Ulcer Disease
Tinea Capitus Kerions 
Dental Abscess
Intestinal Parasite
Vaginal Bleeding
Migraine Headache
Radius/Ulna Midshaft Fracture
Acute Mountain Sickness

The people were as much a blessing to us as we were to them.  They have incredible strength and resolve that can be seen in the stoicism of their face as they greet each day and the work in front of them.  The many plateaued flanks of the mountains provide them with just barely enough landscape to feed their flocks and grow enough for a harvest.  The children seem to grow up fast. As we would come into each village, the people(esp. the children) would gather on the rooftops to see who was coming.The mountains were there neighborhood and the altitude did not phase their efforts to chase all around us in hopes of chocolate or some treat.  I could see in their faces a stoicism of hardness. The plight of their lives was one of tremendous work.  Living with them for those short weeks, I watched as women would wake early to go collect wood, rock, and dung for the needs of the family. Children carrying children on their backs.  It seemed that family boundaries were less distinct and that village life was the family unit.  

     We would sleep on the roofs and eat with the villagers in their homes (they insisted), trying to appreciate their hospitality and also keep our weak western GI tracts from developing distress.  Smoke filled the homes as they cooked over open fires with out functional chimneys.  Even as the air was filled with smoke, the gospel rang out true when they would ask what motivated us to come out to this neglected area of the country.  We would show them the Jesus film on a portable LCD and our pastor/ guide traveling with us would field questions to bring clarity. While some came forward to have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, culture and tradition is strong for others, yet the questions continued to come.  I only pray that gifts, blessings of temporary healthcare, hugs, and the encouragement of someone caring would only show our motivations to be authentically rooted.  Even as I considered my new friends in the mountains, their cultural heritage and plight of harsh living; I was continually reminded that my purpose was not to change a culture, but to bring hope to a heart.  No short supply of antibiotics, or antacids could change the habits of dirty water or bad hygiene.

     While I often felt that my medical care  barely nicked the surface of a deep wound of hurt, it was encouraging to see some hearts changed for the Lord.  I pray that they would remain steadfast in their hope.  The harshness of this life is a constant reminder to not be lost in some prosperity promise for today, but a hopeful future for tomorrow. Below is a young woman who was suffering with 6 weeks of bleeding and fever prior to my arrival.  My only medical care was to provide Tylenol.  By the grace of God, her bleeding stopped on it's own.  The effects of my pill work might last only a few days, but the hope she has now in Christ is one eternal.  Chorringen was her name and I look forward to seeing her again one day.

     After our journey through the mountains was completed and we had accumulated enough GI distress to last for a year, we had two more days in Kathmandu prior to returning to our various lives back home.  I was asked with my friend Michael to preach to a local church in Kathmandu. It was an honor that was not lost in translation.  Following this, we gathered a fold of pastors from different local flocks and shared a meal together.  We feasted on fellowship, drank tea of eternal hope, and had desert of shared doctrine and mutual support.  It was a meal I will not forget.
     Some may criticize short term mission trips as being logistically heavy to negotiate, hardly worth the expense compared to just writing a check, and superficial in their depth of scope and relationship.  I might have said the same things not too long ago.  I am so thankful and encouraged to now know a different experience.  As I looked in the eyes of my fellow missionaries, the local pastors, and the flocks of people we served during that brief time in Nepal- I am convinced even more of God's sovereignty to orchestrate to Himself a people coming together to worship Him and love each other.  I pray that I can see them all again- this side of Heaven.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

In Transit

So here I am 20+ hours into my travel and smelling pretty ripe. I'm right now in Guangzhou airport waiting for a 14 hour lay over to finish up before the last stretch to Kathmandu.  

So far, I've had a long conversation with a Chinese atheist woman on the plane who wondered what made me different being a "Utah church" man...she apparently thought I was Mormon... We talked about the gospel in our broken Chinese and English and went through the matthias media "2ways to live" cartoon on my ipad...she thought it was interesting and then asked me about "Big Bang" theories which is apparently pretty popular in China...I slept for a bit, prayed, and ate some mystery meat on the plane, being thankful for the provisions.  Now on the ground- I'm back in the same airport where I had visa problems a year ago during a trip to Vietnam...not getting deported today and everything seems to be in order.  I was so blessed to meet Mark Walter, a bivocational pastor who is traveling to Indonesia to meet in person his "sayangku" aka girlfriend...we had a very encouraging cup of coffee....and it seemed that God knew we both needed a brotherly friend to pass the time...the day was spent talking about the mission, our mutual ministries back home, testimonies, challenges of life and blessings of The Lord... To help each other stay awake, we would just read from Paul's epistles out loud... Too bad, no one around us could speak English- but our hearts were encouraged.  God is good.....

More to come- I'm almost there, please keep praying....


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Jaimashi (jay-ma-see)....

Jaimashi- victory in Jesus.... (NEPALI)
    My goodness- life can get busy; the comings and goings of daily business pigeon- holing our minds to the tediousness of duties and the smallness of our own little circles.  Praise God that he is BIG, that he is SOVEREIGN and that the world is not waiting on my efforts or attention to keep on spinning. I am in awe at his splendour and love.
 Right now, as I write down these thoughts, my heart is stirring of my journey so far...where God has taken me, how He has grown me, who and what He has shown me, and the tender mercy He has given to sustain me...  
Right now as I write down these thoughts, a man is tilling his field on the cold side of a hill in Nepal and like many here in the states toiling this earth- he is wondering.  He is wondering just as I did...Is this it?  Is this my fulfillment? What is to come of me? Why am I here?  
Right now, a little girl is watching her parents labor for her to eat as they cook over a single burner stove and gas can with no lights, no table, and no floor. They squat without hope..
I wonder if they are complaining as myself and Americans there an equivalent attitude of discontent like we have in America- always striving for something that we cannot obtain, fix, or make.  Fighting in our hearts to fill a void of hope that longs for eternal perspective. What peace do they know?
John Piper once wrote “If you don't feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because you have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Your soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great.” 

 Only my Lord knows their hearts, but I hope too....He has laid on me the burden in my heart to come alongside and share life with a people I have not met, not seen, and not known.  The God of Creation, The Father who knows me and knit me into who I am- knows them and he is bringing us together soon.

In just a few days, my pigeon hole is about about to be blown open.  Namaste Nepal...I am coming to you with glad tidings of joy. Just a few years ago, my wife and I began a small partnership with "Climbing for Christ"- a missions organization to help the gospel go forward in hard to reach places...sometimes, very hard to reach places... Churches have been built and the Kingdom has grown.  There is hope in the land and fields are being planted for the harvest....there are still fields yet unsewn and I go now to see what is my part.
I never considered myself a "goer", but rather a "sender" and yet here I am on the brink of this journey, recounting where God has taken me, and what is the next step of this adventure called life...Living to glorify Him, I struggle to fight myself away from the grips of sin, the entanglements and false promises of this world and to live for a greater purpose- that my hope and salvation would be evident to those He has called and my life would be useful for His namesake.  I am just a man, a father of two beautiful children who I hope would love the Lord, and a husband to a wonderful wife who shares with me in the ministry of life.
The phrase Jaimashi means Victory in Jesus and in it,  I'm reminded that our work is not our own, our fight is not our own. We are not alone in this life. The battle for hope has been won and is in Jesus Christ.  It is His Victory and for His glory that I submit my adventure of life.   I go now to the far west mountains of Nepal.  
Perhaps I will deliver some trailside medicine, wash the feet of a tired porter, or bring gifts to children of an orphanage...but mostly I go-to share in the spreading of the Gospel to those who would receive it...stay tuned for updates, prayers, a trip report and other God glorifying News of Nepal.  Here is a link to the mission. Thank you to those who have partnered with us in prayer and support....especially to Christ Community Church in Plainfield, NH, to Hinson Memorial Baptist Church in Portland, Oregon, to Keene Crossway Church in Keene, NH, and Aletheia Church in Harrisonburg, my friends, my children...and especially to my wife who goes with me in heart and service.  
Here is a link to My missionary profile .
Here is a video link of the upcoming trip

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Feet- reflecting on the tools God gave me to go places.

As I begin to pen down these thoughts, my mind quickly turns to that great and noble literary giant, my good friend and bed time encourager to my children- Dr. Seuss:
left foot, left foot, right foot, right
Feet in the morning Feet at night
Left foot Left foot Left foot right
Wet foot dry foot
Low foot high foot
Front feet back feet
Red feet black feet
Left foot Right foot Feet Feet Feet
How many, many feet you meet.
Slow feet Quick feet
Trick feet sick feet
Up feet Down feet
Here come clown feet
Small feet Big feet
Here come pig feet
His feet Her feet
Fuzzy fur feet
In the house, and on the street,
how many, many feet you meet
....and so on and so on.... this and the other great literary work entitled “ Oh the places you’ll go” have etched into my memory or at the very least been recalled when I recite them to the children at night.  Never, when I was hearing them as a young lad, did I consider the implications and lifetime metaphors associated with this wonderful piece of anatomy. Having previously worked in hand surgery, I often considered the foot- just a dumb hand, a wannabe..., but perhaps in my scoffing, I did not give the credit due.  At this point in my life, a mere 35 years of age; I’ve only begin to put on some mileage...not even enough for a tire rotation; my tread is just getting broken in.
So far, I have yet to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes as I’ve been too busy wearing my own....those things are changing with new roles and goals since my recent move to the west coast. 
My God, in His mercy, has been easy on my tenderfoot-providing great support and traction to get this stubborn heart of a man off the ground and running, but I am catching glimpses of the pursuit, the goal, the summit, the ultimate prize and crown that awaits.  The encouragement of Christ in my heart and his trodden path before me have paved the way.  Of recent times, I’ve been meeting men in the mountains, bringing  and sharing the gospel to their hearts.  I supposed that the mountains have often provided a place for these things to occur, but in considering my own usefulness to the Kingdom, I am reminded by the cheesiness of a roadside church sign that hit close to home and somewhat knocked me off my feet; or at least as a small pebble in my shoe...causing me to think-  It read: “ The mountains are for awe and inspiration, but it is in the valleys that fruit is made.”  What a thought! not mine originally....but I will claim it nonetheless, especially in consideration of my own walk, my pursuits.  I’ve been moved to meet people more where they are in life....perhaps exchange my hiking boots for their flip-flops and “do life” with mutually build each other up in the Word.  Sometimes shoe horns, shoe polish, laces, and some crazy glue are necessary, but I am encouraged by the walking of life together, sharing the same path as we grow closer in the Lord.
There is an older woman in my local church who has the same vision I think...I’m  not fit to wear her isotoner slippers, but she is an amazing gift of God to those around her- reaching out across generations and the whole city map to build up the local church for God’s glory. 
As I look at my own walk, I’ll still head to the mountains and Lord willing drag some poor souls up the heights with me, that together our hearts will be stirred by the awesome glory of our Lord. When I consider the 24th psalm and “who can ascend the hill of the Lord”, but only He who has clean hands and a pure heart; my hope is that these walks will bear fruit for the Kingdom...even if they are not in a valley and that such times will enable and empower our living, working, and encouraging each other when those valleys come....and they will indeed come
This diatribe and metaphor of shoes is nearly exhausted, but it would not be accurate to say that its implications are complete. Indeed, I am drawn now to the mission field and soon, Lord willing, will share the walk with others afar(Nepal).  I am drawn to Paul’s letter to the Romans in chapter 10:15 where he was quoting the prophet Isaiah in 52:7- 
“How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him who brings good news,
who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness,
who publishes salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God reigns””.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Ever since I have visited Portland, I've always wanted to take a trip up to the top of its closest mountain neighbor...Mt Hood. This past Sunday, I was blessed to make an ascent with my old tentmate from Denali- Will Kalenius and one of his firefighter friends- Johnathon Elliott.  Below is a link to some of the pics... Mt Hood Summit Link  Hope everyone is well. Thanks for following along with us during this exciting time of our lives!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Progressing in Portland

 Hello Family and Friends, Thanks for checking our blogs and following life along with us.  These past few weeks have been really amazing to watch what God has been doing in our lives.  One of the obvious changes can be seen in the attached pictures...but there is so much more... For a full slide show, go to this LINK ....but as you look at the attached pictures here... keep reading on for other great news.
  The kids are both doing great and enjoying their time at Portland Christian School. In addition to her scholastics, our daughter also has an upcoming art project for the school Art Show which should prove to be an adventure.

The winter has been surprisingly mild in Portland and the kids have enjoyed several trips to the parks as well as a new year-long pass to the Portland Children's Museum
Pearce's schedule as ramped up a bit as he started taking call one month early which so far has been surprisingly well tolerated given the acuity of the job.  He's looking forward to SuperBowl Sunday with our daughter who is a big Brady and Welker- Patriots fan.  Also on the docket of activity is a proposed  single day attempt on Mt Hood this winter.
Heather has been enjoying her time at home and has worked really hard to help nail down the logistics of life in Portland.  It is amazing how many little connections you make once you have lived in a place for a while.  Finding a dentist, a favorite grocery store, and daily trips to watch over the new home construction...and if that wasnt enough, it looks like she will have an exciting shift in her career soon to transition to a part time Orthopedic PA position.

 This weekend, in addition to Super Bowl Sunday, we also have the opportunity to meet some of the folks at Hinson Baptist Church in Portland  We will be attending the new member class to hopefully finalize a new church home for our family.

Back in Virginia, we have some folks coming to look at our house for sale on Saturday.  Praying it sells soon!  If you know anyone looking for a house in Harrisonburg,VA, send them to  LINK

Hope you enjoyed the update and the pictures. Check back often for more news. Have a blessed weekend!
Love, Pearce, Heather, and the little folks

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Home In The Making

As we begin to call Portland our home, we excitedly await the construction of our new house, which we hope to reside in later next month.  It has been fun to watch the raw materials gradually take shape.  

Around Dec 20th 2011

We were thrilled and blessed to have joined this project at an early stage because it has allowed us to tweek minor details in the floor plan and make decisions about colors, styles, and finishing materials that individualizes this home to be a special match for us.

A few weeks ago....

This week...

Micah and Jonah excitedly standing in Micah's new room


 In the neighborhood...

Last night we were making our final decision about paint colors for the exterior as it seems a break in the weather will allow the house to be painted this weekend.  Sherwin-Williams has this great web application that allows you to upload a pic of the house and "paint it" virtually.  So fun!!  Below you can see our color choices "painted" with crude digital tools.  We are thankful for technology that allows us to see an image before making these color decisions.

Check back for updates as we are slotted to move in about a month!!  Whoo hoo!


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Literally Under Water

This is a post from our family blog that my wife helps to maintain...
We hope to be able to maintain both of our blogs more frequently now that we are in our new location!

Hi everyone,......we are not literally under water, just in case anyone was worried, but we certainly are in a NEW, .....and fairly wet setting. We just moved to Portland Oregon in the middle of the rainy season. We arrived just before Christmas with Pearce driving our family dog in the SUV cross country and Heather and the kids flying out to meet him.
  Today was one of our first wet Saturday adventures. So far the weather has been splendid allowing for outings to some city parks, Multnomah water falls and much more.


 We have so much to update in our blog as it has been neglected far too long. We are hoping to turn over a new leaf in that department.

   In honor of the wet weather today, we decided to get REALLY wet and made a trip to the OMSI museum (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) with a specific visit to their submarine exhibit!  This was not just an indoor visit but the retired USS Blueback submarine floating outside the museum in the Willamette River.  Micah and Jonah( and parents too) had a great time climbing through the bulkheads, seeing the living quarters, control panels, looking through the periscope, and seeing the real torpedos!  We were so inthralled we forgot to take pictures inside.




Hope to see you again here soon....