It has taken me a while to even sit down and begin writing this post. I keep replaying my experience in Nepal over and over again in my head, trying to decide what I should write about. If I wrote everything I learned, it would make up a book. So, I'll just summarize it all into a few lessons and stories or else I'll go on forever. Here it goes!

A Prayer for Peace

Before leaving for Nepal, one of my greatest prayers was to experience God's healing power in a new way. Little did I know, God wasn't only going to use me to heal others but He would heal my own body as well. About a week before I left, I had a horrible sinus infection and by the time my flight came around, I was better, but I still had a lot of congestion in my head and if you've ever been on a plane with congestion in your head, then maybe you know, it can be very painful. In fact, on my flight from Chicago to LA, I experienced some of the worst pain I had ever felt. It sounds like I'm exaggerating but truly, it was awful. I thought my head was going to explode from the pressure. I prayed the entire way and tried to hold back my tears. Most of all, I was so scared that this pain would prevent me from getting on the next flight to Nepal.

When I landed at LAX, I went into the bathroom and cried. I couldn't believe the pain I had just endured and I did not want to experience it for 15 more hours on another plane that would be flying out in just a few hours. It was a decision I had to make in that airport. Was I going to fly to China with hope that I could fall asleep before the plane took off or was I going to stay in California? Was I going to endure the same pain all over again, except this time for even longer, or was God going to heal me? Of course, I prayed and trusted He could heal me in that moment. I also called to ask my family to pray, but there was part of me wondering if this was possibly God closing the door. Was I not supposed to go on this trip after all?

Then, as I walked through the airport, wondering what to do, I spotted the rest of the team standing in a circle by the front doors. I walked over to them, popped my head in the circle and said, "I think this is my group". They all welcomed me and immediately I felt the peace I had been praying for rush over me. Somehow, just meeting the team made me feel like I was meant to go on this trip. One of the leaders, Katey, then came over to me, took out her essential oil, put it behind my ears and on my nose. Then with assurance and confidence, she prayed. Suddenly, I breathed in, and it felt like the congestion just disappeared. This was the first miracle I experienced on this trip.

Thankfully, I decided to take the risk and get on the plane to China. I was assigned to sit beside sweet Regan and I would have loved to talk to her and get to know her better on the flight but honestly, I don't remember much of what happened after I sat down. Why? Because I instantly fell asleep before the plane even took off. Eleven hours later, I woke up with less than two hours left to go. I missed the two meals that were distributed. Yep, slept right through them. Regan even said there were TWO babies crying loudly in the seats beside me but I never budged.  It really was another miracle and my congestion didn't bother me anymore after that.

The super talented, Jeff Vanags, playing guitar in the China airport!

The Nepal Sickness Begins

Most people visit Nepal to see Mount Everest or go trekking, but we went to see people healed and bring the gospel to the unreached. Let's just say, the enemy did not like that and he did whatever he could to try and stop us. A couple days in, our team was plagued with sickness. I was the first to go down. I felt so weak and couldn't get out of bed for the day, while the rest of the team went to visit an orphanage. As I lay there on my bed (aka a mat on the floor), I spent time praying for the team and processing. Then over the course of the next few days, almost every member of our team was hit with this stomach sickness. Apparently, it is common for outsiders to get sick when they arrive in Nepal because the food is contaminated with the water and we aren't acquainted with it yet. Anyway, whatever it was, it was rough. I won't go into too much detail, but I will say that the bathroom was always occupied for the next couple of days. Speaking of bathrooms, did you know that in Nepal, they usually don't use toilets? They just squat over a hole in the ground that we like to call "squatty potties". Also, they don't use toilet paper...I won't go into detail on that either but don't worry, we brought our own toilet paper, and thankfully during this time of sickness, we did have access to a "western toilet" at the church we were staying at. Praise the Lord.

The Remote Village

Moving on, a couple days later we were all still feeling pretty weak and tired but we all decided to push through it and trek up to a remote village on the mountainside. This village was pretty far out and many had never heard the gospel of Christ before. Our team split up into a couple of groups and walked around talking to villagers, handing out tracts, and praying for healing. As a team, we all began to see God move in a powerful way. Then I realized something very important and I believe it's a lesson I will never forget. I realized when I felt like I was at my weakest point, God was the strongest I've ever felt Him. In fact, we were all weak, yet we prayed for the healing of others, despite our own sickness. In this humility, we found the strength we needed and saw God do powerful miracles through us.

This photo was taken earlier in the day, when we discovered this amazing bridge as we were walking around the village. As you can see, I don't look so good... A pale face and dark under-eye circles are not the best combo, but hey, that's #missionarylife for ya!

The Woman on the Bridge

A few hours later, we returned to this bridge to show the rest of the group the view and we saw a woman sitting in the middle of it because she couldn't walk. We looked at each and knew this was a perfect opportunity for us to pray for healing. Katey and Meredith knelt down beside her and asked her if she wanted prayer. She was so thankful and open to us, so we all stretched out our hands and prayed for her to be able to walk. After a couple of minutes, the woman opened her eyes, I made contact with her, then she suddenly had this shocked expression on her face and it was as though a jolt of energy went through her body. She smiled and stood up. Then, I kid you not, this women started walking up and down the bridge! She was ecstatic and so were we! We prayed with her for salvation and she walked home. This was the most amazing miracle I'd ever seen and I still can't believe I witnessed it with my own eyes. It was clear evidence to me that God is strong when we are weak. He works through us, even when we feel like we have nothing left to give of ourselves. When we step out in faith, and leave our comfort zone, He moves. I've seen it before and I know I'll see it again.

The Bus Stop

The next day, we went to visit a small house church in town. We were able to pray for a few of the members of the church who were sick, including infants. It was an incredible time of prayer and worship. Then, we planned out our day for evangelism. We prepared a couple of skits to perform in an open-air service and designated a few team members to speak about the gospel.

As we were waiting at the bus stop, we ended up playing and singing some worship songs. A crowd began to form around us, so we decided to just have the service right then and there. We shared the gospel and before we knew it, people were singing and dancing with us. We prayed for healing for all of the people and their families. The Holy Spirit was so evident and he showed up so powerfully at this bus stop. I love how God uses us in the places we least expect!

I was able to talk with these three beautiful girls about Jesus and they were so open to hearing about Him. They said they heard about Jesus in school but never heard about having a relationship with Him, so I gave them tracts and told them about the local church. This was definitely one of my favorite highlights of the trip!

Lost in the Countryside

On our last day in Nepal, we ended up taking a taxi to the wrong side of the mountain. Then, we had to decide if it was worth it to pay the taxi to take us all the way down again to the other side or just trek down by foot. The second option seemed much more adventurous, so we chose to take the hike. On our way down, we met some incredible people, who lived in the area. We were also able to capture some of the most beautiful landscape and portrait photos of the whole trip. We played with all of the kids in the village for hours and it was so amazing to see how God led us to the people who were right in our backyard the entire time.

Through this, I learned how sometimes the most amazing experiences may be waiting right in front of me. Oftentimes, the people who need my love most are my neighbors and the people I encounter in my daily life. This motivated me to go back home to my own city and love people more. Healing, prayer, and smiles are always needed, wherever I choose to travel or wherever I choose to remain planted in life. God is always ready to work through me, and I carry His healing power with me wherever I go. It's up to me to allow His love and light to shine through me, whether I'm in a foreign land or not.

Not long after I returned from Nepal, I posted this photo on Instagram and wrote a small paragraph about these sweet girls I met.

"These little girls stole my heart. We played games, had some very serious dance competitions, and taught each other songs in our languages. All they wanted was for us to spin them around and laugh for hours. But just by hearing a few comments they made, I learned how hard their lives actually were. They talked about how they had lice in their hair and parasites that ate away at their skin but they still just smiled as if it were normal. My heart was broken because all I wanted to do was to help them escape their reality but I realized in that moment I was already doing exactly that. I was loving them with the love of Christ and that's what they needed most. I was praying for them and asking Jesus to heal them. And now I can continue to pray for their future, pray that revival will break out in their country and pray that they will go, along with their families, to attend the church our friend just opened in their village. Because the greatest hope in all of this world is found in Jesus. The greatest joy and the most promising future is in Him, despite where we find ourselves on this planet or what reality we were born into. 
So when we feel like there isn't anything we can do to make a difference, that's a lie. We can love and we can pray. We can give and we can go. We can all do something and that is enough to change the world. // #dosmallthingswithgreatlove

This explains some of what I felt on my last day in Nepal. It is one thing to visit third world country, and it is another to live in a village with a family in a third world country. Our team was submersed in their lives, without the luxuries of tourism. Yes, it was a beautiful landscape and we were surrounded by breathtaking mountains but we also experienced what true Nepali life was like. We ate their food, we slept on the floor in their houses, we caught their viruses, we used their "squatty potties", we trekked through the mud, we squeezed into teeny tiny taxis, and crammed into buses with them like sardines. We faced struggles, but within them, beauty was found and lessons were learned. This place taught me so much and these people left a lifelong imprint on my heart. I would go back and do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Special thanks to everyone who donated and made this trip possible. You've impacted this country through your giving and your sacrifice was just as important as ours. Our team is still in the process of working on our creative projects from the field and I will share them once they are completed.

**Photos by Bradley Scurei. He's an awesome photographer and friend, go follow him on insta!
business: @lionfeast
personal: @braddster


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