God Makes the Impossible Possible
Several years ago, a good friend of mine named Ed approached me about going on an Extreme Mission Trip to the Himalayan Mountains to reach a group of people in China who had never heard the Gospel. I prayed about it, and God did not tell me “no.” I had gone with Ed on mission trips to Honduras in the past and they had been physically challenging. This trip was much more rigorous, requiring eight months of training. This is how I saw the opportunity: how far am I willing to go to share the Good News of Jesus?
The first goal I had was to train for hiking four to five hours at a time with fifty pounds on my back. After buying my gear, I worked my way up from walking with an empty backpack to filling it with a large landscape rock from our flower bed. I carried the rock in my backpack while I walked and, eventually, did the stair climber at my gym. After only a few minutes on the stair climber, I was very fatigued. A good friend and manager of the club asked a question I will never forget: “So, how much weight do you have in your backpack?” I answered with, “I’m not sure, but it has to be close to fifty pounds.” He suggested I weigh it on the scales and I agreed, wanting to show off my prowess. To my dismay, the scales said that rock weighed thirteen pounds. Could this be some joke? Could the scales be broken? Thirty-seven pounds to go? This is impossible, I thought.
However, God has a history of making the impossible possible, and sometimes it is in the places we feel the least prepared and most vulnerable that God does his greatest works through us. I did complete the training, and six months later, our team left for the Himalayas.
No Coincidences with God!
I left with a team of nine traveling thirty-three hours to our destination. When we arrived at the airport in Kunming, China, we retrieved our luggage and I was assigned the bag with the religious materials that could land me in jail for a day or two. “Go through last,” our leader said, “and whatever you do, do not let them put that bag through the x-ray machine.” He must have seen the look on my face, because he added, “It’s very unusual for them to run the bags through the x-ray, so don’t worry.”
All the other guys got through security without any problems and were looking back at me. As I approached the security area, I was stopped by a Chinese officer with a rifle in hand. He said something in Chinese and I just ignored him and kept walking. He persisted as I tried to communicate with my body language that I did not understand him. He pointed his rifle at the bag and then at the x-ray machine. I began to panic. My mind was reeling. All this way, I thought, all this training, and I am going to a Chinese jail?
As the bag was put on the conveyer belt, I could see my teammates’ faces and knew this was bad. All I knew to do was pray that God would intervene. I was standing there with my head bowed, slowly walking to the exit, assuming they would tell me what to do next. When the bag went through with no problem, I picked it up and headed outside. What had just happened?
The guys told me that as my bag was traveling through the x-ray machine, the person watching the screen was interrupted at the precise moment it passed. There is no question that God protected us. (Coincidences do not happen very often. If you are a Christ follower, God is constantly working in your life. Look for those glimpses each day of him working miracles. Instead of saying, “Guess what happened today,” we should be saying, “Look at what God did in my life today!”)
During the trip, including leech infestation and other things I will not mention, I became very ill. We were climbing straight up a mountain with no place to stop and sit down. By noon, I began feeling very weak and nauseous. This was my worst nightmare. The team discussed turning back, but I refused that option. It is not that I am a hero, but I could not fathom the mission being a failure. There was now an urgency to find a place to camp for the day. According to the GPS, we had at least another six or seven hours to our designated spot, but I could not imagine another ten minutes, much less six or seven hours.
Dr. Michael Walker took point to lead the team up the mountains. Ed was behind me to balance every step. I will never forget Ed’s words: “Slow and steady.” After each passing hour, I kept thinking I could not go on. Around 5:00, I heard we still had two hours to go. I remember crying out to the Lord, “I cannot make it, I am done.” Then it hit me. Part of my motivation for making this trip was pride. I confessed to God, and within a few minutes, Michael said, “I found a large enough clearing that we can camp for the night.”
The next day we completed our mountain climb and reached the area inhabited by the Nosu people. We walked down the paths they often travel, placing cassette tapes of the Bible, sealed in plastic bags, along the weeded trails. We knew that eventually they would be found by the Nosu. It was pure joy to finally do what we trained and prayed to do—to drop off our precious packages of God’s Word of life. We had to leave before the bags were found to avoid possible arrest, but His Word is powerful!
Going down the mountain was much easier, and I was able to take in all the beauty around me. Obviously, it took many hours to hike back, followed by a long flight home, but we accomplished our ONE Focus mission—to get the Gospel to the Nosu people of China.
the World by Reaching ONE,