I visited India and Nepal in 1998 with a ministry team from Oral Roberts University. Here are some of my notes from that time from a letter I found recently.
When we first arrived in India we met our contact, Tom Adleta (he is a whole story in himself) after rushing our baggage out of the airport and into jeeps we were just in time because a rainstorm hit. Boy! When it rains in India it really rains. The jeeps took us across the countryside toward Nepal several hours away.
This area of India is mostly tea plantations. The plantations were originally English endeavors from when England colonized India until 1947.
Even in the rain there were harvesters working under their umbrellas to gather the yellow leaves from the tops of tea bushes which are more than 100 years old.
After stopping at the border to fill out the customary paperwork we made our way through the streets of Karkavitta to the Hotel Rajat (King Hotel) where we would stay for the next week and hold our first conference.
Friday, Saturday, and most of Sunday we rested and prepared for the conference. Even though it was named the “King Hotel” we had friendly geckos to keep us company. Well, at least they helped keep the bug population down! It got pretty hot and the humidity was awful so we drank lots of water and did our best to stay cool.
Outside of my window I could see the dirt street and one morning I watched an elderly man as he washed his face at a spigot and offered water and his morning prayers to his gods. Seeing this was just the beginning of my realizing the spiritual oppression of the people of this area.
The conference was organized by a disciple of Tom’s who he has been training for some time to take over this aspect of their ministry. Tom is focusing on equipping pastors from Bhutan to minister there. (Bhutan is one of the most closed nations in the world. Several weeks after this conference a church in Bhutan was raided by police and about 15 people and the pastor were placed in jail.
We held the conference in a little (10’x 30′) storage room attached to the hotel. When the electricity went out (a common occurrence throughout the whole trip) we sweltered and prayed that it would come back on and run the two ceiling fans again. Cure for heat? Drink water. All day long
We may have been told that it would be a “youth” conference but “youth” means anyone between 13 and 70. What an honor to be able to speak to these people several of which were pastors themselves! Glory to God who fills us up and then uses us if we are willing to serve.
The Conference which began Sunday night and ran until noon Wednesday. Since we were given freedom in what we would teach on each of us took our rest time to pray and study so we’d be prepared for our session.
I can see how important it is to be, as Paul told Timothy, Ready to preach in season and out of season. It was very interesting to see how the Holy Spirit guided each teaching to follow a single theme about growing in the Lord. I taught on putting on the armor of God.
Preaching can be very enjoyable when you can feel the Spirit speaking through you but when He doesn’t it can really be a struggle. I experienced both types of preaching on this trip. A hands-on lesson on relying on God and not on self.
The crowd we were speaking to consisted of about 60 pastors, lay Christians and at least one Hindu teacher who stopped by. Some of these people were Bhutanese refugees staying in India, some were Nepalis and some had traveled for days to come to this conference. It is very humbling to see how much they desire God yet I know that I often don’t have that fervor for Him.
About the Hindu teacher.
God specifically had him show up one evening and hear Michael Homan’s teaching on Jesus Christ. After that session Tom told him to stay for the evening session when he taught the Salvation message again. The Hindu teacher was ready and accepted Christ that night! There were several others as well and rededications also.
During different services we prayed for healings and had reports of at least one lady being healed of joint problems. Praise the Lord!
Something about Nepali customs: all through the services everyone sits on the ground and the ladies sit on one side while men sit on the other. In Christian circles there is no longer any caste system but the women still have few privileges. Still, those ladies worship with their whole hearts and pray with fervor.
Wednesday evening we rented an entire bus to take us the 14 hours to Kathmandu. With seven of us on the team plus Tom; his friend, Reuben; our baggage, and the seven Adleta children (Nathaniel, Matthew, Joy, Jonathan, Jubilee, Honour, and one more), we needed the whole bus. In 14 hours it is amazing, how many different positions I tried to get comfortable…. Stretched across my seat, leaning against the window, kneeling half-on and half-off the seat. I slept some but it wasn’t until later in the trip that I learned to sleep just about anywhere.
Another rainstorm cooled things off so the ride was really quite nice as we made our way up one of the few highways in Nepal and on toward the Kathmandu Valley.