There is an informative program called Smart Traveler from the U.S. State Department. We recommend that all teams register themselves so the U.S. Embassy will be aware of your presence in country in case of an emergency. You may choose to do this or not, but it is our recommendation that you do. We will keep you apprised of vital information that we receive if there are major change or concerns for your trip. As always, your team’s safety is always on our minds as we plan and prepare you’re your arrival. To enroll your team in the S.T.E.P. system online, follow the directions below:
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.
Alaska and the Eskimos
The United States is known for its diversity — diversity of land and diversity of people. People have immigrated from all over the world to join what has been dubbed “the melting pot”. Since acquiring the region of Alaska from Russia, the U.S. has gained a marvelous addition to this melting pot of cultures and societies.
The natives of Alaska called, Eskimos, are the proud descendants of nomadic travelers, brave sailors, and explorers who have learned to survive in the land of the midnight sun. The first visitors to this harsh environment of the north are thought to be the Tlingits and the Haidas (settlers of British Colombia), the Athabascans (inhabited the Alaskan interior), the Aleuts of the islands, and the Inuit (Eskimo). These people came from Asia across the land bridge which linked Siberia and North America approximately 3000 years ago1.
Inuit Past Continue reading
Story Of Sadhu Sundar Singh by Cyril J. Davey presents the story of the life of a young Indian mystic who rebelled against God. After struggling with his life, he finally sought God and received an answer when the Lord Jesus appeared to him. From that point on Sundar Singh lived the life of an Indian holy man who was totally committed to Christ. His ministry stretched across India, into Tibet, and around the world. All this took place during his 39 years of life.
Sadhu Sundar Singh (1889-1929), the son of a wealthy landowner in the Punjab plain of India, was a prime candidate for becoming another honored member of the “Singh” (lion) family. God had other plans. Continue reading
Heifer, the non-profit that helps poor by providing training, and animals around the globe, just received a big publicity boon from none other than billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates.
He participated in Reddit’s Secret Santa gift giving and made one Reddit user very happy. It also was a great marketing promotion for Heifer!
Read the story here:
I recently hosted a mission team from Michigan and they had some great team devotional and individual resources that they brought with them to encourage the youth to build in quiet times and deeper devotional times into their team’s down times.
I’m going to start referring new teams to this resource for those who don’t want to or have time to re-invent the wheel with their own custom devotional resources for the team.
LeaderTreks also has pre-trip and debriefing tools available.
Mission trips should be more than just mountain top experiences. They should be life changing.
Michael P. Shead
Oral Roberts University
December 7, 1999
Part II: The Community Development Project
Leadership training among the Navajo men between ages 12 and 17 in the Shiprock Agency of the Navajo Nation Reservation.
A Note From the Researcher.
A comprehensive documentation of the needs and suggested solutions for any people group would probably fill volumes. This document is not, by any means, an attempt to address all the needs of the Navajo people but to identify specific leadership issues and present a possible solution in this area.
This project is an effort to contribute an organized leadership training program for young Navajo men. Its purpose is to train up young leaders who know Jesus Christ as Savior and friend and who will be able, honest, and wise leaders in every area of Navajo life. This project will take on several stages before completion: analysis, design, development, implementation, evaluation and empowerment.
Michael P. Shead
International Community Development
Oral Roberts University
December 7, 1999
Chapter 1: A definite purpose and plan
Defining Community Development
Community development is a process. Development is a long-term process of helping people to help themselves. It is said, “Give a man a fish and you will have fed him for a day, but teach him how to fish and you will have fed him for a lifetime”. This is the concept of community development–to empower people to care for and improve themselves.
In his book, Two Ears of Corn, Roland Bunch defined community development as “A process whereby people learn to take charge of their own lives and solve their own problems.” (1982). It is a development of attitude as well as resources. Bunch noted that poverty is often linked directly to mental attitudes more than actual physical situations (1982).
Community development includes many different areas: agriculture, economics, literacy, hygiene, and others. No matter what area in which the development is taking place it is important to remember that the purpose is to empower the people within their own society and culture so that changes are coming from within the culture and from the people, not merely because an outside influence is changing them.
In 1973 Dale Kietzman presented a definition of community development to the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL). He said, “Community Development is the process of helping to strengthen a community (and its leadership) so that it can resolve, through its own initiative, the problems which face it” (Yost & Yost, 1999). Continue reading
Part I — Nepal: People & Places
Nestled in the Himalayan Mountains between Tibet, China; and India sits the nation of Nepal. This is a land full of nearly anything you can imagine. From Hindu pagodas and Mount Everest to villages filled with evidence of the 2,500-year-old Nepal culture and history;2 you can find people from around the world, history like nowhere else, and the majestic mountain vistas offered only by the Himalayas.
Nepal has a lengthy history tied to Tibet, China, India, and some influence from the British colonial days.3 According to a Library of Congress article, Nepal has existed as a kingdom in the Kathmandu Valley for some 1,500 years.3
In 1743 modern Nepal rose from the slopes and valleys of the Himalayas valleys under the House of Gorkha led by King Prithvi Narayan Shah.4 King Prithvi desired to unify the many separate kingdoms throughout what is now Nepal. By force he conquered many principalities until he held strategic positions around the Kathmandu Valley. When Kathmandu was captured in 1769, it became the capital of the future Nepal. King Prithvi continued to extend his kingdom until his death in 1775. (Compare to US history, this was one year before independence was declared from Great Britian.) The influence of King Prithvi had brought many ethnically and religiously diverse people together under one national ruler and established guidelines for the nation’s foreign policy for centuries to follow. 4
In the early 19th century, the House of Gorkha came into conflict with the British East India Company and sparked the AngloNepalese War (1814 -16) which proved disastrous for Nepal and reduced the kingdom to its present size.3 Soon after, a period of Nepal’s own politics followed under what is called the Rana Rule. This was the rule of hereditary dictators which began in 1846 and lasted more than a century.3 These dictators used their positions as heads of state and the support of the military to build stability for the country. This provided Nepal with a time for growth but the oppressive dictators greatly inhibited political and economic development by secluding the country from other nations and strictly limiting internal affairs. Continue reading
November 4, 1998
Being an outsider from what is considered the norm is, for most people, undesirable. While most people want to be different from others, they do not want to be an outsider who stands out as someone who does not know or is unaware of cultural norms and values.
In 1995, a friend and I spent two months in South America. Most of the time I was in Santiago, Chile, teaching English to first through sixth graders at a school. I remember the first time my friend and I went to visit the school.
My friend Sam and I had purchased nice felt hats at a tourist market and decided to wear them to the school that first day. We knew that we stuck out as foreigners but the hats did not help at all.. While the hats may have been in keeping with the traditional Chilean culture, we soon realized hats of that sort were not worn by very many people in the city. We successfully became the object of many stares as we made our way down the street trailing our host. When we got back from the school that afternoon we stored our hats for the remainder of the trip. Continue reading