Having spent 2 months in Darjeeling, a pit stop for many international backpackers wanting to hike the Himalayas, the team and I wanted to see Mt Everest before we left. There is a very small window of opportunity to see Mt Everest from the Darjeeling area but we wanted to come back with a tale of having seen this enormous mountain first hand.
This small window of possibility required a 4.00am wakeup call and a 45 minute taxi ride to the lookout point. Thankfully we had become slightly accustomed to the cold weather during our stay in this city and so we knew what to expect of the weather, not that we could do much about it.
So at 4.00am we got into a taxi, most of the team still in their sleeping bags to stay warm. We drove into the darkness, wanting bragging rights from seeing the tallest mountain in the world. When we arrived at the lookout our taxi slipped into a parking spot next to the other jeeps that were also carrying tourists wanting a glimpse of this magnificent mountain.
As we climbed out of our vehicle we were hit by an icy cold wind that I think made us all question why we got out of bed so early to stand in the cold. Boldly we huddled together and waited in anticipation, being warmed by the chai tea served by locals and the high spirits of the team.
There were quite a few tourists at this lookout point, from other parts of India and around the world. With a common desire we waited for the sun to rise and hoped we would see Everest. It was as we waited I began a conversation with an Indian man who was visiting from the other side of the country.
As we talked, two others joined the conversation and together three of us were able to share what we were doing in India and begin a deeper conversation about religion, particularly of our belief.
Although the man was not a Christian he was very open to hear what we had to say and then encouraged our whole team to sing some worship songs for him. As a team we gathered around this man and began to worship God. So, here we were early in the morning and in the freezing cold weather worshipping God on top of a mountain with a man who did not have a relationship with the Lord.
Although by this time word had been passed around we were not going to get a glimpse of Everest because of bad weather, I believe the moment of worshipping God with this Indian man was much more beautiful and eternally powerful than seeing a mountain.
Before we left the three of us who originally began chatting with the man also prayed for him and as we did he began to cry.
After all this happened I left the lookout firmly believing God had done something powerful in the life of this man I met. While we never had the chance to see the mountain this man had the chance to 'see God on his heart' and this is a far greater and everlasting experience for him and me.
What originally began as a tourist outing became a great opportunity for ministry. The poor weather, a bad attitude or tiredness from our early start could have caused me to miss the chance to share with someone about Christ. Instead I took the opportunity before me, I opened myself to be used by God and He did.
Being open and available to God can be daunting and most likely different from any other of my experiences, but God can and will orchestrate opportunities to share if we are willing.
If you find yourself in a setting with a complete stranger or maybe with a family member or friend, or something else that looks promising, will you grab hold of the door when it opens? Will you tell others the good news you know? Will you ask God to use you for His glory?