Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | October 10, 2022

The Himalayan Leadership Development Center

Nepal is one of the most fascinating places I have ever visited. Nestled between the steamy plains of Northern India and the towering snow-covered peaks of the Himalayas, it is a land of indescribable natural beauty. It doesn’t matter which direction you look, the vistas are a feast for the eyes.

This fascinating land is home to several of the highest peaks on the planet, including Mount Everest. Every year, those who dream of standing atop Everest arrive in Kathmandu and then make their way toward base camp in hope of inching their way to the top of the world.

Like others who will never trek to Everest, I did the next best thing — I booked a flight that follows the Himalayan range north of Khatmandu all the way to Everest. Of the multiplied hundreds of flights that have taken me on great adventures around the globe, this short flight was beyond amazing. I fulfilled a boyhood dream to personally see Everest in its magnificent geographic context.

What I love most about Nepal, however, is neither its natural beauty or the breathtaking Himalayan mountain range. What has touched my heart most about Nepal is its people. When I first ventured here in 2017, I was most impressed by the many people groups who call Nepal home.

I visited several of these people groups in the mountains in and around Jiri, a town known as the Gateway to Everest. Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay came through Jiri in 1953, the year they became the first to summit Everest.

The writer of Ecclesiastes (3:11) said that God has set eternity in the heart of man. There is something within us that longs for answers to why we are here and the purpose of our existence. The people groups that live in this area have the same hunger to know the answers to life’s deeper questions.

The signs of the search for answers are everywhere evident among the Nepalese. Altars and shrines reflecting both Buddhist and Hindu world views are a common sight. Many people here also fear unseen things — evil things intent on harming them. As a result, efforts to both placate and mitigate the influence of these spirits has worked its way into the local world views. It’s a part of life here.

More than two millennia after Jesus walked the earth, the gospel arrived in Nepal — and people are embracing Him as Lord and Savior. Christ-followers in this landlocked little country have taken ownership of sharing the good news about Jesus Christ. Christians here are working together to make Christ known.

In 2018, my young friend Cooper Potts died in an accident. His death, and more importantly his life, set in motion a series of events that resulted in an initiative that will have a huge impact in the work of God’s kingdom in this part of the world.

When Cooper died, his family asked that in lieu of flowers, gifts be made to Kingsland’s missions ministry to fund the work of God’s kingdom in hard places. Not long after that, I returned to Nepal to work with the Himalayan United Christian Fellowship. While here, I met with their leaders to discuss adding to their theological training work by constructing a larger facility to equip more workers.

The rest is history. We funded the construction of the Himalayan Leadership Development Center with gifts to Cooper’s memorial fund plus additional gifts from Kingsland missions. The facility was completed in 2020 but we were unable to dedicate the center at that time because Covid had shut down travel.

So, today we did what we had hoped to do two years ago — we dedicated the Himalayan Leadership Development Center to the glory of God in Cooper’s memory.

Although the center is already being used to train many workers, we came to officially dedicate the center in Cooper’s memory. My friends Steve Hyde and Poline Yean traveled from Cambodia to take part in the dedication. Steve has trained hundreds of workers here and introduced me to this work.

My friend and Kingsland member Bobby Haier accompanied me as well. After visiting Nepal with me, Bobby started a non-profit to help schools and churches in this area. God is using him to bless lots of kids and to help advance the work of the kingdom in the Himalayas.

The dedication ceremony was very meaningful as several of the local pastors talked about what this new training center means to the work they are doing. Steve, Bobby, and Poline shared words of encouragement and then I delivered the dedicatory message. Our friends were deeply moved to learn more about Cooper and his commitment to Christ.

Steve and I cut the ribbon and then I unlocked the door and presented the key to our partners. As I handed the key over to them, I thanked them for their stewardship of the gift of this training center. We are in agreement that this center must always be used as a place that will bring glory to God and make His name famous in the Himalayas.

The ceremony lasted two and a half hours. We prayed, we sang, and then we departed more determined than ever to strengthen our partnership in the gospel. Perhaps the best thing of all is knowing that this center will continue to serve the interests of the kingdom beyond our generation. And that will forever be a part of Cooper’s legacy.


Responses

  1. Omar,

    Where is your leadership building located?

    Thanks, Debbie

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  2. Great things your Nepal visit! I wish if you could visit Dinajpur again !!!

  3. Omar, any day now I think God may speak to you and tell you to change your name to Paul.

    • Grateful for your friendship and encouragement, Rush 🙂

  4. Excellent report, excellent service, thank you for your dedication to the Great Commission; and thank the Lord for gifting you the health to carry on.


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