Earlier this week I returned from a two week trip to Nepal with a team of five guys. Our adventure flew us from Atlanta to Doha, Qatar and on to Kathmandu, Nepal. I’ve been to quite a few countries over the years, and oftentimes my travels have taken me to a number of places with very low standards of living. But as soon as we ventured from Tribuhaven International Airport into the streets of Kathmandu, I knew that I was in for an experience like none other.
While cell phones were everywhere, basic standards of living, like flushing toilets, potable water, dependable electricity, paved roads, and even something as ordinary as hot water in hotels were rare in Kathmandu, even more so in the mountains, where we were headed the following day.
The next morning, we boarded a short flight from Kathmandu to Tumlingtar, a very small town sitting alongside the Arun River. Out the left side of the plane, as we flew east, rose the Himalayan Mountain Range, with its crown jewel, Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world at 29,029 feet. In fact, eight of the ten tallest mountains in the world reside in Nepal.
The following days would test our bodies and psyche as we departed Tumlingtar. With backpacks on our shoulders, we headed for a canoe ride across the Arun River, a jeep ride we’ll never forget over some of the dustiest, deeply rutted roads imaginable, and many miles of hiking up mountains and through tiny little villages in some of the remotest parts of Nepal. Everywhere we went over the next several days we were met with continuous stares, acknowledging the fact that in some of these little villages, no American had ever been seen.
As we traveled throughout Nepal over the near two weeks we were there, the word “thanksgiving” came to mind over and over. As I compared my life back in the United States with that of the Nepalis, I couldn’t help but thank God for His providential blessings. Whether it was our standard of living, the liberties our Constitution affirms to us, or the spiritual truths that were a part of our nation’s DNA, the American experiment is something we all too often take for granted.
Americans like to acknowledge our many blessings annually on the 3rd Thursday of November with turkey, dressing, pumpkin pie and football. But truthfully, as we look around the world, we should celebrate Thanksgiving this very day, for our blessings are too numerous to count. Whether one lives in a penthouse overlooking Manhattan, in a suburban middle class neighborhood, or subsidized housing in an inner city, each one of us is part of an elite body of citizens, even with our diverse socioeconomic levels. As “Americans” we are all afforded unlimited opportunities and the freedoms to pursue them. But lest we become puffed up, we should remember that the status we enjoy has been bestowed on us by a merciful and loving God, and that there is nothing inherent in us that would merit such blessings.
As we think of the many nations of the world, we should remember that God established the times and boundaries of each nation (Acts 17:26), and He also blesses those nations who affirm Him as their God (Psalm 33:12). But as I was abroad these last couple of weeks, I came across this verse in Psalm 9:17 — “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” There is no doubt in my mind that America is rapidly forgetting God, and the division, turmoil, instability, and even violence we are seeing across our land suggests that we are beginning to reap the consequences of such forgetfulness.
There is really only one solution to restoring our Republic. And it begins with thanksgiving and humility. I pray that we will all begin to reassess our relationship to Almighty God, and as we do, also count our many blessings. And let’s make everyday a day of thanksgiving.
I recently purchased a DJI Mavic Pro drone, a state-of-the-art technological wonder. It’s a unique compact drone, designed so that the arms can be folded down and transported with ease, but still possessing some of the most highly sophisticated features available. I was able to take the drone on the trip to Nepal and captured many incredible aerial views. Below are just a few of the videos that will give you just a little sampling of our team’s experience. I trust you enjoy them.