I eagerly waited for the arrival of the disciples of this Jesus, whose name had steadily risen in rank among the gods. Since that time in 1986 many have asked my story, questioning why I left Buddhism, the religion of my ancestors. I’d like to share with you the amazing, but true account of ho God lovingly reached down to me, my family, and our Tamang and Sherpa people in perhaps the only way we would have listened.
My story really begins with my ancestors and father, Lharkyal. Ten generations
ago the Tibetan border was moved after a war and our citizenship changed from Tibetan
to Nepalese. At that time our ancestor, Kham Sung Wang Di, brought in a gold-
Father is from the Tamang group, so when he displeased his family by marrying Dolma,
a Helambu Sherpa, his family gave him a home where only one other house had been
built. It was on the least desirable land around: a hillside near the temple where
ghosts and demons were said to live. A village idol where chickens were sacrificed
stood on the other side of the house. It wasn’t surprising that father usually entered
the house, holding out his big curved Gurkha knife in fear, and like others in the
area he drank a lot of millet and wheat whiskey. At that time father’s main religious
duty was to lead the worship songs at Gyawa festivals, rituals held 49 days after
a person has died. For income our family also kept Jomos (females from a Yak – cow
cross). When father was twenty and mother was twenty-
Rather than living in the stone and wood house on the hill, we usually stayed in
a woven bamboo A-
Like twenty or so other village boys, I attended school but learned little. Our languages at home were Sherpa and occasionally Tamang, not Nepalese, the language used at school. What’s more, I was careless about attendance – we all were – making it to class about once every eight days. Usually we just played around, hiding from Nepalese speakers who happened along the trail, and begging from trekkers for gum, pens, or “one Rupee please”.
In 1984, when I was ten, we moved back to the portable shelter. My oldest brother
Angdawa, had gone to India to work in a coal mine and Mingmar lived and worked in
the cheese factory at Sing Gomba, a half-
One partly cloudy day in May of that year we were out with the herd, mother in front
and the stragglers and I bringing up the rear. At mid-
During the night the shadow-
I was hungry. While I ate, father and mother bombarded me with questions: “What
happened?” “Are you well?” “What did you see?” I reported all that had happened
and what the shadow-
The following night the shadow-
One night the shadow-
After some time of receiving teaching and witnessing such wonders, the shadow-
Then one day my notebook said, “After the Dalai Lama bow down to Yesu.” I didn’t know that Yesu is Sherpa for Jesus. In fact, I had never heard of Yesu (Jesus) before!
Every Saturday we opened my notebook for teaching and week by week, month by month the name Yesu rose higher in rank. With the name of Yesu came teaching about this unknown God. We learned of Adam and Eve and the first sin, Yesu, the Son of God and His crucifixion and resurrection and much more. We were also told that God will come to judge the world.
It was now 1985. As usual in the autumn, we moved the shelter down closer to Big Syabru for the coming cold months. Father was glad to be able to bring a gift and again visit his old friend, the owner of the Yeti hotel. While there father noticed a Tibetan tract lying on the table and was immediately interested, not only because he reads Tibetan, but more so because he saw the name “Yesu” on the cover. Father asked the owner about the tract. It had been left behind by some tourists and the Yeti hotel owner didn’t want it. Father brought it back to our shelter and I looked in my special notebook for guidance regarding the tract. I read, “keep the tract – it is good. Read it” We did. We also bowed down to it when we bowed down to the idols.
Two months later Mingmar wanted to quit his job at the cheese factory in order to reopen our house as a lodge. He asked me to look in my notebook for guidance in this matter. I bowed down three times and began to read, “If Mingmar wants to open a lodge that is fine, but don’t sell alcohol. When the lodge is opened followers of Yesu will meet you.” Mingmar happily opened the lodge and six months later the disciples of Yesu came.
By this time many lodges had opened along the well traveled Langtang trek and the
lodge and hotel owners had a system of lining up for chances to meet the trekkers
on the trail in order to invite them to their own places. On that particular day
Mingmar was late in the line so he opted to just stay home. But while at home he
noticed three trekkers on the less-
The previous night the men stayed at a tiny lodge run by two young women, who had eagerly requested, “When you go through Big Syabru, please stop at our cousin Mingmar’s lodge.” Jon, his brother Dan, and Jay had intended to go farther than just to Big Syabru, but they hadn’t wanted to hurt the women’s feelings so they said nothing. However, the following day it was slow walking: snow and rain had made the mud paths slippery. They were wet cold and tired, so at my brother’s invitation, they decided to stop for the day. They didn’t know yet that Mingmar’s lodge was the very one my cousins had recommended the evening before. They also didn’t know how God had gone before them to prepare the way for Sherpa’s to hear His Good News.
Actually Jon and Dan had been praying earnestly for the Helambu Sherpa people for two years. They had been sent to Nepal by Gospel Recordings to learn Nepalese and then make Gospel message tapes for evangelism in the lesser known languages and dialects of the land. Knowing that there were not yet any Christians among the Helambu Sherpas, they had contacted a translator working with that people with the hope of making a recording. Her Sherpa friends refused.
Arriving at the lodge, the three men changed into dry clothes and ordered instant noodles and hot lemon drinks. As usual, they bowed for a prayer of thanks in Jesus’ name. Mingmar noticed. Later Dan and Jay went out to explore the village and Jon stayed back at the lodge, settling on a bench by the mud and stone stove in the narrow dark kitchen off to the side of our big sleeping room. He pulled on a thicker pair of socks and warmed his hands over the fire as my brother started to organize things for the evening rice meal.
“What religion do you observe?” Jon asked.
“Buddhist”, Mingmar answered, giving his full attention. “Is that all right?”
“What’s really all right is what saves your soul”, Jon told him. Then Jon continued, telling him about God, creation, sin, and finally about Jesus – His life, death, and resurrection which had made the way for us to God. “The things you’ve told me and the things my brother has told me differ in not even one area!” Mingmar exclaimed.
“Where is your brother?” asked Jon, “Can we meet him?”
“He seems to have gone crazy”, was the reply. “I can take you to where he lives in the Jungle, about a three hour walk up the mountain from here”.
Jon, Dan, and Jay were thrilled and curious about what Mingmar had told them and they wanted to meet me, but Dan had a plane to catch in Kathmandu. They couldn’t take the time to hike all the way up to where our shelter was. Later however – when he realized the importance of what had happened – Jon promised to return as soon as possible with a Nepalese friend.
Just two weeks later, Jon and Barnabas, a Nepalese Gospel Recordings worker, came to us. Recently the name of Yesu had moved up to second in rank in the list of gods we were bowing down to. I was also told that when the followers of Yesu come they should be allowed to enter our shelter without the customary waving of incense over their bodies. We had beautified the shelter with fresh ferns and flowers all over the floor and walls and as usual, I had on my white clothing. We were ready. It had been exactly three years since my first vision to that afternoon when Mingmar and the two arrived, about 5:00pm. Father, mother, Mingmar and I began to take turns bowing down before Jon and Barnabas, but they stopped us saying, “Don’t bow down to us. We are people just as you are.”
I still couldn’t speak Nepalese, so Mingmar and Father translated as our visitor
talked with us. Barnabas began by telling how Jesus was born, lived, was crucified
and three days later, rose again. They also played a gospel tape in the Tamang language
for us. Most of the evening I sat quietly, intent to hear every word, but finally
I was so excited that I jumped up and got my notebooks. Flipping through the pages,
I found and read some sections corresponding with what we had heard. (During a later
visit from Jon and a Nepalese co-
That night the shadow-
The day was warm and relaxing with plenty of time to talk further. Jon told us that God doesn’t want us to bow down to the idols – nor even the things written about Yesu – as we’d been doing. Barnabas explained more about why Yesu had to die in our place, how He fulfilled all the requirements of righteousness, ritual and law. He also clarified that believing in Yesu means entrusting ourselves to Him. Barnabas and Jon played a cassette tape in Tibetan as they flipped through a corresponding set of forty pictures. These went over some Old Testament stories and told of Yesu, and they also showed what new life in Christ is like. Though no one suggested that I do it, I yanked the charms and beads from my neck and we told Yesu we would follow Him. Mother had been out milking the Jomos so Jon and Barnabas gave her the Good News too. She also wanted to follow in faith and by herself she prayed a beautiful prayer: “From now on, You are my Lord. I don’t know much, but You are my Lord.”
Leaving the Buddhist way, the way of our ancestors, was a struggle at first, especially for father. After Jon and Barnabas had left I saw him light some coals and incense in a pot, bow down three times, and then sob uncontrollably. I hated to hear him cry and went to him, telling him the words I had heard from the Buddha image, in my final vision, two nights earlier. He calmed, and when peaceful again, agreed to stop doing the rituals. A few days later I got chicken pox and was seriously ill for seven days. We knew that this time we couldn’t call a witch doctor.
By now the weather was getting too warm for the Jomos so we had to move the shelter higher. Before doing so, we burned our religious things, including most of the notebooks. I saved only the smallest notebook in which were the messages about Yesu.
From that time the things I had written in the notebook became to me as a completely foreign language usually, though I was still able to read parts of it from time to time. I understood that the ability to read it occasionally would last only until I could read a Bible myself and my faith was stronger. The last time I read it was the day my mother went to be with the Lord Yesu after a long battle with cancer.
Mother is perhaps the first Helambu Sherpa standing before the throne of God in praise. Father composes Sherpa and Tamang hymns and leads in worship when the believers in our area gather. Mingmar and his wife, Karmu, have been able to go to Bible school in Pokhara. God has helped me learn Nepalese and made it possible for me to record Gospel message cassettes in Sherpa and do the translation of the Sherpa New Testament, my heart language.
Maybe this is difficult for you to accept. I could show you my notebook as proof,
and you could ask anyone in my whole village and they could testify to the three-
God can do anything if it’s his will – this is my strong belief. Nevertheless there is much opposition. The lamas consider me a bad example for Buddhists. If you are a believer in Jesus, I ask you to pray for us, the Christians in Syabru. Pray also for our people who do not yet follow Jesus. Just as it seemed impossible for me to become a Christian, and yet I have, please pray that others in Syabru will also follow him. One day you may hear that according to God’s will, everyone in our village has begun to follow Yesu, the name above all.