You know how refreshing it is to take a shower? If you don’t let me assure you I am personally acquainted with the refreshing quality of a shower because I just took my first one in (over) four days. It was one of the best ever, in the whole world.
That refreshed, rejuvenated feeling is a great picture of what this last week, and especially the little road trip I just went on have been for me. These last 4 days I spent on a trip to see Kate and Alex’s friends from Georgia- Josh and McKinnley. The 3 of us and Lydia a German Girl went to a city that is the beginning of the Tbetan plateau. Talk about beautiful!
While we were there we hiked mountains, had times of worship, time to fellowship on a deep level and to goof off. We shopped for souvenirs, tried new food, hiked some more, toured the monastery, met people, ministered, taught English, and most importantly we worshiped or Creator and waged some spiritual warfare for this city trapped in such darkness.
This city is nestled in the middle of the mountains and is at an elevation of about 9,000 feet. Foreigners aren’t allowed to live permanently because the government doesn’t want any more riots in that area after the ones that happened there a couple years ago.
It is home to a huge monastery that houses around 2000 monks, not to mentions the ones who travel there to pray.
Here is a little tid bit about Buddhism:
Buddhism is very regional. Chinese Buddhism is different from Thai Buddhism, which is different from Tbetan. I have been exposed to all three, and in my opinion Tbetan Buddhism is the darkest form. This brand is down right scary at times.
First there are over 1000 Buddhas and then there are the guardian gods (talk about some freaky pictures).
There is only reincarnation for the people who achieve the status of lama which is a living Buddha. To reach that you have to be a monk and then a master, and honestly hardly any reach this status. When we asked our monk tour guide he flat out told us that when you die “that’s it.”
Talk about a depressing religion. These people go on pilgrimages to temples to pray, they spin the wheels countless times, rub their prayer beads, hike mountains to prayer places, scatter prayer cards all over the place, bring offerings, and walk around the temples literally thousands (10,000 is best) of times… and all for what? For naught. To still be destined for hell.
The darkness is thick, at times I could feel it when someone would look at me, and other points I literally felt as if my skin was crawling. Luckily, “God didn’t give us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind.” (2 Tim 1:7). And He told us that the darkness can’t overtake the light (John 1:5).
Compare and Contrast:
I am so glad that when I look at the mountains around that city that I am driven to worship the One True God, the Creator who spoke that majestic place into existence. Simply spoke it. Not only did He first imagine it, but all it took was His word to come to be.
I am glad that when I see the size of the mountains I remember the size of my God and I hike to their tops to gain a greater appreciation of who my Savior is. I hike those mountains and am freed as I revel in God’s power and grace.
When I climb I climb with God, worshipping as I go, and climbing by His power because the oxygen is VERY THIN when you get to 14,000 feet… in shape or not, you need oxygen. lol.
Not so for the Tbetans….
When they climb those mountains they go to the tops because they think that is where there gods reside.
They climb to spend hours in devoted, fervent prayer to something that doesn’t exist so therefore has no ears to hear them.
Their religion that defines so much of who they are and what they do, and it is hopeless. They live and die in darkness. These people live and die most likely having never heard the Gospel.
My prayers in that city were bold. We encountered spiritual warfare just from the darkness of that religion, but we also encountered sickness and lost cell phones. We waged war in the form of worship and living as lights while we were there, but also through prayer.
Please join me in my prayers that those high places of worship would be torn down and replaced with worship of Jesus. Pray that the monastery that is such a hub of spiritual darkness would be transformed into a place that educates and sends out ministers of the Light instead. Pray that people would come with the Gospel to this place- that their feet would be beautiful on the mountain tops because they bring good news (Is 52:7). Pray and war for these people. They really are going to hell, because when we die it’s not “that’s it”; it is eternity in one of two places… pray that they are presented with the opportunity to go to heaven.
Rest and Relaxation:
All of that being said I am sure you are wondering “why on earth did she include Rest and Relaxation in the title of this?” Well, I think that it depends on your focus.
On this trip I rejuvenated a spirit of worship in my life. I poured out and was filled up. I was stretched a bit, but also I had a ton of fun. When you are with like minded people, and you are living for the Kingdom’s glory there is a relaxation and refreshment found there.
Jesus is the living water, so nothing is more refreshing than Him. When He is your focus no matter if it’s hiking, hanging out, ministering, sleeping in a sketchy hotel, or interceding for the people perishing in darkness His living water sustains and refreshes you.
The last four days were amazing, but now I need some physical rest. Stay tuned for more updates!
Over and out,
Li Ai (aka Devra)
Ps… for those of you who know me, yes it is Jesus who sustains and refreshes not coffee.