Going into my time in Nepal, I knew very little about our itinerary, but within the first few days, Carly provided us with a tentative schedule. My initial response was excitement, but after taking just one glance, my heart sank. While the schedule was chock full of wonderful opportunities and ripe with potential adventures, our first big trip out of Kathmandu was scheduled for the following weekend… and we were going to Chitwan.
In my pre-trip research on all things Nepal, I learned that little, narrow Nepal has three distinct geographic regions. The mountainous northern region that consists of the Himalayas, the central hill region that includes the main cities, and the jungly Terai region that borders India. Chitwan is in the Terai.
By this point you’re probably wondering, “What’s the big deal is with Chitwan?” One word – jungle! You see, I have a plethora of irrational, jungle-related fears. Massive spiders, sneaky tigers, aggressive rhinos, poisonous snakes, no thank you! Prior to Nepal I had never been to a jungle, and if I had had my way, I would’ve never gone to a jungle. But God had other plans.
We arrived in Chitwan at night. My first impression was that the air was alive with the noises of bugs and animals, and I was immediately overtaken by an oppressive and crippling fear.
I spent the evening completely withdrawn. I did not want to be in Chitwan, and I honestly didn’t know how I was going to survive the weekend.
When we returned to our guesthouse after dinner, Courtney Caron, Emily, Austin, and I went up on the roof to look at the stars. While on the roof I told them, “Guys, my fear is so intense right now that I don’t even know how to be here, and I can’t carry this burden alone. Will you pray for me?”
They laid hands on me, and prayed a beautiful and bold prayer for me to be released from my fears. When they finished, I felt completely different! Free, and light, and unafraid!
The next morning, we walked barefoot through the jungle in a rainstorm, and I was struck with the realization that I felt no fear!
And from that moment on, I knew that their prayer had truly released me from my fears. But in order to remain free I knew I would have to continue choosing to receive the freedom God wants to offer me.
Right before we left for Chitwan I discovered this song, and it became the anthem for my time in Nepal.
Every morning for the next five weeks I would wake up and listen to this song. Then, whenever I would start to feel afraid I would sing, “I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God!”
Since returning home, I have realized that while I worked through many fears in Nepal, America comes with a whole new set of fears to tackle. However, I know that the freedom God offered me there continues to be available here. So I’m ready to run free and fearless into the future!