Radford Bagby* has long heard mountaineering referred to as a “selfish” sport – it can be risky and expensive, and climbers tend to like to keep to themselves.
But Radford found the more he got into it, the more God put a passion for other people on his heart. “I got my bachelor’s in sports education, and we watched a lot of mountaineering documentaries,” he said. “The people interviewed in the films kept talking about how the mountains represented certain gods to them, and I kept thinking somebody needs to go and share truth with these guys.”
So Radford, his wife Sarah*, and their children have planted their lives in Nepal to take the hope they have to the hard-to-reach people of the mountains.
Getting to the 28 people groups in their country – each one with its own language and culture and separated from the next group by a massive mountain – takes a journey of weeks. For the closest village, it’s a three- or four-day trip, partly by car and partly by trekking on foot.
For the farthest one away, best-case scenario it’s a 14-day journey one way. “If everything goes right, and you were to just go to their village, snap a picture, turn around and come right back, you’re still gone from home 28 days. Stay there for any length of time to establish relationships, and we’re talking a long, long trip,” Radford says.
Praying for God to soften soil
It’s a long-term type of work, he said, slow and largely thankless. “I do think we will see a lot of progress in our lifetime; it’s just very slow. The fields are hard.”
But the Bagbys have watched God use two things to open hearts – a major earthquake and their children. The couple has trekked for days at a time uphill with toddlers, even while Sarah was pregnant. The children got dirty, played with yaks, and met strangers, and people warmed up to them. “People see our kids, and they open up about their lives and about the children they lost in the earthquake,” Sarah said. “For them to see us cry with them is a big deal.”
In one particular village, a rockslide from the earthquake came roaring down the mountain, burying a whole group of people underneath. “It’s been more than a year since the earthquake, and people in that village would start crying like it had just happened. It’s still very fresh,” Radford said. “It means the world to them that we came to hear their stories.” It’s in those moments that they get to share the hope that they have and pray God softens the rocky soil.
*Names changed. Pray for Barriers to be removed as the Bagbys hike in to access unreached people groups. Also, pray for hearts to continue to be opened in Nepal and national believers raised up who will boldly take the gospel to other villages.
National goal: $160 million
2017 Week of Prayer for International Missions – December 3-10
2 Corinthians 5:14 (HCSB) – For Christ’s love compels us, since we have reached this conclusion: If One died for all, then all died.
Generous giving to the 2017 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering® makes a massive difference in the world. Men, women, children, and entire communities are transformed as a result of this offering. Your gifts enable thousands of missionaries to live among, serve, and share the gospel with people who have never heard it until now.
Every December since 1888, the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering has empowered Southern Baptist’s international missions work. At the beginning of this giving season, we start with a week of prayer dedicated to international missions, taking place December 3-10.
Through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, you and your church:
• Support over 3,600 missionaries.
• Enable disciples to be made and churches to be multiplied around the world.
• Continue the SBC’s 172-year commitment to missions.
Look for these other stories and specific ways you can pray in this year’s Week of Prayer guide, as well as the accompanying videos.
• God is moving Muslims of Russiatoward faith in Christ.
• For the Jones family in Japan, God is using the adoption of their son to open doors and hearts.
• The diverse backgrounds and skills of the Mexico City teamhelp them serve unreached people in this global megacity.
• Often alone, the forgotten refugee needs to know he is loved by God. IMB missionaries have the opportunity to share the hope of the gospel.
• The world converges in the kitchen of the Mikeska family in London. There they encourage new believers and develop strategic friendships.
• Celebrate what God has done to draw people to Himself and continue praying for hearts open to Him.
• Boldness, clarity, joy, effectiveness, and more. This is what IMB missionaries need and why prayer matters.