"From the sole of the foot even to the head, There is no soundness in it, But wounds and bruises and putrefying sores; They have not been closed or bound up, Or soothed with ointment."

-- Isaiah 1:6

When trekking the mountains of the Himalaya, we walked over a hundred miles. The trek began in Lukla, Nepal. Lukla is about an hour and a half plane ride from Kathmandu. The runway has since been paved but then it was mud and gravel.

To be flying over the Himalaya, look out the window and see the plane wheel covered with mud can be a little alarming. We flew out of Montego Bay Jamaica a few years ago. I looked out the window and saw a piece of duct tape on the wing about two feet long. When we landed in Atlanta, I told Margie, "look out the window at what's on the wing." It took her a while to get over that one. The plane was a brand new 737.

When the plane landed in Lukla, it looked like we were going to slam into the side of a mountain. Since I'm writing this, we may assume that did not happen. Lukla is at an elevation of 9400 feet above sea level and it's uphill all the way to Gorakshep and Everest base camp.

Hiking boots are made for hiking. However, the constant up-a-mountain, down-a-mountain and back up again, takes its toll on foot skin. We took a product called mole skin to replace our worn off foot skin. Into the third or fourth day of the trek, we began to develop hot spots on our feet. That got our attention rather quickly so out came the mole skin. That lasted about one mile. It then rolled up into little balls and became virtually useless and ineffective.

I learned many moons ago, never go anywhere without a compass and duct tape. With the thought of wearing holes in our feet down to the bones, we decided to try the duct tape.

The color (gray) didn't match our feet (red) but it worked like a charm. We had a big roll and to say it was an absolute blessing is the understatement of the century. If the skin ever breaks, I would not recommend duct tape. It must be used as soon as a hot spot is felt.

Every morning we duct taped our feet before starting the day's trek. Most days averaged about ten miles, which doesn't sound like much. Considering the terrain and elevation, however, ten miles can be excruciating. By the third day, we were over 14,000 feet. Had it not been for the duct tape, we probably would not have completed the trek.

Life is full of surprises. Perhaps it's the unexpected that makes life interesting. I'm not as tolerant of surprises as I was in my younger years, but a pleasant surprise occasionally can be quite a blessing.

In our travels, I have been amazed and surprised at our witnessing opportunities. Margie has told the starfish story to many people which leads into a salvation explanation. In Nepal, I had numerous opportunities to talk to the Sherpas, people in the camps and villages and even people on the trails. We discovered the predominate religion in the mountain regions was Buddhist, and in Kathmandu was Hindu.

When I climbed Pike's Peak in Colorado, in 2010, I witnessed to a father and son on the trail. It turned out, the father was a pastor of a church and the son was in seminary. They were just as surprised as I was.

I have no problem anymore initiating a conversation with people from all over the world. Most people speak English, no matter where we are. In many cultures, speaking English is a status symbol and the key to success.

Just today (May 22, 2019), I've talked to people from Taiwan, Canada, Australia, Vietnam, and Serbia. I'm in a boat crossing the English Channel, in case you're wondering.

For some strange reason (wink) the conversations always evolve into religion and we always manage to bring up Jesus. Yesterday, I was talking to a man from India. I was reading a "Biblical Archeology" magazine. He saw it and initiated the conversation.

I asked him about his religion and he adhered to a prominent Indian religion. It quickly became obvious, he was curious about the subject of the Bible. I told him a little about the geography and history in the Bible, and moved the conversation from archeology into Christianity.

His curiosity about Jesus led into a witnessing opportunity I feel certain will lead to research on his part. Perhaps a new Christian will develop from this encounter, who knows? One goal of a missionary is for the recipient to not only be converted but also to take his new faith home, and share it there. One does not plant a seed and reap the harvest the same day.

The unanticipated use of the duct tape definitely came in handy in the Himalaya. Sometimes the unanticipated opportunities or circumstances yield more than we can ever imagine.

For Christians to make the most of these surprise opportunities, we must be constantly vigilant. To be alert for these opportunities, at first, takes a constant, conscious effort. In time, however, it comes just as naturally as smiling and saying hello.

There are several places in the Bible the words "the elect," are used. The word "whosoever" in John 3: 16, includes every person on this planet. 2 Peter 3: 9b, "The Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."

If you are one of those that picks and chooses who you tell about Jesus, get over it! In Acts 1: 8, Jesus listed four geographic locations. In naming Samaria, Jesus was telling His disciples to be His witnesses to people different from them/us because He died for all mankind.

God Jesus has "elected" us to share His gospel with the world. Yes, we are specifically elected to evangelize the world. Let us NOT be puffed up about that, but humbled that God would use us for this very special purpose.