For the past six years, the Terry Mikeska Foundation has successfully completed 74 aid trips to the country of Nepal. Since the country suffered a devastating earthquake in 2015, the Foundation has provided food, shelter, medical supplies, schools, school supplies and infrastructure in the form of roads and water wells to the people of Nepal. The connection between Mikeska and the countrymen of Nepal? The Holy Spirit.
But what happens behind the scenes to make the necessities of life a reality reads like a chapter out of an Indiana Jones movie. The most recent trip to Nepal took place in August of this year and was complicated by COVID restrictions and inaccessibility to the villages Mikeska would need to visit. In his own words, Mikeska described the adventure as often harrowing.
“My first attempt in June to get a visa through the Nepal Embassy in Washington, D.C. was denied due to the virus and no visas being issued. Then in July, I was issued a visa but I was required to get the COVID vaccine, which I had, and then quarantine once I arrived. The long trip to Nepal took 34 hours,and once I arrived in Kathmandu, I waited in a long line in a tent outside the airport where temperatures, vaccine cards and quarantine reservations were checked before I could even enter the airport and go through immigration,” said Mikeska.
But even though the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) had started to ship covid vaccines to Nepal during the summer months, less than 1% of the people in the villages where Mikeska would be working would be vaccinated.
“On my first stop after quarantine, I joined pastor Amosh Khadka and his family delivering truck loads of rice, pallets of Holy Bibles, knitted hats, gloves and some clothes to the Christian churches and their families. Hundreds of families lined up with their children and babies tied to their back to receive help, many of whom had walked miles to get there.”
“The weather was warm and raining most of the time and created some severe flooding. We had a 4-hour wait due to flooding before we could enter one village where we took a group of doctors and nurses to offer a health clinic. After a 4-hour wait for the river to go down and a 2-hour drive in the jungle we finally arrived and found hundreds lined up in the rain waiting for medical treatment and prescriptions. We stayed all day to provide healthcare to everyone in the surrounding villages.”
“In the village of Madi, we built a new church which cost less than $7,000 as the labor was all volunteer. As soon as we did the ribbon cutting, more than 150 people rushed in and packed the church. These families were so hungry to hear the word of Jesus and get their own Holy Bible!”
“During the third week of our mission, the east side of Nepal in the Jhapa District was still locked down, but I had promised the Lions Club of Ladies and Leo Club of Girls that I would help them build two large restrooms with sanitary vending machine products for two very poor government schools.”
When a civic club meets in the U.S., there’s usually a meeting, with lunch, maybe a mascot, or club flags flying. In Nepal, theLion’s Club of Ladies met with Mikeska under camouflage, arriving one or two at a time to avoid the scrutiny of local authorities. And once assembled on the second floor of an old office building in the village of Birtamode, the ladies locked the door and took out their Lions Club Banner to hang on the wall,and each took out their Lions Club vest from their tote bag and put them on. Violating lockdown in this region of Nepal can bring with it a public whipping by law enforcement—a risk that was accepted to make the project happen.
The meeting continued. “As a result of local donations,” Mikeska said, “I had $2900 dollars in the form of rupees in my backpack to build out two toilets. The engineer and architect volunteered their time and talent. The funds that the Lion Club raises each year (around $175.00) would now be used to maintain the vending machine with the sanitary napkins for the girls.
“After completing the east side project, I headed back to Nepal to visit 2 orphanages that were in desperate need of food, clothes and school supplies. While I was distributing the items, I noticed a very bad smell at the orphanage and realized it was coming from the carpet. I remembered that this was the same carpet from when I visited this orphanage in 2015 after the deadly earthquake. And after pulling it up it was shocking to see all the mold and mildew from past rains that had accumulated. In my head, I started calculating the cost to replace the carpet,” said Mikeska, a cost not figured into the original budget for the trip.
But, as has happened so many times on these missions, where God intended for something to happen it would. After having the older boys in the orphanage measure the space, Mikeska found a merchant four blocks away who sold carpet, and then wrote out an estimate for materials and labor. The grand total was $385 in U.S. dollars!
“I asked when it could be installed and he said right now. I was shocked, but these businesses had no customers for 18 months and were starving for a sale. I immediately told my driver to find me an ATM and went to tell the children that new carpet and pad was on the way. This was a huge blessing.”
“I slept most of the way back to the U.S. And when I landed at DFW airport, I realized how blessed we are to have so many programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, unemployment benefits, government programs, covid relief, food banks, and so on. I am beyond grateful and blessed to live in the USA! And happy that I have been blessed with donors who believe in what we try to do for these very poor people.”
The next Terry Mikeska Foundation mission will happen in 2022. On the to-do list is to build a larger medical camp, do more solar and water filtration programs, and help start training programs for women wanting to learn a skill and find a job.Another school and church may be included in the plans, depending on fundraising.”
So many individuals and organizations have contributed to each mission, including a philanthropist/CEO from Florida who agreed to match all donations to the foundation up to $25,000. The Foundation operates from his home and without a paid staff, so that 100% of the donations can go to the cause.
If you or your organization would like to participate in the Nepal missions with the Terry Mikeska Foundation you may contact the Foundation at terrymikeskafoundation.org., or firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 325-277-5466, Or you can mail your gift to the Terry Mikeska Foundation P.O Box 61692, San Angelo, Texas 76906. Your contribution is tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.
Terry Mikeska distributing a backpack and school supplies to over 500 poor children in west Nepal so they can attend the schools in their villages.
Funds are donated to the Lions club of Ladies and the Leo Club of girls in Birtabazar, Nepal so they can build 2 restrooms and sanitary vending machines for the poor government schools.
Food and Holy Bibles where distributed in a Christian church located in west Nepal, the Bible’s where printed in Nepalese and English.