In March of 2013 nine people set out on a once in a lifetime trek. This was our Team of dedicated and passionate adventurers for the Mt. Everest Base Camp Trek. Each one has a unique story. Each one has a passion to promote the work of The Elisha Foundation. Each one has sacrificially given of their time and resources to advance the cause of those experiencing disability the world over. We are diverse in our backgrounds but we were united for this adventure with a purpose.
Elisha Reimer, or Eli, as his friends call him, is the son of TEF Executive Director, Justin Reimer, and the Director of Inspiration for Trek for TEF. Eli is currently a freshman at Bend High School in Bend, Oregon. Ever since his birth nearly fifteen years ago, his life has impacted many. Eli has Down Syndrome. From his infectious smile to his joy-giving hugs, he makes friends for life; he never forgets a name or a face. He collects Bibles, enjoys sports, and particularly loves football. Above all, Eli loves Jesus, and he will happily give you a narrative of the stories of the Bible. He is most looking forward to seeing and hiking Mt. Everest with his Dad, and has begun to train by running on a treadmill. The trip will take place right before Eli celebrates his sixteenth birthday.
Justin Reimer is the Executive Director of TEF. The intersection of two of his greatest passions, making known the needs of the disabled, as well as spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ is what makes this trip so inspiring for Justin. By participating, he hopes to see more people understand and engage in meeting the needs of the disabled. Being in the outdoors reminds Justin of God’s artistry and beauty. “It reveals just how small I am, yet how significant I am in light of the work of Jesus in my life, creating more worth in me than in all the universe.” Justin wouldn’t think of going on this trip without his Bible, and the thing he will miss most is holding his amazing wife and his other four kids.
There is no better man to lead a team up a mountain than Kevin Padgett. He’s done extensive trekking in his home range, the Sierra Nevadas, and has a particular penchant for high altitude alpine environments. For Kevin, spending time in the outdoors is an escape from our all-too-comfortable and highly distracting culture. Being reminded of God’s character through nature is his therapy. The idea to translate an adventure such as the trek to EBC into a fundraiser began as a seed planted through conversation with his brother-in-law. Kevin’s heart for the disabled made The Elisha Foundation an obvious choice as benefactor. Kevin says, “A trek like this is a thrilling opportunity for me. But that thrill doesn’t compare to the thrill of being used by God to impact families and advance His kingdom with whatever gifts I have.” He plans to stay inspired on the trail by trekking to one of his equally epic iPod playlists. He’ll miss his wife, two kids, warm weather, and flip flops, in that order, while he’s gone.
Gary Christenson is a graphic designer and professional photographer living in San Diego, CA. Though he’s done design work for TEF for the last few years, he also brings a passion for the outdoors as well as a thirst for adventure to the team. Gary will be one of the treks primary story-tellers. He’s bringing all of his camera gear for this journey in the hopes of capturing the incredible story this trip will certainly tell. He’ll miss his “two crazy daughters and smokin’ hot wife” while away, but knows that documenting the ups and downs of the trip will give him a chance to inspire his peers (in the design & photography communities) to use their gifts and talents to give back as well. Gary loves how the outdoors reveals the awesomeness of our Creator and helps him adjust his perspective on life. His childhood wish was to grow up to be a Montana cowboy.
Meet Tim. His background includes trekking through Costa Rican rain forests, cage diving with Great Whites and motorcycling down the coast of Chile. But though his love for adventure is deep, His love for Jesus runs deeper. The purpose behind this Everest trek – to join TEF in demonstrating God’s love to the disabled – is what inspired him to make it next on his list. Tim also has a passion for music and plays guitar, bass, piano, saxophone and mandolin. “Whether it’s playing in the church band,” Tim says, “gigging around town with friends, collaborating on recordings or just enjoying a good concert, music continues to be a significant part of my life.” A love for adventure has always been rooted in Tim; when he was ten, he dreamed of being a chemist, wearing a white lab coat, inevitably blowing up his lab, and walking out with a brilliant discovery.
As a professor and Director of Global Outreach at the Master’s College, Lisa joins the team with a wealth of international experience and a deep love for the disabled. She’s been greatly impacted by her relationships with her disabled friends, and seeks to better understand this community outside the U.S., where she sees it as a largely unreached people group. The physical challenge of this trip also inspires her, but not as much as her desire to bring greater exposure to the ministry of TEF to her network. Lisa particularly loves reading and cooking; in the downtime on this trip, you may catch her with a favorite book in hand, singing some showtunes, or maybe just taking in the splendor of her Creator, which is one thing she loves about the outdoors. Stories of her hang gliding adventures, the time she taught Alaskan children Arctic camping skills, or what it was like to live in Jerusalem will surely entertain the team over the weeks of travel.
Carly was drawn to this trek as it brings together two of her greatest loves, “trekking, and living life with people with disabilities.” She’s already trekked in Nepal, having visited two years ago, which simply increased her desire to return. This time, one of her goals is “to help show people that disability is not an identity.” God has deeply rooted a love for people with disabilities in her heart. Inspired by both her grandmother’s and mother’s work with people with disabilities, Carly has pursued a career in Life Skills Coaching. Among many individuals she has worked with, she has helped dear friend and business partner Collette, who has Down Syndrome, start a business selling eggs and breeding chickens. Carly has a newfound appreciation for rare chickens and would one day love to own a farm. Because she can’t bring a dog or a chicken on the trip, she’ll settle for her journal and sense of humor to keep her company.
To Meghan, supporting The Elisha Foundation and participating in this trek is having a hand in God’s plan to bring glory to himself. An aspiring film-maker, Meghan recently worked on a short film about her dear friend, Collette, with Down Syndrome. She says that she “hopes her film will reveal God’s sweetness through who He created Collette to be.” She wants to show the world, in any way she can, that God’s glory is here, and is often shown greatest through those our culture regards as the least. Meghan has a passion to use video to help people see themselves in God’s story. Being more familiar with the lines on a tennis court than the trails of Nepal, trekking to Everest Base Camp is big and exciting challenge for Meghan. She looks forward to stretching her limits, using her skills to support the team, and documenting the trip. She says it will be an honor to tell the story of the trek, through the lens of her camera, or otherwise.
Nate lives in Maui, Hawaii where he spends his free time surfing, skating and hanging at the beach with his family. He is a wedding videographer and has a huge heart for music and loves leading worship at his local church. He enjoys being outdoors and is anxious to experience God’s creation beyond the surf and sand. Nate is humbled to be a part of such an amazing trek and to document such an epic story! He hopes this trip will bring light to God’s glory and his perfect design and plan for people with disabilities. Nate will be filming the trek and is stoked to be a part of such an awesome adventure. He’ll miss his wife, 2 year old son and baby on the way while he’s gone.
*** All times posted below are in Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). PST is 7 hrs (8 hrs before DST) behind GMT and Nepal is 5 hrs 45 min ahead of GMT. Click here for live tracking of the descent.
Day 02 – March 04, 2013: Trek Preparations and Kathmandu Sightseeing
Day 03 – March 05, 2013: Flight to Lukla (9,186 ft.), 3-4 hour trek from Lukla to Phakding (8,701 ft.)
Day 04 – March 06, 2013: 5-6 hour trek from Phakding to Namche Bazaar (11,286 ft.)
Day 05 – March 07, 2013: Namche Bazaar Acclimatization Day (Out and Back Trek)
Day 06 – March 08, 2013: 4-5 hour trek from Namche Bazaar to Khumjung (12,500 ft.)
Day 07 – March 09, 2013: 5-6 hour trek from Khumjung to Phortse Village (12,467 ft.)
Day 08 – March 10, 2013: 6-7 hour trek from Phortse Village to Dingboche (14,304 ft.)
Day 09 – March 11, 2013: Dingboche Acclimatization Day (Out and Back Trek)
Day 10 – March 12, 2013: 3-4 hour trek from Dingboche to Dughla (15,092 ft.)
Day 11 – March 13, 2013: 3-4 trek from Dughla to Lobuche (16,207 ft.)
Day 12 – March 14, 2013: 8-9 hour trek from Lobuche to Everest Base Camp (17,598 ft.) and back to Gorak Shep (16,962 ft.)
Day 13 – March 15, 2013: 8-9 hour trek from Gorak Shep to Kala Patthar (18,192 ft.) then down to Pheriche (14,042 ft.)
Day 14 – March 16, 2013: 5-6 hour trek from Pheriche to Tengboche (12,664 ft.)
Day 15 – March 17, 2013: 5-6 hour trek from Tengboche to Namche Bazaar (11,286 ft.)
Day 16 – March 18, 2013: 5-6 hour trek from Namche Bazaar to Phakding (8,701 ft.)
Day 17 – March 19, 2013: 3-4 hour trek from Phakding to Lukla (9,186 ft.)
Day 18 – March 20, 2013: Flight from Lukla to Kathmandu, Overnight in Kathmandu
Day 19 – March 21, 2013: Depart for Home