Mission: Kilimanjaro 2015
By Gary Fallesen
Founding president, Climbing For Christ
Sunday, March 15
Mount Kilimanjaro’s main summit (Kibo), left, with the smaller Mawenzi, right, from the road to the airport.
Jordan and I said goodbye for now to Tanzania, leaving Damson to his work, when we flew out of East Africa this morning. Next stop: Nepal.
CLICK HERE for Mission: Nepal 2015 Dispatches.
Saturday, March 14
The rainy season should be starting. People are ready to plant crops. But it is hot and dry – with no sign of rain. Yusuf, our old friend and Kilimanjaro guide, predicted many will suffer this year because of drought. We met with Yusuf in Moshi, where he and his family live.
Guides and porters are entering the low season now. People climb from December-March and July-August. In between the climbing (or “high”) seasons, the guides and porters make due. Some farm, others do nothing. This low season may be particularly low because there was not as much trekking from December to March. Ignorance over Ebola - striking African nations half a continent away – kept tourists from traveling to Tanzania. So income was down.
It is all sad and deserving of our prayers.
Yusuf and I discussed climbing again in 2016, when the next short-term Mission: Kilimanjaro will be staged. Between now and then the work will go on with our missionary Damson on the ground further organizing, encouraging and developing the Kilimanjaro Chapter of Climbing For Christ. There are spiritual mountains to climb here as well.
“Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain down righteousness...” – Isaiah 45:8a (ESV)
Friday, March 13
Elaiso was in his tent on Kilimanjaro, sharing Matthew 6 with some who did not believe on the second day of climbing on the Marangu Route. Two porters in the next tent heard him speak and asked, “Who is this pastor?” They requested permission to enter his tent and he had an opportunity to deliver the Good News with these men, fellow laborers on the mountain. After hearing the Gospel, they surrendered their lives to Christ.
This was one success story we heard during follow-up conversations we had with a few of the guides and porters who attended our evangelism conference last November. Only 12 men attended today’s meeting, but we learned about their commitment to the Lord. Two men spoke of giving up drinking after the conference and another talked about trying to reconcile a broken marriage.
A time of praise and worship.
Emanuel, another porter, encouraged us at the end of the meeting to continue doing the work God has prepared for us. He also asked us to keep watering the seed that Climbing For Christ has planted here. We have made that commitment:
- Damson, our missionary to East Africa, will stay an extra week (after Jordan and I leave Sunday for Nepal) and visit the homes of guides and porters.
- Damson will return in April, June, September, and for the next evangelism conference in November.
- Bible study groups will be formed.
As the great missionary Paul wrote about the spiritual progress found in what God has done, is doing, and will continue to do (in this case, in and through members of C4C’s Kilimanjaro Chapter): “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).
Thursday, March 12
We did a heart check (“where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”) to start our meeting with some of the Kilimanjaro Chapter leaders. The goal was to make them understand - so others will follow – the reason for Climbing For Christ being here. It is not to provide handouts or support material projects, but to equip the saints who work on the mountain to evangelize for His glory.
We talked about the heart and the purpose of our work, pointing to Matthew 6:19-24, Proverbs 4:20-23, 1 Corinthians 15:58 and Psalm 39:4-5. Then we asked the six “leaders” in attendance to share what fruit had resulted from the November evangelism conference that Jordan and Damson led. Only three of the men were actually chapter leaders who work on Kilimanjaro:
Emanuel, who works as a porter, said a dozen fellow porters and neighbors had been rescued by God thanks to what he learned and then applied on his 10 trips on Kilimanjaro and around his village the past four months.
Jonas, who works as a cook, said he had preached to many during his four trips up Kilimanjaro. “We were sowing the seeds,” he declared.
Dauson, one of the original chapter leaders dating back to 2008 and our translator today, spoke about being “upgraded” in his boldness to evangelize among the lost. “After the November meeting we feel we need to fly. These are the end days,” said the man who works as a head guide. Dauson explained that he prayed for his clients before, during and after climbs. He recognized the need to “preach, teach and pray, pray, pray, pray.”
We further discussed what conference lessons helped most and what challenges were faced in evangelizing on the mountain. Then we faced our inevitable challenge: being asked for physical assistance. We explained once more that we are a small ministry – through which a great God does mighty things – and we do not have resources to help everyone. We can assist spiritually, though, and that's what God has sent us to do.
On Friday, we will meet with others who attended the evangelism conference as part of this short follow-up mission. We will celebrate what God has done, learn what to do next for evangelism training, and continue to “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58).
Wednesday, March 11
Jordan and I landed at Kilimanjaro International Airport this morning, completing 32 hours of air travel safely and uneventfully. For that we gave thanks. Damson picked us up at the airport with Dauson, one of our Kilimanjaro Chapter leaders. Damson arrived in this part of Tanzania late Monday night after three days and nights on buses from southern Malawi, where he lives with his family.
We stopped to visit Pastor Mosha, who has been our crucial ministry partner here since the inaugural Mission: Kilimanjaro in 2007. Jordan and I grabbed naps at our hotel and it was a new day. May the Lord have His way in our short stay in Tanzania.
Monday, March 9
Thirty-two hours of (hoped-for) happy jetting began for Jordan and me as we flew out of Rochester, NY toward New York City, USA; Doha, Qatar and finally (by Wednesday morning) Kilimanjaro, Tanzania.
Saturday, March 7
“Just to let you know,” Damson Samson emailed from Malawi, “I have started to Tanzania. I can see God at work. I request a word of prayer from all members around the world.”
Damson will travel for four days by bus from southern Malawi to northeastern Tanzania. This is his third trip in seven months. Jordan Rowley (C4C’s spiritual coordinator) and I will meet him in East Africa on Wednesday, Lord willing. Pray on!
Cross cairn built by Mission: Kilimanjaro 2007 team. (Photo by Shawn Dowd)
Climbing For Christ’s roots are found on Mount Kilimanjaro. As I prepared for my first Kilimanjaro climb in 1998, God spoke to my heart – telling me to start a Christian climbing organization. This directive led to C4C. (CLICK HERE to hear the story in my words.)
In 2007, I returned to Kilimanjaro with our first C4C expedition to Tanzania. A divine appointment was set: Pastor Winford Mosha was introduced to me. He shared, exuberantly, how God put on his heart to work with the guides and porters of Kilimanjaro. Everything that he told me was already on my heart. It was all God’s plan.
We began teaching evangelism to the guides and porters during Mission: Kilimanjaro 2008. And again in 2010, 2011 and 2013. Along the way we realized we needed a worker who could serve in East Africa.
Enter Damson Samson.
We met Damson at the Far & Wide Children’s Home, an orphanage C4C supports in southern Malawi, on Mission: Kilimanjaro 2010. He was working with the children and was as full of the Holy Spirit as any brother I’ve been blessed to meet.
Climbing For Christ sent Damson to college from 2010 to 2013. As he completed his studies God led us to ask Damson to serve as C4C’s missionary to East Africa. Planning was set in motion during Mission: Malawi 2014 in March and Damson joined us in Tanzania on Mission: Kilimanjaro 2014 in August. He returned to Tanzania in November to co-lead an evangelism conference with Jordan for three days. (CLICK HERE to read “Planting, watering, and God-given growth.”)
This short mission to Tanzania will serve as a follow-up to that pre-climbing season conference. We’ll spend time with the 35 guides and porters who attended our seminar in November and see how the trekking season went for them. This will help us determine the direction of future training for the guides and porters God has directed us to equip to become effective fishers of men among mostly lost trekkers from around the world as well as the other (Muslim) half of guides and porters working on the mountain.
“And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.’” – Mark 1:17 (ESV)
Mission: Kilimanjaro is scheduled from March 9-15 followed immediately by Mission: Nepal from March 14-29.
- CLICK HERE for Mission: Kilimanjaro 2015 Prayer Bulletin