By Ace Concordia
Climbing For Christ Philippines coordinator
All great journeys include a time to pause to refresh and renew one’s strength.
Mission: Philippines 2016 team – with Ace seated, center – rests under a rock on climb to Tacadang in January. (Photo by Gary Fallesen)
It took a whole day for the eight-person team to reach the village of Tacadang during Mission: Philippines 2016. During the long ascents nothing brings relief like the call to “Take five!” Everyone stops to rest tiring muscles, eat a little trail food, get a drink of water, swap a few jokes and, of course, enjoy the view and the accomplishment to that point in the journey.
These moments are often surreal when you consider the fact that not everyone is given the blessing of seeing such beautiful creations by God. The sky is bluer, the clouds form amazing shapes, the trees stand prominent, the mountain air is cool, and nature soothes a tired mind and body. It is also a time when one takes a personal inventory of the life he or she has been blessed to live.
I reflected on the year in which I took a leave from Climbing For Christ after six years and 18 mission climbs. It was a season I never thought would come. The Philippines Chapter was successful in developing the mission program in our country to the point where we did three mission climbs a year to the various destinations we have established in Kibungan.
C4C Philippines members were highly motivated to keep serving so we kept pushing forward. Everything had come to the point where it was second nature to put together a mission climb. Then, at the end of 2014, I hit a wall.
Fewer volunteers signed up, I had issues with my knees, and our home church in Manila was going through a change. To be honest, the last two mission climbs I went on were physically and mentally straining for me.
In my heart I wanted to push on. But I was spent.
A climber’s thoughts are focused on getting to the top. Constant movement is the desired pace. If possible, stops should be avoided. But the reality is that all climbers need to stop at some point.
This exposes our human limits. We can only go so far, then need to rest if we are to move forward. This is something we all have to acknowledge in life; we need times to rest and recover if we are going to finish this journey.
As I started 2016 with a mission climb to Tacadang – and the added encouragement of having my brother Gary Fallesen join me – I felt a new excitement. My year off gave me a renewed anticipation for the next season of the C4C Philippines Chapter.
Gary Fallesen, left, and Ace Concordia on the trail to Tacadang. (Photo by Gutch Gutierrez)
I am grateful to everyone who supported and prayed for me and with me during my time off from Climbing For Christ. I am blessed to still be part of this awesome ministry. I have great anticipation to continue God’s work in the Philippines, training new leaders, equipping pastors, and continuing the Kankaney Bible project.
With a smile on my face and renewed strength in my heart, I can now say I am ready to move forward. Break’s over. Let’s push on. There’s much to do, and so many lives to touch for Jesus.
“For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.” – Jeremiah 31:25 (ESV)
CLICK HERE to read daily Dispaches from Mission: Philippines 2016.