Feeding needs and hungering souls
Story and photos by Gary Fallesen
President, Climbing For Christ
Turning his eyes up to the mountains: Damson Samson looks up to summit of Kilimanjaro on second morning of trek. Four days later, he stood at Africa’s highest point.
In the beginning was the Question, and the Question was with us. Every time a Climbing For Christ team met the guides and porters who were part of the Kilimanjaro Chapter, we were asked:
“When are you going to start a trekking company here?”
Those who joined the Kilimanjaro Chapter – and there have been several hundred since 2008 – wanted to work for C4C. Patiently, we would explain that wasn’t why God sent us. He sent us to equip the guides and porters working on the mountain to share Jesus with co-workers and trekkers.
But the Question was always there.
“Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?” – Matthew 7:9-10
We have learned through more than 11 years of missions that sometimes bread must be given to those hungering before they can feast on the Bread of Life. It’s hard to hear the Word over the noise of an empty stomach.
And sometimes water must be served to those who thirst before they can be washed over by Living Water.
This is why Climbing For Christ serves both spiritual and physical needs in mountainous areas.
“C4C has a long HIStory here,” Damson Samson, our missionary to East Africa, said during Mission: Kilimanjaro 2016. “But I see pain from the past – expectations not met.”
Damson teaches, with one of the chapter leaders helping to translate, during our evangelism workshop in Himo.
Damson, who on this mission was making his ninth extended visit to the Kilimanjaro area since accepting the call to serve two years ago, visits the homes of guides and porters. He disciples them. But he also sees their needs.
“I have seen how they have been afflicted in life,” he said. “Even for me, I have more by the grace of God.”
Damson comes from one of the poorest places in the world, southern Malawi, yet he has more than these who are toiling in northeastern Tanzania. Work on the mountain is extremely hard, and only seasonal. It’s also competitive; with hundreds of guides and thousands of porters vying for jobs. The past two years have shown a downturn in tourism, too. All of this adds up to an ongoing struggle.
This is why Damson proposed a chicken project to help C4C membership. To start, 20 guides and porters would receive 10 chickens each. They can use these for eggs, meat, to sell, and also to reproduce more chickens. The 20 would be responsible for passing on 10 chickens each to another 20 guides and porters, who – in turn – would do the same. This would continue until everyone has at least 10 chickens.
The start-up cost is estimated at US$1,500. A 6-week-old chicken costs 15,000 Tanzanian shillings – or about US$7. Damson left nearly $150 with the chapter as seed money after we held two days of training during Mission: Kilimanjaro 2016.
Our goal is to initiate this chicken project at the Kilimanjaro Chapter’s third annual evangelism conference, which Damson will lead in November.
“They will say, ‘Yeah! YEAH! Now
it’s working,’” Damson said. “I find myself excited thinking about it. I find pleasure when I’m working with people who can smile.”
It should enhance the spiritual side of training, too.
“The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice,”
it says in Psalm 37:30
. May God’s wisdom (found in HIS Word) fill the hearts, minds and mouths of our Kilimanjaro Chapter members as they are trained to deliver the Good News on the mountain where they work.
Chapter meeting: Damson with those who attended our two-day training.
for spiritual growth among members of the Kilimanjaro Chapter through discipling and training. Jesus told us to be witnesses to “the end of the earth
” (Acts 1:8
) and people come from throughout the world to climb Kilimanjaro with our Christian guides and porters. The Kilimanjaro Chapter could have an incredible impact for the kingdom of heaven.
to support our chicken project and for the purchase of Swahili Bibles (US$8 each) to give to guides and porters we are teaching about evangelism. Send your donation to Climbing For Christ c/o “Mission: Kilimanjaro” at P.O. Box 16290, Rochester, NY 14616-0290 USA. Or CLICK HERE to give via PayPal and email info@ClimbingForChrist.org
to alert us about your donation.
In Canada, make checks payable to The Great Commission Foundation, and on the memo line add Climbing For Christ CANADA c/o Mission: Kilimanjaro. Mail your support to: The Great Commission Foundation, #3 – 1335 Trans Canada Way SE, Medicine Hat, AB T1B 1J1. Or give online at http://tgcfcanada.org/donate. Mark your contribution: “Climbing For Christ CANADA c/o Mission: Kilimanjaro.”