God moments galore
By Gary Fallesen
, founding president, Climbing For Christ
Dave Smith speaks to Board members (left to right) Steve Quakenbush, Michele Annibal, Gary Fallesen, Kevin Kimble, Mary Lindsay and Stan Phillips, and staff member Jordan Rowley. (Photo by staff member Elaine Fallesen)
I asked our Board of Directors to come to our 13th Annual Meeting on Saturday, Oct. 29 in Rochester, NY, with their favorite “God moment” from 2016. We spent time reflecting on what the LORD had done through Climbing For Christ on what turned out to be another day full of God moments.
“It was very clear, the marvelous stuff that we see happening — as reported within the context of the Annual Meeting — is the hand of God moving among us,” Board member Kevin Kimble said afterward. “HIS mighty work continues to change hearts and lives and eternities! And we are so blessed to be witness to HIS awesome love and grace in action.”
Jordan singing His praises. (Photo by Elaine Fallesen)
The Annual Meeting began with a time of praise and worship led by spiritual coordinator Jordan Rowley, whose own “God moment” was having been brought — thankfully — “full circle back to C4C.” Jordan was absent from our last Annual Meeting, having stepped down from his position after 4½ years. But he returned to staff on a part-time basis this year and will be back working full-time for Climbing For Christ in 2017.
Jordan led us in singing “Follow You” (by Leeland), “This is Amazing Grace” (by Phil Wickham), “Cornerstone” (by Hillsong) and the classic “Be Thou My Vision.” I shared a teaching, “MANY places left,” based on the work remaining to finish the task Jesus gave us in the Great Commission. The Board’s pre-meeting reading was Hastening, Book One of No Place Left
by Steve Smith. (This teaching will be shared with our membership after C4C Canada’s Annual Meeting on Nov. 26 in Coleman, AB.)
After some Board business, which included the re-election of Stan Phillips to a three-year term, we turned our attention to “God moments.” Among the ministry’s highlights:
Dave Smith talked about “God closing some doors, getting rid of distractions to make us more effective” during the course of the year. This is in line with the reading of Climbing For Christ’s “primary purpose,” which began at the 2014 Annual Meeting when we focused on “Mission Drift” and avoiding what has happened to so many organizations.
THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF CLIMBING FOR CHRIST IS TO GO AND DELIVER THE GOSPEL IN THE MOUNTAINS OF THE WORLD, WHERE OTHER MISSIONARIES CANNOT OR WILL NOT GO.
Steve Quakenbush experienced firsthand one of those closing doors. As we prepared to GO on Mission: Nigeria, he felt God saying “not now” and instructing him to “be still.” Mission: Nigeria 2016 was postponed after visa problems led to this time with the LORD.
“I never felt God talking so deeply to my soul,” Steve said.
We know that God opens and closes doors. We do what we do on His schedule. He was the One who created us in Christ Jesus to do good works, which He prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10
). That’s why one of the life verses of Climbing For Christ is Proverbs 16:9
: “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.”
“God drives things,” Kevin Kimble said when he shared several of his/our highlights.
Michele Annibal relayed her experience on Mission: Malawi 2016 when the widows who were adopted this year by C4C’s missionary to East Africa, Damson Samson, sat in front of our team. “One widower was looking hopeless,” she said, explaining how this spoke to her “about the challenges they face every day.”
“To see him lift up his eyes and be encouraged and relieved, to see it physically,” Michele said, tearfully. “Their hope is in heaven. That is it. Knowing what is waiting for them is imprinted on my heart.”
Staff member Elaine Fallesen echoed Michele’s sentiments from Mission: Malawi when she spoke about our “loaves and fish” experience feeding hundreds from Pastor Duncan Nyozani’s church.
What God is doing in Malawi was one of three success stories upon which I focused my “God moments” presentation after everyone had shared:
The beautiful church at Simikot, which was completed in October after we dedicated it in September on Mission: Nepal 2016, Part 2. (Photo by Pastor Harka)
, where the LORD has been using us to bring more lost souls to Him. We have been blessed to do in Nepal as He commissioned us: to build up the church (the body of Christ) and to build churches (Matthew 16:18
). God has used us to bring countless people of other religions to Him. The church in Nepal is the fastest growing on earth. God also used us to build the first church constructed in the Far West district of Humla. This is the fourth church we have been blessed to build in Nepal. Believers in another area are currently looking for land we are prepared to purchase for them to build what will be our fifth church in Nepal – and 10th worldwide. Praise HIM!
Evangelist Haseeb, left, and his wife with three of the children we thankfully were able to free from slavery. (Photo by Save Pakistan)
in Pakistan, where God empowered us to free 22 children and 14 adults from generations of debt and slavery in a brick factory. Six of those children are now in the care of a C4C member and ministry partner, who operates an orphanage. Each of the 36 freed from bondage has been introduced to Jesus per the project’s life verse, John 8:36
One of 35 widows celebrating the amazing blessing of a new house in dirt-poor Malawi. (Photo by Damson Samson)
in Malawi. This project, based on James 1:27
and originally dedicated to the care of orphans in Malawi and Nepal, was expanded to include Malawi widows (the poorest of the poor in one of the world’s poorest countries). We have fed, clothed, and built 35 houses for people who previously were alone in their misery, forgotten by the world but not by our loving God.
Kevin closed the first half of the Annual Meeting with a prayer of thanksgiving. Jordan then opened the second half with another session of praise and worship. This time he sang “The Great I Am” (by Phillips, Craig & Dean), “Overwhelmed” (by Big Daddy Weave), “Shine” (by Newsboys) and “How Great is Our God” (by Chris Tomlin).
We then focused on “The Mission: 2017.” I shared:
The original mission of Climbing For Christ was (and is) to minister to people in physical and spiritual ways in mountainous areas of the world. The New Testament teaches us “to make God’s Word our first priority in ministry (1 Corinthians 1:22-23), yet the Gospel must be clothed in love and good deeds, lest we ‘unsay’ with our actions what we say with our lips (1 John 3:18),” it says in the article “The Global Message of Acts for Today” found in The ESV Global Study Bible.
We are called to “be doers of the word and not hearers only” (James 1:22). Because, we know, “faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:17).
We proceeded to explore the Evangelic Expeditions of 2017, the people and places, the goals, and each person at the meeting took a turn at praying for a particular mission — in Indonesia, Morocco, Nigeria, Nepal, Malawi, Peru, Tanzania, Pakistan, and Turkey.
Steve Quakenbush prays for Nigeria, above, while Mary Lindsay goes to the map for information on Morocco. (Photos by Elaine Fallesen)
The Board approved a 2017 budget of $385,000, which I presented after spending a week reflecting on and praying about the wonderful work HE has done in and through us. It was during this time that I gave thanks to God for those hearts He has burdened for Climbing For Christ.
We closed in a circle prayer, continuing to tell God about our needs and thank Him for all He has done (Philippians 4:6
The meeting was followed by dinner and fellowship as family joined us to eat and then many of us worshiped together at Hope Lutheran Church, where we had gathered for this memorable day. ALL glory to God!