From the valley of dry bones to the Word on Mount Kilimanjaro
By Gary Fallesen
, founding president, Climbing For Christ
Kilimanjaro Chapter meeting in early April 2017.
Damson Samson has learned that before you teach people how to evangelize you need to make them disciples of Christ. He began our most recent Kilimanjaro Chapter gathering, held earlier this month in Tanzania, in “the Valley of Dry Bones” in the Old Testament book of Ezekiel.
“I shared with them about the dry bones that have life again,” Climbing For Christ’s missionary to East Africa said, referring to Ezekiel 37:1-14
Damson has seen dry bones on and around Mount Kilimanjaro. “Porters and guides are one of the most challenging groups of people,” he said. “They live mostly out of the Word, and the coming of C4C is like a remedy to these people.”
What made this gathering of the Kilimanjaro Chapter more unique was the presence of eight Muslim friends among the Christ-following guides and porters we have been teaching.
“This lesson,” Damson said about Ezekiel, “gave them hope for the revival of their lives, especially many of the Muslim (friends). After that, I was thinking what to present the next day and I was directed to John 1:1
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
Damson’s lesson was on “Who is Jesus Christ?” He shared about the Trinity. “It took me time to understand why I am to present the lesson,” Damson said.
When he broke those attending – 42 on the second day after having 38 on the first day – into smaller groups to read from the New Testament book of John and discuss the verses, he realized what God was doing.
“There was debate on why do we call Jesus ‘God’ for he was just a prophet,” Damson said, referring to the discussions between our Muslim friends and our brothers in Christ. “Almost every group had this challenge. There were some arguments within the groups. I remembered what (a Muslim friend of ours) had asked: to help him understand the very same thing about Jesus Christ being God. Then I realized (why) we might have more Muslims in this training.”
He shared more about Jesus and the Holy Spirit moved in the hearts of three Muslims to accept Christ as their Savior.
Pastor Mosha with Damson, left, shares the HIStory of the Kilimanjaro Chapter and encourages guides and porters to put their faith in Jesus “as He is the only hope.”
The Kilimanjaro Chapter was formed in 2008. It was born out of a divine appointment with Pastor Winford Mosha of Marangu during Mission: Kilimanjaro 2007. The idea was to equip guides and porters to share Jesus with foreign trekkers visiting Tanzania as well as Muslim co-workers on Africa’s tallest and most popular mountain.
In 2014, Damson accepted a call to serve with C4C in Tanzania, his home Malawi, and wherever God might send him. He was introduced to the Kilimanjaro Chapter in August 2014, and this month’s trip was his 11th visit to Tanzania.
Damson initiated a C4C-funded chicken project in November 2016. Nine chickens each were given to 25 long-time members of the Kilimanjaro Chapter. These chickens were to be used for eggs, meat, to sell, and also to reproduce more chickens. The goal is to make this chicken project self-sustaining and supplement the meager incomes guides and porters earn on Kilimanjaro.
The project was expanded this month. “In Moshi, we have managed to buy 200 chickens for 20 porters, and the buying process is still going on,” Damson reported.
Two of our Muslim friends – Juma, above left, and Riziki, below – were among those receiving chickens. Juma and Riziki have been part of our guiding crew on most of C4C’s expeditions up Mount Kilimanjaro.
Dauson Chonjo, a Kilimanjaro Chapter leader, caring for chickens.
Dauson Chonjo, who has been a Kilimanjaro Chapter leader since the start, said he now has 110 chickens from the original nine. “This is a wonderful gift through C4C,” said Dauson, who estimated the value at US$500, and from this he “can even buy a cow” to help support his family.
Stive Mtui had 56 chickens from what Climbing For Christ provided, but he told Damson “it is challenging, especially in feeding and other management such as medication. But he is really thankful for such a wonderful support. Now he can make a living through this support.”
Others have been less successful. One brother told of having 70 chickens from the original nine. Now he is down to seven. “They all died because of poor managements and not knowing which can be the right medications,” Damson said.
It’s all part of the education those in the Kilimanjaro Chapter are receiving; lessons that serve physical and spiritual needs.
“I thank heaven for C4C for taking the step to improve their lives,” Damson said after returning this week to his home in Malawi. “I am happy when they are happy. Some are dreaming in colors from these chickens.”
And also from dreams and visions communicated by God.