‘Rejoicing in the presence of angels’
By Gary Fallesen, founding president, Climbing For Christ
Thumbs up for Jesus: Our friend Juma, right, with C4C missionary to East Africa Damson Samson.
The faces are familiar, like those found in a family photo album.
For years I have seen and walked with the men who climb Mount Kilimanjaro for a living. Some have become dear friends despite the distance and differences between our cultures and faith.
Kilimanjaro was where Climbing For Christ began – placed on my heart as I prepared to climb there for the first time in 1998 – and where Climbing For Christ has returned many times. The reboot was in 2007, when I led our first Mission: Kilimanjaro team to Africa’s tallest and most popular mountain. After that initial Evangelic Expedition, we ran headshots of our Muslim guides and porters in our magazine The Climbing Way (Volume 7, Spring 2007) asking members to pray for our friends. We haven’t stopped praying.
During our East Africa missionary Damson Samson’s latest visit to Tanzania seven new believers confessed Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Among this group were two of our Muslim friends, Adam and Juma. “There is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God” (Luke 15:10).
“I, personally, have seen God answering prayer and delivering His people from lives that were broken and (they are) willing to take another step in their lives,” Damson said this month after his 12th trip to Kilimanjaro since August 2014.
Adam, center, praying with members of the Kilimanjaro Chapter.
Adam and Juma were among eight of our Muslim friends who in April began attending the three-to-five-times-a-year gatherings of C4C’s Kilimanjaro Chapter. (We ran a beautiful photo of Juma and his wife receiving chickens as part of the chapter’s chicken project. CLICK HERE to see it.)
Hundreds of guides, porters, friends and family have participated in our meetings since the Kilimanjaro Chapter was formed in 2008. These chapter meetings were started as evangelism training, but since Damson joined our staff they have become discipling sessions and – in several cases – introductions to Jesus. Many have come to Christ through these blessed times of teaching.
“I started to Tanzania (in late May) praying for God’s hand to work more miracles in the lives of the porters and guides in the Kilimanjaro Chapter,” Damson said, adding thanks to those who joined him in praying for our work there.
When he arrived in Moshi, he first met a group of Colorado Christian University students being led by C4C member Derek Branstrom. “The Lord put on my heart to share with them the word of encouragement that true Christianity is shown in demonstrating who Christ is to people,” Damson said. He read James 2 to the group and told them “thousands of preachers have said who they are, but they have not shown who they are according to the Scriptures.”
“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” – James 2:26 (KJV)
We heard later that Derek and his eight students summited with our friend Yusuf guiding them and, while on the mountain, they did a foot washing for the guides and porters.
“From there, as planned, we had two days of training, which brought 36 people to the class,” Damson said. “The first day I was asking (God) what to share beside the trinity lesson we started at the last training. By His grace, I was taken to Hebrews 2:15, which says Christ came to deliver them from their fear of death.
“I was explaining more about how the devil has many in bondage as a result of fearing death. On this the Lord spoke to many lives who regretted being in great bondage. Over 17 people came for deliverance prayers and within these people we had seven for the first time confessing Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior.”
Damson, second from right, with our seven new brothers in Christ. They are (not in order) Julias, Hamza, Emanuel, Juma, Adam, Herimani, and John.
“Those who made their confession were prayed for,” Damson said, “and the first day ended there.
“On the second day we came back to our lesson on the trinity of God. We were looking at who God is and who the Holy Spirit is, and many had a real understanding of the trinity. We agreed to have a water baptism, possibly in September (at the next chapter meeting).”
As Damson watches God work among those in the Kilimanjaro Chapter, he says, “To me it gives a good sign to the life of someone you can trust to take the Gospel to the nations.”
Ultimately, this is the goal of the Kilimanjaro Chapter: to use the beautiful feet of His followers to deliver the Good News to the thousands who visit the mountain each year. It is our prayer that they would realize the summit of Kilimanjaro is only a starting point on their way to a higher place.
Mission: Kilimanjaro 2017
Climbing For Christ will send workers to join staff member Damson Samson at the fourth annual evangelism conference at the end of November. CLICK HERE for the expedition page. For additional information about participating, email info@ClimbingForChrist.org.