Brothers in Marangu, Tanzania reaching up and out for Jesus. (Photos by Damson Samson)
By Gary Fallesen, founding president, Climbing For Christ
As Damson Samson visited homes of Kilimanjaro Chapter members, he saw the results of our disciples-making-disciples training. “Even children (of the guides and porters participating in our quarterly training) can recite all the books in the Old and New Testaments,” Damson reported from Tanzania.
Damson told about children memorizing verses in the Bible. “I looked at what Climbing For Christ is building,” said our Malawi-based missionary to East Africa.
“What Climbing For Christ is investing in these brothers shall remain living forever and ever.”
Kilimanjaro Chapter members who gathered in June.
Damson met with 32 members on the first day and 33 on the second day of the June training. This was the third session of a year-long, five-part study from The Timothy Initiative (TTI). He taught Chapters 4 and 5 from the TTI book, focusing on the Old Testament and New Testament Gospels.
The chapter will meet again in September and the study will conclude when our Mission: Kilimanjaro 2018 team visits in December.
Godlisten Mosha makes a presentation during training.
“The understanding of the Bible was so clear,” Damson said. He divided the gathering into smaller groups, each of which selected an individual to make a presentation. “I was amazed to see people presenting in a sound way. I asked whether they have been preachers before, but they said no.”
Pastor Winford Mosha, a friend of Climbing For Christ since the inaugural Mission: Kilimanjaro 2007, observed the training and was impressed by what he was seeing among chapter members.
“Speaking in the local (Chagga) language, Pastor Mosha said Climbing For Christ has brought great revival to the porters and guides around Kilimanjaro,” Damson relayed. “He asked them to take these trainings serious because there is potential for more life transformation.
“He further encouraged the group to keep on praying for Tanzania as a nation for there are more (things) happening where the church needs to be strong.”
Organizations that monitor persecution, such as Voice of the Martyrs, have designated Tanzania as a “hostile” nation. Christians, who account for about half of the country’s population (but reportedly only eight percent attend church), are free to worship. However, in some areas they are oppressed and harassed by Muslims, who dominate the east coastal, island, and far western areas.
Dauson shares Psalm 122 with a family.
“All the days I have been going about with Dauson Chonjo (one of the chapter leaders), he has been appreciating how much the training is impacting him personally and the church body as a whole,” Damson said.
Dauson helped Damson during home visits, sharing and teaching families.
At one home in Marangu, the village that is the trailhead to the traditional “Coca-Cola Route” on Kilimanjaro, Damson and Dauson told a family how we need to know God before we can deliver the Good News of Jesus Christ. Damson read from Acts 19 about the sons of Sceva, “itinerant Jewish exorcists (who) undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits. … But the evil spirit answered them, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?’ And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of the house naked and wounded” (Acts 19:13, 15-16).
“Let’s first understand God and then take a step,” Damson said.
Four brothers who work on the mountain pledged that they wanted to know Jesus and take Him to others. Dauson prayed with those who were ready to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
In Moshi, a larger town where many of our chapter members live, Damson visited the home of Baraka Lembawe. Baraka described in front of his family how Climbing For Christ’s training has been “very encouraging and he is not the same,” Damson reported. “He is completely changed spiritually.
Baraka talked about how a man’s spiritual life “scatters down into everything in (his) life,” Damson said. “In many lives of the porters and guides, they have been getting a lot of money, but they can’t keep it because the spiritual part of their lives is down.
“We can accept that we have churches and now we can be in church when we come back (from working on the mountain),” Baraka told Damson, rather than “coming back and go to drink beer and worship other gods.”
Damson encouraged Baraka’s family by sharing from the Gospel of Matthew “where Jesus called Peter to say, ‘I will make you fishers of men.’” He told them that God will call them to serve in a specific way or place. “Every person is living exceptional different callings and ministry,” said Damson, who then prayed with Baraka’s family.
God has called Climbing For Christ to serve the guides and porters of Kilimanjaro. As Damson said, “Praise God for we have been (en)trusted to carry this mission.”
That includes helping our brothers and sisters with their physical needs and we are blessed to impact their spiritual needs.
Eliya Yona has his chickens and a dream of going into ministry.
The chicken project, started in November 2016 when nine chicks each were given to 25 chapter members, has continued to expand with members passing along chickens to other members. Damson visited homes with chickens and one, in particular, stood out.
Eliya Yona welcomed Damson and Dauson with a dish of chicken soup. “What a breakfast we had!” Damson declared happily.
“He has 47 chickens. I wondered how he could whistle and all the chickens were able to come. I realized than even the sheep can hear the voice of their master.
“Eliya thanks Climbing For Christ for such an opportunity. He has been able to get $400 (by selling some of his chickens and eggs) and his dream is to keep on running this development until he gets $2,500 to pay for Bible school. That has been his dream. He asked me to be praying for this to happen and I told him everything which is the will of God as a way (of happening).”
We are praying that this disciple will be made into a disciple-maker who can continue the remarkable transformation we are blessed to witness in these Tanzanian communities.