‘I am NOT retiring’
By Elaine Fallesen, women’s & family ministry/communications, Climbing For Christ
Trekking in Turkey.
Editor’s note: Elaine Fallesen joined Climbing For Christ full time on Jan. 1, 2019. Climbing For Christ has been the “family business” for the Fallesens since God birthed it in and through us. We’ve been blessed to watch our family grow to more than 2,500 members in 67 countries – with dozens of brothers and sisters serving with us on our Boards and in the mission field. It all began with God’s whisper “start a Christian climbing organization” and further encouraging nudges through the pages of John Piper’s book Don’t Waste Your Life. He continues to speak to us, guide us, and provide for us so we may be blessed to glorify HIS name. Here is Elaine’s story:
Elaine Fallesen with a Kurdish woman on Mount Ararat in 2014, above, and with a widow in Malawi in 2017, below. Elaine will be developing and overseeing Climbing For Christ’s ministry to women and families. (Photos by Gary Fallesen)
A little over five years ago, while my son Jesse and I were talking at the kitchen table, he asked, “Mom, what will do you when you retire someday?”
I replied immediately: “I’d like to help your Dad more with Climbing For Christ.” I’d already been helping as much as possible, balancing my volunteer support to C4C with a full-time job in health care marketing. I’d lived and breathed the growing ministry with Gary since its inception. It seemed a logical transition to make when I left the working world…at maybe age 66 or 67.
But as He often does, God had other plans. Gary overheard my answer, and the lightbulb went on in his head. What came next was a five-year transition plan to gradually bring me on officially as C4C paid staff, part-time at first, then gradually working up to full-time mission worker.
So at age 62, I am stepping away from a 41-year secular career. I am NOT retiring, as many co-workers, friends and family have incorrectly congratulated me on doing. In my new C4C role as full-time Women’s & Family Ministry/Communications Director I expect to be busier than ever before. Except now the busy-ness will be intentional and have eternal purpose.
And to come clean – I confess I didn’t immediately buy into the five-year plan. It terrified me then and still does if I take my focus off Jesus. But throughout 2018 I’ve asked God again and again to help me surrender 100 percent to His will. He has patiently led me to this point. And He gently reminds me yet again of Abraham.
It was in hearing the story of Abraham and Isaac for the hundredth time in 2006 that Father Abraham’s incredible faith fully resonated with me. If Abraham could trust God enough to obey His command to sacrifice his only child, then why couldn’t I trust God to take care of us if Gary left his sports writing career to plunge into mission work? I took what I thought would be the biggest leap of faith I’d ever take, and trusted. And I thought I was done.
But now God, in His steady, reassuring, firm way, has said, “Oh no, no, no. I’m not done here. Now I want YOU to do the same!”
So here I GO. I’m in 100 percent and look forward to serving our Creator for as long as the Lord directs His ministry called Climbing For Christ.