By Gary Fallesen, founding president, Climbing For Christ
Koma chief Moses. (Photos by Gary Fallesen)
Our driver failed to yield any of the dirt road we were traveling down, forcing the motorbike going in the other direction off the edge of the road. As we passed, I glanced over my shoulder and watched the motorbike fall over. “Should we stop and help him?” I wondered. But the driver kept going.
We arrived at our destination, the small village of Tantille, Adamawa State in the Koma Hills of Nigeria.
We waited for seven hours, shaded by a large tree from the 100-degree heat, until the village chief arrived. This is Africa: Permission is needed from tribal leaders to visit their land. Their approval opens doors to evangelism.
When the chief arrived, we introduced ourselves. “I met you on the road,” he said.
We glanced at each other, not recognizing the chief or what he was talking about. Maybe we were still in a jet-lagged fog from four days of travel — two by air, two by road — from North America to northeastern Nigeria for Mission: Nigeria 2011.
Then we realized he was the motorbike rider we’d knocked off the road. Despite the lasting first impression we’d made on the chief, we were granted permission to climb into the surrounding hills – and the chief sent his son to guide our four-person team, which included Brandy (Everts) Fisher. (During this trip, Brandy accepted the call to become C4C Canada’s coordinator.)
The chief’s son, Moses, above left, and his friend Lazarus, who guided and translated for our team. Below, a village leader named Waneke accepted Christ.
The next few days were memorable – for the heat, the oppressive spiritual darkness, the traditional funeral we attended, the shaman we met, did I mention the heat?, the seven souls saved in one village, and the leader (Waneke) from another village who declared “I want to live!” when we introduced him to Jesus.
On our way to the airport, when a traffic jam nearly trapped our tiny taxi under a tractor-trailer truck, we climbed out of the vehicle and stood by the side of the highway. Cars and trucks going in our direction on the three-lane road had flooded into the oncoming three lanes. Traffic was at a standstill. The poisonous air we were breathing added to the heat and the stress of catching our flight. When suddenly an SUV stopped and asked if we needed a ride. The driver’s name was Thank God. And we did, repeatedly.