As Elaine Fallesen taught the orphans at Far & Wide Children’s Home in Kambona, Malawi a series of Bible lessons she asked them several questions. The children answered without hesitation.
What is the Bible? “The Word of God,” one of the children answered after several hands shot up.
What is a parable? “A story that’s told to make a point.”
What is a disciple? “One who repents.” “Someone who acts like Jesus.” “Someone who serves others and follows the Lord.”
What is a miracle? “Something that is not possible, but happens.”
Their responses belied their ages of 4, 5, 8 and 10 years old. The visitors were impressed by the spiritual maturity of these youngsters. The children God is using us to help through Project 1:27 Malawi were wise beyond their years.
“The depth of the kids’ answers to Bible questions” was one of the highlights of this 17-day trip for Elaine.
The answers also masked the darkness surrounding this Climbing For Christ-supported orphanage in the southern reaches of Malawi. Out of the sight of these precious children were stories of witchcraft, curses, death and fear.
Children learning from our mission team and teacher Damson Samson about the 12 disciples.
A member of Pastor Duncan Nyozani’s church had died mysteriously in mid-December 2010. Duncan was blamed for the death by grieving family members. But someone within the family may have actually cursed the young man, who died suddenly despite seeming to be healthy.
During a time of prayer with Duncan and Damson Samson, the 27-year-old Climbing For Christ is putting through Bible college, we asked God to help us overcome the fear and provide healing to the brokenness of this land and its people.
In my journal, I wrote: “I am an outsider here. I do not understand the tribal culture, the use of witchcraft, the death, the division, the sense of jealousy. I need God’s wisdom and understanding to discern what is right, what is wrong, and what can and must be done.”
Dr. Ed Murray wrote in The Handbook for Spiritual Warfare: “The vast majority of the world’s more than 5 billion inhabitants hold to some form of a spiritualistic world view. … They explain sickness on the basis of curses, the evil eye, witchcraft, or karma, all set against them.” We have seen this from Haiti to Asia — and now in Africa.
Dr. Murray suggests a “power encounter” may be needed to overcome the darkness. “This means that news about a God whose spirit is more powerful than curses, witch doctors and demons is very attractive,” Murray writes in his voluminous book.
There are 328 references to evil supernaturalism in the New Testament yet many who walk this planet are ignorant of Satan, his deceptions and schemes. “Evil people in our midst (2 Thess. 3:1-2) may be satanic plants, occultists or New Agers,” Murray wrote.
This is the backdrop against which God has used C4C to rescue the lost.
Team photo from the Mawenzi 14,200-foot camp on Kilimanjaro.
Our Mission: Kilimanjaro 2011 team — Michael Heitland of Fargo, N.D.; Bob Kuebler of Buffalo, N.Y.; Randy McGarvey of Fairport, N.Y.; Shelly Torres of Chicago, IL; and my wife Elaine and me — went to Tanzania and Malawi from March 7-23. The purpose of the trip was three-fold:
- Teaching in evangelism to the guides and porters who are part of the Kilimanjaro Chapter in Tanzania.
- Answering divine appointments on Mount Kilimanjaro.
- Visiting, teaching Bible school to and loving on the orphans who are part of our Project 1:27 in Malawi.
Our team provided an excellent day’s training for a small group of guides and porters who attended the teaching at Pastor Winford Mosha’s Lyasongoro Lutheran Church in Marangu. One highlight from this meeting came when Shelly was concluding our instruction with a short section on using music for evangelism. She referred to 2 Chronicles 20 and the story of how King Jehoshaphat “appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him” in order to defeat opposing armies. “There is power in worship,” Shelly said.
Dawson Chonjo, one of the Kilimanjaro Chapter leaders, stood and witnessed to this teaching. He told the story of a struggling group that he was leading up the mountain and how they were “pushed” to the summit of 19,341-foot Kilimanjaro as he sang. They asked him, in disbelief, how they had reached the top. He told them it was Holy Spirit power.
After this meeting, our group was also pushed up the mountain. We spent seven days on Kilimanjaro, following the Rongai Route, with Mike, Randy and Shelly taking the C4C banner to the summit.
We descended off the mountain and out of Tanzania for the final leg of the trip: a visit to Far & Wide Children’s Home. This time opened our eyes to the need and the threat surrounding the ministry being shepherded by Pastor Duncan.
This Evangelic Expedition was all about shining light in the darkness — be it the hearts of those guides and porters working on Kilimanjaro who do not know Jesus as Savior, or introducing Christ to the scores of trekkers who come from all over the world to climb Kili, or putting on the full armor of God to fight the enemy surrounding the Project 1:27 orphanage.
Mission team members surrounded by children at Far & Wide.
Shelly Torres said she was “so grateful” for the opportunity to go and is “very much looking forward to what is ahead for all that God began.”
Although this was Climbing For Christ’s fourth trip to Tanzania in five years and the second straight year we have visited Malawi, it was just the beginning. This EvaMission: Kilimanjaro
ngelic Expedition will be split into separate missions in the future with:
- continuing to equip and encourage the spreading of the Gospel on and around Africa’s tallest mountain. C4C will return to Tanzania in January 2013. In addition to short-term trips, we are praying about planting a full-time missionary in the Moshi-Marangu area to work with our guides and porters.
- Mission: Malawi will use Pastor Duncan’s Searchlight Ministry as a base of operations. Project 1:27 Malawi will continue to grow through our prayer and financial support with the number of orphans served in Kambona growing from 15 currently to as many as 40 as sponsor parents come aboard. We are also praying about providing “spiritual covering” for Duncan’s four churches — in Kambona, Msema, Ntcheu, and Milatu, Mozambique. This would be the start of Climbing For Christ Malawi. This will require an annual budget of US$25,000, plus separate funding of US$15,000 to empower the people with an income-generating activity and a three-year church-building project totaling US$36,000. Total three-year cost of Mission: Malawi would be US$126,000. A short-term team will be sent back to Malawi in April 2012.
The success of these missions relies, in part, on the willingness of Climbing For Christ members to answer God’s call to PRAY for, GIVE in support of, and GO to these two African mission fields. As Mike Heitland said during Mission: Kilimanjaro 2011, “Participating in this C4C mission trip has opened my eyes to the ripeness of the field and the shortness of workers.”
God will provide if we simply say, “Here am I! Send me.” Use us, Lord. And to You alone be the glory!