DISPATCHES: Kilimanjaro (Saturday, March 16)
By Gary Fallesen
President, Climbing For Christ
More than 50 guides and porters showed up for evangelistic training at Pastor Mosha's old church in Marangu. It was our best turnout in several years.
In the end, after many disruptions and interruptions, starts and stops, comings and goings, and changing translators, one man stood to say "asante" (thanks). He was one of about 30 still in the room after 3 1/2 hours. They'd listened to me explain why God sent us here: to equip the guides and porters to do year-round what we can only give two weeks - share Christ's love with others working on and those visiting the mountain. Joshua Cook shared a climbing story of a wrong route taken and closed with four Scripture verses to remember: Romans 3:23, 6:23, 5:8, and John 5:24. Michael Heitland then taught about the reliability of the Bible that these men can carry with them.
Joshua Cook, left, teaching with Pastor Mosha, center, translating for members of the Kilimanjaro Chapter during evangelistic training in Marangu.
Some of the guides and porters had left long before we were done and in the many moments of distraction I wondered if anything was being communicated. And then a man said thanks, said he would be praying for us, and asked us to pray for not only them but also their families. It is difficult here, he said, and families are always facing hardships that can tear them apart. He recognized his first ministry - his family - and asked for our help. Not a job on the mountain or a hand out, but that hands might be clasped and heads and hearts bowed before the Lord in prayer on their behalf. It was a simple and yet profound request.
Please join us in praying for the guides, the porters, and their families here in Tanzania. May the love of Christ hold them together and fight back the darkness that threatens families everywhere.
While preparing to climb Kilimanjaro in 1998, God instructed me to start a Christian climbing organization that would become Climbing For Christ (C4C). We are celebrating the 15th anniversary of this event by sharing special God moments in the life of His ministry.
Before leaving for Mission: Kilimanjaro 2007 I watched a documentary my climbing partner Kevin Flynn made of our 1998 ascent. On the DVD, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, our guide Frederick talked about us not knowing if we’d ever be back to the mountain. Only God knew. And in God's time I returned to Kilimanjaro.
I wasn’t surprised, really. In our original “Mission Vision,” written in June 2004, we identified Tanzania (Kilimanjaro) as our “model mission.” We anticipated sending a full-time missionary to work here. But then God showed us another way – to teach the indigenous people to do it themselves. Or so we thought. What He may have been telling us was we could (and should) do it both ways: use nationals, but help them with a full-time missionary.
It has always been the desire of my heart to work with the guides and porters, their families and villages — to help them physically and spiritually. God opened the door to us on the eve of the 2007 trip, arranging a meeting for us with Pastor Winford Mosha in Marangu. “We are extremely excited as Pastor Mosha has just recently come up with some ideas as to how the church can help the situation of the porters,” I was told. “So it will be perfect timing for your group to provide encouragement for his doing so. The only way change can be effected here is by the Tanzanian people themselves. You will be helping the situation tremendously.”
When we met with Pastor Mosha originally he excitedly told me all that was on his heart in order to do outreach among guides and porters. When he finished, he looked at me and said: “Any you?” I smiled. “What you said!”
It was a divine appointment.
On Mission: Kilimanjaro 2008 we began teaching evangelism to the guides and porters, when we organized the Kilimanjaro Chapter of Climbing For Christ. Seventy-four guides and porters joined C4C that year. The evangelism training continued in 2010 and 2011. And the work goes on today.
“and many nations shall come, and say: ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.’ …” – Micah 4:2 (ESV)
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