January 1998 – While running on the road in the snow and cold, training for a February climb of Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro, Gary Fallesen of Rochester, NY, is struck by the idea of forming a Christian climbing organization. “Climbing For Christ” is placed on his heart by the Lord. (See HIStory.)
Feb. 8, 2001 – Gary Fallesen meets with Stu Milligan, a fellow Rochesterian, at the Starbucks in Greece, NY, to share “a seed planted in me before I went to Kilimanjaro” in 1998. Together, they draft the Climbing For Christ Mission Statement.
Feb. 1, 2002 – The first public meeting of Climbing For Christ, held in Gary Fallesen’s drama ministry office at Hope Lutheran Church in Greece, NY. Seven people attend: Gary Fallesen, Stu Milligan, Ken Trezise of Rochester, NY, and four students from Houghton College in Houghton, NY (Jason Bewick, Barry King, Joshua Lees and Kevin MacDonald).
March 1, 2002 – Gary Fallesen and Stu Milligan speak at Houghton (NY) College, attracting 11 new members, “giving us more than two dozen members from eight states and Canada in the first month alone” (according to an April 2002 E-Newsletter). This is the unofficial start of a Western New York Chapter.
March 17, 2003 – ClimbingForChrist.org goes online. There are 24 members at the time.
July 26, 2003 – The Adirondack Mountains Chapter is formed in Long Lake, NY. Cheryl Esper of Long Lake accepts the invitation from Gary Fallesen to coordinate the chapter.
Jan. 1, 2004 – The year begins with 61 members. God begins knocking on Gary Fallesen’s heart about devoting his life to this ministry.
Jan. 30, 2004 – First “official” meeting of Western New York Chapter at Hope Lutheran Church in Greece, NY, is attended by the Fallesen family, Stu Milligan, Kate and Dan McBride of Rochester, and Todd Jenner of Cameron, NY.
April 20, 2004 – Climbing For Christ is incorporated in New York State. There are 87 members at the time. The board of directors consists of Gary Fallesen, president; Elaine Fallesen, vice president; Stu Milligan, treasurer; Mary Lindsay of Greece, NY, secretary; Cheryl Esper, at-large member; Pastor Derek Fullerton of Colorado Springs, CO, at-large member; Todd Jenner, at-large member.
May 2004 – While climbing in the Alaska Range, Gary Fallesen finds himself tentbound for four days in a storm. He spends part of this time reading Pastor John Piper's book Don't Waste Your Life. God speaks to Gary through this book, telling him he will not finish his life as a daily journalist.
June 2004 – Our original “Mission Vision” is authored. Prayer and research lead us to identify 18 areas of the world where Climbing For Christ may be sent. In the first 10 years, we answered this call to one-third of those nations.
July 6, 2004 – The 100th member joins.
July 24, 2004 – The Western New York Chapter holds Climbing For Christ’s first outreach event in the Niagara Glen bouldering area in Niagara Falls, ON, Canada. They hand out “Climbing For Christ” Nalgene water bottles containing flyers (a “Message in a bottle”).
Aug. 1, 2004 – A meeting of the Colorado Front Range Chapter is held at South Suburban Christian Church in the Denver suburb of Littleton. Fifteen people attend the meeting.
Nov. 6, 2004 – The first annual Board of Directors’ meeting is held in Saranac Lake, NY.
Jan. 7, 2005 – The first “Go, Tell It On the Mountain” fundraiser is held at Hope Lutheran Church in Greece, NY. Seventy members and friends attend and raise $3,180. The year begins with 120 members.
April 15-26, 2005 – Our inaugural Evangelic Expedition, Mission: Mexico, is held with 12 Climbing For Christ team members partnering with EduVenture Mexico (directed by Climbing For Christ member Tim Trezise) in remote northern Mexico. The team consists of: Kyle Austin, Long Lake, NY; Jason Bewick, Wheaton, IL; Cheryl, Chip, Brecken, Josiah, Galen and Hansel Esper, Long Lake, NY; Gary and Jesse Fallesen, Rochester, NY; Todd Paris, Pottersville, NY, and Joseph Rooks, Wheaton, IL.
May 23, 2005 – Volume 1 of The Climbing Life (Spring edition) is published. This, “The magazine of Climbing For Christ,” would be called The Climbing Way when Volume 2 is published in Winter 2005-2006. The magazine's theme verse: “Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.” – 1 Chronicles 16:24 (NLT)
May 26, 2005 – Todd Paris accepts a call to become Missions Coordinator (later named Director of Evangelic Expeditions).
June 26, 2005 – During Mission: Dominican Republic, a small Climbing For Christ team is led to the hill village of Gentilhomme, Haiti, where a pledge is made to build a church for Pastor Meristaine Tresin and his flock of 100 Christians.
Sept. 24, 2005 – Nashville-based Christian singer/song writer Randall Goodgame (Caedmon's Call Share the Well) performs at our “Share the Wealth” Haiti fundraiser. About $7,000 of the estimated $10,000 needed to build the church in Gentilhomme is raised at the Goodgame concert.
Dec. 27, 2005 – Joel Slesak of Rochester, NY joins the Board of Directors as Climbing For Christ's development director. We finish 2005 with 233 members in 16 countries.
Jan. 24, 2006 – Climbing For Christ contributes to a Pakistan/Kashmir earthquake relief effort by QuakeHelp.net to air ship 2.5 tons of winter survival gear (384 sleeping bags, 207 blankets, 35 tents, and 55 boxes of clothing).
April 17-28, 2006 – The Mission: Haiti team (consisting of Brian Arnold of Rochester, NY; Walter Casper IV of Rochester, NY; Gary Fallesen, Todd Jenner and Todd Paris) go to Gentilhomme to help villagers with the construction of the church building.
May 14, 2006 – During a worship service overseen by Pastor Tresin and Climbing For Christ missionary Miguel Rubén Guante, the church in the mountain village of Gentilhomme, Haiti is dedicated. The church is finished 10½ months after God led a team to Gentilhomme.
Aug. 25, 2006 – Jim Doenges of Littleton, CO, a member since May 2003 and the Front Range Chapter coordinator since November 2005, accepts a call to be the Minister of Outreach and the Director of Summit Stewards.
October 2006 – Ninety-two students begin attending the first school in Gentilhomme, Haiti, being held in the church built earlier in the year. By November the number grows to more than 140.
Nov. 28, 2006 – Gary Fallesen, 47, resigns his position as the outdoor writer at the Rochester, NY Democrat and Chronicle, effective Dec. 31, after more than 27 years at the newspaper. “Pastor John Piper calls people who finish one career and are ready to pursue a second in Christian ministry 'a finisher,'” he writes in an E-Newsletter to Climbing For Christ members. “For some time, I have known it is the Lord's will that I go into ministry full-time.” Beginning Jan. 1, 2007, he will work full-time for Climbing For Christ. We finish 2006 with 357 members in 22 countries.
Feb. 19, 2007 – Gary Fallesen returns to East Africa on Mission: Kilimanjaro 2007, nine years after God put Climbing For Christ on his heart in the weeks leading up to his first ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro. Pastor Winford Mosha of Marangu meets our team through a divine appointment and shares his vision for outreach among the climbing community. It is in line with what God has put on Gary’s heart, and a ministry partnership begins.
June 17, 2007 – While on Mission: Indonesia, we spoke at an outdoor worship of Jakarta's Abbalove East Church. The service was held in Pasir Mukti, West Java. During this time of worship we welcomed JEJAK as Climbing For Christ's first chapter outside of the United States. Walter Casper IV and Gary Fallesen presented members of JEJAK with one our ministry's banners. More than 30 people from Jakarta have joined Climbing For Christ to date.
Aug. 20, 2007 – Gilbert Lindor, a 14-year-old boy, is found near death in his home in Gentilhomme, Haiti by missionary Miguel Rubén Guante. Gilbert had fallen and broken his leg 27 days earlier. Miguel discovered Gilbert by following his nose. Gilbert’s leg has gangrene. An emergency evacuation is immediately begun. Two days later, Gilbert’s leg is amputated in a hospital in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The Gilbert story becomes an early highlight of Climbing For Christ’s work.
Aug. 29, 2007 – The 500th member joins.
Oct. 19, 2007 – The first meeting of Climbing For Christ Philippines was held at the Starbucks in Filinvest Festival Mall in Alabang Muntinlupa City. Seven people attended, including C4C Philippines coordinator Ace Concordia. A second meeting was held six days later — again with seven people attending.
Oct. 16, 2007 – Isaac Will of Chanhassen, Minn. joins the Board of Directors as an at-large member, succeeding Cheryl Esper.
December 2007 – During Mission: Haiti 2007, Gary Fallesen visits the village of Malasi and accepts the church there into Climbing For Christ affiliation, meaning the ministry will work in two villages (and counting) in the Chaine de la Selle mountains. C4C also starts a monthly seminary for pastors and church leaders from multiple villages.
Dec. 31, 2007 – Todd Paris, who became our volunteer missions director in 2005 and joined our staff in July 2006 (serving most recently as director of Partners In Climb and overseeing chapters), leaves his position with this ministry.
Jan. 1, 2008 – We begin the new year with 588 members.
Feb. 23 and March 3, 2008 – In meetings in Marangu and Moshi, Tanzania, 74 guides and porters join Climbing For Christ and form the Kilimanjaro Chapter. Our goal is to make disciples of the guides and porters so they can better share the love of Christ with the tens of thousands of trekkers who visit Kilimanjaro each year as well as their non-Christian co-workers on the mountain.
April 4, 2008 – Mission: Possible begins work in a “restricted nation.” During our first trip we are introduced to a project that will provide radios and allow us to deliver the Gospel via MP3 players. This work begins in 2009.
April 18, 2008 – Mission: Nepal begins.
May 19, 2008 – We ask members and supporters for $400 to provide two days of food for 24 families in Gentilhomme, Haiti and 24 families in Malasi, Haiti. One Climbing For Christ member e-mailed to ask: “How much do you need to feed the whole village?” The member then provides a $25,000 donation. Within days, we have a plan in place for a Food Bank (emergency food to keep the hungry alive) and a Seedling Bank (planting assistance to ease the need for a Food Bank). In the next few months, more than 5,000 banana plants and seeds for coffee, oranges and avocados, are delivered to farmers in the two mountain villages.
Sept. 16, 2008 – Jim Doenges resigns from the staff of Climbing For Christ.
Oct. 28-Nov. 7, 2008 – About two weeks after celebrating it first anniversary, C4C Philippines participated in Mission: Philippines. Nine Filipino and two American members of Climbing For Christ trek to Tacadang to deliver medicine, school supplies, clothing, and the Good News. Pastor Derek Fullerton delivers the message of salvation and asks any who want to accept Jesus to come forward. Thirty people do so. “This was the summit of our mission trip, to be able to preach Christ, and to see people respond to the message of hope through Jesus,” said Ace Concordia, the C4C Philippines coordinator.
Dec. 22, 2008 – Stephen Clark of Rochester, N.Y. joins the Board of Directors as Climbing For Christ's treasurer.
Feb. 1, 2009 – Ace Concordia joins the Board of Directors in an at-large position. His addition gives Climbing For Christ its first international Board, which is fitting because the ministry is an international one with 941 members in 44 countries.
Feb. 27, 2009 – C4C Dominican Republic is legalized in an effort to make easier the work we are doing on Hispaniola, the Caribbean island shared by the DR and Haiti.
April 29, 2009 – Climbing For Christ welcomes its 1,000th member.
July 31-Aug. 20, 2009 – Haitian children Gilbert Lindor, Sainte-Anne Paul and Miche Fleurisme, accompanied by Climbing For Christ missionary Miguel Rubén Guante, are brought to Colorado for medical procedures. Gilbert, who was rescued by death but lost his leg in the summer of 2007, receives a $20,000 prosthetic from fellow amputee Joe Johnson at Quorum Orthopedics in Windsor, CO. This Mission: Haiti medical trip is dubbed the “Haitian vacation.”
Sept. 29, 2009 – A month-long worship series called “Hunger and Thirst” yields more than $10,000 in giving at Hope Lutheran Church. These funds are earmarked for a water project in Gentilhomme, Haiti.
Sept. 30, 2009 – C4C Philippines, in the wake of successive typhoons and major flooding, begins Project Good Samaritan. It is Climbing For Christ's best relief effort to date.
Sept. 30, 2009 – A six-figure donation, the largest gift received by Climbing For Christ to date, helps initiate two long-awaited church builds in Malasi and Thoman, Haiti, among other things.
Oct. 26, 2009 – Money (US$500) is wired to member Pastor Duncan Nyoznai in Malawi to buy one month's food for 15 orphans after a thief steals all of the supplies from Duncan's small orphanage. This incident proofs to be God's way of opening a door to Climbing For Christ in the impoverished Central African country.
Oct. 26, 2009 – Money (US$4,100) is wired to member Pastor Tej B. Rokka in Nepal for the purchase of land in the mountain village of Dapcha, where a church will be constructed in 2010 as part of Mission: Nepal. This money was raised at the annual Hilton AppleFest, a fundraiser in which C4C has participated for three years, making smoothies, chicken chili, and chicken sausages.
Jan. 26, 2010 – We visit Far & Wide Children’s Home in Kambona, Malawi, starting a ministry relationship that will include supporting the orphanage and Pastor Duncan Nyozani of Searchlight Ministries, sending Damson Samson to college.
March 21, 2010 – The church at Malasi is dedicated during Mission: Haiti. This is the second Monte Pou Kris church.
April 9, 2010 – During Mission: Possible 5 (of seven expeditions into a particular closed nation), God brings us an indigenous worker who will serve with us until mid-January 2012, when he disappeared. We believe “Frank” (not his real name) was martyred. He was one of perhaps 200 Christians among his people group. The people to whom we were ministering had been off limits and out of reach of the Gospel until 1999, and C4C may have been the first to visit the specific area we were working in.
July 1, 2010 – Kevin Kimble of Spencerport, NY is elected to the Board of Directors in an at-large position.
July 9, 2010 – Mission: Ararat begins.
Sept. 20, 2010 – Stan Phillips of Spencerport, NY is elected to the Board of Directors as treasurer.
Sept. 26, 2010 – The church at Thoman, Haiti is dedicated. This is the third church build completed by C4C.
Jan. 8, 2011 – While on Mission: Nepal 2011 in Dapcha, we are introduced to Sumitra and hear her miraculous story of coming to Christ and experiencing His healing hand.
Jan. 18, 2011 – Jordan Rowley starts work as Climbing For Christ’s spiritual coordinator.
May 18, 2011 – Jaime Servat is named missionary to Peru as our initial short-term mission to that South American country winds down. Jaime and climbing guide Edwin Milla (C4C's sponsored climber) are appointed co-leaders of C4C Peru.
Sept. 15, 2011 – The church at Dapcha in Nepal’s Central Region is dedicated. Pastor Tej Rokka from Climbing For Christ's partner ministry Savior Alone Reaches Asians (SARA) called it “a day of gratitude and thanksgiving. There were 150 people and my family and other leaders from Kathmandu went there. Together, we worshiped the Lord in the new church after dedicating it to the Lord. People sang and danced and expressed their thanks.”
October 24, 2011 – Funding to provide 100 Urdu-language Bibles to new believers in Pakistan was provided to a Climbing For Christ member and ministry partner working there. Nearly 2,000 Bibles were purchased in two years. This initiative prompted C4C to start Project Living Word.
Oct. 25, 2011 – The 1,500th member joins.
Dec. 1, 2011 – Mission: Nigeria begins.
Jan. 6, 2012 – Comedian Brad Stine turns our “Put a Climbing Helmet On!” fundraiser in Rochester, NY, USA into a Bible-thumping event. He asks the audience to give to an effort to purchase 1,000 Nepali-language Bibles. The response: enough donations to purchase 1,016 Bibles! “God definitely wanted to anoint your mission,” Brad says after.
Jan. 31, 2012 – The “EMT” (Eric Memorial Tent) is set up in Haiti for the first time. After years of makeshift sites to hold medical clinics on Mission: Haiti, Dr. Steve Quakenbush’s prayer is answered as C4C purchases a Mountain Hardwear Stronghold (10-person, 4-season) tent. Funds for this come from the Dr. Eric A. Cederstrom Memorial. Eric, a friend of Climbing For Christ, died of cancer in 2008. But his service to the world through medicine lives on in the Eric Memorial Tent.
June 11, 2012 – Leanne Bohn of Rochester, NY joins the C4C staff in a part-time paid position as administrative assistant.
July 15, 2012 – The church at Korchabang in Nepal’s Mid-West district of Rolpa is dedicated. “Seven new souls came to the LORD,” Nepali C4C member Megh Gurung reports.
Sept. 5, 2012 – C4C Canada is incorporated. The Canadian branch of Climbing For Christ becomes fully operational on Dec. 16, 2013 with Brandy Everts serving as coordinator.
Oct. 12, 2012 – Ace Concordia of C4C Philippines meets with Summer Institute of Linguistics to discuss reprinting the Kankanaey Bible for people of the Benguet Province, where Climbing For Christ has ministered since 2008. The Kankanaey Bible has been out of print since the 1990s.
April 14, 2013 – The first expedition to Morocco begins.
June 8, 2013 – The church at Milatu, Mozambique is dedicated. This is the first church in Africa funded by C4C.
Sept. 4, 2013 – Pastor Rich Friday of Kasese, Uganda is inspired to make his first crusade into the nearby Rwenzori Mountains after serving for many years in ministry.
Nov. 5, 2013 – The first C4C Canada Board of Directors is elected. The board consists of Gary Fallesen (president), Brandy Everts (vice president), Al Robinson (treasurer), Aaron Hemphill (secretary), Andrew Bailey (at-large member), Mary Lindsay (at-large) and Jim MacTavish (at-large).
Dec. 8, 2013 – Leanne Bohn leaves her part-time position with C4C to work full-time in her home church of Hope Lutheran in Rochester, NY.
Jan. 14, 2014 – Climbing holds donated by members from Minnesota, USA and sent by C4C to a member who had requested assistance in Uzbekistan are used by to reach children considered to be developmentally disabled. “Praying that as these precious kids reach up to those handholds they will also learn to reach up and hold onto our Heavenly Father’s loving Hand as He is always reaching out to us,” said donor Janice Chocklan. “And also praying that others will continue to give as the Lord leads and enables for His glory and then be blessed with His indescribable joy!”
March 1-10, 2014 – During Mission: Malawi 2014, Damson Samson of Kambona, Malawi accepts the call to become C4C's missionary to East and Southern Africa. He will begin serving during Mission: Kilimanjaro 2014 in late July.
April 20, 2014 – Climbing For Christ celebrates its 10th anniversary. We marvel at what God has done in and through us this past decade and look forward to the next 10 years and seeing how HE will be glorified. To date, Climbing For Christ has welcomed 1,967 members and sent more than 175 of them on 68 Evangelic Expeditions to 16 countries.
April 22, 2014 – Original vice president Elaine Fallesen resigns from the Board of Directors to take a part-time paid staff position with Climbing For Christ. Mary Lindsay is elected to succeed Elaine as vice president, David Smith of Rochester, NY is elected to the board as secretary, and Dr. Steve Quakenbush of Canon City, CO is elected to the board in an at-large position during a special meeting of the BOD.
Aug. 20, 2014
– Vision Cast 2014
is shared on our staff retreat and later at the Board of Directors' Annual Meeting and the C4C Canada Annual Meeting. THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF CLIMBING FOR CHRIST IS TO GO AND DELIVER THE GOSPEL IN THE MOUNTAINS OF THE WORLD, WHERE OTHER MISSIONARIES CANNOT OR WILL NOT GO.
Nov. 1, 2014
– God opened the door to establishing C4C Canada in September 2012. This branch of Climbing For Christ became fully active in December 2013 and on Saturday, Nov. 1 we held our inaugural Annual Meeting in Pincher Creek, AB. Board members in attendance: Gary Fallesen
(president); Brandy Fisher
(vice president and C4C Canada coordinator) of Crowsnest Pass, AB; Aaron Hemphill
(secretary) of Pincher Creek, AB; Pastor Al Robinson
(treasurer) of Coleman, AB; and at-large members Andrew Baile
y (Blairmore, AB) and Elaine Fallese
n. At-large member Jim MacTavish
of Manitouwadge, ON was unable to attend because of a death in the family.
March 13, 2015
– During Mission: Kilimanjaro 2015 we agreed that East African missionary Damson Samson
needed to spend more time with Kilimanjaro Chapter members. We could not expect guides and porters to learn how to evangelize and employ their teachings on Mount Kilimanjaro with only a few days of instruction. Damson was due to return to Tanzania in April, July, September and November.
April 20, 2015
– Michele Annibal
of Philadelphia, PA, USA, and a C4C member since February 2011, was elected unanimously to the Board of Directors and begins a three-year term today. She was welcomed aboard by Board members Gary Fallesen
(president), Mary Lindsay
(vice president), David Smith
(secretary), Stan Phillips
(treasurer), Kevin Kimble
(at-large), and Steve Quakenbush
(at-large). [Note: At-large member Derek Fullerton
, an original Board member, is on a one-year leave of absence in 2015 as an Army chaplain deployed to the Middle East.]
April 25, 2015
– A 7.8-magnitude earthquake strikes Central Nepal, killing nearly 9,000 people. The quake caused tremendous damage in Kathmandu, leveled mountain villages, triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest that killed at least 19 climbers (the deadliest day on the mountain in history). Climbing For Christ and C4C Canada raised nearly US$30,000 for relief and recovery.
Aug. 28, 2015
– Jordan Rowley
leaves full-time staff after 4 years, 7 months. “Over the past few months I believe God has been leading me down a difficult path,” Jordan shared with members and supporters in E-Newsletter 274. “He has led me to a point of decision – the most difficult I’ve ever made. After much prayer and discussion with my precious wife, I believe He has led me to step down from my role as Spiritual Coordinator with Climbing For Christ.”