Ministry in High Places
By Gary Fallesen
President/Chief Climbing Officer, Climbing For Christ
The words on the television screen screamed — even though there was no sound accompanying them.
“There are 6,000,000 Tibetans living in China,” it read. “Only 150 known Christians.”
It was the end of an episode of my favorite TV show, Travel the Road, which features missionaries Tim Scott and Will Decker as they go where the Spirit takes them and boldly share the name of Jesus Christ. They are an inspiring pair of young men. I have been so moved by them that I dubbed our first opportunity to preach in a make-shift church in Jimani, Dominican Republic, on our way into Haiti earlier this year, “a Travel the Road moment.”
The particular episode I'm talking about aired last season (and has been repeated many times on TBN and on the DVD set I own). It was called, “The Quest: Road to Tibet, Part 2.” In the closing scene, Tim Scott says in a voice-over: “In the months to come, the monasteries would be our home. We continued to preach Christ Jesus.
“But what would happen to the villages we didn't reach? What would happen to villages just beyond the next mountain? When will they hear the Gospel?
“Every day we pray that more workers would be sent into the harvest so that every tribe, nation and tongue might know the salvation that is Him. It is our mission; it is our heart.”
We are the answer to that prayer.
Climbing For Christ has been called to take the Gospel to those unreached villages, to those villages just beyond the next mountain — and the mountains after that. We have been chosen to deliver the Good News to people who otherwise might not hear His Word and know the salvation that only Christ has to offer. To go where others cannot or will not go.
Does this mean we're going to Tibet? Maybe we're already there. Maybe we have members who know what it means to “go,” who are going, who have gone.
One member, whose identity we cannot share here and now because it might put that person's life in jeopardy, has been in Pakistan, China, Tibet, Nepal, and northern India this year. Like other members who have been serving in places that are intolerant to the name of Christ and those who represent Him, this particular member says, “I can truly say that the Lord is rocking my world with all of these experiences.”
“During the last couple of months,” our member wrote us in an e-mail, “I know that I like working with the people groups of high mountains — places like the Balti in Pakistan, the Tibetan nomadic tribal people that I trekked to in Ladakh, and hopefully also in February the Kili people of Tanzania.”
This member has expressed a desire to join us on Mission: Kilimanjaro, which, we pray, will bring forth someone from Climbing For Christ whose heart is moved to serve as a full-time missionary in Moshi, Tanzania for a minimum of two years. Why? To help guides, porters, and their families — people in physical and spiritual need. Like our work in Haiti, it is only the beginning.
“My horizons have been stretched as to this niche that Climbing For Christ members are best to fill,” our member wrote. “Ministry in high places.”
This is why God put Climbing For Christ on my heart, and why he has led others to join. We are not alone on this grand adventure. The Spirit is with us — as Jesus pledged in John 20:21-22 and Mark 13:11.
Our “Mission Vision” (found in the Evangelic Expedition silo) includes many dark places. From Bhutan to Papua to several of the “Stans” — Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan.
Climbing magazine issue No. 252, dubbed the “Danger Issue,” featured a guide to “The Sketchiest Climbing Areas in the World.”
“Fact: Some of the world's best climbing venues are also sited in some of the world's most dangerous locales,” Ted Callahan wrote in Climbing. “By dangerous, I mean not only rife with tangential (and largely unavoidable) concerns such as abysmal sanitation, exotic bacteria, and dodgy, ill-maintained vehicles, but also imbued with objective hazards - crime, terrorism, kidnapping, and war — of a political nature.”
Of course, areas hazardous to climbers may be even more threatening to those who are climbing for Christ. But we have better protection. We have the name of Jesus — from whom the wicked enemy flees (James 4:6-7).
“Look at the nations and watch — and be utterly amazed," it says in Habakkuk 1:5. “For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.”
This will happen in villages just beyond the next mountain. Villages not yet reached. Places where we will go and witness the miracle of salvation that is Christ Jesus.
Gary Fallesen is the president and Chief Climbing Officer (CCO) of Climbing For Christ, Inc. This story originally appeared in The Climbing Way (Volume 5, Autumn 2006).