Climbing For Christ


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Gary Fallesen

Charlotte Crain

Charlotte Crain teaching (with Damson Samson interpreting) at the C4C-supported orphanage in Malawi, Africa. (Photo by Gary Fallesen)

Nationality: American. Occupation: Principal Solutions Architect, SAS Institute. Missions with C4C: Kilimanjaro (Tanzania and Malawi) 2010 and Turkey 2010, 2013 and 2015.

How long have you climbed? Since 1993. Type of climbing you do: Technical non-lead, Alpine scrambling. Highlight of climbing career: Kilimanjaro in December 2006.

How long have you been a Christian? Since age 7. Type of ministry you are blessed to serve in: Las Amigas ministry at my church. We regularly mentor our young grade-school girls, once a month doing things as a group after school, then also spending time helping them to read or whatever they need. Sometimes just pick them up and do something special just because.  Monthly financial support for Kevin Larrett and his family, serving Campus Crusade for Christ, Office of the President; Portland Rescue Mission, a Christian organization that rehabilitates the down and out, giving them skills to reenter the work force and reunite them with their families; and the Ravi Zacharias Ministries, serving the intellectual community.

Favorite Scripture verse (and why): Isaiah 41:13 and Psalm 141:3. It is a promise for me and anyone that God is always there and will take my right hand and lead me along, holding me close to Himself giving strength and encouragement whenever I call upon Him. He also gives me strength to watch what I say and how I say it to people. Poor communication can be a huge stumbling block.

Special “God moment” you'd like to share: On a C4C trip to Malawi in 2010, in the middle of a sermon in a packed building of about 200 men, the pastor asked me if I could come out and talk to the  women from the villages who were looking in through the open windows. I asked the pastor what to say and he said, “Just encourage them.” As I almost stumbled out of the crowded building with the men, I was thinking to myself, “What do I know about the Malawian village women?” “What do I ask them?” “What do I say?” I prayed and asked God to just lead me. The women were age 14 to 77. Some of the elders were there also. I asked each of them to stand and say their name, some boldly stood, some cowered, some could not look up, some were soft voiced, some were loud. I was thinking that perhaps this may have been the only time in their life that they publically stood and said their name. Through an interpreter
I asked them about their problems and we had a wonderful discussion because their problems are some of the same problems we have in the U.S. One woman told me that she was glad I shared what happens in the U.S. because she said that every time she saw a white person, she thought they didn’t have any problems. I told her that people kill themselves in our country because they are so unhappy. At the end of over an hour, one woman stood to recapture  what we had talked about and she was beaming from head to toe. I will never forget her. A big smile and with a lot of love for our Lord Jesus. She said that we all are the same before our Lord no matter who we are or where we live, and what is in our hearts is what He is looking at. It was a most blessed moment. The bottom line is: when God calls your  name, GO.

What does Climbing For Christ mean to you? It affirms to me that going off the beaten path and living out of the ordinary can be a ministry to Christ. I used to think when I was climbing on Sundays once in a while that maybe it was wrong and that I should be in church. I finally realized that I am for a reason and to allow God to work through me while I can enjoy one of the things I love the most in God’s outside creation.


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