Trip Report: Kilimanjaro 2022
Faith in action moving mountains
By Gary Fallesen, Climbing For Christ
The upper 5,000 feet of Mount Kilimanjaro’s Kibo (main) summit are covered with snow after a pounding overnight rain on March 30. (Photos by Gary Fallesen)
Elaine Fallesen prayed for our group before lunch at Third Cave Camp on the Rongai Route of Mount Kilimanjaro. When she mentioned feeling honored to be back on Kilimanjaro, her voice cracked with emotion. She stood in awe of God’s beautiful creation.
“Returning to Kilimanjaro,” she said at the end of Mission: Kilimanjaro 2022, ticking off the highlights of her fourth trip to Tanzania, “even though the altitude made me sick again. It’s such a privilege to be on the slopes of the rooftop of Africa.”
This time was particularly satisfying. Even though our team was stormed off the mountain for the first time in nine treks up the 19,341-foot (5,895-meter) peak, we were blessed to interact more than ever with the guides and porters working with us.
Damson Samson, our Malawi-based Kingdom worker in East Africa, spent hours in the porters’ tents. Elaine visited the cook tent. Yusuf, a friend for nearly two decades and a practicing Muslim, ate with us and sat in our daily hour-long Bible studies.
There were many Jesus-focused conversations between Damson, Elaine, and me and the 13 Tanzanians (most of whom are Muslims).
“During the mountain time, I had opportunity to share the Truth with many of the guides and porters,” Damson said, describing how God had used him on this, his 28th trip to Tanzania since 2014.
We share a love for this mountain, for those who work on it, and for those living around it. That’s why I have been there 13 times since Mission: Kilimanjaro 2007, and once before that.
Kilimanjaro will always have a special place in our hearts because this is where, in 1998, God birthed the idea of His ministry, Climbing For Christ. This is where He ordained our work with guides and porters to reach countless numbers of locals and foreign visitors.
Since for Climbing For Christ it is about “mission, not mountain; people, not peak; service, not summit,” our focus of reaching others on these HIStoric slopes and teaching guides and porters to reach even more has been blessed.
Four members of the Kilimanjaro Chapter discuss a passage of Scripture during a group study time in our new Discovering the Bible class.
Elaine, in her list of mission highlights, included “being grateful and thankful to God for all He has accomplished over many years with the Kilimanjaro Chapter.”
We continued disciple-making training with 63 guides and porters. Twenty-six of them – our original class, dating to 2017 – graduated from a second DMD study and, along with their wives, began a third study on “Discovering the Bible.” The second class of disciple-makers continued the advanced DMD class. They are on schedule to graduate during Mission: Kilimanjaro 2023.
“Meeting with my Kilimanjaro Chapter brothers and sisters for three days was a blessed time,” Elaine said. “Even though we met in stifling heat in a room with limited air circulation.
“I could see the change in them as students: more focused, asking questions, putting their faith into action in their lives, families, and neighborhoods.”
One porter, Elyason Mosha, shared about offering to pray for his fellow porters on the mountain. Some laughed. Others were curious. “We’ve never heard of such a thing,” they said. A few joined him in prayer.
Every day for eight days on the Lemosho Route, Elyason prayed.
By the end of the trek everyone was involved, including the clients from the Philippines. “They asked me to pray for their travel home at the end (of the climb),” Elyason said.
Many God moments like this are shared by our guides and porters at every visit – four times a year by Damson to lead instruction and once a year by us to encourage and continue equipping our brothers and sisters. Lost souls being found on the mountain and off it.
Every guide and porter leads at least one prayer group, a small cell of believers and unbelievers who are growing in the Word together. Damson attended one group of 12 organized by Joshua Matutu, a member in the second advanced DMD class. “During home visiting, four lives came to the Lord and there was healing and deliverance to those the Lord touched,” Damson said.
“We thank God for this great time.”
A rainbow appears above Simba Camp on Kilimanjaro.
All of Mission: Kilimanjaro 2022 was great, by the goodness of God. Even when Elaine was touched by altitude sickness and rain poured harder and longer (10 hours) than Yusuf remembered in a quarter-century of working on the mountain, we received blessings.
After one day of trekking in the rain, a rainbow appeared over Simba Camp – reminding us yet again of God’s promise. In the morning after that night of rain that made sleeping in the tent sound like you were inside a snare drum, the sun shone on Kibo peak (the main summit) and it was pristine white with fresh snow.
God’s magnificent beauty – a tiny glimpse of heaven, perhaps.
Helping guide the lost to heaven is our passion. As Mission: Kilimanjaro 2022 wound down, God put on my heart the pursuit of a small unreached tribe, the Assa people. The Assa speak Maasai. John Mollen, one of our chapter leaders, is Maasai. He knows of the Assa. “They keep to themselves away from everyone,” he said. I urged the chapter to pray about opportunities to deliver the Good News to this tribe.
“The areas and people groups we find that have not been reached and where the Lord is directing us to go, we can use these areas as the training (ground) to our members,” Damson declared. “By giving them an opportunity to have an ‘evangelism week’ to areas like these with the target to bring more lives to Christ Jesus.
“We can using talking Bibles (audio Bibles) where possible to reach such people who have not yet been reached by identifying the house of peace.”
It could be another chapter in the lives of these evangelizing guides and porters. Another reason to stand in awe of the God who we are honored to humbly serve.
Kilimanjaro timeline at a glance
1998 – Gary Fallesen is instructed by God to start a Christian climbing organization, which became Climbing For Christ.
2007 – C4C’s inaugural mission to Kilimanjaro. Gary meets Pastor Winford Mosha, who speaks about a shared vision of teaching guides and porters to be used by the Lord.
2008 – The Kilimanjaro Chapter of guides and porters is formed.
2014 – Damson Samson of neighboring Malawi answers the call to serve as Climbing For Christ’s Kingdom worker in East Africa.
2017 – Future Board member John Becker (of Africa Inland Mission, and other ministries) introduces Gary to The Timothy Initiative. Disciple-making and church-planting resources from TTI start being used by C4C to expand the evangelism training of guides and porters.
2022 – The 14th short-term mission to Tanzania was conducted. CLICK HERE for Dispatches from Mission: Kilimanjaro 2022.