Preparing to again follow my friend up Kilimanjaro on Day 2 of our 2016 trek. (Photo by Jim Doenges)
I have walked behind my friend on Mount Kilimanjaro for the past decade. I have watched as those bowed legs and tortured knees have carried him up and down Africa’s tallest peak.
He has climbed the 19,341-foot (5,895-meter) mountain hundreds of times. Hundreds!
The guides and porters who work on Kilimanjaro live hard lives. What they earn in salary and tips does not pay for the toll taken on their bodies. About half of these men and women are Christian, and half are Muslim.
Like many of our old friends in Tanzania laboring in tourism – the country’s leading economic factor – this man has tried to plan for a life after climbing. He bought a farm 300 kilometers south of Moshi and moved his family there. He has worked this land by hand for many years.
In 2013, he told me he wanted to buy a $8,000 (USD) tractor. I wanted to help him. I told him:
“I want you to know that if we are able to provide what is needed it will NOT be coming from us; it will be coming from God. The God that I worship is different from the one you believe in. I would ask you only to pray and consider who Jesus Christ is.”
Climbing For Christ serves physical and spiritual needs. Addressing a physical need often will open the door to discussing the spiritual. We desire to feed a starving man and then share about the Bread of Life, give a drink to one who thirsts and then talk about Living Water, and care for the sick and then introduce them to the Great Physician.
A used tractor for a farmer seemed like a perfect way to speak about the Lord of the harvest.
Someone told us they could assist us in the purchase of a tractor. But a broken promise (we call it “when helping hurts”) meant my friend had to continue going up and down Kilimanjaro to support his family, including a daughter going to university to become a teacher and younger children attending secondary school.
“My farm continues very pole-pole (slowly, slowly in Swahili),” my friend said in 2014. “About mountain climbing, I am still. But I had to take another job. Not enough money.”
I continue to be burdened for this friend. For his physical need and, far more importantly, for his spiritual need. These next few days of Project Prayer: Ramadan 2017 we are focusing on Muslim friends of Climbing For Christ who remain unreached.
Please pray today for our farmer friend from Kilimanjaro and provision to meet his needs and show him the love of Christ.
CLICK HERE to read “Rejoicing in the presence of angels,” a story about how two of our Muslim friends from past Mission: Kilimanjaro climbs have recently accepted Jesus.