Six days of chapter training: It was good
By Gary Fallesen
President, Climbing For Christ
Praying on Zango Hill for the Kilimanjaro Chapter training. (Photos by Damson Samson)
Neither rain nor flooding at home in Malawi nor men being called to work on the mountain in Tanzania could distract Damson Samson from his appointed rounds with the Kilimanjaro Chapter.
From Monday, March 11 through Saturday, March 16, Damson led the start of our second year of disciples-making-disciples (DMD) training. It was a blessed week. Six days of lessons, prayers, and celebration with Mount Kilimanjaro guides and porters. And on the seventh day, he rested.
God saw that it was good.
Damson arrived in Tanzania on Tuesday, March 5. He’d left behind a rain-soaked southern Malawi and then learned that his mother and father needed evacuation from their home as flood waters rose. “My two sisters had to run away from their homes and find somewhere to hide (from the flooding),” Damson reported.
We prayed with and for Damson, his family, and our friends in Malawi. We also were kept updated by Climbing For Christ Board member Kevin Kimble, who was in Malawi with a three-man team from our home church, Hope Lutheran in Rochester, NY.
Damson used five days to meet with Kilimanjaro Chapter leaders in Moshi and Marangu, fasted, and organized himself to prepare for this important training, which will continue in June, September, December, and Mission: Kilimanjaro 2020 in March.
Training began with the Lyasongoro group in Marangu, the original gateway to Africa’s tallest and most popular peak. Damson anticipated 15 members, but only nine were available. “Some went to the mountain (to work),” Damson explained. “I thanked God for (the nine we had) because people are always busy.”
This was the start again of our study by The Timothy Initiative (TTI). We graduated 28 guides and porters from the first-year study during Mission: Kilimanjaro 2018 in December (see our Trip Report: “Making a coffee connection”). Those graduates are now helping Damson teach.
“A new member, Bariki Mambali, (shared) his understanding of the Bible and said reading only cannot work,” Damson relayed. “One needs to know how to interpret (the Bible).”
Another new student, Godlisten Makundi, called the training “eye-opening” and “another step to reach others with the Word.”
Damson and five brothers in Christ did a prayer walk on Zango Hill in anticipation of the first Moshi training. “We had a good time praying for Climbing For Christ around the globe and the training we are to have tomorrow,” Damson said on Tuesday, March 12.
He read from Ezekiel 14:1-23 and talked about Noah, Daniel, and Job, who were – in Damson’s words – “found right in the eyes of God. I shared with them (the Kilimanjaro Chapter members he was hiking with) that they needed to be right with God, not with people. Those who are found right in God’s eyes, no matter how many may oppose them, they still have a peace and grace to go ahead.
“Then we prayed that we may be found with God in all we do every time.”
Four new believers.
A dozen new students attended the Moshi training. Graduates again taught Chapters 1 and 2 from the TTI study (“Interpreting & Understanding the Bible” and “Sharing the Word of God”).
But the highlight of the day was “by the grace of God four young men came to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior,” Damson said. All of heaven rejoiced!
In addition to TTI books in Swahili, Bibles were distributed among our students.
“The Bibles were appreciated,” Damson said, adding that the men announced “now is the time to read the Bible on the mountain, not the newspaper.”
The Good News will be delivered on Kilimanjaro by our members – the goal of Mission: Kilimanjaro since it began in 2007.
“Looking at the study there is a big hope of transformation in the lives of those on Kilimanjaro,” Damson said. “They have told me the next time there will be many in the class as they have learned something they will be in a position to share with others.”
Another day of prayer and fasting ahead of the next training session. Damson met with the Marangu team in Mamba, where they studied Exodus 6:6-8. “I was teaching them on the power of reception,” Damson said, explaining that “every person needs to be redeemed – and it is only God Who does the work. Thereafter, when you are sent, you already have victory on your way.”
Six new believers.
Damson expected the training at Mamba to be the best attended – and it was. In all, there were 20, including the graduates who did the teaching. “I came in with questions to find out if the training was heard,” Damson said. “Some would explain, but still some could not due to low understanding of things. They seem to be coming from cold churches.”
If Damson was disappointed by the student feedback, it was quickly forgotten. He met six new brothers in Christ. There was more joy in heaven.
Damson, right, with chapter leader Dauson Chonjo, teaching the second-year DMD study.
Twenty-one of our 28 TTI graduates, many of whom had helped teach during the week, again became students as we initiated a second-year study on disciples making disciples. The group began with Lesson 1 “My Story” and Lesson 2 “God’s Story.”
“I demonstrated to them the story of God in a small play, where we had a son and a father who had no relationship because there was a gap in between them,” Damson said. “We brought in Jesus Christ who filled the gap and the relationship was built.”
This training continues to focus on evangelism, something we have been teaching to the Kilimanjaro Chapter since it was formed in 2008. Damson’s arrival in 2014 as Climbing For Christ’s full-time missionary to East Africa increased the amount of training, and our use of resources from The Timothy Initiative beginning in December 2017 was the next step in increased DMD fruit.
Damson spent the Sabbath “in church just to thank Him for all He has done. To His glory!” Amen.