All glory to HIM!
By Gary Fallesen, founding president, Climbing For Christ
Teammates on our recent Tunisia Survey pray from a hillside for nearby villages. (Photo by John Becker)
In my former life as a newspaper sports writer, I knew about baseball batting and earned run averages, basketball field goal and free throw percentages, football quarterback ratings, and college basketball power ratings. I could tell you about sand saves in golf and goals-against averages in ice hockey.
But when someone asked if this new organization God had birthed through me was a “501(c)(3),” I had no idea what they were talking about. Five-oh-one, what?
Climbing For Christ was online and on my heart, but had no real definition. Friends would ask how they could help. “Can we pray for you?” Oh, yes, I can always use prayer. “Can we donate to Climbing For Christ? Are you a 501(c)(3)?” Excuse me?
CHRISTmas 2003 I received a card from an environmental lawyer I’d written about in the paper. He’d never sent a CHRISTmas card before, even though I’d known him for many years. Inside was his business card on which he’d written: “If you ever need legal advice, don’t hesitate to call.”
I put his card in my wallet. You never know when you might need a lawyer.
Three days later it hit me: I needed a lawyer! I called and asked, “Do you know anything about 501(c)(3)s?” “Of course,” he said. “What do you need?”
This set the wheels in motion. My late friend Wayne Harris’s firm worked pro bono to establish Climbing For Christ as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. We were incorporated on April 20, 2004. We consider this day our birthday.
Fifteen years later, we rejoice in all the LORD has done, is doing, and will do through HIS ministry. We have completed 102 short-term mission trips (Evangelic Expeditions) in 14 years – with another (Mission: Indonesia 2019, Part1) set to begin on Monday. But that’s only a small part of the work God has done. HE has empowered us to:
- Support numerous members and ministry partners in the Dominican Republic and Haiti; Peru; Tanzania, Malawi, Uganda, and Nigeria; Nepal, Pakistan, China, and the Philippines.
- Engage unreached people in Indonesia, Turkey, Morocco, and Tibet.
- Build 10 churches in places as diverse as Nepal (five), Haiti (three), Peru and Mozambique (one each). A church build is underway in Pakistan and another is waiting in Nepal.
- Build up the church (the body of Christ) everywhere HE has sent us. We have been blessed to make disciples who make disciples in Africa, Asia, and North and South America.
We have welcomed more than 2,500 members from more than 70 nations; taking more than 200 members on mission, receiving donations from more than 250 members annually, and being prayed for by more than 300 members. We are grateful for active members, including our beloved staff and Boards of Directors (in the U.S. and Canada).
All the numbers – from the 501(c)(3) to the hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in ministry to the countless souls touched through Climbing For Christ – add up to ONE great, big God.
He started this ministry. He directs this ministry. He maintains this ministry.
God called a sports writer out of the press box and into the mission field. God used me in ways that only can be credited to HIM.
It is fitting that during this Holy Week, on a day sandwiched between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, we would celebrate this 15th anniversary of Climbing For Christ. God has given us everything, including HIS Son, Jesus Christ. In return, we give HIM our thanks and our devotion to serving and glorifying HIS name.
The final Word
“For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.” – Romans 11:36 (NLT)