Climbing For Christ


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Destination Dalipey: Mountains on Fire

C4C members trekking toward Dalipey.

As I was sharing my testimony on ministry day in Dalipey, I used the story of the Bridge Master. When I got to the part where I talked about a train, the people there gave me a curious stare. Then I realized it was because many of them didn’t know what a train was.

It’s often easy to forget that those who live in this remote mountain village in North Luzon, Philippines have a different view of the world. They are not aware of so many things that we take for granted.

Life in Dalipey is as simple as it gets: people turn to farming and livestock for livelihood. They wake up early and go to sleep long before it gets late into the night. There are no malls or convenience stores, no movie theaters or video-gaming shops. Just small shanties and the long wooden structure of the high school. For a person used to the chaos of city living, it is truly a contrast in the way of life as I know it.

This uncomplicated way of living seems ideal, until you talk to the people of Dalipey. Teacher Leah, who I met in September 2010 while on a survey climb in nearby Poblacion, shared with me how many children are encouraged to forego school and help out with farming. The school has solar panels, but no solar battery to charge. There is no electricity in Dalipey. There is no midwife or health clinic. If someone gets sick, a midwife has to be summoned from a village two hours away. If the condition is life threatening, they carry the patient down the mountain on their backs all the way to Poblacion. This requires traversing four mountain peaks. We experienced the difficulty of this crossing as we trekked eight hours into the night just to get to Dalipey.

As we continued to hear how life is for the locals, we began to understand why the Lord has sent us to this place: because no one ever purposefully comes here. The people of Dalipey feel detached from the rest of the world. I believe on occasion they may ask themselves if anyone truly cares about them at all. That is why our arrival caused such a stir. They may have been surprised that someone would partake of the difficulty and danger of travelling to Dalipey to visit them.

After 10 mountaineers came stumbling into the village in the night, tired and spent, you could read the expressions on peoples’ faces. It wasn’t of wonder; it was more appreciation for us actually being there.

For Jesus has a great love for those who are lost, and this is His passion — that His love is shared to all who would hear.

During our preparation for our mission day program, one of the mission team members, Gutch, led us in worship and he sang a song by Jon Owens titled Fire Burns. I was personally blessed by the chorus of the song:

Your fire burns within me, burn within me with your fire.

Over and over again we sang this chorus, and I knew this was the message of why we were there. Jesus sent out the disciples to every village and every town because He had started a fire in their lives, and it was their responsibility to see that the fire spread to all the places that their feet could possibly carry them. On mission day in Dalipey, the 10 climbers didn’t just bring school supplies, medicines, clothing, and Bibles. More than anything else, they came with the fire of the love of Jesus, who made a difference in their lives.

This is what being a Climbing For Christ climber is all about: to understand the love of Jesus and how He saved you. To let this love burn within you as it burns within His heart. To bring this fire to those who feel neglected and unloved. To start a fire in their hearts. For Jesus has a great love for those who are lost, and this is His passion — that His love is shared to all who would hear.

I was once asked what it took to qualify to go on a mission climb. Do you need to be strong? Do you need to have technical skill? Do you have to have good climbing credentials? These are important, but not the most essential thing. Because none of us who went to Dalipey were the strongest climbers or the most technically proficient or had the best climbing resumes. But we all had one thing in common: a burning love for Jesus, and oftentimes that’s all that’s needed. More and more the Lord is showing us that a fire has been lit in Tacadang and in Badeo, and now it has reached Dalipey. We should not stop until the whole of Kibungan becomes mountains of fire.

“To the Israelites the glory of the LORD looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain.”
Exodus 24:17 (NIV)

Gary FallesenGary Fallesen

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