Mission: Kilimanjaro 2015 Trip Report
Seeing God’s glory on Africa’s roof
By Gary Fallesen
Founding president, Climbing For Christ
Moving on up: guides, porters and trekkers climbing toward the distant summit in the background. (Photo by Gary Fallesen)
The pre-dawn hours near the rooftop of Africa are the coldest. As trekkers and their guides inch ever closer to the summit of 19,341-foot (5,895-meter) Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, temperatures are well below freezing. Dauson Chonjo uses this time to witness to his co-workers on the mountain.
“What if you are in an endless pit,” the Kilimanjaro guide from Marangu says, “and it’s cold like this for years and years and years?
“It’s cold because there is no light. Jesus is the light of the world. Without Jesus people are cold.”
Dauson is one of the leaders of Climbing For Christ’s Kilimanjaro Chapter. This chapter – consisting mostly of guides and porters who work on Kilimanjaro – was formed in 2008. C4C short-term mission teams have taught evangelism to chapter members (and others) since then. But in 2014, C4C added Damson Samson to its staff as a missionary to East Africa. The native Malawian joined us on Mission: Kilimanjaro 2014 during the summer and in November he and spiritual coordinator Jordan Rowley led a three-day evangelism training for nearly three dozen guides and porters. In March, Jordan, Damson and I returned to the Kilimanjaro area for follow-up meetings and to plan the work Climbing For Christ will continue to do in this community.
God, Who originally birthed the idea of Climbing For Christ in me as I prepared to climb Kilimanjaro in 1998, has shown us the impact we can make for the kingdom of heaven by equipping the saints working on this beautiful mountain. Tens of thousands of trekkers come to Tanzania each year and Christian guides and porters interact with them for seven or eight days – a period that can make an eternal difference. “You can see the glory of God on the top of Mount Kilimanjaro,” Dauson says, singing praise to the Creator for His amazing creation in East Africa.
About half of those working on Kilimanjaro are not Christ followers, another part of this enormous mission field.
“Our prayer is, if you can reach one and they can reach heaven,” Damson told Kilimanjaro Chapter members in March. “The angels will celebrate in heaven. Angels celebrate as you work.
“It doesn’t matter how many you preach to; it’s how many enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Damson, with Gary and Jordan on Mission: Kilimanjaro 2015.
Damson will be working with Bible study groups that formed after he made home visits in the wake of our March gathering. We will continue to teach, encourage, and supply guides and porters with resources to evangelize. Damson will visit five or six times a year to work with the Kilimanjaro Chapter.
We’ll also address challenges our brothers in Christ have in ministering on (and off) Kilimanjaro.
“Challenges are there,” Dauson tells his fellow Christ followers. “It’s like climbing the mountain. If you are not challenged, it is not a mountain.”
Pray, Give, GO!
PRAY: For the ongoing work carried out by our indigenous members in Tanzania as a result of Mission: Kilimanjaro 2015 and past Evangelic Expeditions.
GIVE: Sending Damson Samson to the Kilimanjaro area every 1½ -to-2 months costs money. Please support Mission: Kilimanjaro and the important teaching that is being carried out there through Climbing For Christ. You can contribute online via PayPal (CLICK HERE) or send gifts to Climbing For Christ, c/o Mission: Kilimanjaro, P.O. Box 16290, Rochester, NY 14616-0290 USA.
GO: Mission: Kilimanjaro 2016 will occur in August 2016. There will be evangelism training with Kilimanjaro Chapter guides and porters and an opportunity to climb to the top of Africa’s tallest peak. Email info@ClimbingForChrist.org for a mission application. Space on this team will be limited.