Western New York
By Gary Fallesen
Founding president, Climbing For Christ
Record weekends at Hilton AppleFest, Photo Finish 5K
Lines formed in front of our food booth during good weather on Saturday, Sept. 29 at the annual Hilton AppleFest. (Photo by Katie Kimble)
HILTON, NY — Climbing For Christ hosted a food booth for the sixth straight year at the AppleFest in our ministry hometown of Hilton, NY, USA on Saturday, Sept. 29 and Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012. The festival — celebrating the ginormous apple harvest in Western New York — attracts thousands of visitors each year. And, praise God, this was a record AppleFest for Climbing For Christ!
Thanks to three dozen volunteers, His ministry netted about $6,400, which breaks our previous best of $5,457.05 in 2010. The proceeds for 2012 include $1,300 in matching funds from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.
Our food booth served up the usual — and popular — menu of pulled pork sandwiches, mountain-fresh smoothies, “Walking Tacos” (taco fixings in a Dorito bag), hot caramel apple cider, and chai.
We were blessed by the many servants hearts who helped (members names boldfaced): Lori and Sarah Bly; Mark, Zach and Leanne Bohn; Dave Cahill; Dave Devos; Mark Eiwen; Elaine Fallesen; Brian, Erica and Sandy Kabat; Kevin, Laurie and Katie Kimble; Mary Lindsay; Holly Mabee; Dean Marsaw; Charlie and Chris Martella; Lizzie and Hank Przyklek; Jaime, Jordan and Michelle Rowley; Frank Shepardson; Pat and Joel Slesak; Lauren, Morgan and Dave Stoessel; Barb and Jess Swanson; Meredith Thomas, and George Williams.
Team C4C 2012 (left to right): Jordan Rowley, Gary and Elaine Fallesen, and Jaime and Justin Rowley before the second Photo Finish 5K.
ROCHESTER, NY — Team C4C may have been nearly half the size as the inaugural Photo Finish 5K, but the runners raised twice as much support at the second annual philanthropy challenge. Five runners participated in the 3.1-mile race with Justin Rowley producing the best time of the Climbing For Christ members and teammates Gary and Elaine Fallesen, Jaime and Jordan Rowley, and Mark Eiwen combining to raise $2,595 (exceeding our $2,500 goal).
Heinz Kepplinger, a friend of the ministry, represented the team by wearing C4C colors and racing to an age-group victory and finishing 19th overall in 21:22 in a cold (48-degree), rainy morning.
Our thanks to all who supported Team C4C 2012 in prayer and giving!
Back to Bald Mountain
For the fourth year, Climbing For Christ partnered with Heritage Christians Services so that some of our friends — not to mention brothers and sisters in Christ — can enjoy God's creation.
Here's the report from C4C member and Heritage staff member Diane Sturmer on the annual Bald Mountain Climb, held Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012 in Old Forge, NY, where the relationship between Climbing For Christ and Heritage began:
We had an incredible time on the Adirondack Adventure retreat! We prepared for the hike with a warm-up hike on Monday on Cresent Trail off of Big Moose Road, returned to Heritage Hollow for a warm feast of pasta and meatballs (thank you, Janet, for getting us ready for Tuesday), devotions led by Larry on the Armor of God, and a time to prepare both spiritually and physically.
We made trail mix, prepared our backpacks and were joined by two of our friends from Climbing for Christ, Bob Stanchus and Mark Eiwen from Rochester.
The morning began with Carol waking up and saying "It is my birthday" at about 4am. We headed to the trail head at Bald Mountain and began our adventure with a prayer and group picture! Mickey from Lapham Apartments signed us all in on the trail book and we began a journey up the mountain. We hiked for a while and then discovered many of the rocks very wet from a recent storm. One of the prayers we had quietly prayed was for wisdom and we decided as a group that the way was too slippery to continue, so we came back down the mountain.
Bob from Climbing for Christ continued Larry's devotion from the night before and used his hiking equipment to talk about putting on the Armor of God. Anne from Scribner assisted.
He talked about being prepared from our hiking boots to our hats to conquer the battles set before us. It was just what we needed as we headed to Rocky Mountain. Chris Brown signed us in the trail book and then we were off again to conquer the mountain.
"We can do all things thru Him who strengthens us." - Philippians 4:13
We met hikers along the way, enjoyed lunch in the woods, and finally we were at the top! It was beautiful. We could see fall colors everywhere and the Chain O' Lakes below. And, as promised, we celebrated Carol's birthday. We called Heritage president Bob Pieters to share our fun with him and then Carol's folks. Carol's mom and dad sang "Happy Birthday" with us and then we said a prayer for our friend Sue St. John.
We met a couple who were celebrating 30 years together. They asked us to pray for his mom, who was in a nursing home nearby, so everyone gathered and the HCS hikers prayed for her. We enjoyed hearing their story and they enjoyed meeting everyone. Tracey, from Scribner said, that she had hiked two mountains in one day!
At the bottom of the mountain, we gathered to thank God for the beautiful day, safety and continued a tradition that started back on our first hike with Climbing for Christ. We all put out boots together in a circle for a photo. We had enjoyed the great outdoors for almost 5 hours. We said good-bye to our kind friends Mark and Bob (they headed to Rochester), and we headed back to Heritage Hollow for a wee bit of a rest and then we were off to Inlet and Old Forge for some shopping and a celebration meal!
So grateful for all the support and prayers that made this time so amazing! Thankful for Janet, Raynae and Bob Pieters' vision to have a place where we could enjoy this beauty, relax and take on a challenge, too! And, thankful to God for the wonderful time in His creation and the friendships along the way!
Here's the report on the third outing, a National Trails Day hike on June 2 at Northampton Park in Ogden provided by C4C member and Heritage staffer Diane Sturmer:
“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV)
Joe, Brittany, Jenny, Bob, Patrick and Alison going for a walk in the park. (Photo by Diane Sturmer)
It was a beautiful day! We hiked for more than an hour through the woods on trails that brought us to rabbits, monarch butterflies and the beauty of Springdale farm. We hiked around some wet areas from Friday’s rain and climbed some challenging hills. We all enjoyed each other’s company along the way. Afterward, we returned to Rodwell Lodge for a time of music and devotions. Climbing For Christ member Bob Stanchus shared Scriptures with us and people shared about what they meant to each of us.
When we talked about the verse “I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me” from Philippians 4:13 we shared about the hills that we had just tackled, but we also talked about the challenges we have each day. The invisible mountains of loving people who may not always be kind to us and reaching goals that we want to accomplish. Many shared prayers for family members that needed encouragement with their health, loss of a loved one and more.
Bob, Gary and Elaine Fallesen, Brittany and Alison Fiore from Pine Hill, and I were honored to finish our morning with a time of singing. A special thank you to Joe Starling, Pat Sturmer and Jenny Hart for sharing your gifts of music with all of us before and after the hike. Jenny was quite the drummer!
Here's the report on the second outing (an Easter Saturday hike on April 7 at Mendon Ponds Park) by Diane Sturmer:
A small crew enjoyed a wonderful time hiking around Birdsong Trail. Andy Davies helped from start to finish. We shopped for supplies, set up and placed a thankful box out for people to share what they were grateful for. Andy welcomed fellow hikers, opened with prayer and led the group out on the trails.
The chickadees landed on our hands. We listened to the sounds of the woods — birds chirping and the wind blowing through the trees. We also enjoyed getting to know one another as we shared this special time. We saw deer running through the woods and sometimes we just enjoyed the quiet. It was a time of refreshment for all.
When we returned to the Nature Center, we gathered to share songs that celebrated Easter with Pat Sturmer and Jordan Rowley.
Jordan shared about Climbing For Christ's recent trip to Haiti. We were so excited to hear about the new medical tent that was recently purchased by Climbing for Christ, opportunities to share God’s love in the mountains with the people of Haiti, and God’s faithfulness during some of the challenges along the way.
Mike Raha shared from Psalm 136 about giving thanks because His love endures forever. Many others shared what they were grateful for.
Thank you (left to right in photo taken by Jordan Rowley) Pat and Diane Sturmer, Mike and Linda Raha, Andy Davies, Jane and David Sturmer, and Lida Merrill for a very special time out on the trails. Happy Easter!
Here's the report on the first outing (snowshoeing Saturday, Feb. 18 at Mendon Ponds Park) by Diane Sturmer:
“We had a wonderful morning on Birdsong Trail. There were about 25 of us from HCS (staff and individuals), Climbing For Christ, and the Rochester area enjoying the snowfall that came in early Saturday. We were all grateful to God for His answer to our prayers for snow! We headed out to the trails and enjoyed feeding the chickadees, squirrels, cardinals, and all the beauty. Janice Johns opened us up with a prayer of gratefulness. She said she was so thankful she could walk again. Later, we returned to the Nature Center for chili, a time of devotion with C4C staff member Jordan Rowley about what compassion means and what it is like to travel to other parts of the world with Climbing For Christ. Alicia Lenahan presented a card to Jordan from all of us to encourage him.
“Next, we had a time of singing with Jordan, Joe Starling, Patrick Sturmer and Jake (who played drums) from Stone Road. Others that joined us with musical instruments were Alicia Lenahan, Mike Lehning, Andy Osborn, Lynn Byron, Mary Beth Ferguson, Mike Cavanaugh. Staff Geneva Cochran, Genny Torres, Andrew Cotter, Jaime McNamara, and Stephanie Wagner. All were great at helping out to make it a nice time. The Kimble family and Bob Stanchus from Climbing For Christ were great company and a joy to have with us. We also met many people on the trail.
“Many thanks to Mendon Pond Day Hab for preparing birdseed for us and snowshoes loaned from Mendon Ponds, Drew and Jennison, and the guys from Fairport Road. Thank you! Big thanks to Larry Havlen for helping with set up and out on the trails, Joe Starling for set up, music and photography, Pat Sturmer for coming out with drums and camera, and Jordan for sharing his heart and music. The Kimbles going the extra mile to help us through the trails and during clean-up time and also to Bob for all his help out on the trails and back at the Nature Center.
“So grateful for a great team today!”
For more information or to volunteer, contact Diane at email@example.com.
Blessed beyond measure
By Jordan Rowley
Spiritual coordinator, Climbing For Christ
2011 Bald Mountain climbing party.
Each time our members of Climbing For Christ and friends from Heritage Christian Services walk, hike or climb together, God blesses us beyond measure. The annual trip up Bald Mountain near Old Forge in the Adirondacks on Tuesday, Oct. 18 was no different. The Lord blessed us with safety, sweet fellowship and even a little sunshine! Participating in the hike were Mark Eiwen, Bob Stanchus and I (who made the drive from Rochester to Bald Mountain the morning of the climb), and Heritage friends Carol Donahue, Paul Markham, Tracey Withey, Anne Scoppa, Diane Sturmer, Joe Starling, Larry Havlen, Janet VanStaalduinen, and Andrey Khabursky (bolded names are C4C members). Of course, as Joe made sure to remind us, the Lord Himself was with us every step of the way, too.
The going was tough due to some recent heavy rains, but everyone worked together to make it to the gorgeous peak. Once on the summit, we enjoyed lunch, great conversation, some worship music and a devotional. Andrey shared from Ephesians 3:20-21, which says, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Andrey reminded us that God is not only able to do more that we can even imagine, but that with God, there is nothing that is impossible! For many on the hike, getting to the top of 2,350-foot Bald Mountain can seem near impossible. But as the group made it to the summit, I believe all of us learned a little more about our own strength, the strength a team, and most importantly the strength of God — which is that “power that works in us.”
It was a wonderful time enjoying God’s beautiful creation. The partnership that’s been developed between Climbing For Christ and Heritage Christian Services has truly grown into a beautiful friendship! I don’t think any of us can wait until the next event, where we’ll be blessed to catch up with old friends and make some new ones, too.
Posted Oct. 21, 2011
8 Days of FUNdraising
By Gary Fallesen
President, Climbing For Christ
You didn’t need to be a meteorologist or an economist to figure out the forecast: it was raining (and raining) and AppleFest sales were going nowhere (fast). This was adding up to a bad day for Climbing For Christ.
The Hilton AppleFest has, in the past, been C4C’s most successful fundraiser. In 2010, we were blessed with a net profit of $4,092.79. A grant from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans provided an additional $1,364.26 in supplemental funds. That meant that $5,457.05 was raised. [On Jan. 6, 2012, the “Put a Climbing Helmet On!” event featuring Christian comedian Brad Stine set a new mark for Climbing For Christ fundraiser. CLICK HERE to read more about it.]
The weekend of Oct. 1-2, we knew such success was impossible. Our goal of maxing out the Thrivent grant at $1,500 with $4,500 in net proceeds — to raise $6,000 — was forgotten.
Rain kept festival goers away on Sunday, Oct. 2.
The rain came down and with it sales went down. It was disappointing to say the least.
But God provided in ways we could not imagine. “With man this is impossible,” Jesus told His disciples, “but with God all things are possible.”
It started at Hope Lutheran Church in neighboring Greece, where Climbing For Christ supporter Helen Launhardt asked to sell some of the excess pulled pork that was not needed at the festival. She made $370. And then a supporter handed us a check for $520. It would have purchased 104 sandwiches, except the pork had sold out at Hope.
Another supporter, realizing Climbing For Christ needed help, gave $200. And another gave $500.
All of these donations provided twice as much as was sold in our food booth that day.
The end result: a washout — perhaps the two worst weather days, back-to-back, in the 31-year history of AppleFest — produced a net gain of $3,008.33. An additional $1,002.67 will be provided through another grant from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. That means a day that promised little, if nothing, gave Climbing For Christ $4,011.
Praise God for His provision!
Kevin Kimble puts the finishing touch on the big seller: HOT caramel cider – an 11th-hour addition to the Climbing For Christ menu.
AppleFest was our third fundraising event in an eight-day stretch — from Sunday, Sept. 25 to Sunday, Oct. 2. Eight days during which about $10,000 in much-needed funds were raised for His ministry.
To do so involved many C4C members (names boldfaced) and ministry friends with servant’s hearts. For instance, at AppleFest we start with Charlie Martella, the man who first posed the notion of a Climbing For Christ food booth in 2007. Charlie’s involvement didn’t stop there. In fact, it never ceases. He is the man responsible for cooking up many of the items on the C4C menu, including the addition this year of hot caramel cider. He came up with this idea the night before the festival when he realized the bad weather on the horizon and was determined to help salvage the weekend.
In the past, “mountain fresh” smoothies have been the mainstay — enabling Climbing For Christ raise more than $3,000 in 2007 and 2008, $5,279.61 in 2009, and $5,457.05 in 2010. But this year’s temperatures in the 40s resulted in just 56 smoothie sales. Festival goers bought 360 hot caramel ciders!
The food booth was again captained by Laurie and Kevin Kimble. They were assisted by a legion of volunteers — from set-up and clean-up crews to those who prepared pulled pork to those who serve tirelessly in the booth. Thanks to Mike Adams; Lori and Sarah Bly; Elaine and Hayley Fallesen; Brian Hawes; Alek and Paul Hunt; Brian, Erica and Sandy Kabat; Katie, Laurie and Kevin Kimble; Mary Lindsay; Jim Manchester; Charlie, Chris and Nick Martella; Dave Osterhoudt; Kathy and Stan Phillips; Linda Halliburton Raha; Dave Reisig; Cheyenne Righetti; Jordan and Justin Rowley; Frank Shepardson; Diane Smith; Barb and Jessica Swanson; Meredith Thomas; and Jon Trottier. God bless each of you!
RUNNING FOR CHRIST
Another blessing from the Lord was His leading us to enter a team in the Photo Finish 5K philanthropic run on Saturday, Oct. 1. Team Climbing For Christ raised $1,174.50. The addition of a fundraising run on AppleFest weekend helped offset some of the weather-related setbacks.
Team Climbing For Christ: (left to right) Justin and Jaime Rowley, Gary and Elaine Fallesen, Jordan Rowley, Jean Detwiler, and Kate and Molly McBride. Below, the team’s leader, Mark Eiwen.
Climbing For Christ was represented by nine runners, six of whom were C4C members. Mark Eiwen was our top runner (59th out of 803 finishers in 23:04) and biggest fundraiser ($436). Elaine Fallesen (who was 5th in her age group in 30:39 and raised $235), Jordan Rowley ($226), yours truly ($172.50), and Jean Detwiler ($105) also enjoyed the inaugural race in downtown Rochester.
Donations are being accepted for Team C4C until Nov. 1. CLICK HERE to give.
The team wore our new T-shirts in red with a “search-and-rescue” design and Luke 19:10 on the back. [These shirts are available for sale: $15 for red and $13 for white. E-mail gfallesen@ClimbingForChrist.org to purchase.]
A SWEET APPEAL
“A Sweet Appeal” was a dessert fundraiser held at the Rock Ventures indoor climbing gym in Rochester on Sunday, Sept. 25. We had the gym to ourselves, but not for climbing. We were there to introduce and explain to our 36 guests what Climbing For Christ is about.
Table captains (or “rope-holders”) were charged with inviting guests to this fundraising event. We had seven sets of rope-holders (Ken and Mary Lindsay; Kathy and Stan Phillips; Jaime, Justin and Barb Rowley; Pat and Joel Slesak; Diane and Dave Smith; Lauren and Dave Stoessel; and Diane and Patrick Sturmer) and 10 volunteers (including Leanne Bohn, Mark Eiwen, Elaine and Hayley Fallesen, Brian Kabat, Mallory MacGregor, and Jim Shoup).
Jordan Rowley opened the hour-long program with a greeting, a prayer, and a sweet block of praise music. He played guitar and was accompanied on drums by Patrick Sturmer. As Jordan finished, we played our short intro-to-C4C DVD (found on our Evangelic Expeditions page). I then shared the HIStory of Climbing For Christ and gave our guests a sense of the scope of the ministry, which has nearly 1,500 members in 54 countries and is currently working in 12 nations. I put faces on the ministry by telling short versions of three of His stories: Gilbert in Haiti, Damson in Malawi, and Sumitra in Nepal. My presentation ended with the videotaped interview of Sumitra (an edited version of the Dapcha Testimony found on our Mission: Nepal pages).
Kevin Kimble sharing his favorite Climbing For Christ photo: my first visit back to Haiti after my friend Chalisma had accepted Christ. [CLICK HERE to read “A brother from another planet.”]
This led to board member Kevin Kimble’s sharing about what he sees as the significance of Climbing For Christ after which he asked those in attendance to support the ministry. Those attending responded by donating $4,753.15 and pledged nearly $500 a month in support. Board member Mary Lindsay thanked everyone, including Rock Ventures and Starbucks (which provided coffee), and closed us in prayer.
Guests got to take home a Climbing For Christ coffee mug as a “thank you” from us. These mugs can be purchased for $5. E-mail gfallesen@ClimbingForChrist.org to order yours!
- “A Sweet Appeal” will be held again in late March 2012. E-mail gfallesen@ClimbingForChrist.org if you’re interested in serving as a rope-holder or attending this fundraising event.
Interview on WNYB-TV’s “Celebrate”