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The Team

Dates: June 24-July 2, 2005.

Members: Johnathan Esper, Long Lake, N.Y.; Gary and Jesse Fallesen, Rochester, N.Y.; Jose Veras, Rochester, N.Y./La Romana, DR.

Mission: Climbing mission during which team members witnessed and distributed Spanish Bibles and tracts in the Dominican Republic and Creole Bibles and tracts in Haiti. The team's goal: to climb the highpoints of the DR (10,127-foot/3,087-meter Pico Duarte) and Haiti (8,793-foot/2,680-meter Peak de la Selle).

DR Dispatches



Friday, July 1, 2005, 11 a.m.

Gary Fallesen reporting:


We spent last night in hot Jarabacoa.  We returned to Santo Domingo and tomorrow Jesse and I fly back to Rochester, NY; Johnathan returns home to Long Lake, NY; and Jose, a Dominican native who teaches school in Rochester, will spend the summer in his homeland. 


It was a whirlwind week, taking us to Haiti, where we found our true purpose for this trip (see the SPECIAL REPORT below) and to the highpoint of the Dominican Republic (10,127-foot Pico Duarte).  May the work that the Lord has begun in us here, particularly in Haiti, be completed by His grace.


“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  - Ephesians 2:10


Thursday, June 30, 2005, 4 pm.

Gary Fallesen reporting:


We completed the 14-mile hike from the summit to the park entrance, walking out through the lush rainforest (full of sugarcanes, ferns, palms, lemon trees and coffee plants).  The team was tired from a long day (17.1 miles of hiking up to the 10,127-foot summit and all the way down).  The trail crossed over three mountains.  It was not as hot today.  I was disappointed that we did not distribute any Spanish Bibles.

Team DR

The Mission: Dominican Republic team on the summit of Pico Duarte consists of (from left to right) Jesse Fallesen, Gary Fallesen, Jose Veras and Johnathan Esper.

Thursday, June 30, 2005, 6:58 a.m.
Gary Fallesen reporting:

The team has successfully summitted Pico Duarte.  Johnathan, Jesse, Jose and I, with our guide Victor, left the camp at 4:20 a.m., climbed up in the darkness, and made our final ascent in sunlight as the sun rose over the Caribbean Sea.  All thanks and praise to God for a successful summit!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005, 7:10 p.m.
Gary Fallesen reporting:

Johnathan, Jose, Jesse and I just pulled into La Comparticion, the camp on Pico Duarte at 8,050 feet. Everyone feels good, albeit tired. We hiked 18.1 kilometers (11 1/4 miles) from the park entrance at 3,600 feet. It took us about eight hours. It’s a beautiful trail that starts in rain forest and ascends to an alpine zone with trees bearing white man’s beard. After 8 3/4 miles we had climbed 5,200 vertical feet to 8,800 feet. We climbed out of the hot sun into the clouds. The last 4 kilometers (2 ½ miles) brought us down 750 feet to La Comparticion. We made the descent in a downpour. A Christian youth group was in camp and gave us a large tent to use for the night. We will return to the trail at 4 a.m. in the hope of witnessing the start of another day that the Lord will make from the summit.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005, 8 p.m.
Gary Fallesen reporting:

Jose Veras, the final member of our team, picked us up in Santo Domingo at mid-day and we drove to Jarabacoa. We will set out early Wednesday morning. We will enter Parques Nacionales Ramirez and begin a 14-mile hike up the Caribbean’s highest mountain, Pico Duarte. We will be carrying Spanish Bibles and tracts to hand out to whomever we encounter along the way.

Monday, June 27, 2005, 5 p.m.

SPECIAL REPORT FROM HAITI, Gary Fallesen reporting:


Two weeks ago I wrote in my prayer journal: “A thought (a fear?) – What if God breaks my heart for Haiti?”  The next day, my pastor and friend, Larry Stojkovic, prayed that we would see Haiti through Jesus’ eyes.


Yesterday we arrived in the rural village of Soliette.  We immediately become the center of attention.  The village’s mountain guide was heralded.  He wanted to charge us $150 US because “it is a great hardship” to him to climb.  Never mind that it would be three months' wages for a day’s work.  We told him no.  We were laughed at as we hiked out of the village.  I am reminded of Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:14 – “If anyone will not welcome you…shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.”


We hiked along the wide rocky river bed and crossed it to start our climb.  An elderly man gave us directions.  We gave him a Creole Bible, for which he was greatly pleased.  Up we went.  After about 1,600 vertical feet of steep climbing, we crested a hill overlooking the village of Jeantilhome.  Standing behind the village is Peak de la Selle, the mountain we came to climb.  It towers above Jeantilhome, standing in the clouds.  It is massive.  We met a man who will guide us for $20 Haitian (probably a couple US dollars), but first he wanted us to meet the pastor.  Everyone in the village came out to see us again.  We gave out all of our Bibles and talked to the pastor, Meristaire Tresin.  We left with two guides, Chalusma Charles and Juanbatis Blanche, but on the other side of the village there is a valley.  The trail goes down 500 or so feet, and then will climb probably 5,000-plus feet.  Steeply.  As we discussed what to do, we realized this was a two-day climb that requires more food.  We had only enough for the three of us, and the four who came with us – Miguel Guante, Silvio Montero, Estenio Gustove, and 15-year-old Ticar – had nothing.  Not even water.  We were not going to climb this mountain.  Not today.


But God had something bigger in store for us.  We returned to talk to the pastor.  He has been here for two years, and asked for someone to come and help him.  God sent us.  The village needs a church built.  They meet inside four thatch walls with no roof.  When it rains, there is no church.  The village also has no school or hospital – in fact, it has little at all.  About 100 people worship inside the thatch walls.  This is what Climbing For Christ is all about: a village unreached by missionaries in a mountainous area.  These are poor Haitian hillpeople, tending to cattle on steep slopes.  I pledge to help the pastor and his flock.  We have a new mission: send a team to build a church and climb la Selle.  It could be a week-long trip.  We listened to them sing a Haitian song which goes, “I am nothing, Jesus, take me as I am,” and say a Creole prayer.  I feel God breaking my heart for these people.  Then we descended.  Our human failure (no summit) is His success. 


In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”  Proverbs 16:9


Monday, June 27, 2005, 9:30 a.m.
Gary Fallesen reporting:

We have safely crossed the border from Haiti back into the Dominican Republic.  We're now on a bus en route back to Santo Domingo.  A complete report will be filed later today.

Sunday, June 26, 2005, 5:25 p.m.
Gary Fallesen reporting:

We crossed the border into Haiti at 8 a.m. on motorcycles, and rode about two hours to a small village called Soliette.  We climbed up toward Peak de la Selle, commonly called Buoukan (Mountain of Fire), and discovered there was a longer and harder climb than anticipated.  It would require more food and water than we had, as we were accompanied by four others who had no food or water with them.  But God used our visit to this high place in this poor country to introduce us to a small village desperately in need of our help.  A full report will be filed later.  As my wife Elaine learned this afternoon from a Haitian gentleman at Monroe Community Hospital in Rochester, N.Y., the Creole philosophy is, “Si Die vle – If God wants.”  We believe our experience here today is what He wants.

Saturday, June 25, 2005 , 6 p.m.
Gary Fallesen reporting:

Jesse, Johnathan, Miguel and I made the 5-hour bus ride from Santo Domingo to Jimani, near the Haitian border, with 30 of our closest friends and one chicken on a bus that seats 25 uncomfortably. We hopped off the bus on Route 46 leading into Jimani, hoisted heavy packs to our backs and immediately broke out into a serious sweat. We were taken to the Hotel JV con bano privado (Hotel JV with private bathroom). Miguel took us to dinner at his home, where he lives with his wife, Kenia; his wife’s sister and cousin, their children, and his mother. He built the tin-roofed concrete home behind a homestead constructed on a hill by World Vision. We ate chicken, rice with white beans, fried plantain, and salad with lettuce, cucumbers and beets. All of the food was especially good. Miguel told us that we are friends, "brothers," and he will take us to Haiti and back. He said he is responsible for us. We will go to the border Sunday morning, led by the words of Jesus (found in Matthew 10:16): "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves."

Friday June 24, 2005, 7 p.m.
Gary Fallesen reporting:

We met with Cesar Lopez, our Dominican contact, and Miguel Guante, who will go with us to Haiti. "He is very trustful to me," Cesar says. Miguel is a Haitian living in Jimani, DR. He will travel with us on Saturday to Jimani. Johnathan Esper also joined us after completing his two-week-long Messiah College mission, which consisted of two building projects. Another member of our team, Jose Veras, will join us after we return from Haiti to climb Pico Duarte. Our plan is to enter Haiti and go with Miguel and two or three others to Chaine de la Selle. We hope to climb the Haitian highpoint on Sunday – distributing Creole Bibles on the Lord’s day - and then return to DR on Monday. At dinner in Santo Domingo, Miguel prayed for us and gave thanks for the opportunity before us. Amen.

Thursday, June 23, 2005, 3:40 p.m.
Gary Fallesen reporting:

My son Jesse and I arrived in the Dominican Republic to begin this Evangelic Expedition.  We landed in Santo Domingo on our second attempt.  About 30 minutes out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. the flight attendants were abruptly told to end beverage service and report to the front cabin.  I fought that awful sick feeling of desperate uncertainty.  Then the pilot announced that there was an hydraulic problem and we would have to return to South Florida.  He assured us that it would be a normal landing; he said he just wouldn't be able to turn the plane when it was on the ground.  We landed safely, deplaned, went to the next gate and boarded another jet to continue the trip.  We will be joined by Johnathan Esper on Friday, when he completes a Messiah College mission to DR.  There have been many challenges to this Evangelic Expedition.  But we do not worry.  God will fulfill the promise He made in Philippians 4:19 - “And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

The Word

“...do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” – Matthew 10:19-20


The Plan

Our itinerary (subject to change if it is not His plan):

Thursday, June 23 – Gary and Jesse Fallesen arrive in Santo Domingo, DR.
Friday, June 24 – Johnathan Esper sends off Messiah College mission team, which will return to U.S. Johnathan joins Gary and Jesse in Santo Domingo.
Saturday, June 25 – Mission team leaves Santo Domingo with Migual Guante, traveling by bus to the border town of Jimani, DR.
Sunday, June 26 – Team crosses Haitian border and travels to Pare National Foret des Pins to climb Chaine de la Selle.
Monday, June 27 – Finish climb and return to border.
Tuesday, June 28 – Travel back to Santo Domingo, meet Jose Veras and continue on to Jarabacoa, DR.
Wednesday, June 29 – Begin two-day climb of Pico Duarte.
Thursday, June 30 – Finish climb of Pico Duarte and return to Jarabacoa.
Friday, July 1 – Travel back to Santo Domingo.
Saturday, July 2 – Return to the United States.



Our gratitude to Roadpost for providing the satellite phone and service for this mission trip.


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