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Mission: Kilimanjaro 2007

Date: Feb. 17-March 1, 2007.

Team: 10 members — Becca Catlin, Tacoma, Wash.; Jim Doenges, Littleton, Colo.; Shawn Dowd, Rochester, N.Y.; Gary Fallesen, Hilton, N.Y.; Jesse Fallesen, Hilton, N.Y.; Aaron Hemphill, Blairmore, Alberta, Canada; David Lesh, Cherry Valley, Calif.; Joshua Lesh, Cherry Valley, Calif.; Mollie Olson, Saranac Lake, N.Y.; Todd Paris, Pottersville, N.Y.

Cost: $3,500, includes airfare from JFK (New York City), three days in Moshi, Tanzania, and seven days climbing one of the Seven Summits via the Machame Route.

PURPOSE: To explore how God would have us serve the people around Kilimanjaro and to identify a full-time missionary from Climbing For Christ who will be called to serve for a minimum of two years in Moshi and around the slopes of Kili. SEE “Help Wanted” below.

Highlights include:

  • Climbing 19,340-foot Kilimanjaro, including an extra day on the mountain to acclimatize. The Machame Route is one of the most varied and beautiful hikes in the world.
  • Lodging in Moshi at a special hotel on the edge of town.
  • Tanzanian guide trained during visit to USA (this is not common for other groups).
  • Three in-town days to explore the local culture, learn about the church there and experience spiritual opportunities.

Help Wanted

Climbing For Christ is looking for candidates for a full-time missionary position in Tanzania as part of Mission: Kilimanjaro. Our desire is to have a dedicated member commit a minimum of two years to working with guides, porters and visiting climbers to help improve conditions for those who labor on Kili, and also to deliver the Word of God to those who don't know Him there. Short-term mission teams from Climbing For Christ will support this missionary, who will be based in or around Moshi, Tanzania.

Job description

Position: Full-time missionary (or missionaries). This position is open to an individual or married couple.

Length of commitment: Minimum of two years.

Purpose: Working with guides and porters who climb Kili to teach about the effects of high altitude and to help equip guides and porters with better gear for conditions on the 19,340-foot mountain. Through relationships developed by living in the community, there will be opportunities to share the Gospel and witness to locals. Ultimately, a full-time presence there will enable missionaries to show the love of Christ to guides, porters, their families, and those living around Kilimanjaro. The full-time missionary (missionaries) will be supported by short-term missionaries a minimum of once or twice a year. Short-term missionaries pay their own way.

Expenses: Transportation, lodging, food, and medical insurance will be paid by Climbing For Christ. Missionaries are expected to raise financial support to help defray costs and to provide a salary while serving in Africa.

Candidates must apply and be interviewed for this position. Finalists will be invited to go on Mission: Kilimanjaro 2007, tentatively scheduled for February. Candidates must pay their own way. Climbing Kili will be part of the 2007 trip. After the mission is complete, a call will be made to the prospective missionary who will be asked to start serving in the summer of 2007 to be in place for the climbing seasons in July-August and from mid-December through mid-March.

E-mail gfallesen@ClimbingForChrist.org if you are interested in learning more about serving in East Africa or to request an application for this position.

For a taste of what it's like in Tanzania, read "A Guide's Life."

 

Umbwe Gate

A grocery, building at left, and homes on the road to the Umbwe Gate, between Moshi and Arusha, Tanzania. (Photo by Gary Fallesen)

 

Model Mission

By Gary Fallesen

“At Karanga Valley, the porters from another group came running up to me as our group hiked off. I went to look down into the valley. Coming up was a porter spitting white froth. Pulmonary edema. Without immediate descent he would die. He had been up on the Arrow Glacier (at 15,750 feet). He was clothed in a T-shirt and light jacket. Last water was 36 hours before. I explained to him that he might not be able to work at high altitude again. The look on his face when he realized he may not have a job in the future will stay with me.”
– Rick French (Pack, Paddle, Ski adventure travel company, South Lima, N.Y.)

Anyone who has climbed 19,340-foot Mount Kilimanjaro knows the poverty that surrounds that majestic African peak. For those who live in the Third World nation of Tanzania, being a porter is one of the best jobs available. It pays $20 a trip – a week of hard work at high altitude and usually without the proper gear.

When my friend Rick French and I met to discuss what we could do to make a difference for those people, a vision formed before my eyes. I believe it can be a model for Climbing For Christ mission work; something we can replicate throughout the world as we try to live as Jesus would.

To best serve the people – providing them with what they need, not just want – we must understand them. To make a difference, it is essential that you establish relationships. This takes time. It will require an on-going, long-term effort.

I would like to establish a base in Moshi, Tanzania, where trekking groups and climbers depart for Kili through the nearby gateways of Machme Village, Umbwe Village, Mweka Village and Marangu Village. We would place a Climbing For Christ member in Moshi to live with these wonderful people. He or she would need to know or learn Swahili in order to communicate with the people. He or she would also need to know how to listen, to understand, to discern needs from wants. The problem with many missions is they become a handout, providing no sense of empowerment.

Among the goals for our mission would be to:

  • Educate porters about altitude and its effects on the body.
  • Improve conditions for porters by helping supply better clothing, water purification, and other climbing essentials.
  • Educate climbers and trekkers – especially Westerners, who mistakenly think of porters as pack animals – that porters are human beings.

By living in Moshi, we would have a base of operations, establishing contact with guiding companies and possibly assisting a porters’ association. Other members could visit and provide help (as well as have an opportunity to experience a great Kili climb).

As Rick French says, “It’s easy to bring over rain jackets, but to really understand … I don't know what it would take.” I believe it would take a servant’s heart, a Christ-like heart, a Spirit-filled passion to make a real difference.

 

The Word

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.”
– John 15:9

Helping Hands

Those donating $50 or more to Climbing For Christ for Mission: Kilimanjaro will receive a free DVD copy of the documentary The Song of Kilimanjaro made by Kevin Flynn and Climbing For Christ president Gary Fallesen after their 1998 ascent.

Send your tax-deductible donation — earmarked Mission: Kilimanjaro — to:
Climbing For Christ, Inc.
P.O. Box 16290,
Rochester, N.Y. 14616-0290

Kili

The peak of 19,340-foot Kilimanjaro looms over Barranco Hut, at 12,956 feet, in the early morning light. (Photo by Gary Fallesen)

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