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Mission: Haiti

December 2007 — Team Bios

The Team: Brian Arnold, Sarah Brownell, Joe Cisneros, Jim Doenges, Gary Fallesen, Dan Freng, Derek Fullerton, Karen Fullerton, Miguel Rubén Guante, Nick Stevens, and Erica Zeiler.

Brian Arnold


Arny teaching

Brian Arnold teaching multiplication in Gentilhomme, Haiti in April 2007.

Age: 23. Residence: Rochester, N.Y. Family: Single. Occupation: Drywall hanger. Church: Hope Lutheran, Rochester, N.Y.

Previous missions’ experience: Mission: Haiti 2006 and April 2007, and Hope Lutheran senior-high youth urban missions to Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and New York City.


Favorite Scripture: I like the ones where there is anointing going on, and Acts where Peter and John are before the Sanhedrin.


Special “God moment” you’d like to share: Before sharing for my first time, I had this breeze across the lake hit my face, and I just heard in my heart, “I'll always be there for you.” That was really cool, and I felt Him work through me. Those are amazing moments.

Sarah Brownell


Sarah Brownell

Sarah Brownell, working in Borgne, Haiti is the co-founder of SOIL (Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods). She has a Master's degree in environmental engineering from Cal-Berkeley.

Age: Turning 33 on mission. Residence: Rochester, N.Y. Family: Married. Occupation: Volunteer, Catholic worker, environmental engineer. Church: Spiritus Christi, Rochester, N.Y.

Previous missions’ experience: Borgne, Haiti with Haiti Outreach: Pwoje Espwa (H.O.P.E.) from June-August 1998, June-August 2000, April 2001, June-August 2003, June-July 2004, April-June 2006, February-April 2007, and August-October 2007. Cap Haitian, Haiti with Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods (SOIL) from February-April 2007 and August-October 2007. Also, Wat Opat, Cambodia with AIDS Hospice and Orphanage for three weeks in January 2000.

Favorite Scripture: The Beatitudes, Jeremiah 3:33, and the woman at the well.

Special “God moment” you’d like to share: The first one. After my second year at Rochester Institute of Technology, I volunteered to live and work for the summer at St. Joseph’s House of Hospitality Catholic Worker House and was inspired by the philosophy and nature of their hospitality. I felt they were living the Gospel. In the fall, I found myself on co-op (like a student intern) at a chain manufacturing plant in Ithaca, N.Y. I was suicidal and disillusioned by my work and was looking for a way out of that life path, including possibly jumping into the Ithaca gorges. I was out walking, exploring my neighborhood for the nearest gorge (I had only lived there a month or two), and found a street called Sunset Boulevard. It opened up into Sunset Park just in time for the sunset.  Every time I went there afterwards there were always people there, but not that day. I was alone with the beautiful sunset over the lake and suddenly felt this rush of energy and a connection to everything and everyone. I said, “God what do you want me to do?” God replied, “I’m still here.” I kept asking what I was supposed to do, but I kept getting the same response. I still don’t know what I’m supposed to do, but whenever I get discouraged I remember that day and God’s response.

Joe Cisneros

Age: 19. Residence: Centennial, Colo. Family: Single. Occupation: Student. Church: South Suburban Christian, Littleton, Colo.

Previous missions’ experience: Mission Montana on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation the past five years.

Favorite Scripture: Matthew 5:19, 2 Corinthians 12:10, James 1:27 and 2:17. OK, all of James.

Special “God moment” you’d like to share: Every moment is a God moment.

Jim Doenges


Jim Doenges

Jim Doenges saying "asante" (thanks) to a Kilimanjaro porter while on mission in Tanzania in February 2007.

Age: 48. Residence: Littleton, Colo. Family: Married. Occupation: Climbing For Christ. Church: South Suburban Christian, Littleton, Colo.

Previous missions’ experience: Navajo Nation, five trips from 1996 to 2001. Mission: Kilimanjaro and Mission: Denali in 2007.

Favorite Scripture: Varies with the day and moment. At the time of this writing, it was Matthew 5:1-2 (The Message) and 1 Peter 3:15 (NLT).

Special “God moment” you’d like to share: God still does some of His most powerful work in His mountains. That’s where He broke through to me. I have access to joy, peace, and hope in my life only because of the free gift of grace given to me by Jesus Christ. God used a prayer-filled Christian climber to bring truth and love and God’s ways into my life over a period of many years – an example we can all seek to follow.

Gary Fallesen


Gary Fallesen

Gary Fallesen presenting a Creole Bible to a Gentilhomme woman after her baptism in April.

Age: 48. Residence: Hilton, N.Y. Family: Married for 25 years with two children (18-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter). Occupation: Climbing For Christ. Church: Hope Lutheran, Rochester, N.Y.

Previous missions’ experience: Mission: Mexico and Dominican Republic/Haiti in 2005, Haiti in 2006, and Kilimanjaro, Haiti, and Indonesia in 2007.

Favorite Scripture: In regards to this mission, it would be the Mission: Haiti theme — Matthew 16:18 (“Se sou woch sa a m'ap bati legliz mwen”).

Special “God moment” you’d like to share: The origin of Mission: Haiti was definitely one of those divine moments that give you God bumps. While others were fleeing Haiti in June 2005, we were entering. I was traveling with my 16-year-old son, Jesse, and 21-year-old Johnathan Esper. We followed the directions of our Lord, all the while thinking we were going somewhere else. We thought we were going to climb a mountain — Pic la Selle, the highest mountain in the nation at 8,793 feet or 2,680 meters — but that was not what God intended. He brought us to the hilltop village of Gentilhomme. We met a man, Chalismar, who took us to meet Pastor Maristaine Tresin. Pastor Tresin was wearing a tie and sport jacket despite the oppressive heat and humidity. He was standing in front of his church — three thatch walls, no roof, dirt floor. Pastor Tresin shook my hand earnestly and said in Creole (though I hear it in English in my mind): “I have prayed for two years for God to send help.” I knew we were the help God was sending — and is still sending.

Dan Freng

Age: 29. Residence: Littleton, Colo. Family: Married for seven years with two sons (ages 6 and 2). Occupation: Pastor. Church: South Suburban Christian, Littleton, Colo.

Previous missions’ experience: Short-term project in Kenya (January 2007). Currently working at his church as the associate pastor of mission.

Favorite Scripture: Matthew 20:20-28 and Acts 1:8.

Special “God moment” you’d like to share: The days that my two boys were born, my understanding of God’s love for me as Abba Father moved from my head to my heart in a profound way.

Derek Fullerton

Age: 38. Residence: Colorado Springs, Colo. Family: Married in 2006 (see Karen Fullerton). Occupation: Pastor and carpet cleaner. Church: International Anglican Church, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Previous missions’ experience: Haiti with Compassion International (2001); Ethiopia with Christ Church Fellowship (2002); Cambodia with Kampuchea For Christ (2002); Kenya with Encouragement, Inc. (2005).

Favorite Scripture: 2 Chronicles 16:9.

Special “God moment” you’d like to share: All times with the Lord on a summit is special.

Karen Fullerton

Age: 27. Residence: Colorado Springs, Colo. Family: Married in 2006 (see Derek Fullerton). Occupation: Conference planner for Focus on the Family. Church: International Anglican Church, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Previous missions’ experience: Bermuda church camp with Immanuel Baptist Church (1997) and Innercity Minneapolis with Immanuel Baptist Church (2001)

Favorite Scripture: Psalm 19:14 and Ezekiel 11:19-20 

Special "God moment" you'd like to share: There have been many — usually during moments of passionate worship, intimate community, or when I'm surrounded by creation. None are really dramatic stories, though. Just the overwhelming, unforgettable, unmistakable sense of my own brokenness, God's pure holiness and goodness, and His consuming love that come when I've truly felt God's presence in a tangible way.

Miguel Rubén Guante



Miguel Rubén Guante, Climbing For Christ's missionary to Haiti, with his two daughters outside their home in the Dominican border town of Jimani.

CLICK HERE to “Meet the Missionary.”

Nick Stevens

Age: 53. Residence: Loveland, Colo. Family: Married with four children (two of whom were on the Mission: Denali 2007 team). Occupation: Consulting and loan officer. Church: Resurrection Fellowship, Loveland, Colo.

Previous missions’ experience: Brazil for six weeks in 1974 with Harding College, and Mexico in 1998 and 1999 with International Family Missions.

Favorite Scripture: Philippians 4:4-6.

Special “God moment” you’d like to share: When I was 25, I fell asleep at the wheel and ran into a tree. God’s providence preserved me for His purposes. Clearly His hand of intervention saved me.

Erica Zeiler

Age: Turning 28 on mission. Residence: Littleton, Colo. Family: Single. Occupation: Associate pastor of youth and community. Church: South Suburban Christian, Littleton, Colo.

Previous missions’ experience: Mexico in 1998 and Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Montana in 2002, ’03, ’04, ’05 and ’06.

Favorite Scripture: Romans 5:8 and Philippians 3:8.

Special “God moment” you’d like to share: One of the sweetest ‘God moments’ that I have been blessed with is the laying on of hands at my ordination, where all clergy, my family, my friends, and my church laid hands on me and prayed at the end of the service.

Support Mission: Haiti

Pray for this team and the people they are ministering to in the mountains of Haiti. We can also use your financial support. Send donations to: Climbing For Christ, Mission: Haiti, P.O. Box 16290, Rochester, N.Y. 14616. Or CLICK HERE to give via PayPal.

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