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Mission: Kilimanjaro 2010

Dispatches

By Gary Fallesen
President, Climbing For Christ

Saturday, Jan. 30

Our team only came together as a group of four for the first time on Friday evening as God was using us in different places and different ways during this trip. Now He is again sending us in different directions as Charlotte heads off with Climbing For Christ guide and friend Tumaini, and Carl, Allan and I begin the long trip back to the States. We have an evening flight out of Kilimanjaro to Europe and then to the U.S. on Sunday.

We are in agreement that God exceeded all of our expectations during this whirlwind mission in Tanzania and Malawi. We have seen and learned many new things, and the Lord has given us much to consider. He has also led us to leave many things for others to ponder: from Kilimanjaro Chapter guides and porters to our Muslim friends we have walked with these past two weeks in Tanzania, and from orphans to pastors in Malawi.

Let the journey continue...

Friday, Jan. 29

Our physical time in Malawi has come to an end. Our prayers and the Lord's work for us here will continue no matter what country we are in.

Allan completed his descent of Kilimanjaro early this morning. Back in Moshi, our guide and friend Yusuf texted: “We are just back at the hotel safe. We heard that you gonna be here at 7 so can we plan to have dinner at my home tonight?” It would be a blessing to us. But first, Charlotte, Carl and I must fly from Lilongwe, Malawi to Lusaka, Zambia and then to Nairobi, Kenya before reaching Kilimanjaro airport in the evening. Just in time for dinner at Yusuf's home!

Thursday, Jan. 28 (2 p.m. local time)

Mulanje Mountain

While our brother Allan was returning from the summit of Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, we went hiking on the Mulanje Massif in Malawi. It was a divine appointment. To climb Mulanje, a vast massif that rises dramatically out of the Phalombe Plain with 20 peaks above 7,500 feet (2,500 meters), you need a guide. A young man flagged us down before we reached the main road turn-off to the Likhubula Forestry Station.

Wells Mishon (sounds like “mission,” appropriately enough) is 19 and in Form 3, the Malawi equivalent to the third year of high school in the U.S. But he could not pay his school fee, which is about 7,500 kwacha (about US$50) per year. So he was working as one of the 24 guides allowed to take one trip per month on Mulanje for 1,500 kwacha (US$10). We enjoyed our time together on this spectacular massif and God led us to sponsor Wells so he can return to school on Monday. He also became our newest Climbing For Christ member.

Thursday, Jan. 28

Allan reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro at 6 a.m. local time (9 p.m. Wednesday back in his home state of Minnesota). “He is doing OK,” his guide Yusuf said in a text message. We give thanks to the Lord for yet another blessing on this trip. Allan and Yusuf are beginning to descend Africa's tallest mountain. We are praying for both of our friends.

Wednesday, Jan. 27

There were more than 400 participants at the impromptu conference held by our host, Pastor Duncan, at the Searchlight Ministries compound in Kambona, Malawi. Pastor Carl taught three sessions on “The hidden Power that is in every believer” and “Hearing the voice of the Lord, and obeying” for pastors and church leaders from throughout the region. Charlotte did two Spirit-led breakout sessions on encouragement for high school-age girls and female church leaders.

The day-long conference was impromptu only for we three Americans, who learned about it just before leaving the States. This was all part of God's plan for this Evangelic Expedition from before time began. That became evident to us as we observed the hundreds who'd come by bicycle from as far away as Mozembique, who were hungry for teaching on the Word of God. We sensed the Holy Spirit's presence throughout the day.

“Today was good,” Pastor Duncan said when we had finished.

It was also bittersweet as we heard “The Goodbye Song” sung by the orphans. We aren't leaving them, however. They are a part of us. And, as the orphans' caregiver Damson Samson told the children, they have friends now in the United States. We left February support (US$500) to buy the childresn a month's worth of food. This will be the third month Climbing For Christ has provided funds so 15 orphans can eat, and we are praying about making this a monthly fixture in our budget.

There are many more opportunities under prayerful consideration, including the possibility of sending Damson to the African Bible College in Lilongwe for as little as US$900 per year for tuition. Damson has waited “patiently by faith” for seven years to go to university in a country where high school equivalency is rare. This 27-year-old shines the light of Jesus brightly.

We did not come to Malawi intending to find a possible future pastor to sponsor. But we didn't expect to be blessed with an opportunity to equip 400 saints serving in ministry in this physically taxed land. Nor to participate in a youth worship, like the one that broke out in the evening with children from the orphanage and the Searchlight secondary school singing and dancing and overflowing with joy. Carl encouraged them to pursue the dreams God has for them.

“God's great works very often start in hidden places,” Carl told his audience in a place few from outside of Africa have heard of and fewer still have visited. We are convicted that people will be hearing more about God's work in Malawi.

Tuesday, Jan. 26

We began our survey of the work here in southwestern Malawi, visiting Duncan's churches, the schools, and the orphanage. We shared “The Best Story of All” with 65 orphans, 15 of whom reside here in Kambona as part of Searchlight Ministries. Another 40 orphans had to be returned to grandparents when funding dried up like the drought-stricken corn that is withering in fields all around us.

Volunteer teacher Damson Samson with some of our orphans.

One reason to be happier is the working borehole at the orphanage. There is good water at their doorstep, not a long walk away. Unfortunately, the orphans do have to walk to school. The government closed the primary school because there was no water, too many students in a single classroom, not enough teachers, and not enough toilets. There is a secondary school with more than 200 students attending on the Searchlight campus. Each child must pay US$165 for one year of high school, which is a hardship in a country where the average annual income is US$260.

Duncan says those children are starving. It costs only US$15 a month to feed these children, who are amazingly happy and well behaved.

Life is difficult in the remote reaches of this poor, hot country. We are learning many things about the people and continuting to see how the Lord will move through us here.

On Kilimanjaro, the Lord is using and working through Allan, who reached Karanga Camp on the fourth day. Allan says he has had contact with many people and is enjoying his time with Yusuf. “Pray that God gives me the words,” Allan said. “I'm feeling good!”

Monday, Jan. 25 (7 a.m. local time)

Flying by Kilimanjaro on our way from Tanzania to Nairobi, Kenya, en route to Malawi.

Monday, Jan. 25

 

Charlotte and I have both stood on top of that spectacular mountain, where Allan is in the third day of his seven-day climb.

 

“We are at Baranco Camp,” Allan said this afternoon. “Getting to know a lot of people from around the world.”

 

Yusuf, our old friend who is guiding Allan, said: “God is still helping us for health and good weather.”

 

We pray that continues. On Kilimanjaro and in Malawi, where Duncan Nyozani met Charlotte, Carl and me at the airport in Lilongwe. We then began the five-hour drive to the remote village of Kambona, where his Searchlight Ministries is based. Searchlight consists of four churches and one orphanage. We are here to visit the orphans and learn more about the ministry.

Sunday, Jan. 24

There were nearly as many people attending the afternoon deliverance service as worshiped in the two morning services combined as Charlotte, Carl and I spent much of the day at Pastor Mosha's church. In between the services, we had lunch at Pastor Mosha's house with he and his wife Eunice, who has recovered from a brutal beating by thieves in 2007.

On the mountain, Allan moved up to Camp 2 on the Machame Route. He reported that everything was fine. “God is blessing us,” he said in a text message.

God blessed the other three members of this mission team with an opportunity to worship with about 650 Tanzanians in a Swahili service and then the more traditional Chagga service. I spoke briefly in each service about Climbing For Christ; Charlotte shared what was on her heart (encouragement for the girls and women in both congregations), and Carl preached from John 14:18 (Jesus saying “I will not leave you as orphans”). There is a school and orphanage at Pastor Mosha's church, so many know what it means to be left as an orphan.

Pastor Carl delivering the Good News.

In between the two morning services, we added two more members to the Kilimanjaro Chapter. Both work in Kilimanjaro National Park. One, a member of the park's rescue service, recently converted from Islam and is attending Pastor Mosha's church.

There is also a deliverance ministry at this Lutheran church now. Pastor Mosha started it after a Kilimanjaro Chapter prayer walk following our visit in March 2008. The prayer walk ascended to a place on Kili where witchcraft is practiced. After that time of prayer, the deliverance ministry began on June 29, 2008. They claim hundreds of healings and people being freed from demon spirits.

As Carl was speaking during this service, he said many in the church in North America would not believe this. “But Scripture tells us that even demons tremble at the name of Jesus.”

There seemed to be a whole lot of trembling going on as people were prayed over and many fell to the floor, some writhing, others carried from the church screaming. Pastor Mosha has a team of 40 church members trained to pray with people after they are delivered from the bondage of Satan. Those church members were busy. More than 600 people attended this service, half from other churches.

Next stop: Malawi for Charlotte, Carl and me; Kilimanjaro Camp 3 for Allan. God is good!

Saturday, Jan. 23

We met with 39 Climbing For Christ members (29 who joined today) at Pastor Mosha's church in Marangu. We talked about Climbing For Christ and how God is using us to bring people to Him around the world.

Pastor Carl teaching the Kilimanjaro Chapter about Christ living in them.


Carl taught the group, many of whom were guides and porters, about evangelism. He started by talking about how Christ lives in us (Galatians 2:20). “Do you realize how many times the King goes up Kilimanjaro?” Carl asked. “Every time you do.”

Our desire is that those working on the mountain would be willing to share the Jesus in their hearts with other (non-Christian) guides and porters and the thousands of lost trekkers who come here each year. To assist them in this, Carl taught the group how to make a “Gospel flag” to wear. They put together a bracelet or necklace made of colored beads that tell the Gospel story: black for sin, red for the blood of Jesus, white for “washed clean,” green for new life, and yellow for eternal life. Everyone was quite excited with their new witnessing tool.

On Kilimanjaro, Allan started out on the Machame Route. He reached Camp 1 (about 10,000 feet) on his first day of climbing. “Got to know Yusuf better,” Allan said, referring to his guide and our friend.  “Everyone is doing good!”

Friday, Jan. 22

Allan, Carl and I took a walk in the forest with Yusuf to see several types of monkeys, then headed into Moshi Town with Pastor Mosha to meet up with Tumaini Geofrey. Tumaini is one of the Moshi coordinators of our Kilimanjaro Chapter. Tumaini took us to his family's house on the outskirts of town and we had lunch there (pork and bananas baked with a little beef). They were very excited about our visit.

Tumaini was fresh from guiding a safari and Frank Sabas (the other Moshi coordinator) is on the mountain. That's why nothing was organized for the evangelism training we'd scheduled for today in Moshi. Seven guides and porters, including three new members, will travel to Marangu on Saturday for the training there. We are praying for a big turnout.

Late in the afternoon, Carl and I packed up and left Moshi to travel with Pastor Mosha for one hour to Marangu. Allan stayed behind. He will begin his attempt of Kilimanjaro with Yusuf guiding on Saturday.

The fourth member of our team, Charlotte Crain, joined us in Marangu. She took a long, dusty bus ride from Nairobi after flying into Kenya last night. Charlotte climbed Kili in 2006 with Tumaini and Frank. One of the many stories of how God has woven together Climbing For Christ, and will continue to do so.

Thursday, Jan. 21 - second dispatch

Allan got his first glimpse of Kilimanjaro just before sunset when the clouds covering the mountain all day cleared. “Now I'm psyched,” he declared. Carl said he experienced the same feeling when he met Pastor Mosha for the first time in the morning. The reality that the  mission was on hit both men in different ways.

Mount Kilimanjaro.

Allan will begin climbing with Yusuf and Yusuf's team (an assistant guide, cook, and two porters) on Saturday. We are praying for his witnessing opportunities. At that same time, Carl will be teaching evangelism to guides and porters from the Kilimanjaro Chapter at Pastor Mosha's church in Marangu. We pray this will equip them to do what Allan will be doing in a regular and ongoing basis. We know about half of the guides and porters working on Kilimanjaro and a majority of those trekkers who come to climb this magnificent mountain are not Christ followers. This is our mission field here.

Thursday, Jan. 21

Pastor Mosha drove one hour over from Marangu to meet with us in Moshi. Many of the Moshi guides and porters are working (on the mountain or on safari), including one of our Kilimanjaro Chapter coordinators, so we will not be able to teach here tomorrow. We will hold one day of training in evangelism at Pastor Mosha's church in Marangu on Saturday. Pastor Mosha serves as the spiritual advisor for our Kilimanjaro Chapter, which numbers about 75 members and is expected to grow during our visit.

Pastor Mosha gave us a lift into town in the vehicle Climbing For Christ helped him buy. Yusuf, our friend and Kilimanjaro guide, then took us for a walk around town. He is now the chairman of the Kili Guide's Society. He talked about how the world's economy hurt tourism and a five-year drought has driven up food prices, so many people are suffering. Tanzania has long been one of the poorer countries in the world. Being a climbing guide has been among the better paying jobs. But it's not for everyone, and not every guide is qualified.

Yusuf took us to his home, where his wife Fatma made a lunch feast, ranging from banana soup and banana stew to beef and rice with fresh spinach, avocado and mango. Yusuf said such a meal is normally made at Christmas. Or for special guests. We were blessed by this wonderful meal and we continue to pray that our relationships with Yusuf will be a blessing to him.

Lunch time at Yusuf's home.

Wednesday, Jan. 20

Carl, Allan and I landed at Kilimanjaro International Airport at 9 p.m. local time (1 p.m. Eastern and noon Central). After clearing customs and claiming our bags, our friend Yusuf Hemed was waiting. Yusuf, who is a Muslim, will be guiding Allan up Kilimanjaro just as he has so many other C4C members in recent years. We made the hour drive to our hotel in Moshi. It's good to be back in Africa; right where God wants us.


Yusuf beaming at Kili International Airport.

Tuesday, Jan. 19

“The rains have now started falling,” Pastor Duncan Nyozani e-mailed from Migowi, Malawi at 4 a.m. local time (Monday 8 p.m. ET). The news of rainfall is significant because it is — and has been since November — the rainy season in this poor central African country, but it hasn't been raining.

Our Climbing For Christ team is preparing to leave for Tanzania and Malawi on this Evangelic Expedition. We will teach evangelism to Kilimanjaro Chapter guides and porters this week and then, while Allan Persons climbs Kilimanjaro, the rest of our team will travel to Malawi to visit Pastor Duncan's orphanage. God has been using us to rescue this orphanage, which has endured a lack of food and in December was closed by the government because it did not have a water supply. As we prepare to go, a borehole is being drilled for a well that will provide water. It should be ready before we arrive next week.

Water is essential for other reasons.

“In Malawi, by this time it could be rainy season,” Pastor Duncan said on Saturday, Jan. 16. “With the first rains people planted the maize seeds and other seeds, but then the rains are not coming. All the maize plants and other crops are drying up in the farmlands. You will see yourself when you come next week. There is no hope that we will harvest crops this year, which means there will be a very bad year to the people in Malawi because people will have no food.

“You know Malawi depends on farming. So if (farming) has failed then we are in great troubles. Please, as we are also remembering the people in Haiti (in the aftermath of the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake), also stand with us in prayers.”

Malawi may be the poorest country on the poorest continent in the world. But at the same time it is considered “the warm heart of Africa.” We pray that we can share the love of Christ with these friendly people, and deliver God's comfort to those in need. Stand with us in prayer for those we encounter in Malawi and Tanzania. To God alone be the glory!

The Word

“... and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
— Matthew 28:20 (NIV)

 

Participants

USA — Charlotte Crain, Gig Harbor, Wash.; Gary Fallesen, Rochester, N.Y.; Pastor Carl Jenks, Rochester, N.Y.; Allan Persons, Eagen, Minn

TanzaniaDauson Chonjo, Marangu; Tumaini Geofrey, Moshi; Wilson Mosha, Marangua; Pastor Winford Mosha, Marangu; Frank Sabas, Moshi, Tanzania.

Malawai — Pastor Duncan Nyozani, Migowi.

 

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