Mission: Haiti 2009
Climbing For Christ's seventh short-term Mission: Haiti team consists of Elaine Fallesen, Gary Fallesen, Lisa Mehle-Glab, Miguel Rubén Guante, Ann Rose (Rosie) Joseph, Steve Quakenbush, and Jordan Rowley.
Meet some of the team members:
Elaine teaching schoolchildren in Malasi that Jesus loves them.
Age: 53. Residence: Hilton, N.Y. Family: Married to Gary and mother of two — Jesse Dane, 20, and Hayley Hope, 15. Occupation: Marketing Communications associate for MVP Health Care. Church: Hope Lutheran, Greece, N.Y.
How long have you climbed? Since the early ‘90s when our kids were small and we began discovering as a family the beautiful outdoors. Type of climbing you do: Hiking, nothing hardcore. Highlight of climbing career: As I’m vertically challenged, it’s a toss-up between almost summiting Mount Fairfield near Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies, and making the hike down the steep hillside of Gentilhomme, Haiti to the riverbed and back up again!
How long have you been a Christian? All my life. Type of ministry you are blessed to serve in: Vice president of Climbing For Christ, and member of Mission: Haiti 2008 [CLICK HERE to read Elaine's story, “Another heart for Haiti”]; senior high youth counselor and creative team member for worship planning at Hope. Served with senior high youth on missions to Washington, D.C., New York City and Toronto, Canada; and with Flower City Work Camp, a yearly youth outreach to let the city of Rochester, N.Y. see Jesus.
Favorite Scripture verse (and why): For my second visit to the mountain villages of Haiti, I’ve chosen Colossians 3:23-24 as my guide: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” I have become more earnest in keeping the focus of my heart and my hands on the One I seek to serve with my life. As I become more diligent in serving the Lord, He increasingly amazes and fulfills me with the most incredible experiences that matter for eternity.
Special “God moment” you'd like to share: We’ve had so many this past year, it’s hard to choose. But one of several great God moments during our “Haitian vacation” to Colorado this past summer to fit Gilbert Lendor with a new leg occurred during our second visit to prosthesist Joe Johnson’s office in Windsor. The previous day, Joe had been introduced to Gilbert. When examining him, he discovered that Gilbert had no femur left where his leg had been amputated. That momentary setback was quickly overcome by Joe’s positive, “we’ll-just-work-around-that” attitude. However, a hip joint would be needed to make the prosthetic. There were none to be had locally, and Joe was working against an almost impossibly short deadline. When we returned to see Joe on the second day, Joe’s brother Jeff from Nebraska (also a prosthesist!) suddenly appeared in the doorway — holding a hip joint from his own office that he’d had in supply. He claimed the 6-hour drive to Windsor was a pre-planned family trip that just happened to time itself right with the special delivery. It was obvious that God had planned carefully for this moment, orchestrating a perfect coming together of all the needed parts and people to make the miracle of Gilbert’s new leg. It left me stunned and utterly grateful to our gracious God.
What does Climbing For Christ mean to you? This ministry is a unique blessing and calling that the Lord has placed in my life, my marriage, my family and my future. I am privileged to help fulfill His command to “Go” with the Good News into the highest, most remote places of the world.
Gary and Chalisma in Gentilhomme in December 2008.
Age: More than halfway home. Residence: Alien. Family: Married to Elaine for 27 years, and father of Jesse (20) and Hayley (15). Occupation: My Father’s business. Church: Hope Lutheran in Greece, N.Y.
How long have you climbed? Since 1996. Type of climbing you do: I am a jack of all climbing, master of none. Highlight of climbing career: Reaching the next remote village, where the Gospel has not yet been preached. Going wherever God sends us is always a highlight.
How long have you been a Christian? Since 1983. Type of ministry you are blessed to serve in: Trying to live and love as Jesus would in a desperate world on a daily basis.
Favorite Scripture verse (and why): Currently, the verse most often on my heart is Matthew 16:18 (“…and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it”). We have been blessed to start building two new churches in Malasi and Thoman, Haiti, as well as purchasing land in Dapcha, Nepal to build a church there in 2010. God is good.
Special “God moment” you'd like to share: Meeting “Boss” Chalisma in Gentilhomme in 2005. Chalisma crossed our path as we stumbled up what we thought was Pic la Selle, the highest mountain in Haiti. We’d come to climb it and answer divine appointments. How little we knew about the latter; God had so much in store for us. Chalisma agreed to help us find our way and introduced us to Pastor Tresin, who’d been asking God for two years for help to build a church in Gentilhomme. God used us to build that church — with Chalisma serving as the “boss” on the construction. All this time I did not know Chalisma was not a Christian. He accepted Christ in 2008 when, in the midst of a food shortage, I instructed our missionary Miguel to take him food and explain to him that Jesus loved him. He accepted Christ that day. Chalisma was meant to be my brother in Christ. He was struck by lightning and killed in October. I will miss not being able to hug him each time I return to Gentilhomme. He was always the first person I saw there. The next time we meet will be in our Savior’s presence.
What does Climbing For Christ mean to you? It is our blessing and our responsibility. It’s a Luke 12:48 thing (“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked”).
Lisa Mehle Glab
Age: 40. Residence: Colorado. Family: Married with two children. Occupation: Mother, wife, Surgical Services Support. Church: First United Methodist.
How long have you climbed? Actually, I'm more of a hiker. Type of climbing you do: Over the river and through the woods. Highlight of climbing career: Can you believe I live in Colorado and have never climbed a 14er?
How long have you been a Christian? Many years. Type of ministry you are blessed to serve in: Taking care of peoples needs.
Favorite Scripture verse (and why): Psalm 121. This was my “Gramies” favorite Scripture verse and, because of her love of God, me and mountains, it brings me comfort and reminds me of God's great and mighty power.
Special “God moment” you'd like to share: I have several, but have the feeling that the best is yet to come.
What does Climbing For Christ mean to you? I admire Gary and Elaine Fallesen for following God's will. This organization gives a new meaning to “Lord, I lift Your name on high.”
Miguel Rubén Guante
Miguel checking coffee plants in our Seedling Bank in Gentilhomme during Mission: Haiti 2009 in May.
Age: 49. Residence: Jimani, Dominican Republic. Family: Married with six children, plus Gilbert, Sainte-Anne and Miche. Occupation: Pastor, seminary teacher and missionary. Church: Originally Christian Reformed Church, currently Iglesia Subiendo para Cristo.
How long have you climbed? Four years. Type climbing you do: Mountain, taking care of the people in the mountain, preaching against the voodoo and the extreme poverty. Highlight of climbing career: Gilbert's rescue.
How long are you been Christian? 27 years. Type of ministry you are blessed to serve in: Children's teacher, preacher for several years, pastor, and pastor's seminary teacher.
Favorite scripture verse and why? Psalm 1 and 121; and Matthew 6:33. It is a promise of God in this Psalm (1) that if I keep me as David said in the Psalm 1, I will be badly in need. Because He is the only One who can take care of me at any time and at anywhere in any hour. He can't feel tired, He doesn't need to sleep, and He always take care and help me. I must keep my eye on Him, not on what He can do for me and be satisfied with what He give me.
What does Climbing for Christ mean to you? An opportunity to be God's feet and God's hands. God has made me a very, very wise man, but I had not the opportunity to use my intelligence for God's work. I have this in Climbing for Christ.
Anne Rose Joseph
Rosie in her garden with some of her harvest.
Age: 70. Residence: Nan Sab, Borgne, Haiti. Family: I am a widow two times. I had two children who have since died, leaving four grandchildren, three of which I helped raise. I have one great grandchild, who is 9 months old. My mother is still alive and lives with me in Nan Sab. She was born in 1888! My brother Jimmy also lives with us with his two grandsons. I lived in the Bahamas for 28 years before I moved back to Haiti to take care of my grandchildren when my daughter died. I visited Florida many times while I lived in the Bahamas. Occupation: I am a farmer/gardener and I make straw baskets. I am also the administrator of the Sant Teknologi Bwase Lide (Brainstorming Technology Center), which promotes ecological sanitation and simple technologies to improve health. I work for the Maranatha church as a teacher of artisana (basket making, crochet, etc.).
How long have you climbed? I don’t climb for pleasure, but I live in an area of many mountains and have climbed since I was born. Type of climbing you do: Climbing on foot. Highlight of climbing career: I love to see the beautiful ocean and the cruise ship way out on the horizon and to see my house so far away.
How long have you been a Christian? 20 years. Type of ministry you are blessed to serve in: Pray every morning, pray with people who are sick, visiting the elderly, hold a service 4:30-6:00 each morning, love everybody and serve the community by helping my neighbors, taking in abandoned children, sharing food, etc.
Favorite Scripture verse (and why): 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12. You need to work with your hands so you don’t need to depend on others. The people who do not believe in Christ will respect you for what you do. Psalms 27, 91, 103. The Psalms are how I say thank you to God for keeping me alive and all my blessings. Romans 8:1-4. I try not to sin anymore and live in God’s grace.
Special God moment you'd like to share: When I was almost dead in the hospital, I saw a vision. I was running toward a beautiful valley of white animals eating green plants and drinking very clean water. I kept running to get by the mountainside, but I could never get there. When I woke up, everyone was surrounding my bed singing and praying and I knew I was alive and that God was with me. The people who were there say I was singing, “I have nothing to give you, just one heart full of sin and if you don’t put your hand on me I will not live.” I don’t remember singing that.
Jordan worshipping on top of Bald Mountain in the Adirondacks.
Age: 25. Residence: Rochester, N.Y. Family: I am blessed to have a wonderful wife named Michelle, one beautiful daughter named Abby, and twins on the way. I’m blessed beyond measure by the family the Lord has given to me. Occupation: I am a Spiritual Life Coordinator for Heritage Christian Services. Church: Living Water Christian Fellowship in Rochester, N.Y.
How long have you climbed? I’ve climbed and hiked for few years off and on. Types of climbing you do: Hiking and mountaineering
Highlight of climbing career: Climbing Mount Eleanor in the Olympics. It was kind of a spur of the moment decision to go climbing while I was visiting my oldest brother in Washington. I had no idea what to expect (because I had never climbed anything before) and I wasn’t exactly in “climbing condition.” The road to get to the base was snowed in, so we ended up hiking in a few extra miles. But rather than follow the snow-covered road, we took a shortcut, climbing straight up the side on roots and rocks. By the time we got to where we would have started had the road not been snowed in, I thought I was going to die. But I continued on simply putting one foot in front of the other, and eventually made it to the summit. The view was awful. Some clouds had rolled in while we were climbing and totally obstructed our view from the top, but I didn’t care — I had made it! That was my first “climbing experience.” It was really tough and I learned a lot about pushing yourself and relying totally on the Lord.
How long have you been a Christian? About eight years. Type of ministry you are blessed to serve in: I’m blessed to serve as a Spiritual Life Coordinator for Heritage Christian Services, where I work with people who have developmental disabilities. A typical day might consist of anything from planning a retreat, to praying with someone, to planning a memorial service or funeral. I’m also blessed to serve in the worship ministry at Living Water Christian Fellowship. It’s an honor and privilege to be able to help lead people into the worship of our Savior.
Favorite Scripture verse (and why): “Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” — Joshua 1:9. I love this verse. When life’s storms, trials, or difficulties come, it’s critical to remember that; the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Also, “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him.” — Psalm 28:7. This is another one of my favorites. He doesn’t just give us a shield, but rather He IS our shield if we trust in Him. And that’s why we can rejoice and sing praises to Him.
Special “God moment” you'd like to share: I don’t have a specific one I’d like to share. My favorite God moments are just spending time worshipping Him.
What does Climbing For Christ mean to you? I think Climbing For Christ is an awesome organization! I’m so blessed to be a part of it. I’m routinely blown away by all of the awesome things that are done all in the name of Jesus. To me Climbing For Christ is as big as fulfilling the great commission and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost and hurting world, and as simple as showing the love of Jesus to a fellow climber from right next door. I’m excited to be involved in this ministry and I look forward to seeing all that Lord is going to do through it.
Posted Nov. 16, 2009