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Mission: Nepal 2011

Team members: Kyle Austin, Syracuse, N.Y., USA; Gary Fallesen, Rochester, N.Y., USA; Alyssa Kaelin, Laramie, Wy., USA; Pastor Tej Rokka, Kathmandu, Nepal.

Team Bios

Kyle Austin


Kyle Austin

Kyle Austin, second from left, translating at a medical clinic in 2008. Kyle speaks Nepali after working for two years in Nepal. This will be his third short-term mission to Nepal with Climbing For Christ. He's also participated in C4C's Mission: Mexico 2005 and Mission: Indonesia 2010.

Age: 24. Residence: Syracuse, N.Y., USA. Personal: Married to Jessica Austin. Occupation: Student and FedEx package handler. Church(es): Houghton (N.Y.) and Long Lake (N.Y.) Wesleyan. Missions with C4C: Fifth. (Kyle was part of Climbing For Christ's inaugural Evangelic Expedition in April 2005, when he was a high school senior.)

How long have you climbed? Since 2005. Type of climbing you do: trekking aka “walking on the edge of eternity.” Highlight of climbing career: The passes in the Everest area.

How long have you been a Christian? 20 years. I accepted Jesus around the age of 4 by myself then told my mother. I was baptized around the age of 10 and finally struggled with my faith and made it my own the last three years of high school, during which time I went forward at a rally that called kids towards missions and promptly forgot about it. When I did not know what I wanted to do after school I decided I’d let God chose and ended up in Nepal as a missionary for two years, during which I grew very reliant on Jesus’ faithfulness.

Type of ministry you are blessed to serve in: Currently my short term missions with Climbing For Christ are the only ministries I contribute to, although I am ministered to through a campus Bible study and two churches.

Favorite Scripture verse: Hebrews 12. I am an aspiring marathoner and feel that spiritual endurance is key to finishing the “race” of life on the terms we want (and God expects) just like a distance.

Special “God moment” you'd like to share: When I lived in Nepal I was doing one of my evangelical treks, in the foothills region and was showing a couple of men the gospels I had with me. One of them started arguing against proselytizing and Christianity. I was frustrated, but God gave me peace and language mastery that I rarely possessed and I was able to explain what makes Jesus special very clearly. While I was talking a crowd gathered. I feel like a lot of people were introduced to Jesus’ love that evening and I felt like I was an observer.   

What does Climbing For Christ mean to you? Going were others don’t! Everyone should get to hear about Jesus, and we are equipped to bring it were others are not.

Gary Fallesen


Gary Fallesen

Gary Fallesen in a Tibetan home on the north side of the Himalayas in 2010.

Age: 51. Residence: Hilton, N.Y., USA. Family: Married to Elaine for 28 years, and father of Jesse, 21, and Hayley, 16. Occupation: Founding president of Climbing For Christ. Church: Hope Lutheran in Greece, N.Y. Missions with C4C: This will be my 21st Evangelic Expedition (first to Nepal).

How long have you climbed? Since 1996. Type of climbing you do: Mostly hiking/trekking and mountaineering. Highlight of climbing career: When it comes to Nepal it would be (so far) writing the book Mt. Everest: Confession of an Amateur Peak Bagger with my original climbing partner, Kevin Flynn. Kevin climbed Everest and after spending six months working on the book with him, I felt as if I'd been clipped into his rope. I was his prayer warrior while he was in Nepal (twice). God used Kevin to bring me into mountaineering, which, of course, led to this ministry.

How long have you been a Christian? Since 1983. Type of ministry you are blessed to serve in: Acts 1:8 — being His witness in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Also, serving on a worship creative team at our family's home church, where I got my first taste of ministry leadership as drama director from 1996-2005.

Favorite Scripture verse (and why): Habakkuk 3:19. “The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.” While training for this trip, I was trail running after sundown in a park near my home in Western New York. A whitetail deer ran across the trail in front of me and, seemingly without any effort, bounded up a hill. It stopped and looked back at me and I thought of this verse (as well as 2 Samuel 22:34 and Psalm 18:33). I wished I could have feet like a deer, but I am thankful He enables me to tread the heights.

What does Climbing For Christ mean to you? Being a conquistador of the useful.

Alyssa Kaelin

Allysa  with a baby goat in Dapcha, Nepal.

Age: 25. Residence: Laramie, Wy., USA. Family: Single. Church: ROCK Tribe (house church), Laramie. Missions with C4C: First. (Alyssa was in Nepal with another ministry and was led by the Spirit to stay longer to serve with this team.)

How long have you climbed? Predominately the last six year. Type of climbing you do: Mountaineering, rock, ice, alpine. Highlight of climbing career: Any time spent in the Wind River Range in Wyoming or on snow and ice is a good time! Some peaks that bring back the most memories include Grand Teton (Upper Exum), Gannett, Mount Helen (couloir ascent) in Wyoming, and Half Dome (Yosemite, Calif.).

How long have you been a Christian? I grew up as a Christian, but recommitted my life to Him in 2000 and have been walking steadily with Him since then. Type of ministry you are blessed to serve in: I have worked as a seasonal instructor at Solid Rock Outdoor Ministries (SROM in Wyoming), leading people to the knowledge of Jesus through the outdoors for the last four years. I also enjoy serving in various ways overseas.

Favorite Scripture verse (and why): Philippians 2:1-11 and Psalm 97:1-6. I like these passages because I think they fully portray a few of the many characteristics of god that I am actively trying to imitate in my life and that show the irrefutable power of God.

What does Climbing For Christ mean to you? Combining two passions of mine: Christ and climbing. What could be better? It is a great ministry for the body of believers to meet other climbers, get involved in missions, and stay connected to what God is doing through the outdoors.

Pastor Tej Rokka


Pastor Tej and his family

Pastor Tej Rokka, second from left, with his wife, son, and Kyle Austin during Mission: Nepal 2009.

Age: 34. Residence: Nepal. Nationality: Nepalese. Personal: Married. We have a son. Occupation: Fulltime pastor.

How long have you climbed? Five years. Type of climbing: Personal, outreach team specially when we go for mountain ministry. Highlight of climbing career: It is an ordinary habit as we live in a mountainous country. 

How long have you been a Christian? 20 years. Type of ministry you are blessed to serve in: Church planting, disciple making, caring for orphans, and commissioning disciples to make disciples of Christ.

Favorite Scripture verse (and why): Proverbs 1:7 and John 3:16 because fear of the Lord brings wisdom and God loves me so much to save me and give eternal life through His Son.

Special “God moment” you'd like to share: In 1993, I was totally disappointed with my life and desire to serve God and I was in a fast and prayer to know God's definite will and plan. It was middle of the night and God visited me and gave me a strong call to join in His work. He said, 'Son, come to me; you don't need to worry about anything, but I have work with you.' When I got up and went near to Him in vision I felt His presence and I thanked Him and the next day the first person came to Christ. He is now an elder of a church. Since then I have been serving Him as a pastor and disciple maker, as well as showing God's love to needy like orphans. I know fully that it was God's encounter with me to confirm His call on my life.”

What does Climbing For Christ mean to you? Climbing For Christ is an excellent ministry to reach the souls in the mountains, where other people can't easily access. It is an opportunity to fulfill and support my call and vision in Nepal. It is God's way of reaching people with the Gospel of Christ. It is God's nature to utilize people's skills and interest for the expansion of His kingdom. It is very relevant for my country. It is all about C4C to me.”

Posted Dec. 20, 2010

The Word

“Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'”
— John 14:6 (NIV)


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