It was approaching 7 p.m., and we could see that the sun was setting. Normally we enjoy watching sunsets, but today it was hurrying in the other direction. The team had set off from Embokoi at about 11 am, and we’d been walking since then. Many of the team members had struggled; one had fainted twice and another had been having difficulty almost since the very beginning of our hike. God had already provided respite for them; one of the members of the church which was our destination had come to pick them up in his car. Seth went with them. Carly was the other leader was ahead also helping some other team members who were struggling; during the last part of the hike she carried both her pack and that of a team member who was experiencing a lot of foot pain.
Elaine stayed with Kristy and Savannah, who were both having difficulties also. Savannah was completely worn out from the hike, and Kristy was exhausted herself – she had aggravated an old shoulder injury at Boot Camp and had been carrying her pack only on one shoulder. She was getting very dehydrated as well, and was having trouble with her peripheral vision. God was still in control he never left us nor forsook us.
We were also accompanied by pastor Fadhili, one of the church pastors where we were going to be staying. As night approached, we descended into one of the many valleys which extend out from the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro. With wandering minds we kept hiking as the darkness was closing in. Shortly after we reached the valley floor and began climbing again, Fadhili directed some off the road and onto a narrow trail: “This is a shortcut,” he said. Oh what a blessing it was.
We committed our way to God, and followed his leading. As we climbed, darkness finally fell. Savannah and Kristy continued to struggle along with Elaine who was their encouragement; Savannah becoming discouraged and feeling that she did not have enough strength to go on, and Kristy’s vision continuing to deteriorate, even as Fadhili carried her pack. Logan had already made it up with Seth and Collins along with a few others who had gotten to our final destination.
We relied on God alone to carry us through; praying without ceasing. This hike was tough, rough and excessively challenging many felt like collapsing, but God gave the team strength.
Great relief came when the last group emerged from the path onto a wide, flat, level road. About a hundred meter’s away, the entire team had finally made to the Church. Every body emotionally exhausted, and yet profoundly grateful – God had been faithful to carry us through, and sent us all the help, just when we needed it. Several team members shared how God had provided help for them – whether in the form of a car to pick up Logan and Collin, or strangers encouraged them along the way, Church members who walked with them up the hill, encouraging them all the way. From beginning to end, and at every point in between, God was faithful to carry us through. He is an awesome God.
Kilimanjaro back pack team