Mount Kilimanjaro


Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro has got to be one of the most mind-blowing, overwhelming,  physically demanding, enjoyable, mentally draining, rewarding, spiritually provoking, and exhausting feats I’ve ever done.



I know Jesus can move mountains in our lives, but I have always pictured God as being at the top of the mountain because he is God and he belongs at the top.  As I was climbing this mountain, Jesus opened my eyes to the truth that He doesn’t just meet us at the tops of the mountains we are climbing in our lives.  He walks with us each hard step of the way up.


Our lead guide referred to himself as “captain” not boss.  The six of us who were climbing all loved, loved, loved this reference. I had no idea what the heck I was doing the whole eight days.

I’ve never climbed a mountain like this before.

I’ve never slept in a tent for eight nights.

I’ve never been so cold – who hikes so high their water freezes?!

I’m what you would call a “luxury camper.”

I was SO dependent on our captain.  I trusted he knew the best way to get us to the top.  I followed each small step he took as we got closer and closer to 19,341 feet.  I did (or tried to do) everything he told me to do.

“Drink this much water.  Eat this food.  Sleep now.  Keep walking.”





As we walked and walked and walked and walked for eight days in a row, we saw the most amazing landscapes. I am always blown away by creation and the fact that God didn’t have to create such a stunning world for us to live in.  But, He did and this is just one of the ways God shows me how much He loves me.







On summit night, they woke us up at 11:00 p.m. after only four hours of sleep so we would be ready to start hiking by midnight.   They have you summit at night because you have a better chance of making it to the top when you can’t see how far you still need to go.  This is so true in life as well!  With only the light from my headlamp, I followed Captain Kennedy’s every step for seven hours in the dark.  Jesus reminded me to also follow Him one baby step at a time as I try to live my life making sure no one misses out on the grace of God.


Just incase you are wondering, I had on five layers of shirts and four layers of pants.  -15F has never felt colder nor looked better on me.


The picture above was taken after 6.5 hours of hiking just as the sun was starting to rise.


I cried when I heard Kennedy say, “Emmy, do you see the sign?”


Never in my entire life have I been as helpless as I was on summit night.  This was me all the way up to the summit:

“Kennedy, can you please zip my jacket?”

“Batister, can you please hand me my poles?”

“Peter, can you please help me put on my gloves?”

“Kennedy, can you please fix my headlamp?”

“Peter, can you please make sure my hat is over my ears?”


Things our guides knew I couldn’t do for myself:

“Here is your water. Sip sip.”

“Emmy, take this medication for your headache.”

“Here is your water. Sip sip.”

“Let’s make sure your headlamp isn’t too tight.”

“Here is your water. Sip sip.”

“Keep moving your feet even when you are sitting so they don’t get cold.”

“Here is your water. Sip sip.”

“Let me carry your backpack.”

“Here is your water. Sip sip.”

“I’m going to put your sunglasses on you.”

“Here is your water. Sip sip.”

“I’m taking off your headlamp.”

“Here is your water. Sip sip.”

“Smile for the picture. Take your big hood off so we can see your face.”

“Here is your water. Sip sip.”



THANK YOU to each of the 28 people who helped me reach the summit.  I couldn’t have done it without each of you!


Batister (photo above) brought coffee to me each morning while I was still in my sleeping bag along with “warm water for washing.”


Peter (photo above) said he’d catch me if I fell off the mountain, laughed at my pants, and told me to put on my layers.


Kennedy (photo above) made sure I had enough oxygen in my blood.  He watched everything I ate and he laughed all the way up the mountain at how gullible I am.


Jeff, Tina, Mariya, Hayden, David, and I all had one thing in mind while we were climbing  – the children at Neema Village.  We did this fund-raiser climb for them and we’d do it 100 X’s over to to raise money for Neema to be able to support these children so they can continue to grow up knowing Jesus will walk beside them no matter the mountains they are facing.


“Jesus, my Captain
My soul’s trusted Lord
All my allegiance is rightfully Yours.”

Song:  “Captain” by Hillsong