The trail to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro begins at the Marangu Gate, the National Park Headquarters where we will register for our climb. After registering, we will continue driving to Nale Moru village to begin our trek on the Rongai Route to Simba Camp (about 8,615 feet) the first day. From the village we begin our trek to the mountain top. One site reads that “the small winding path crosses maize fields before entering pine forest, and then climbs gently through a forest.” No more vehicles. No more concrete or paved roads. Only a “small winding path” up the mountain.
I am told the average number of people who seek to climb Kilimanjaro is about 47,000 per year. Only about 65% make the summit. More people would rather drive to Disney World than hike the trails of Kilimanjaro. Both make for meaningful adventures, and many factors make one more possible than the other. My preference is a mountain trail to a summit view over an interstate to an amusement park … but that’s just me.
Speaking of gates and narrow paths, Jesus taught, “…the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” He observed that “the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.” Of course, Jesus was talking about trusting him and following him on a path as his apprentice. The wide, easy ways of life lead to destruction, he taught. Life with him begins through a narrow gate and to follow him on a trail that is hard. Humans seek comfort and speed. I’m human, but Jesus calls us to the hard work of growth and the patient purpose of spiritual maturity through a narrow gate (him) and a hard path (being his disciple).
Life as a follower of Jesus is more like the trail to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro than the six-lane toll road we took to the airport. Fewer people are on the trails of the mountain than on the highways in the DFW metroplex. We prefer the freeways and pay the tolls to get where we are going faster. When you think about it, given our urban travel and this mountain trek, Jesus’ metaphor for discipleship still works—maybe more so when the fastest mode of transportation in his part of the world was a donkey-drawn cart on a single lane trail from Jerusalem to Jericho. What is your path to a relationship with God in Christ Jesus?
Have you pledged your support yet?
We believe the Lord is calling us to support the vision our Baptist brothers and sisters as they develop their model of theological education in the country. That’s why we’re working to make an investment there and draw attention to the desperate need. B. H. Carroll Theological Institute’s President, Dr. Gene Wilkes, will join a team of climbers to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania February 18-23.
Read about Dr. Gene Wilkes journey
Read about B. H. Carroll’s support of our Baptist brothers in Tanzania.