By Hannah Rasmussen, ASB Editorial Assistant | Nairobi, Kenya
In January 1995, my family flew into Tanzania. Exactly twenty years later, I saw Tanzania from a bird’s eye view again—standing at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.
This time, I earned the view. I walked.
I walked through a rainforest thunderstorm, over bridges lined with Seuss-like cacti, through a cloud in the artic desert. I walked in wet clothes, with aching muscles, warding off the equator’s sun with a hot pink sunhat. I clambered over rocks in the freezing moonlight.
“The path is made by walking.” In the hours of hiking up Mount Kilimanjaro, I told myself to focus on the moment, not the distance ahead.
My hike gave me perspective on the Africa Study Bible project. As far as we know, no one has ever created a study Bible with 250 different contributors, and certainly not with writers from over fifty countries speaking different languages. If you stare at the mountain ahead, it can seem insurmountable.
I doubted that I would make it to the top of Kilimanjaro. I’ve never climbed more than a hill—could I really climb the tallest freestanding mountain in the world? To my surprise, my upbringing prepared me. Living in Nairobi the past few months helped me deal with the altitude. My college years in “Minne-snow-ta” helped me differentiate between slippery and soft snow along the crater’s edge.
The day my friends and I summited Mount Kilimanjaro, we walked a full day through clouds to the last hut. After two hours of sleep, we began the steepest part of the hike. My teammate in front of me wore a headlamp, but I walked by the light of the nearly full moon. I recalled the Swahili version of “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less.” One verse in that translation says, “If my path is long, he gives me salvation. If the clouds hit me, his strength is my light.”
The complexity and scope of the Africa Study Bible project have produced challenges and delays. But although the Africa Study Bible work seems like unknown traversed terrain, I recall what God says in Isaiah 42:16: “I will lead blind Israel down a new path, guiding them along an unfamiliar way. I will brighten the darkness before them and smooth out the road ahead of them. Yes, I will indeed do these things; I will not forsake them.”
The summit of the Africa Study Bible project is still months away, but as we grow closer, the trail is also growing steeper. I believe God is at work in the Africa Study Bible project. If we could accomplish it easily on our own, where would his glory be? But as we trust God with every step in the process, we blaze a new trail.
At the highest peak in Africa, I saw the sun rise in splendor, brighten tiny farms and towns out to the horizon, blind in brilliance off of pale blue glaciers and a snow covered crater.
With the Africa Study Bible, we are going to see Africa at its height. We will see the landscape from the heavens’ perspective. We will see that what God creates is magnificent.
So all of us—the hundreds of writers, partners, designers, and editors scattered across the continents and across languages—continue to make our path by walking, one step at a time.
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