Thursday, December 26, 2013



Pitons are tools used in rock climbing to anchor the rope as a climber goes higher and higher off the ground. Pitons are placed by pounding the metal into cracks in the rock. At a recent CCO training, Francois and Joy each received a piton from our staff as a thank you for our work of propelling the ministry of XD into higher places.

These pictures are not mistakes. Nor are they the latest in snail mail openers. They are engraved Charlet Moser pitons made in Chamonix, France in 1970's.

It was a moving gesture because Chamonix has come to mean a lot to me (Francois) in our work these last few years and because it reminded me of another meaningful piton I have. Soon after I started with the CCO 14 years ago, I went on my first lead climb with some CCO staff. 
(Technical interlude)
Lead climbing is contrasted to top rope climbing by where the anchor is in relationship to the climber. In a top rope climb (below, left) the anchor is above the climber, thus upon falling the climber will only drop the distance that the rope stretches when fully weighted. But in lead climbing (below, right), the anchor (or protection) is below the climber which means when the climber falls, they will travel twice the distance between them and the anchor plus the stretch of the rope! You can imagine the danger and fear factor is much greater in lead climbing.


(Technical interlude over)
Being the lead climber is sometimes called being on the sharp end of the rope (some of you may recognize this term as the name of our blog). Joy and I really got to know each other by climbing together on our days off away from students. So when we got engaged, I tied the ring to a wire statue of two climbers on lead to signify the trust our continued adventures together would require. 
Last month we learned that our adventures will take on an additional responsibility as we are looking to welcome a new member into our family this spring.
It is with excitement and a bit of trepidation that we are sharing this news. We are blessed by God's gift of another child and we are pushed to trust in his providence for our family through folks like you. God has provided some amazing gifts this year and we are grateful. If you are the praying type, please keep Joy and the baby, due in late May, in your prayers.

Francois and Joy

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