In the 1997 bestseller Into Thin Air, acclaimed author Jon Krakauer recounted his experience of an infamously doomed trek to the top of Mt. Everest. Reflecting on the spiritual nature of extreme mountaineering, he writes:
“…in subjecting ourselves to week after week of toil, tedium and suffering, it struck me that most of us were probably seeking above all else, something like a state of grace.”
Jessy Jacob, a Haggai leader in India, is well acquainted with the unique spiritual journeys of the men and women who attempt to climb the world’s tallest mountains. And it is on those very mountains that she is sharing the Gospel.
In 2014, Jessy was preparing to attend the Haggai Leader Experience in Maui when she felt God calling her to an act of radical obedience. A successful architect, Jessy had established one of the most influential design firms in Bangalore. In the 18 years that she steered the firm, she received numerous accolades and was voted one of the “Future Women Leaders of India.”
These achievements made God’s call in 2014 that much more surprising: He wanted Jessy to leave her firm behind. An avid mountain climber, it was time spent in prayer on a trek to the base camp of Mt. Everest that Jessy felt God speaking to her heart.
Jessy sold her firm and began to use her office space to host women’s Bible studies and other ministry programs. And soon, it became clear that God wanted to use her on the same extreme mountain treks where she initially heard His call.
“I went on a trek in Ladakh, in the northernmost part of India and then to Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia with another friend. At both these treks, I testified to all my co-trekkers…After a day, the trek guide came to me and told me that he wanted to talk to me. I thought he was going to tell me that I cannot pray loudly. Instead he asked me why I did not call him and all the other guides to pray.”
What had been a hobby before her time at the Haggai Leader Experience became Jessy’s platform for ministry. On a trek to Kilimanjaro, Jessy loaded her gear with multiple copies of Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life and Jason Lester’s Running on Faith. Before setting out with a dozen other climbers, Jessy gave her Bible study group two prayer requests: that they would return home safely and that she would share the Gospel each day of the trek.
“Every single day, I was able to testify and see the mighty hand of God. All the books I gave away. I was able to testify every single day; it did not matter who it was. I spoke to and prayed with the drivers of our Jeeps, the managers of our hotels, the trek guides, the porters, the cooks, the trekkers, people I just bumped into. I could have even testified to the leaves and the trees given half a chance! Since coming back, many, including some of those who are not even Christians, have called to thank me for the powerful prayer.”
Since she sold her architecture firm, Jessy has established a women’s Bible study ministry, a prayer ministry and a service ministry to elderly families. Three years ago, she founded Fit the Soul, a wellness strategy company that focuses on developing female leaders. And even with that busy schedule, she still finds time for her mountaineering ministry, where she has shared the Gospel on Mt. Everest, on Mt. Kilimanjaro, on Mt. Kinabalu and more.