The Mountain Within

Herta von Stiegel

Herta Von Stiegel and her husband, Hans, graced the Student Chapel program this morning at the Adventist University of Africa. Far above her business success and academic accolades, Herta was exuberant in the fact that she was covered by the blood of Christ and was a sister to all those in the audience.

A tax lawyer, philanthropist, business lady, professor, an investment banker with a special interest in renewal energy, Mrs. Stiegel dared to spearhead a group of multi-ability persons to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. She gives an account of her experience in her book “The Mountain Within.”

Why would an investment banker take disabled people up the 5895m mountain? She said her inspiration was the need to create greater awareness among and support disabled and physically challenged people. “Regardless,” she said, “of age, race, gender, physical ability, financial position, God has given us dreams and the ability to achieve these dreams.”

The multi-ability team opted to take the most difficult route to the summit albeit it was the most beautiful. Shared statistics showed that that route often recorded 33% success rate. Unbelievably, their team scored 60% success rate with each with a disability paired with an able buddy. These are the lessons she learned and shared from that summit:

She shared lessons she learned through the mountain climbing experience: Stiegels at Uhuru summit

  1. Ruthlessly Prepare: prepare for everything you could possibly imagine. There are no shortcuts in life and preparation is critically important for success. Narrating her experience with Margaret Thatcher, Herta remembers Thatcher telling her that “my parents taught me the importance of hard work and integrity. Secondly, I make sure I know all the facts very well.” People who make an impact, ruthlessly prepare!
  2. Resolve to fail fast and fail forward: success does not happen overnight and often involve failures. Yet how we relate to setbacks makes the difference between failure and success. A good example would be of Peter and Judas! What do I do in the face of failure? What do I do when things do not go as planned? Fail fast involves acknowledging the failure quickly, rising up and forging forward. Failing forward takes the setback and uses it as a stepping stone to lung forward towards the future.
  3. Remove your encumbrances: Quoting from Hebrews 12:1 “. . . let us lay aside every weight [encumbrance], and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us”, Herta asked “What are the barriers that are holding you back to take the next change? . . . It takes enlightened men and brave women to change the world. Do not allow traditions to hold you back.”
  4. Reach for your VISION: The hardest part is when you cannot see the goal. Nevertheless, reach forward towards your dreams and realize them. “Never give up!” Herta said.

Lives were inspired, challenged and changed following the summit to Uhuru summit on Mt. Kilimanjaro. 

StiegelsHans was noted to have said that "the only thing that’s better than summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro, is to stand there with people you love."

"What are you aiming to achieve? It is worth the climb. Do not give up. Reaching the top is worth the efforts." Herta concluded by encouraging all call to keep striving to reach Mt. Zion, where all who will be victorious, will sing the song of Moses and the Lamb.

The book “The Mountain Within” will be available at the African Adventist Heritage Museum Gift Shop for Ksh. 2000. All proceeds go to charity.

The Mountain Within

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