Day #1 of the Climb!!!

Posted 12:30 pm EST,  8:30 pm in Mount Kilimanjaro
by Sarah Bradfield and Celia Shortt

“Just got our first glimpse of Kilimanjaro – that is one freakin wild mountain. I don’t care what the stats said, I did not know it was going to be that big. If people want to pray, let them know to pray less for the team than for the people we are going for – the girls in the projects and the people we want to reach. All the mothers are sharing stories about how their young children prayed for them before they left – ‘Jesus, heal all the hurting hearts.’ ‘Jesus, let the people that are going to be rescued have good lives after this.’ ‘Jesus, free ALL the slaves.’ that’s the heart of this.”  – Madison Baczewski, Yesterday at 8:45 am,

Today, National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, marked the first day of the Freedom Climb.  The hike today began at around 6,800′ elevation and climbed through a natural rain forest which shelters the beautiful Kilimanjaro Colobus monkey. The climbers are camping at the edge of the moorland zone at Sekimba Camp which is at an elevation of 8,612′. This is the easiest part of the climb… as they ascend further, and the oxygen gets thinner, it gets tougher to climb.

Yesterday, the large team of 47 women has been split up into 4 groups of 12.  They began their ascent at 40 minute intervals between each other.  The women trekked for about 6 hours, completing about 4 miles of the climb.  Because of the time difference, the women have already finished today’s portion of trekking at around 11 am (Eastern Standard Time).  They are now resting at the first base camp.  The women are so exhausted that they are excited to be getting ready for bed and crawling into their sleeping bags.  They will be waking up at 6 am African time to begin trekking again at 8 am.

Here are some quotes directly from our fearless climbers:
“So far we’ve seen giraffes, ostriches, gazelles…and just got our first look at Kili. It’s MASSIVE even when most of it is covered in fog…” – Cheryl Weber,
Yesterday at 9:04 am, EST

“Going to bed soon. Two country’s worth of African dust in my nose and eyes and my ankles are swollen into cankels and nothing is sufficiently charged and my stomach is going nuts and IT FEELS SO GOOD. I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT IT. Saw the snowy summit of Kili lit up by the moon just now. Wow. Wow. Wow. The prayer team anointed us with oil and prayed over us individually and privately before they left today – what a beautiful blessing. I cannot get over how radiant each member of this team is. If people want to pray, have them pray for the people not on the mountain – pray for the ones in the slums, in the brothels, in the fields, in the clubs, and on the streets, the ones this thing is ACTUALLY all about.”  – Madison Baczewski, Yesterday at 3 pm, EST

“The adventure begins! Praying for God’s strength, peace and encouragement for the entire team as we start one of the biggest challenges of our lives. So proud of the women we are climbing with…dedicated warriors in the battle for the hearts and minds of oppressed women around the world.” – Cheryl Weber,  12:00 am EST

“In tears…it’s happening right now, and after 6 months of blood, sweat and tears and investing in so many ways…the climb is underway…YES!!!”  – Cheryl Weber, 1:53 am EST

“Good day, but bottom of feet are sore and we’re all pretty dusty….Was halfway thru todays climb at 7700 feet. Took Diamox and had some trouble breathing…but the team prayed, and feeling fine.” – Cheryl Weber, 10:50 am EST

“Hiked a total of four hours today…had a late lunch…’n made camp. Denise and I hiked about 10 minutes down to shoot video of second group climbing. Now hiked up above our camp to 8934 feet to hang out for awhile. Taking in altitude higher than camp should allow for a better night’s sleep and better acclimatization.” – Cheryl Weber, 11:12 am EST

“It’s 45 degrees outside and the stars are AMAZING!” – Nancy Byrne, 12:15 pm EST

Miracles that have occurred the first day:
Today, the team has experienced four miracles.

1.      Cheryl – having a hard time breathing
2.      Nancy – developed a sore in her mouth and she lost her voice
3.      Eleanor – experiencing back problems
4.      Denise – lost her passport

The team prayed over these requests and within an hour they had found the passport and all the physical issues were gone or going away!

Prayer Requests:
Some of the climbers have been experiencing early symptoms of altitude sickness, namely, difficulty breathing.  Please pray AGAINST any form of mountain sickness (aka altitude sickness).

Scripture of the Day:
The climbers have claimed 2 Corinthians 3:17 as their verse for today, “For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”


9 thoughts on “Day #1 of the Climb!!!

  1. Hi there all you wonderful ladies,
    This is an absolutely wonderful thing that you are doing. We pray that God will richly bless you as you respond to His call. We pray too that the terrible scourge of human trafficking will be obliterated from the earth. We commend you to His care. Special greetings to Cynthia Courtney. Love and blessings, ‘Fuzz’ & Ruthie Loubser.

  2. Tina Hodges, we are all so proud of you and Mom & I pray each day for the mission.
    Sonja is visiting us and is proud and amazed at the accomplishedments of the group as well as the challenges you are meeting and overcoming. Keep on trekking. We truely love you.
    Lord you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will hear their cries. You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed, and mere people can no longer terrify them.
    Soja, Mom & Dad

  3. My prayers are with all those making this climb as well as with those for whom the climb is being made! May our God surround all with His hedge of protection in the days ahead. Amen!

  4. Prayers, and more prayers, to you amazing ladies! I look forward to each update. Thank you for this tremendous effort towards a cause so dear to all of our hearts! ❤

  5. We are thrilled with your first day climbing triumphs… looking forward to more. Tina, we are rooting for you and are very proud of you. Love, Aunt Cindi and Uncle Tom

  6. This climb you ladies are doing is incredible. I am so mindful of you 24/7 and therefore in prayer not only for you but for the millions of women, boys and girls who are suffering day and night through being trafficking. May each of you feel God’s awesome presence and favour as you walk and as you rest.
    Sue Gulcher – I love you, and am overflowing with gratitude for what you are doing!

    You are legends.
    Shelley McLean

  7. Praying for all you wonderful women that God will continue to give you strength, protection and that you will continue this great mission. Tina waiting for more updates. Keep your spirit up. My regards to all but special hugs to Jeeva and Lysa. Be safe my friends. Love your friend Shelley

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