‘Love big. Live big. Pray big prayers and let God change the world through us.’

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It is with heavy yet thankful hearts that we remember Cathey Anderson, The Freedom Challenge founder and visionary, who passed on the morning of 22 December 2015.

Even while battling pancreatic cancer Cathey continued to lead international Freedom Challenge Climbs to help end human trafficking.

She was truly inspirational. This summer, after two very aggressive rounds of chemotherapy along with radiation treatment Cathey still led a group of Freedom Climbers for a 10-Day Freedom Challenge Climb through the Alps.  She climbed to Mount Everest Base Camp last year and Mt. Kilimanjaro the previous year to raise awareness of modern-day slavery and to raise funds for the work of The Freedom Challenge so that more and more women could be set on a path to freedom.

She was unstoppable in her mission to help those who do not have the ability to help themselves out of oppression. “My wish is that all women and children would know their God given value and worth. They are not objects to be used for financial gain or personal satisfaction.  They are uniquely and wonderfully made and no one should take that intrinsic knowledge away from them.  We will keep on being a voice for each one of them.”

Cathey and her husband, Mark, joined Operation Mobilization in 2010.  After retiring from a teaching career in 2008, she began traveling internationally and realized that many of the freedoms women enjoy here in the U.S. are not what many women around the world experience.  The Lord gave Cathey the vision for the Freedom Climb, and it began as an effort to bring hope for a better tomorrow and change the future for women and children around the world.

Cathey’s wish was “for all to continue the dream God birthed in her: To free the oppressed and enslaved and for every woman to know that Jesus is the lover of her soul.”

We can continue Cathey’s legacy – we can climb, we can fundraise, we can run events, we can be a voice for the voiceless. We can continue to make a significant difference in the lives of women and children who struggle under the weight of injustice and oppression.

We are so grateful to Cathey for this work of God that she so faithfully started, and which we can now carry on to completion.

Cathey leaves her husband of 30 years, their four children and six grandchildren, and the tens of thousands women and children she has helped directly and indirectly globally.

The family has asked that in lieu of flowers or gifts that donations be made in her honor to the Cathey Anderson Freedom Climb Fund. This fund will become an endowment to continue the dream Cathey had to free women and children and stretch those women who are helping in these efforts beyond their comfort zones and watch God do an amazing work in them.  Cathey Anderson Freedom Climb Fund

There will be a Celebration Service in Cathey’s honor in the San Diego area on January 9 at 10:00 AM.  Further details will follow.

 

‘Pray, begin, start slow and have fun!’

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A Freedom Circle is a brilliant way of bringing friends, neighbours and family together to help set more women on a path to freedom. Teresa Vaughn tells us why she decided to set up a Freedom Circle in Atlanta

Why did you decide to set up a Freedom Circle?  

After climbing the Alps and visiting a girls’ summer camp in Moldova in July 2015, I recognized the impact these women were making by raising awareness and funding to stand against oppression and modern-day slavery of women and children.

However, the Freedom Climb was an annual event and many women who took part were living throughout the country or internationally.  I knew I needed to remain connected, not just with those who climbed, but also with those who prayed, supported and encouraged me during the climb. I needed a local community of women to share what God was doing. I needed a local community of women who desired to make a difference. And, I needed a local community of women who wanted to serve local ministries.  For me, that’s how Freedom Circle emerged.

How many people are in your circle at the moment?  

We started Freedom Circle Atlanta about six weeks ago. At this time, there are three of us who are “official” members. However, I have about a dozen women who have been participating with me in a local ministry which ministers to refugee women. My approach is to expose women to opportunities, allow them to participate, build relationships and then engage them to become a Freedom Circle member. I am planning a “membership drive” for the Freedom Circle in late January, 2016.

How did you invite people to join?

The other two ladies are Alps Freedom Climbers and so are automatically members of a circle. However, during the membership drive, I will host a luncheon and invite women to join. I will also ask ladies to host a meeting of their friends to share Freedom Challenge’s vision and extend an offer to join.

What do you do as a freedom circle?  

Currently, I have been hosting a satellite location for Peace of Thread, a ministry in Clarkston, GA which teaches refugee women to sew.  Using designer fabric samples that are either unwanted, out of style, or going to be thrown away, discarded belts, unused jewelry, etc., we design purses from patterns for them to sew.  These purses become one of a kind, unique, and beautifully made creations which are then sold, ultimately providing the women an income, possibly for the first time in their life.  We have been doing this on a weekly basis. At the beginning of the year, we will begin fundraising for The Freedom Challenge Wyoming event in July 2016.

What are your plans for 2016 as a Freedom Circle?

We will continue working with the local ministry in Clarkston, GA, and we will fundraise for Wyoming. And in January we will start participating in the Million Steps to Freedom campaign, which is where a group of 10 women commit to walking 10,000 steps each for 10 days to raise funds for The Freedom Challenge.

How much of your time does the Freedom Circle take up?

At least one day a week because I work with the local ministry. But otherwise, we have a once a month fundraiser, and then, from January, whatever the Million Steps campaign requires. At this point, it does not take any kind of “administrative” type of time.

What advice would you give to other women who are thinking of setting up a circle?

Honestly, I would say pray, begin, start slow, and have fun!  Pray for the Lord to lead you and others to you. Just begin. Initiate whatever it is that speaks to you and your community of friends. Start slow; trust the results to God and you won’t become impatient or overwhelmed. Absolutely have fun!  Be mesmerized. Engaged. Passionate.

“Give justice to the poor and the orphan; uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute. Rescue the poor and helpless; deliver them from the grasp of evil people.”   Psalm 82:3-4

Teresa Vaughn

Raising up the broken to life

2dQ1ISRThe following story explains so poignantly why The Freedom Challenge exists. It’s a story of hopelessness, healing and redemption.

Daniela* was desperate. Far from home. Angry with her mother for forcing her to leave. Trapped in a life she could never have imagined, doing things she hated, with men who treated her like trash.

And now, pregnant. She didn’t know how far along she was or whether the baby was healthy. She just knew that somehow she had to get away. But how could she leave when she was locked up most of the day?

Who would rescue her when her own family didn’t know where she was?

A life of resignation
Beth* works as an outreach worker in Central Asia. Along with her team mates she walks the streets of a large town, known for its brothels and its trade in migrant workers and modern-day slaves.

They walk, observe and pray. Occasionally they glimpse the women they are trying to help; through windows, or a barely open door, they witness lives of resignation, despair and oppression.

One day, Beth and a few others carried flowers and cards with the team’s contact details on, hoping to give them to the women that they care so much about.

Not forgotten
Amazingly, there were able to enter a notoriously secure brothel. They handed out their gifts to some of the young girls; a sign that they are not forgotten and that they are seen by Someone who loves them deeply.

A few days later the team received a call. It was Daniela. She had been given the card by one of the other girls. She was scared but determined to at least try and get help for her and the baby.

The outreach team acted quickly and were able to move her to one of their shelters. A few months later she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. Now, she is in a safe house far away from the town where she experienced so much torment.

Rescued and restored
But that is not where the story ends. God did not only rescue her, he restored her.

During her time at the shelter, the team there prayed for Daniela and taught her about Jesus’ love. Though she was very angry with her mother, they prayed that she might be able to forgive her.

Recently, miraculously, Daniela met with her mom. They talked and shared and forgave. Together they are planning to attend a local church. And her mom is going to start renting a flat to support Daniela and her son.

What a transformation! And what an encouragement to that team of faithful outreach workers who experienced God breaking through in a seemingly hopeless situation.

God really does hear the cry of the broken and powerless.

Join a challenge at www.thefreedomchallenge.com and help restore many more women’s lives!

*Names have been changed

Becoming who God calls us to be

Learning how to sew

At the end of November, Tina Yeager, Director of The Freedom Challenge, visited Costa Rica with a team of faithful Freedom Challenge supporters. One of the high points for the teams was visiting the Pearl Process, a Freedom Challenge-supported project run by Operation Mobilization.

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The project teaches vulnerable women to make sandals and create mosaics (see photo above), skills they can use to provide a regular income for their family. It gives them secure employment and a place to learn about God and study the Bible together.

The women at the Pearl Process were privileged to have Sue McCabe (photo below), the wife of the CFO of Chick-fil-A, teaching them about customer service.

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During the trip, the Freedom Challenge team took part in church services. Below, Sophia, Tina’s daughter (left) reads scripture at a church in Talamanca.

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One of the themes that kept occurring and touching the lives of the women involved in the outreach was the idea of “changing from doing to being”.

Many of the women realized that they need to become who God calls them to be and be in an intimate relationship with Him before they can effectively do His work.

If you would love to find out more, or get involved in a challenge, visit www.thefreedomchallenge.com

Below, team member Ashley Martin shares her testimony .

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