“God created me to ‘Do Something’!”

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This July, a group of ordinary women – business professionals, stay-at-home moms, grandmas, sisters, friends – will be taking part in an extraordinary challenge. From 31 July – 5 August, women from the US and further afield will be hiking and biking in the Grand Tetons, Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Why are we doing this? To raise awareness of and funds for projects supported by The Freedom Challenge to free women and children from modern-day slavery.

Some of us are gym bunnies, hikers, travellers, others of us have health challenges, or haven’t hiked in years.

It will be an experience that you’ll never forget – you will make a difference in the lives of oppressed women and your own life will be impacted too. Still not sure if this is right for you?

Take a look at the following words (including a video) from women already signed up, and some who’ve climbed before, and let them inspire you!

‘I had gone to a conference put on by Women Impacting the Nation and heard a speaker talking about women being enslaved and the enormous amount of money that it generates and how pornography is the cause or motivating factor for much of this.

I have a friend who had done the Freedom Challenge in Africa a few years ago and I was so inspired by her efforts also.  I figured, if I was ever going to do something like this, it better be soon since I am 66 and climbing mountains is more difficult than it was a few years ago.  I am also facing a knee replacement and praying for a complete recovery before the climb.’

Ann Darling, part of the Wyoming 2016 team

‘I had the privilege of climbing in the Swiss Alps with the Freedom Challenge team in 2015. As a leader of a project that receives support from Freedom Challenge I wanted to be a part of the process of raising funds and meeting some of the ladies who have made possible the training of our teachers and the ability to reach out with love to the children in our classrooms. I can’t fully express how the hiking affected me, I am still processing the lessons I have learned.

It was amazing to sense the team effort. Even though each of us had to put one foot in front of the other to get up (and down) the various peaks, there was a real sense that we were in this together. The moments on the trail brought opportunities to share our life experiences and fears, hopes, visions for the future and purpose for hiking, one-to-one as well as in groups, as we found places for picnic lunches along the trail. There were moments that were full of laughter and singing and joyful banter and then focused, quiet, prayerful, concentrated times of just managing to put one foot in front of the other, being intensely reminded of the women and children we were hiking for and the mountains they face. It amazed me how much a simple word of encouragement could help shift my thinking from, “I don’t think I can take another step” to “Ok, just one more, and one more…until we reached the top…” ’

Shirley Turner, previous participant and part of the Wyoming 2016 team, and OM missionary in Zambia

Below, Cathey Anderson (the late founder of The Freedom Challenge) and Joanne Hummel, talk about the amazing ways God meets with each participant on the climb:

‘My motivation is based on the song by Matthew West – “Do Something”. I know God created me to “Do Something” about the social injustice of modern-day slavery. I am committed to be a voice for those women and children that don’t have a voice. Climbing mountains to raise funds and then sharing my story about the climbs as an inspirational speaker is my way to “Do Something”.’

Ginger Martin, President and CEO of American National Bank and part of the Wyoming 2016 team

‘I want to be a part of what God is doing in the lives of women locally and globally. The Wyoming event, raises awareness and funding about the scourge of human trafficking and oppression, and I want to be a part of it.’

Teresa Vaughn, part of the Wyoming 2016 team

‘I’ve been to Costa Rica and met women who have been transformed by the love of Christ, and are being transformed. God is meeting them there right where they are. Just like He met me right when I climbed Kilimanjaro to help me, give me His breath and strength to get me to the top. One step and one breath at a time as I prayed and asked for it, and depended on Him for it. God will meet each woman who steps out in faith, and says yes to him and follows after Him. As we do, He reveals Himself to us in the most amazing ways, and heals and restores us, guides and protects us, brings us into relationship with Him and with each other.’

Cindy Rine, previous participant and part of the Wyoming 2016 team

We would love for you to join us – the hike is suitable for women without any experience of hiking and those who are pros!

Find out more and sign up at: www.thefreedomchallenge.com/16-wyoming

2016 Freedom Climb Wyoming

“God’s blessing is on my life after many years of trouble”

The Tabitha project, Zambia

The Freedom Challenge supports projects that prevent, develop, rescue and restore vulnerable women, women who may be a target for traffickers because they are poor or because they find themselves in desperate circumstances, like Grace.

A few years ago, Grace’s husband was hit by a car near their home in Kabwe, Zambia. He died instantly.

At the time, Grace was pregnant, about to give birth to their fifth child. Now, she would have to care for, feed and clothe five children all on her own. And that wasn’t all, Grace also had to deal with being looked down upon by her family and community because she no longer had a husband to provide for her.

There were many days when Grace and her young family would go to bed without having eaten anything at all.

Thankfully, the Freedom Challenge-supported Tabitha project was there to help – they provided Grace with skills training and reached out to her with love. It took time for Grace to accept the support on offer, but slowly she began to smile again and develop a new hope for her future.

With the help of the Tabitha project Grace has opened a small grocery shop selling fresh produce and household goods.

Grace’s dream is to be able send all five of her children to school, to have food to feed them each day and to learn to read and write. Perhaps these are, to us, simple dreams, and yet these are things we can so easily take for granted.

Grace asks us to remember her in prayer: ‘Please pray with me for favor over my business. I continually experience others being jealous of me whenever I start to do something good. So please also pray that my neighbors will not be jealous, but will see that it is God’s blessing upon my life after many years of trouble.”

Wouldn’t you love to help more women like Grace experience the abundant life God has for them? You can make a lasting difference to women’s lives by taking part in a Freedom Challenge event (the next one is in July in Wyoming) or by making a donation – $150 sets one woman on a path to freedom.

Thank you for partnering with us.

About the Tabitha project, Zambia

Tabitha Skills Development is a discipleship program focused on empowering and equipping vulnerable and marginalized women through skills training. A woman may be trained in a specific skill such as sewing, beading, cookery, knitting or crocheting. In addition to the skills training, all women have a chance to receive guidance in basic life skills such as cooking, health, HIV/Aids, gardening, basic business and literacy. Each woman is challenged spiritually to find her identity and freedom in Christ by going through topics such as repentance, faith, baptism, Lordship, hearing God’s voice, the father heart of God and prayer.

The one year Tabitha Initiative program goes one step further to intentionally empower women to use their own initiatives to start small businesses that are focused on reaching out to others. Each woman receives her own audio-Bible, for the evangelistic purpose of playing it in her shop, the market or wherever she does business. Each woman is also equipped to confidently lead Discovery Bible Studies with a small group of community women. In addition to starting a small business, each woman will be spiritually mentored and developed in leadership.

Why I climb – Shirley Turner

Shirley turner

Why sign up to a Freedom Challenge climb? Shirley Turner, who is taking part in the Wyoming climb in July, truly inspires us to see what a difference this climb could make to vulnerable women and children and to our own lives

My name is Shirley, I’m originally from the US. But right now I live in Kabwe, Zambia. I am an OM missionary serving with the Teacher Training Centre.

I had the privilege of climbing in the Swiss Alps with The Freedom Challenge team in 2015. As a leader of a project that receives support from The Freedom Challenge I wanted to be a part of the process of raising funds and meeting some of the ladies who have made possible the training of our teachers and the ability to reach out with love, education and hope into the lives of the children in our classrooms. I can’t fully express how the hiking affected me, I am still processing the lessons I have learned.

‘In this together’

It was amazing to sense the team effort. Even though each of us had to put one foot in front of the other to get up (and down) the various peaks, there was a real sense that we were in this together. The moments on the trail brought opportunities to share, on a one-to-one basis, our life experiences and fears, hopes, visions for the future and purpose for hiking.

There were moments that were full of laughter and singing and joyful banter and then focused, quiet, prayerful, concentrated times of just managing to put one foot in front of the other, being intensely reminded of the women and children we were hiking for and the mountains they face.

It amazed me how much a simple word of encouragement could help shift my thinking from, “I don’t think I can take another step” to “Ok, just one more, and one more,” until we reached the top. So many of these experiences parallel what we experience on the field with the women and children we walk alongside as we train teachers and as we see them pouring their lives out for the children.

‘The Lord touched my heart’

For me personally, many of the moments that brought courage and hope to my heart involved hiking just behind Cathey Anderson, (founder of the Freedom Challenge who passed away in December). The Lord touched my heart so many times as I looked up to see her plodding steadily on even though I knew she was tired and in pain. On less strenuous sections of the path I was privileged to walk beside her and experience some beautiful moments of sharing parts of our life stories.

So, I am climbing again…for the purpose of thanking God for Cathey; for the purpose of asking God to further develop my heart of love and compassion to be an encouragement to others; and so the women and children here in Zambia can be reached with the love of Christ and infused with the hope and courage Christ brings to a heart and life as we train them in bringing a Christ-centred education into lost communities.

Inviting friends

I am trusting the Lord to be able to bring one of our teachers who just recently finished her year of training in class and will be serving in Malawi as a teacher this year. I would love for her to be able to share her story and meet women who are passionate about sharing the love of Christ with vulnerable and exploited women and children around the world through hiking and raising prayer and awareness and funds. I have also invited a friend from Pennsylvania who will be hiking with us and I am looking forward to seeing what the Lord will do in our hearts and minds during this time.

‘The Lord meets with us in so many ways’

So for anyone still undecided, I would say just sign up! It is a journey that the Lord uses to meet with us in so many ways – building faith, sharing His heart of love for us and for those we are hiking for, showing what a personally involved God He is in every small and large provision, speaking truth and bringing transformation in our lives as well as those we hike for. And the list goes on and on and on as to what He will do!

A Million Steps to Freedom

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We have a big goal this year – to set 1,000 women and children free. Will you join us?

January. A fresh start. New opportunities. New hopes.

It’s that time of year when we start thinking about how we can improve our lives, how we can achieve the things we want in life, and how we can make this year better than the last.

Although making a new year’s resolution may be losing popularity, did you know that people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to achieve their goal than people who don’t?

So we have a new year challenge for you.

This January we are launching ‘A Million Steps to Freedom’

It will motivate you to get fit, not just for yourself but for others – for your team and for the 24 million women and children around the world who are trapped in modern-day slavery.

This year you can change your own life and change the lives of others by joining our Million Steps to Freedom campaign!

How to get involved

You and nine of your friends create a team of 10 women. You each commit to take 10,000 steps per day for 10 days. You set a team fundraising goal and invite others to join you by sponsoring each day of your challenge.

It’s a big goal, but a simple idea. We want to see groups of friends embark on new journeys together—journeys that will collectively lead to the freedom of 1,000 women and children from modern-day slavery.

So grab your friends. Let’s unleash freedom in 2016!

To sign up, download resources and to find out more visit:

www.thefreedomchallenge.com/mstf