“God is good and he provides for me”

OM Costa Rica - Pearl Process Coni Working copyIn Costa Rica it can rain for up to eight months of the year. For Coni and her family, living in one of the most impoverished slums in the country, this meant they had to put up with a constant drip, drip, drip in their one-room shack.

And what was even more distressing for Coni, was seeing her children covered in bite marks. At night, rats would crawl in and nibble on the hands or feet of her sleeping children.

But thanks to OM’s Pearl Project, Coni’s life is beginning to change and dignity is being restored.

This week Tina Yeager, Director of Freedom Challenge USA, has been visiting the Pearl Project with a team of Freedom Challenge supporters.

She has met many women like Coni who are, for the first time, experiencing hope for the future and freedom from their often oppressive circumstances.

On a practical level, the Pearl Process teaches vulnerable women to make sandals and create mosaics, skills they can use to provide a regular income for their family. This ability to make a living enabled Coni to move out of the city slum and into a safer area, into a house with a solid roof and access to a good school for her children.

But that is not all that the Pearl Process offers. Most of the women who go through the project have experienced physical or emotional abuse. The staff at the Pearl Process offer these women love and acceptance – something they may never have known before.

Alongside the skills training, the women enjoy Bible studies. Many have become Christians.

“I’m actually starting to believe that God is good and that he does provide for me and that he does love me and my children,” announced Coni one day to Julie Paniagua, the Pearl Process team leader.

Coni is so thankful that her life has been completely transformed.

That is what Freedom Challenge is all about. We long to see many more women released from oppression and modern-day slavery. We support OM projects that bring transformation to women and children in the most-at risk communities.

Please continue to pray for Tina, the Freedom Challenge volunteers and women like Coni who are so precious to God.

Visit next week for a lovely photo essay and stories from Tina’s trip!

$150 will set a woman on a path to freedom.

Your challenge. Their Freedom.

Freedom Climb Summits Kilimanjaro

Our 2015 Corporate Freedom Climbers summited Kilimanjaro today. Praise God! After starting their climb at 11:30pm last night, they climbed 3,920ft. to reach Uhruru Peak. Nearly every climber was able to reach the top.

After descending 7,200ft., the team has reached Horombo, their camp for the night.

“We’re just so thankful that God has intervened on our behalf and the weather has been spectacular, and we’ve been praying for those we’ve been climbing on behalf of,” said Tina Yeager, Freedom Climb director.

Thank you to everyone who has prayed for our team and the projects around the world that the Freedom Climb funds. Please continue to pray for the team as they climb back down the mountain – and for all those who are currently being trafficked, enslaved, and exploited; pray that God would bring freedom to them today.

The Freedom Climb is changing lives in Madagascar

The Perla project in Madagascar is a Freedom Climb-sponsored ministry. Read Operation Mobilization writer Rebecca Rempel’s report on how this project is changing lives in this African country.

Photo credit to Rebecca

Photo credit to Rebecca

“I couldn’t sew. I didn’t even know how to handle a needle,” admitted widow and mother of seven, Celestine. “But now, I am very happy because I am able.”

Perle, meaning ‘pearl’ in Malagasy, is a Freedom Climb project in Madagascar, that teaches women how to sew and run their own businesses. Like Celestine, many of the students had never picked up a needle prior to class.

“Before, when there was a torn place in my children’s clothing, I didn’t know how to fix it,” said Celestine. “Now I can. I have already sewn up all the tears.”

This is the first time Perle has run in Ambovombe, a town in the Androy region to the south of the island. Earlier this year it ran in Antananarivo, Madagascar’s capital, with four students graduating. In the capital, the students lived on base and attended classes daily. In addition to sewing, they were taught cooking and housekeeping during the month-long course. The OM team saw the need for Perle in Ambovombe, but knew it would have to run differently then it had in Antananarivo. All the women signed up for Perle in the south had families dependent on them, so living away from home was not an option. Instead of an every day, month-long course, Ambovombe’s Perle holds three hour classes, three times a week, for six months.

In Ambovombe, Perle was the answer to Marena’s prayers.

“For a long time I’ve desired to have a handcraft. When the announcement went through church, I decided to join,” she said.

Out of the 11 women enrolled, eight of them are widowed. Marena is one of the three ladies whose husbands are alive.

“It is hard, because we study and take care of our families,” said Marena. “At the beginning it was so difficult. My husband was angry with me (for taking classes), but that changed. He knows that I am studying, and that there will be a difference in our home because of it.”

Besides stitching by hand, the women practice on two sewing machines. One is hand cranked, and the other is electric, although with power outages it can not always be counted on. Originally the program was to have three machines, but the OM team sold one to pay their bus fares to Ambovombe.

Dresses, skirts, shirts, and undergarments have all been completed successfully, and the group has moved on to trousers.

“We are proud that we do not study for nothing, but will have great benefit from our study,” said Fine. “At the beginning we were babies in the world of sewing. We thank the Lord for giving us knowledge and understanding.”

“I am a widow, and I am jobless,” she continued. “I have five children, and there was nothing I could do to feed them, so I asked Jesus what I should do for a living. When the announcement was made in church, the pastor appointed me to study because he knew my situation. I know that God opened up the way for me.”

Not only do they learn the ins and outs of sewing, the ladies also study the Bible; learning how to live as a follower of Christ, and apply biblical principles to their daily life and business interactions.

“Through scripture we learn God’s plan for His people,” testified Marena.

Hermonie, one of three OM team members in the south, enjoys spending time with the women.

“I give thanks to the Lord that I am able to teach them. It’s not always easy. Especially with the dialect,” she admitted. “Sometimes I use a word that shocks them. But sometimes it’s funny, and everyone just laughs.”

Previous to the course, the women did not all know each other. The hours spent together over needle and thread have made them a tight-knit group. Coming from different backgrounds and churches, they are united in their desire to learn a new skill, and provide for their families.

The group wants to start a sewing society in Ambovombe, gathering business from town and the surrounding areas.

“We have a vision,” widowed Esther explained. “We have a great desire to work together as one.”

“Pray for us,” Marena asked. “To preach the gospel with our hand crafts, not only to get money.”

Christmas Gifts that Transform Lives – The Freedom Climb Store www.shop.thefreedomclimb.net

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Friends,

Our Freedom Climb store is open.  Buy Freedom Climb promotional items or other gifts made from our projects.  We are excited to launch this store and plan on adding items from our Freedom Climb projects around the world in the near future.  Keep an eye out for the amazing items that will be added.

Are you shopping for Christmas for your loved ones?  Hurry, buy a gift today and get it to your loved one by Christmas.  Your purchase goes to help transform the lives of those enslaved and oppressed.

http://www.shop.thefreedomclimb.net

The Freedom Climb Team

Welcome to The Freedom Climb Blog!

What is THE FREEDOM CLIMB? The Freedom Climb is an event where women from across the globe will begin their ascent of Mt. Kilimanjaro beginning January 11, 2012 (National Human Trafficking Awareness Day) for the purpose of bringing awareness to the atrocities against women and children, and generating much needed resources to those who are oppressed, enslaved, exploited and trafficked. The Freedom Climb goal for 2012 is to provide opportunities for freedom and hope to 10,000 women and children through projects that break the cycles of poverty, shame, slavery, and despair. The Freedom Climb will raise finances for a variety of projects that help women: micro-loans that empower women to start a business and care for their children, skills training, education for their children, providing rescue and safe haven from exploitation, to list a few.

Why Mt. Kilimanjaro? Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is symbolic of the huge climb to freedom these women and children have to face every day of their lives. Believers are compelled by the love God has for his children to “speak up for those who have no voice” and “see that they get justice” and the human decencies they deserve (Proverbs 31:8-9 NLT).

The uniqueness of a group of women from a variety of cultures climbing Kilimanjaro has already attracted interest from media to tell this story, and in doing so, will bring a spotlight to the cry for freedom for women and children. This blog will document the climb each day, escalating the voice of advocacy on behalf of women’s freedom issues.