“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.

A GREAT example of why we do what we do!!!

By OM Philippines

A group of women climbing Everest Base Camp - 2013

A group of women climbing Everest Base Camp – 2013

The Freedom Climb strategically focuses on three areas of intervention when battling modern day slavery, oppression, exploitation, and trafficking. All of the projects funded through the Freedom Climb are effective in the area of prevention, development, and/or rescue/rehabilitation. We believe that OM is uniquely gifted and strong in the area of prevention. An example of this came in from OM Philippines just recently. When the biggest child cyber sex scandal was discovered in Cebu, it happened in the very town where they have their children’s outreach and where they helped send 5 precious young girls to school. These young girls are now actively involved in outreaches helping other children get to know the Lord and teaching them how to stay away from this kind of destructive and dangerous activity. OM Philippines has sponsored these five scholars, whom FC is supporting. They are growing up as fine young girls, excelling in their studies. However, they easily could have been one of those victimized in cybersex in their neighborhood, if the OM team in the Philippines have not intervened.
What we are doing through Freedom Climb really makes the difference. What YOU can do will change the lives of many people too. Join us in this beautiful opportunity to bless women and children around the world and make God’s love known by them.

it didn’t have to be this way

by Climber Cathey Anderson

It’s easy to get unfocused as we plan and prepare for the Freedom Climb.  There are a crazy amount of logistics and challenges to pull something like this off.  All of the ‘what ifs’ bombard my head and occasionally make me want to give up on the whole idea.  A whole lot of pacing goes on.  And then I remember the vision; the crazy, absurd, really God? vision.  I think about the women whom we’ve never met but are connected because they live in the same time of history as we do, and they’re women just like us.  But, they haven’t been afforded the same luxuries and benefits and choices that we have.  They live each day wondering if there will be a day to call tomorrow.  I remember the young girls who have no concept of what a shopping mall is.  In fact, there are those who have to borrow a blouse to wear while they wash the one they’re wearing.  Shoes?  A luxury, along with a hairbrush and a blanket.  I could go on and on, but instead I want to tell you the story of a woman we met while visiting a poor neighborhood in India.

She was older than most of the people who lived there.  As we walked along the dirt path, she scrambled out to us on all fours.  Her tiny, make shift hut was no larger than our breakfast nook.  Through the interpreter we realized that the fungus on her feet was so severe that she couldn’t walk.  She sat down at our feet and the tears began falling down her cheeks.  She didn’t beg or plead; she just wept as she looked upward toward the heavens.  It was the cry of a woman whose soul was in desperate search of something to give her hope.  I’ve heard that cry before during my darkest, deepest times of despair.  I remember those times because when you’ve been there you never forget them.   And you pray you will never have to go there again.  Her husband had died two weeks earlier and she hadn’t eaten in three days.  She was a woman who had no hope left.  It dawned on me that if my husband died, I would have life insurance, social security, and a retirement fund.  She was in this situation because she had been told from the first day of her life that she was an ‘outcast’.  Dogs were better than her, and she wasn’t worthy of an education or opportunity.  She was the end result of a system that robbed people of their dignity and worth.  As westerners, walking away from that situation was unfathomable.  But after asking the neighbor to give her some rice with the money we left, we walked away.

How do we make a change in a system that’s centuries old?   What if she had had the opportunity for an education?  What if someone had told her she was made in the image of God and she was valuable?  What if she had been given a skill to provide for herself and her family?  What if?  What would her life look like then?   I pray for the next generation that they may know what she never had the chance or choice to know.

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.