In July 2014 I had the privilege of travelling to Colorado from my home province of Saskatchewan. There I joined about 70 other women, from 6 different countries, for “The Freedom Climb”! We summited 7 mountains, each of them over 14,000 feet elevation, in 4 days. We were dizzy from the altitude, with aching muscles and blistered feet. However, we were also filled with joy, gratitude, and an overwhelming sense of God’s presence.
Why would I, a stay-at-home mom to 3 preschool children, choose to do this? Because by participating in The Freedom Climb, I have the opportunity to make an impact on the lives of women and children around the world who are suffering in ways that I cannot begin to imagine in my comfortable life. Our climb up the mountains is symbolic of the difficult, treacherous climb to freedom faced by victims of human trafficking around the world today.
The Freedom Climb is a project of Operation Mobilization, and the purpose is to create greater awareness and promote significant advocacy against modern day oppression, slavery and exploitation in the world. Participants commit to raising funds and awareness for various projects that specifically prevent, rescue, and restore victims of human trafficking.
During our time in Colorado, we had the opportunity to learn more about some of the Freedom Climb projects from individuals who are actually working in Zambia, Guatemala, and India. Their stories are heart breaking! The need is real! These projects are providing vulnerable women with occupational training so they can have sustainable income; they are providing vulnerable children with a hot meal and help with their homework; they are educating families about options other than ritualized prostitution for their young daughters. Most importantly, they tell people about God’s love, and the saving grace of Jesus.
The first Freedom Climb took place in 2012 when a group climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, and since then the Freedom Climb has taken place in several different countries. 2016 will see the Freedom Climb coming to Canada for the first time! In August 2016, women will be gathering in Fernie B.C. to climb in the beautiful Canadian Rockies.
It has been a joy and an honor for me to participate in the Freedom Climb. I am excited to be climbing again next summer in Fernie. I believe that by raising funds and awareness through this great cause, I am obeying God’s call to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.” (Proverbs 31: 8-9 NLT)
If you are interested in joining us in Fernie next summer, I encourage you to pray about it, and step out in faith and obedience. Women of various ages and fitness levels can survive and thrive on the mountains! This is an opportunity to stretch ourselves, get uncomfortable, and be a voice for God’s precious children whose voices are not heard in our world. The links below have more information, including details about registration. I am also available to discuss my experience and answer any questions!
-written by Karen Jacobi, deacon and member of Bethel CRC in Saskatoon, SK
The Freedom Climb: www.thefreedomclimb.net
www.om.org (Registration information about Fernie 2016 under “Events” tab)
Karen Jacobi- Karen_nauta@hotmail.com