United States (MNN) — The Freedom Challenge, an initiative through Operation Mobilization, is helping end human trafficking. The movement began with founder Cathey Anderson, who felt God put a vision on her heart while she was overcoming a fear of heights. That vision was of women who conquered physical challenges and pushed themselves to the limits while raising funds and awareness for human trafficking.
“So essentially this is a movement of passionate women, who are dedicating themselves to freeing oppressed and enslaved women and children from around the world. And they are participating in all kinds of physical challenges, from running, to walking, to swimming, and of course climbing which was the original vision,” The Director of the Freedom Challenge Tracy Daugherty explains.
Women participating in the Freedom Challenge raise money to support projects focused on helping enslaved women and children. This money goes to 50 different projects the Freedom Challenge partners with worldwide. These projects participate in prevention, development, restoration, and rescue.
“Prevention and development are our greatest framework because if we can disrupt this evil atrocity and bring disruption to that from ever happening, that is rescuing the life in a more sustainable and powerful way. So, we put a lot of effort into that,” Daugherty says.
An Alumnus’ Story
In 2018, author and blogger Sylvia St. Cyr participated in the Grand Canyon Freedom Challenge. She, along with 28 other women, raised $130,000 to support the efforts of freeing women and children. These women climbed to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. St. Cyr climbed with group one which featured seven women who were at the time strangers. But, over the course of four days, this changed. A lot changed, actually.
“Any time someone asks me “what was the Freedom Challenge like?” I have to use the word life-changing because pushing yourself to that limit and realizing what you can do when you have God living in you…You are a living example of His might, of His power, and so if He can bring me through the Grand Canyon…what can He do with the darkness that is the 40 million people trapped in human trafficking right now all over the world,” St. Cyr says.
St. Cyr said she felt God’s call for her to get involved with ending human trafficking particularly with an organization focused on helping women and children. Her proof the Freedom Challenge was the right choice? St. Cyr has osteoarthritis in her right knee. It has prevented her from running half marathons and more. However, she didn’t feel any pain during the Grand Canyon climb, even while carrying 50-55 pounds on her back.
“I see [the climb] as a living sacrifice in all ways. That’s what’s so beautiful about it, the amount of sacrifice in the love of what these women are doing is phenomenal,” Daugherty says.
Why Join the Freedom Challenge
While it is easier to donate to the cause rather than raise funds and climb, climbing is like putting a stake in the ground. St. Cyr says by committing to a climb, you are tangibly express your “yes” to the cause. Women who join the climb sacrifice their time and their resources. But they also get a lot more people involved through support than by simply giving.
Daugherty explains how during this process, women are giving towards the transformation of the lives of people they have never met, but they’re also receiving a gift, too. That gift is transformation by God.
“When we went down the first day. I was utterly exhausted. I mean I had nothing left…One of the hikers with us said, you know I can’t even imagine going up on day four. I don’t know what that looks like, that overwhelms me,” St. Cyr recalls.
“Our leader immediately said, ‘Well, God didn’t give you grace to go up today. He gave you grace to come down.’ I’ve taken that into my life now in such a way that if I ever get overwhelmed with something that’s happening in my life in a week from now, I just remember God has given me grace for today.”
Are you passionate about ending modern day slavery? If the answer is yes, then consider joining the Freedom Challenge to raise awareness and resources to end human trafficking.
Please also pray. Pray for the end of human trafficking, for God’s light to enter these dark places of the world, and for women to rise and join the Freedom Challenge movement.
Join us tomorrow to find out how the Super Bowl and human trafficking collide along with what you can do to stop it.