Freedom Climbers complete first leg
United States | OM USA CommunicationsThe Freedom Climbers spent Wednesday night resting at 8,940 feet on Mt. Kilimanjaro after their first full day of hiking, a day that marked National Human Trafficking Awareness Day in the United States.
This group, composed of women from all over the world ranging in age from 18-73, are climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania this week to raise awareness of global injustices against women and children.
The hike began at about 6,800 feet through a natural rain forest, home to the Kilimanjaro Colobus monkey. They then split into four groups of 12 and began their ascent at 40 minute intervals.
“[I’m] praying for God’s strength, peace and encouragement for the entire team as we start one of the biggest challenges of our lives,” said climber Cheryl Weber.
The prayer team, stationed at the base of the mountain during the climb, prayed for and anointed each with oil before they began. The team has seen immediate answers to specific prayers. Three women had experienced physical problems, including difficulty breathing and back pain, and one woman had lost her passport. Within an hour of bringing these requests before God, they had found the passport and all of the physical ailments were going away, reported the team.
Even so, each climber knows that no amount of challenge they undertake compares with the horror millions of woman and children around the world suffer every day.
There are an estimated 27 million slaves in the world—three out of four of them women. Eight hundred thousand people will be sex-trafficked this year; 80 per cent will be female and 50 per cent will be children.
The climbers are motivated by a passion to combat this worldwide oppression and help bring restoration to individuals and communities. With the funds raised from the climb, they hope to impact 10,000 women and children worldwide by providing rescue and rehabilitation through skills training, micro-business and education.
During the first day, the group trekked for six hours, completing about four miles. Though this leg is the easiest of the climb, the women were ready to crawl into their sleeping bags afterward.
Climber Madison Baczewski commented: “Two countries’ worth of African dust is in my nose and eyes, my ankles are swollen, nothing is sufficiently charged and my stomach is going nuts. [But] it feels so good! I love everything about it!”
Said Cheryl, “[I’m] so proud of the women we are climbing with—dedicated warriors in the battle for the hearts and minds of oppressed women around the world.”
Please pray for the climbers as they ascend Mt. Kilimanjaro. A few have experienced early symptoms of altitude sickness. Please pray for their safety. One climber asks, though, that people pray more for the women and children living in captivity.
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