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Posts Tagged ‘Trafficking’

January 19, 2012

The Freedom Climb is now in the history books.  We watched and listened from a distance as forty-eight women, inspired their leader and our good friend Cathey Anderson, took on the challenge – the highest point on the continent of Africa: Mount Kilimanjaro.  They climbed to raise awareness and money to combat human trafficking – for the women and children victimized by the cruel imposition of slavery on a global scale.

If you have ever set out to climb a mountain or ride bike a hundred miles or run a marathon or swim the channel, you know what it’s like to train.  You know that setting the goal and doing the work are two entirely different things.  It’s one thing to share the dream of accomplishment; to imagine the joyous celebration at the finish line.   It’s quite another to start the training – and to push yourself to new levels, new distances, new disciplines.  You set the routines.  You feel the pain.  Not long into it, you wonder what on earth you were thinking to imagine that you could reach that crazy goal.  You didn’t really understand the cost.  You hit the wall.  You feel the pain.  And after awhile, there is a break through.  A new surge of strength carries you past that first milestone.  But you know there will be more work ahead.  You begin to feel the benefits of the hard work – but you know that’s exactly what it is – hard work.

LeaderFOCUS is predictably my own original work.  But this time, I’m going to let JoAnn Hummel speak.  I’ve never met her, but I was moved by her words.  She is now a Kili Climber.  She now has seen the sunrise from 19,000 feet.  Here’s what she learned on the trail as she trained –

Dear Kili-climbing sisters!

With less than a week to go until we depart for Africa, the Lord said to me today, “It is time to move your eyes from yourself (your packing, shopping, and stressy self) and refocus them on Me and why I called you to make this Freedom Climb.”

When I know God is speaking, it is time to pay attention! Here’s the rest of what the Lord was speaking to me…

This Kilimanjaro trek is a powerful prophetic symbol. You – the climbers – are meant to symbolize the victims; Kilimanjaro symbolizes the towering “mountain” of pain, evil, injustice and woundedness that dehumanizes millions of trafficked and enslaved victims daily.

Every hardship you will face step-by-step and breath-by-breath on Kilimanjaro is meant to mirror the life-threatening extremities of the trafficked and enslaved for whom you climb.  They are deprived; you, too, will face deprivation. They persevere through extreme conditions; so will you. They receive no comfort; you will sacrifice your comforts for their sake. Their unclean bodies ache and sweat and hurt and shiver; yours will, too. They are forced to live one moment at a time and you will only make this climb one step at a time. And the same God who gives the millions of victims breath and life, sees their pain, holds their hands, and whispers His hope into their darkness will likewise be present with you.

This trek is meant to break your heart for what breaks Mine. I will do this in you by taking you beyond the limits of your own human strength, wits, and abilities. When you summit Kilimanjaro, you will not be able to credit yourself, but only give glory to Me. You will make it because I will carry you. That heady joy of freedom as you stand on the roof of Africa will serve as a symbol of the joyous release and victory I have in store for those who are now in bondage!

I will call many of you into active engagement to overcome and destroy these evils as you return home. Be ready for a life change.

I love you and that is why I invited you to make this climb. I didn’t ask everyone; I asked you and you said YES. I am so proud of your willingness to follow Me up this mountain that I made with My own hands. This will be a radical journey of faith and risk, but I knew what I was doing when I called you. I never make a mistake. You were meant to be on this Freedom Climb and I will be with you every step of your way. Now surrender your “me” stuff.  Lay all of it down at the Cross.  Ask Me to give you My heart, My perspective, and My strength and I will do it.

Refocus the eyes of your heart on Me.  It is time.

JoAnn Hummel

As you and I face our own Kili, let’s remember JoAnn’s challenge.

Copyright Kenneth E Kemp 2012

More on FREEDOM CLIMB |  Read Susan Kasper’s Thoughts

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

When Matthew Cork visited India in October of 2007, his experience triggered a movement that has been gathering momentum and is about to break on the scene with powerful force.  About two and a half years ago, inspired by the success of a church in Atlanta, the creative team set out to make a theatrical, full length feature film to capture a wide audience.  It would be a drama, not a documentary, and would build a bridge half way around the world, connecting resources and a laser beam focus on the plight and destiny of a people group of nearly three hundred million – the Dalits of India.

Matthew announced the improbable goal – to eliminate the caste system.  When I first heard him say it, I was struck by the sheer enormity of it.  (“Impossible!” was my first reaction.)  But as we explored the problem and the grass roots movement that is expanding like an October Southern California brush fire, consuming long held prejudices and egregious traditions turning the old ideas of untouchability into ash, we began to understand that the impossible becomes possible.  In response, a single Southern California church, where Matthew Cork serves as Lead Pastor, pledged nearly twenty million dollars (most of it toward building schools for a whole new generation of Dalits) to fuel a campaign that will spell freedom and hope for millions.

What a journey.  Matthew commissioned two of his top creative lieutenants to write a script.  Brent Martz and Jon Van Dyke went to work.  They gave birth to a compelling story: Caden, a privileged, cynical, self-absorbed Southern California twenty-something, travels to India on a lark with his party pals and stumbles across an eight-year-old Dalit, Annikka, and her father Karin, while back home his girlfriend, mother and step-dad pray.  Repelled at first, Caden gradually becomes attached to the wide-eyed little girl and when Karin sells her away for a small fistful of rupees, thinking it will guarantee a better future than he can give, Caden is incensed.  As he connects to the Internet from his luxury hotel, his research gives him a primer on trafficking and the previously calloused Californian becomes obsessed with her rescue.  Together, Caden, the entitled Californian, and Karin, the Dalit father, set out to find Annikka.  Their search takes them all over India, and into the dark world of human trade where children are debased as a sub-human commodity.

The script led to a casting call.  Church folks volunteered to serve the project.  A cinematographer emerged.  Donations materialized.  Excitement accelerated.  Storyboards mapped out production plans.  Slum Dog Millionaire (a surprise hit film which introduced the world to India’s untouchables) stormed the Oscars.  Doors opened in India.  Cast members and crew appeared from both sides of the globe.  A location trip identified sites for filming.  Filmed on location, the movie would take characters through the slums, the marketplace, the trains, the bustling city streets, the dark shadows of the brothel district and back allies where human dignity is forgotten, trampled.  The team faced impossible odds.  Barriers and roadblocks have been encountered all along the way.  Murphy’s Law (if it can go wrong, it will) imposed itself time and again.  And in spite of all the challenges, all the objections, all the predictions of calamity, the seers of doom, all the delays, all the undelivered promises, all the reasons why the team could well have thrown up their hands in discouragement and simply said “never mind”, “I quit”, “this is too much”, “we can’t go on”… in spite of all of that and more, the movie is almost done.  And it is very, very good.

As I write, the production crew is applying the finishing touches.  World-class composer Don Harper has completed an original score.  The mix is nearly complete.  The final edit is going through a color correction, which is tantamount to a Photo Shop of every frame.  The result is eye-popping clarity and crisp resolution.  Much of the dialogue, true to life, is in an Indian dialect.  Animated subtitles bring the conversation to life.  The team will be done mid-summer.  Focus groups will register their responses for final tweaking and presentation to the several major distributors who have already indicated keen interest.

I wish I could express adequately how proud I am of the production team.  I am attached to this project largely because I traveled to India twice these past two years; the first trip along with the writer, director, producer and cinematographer.   We located sites in Hyderabad, on the train, in Calcutta and Mumbai.  As the movie was made, for nearly a full year, I worked with Matthew to write a book that tells the story of Global Freedom.

One man’s vision, one that captured him in the middle of the night in a hotel room in the heart of India, has already moved a mountain.  It’s about to move a nation.

Maybe the whole world.

Copyright Kenneth E Kemp 2011

Learn more: The Movie | The Book 

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