For our latest blog, we're excited to hear from Dr Christina Crenshaw, one of our speakers at Estes Park, and a novice hiker! Here she shares what she learned from her first ever Freedom Climb...

In late Spring when asked if I would be interested in speaking on the topic of domestic sex trafficking at this year’s Freedom Climb, I took a few days to pray about it and then replied, “Absolutely!”  

I’ve spoken at several human trafficking conferences and events. I’ve conducted research and published on human trafficking prevention related topics. I’ve even lent my consulting hand to a global human trafficking agency when they were writing curriculum for high school students. So, I felt comfortable discussing the current landscape for human trafficking prevention and policies. What was an unexpected and new experience, however, was learning I would not only be speaking, but I would also be hiking.  

Feeling nervous

In the spirit of transparency, I must admit: I felt a biDr of significant caliber. To be certain, I was looking forward to the physical challenge. I welcomed the opportunity, especially one aimed at raising funds and awareness for human trafficking.  But I was also fairly nervous. 

Most participants had more experience. Some had climbed the base of Mount Everest and many had climbed The Grand Tetons. They were also several participants training for an upcoming climb in Mauchu Picchu. They owned mountain gear I had never before seen and from companies of which I had never before heard. 

I, on the other hand, arrived at Estes Park with my Target purchased hiking poles still in their package and my off-brand boots not yet broken in. I brought an oversized Nalgene bottle rather than a Camel Back (and learned the important distinction while on the trail, unfortunately). My pants were not waterproof, my socks were not wool, my hiking boots were actually hiking shoes, and evidentially there is a difference, particularly when walking the side of a snowy mountain. To say I was woefully undertrained and underprepared would be an understatement!  

Still, I trusted the Lord had something for me to grasp about His strength in my weakness. I could see His loving humor in the situation. I could feel His refinement through the process. This summer, I came to The Freedom Challenge to teach, but the experience actually taught me two important lessons: 

1. We get to carry each other. 

As the Lord’s humor would have it, I was placed on an intermediate team. I felt inadequate by comparison, and I initially thought it best to withdraw. My team, however, would hear none of it. In love, they encouraged me to try the first day and reevaluate afterward. I’m thankful they did.  

Day one of the intermediate hike was a challenge for me. I was arguably the slowest, least experienced hiker on my team. And yet, they never once made me feel this way. In fact, my team was quick to praise my accomplishments, the big and small ones. They shared their water when I ran out. They covered me with their garments when I was cold and lacked the proper attire. They even carried some of my gear when it became too heavy near the end. With their help, I made it. We made it together. My team’s support was nothing short of Scripture’s exhortation in Galatians 6:2 to have compassion on one another and carry each other’s burdens, thereby fulfilling the law of Christ. We fulfilled our goal because we carried one another for His glory. 

2. Our ambition is for His mission.  

We are called to engage ambitious endeavors. The Lord gives each of us a vocational call with the intent of furthering His kingdom on earth. In Os Guinness’s The Call, he affirms two facets of our vocational callings.

First, there is the General Call. This is our invitation to follow Jesus. It is the vocational call to be reconciled to Christ. It is our call to follow Him. Second, there is the Specific Call, a call unique to use our gifts and abilities for His glory. Our Specific Calling is an invitation to co-labor with Christ and to use our ambition to accomplish His mission.

I regularly witness my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ using their vocational gifts in the work place, but the Freedom Climb reminded me the Lord’s work is completed everywhere and in every facet of life, not just the four walls of an office or in the foreign mission field. No matter the scenario or context, when we gather, unify, and climb in His name, we are using our God-given ambition to accomplish His mission. 

Dr. Christina Crenshaw teaches Leadership and Education courses at Baylor University and serves as the Prevention Committee Chair for The Heart of Texas Anti-Human Trafficking Coalition. She lives in Waco, TX, with her husband Craig and their two sons.

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