With our Estes Park hike a little over a week away, we asked seasoned Freedom Challenge hiker, Debbie Dingle, to share her story and offer some advice for new climbers

As we draw closer and closer to our climb at Estes Park its funny all the different emotions that one can go through. If this is your first climb the feelings are coupled with anticipation, excitement, possibly fear or fear of the unknown.  

If this is not your first climb you are completely relieved that your fundraising is over and now hoping that you trained enough for whatever level of climbing you have obligated to. I am blessed to have partnered with Susan Hagen and Advent Lutheran Church in prayer and teamwork and have been involved with Freedom Challenge from its first climb to Kilimanjaro in 2012.  

Opening eyes to see

Funny how God works to open our eyes to something He wants us to see.  Honestly, before Freedom Challenge I didn’t know anything about Human Trafficking.  Recently I didn’t know anything about AFIB (Atrial Fibrillation is an irregular and often very fast heart rate.) I have been dealing with an irregular heart beat for many years but never took it very seriously.  A couple weeks ago I ended up in the hospital and soon faced the fact that I may not be able to do Estes Park or Machu Picchu climbs. The worst-case scenario of AFIB is stroke. AFIB is a very common condition and affects millions of people but all of a sudden it was very personal to me.

Open your heart

Looking back to when Susan and I joined Freedom Challenge, one of our first prayers was “break our hearts for what breaks yours.” And boy did He! Make time to read the heartbreaking stories about human trafficking as hard as they are to read. We have connected our hearts with India and have been blessed to visit that amazing country twice.

On this climb in Estes Park you are going to meet some amazing women that God has hand-picked to be on this mountain with you. Open your heart to share and learn and love on the women on this climb. I recently got the OK from the doctor to participate in both Estes Park and Machu Picchu and my heart skips a beat thinking about it!

100% capacity!

Lastly, I would encourage you to invite the Holy Spirit to empower and encourage you in your final preparations for this climb. I am currently reading a book called IF by Mark Batterson and he nailed it on the head when he said “if you ignore one-third of the Godhead, you function at two-thirds capacity.” Father, Son and Holy Spirit…let’s all work for God against Human Trafficking at 100% capacity!   I look forward to meeting you all in just a few short days!

Safe travels to all traveling to Colorado. In His service,

Debbie Dingle