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A21 - Walk for Freedom in Partnership with Free & Fit and Good Samaritan United Methodist Church

A21 - Walk for Freedom in Partnership with Free & Fit and Good Samaritan United Methodist Church

Over the month of October we have been focused on a couple of Outreach projects at Good Samaritan Church. This past month we have completed supporting the Bethel Mens Shelter and also organized the first A21 Walk For Freedom in Lake Wylie, South Carolina.

A21 is a charity organized by Evangelist and Christian speaker Christine Caine. At A21 they believe that every step we take locally leaves footprints globally during their annual walk. Every dollar fundraised, every poster seen, every person made aware of the issue of human trafficking, add up to one Global impact - a world where everyone is free.

This month Good Samaritan United Methodist Church hosted their first Walk for Freedom walking the grounds of the Church and the perimeter of the Church where Saturdays traffic was passing and saw many members of our local community Walking for Freedom. Organiser, Pastor and Advocate Tim Cheux has previously organized walks in Harrington Park, Westwood, and fundraising money by running the Atlantic City Marathon.

On Saturday 15th October 2022 Tim joined the Walk for Freedom in Charlotte for their bigger community walk with over 100 people prior to the walk which took place later on that day in Lake Wylie. 

In order for us to fully understand why this work, advocating for justice and seeking to abolish slavery is important, we must seek to find our why people walk. Why they think it matters. Why we should become more educated about Human Trafficking. Why we should seek to do all we can to stop Modern Day Slavery. Why we can make a difference today and everyday by speaking up, walking and advocating for Gods justice, mercy and righteousness to prevail here on earth as in heaven. 

One example of why somebody completes the Walk

for Freedom is shared in our Reflections from this past months walk from a member of our previous Walk for Freedom in 2019 at Westwood New Jersey United Methodist Church, Jess, who explains why she Walked for Freedom that day.

"I had heard of human trafficking before. However, it happened to people I didn’t know in places far away that I couldn’t relate to. So like it is for most people, it was easy to disassociate myself from it. The truth is, I didn’t really get it. I didn’t get the magnitude of the problem. I didn’t know it happened where I live. I certainly didn’t realize that it happened to people who shop in the same supermarkets I do and even go to my church. Until I did.

Then, I could no longer ignore it. It is easy to not care about something when we don’t understand it. The idea that human trafficking and slavery still exists today seems unbelievable. Like literally, I didn’t believe it. I had friends who told me stories about seeing things when they want on mission trips to faraway lands. I heard them talking but I didn’t really get it. It was so different from anything that I could possibly relate to.

However, this summer I had the privilege of hearing Christine Caine speak at a Church in NYC. When she entered onto the stage she started off by announcing that nine women had been rescued that day from slavery and were now in safe houses with A21. As the church cheered, for the first time, it became real to me.

A seed had been planted. But to be honest, by the end of the sermon, I forgot all about it and went back to scrolling social media to see the more familiar news of what my friends had for brunch, who went to the gym and whose dog did something cute. However, I loved Christine’s energy and decided to buy one of her audiobooks. I listened to it in 24 hours and was enthralled. She spoke about A21 and I heard stories of women that had been rescued from slavery.

Hearing their stories changed everything for me. I could no longer disassociate myself from human trafficking and I know longer wanted to. I bought the rest of her books and immersed looking for solutions to a problem that I just learned about. I knew I wanted to get involved with bringing awareness to human trafficking. If I didn’t know it existed, it seemed reasonable to think that some of my friends may also not know.

I don’t do politics. Going to a walk and carrying a sign to bring awareness to a cause was way outside of my comfort zone. I was terrified I would look like a Trump protester. I try to bring as little attention to myself as possible walking down the street. But I did it anyway and here is why. Awareness that a problem exists in the first step in solving it.

We live in a world that is interconnected. Everyone follows what everyone does non stop. If you don’t post about going to the gym, a workout doesn’t count. We are constantly uploading all aspects of our life. While that may seem daunting and overwhelming, it can also be life saving. When we are all connected, we all matter.

We can no longer look away and pretend that someone doesn’t exist and that they are not important. If we know what to look for and we know who is at risk, we have the power to help them when they are in a vulnerable or dangerous situation. So, I set out to tell my community that slavey is real today in 2019, that it exists and that if they know what to look for, they may be able to spot it and help. Even during the walk, the idea that awareness can make difference still seemed like a nice idea. It was enough of a motivation to hold a sign around town for a mile but I don’t know if I really believed in my heart what I was doing actually mattered. It wasn’t until the walk was over, I realized the power in what we just did. After the walk, a woman greeted us at the church and told us a story that solidified the real purpose of our gesture.

One day while leaving college, her niece was abducted and sold into slavery. When I heard her tell the story, I realized how many times the exact same thing could have happened to me. She simply sampled some juices outside her college. They had put a sedative in the juice and when she woke up no idea where she was and was being held captive. When she stopped posting online, her friends and family knew something was wrong. Her community came together to find answers. Her photo was shared thousands of times all around the world until her captors realized we no longer live in a world where people don’t matter and they let her go.

Traffickers target people that they think that nobody will notice have gone missing. That’s why I believe that we have the power to end human trafficking for good in our generation. It can stop with us. There is power in community and each of us have a voice. That voice has the power to change and even save someone’s life. I will no longer look at human trafficking as an issue that exists somewhere, somplace that is happening to people that I don’t know. By viewing it that way, I am asserting the same opinion of the traffickers- that people I don’t know don’t matter.

The truth is we live in a world where we are all connected. I choose to be aware and choose to be connected to all of mankind, not only on social media but in spirit. I understand my community exists far beyond the town that I live and that by simply sharing someone’s story, I can make a difference in someone’s life. That’s why I joined the walk for freedom. "

Jess Leichtweisz, 2019 Walk for Freedom in Westwood New Jersey.

If you have any questions about this walk please contact us at Should you have any general questions about A21 or the global Walk For Freedom & Peace Free&Fit in partnership with A21 #freeandfitoutreach #a21 #walkforfreedom #lakewiley #southcarolina #freedomtoday

Love & Blessings F&F Team

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