Modern-Day Freedom-Bringer

Pastor Heidi McGinness & Pat Queen

The voice at the other end of the telephone was confident, crisp, and to the point. “Pastor McGinness?”


“I hear you free slaves in the Sudan.”


“I want to help. How can I help?” “Can we meet for lunch?” I asked. “I’ll give you information about the horrors of slavery in the Sudan and bring photos so you can see for yourself.”

Becca_0I arrived at the restaurant early and waited for Rebecca Bretz. I was stunned when not one woman but two arrived—a mother and daughter. Becca Bretz was only thirteen years old.

Not far into our conversation, I realized that Becca had received a call from God to be an abolitionist and that my job was to help in her calling.

She asked, “What can I do to free the slaves?”

I suggested she contact the youth of St. Peter’s United Methodist Church in Katy, Texas. Eight years ago they had implemented a Freedom Walk, which led to the release of hundreds of slaves in the Sudan.

A freedom walk sounded great to Becca. She was ready.

I tried not to discourage her, even as I thought to myself, Her passion for the walk may be an expression of deep desire, but it will take months of planning and her enthusiasm may evaporate as high school engulfs her.

Becca was not going to let anything keep her from freeing the slaves—not playing volleyball, singing in three choirs, piano and ukulele lessons, skiing, rock climbing, or her duties as a deacon of Green Mountain Presbyterian Church, where her mother served as pastor.

female slaves 2 DSC02322 (2)

Faith fueled Becca’s passion. “What motivates me to free the slaves? I imagine that if they were in my place, they would do the same. I have been blessed with so much. I feel I must help those who have not. I love being around people who love and care for me. In return, I want to love and care for others, helping them in any way that I can. I have a passion for helping people, and that’s what I plan to do for the rest of my life.”

Becca’s call was obvious, as was her determination. During the months of preparation for the walk, her call from God was so strong that the rest of us simply got out of her way, assisting her as she made the freedom walk succeed.

With that same confident voice I had heard on the phone, she instructed me, “We’ll charge $50 for each person to walk. That’s what it costs for each Novidium vaccine, right?”

“Yes,” I answered, “but $50 is a lot, Becca.”

“Kids pay $50 for a pair of jeans. We’re going to charge $50, and we’re going to raise $4,000 to free the slaves.”

“But, Becca, $2000 would be great.”

man with TY sign2 DSC02529 (6)“Nope, we’re going to raise over $4,000.”

And at every turn when I said, “But . . .,” Becca simply pressed forward.

Becca’s 2011 Freedom Walk raised over $7,000 and freed 140 men, women, and children from slavery in Sudan.

In October 2011, I took Becca’s photo to South Sudan and told her story to the Christian Solidarity International field staff. The South Sudanese listened attentively and responded with emotion, “She is a freedom-bringer, an abolitionist.”



notes2Because of her faith, Becca Bretz succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations, freeing more slaves than ever before through a single event. On the day of the walk, she announced, “We’re doing this again next year.” In North Sudan 35,000 slaves are still praying for freedom. Becca did organize the 2012 Sudan Freedom Walk, raising over $11,000 and freeing 220 slaves. By the time this article is published, she will have organized another walk in 2013.

Think about what God is calling you to do. What are you so passionate and determined about that nothing will keep you from succeeding?

Pastor Heidi McGinness & Pat Queen : Pastor Heidi McGinness has worked for 10 years with Christian Solidarity International, a human rights and humanitarian aid organization that has been actively at work in Sudan since 1995. Pat Queen is retired in Colorado and spends much of her time supporting church activities, reading, and traveling.

—from devozine (September/October 2013). Copyright © 2013 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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