We never really know how much strength we need until we’re put to the test. That’s true physically but also spiritually and emotionally. We discover whether we can handle the “heavier” things in life — setbacks, disappointment, discouragement — only when we are called to face them. Strong spiritual muscles allow us to meet whatever comes our way, the highs and the lows, with confidence, grace, and maturity.

Resilience has been described as the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult life events. Times are not easy now. How do we develop greater resilience to withstand the challenges that keep being thrown at us? In this interview series, we are talking to mental health experts, authors, resilience experts, coaches, and business leaders who can talk about how we can develop greater resilience to improve our lives.

As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Christine Caine.

Christine Caine is an Australian-born, Greek-blooded lover of Jesus, speaker, author, and activist. Together with her husband, Nick, she leads the anti–human trafficking organization, The A21 Campaign — a recipient of the Mother Teresa Memorial Award for their work combating human trafficking among refugees — and Propel Women. Christine and Nick live in Southern California with their daughters Catherine and Sophia. Her new book Resilient Hope: 100 Devotions for Building Endurance in an Unpredictable World is on sale now. Visit ChristineCaine.com.

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory?

I was born in Sydney, Australia, the daughter of Greek immigrants. I love all things Greek and am passionate about coffee. I’ve been married to my husband Nick for 26 years and we have 2 wonderful daughters, Catherine and Sophia. Nick and I founded A21, a global anti-trafficking organization with offices in 14 countries, and Propel Women, an organization committed to equipping and empowering women to fulfill their purpose. I come from a background where I experienced the trauma of childhood sexual abuse, adoption and marginalization, and therefore much of what I do today comes from a deep desire to help people build resilience through adversity and challenges that are an inevitable part of life. I do a lot of public speaking where I share my journey and have written several books — my most recent is Resilient Hope.

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?

In the very early days of A21, I had a conviction that we were to open our first office in Thessaloniki, Greece. It did not make sense to start in the place known as the “parking station for human trafficking in Europe” because of the immense challenges involved. We decided to hire consultants to complete a feasibility study to help us to determine how to move forward. After the study was completed, they told us, in no uncertain terms, that choosing to start the organization in Greece was a recipe for failure. And yet, as Nick and I prayed, the conviction remained that Thessaloniki was the place to start. And so, we did. Despite the naysayers, despite a poor economic climate in Greece at the time, despite rampant corruption, despite cultural challenges, and despite legal challenges, we pushed forward with resilience and hope that we could make a difference in the fight against human trafficking.

That office didn’t fail — in fact it is still operating today. And A21 as an organization didn’t fail. Instead, it has grown beyond anything we could’ve begun to imagine 14 years ago. We now have 19 locations in 14 countries and continue to grow and make an impact. That experience still reminds me just how important having resilience is when it comes to pursuing your purpose. You will have to be willing to push forward in the face of setbacks, adversity, challenges, obstacles, naysayers, and even expert advice.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

The A21 Campaign is one of the largest organizations in the world that is solely fighting human trafficking. We work at the local, domestic, and international level with 19 offices in 14 countries. We are actively working on the frontlines to reach the vulnerable, identify and assist victims and restore survivors. We fight to prevent trafficking from happening to begin with. This 360-approach is something that makes us unique, and we believe it is a pathway to truly seeing slavery abolished everywhere forever.

One of our most impactful awareness campaigns is our “Can You See Me?” Campaign. This global, multi-media campaign appearing in airports, in bus-stations, on billboards, is designed to equip the general public to recognize indicators of human trafficking, and report suspected scenarios. An increase in reports will lead to an increase in victim identification. By partnering with law enforcement, governments, businesses, and other NGOs throughout the Campaign, our goal is to turn awareness into action that will be the tipping point in seeing slavery abolished across the globe.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Of course I was not able to meet her, but I consider Sojourner Truth to be one of my mentors. Sojourner Truth’s fight for change and transformation was fueled by love and godly conviction. She drew strength from knowing her identity in Christ. You cannot truly fight for the emancipation of others if you do not have an internal revelation of your own freedom in Christ. Sojourner Truth was treated as a commodity and not as a human being by her oppressors, but she did not see herself this way. She saw herself as God saw her. When you see yourself as God sees you, you can then see others as God sees them.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the trait of resilience. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?

We never really know how much strength we need until we’re put to the test. That’s true physically but also spiritually and emotionally. We discover whether we can handle the “heavier” things in life — setbacks, disappointment, discouragement — only when we are called to face them. Strong spiritual muscles allow us to meet whatever comes our way, the highs and the lows, with confidence, grace, and maturity.

Your heart — the core of your soul — is the place where your inner strength resides. That inner strength to withstand opposition, setbacks, disappointments, and disillusionments is resilience. It’s the commitment to keep moving forward when nothing turns out like we expect — even if it is only one step at a time.

Those who have developed resilience are strong, they practice courage, they have a passion for life that is contagious, they remain hopeful no matter what and they share all of that with others.

Courage is often likened to resilience. In your opinion how is courage both similar and different to resilience?

During the COVID pandemic my friend Dawn, who has walked, run, and hiked more trails than I ever will, invited me to start hiking the trails and mountains scattered throughout Southern California. Why not? I thought. I began prepping in every way I knew how. In every area I could, I began building stamina, strength, and courage to go a greater distance. To do what I had never done before.

Courage was essential to starting my journey, but resilience was key to maintaining it. Often Dawn and I would trek for six to eight hours, climbing in elevation by as much as 4,500 feet in the span over many long arduous hours. Once we reached a summit, we would have to begin the equally dangerous trek downhill, which requires just as much skill, steadiness, and endurance as the ascent.

These hiking trips inspired my new book, Resilient Hope. In it I share all I learned putting one foot in front of the other while walking, running, and climbing the great outdoors of Southern California and beyond, helping readers build the endurance and resilience necessary to fulfill all the purposes and plans God has, and stay on mission — even in the face of adversity. Especially in the face of adversity.

When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?

John Stephen Akhwari is a runner from Tanzania. In 1968 at 3pm he started the men’s marathon in the Mexico City Olympics with seventy-three others. A few hours later, everyone had either crossed the finish line or dropped out of the race. Everyone except John.

Early in the race, his calf muscle started cramping. Mexico City stands at an elevation of 7,350 feet. Tanzania stands at an elevation of 660 feet. John had not trained at altitude, and it affected his body. Almost to the halfway point, there was some jockeying for position between runners. John was hit, and he fell hard onto the pavement, dislocating and wounding his knee and injuring his shoulder. After his wounds were bandaged on the sidelines, he stepped back into the race and kept running.

For almost an hour, John hobbled. And fell again. He got up and hobbled some more. At times he even dragged himself, only to rise up and stumble through. Officials begged him to stop. To drop out of the race. But he would not. When he finally shuffled into the stadium, most of the spectators had left. But to the applause and cheers of the remaining fans, he limped over the finish line into the arms of medics. When John was asked why he didn’t drop out of the race, he said: “My country did not send me to Mexico City to start the race; they sent me five thousand miles to finish the race.”

I tear up just thinking about it! What has never left me about John’s story is that in the face of such physical pain, such emotional pressure, such incredible adversity, something inside him kept him moving forward. Fueling his passion. Providing him strength against impossible odds. Helping him press on and push through when everything was working against him. Pushing him to finish the race he’d started. That is resilience in action.

Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us?

So much in my life started with something small. When I wrote my first book, it was by writing one word at a time. And a few words grew into a sentence, and a few sentences grew into a paragraph, and those paragraphs grew into pages, which became chapters.

Even when we started the work of A21, the anti–human trafficking organization Nick and I founded, we began with rescuing one person from human trafficking. Not the hundreds that we have rescued since. Not the thousands we have helped avoid it. Not the millions we have educated about it. At the beginning, we helped just one.

Did you have a time in your life where you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?

In my new book I share the story of the most serious physical accident of my life. I was in skiing in Colorado and had told my husband Nick to “eat my snow,” and took off down the slope. No sooner had I mouthed off than I found myself in the middle of my second unplanned aerial somersault. In the air I heard the loudest pop, pop, pop! When I landed, I was in the most excruciating pain I had ever known.

Ski patrol came to my rescue, loading me into a basket stretcher and pulling me down the mountain to a waiting ambulance. I had snapped my ACL, torn my MCL and my meniscus, and fractured my knee. There would be no quick recovery, and surgery would be required, because I would need a new ACL if I was to ever walk again.

It took months to walk without pain, without a brace, without help, but when I did, I walked with a new understanding: the degree to which I am willing to embrace the pain of recovery — including when it comes to the wounds I find in my heart — is the degree to which I will be fully healed.

That accident happened a decade ago, and I recently hiked the same mountain where I’d gotten injured. I got to stand in the exact spot where I had landed, and I couldn’t get over all that God had done in my knee — and in my heart. I had been made whole in so many ways. Spiritually. Physically. Emotionally. Mentally. There’s such incredible perspective when we endure and make it to the other side of something, isn’t there?

How have you cultivated resilience throughout your life? Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?

I think many aspects of my childhood that I shared earlier built resiliency in me from an earlier age. I spent a good portion of my life feeling ashamed, rejected, insecure, fearful, and angry. It was when I became a follower of Jesus that I began to discover the power of God’s Word to break through the lies I had believed — and to reveal the truth of who I am and why I was created. The pain of recovery is great. Over many years I have found healing, strength, and resilience from spending time reading the Bible, from finding a community of supportive family and friends, and from professional therapy. My faith has helped me discover a whole new level of resilience that continues to develop even to this day.

Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient? Please share a story or an example for each.

My new book Resilient Hope is divided into four sections: Faith, Trust, and Strength; His Devotion is Unfailing; Hope, the Anchor of Our Soul; and Love, Our Healing Balm. These are the cornerstones of building resilience and hope, and they are all predicated on trusting Jesus.

Trusting Him hasn’t always come easy for me, but: I’m willing to risk it. In my own life I have a ton of unanswered questions from times I’ve been hurt, betrayed, disappointed, or disillusioned. He wants me to seek answers, to go to Him, to ask questions. To trust him. There are times when I don’t get answers, or I don’t understand. But I trust Him. Being willing to live in faith and not by sight builds resilience.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I want to continue to inspire people to abolish slavery everywhere. I encourage everyone to visit a21.org to find out more about how to disrupt slavery in all its many forms.

I want everyone to experience God’s miraculous love.

And I want everyone to know that they can make a difference in this world.

We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them 🙂

Angela Merkel (Former German Chancellor.) I admire her strength, and resilience and would love to ask how she navigated the domestic political backlash and a continent splintered over the refugee crisis. She showed true courage and leadership in the midst of extreme adversity and I would love to learn from her.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

I am active on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and my website is ChristineCaine.com.


This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!


  • Savio P. Clemente

    TEDx Speaker, Media Journalist, Board Certified Wellness Coach, Best-Selling Author & Cancer Survivor

    Savio P. Clemente, TEDx speaker and Stage 3 cancer survivor, infuses transformative insights into every article. His journey battling cancer fuels a mission to empower survivors and industry leaders towards living a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle. As a Board-Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), Savio guides readers to embrace self-discovery and rewrite narratives by loving their inner stranger, as outlined in his acclaimed TEDx talk: "7 Minutes to Wellness: How to Love Your Inner Stranger." Through his best-selling book and impactful work as a media journalist — covering inspirational stories of resilience and exploring wellness trends — Savio has collaborated with notable celebrities and TV personalities, bringing his insights to diverse audiences and touching countless lives. His philosophy, "to know thyself is to heal thyself," resonates in every piece.