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Monday, June 30, 2008

Marathoning 4 Change

I am planning to run my first marathon this fall. I plan to run the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon on October 5. In honor of my time overseas and my passion for the world to experience Christ's love and the ability to eat three square meals a day I am dedicating this race, journey, and experience to raising support for World Vision's work around the world.

I have actually been training now for a month. You can read all about my training at Team Cross Runs or by following this link. I don't talk a lot about running on this site, except for the occasional link to a race review. That will change a little bit as I prepare for this marathon. Below is what I shared last week at Team Cross Runs about why I (and we) are doing this.

World Vision

I have been a long time supporter of World Vision, but before I tell you why - let me talk about the organization a little bit. World Vision is one of the most respected international development organizations in the world. They are distinctly Christian, but a Muslim professor from Bangladesh during grad school had nothing but great things to say about the organization and their work in developing countries. I’ll try not to bog you down in details and jargon but here is their mission:

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.

They are known as a child sponsorship organization and Team Cross sponsors a girl in Ghana. Because of our sponsorship she has been able to continue going to school, is current on all of her shots, and receives preventative medical care. Also her entire community benefits through new wells being built, schools repaired, and much more.

Why Do I Care?

The Bible tells me too: Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. James 1:27 (NLT) is one of many places that says we should take care of those around us. I always felt that if I helped the neighbor down the street or worked in the inner-city that would be good enough. All of that changed for me in January 2002 when I went to South Africa on missions trip/internship.

My first experience in Africa was genuinely life changing and life altering. I left after 4 short weeks knowing that Africa would forever be a part of who I am. It was amazing to see the conditions that people lived in and through, but more importantly to also see the great hope that many of them had. For example, the house pictured at left was inhabited by a family of I think 8 kids, the oldest of which was 18. There entire family had been wiped out by HIV/AIDS, but the young pre-teen we met that day was very excited to show us her house and was proud of it even. She was full of hope and pride that many of us lack in our 3 story houses and nice cars.

It is stories like that one that stole my heart. Since that trip I spent 8 weeks in rural Ghana doing research to finish my Masters of Social Work - focused on International & Community Development and have devoted my life to the cause of peace and justice across Africa. Throughout the coming weeks I will share more with you about my experiences, World Vision, and the hope of Africa.

Team World Vision

Team World Vision is a fund raising arm of the organization which uses ordinary people like me, to get ordinary people like you involved in ending poverty and injustice across the world. I have decided to commit the 26.2 miles of my first marathon to the memory of and in honor of the children I have met during my international travels. I can’t remember all of their names, but I have many pictures and stories.

On the right side of my blog there is a widget that will allow you to support me during this race or you can visit this secure page. I have set a goal of raising $2,000 which will help children have a chance at living to become adults across Africa.

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2 comments:

night light said...

You should check out Pastor Greg Johnson's Blog ( http://www.gajohnson.org/ ) He has been running marathons, half marathons and distance races to spread the love of Christ and to raise money for Heart/stroke research. He has a Church in Salem Oregon, and an internet church called the Loving God Fellowship. He has only been running a relatively short time (after the death of a friend) but has participated in a heap of events this year. Night Light, Australia

crossn81 said...

night light - thanks for stopping by and the information about Pastor Greg. I'll be sure to check it out.