Thursday, July 14, 2011

I am not a runner. I do enjoy the forced perseverance and discipline that training for a race brings to my life, both spiritually and physically. I started attempting to run during my first year of teaching. Needless to say, it was the most difficult year of my life to date. While I did not run consistently as I knew no boundaries in the hours that I put into my job, I found that when I consistently made an effort to set aside time to run, I felt much more centered and calm.

Since then, I started to choose specific races to train for and, while I am never training to win or even for a certain time, I train to run consistently and to finish each race. I have become passionate about the process of training for a race and it has helped me reach new understandings in my faith in God. Whenever I start training, I feel unmotivated and think negative thoughts about my running ability. It is only through prayer and focus that I get over that "hump" that negative thinking can bring. I often find myself quoting, "I can do all things through Him who gives me strength!" As I increase mileage week after week, I have life giving runs and disheartening runs but all in all, with focus, diligence and prayer, I have always reached my goals. Similarly, I have seen that, in life, when I encounter hardships and situations that I don't understand, when I focus on prayer and working diligently, in time, God provides.

This Spring, Jeff suggested that we try to run the New York Marathon. I have some jealousy towards the way that Jeff has picked up and excelled in running since we have started dating. It seems that whenever we run together, no matter what the distance- one mile or 10 miles- Jeff runs with ease. It always feels like he is patiently trotting beside my red faced, sweaty and laborously breathing self. He always tells me that we are running at a good pace, but I know it's not true. At first, I was uncertain and felt that I would not be able to accomplish such a feat. However, After watching a youtube video illustrating the absolutely amazing course in which we would be running throughout the five boroughs of Manhattan, I was sold. So was Jeff. He had been in contact with World Vision in our last half marathon and had read a book written by the CEO of World Vision. He was excited to pursue running with this worthwhile organization. So, he set a time for us to meet with them and we applied to be a part of the New York Marathon Team. We are so excited to be a part of this race and team!

Now that we are on the team, we are committed to finding sponsors for many children throughout Africa and Central America who are in great need. Many children live in communities in which AIDS is running rampantly and there is little hope. Many children live in villages in which there is not enough food or water. A great number of children have to spend each and every day walking to and from their villages to clean water, to carry water back to their families. Thus, they do not have the opportunity to attend Elementary School. For $35.00 each month, a child can be provided for and the dream of school can become a reality.

I realize this is a significant financial commitment. It has required sacrifice for me to begin to sponsor a child. But I have witnessed, already, that the rewards are great. Whenever I don't feel like running in this heat, I think of Dayana and of the fact that I am committed to this race and I go out get my run accomplished. I hope that you will consider sponsoring a child through either Jeff or myself, to support us in our race but more importantly to help a child who is in need. To be honest, I hesitate to ask people who I love for support and a financial commitment. That is why we've started this blog. If you feel led to contribute, click on the link on the left side of the page and check out more information about world vision and how to sponsor a child through our accounts.

While this is a significant commitment, I am confident that our commitment to praying about this race and the children that have yet to be sponsored will allow us to continually realize what it means to completely rely on God, as will all of these other life changing events that are unfolding in my life. I continually look to Isaiah 40 for energy and strength, "Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God... Even youth grow tired and weary, young men stumble and fall. But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength, they will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not be faint."

It is with joyful expectation that God WILL provide physically and spiritually for us and these children that we begin the preparations for this race.