Fourteen years ago I ran my one and only marathon. My husband, Dave, ran his first that day as well. It was November, and we were living in Okinawa, Japan. The course was incredibly hilly, and the weather was unnaturally hot for that time of year. With the constant high humidity, the effects were brutal. More people dropped out of that race than finished it, and several were rushed off in ambulances due to heat stroke.
I finished well beyond my expected time and thought, “That’s it. I’m done.”
I’ve never run another since.
Dave however, ran several in the next few years.
Then he had an eight-year gap.
This summer, he decided to try it again. But he needed a really good reason, one bigger than his desire to drop a few pounds and increase his endurance.
So he decided to run for World Vision.
I offered to do some of his training runs with him. One weekend, I even ran a 14-miler (he says it was only 13, but I’m adding the distance between the end of the trail and the parking lot–and padding it a bit.)
School started then, with all its weekend activities, so the next weekend, when he ran 16, I ran only 8 of it with him. The next week, only 6. The last couple weekends, a friend of his ran the first half or so with him.
But after his friend or I called it quits, Dave would grab his iPod and head back to the trail, slogging out more miles.
He tells me that when his hips ache, when his knees burn, he remembers two little girls from our last trip to Uganda. The first is little Comfort, abandoned in the Katanga Slum by her mother and father, placed in Dave’s arms by neighbors who didn’t want to watch her die of starvation. In recent pictures we’ve seen of her, her eyes are still somber, but her cheeks are full, and her arms have the plump roundness they should have at 10 months of age. In every picture, she’s cuddled in the arms of the nurse at Mercy Children’s Home, who looks pretty darn proud of her progress.
The second little girl is Scovia. She’s six but about the size of a four year old. She was born with damaged legs; her mother died; and her father left her locked in their shack for days at a time while he looked for work. When she was rescued by Mercy Children’s Home, she had pressure sores, malnutrition, and severe developmental delays. Now she walks pushing a wheeled contraption, she babbles happily, and she has unending, overflowing JOY.
Comfort and Scovia are healthy today because of child sponsorship, because people who are not worried where their next meal is coming from have concerned themselves with those who do have to worry about such basic needs.
Mercy Children’s Home and hundreds of other orphanages around the world benefit from child sponsorship. Two of the largest sponsoring agencies are Compassion International and World Vision.
So even though Dave is running the Chicago Marathon this Sunday specifically for World Vision, in a way he’s running it for all the orphanages in the world, for all the children who need a safe place and someone to love them. He’s ultimately running it for Jesus, who welcomes children and holds them in His arms.
If you would like to sponsor Dave, please visit this link:
All proceeds go directly to World Vision.