I was always the girl who brought in doctors notes to get out of running the mile in gym class. The girl who carried around an inhaler because of sports induced asthma. The girl who never in her wildest dreams imagined she'd even think of training for a marathon. But here she is... training for a marathon.
So fast forward to me now. I live in Los Angeles, am a NASM certified trainer, modification mama on Popsugar Fitness, and coach boxing. Even with all sorts of athleticism under my belt, 2 miles was usually the farthest I could manage to run. So take that full to-do list, add onto it interning at a church and working a restaurant on the weekend, and then imagine fitting in time to train for marathon. That's me now. I know it sounds crazy, but hitting this 26.2 mile growth spurt is a must for me, and I'll tell you why...
In September, I heard about Team World Vision and how they use athletics to come alongside those fighting to end the clean water crisis in Africa. I was asked to join the team running the LA Marathon in 2018 and without even blinking said yes. On my visit to Haiti in 2016, my life flipped upside side down after seeing the poverty of our world. It made me depressed and it made me angry. Mostly angry with my unmerited privilege. I wanted more than anything to get rid of the excess, strip myself of any comfort provided by the wealthy country I was blessed to be born into, and stand beside my brothers and sisters living in material poverty. It wasn't fair that I could choose between bottled water, sparkling water, or soda, but thousands of miles away there were communities of people with the same dignity and value as me that were dying before 5 years old because they didn't have a choice other than to consume dirty water. I would've easily left the United States in a heartbeat if the Lord asked me to serve those communities. But, He told me to stay and use the privilege He gave me here to fight poverty of all kinds. I quickly learned there was no coincidence I was given such a lavish life here (and that's coming from a lower middle class family who struggled with money ALOT). God assured me I would help a lot more people by using the resources He gave me at home in one of the most influential cities in the world. So, I reluctantly said "fine" and stayed where I was.
Now if there was anyway I could impact the globe from my western civilized city this was it. Team World Vision is a community of individuals dedicated to using their spheres of influence to benefit others in need. Team World Vision does this by running the marathons in different cities across the United States every year. They raise exponential awareness and financial support for World Vision's efforts in ending the Clean Water Crisis. So far, World Vision has brought sustainable clean water resources to 4.6 million people.
"World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities [around the globe] overcome poverty and injustice" (1). World Vision pulls up the roots of poverty by supplying sustainable clean water resources to millions of communities without, sponsoring abandoned children, deploying emergency response teams after natural disasters strike, assisting refugees, providing education and economy growth that set communities up to flourish.
As I said yes to committing the next 5 months of my life to training myself in a discipline I didn’t enjoy, I realized this was finally my chance to use my privilege and influence to fight poverty. Saying ‘Yes” to making a difference was the only option in my book. Not only do I benefit from living out a healthy, active lifestyle, but by this challenge children have a greater chance of living past 5 because clean water and sanitation are now an option. And that reality will be what keeps me in the race even when I so desperately want to quit. You see, I can be okay with quitting on myself, but I CANNOT and WILL NOT quit on them.
I’m running so that you might be encouraged to know that you are capable of the craziest things. I’m running to show you that it’s possible to fight injustices by doing the things you love. I’m running to share the transformation that happens when you make a commitment to yourself, to God, and to others in need. I’m running to show you how you can make a difference in the lives of millions without water without leaving the comfort of your fortified city.
So, follow me. Run with me. Fight with me. Make a difference with me. I’ll be honest with you, I’m scared. This seemed so out of reach and unrealistic when I first began running. But, I won’t quit on them. Too many other people have.
I’m leading a Team World Vision team through my church in Hollywood and I couldn’t be more proud of those who’ve said yes to the mission. If you want to join us, let me know and I'll get you signed up! If you want to support us by running with us wherever you live, message me! I’m happy to share our training schedule with you. If you want to pray, we could use all the prayer you got. And if you want to make a difference with us, you can give at the link here. You can set up monthly donations from now until race day or make single donations. If you are a business and you’d like to sponsor me or my team and partner with World Vision please email me: email@example.com
We’ve got big plans for ending this Clean Water Crisis. And its possible… if you’re in the fight with us.
Let us run with endurance the race set before us - Heb 12:1