My story is a God-sized dream.
The dream was given to me three years ago when I had the chance to go to Burundi, Africa. I experienced a heart-felt connection with the people.
One day we played Red Rover with 90 school children. They learned our names, and 2 days later in the middle of nowhere in Africa, a little girl called me by name.
It touched my heart.
Another day, I saw a teenage boy running up a steep hill. As we drove past in our jeep, I rolled down the window and yelled, “Bravo!” He smiled a large grin and gave me a thumbs up.
Being a runner, I identified with him.
Run Burundi Begins
On the suggestion from Pastor Bob Jones at North Pointe, I read the book, “Take Your Best Shot,” by Austin Gutwein.
It’s the story of a 9 year old boy who started a fundraiser to build a school in Africa.
As I read, I thought, “I could do that; I could do a charity run.”
So began, Run Burundi, a fundraising race to help Burundi, Africa through a charity organization called, “Food for the Hungry” (FH).
This is the 3rd year (2014) for the run.
The first year, we built a school.
The second year, we built a clean water system.
This year we are educating people on food sustainability.
Amazing To See What God Orchestrates
Each year as the race approaches, I become increasingly stressed. I watch the numbers of people register and I grow a little frantic.
This year a friend said, “Maybe it’s not about the numbers.” Maybe it’s about the little connections in the community.
Maybe it’s about the awareness that something CAN be done about poverty.
Maybe it’s about the opportunity for people to get involved with something bigger than themselves.
Maybe it’s about saying to God, “Throw me the ball, I’m open”.
Strong Relationships Can End Poverty
FH focuses on relationships between communities.
It believes that in building strong relationships, we can end poverty.
Relationships built between a community in Africa and a community in Canada.
It’s a beautiful idea, and it’s not simply throwing money at a cause. It’s actually what God has commanded us to do, and that is, love our neighbors.
Who is our neighbor?
Our community here in Canada, and now a community across the sea in Africa.
The Epitome of Community
As I reflect back, I realize that I saw so many people from different arenas of my life come together for a single cause: to love their neighbor.
In the crowd of runners, I saw my neighbors (literally my true neighbors who live next door!), my students, fellow colleagues, parents of my students, pastors (and their wives), and friends, all running to support the community in Burundi.
I felt incredibly blessed to see all these people together, unified, strong, and genuinely happy about running.
What I Saw
Among the volunteers, I saw my friend cycling along the route (secretly squeezing in a work out); I saw my mom (what a trooper), my sister-in-laws, my nieces, my nephew, my friends, my principal, colleagues (at school on a Saturday), church members, and students.
I saw my son be my great little helper and learn that he can really be a part of something truly important. How blessed to see such a variety of people joined together to love their neighbor!
But God had even more going on.
I was blessed to see a teenage boy cross the finish line holding his mother’s hand;
to see my pastor running with a pair of running shoes around his neck to honor a dear friend who passed away this day last year;
to see a senior citizen cross the line and give me a high five,
and to have a friend show up to provide music for our event – just because she was awake anyway!
Although the dream is much bigger than this, almost a crazy dream and ridiculous to say out loud: What if you could run a race with someone in Burundi, Africa in real time?
Squeamishly, I say it, waiting on God to reveal HIS next move, relying on His power, for only HIS glory, seeing how amazing He truly is.
APPLICATION: Please leave a comment for Adena below. Thank you!
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