Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The truth about why I am running the half marathon for Project Hopeful

When I started this process, I thought that God was trying to teach me a lesson by taking me WAAAAYYYY out of my comfort zone. While that may be partially true, I think I now fully understand what this has been all about.

First, let me answer a few questions. Some of which people have asked me out loud, and some I just know people are thinking....because I used to be one of them.

Question: Why do the marathon? Why not just write a check?
Answer: I am not going to "just write a check" first of all because it would bounce. Second of all, because it wouldn't help the ultimate goal AT ALL. My main goal in all of this was to raise awareness for these children and tell as many people as possible about Project Hopeful and the amazing work they do. The third reason is because I think our American-ized response to just about all things is "just write a check". You can't advance the Gospel by writing checks people. YOU have to step out and DO.

QuestionWhy do we need to give money for kids in Africa who have HIV? Don't we need to take care of "our own" first?
Answer: The words "our own" quite simply make me want to scratch the eyeballs out of any person who utters them. If you have ever said those words, then tell me this: what are "our own"? Are they just the kids who look like us, live like us, and don't make us uncomfortable? Or are they God's children? All of them? Did you know that there are kids right here in our country who are born with HIV or who have Down Syndrome or other special needs that cause them to be over looked for adoption just as much as a child in Africa? Did you know that Project Hopeful works hard for those kids too and many of the staff members have adopted kids with DS from right here in the US as well as HIV+ kids from around the world?

When did we decide as Christians to get our pencil out and draw an invisible but understood line around our country and assume that God would want us to love the people inside the line first? He didn't say "Go therefor into your own country so you don't get your hands dirty or get uncomfortable and then maybe someday you can throw a few bucks at the kids in Africa or India or Russia but only after you have paid off your new SeaDoo". He said "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations...." and I am pretty sure by all, he meant......all. 

And one more thing on this subject: I have never ONCE met a person who believes in taking care of "our own" first, who actually does it. Who is trying to spread the Gospel at work, and school and in their own families, and adopting/fostering kids domestically. *jenny steps off soapbox*

Question: Does all of this money you are raising really go to Project Hopeful? Surely you are using part of it to pay your entry fee to the race, plane ticket, doctor bills or something? Why else would you be so crazy about it!?
Answer: Every single flipping dime goes to Project Hopeful. The reason I am so crazy about it is because I believe that when a group of people come together and VOLUNTEER their time and their very LIVES to do something like this, the CHURCH should step up and support them! Similar to short term mission trips. We can't all go to another context and do life there to spread the Gospel, but we can all go for a short time and support those that do.

Question: Ok, if the money all goes to Project Hopeful, then what do they do with it? Is it really a life or death situation or are you just being a touch dramatic?
Answer: I don't do dramatic. 

This little girl was 11 years old when she died. I don't even know her name or what country she was from, but I know that because she had Downs Syndrome, she was considered "not worth caring for" and she was left in an institution and neglected until she died. She never had a mother or a father on earth to love her.

This tiny baby has a name. Beatrice. She was about 2 years old, but only weighed about 10 lbs. Baby Beatrice was HIV positive, severely malnourished, and fought hard for her life. I could show you a picture of her in her tiny casket that I found on this blog......but I won't.
This is a little boy. In all pink. Transferred from an orphanage to an adult mental institution....when he was only 7 years old. He was transferred simply because he has some speech and mental delays and he is HIV+.

I could go on but I think that is enough to get my point across. If you CHOOSE to SEE THE TRUTH, then I don't see how you can NOT act and do something.

Question: You have had a torn Achilles, you have a fractured knee, you have likely have a  fractured toe (I dropped a metal bucket on it on Saturday. Ouch) ...... don't you think maybe God is telling you to quit?
Answer: No. I think He is showing me how to live.

This process has taught me so much. God has taught me so much about me, and about my life, and my lack of faith in Him.

God is showing me a tangible and painful picture of what my life is SUPPOSED to look like. Check your Bible. The Christian life isn't supposed to be easy. It is supposed to be hard. And maybe if it isn't hard, you aren't doing it right.

I have been down in the dumps the past few days because I have felt discouraged. Mad at friends who haven't donated to Project Hopeful for this marathon (just being honest). Mad at all the people who keep telling me to quit. Wishing I could just get through to people but I don't know how. So angry about the sweet children in this world who have to suffer while the church stands by and looks on.....or looks the other way. But, I am trying to remind myself to run my race. To do the best I can. To TRUST that God has this thing. To prove to Him that my faith will not be shaken by the physical pain or the difficulties of the journey.

This isn't about running a race in Chicago that has a metal at the finish line. This is about running the race that has a crown and JESUS at the finish line. And I pray that when I finish, HE will say "Well done."

(if you want to donate to Project Hopeful and help save lives, just click the image above)