Sunday, February 5, 2012

Why I Will Run A Marathon Across Lake Baikal

It was some months ago that my dear wife Rachel and I had our good friends, Andrew and Penny, over for dinner.  I was a bit nervous as I always am while hosting English people.  They always seem so clever with their little phrases like "Brilliant" and little requests like milk for their tea.  To add to my nervousness, both Andrew and Penny went to Oxford.  I guess I should lay my cards on the table.  I don't really know anything about Oxford except that you have to be a genius to go there.

I am joking.  I wasn't really nervous and I also know that Oxford is in the United Kingdom of Northern Ireland and Great Britain.  Andrew and Penny are good friends and very "down to earth" which is my American way of saying that although they are smarter than me, they refrain from sticking it in my face.

After enjoying a meal of tetrazini, which our guests regarded as being "Tastfully Brilliant" (I'm making that up, although they did seem to really enjoy it), Andrew casually mentioned that he was looking at running a marathon across the ice of Lake Baikal in March.  He quickly added that he was sure that this was something that I would not be interested in.

Rachel immediately understood what the next 5 months of my life were going to be about as she quietly stated something like if you think Andy doesn't think running across the ice of Lake Baikal is the best idea he has ever heard in his life then you don't know Andy.

Not sure what Lake Baikal is?  Allow Wikipedia to fill this yawning cavity in your geographical knowledge.

The very next day I quickly began training by googling "marathon preparation".  I read a page about how a very important part of marathon preparation is rest.  I then signed up.  Later on, I discovered that rest is not the only part of marathon preparation.

Yes, a very important part of my preparation for running a marathon across the ice of Lake Baikal is (a lot of) running through the snow of Moscow, where I live.  The picture above is what I look like after a run here in Moscow.  And with a picture like that, why wouldn't everyone want to join the marathon?

So, why did I decide to run a marathon across the ice of Lake Baikal?  I have been involved in full time Christian mission work in Russia for the past 13 years.  Everything we do as a mission, whether it be evangelism, church planting, social work, or training Russian missionaries to go to other nations is a huge challenge.  To say more, our belief for change in the very difficult situations that we work in is both audacious, and if you are an atheist, impossible.

That's why I immediately fell in love with the idea of running 26 miles across the ice of Lake Baikal.  It is audacious.  And if I don't stay disciplined in my training, it will be impossible.

The mission I work with is called Youth With A Mission.  Just the name should give you an idea of the spirit of our movement.  We have 77 full time workers around Russia, working in very difficult situations and bringing hope to people who are in need.  I have decided, together, with my good friend Zhenya, to dedicate this marathon to these mission workers.  None of them receive a regular pay check.  Zhenya and I will be running the Baikal Marathon, but these mission workers are running a marathon to bring hope to the nation of Russia.  Zhenya and I hope that our marathon will challenge you to join us in the race of reaching Russia today.  Check out this video and then consider giving a financial donation.  Be the wind to the backs of mission workers all around Russia.  How can they go unless they are sent?

<a href="">LinkedTube</a>

To donate CLICK HERE and be sure to choose the "Beautiful Feet" option.  Your donation will go directly to Youth With A Mission workers around Russia.  For Americans, all donations are tax-deductible.  THANK YOU!!!