I did it! It has been 22 years since my last half-marathon (I'm dating myself) and ten years since I ran without problems in my knees. After four months of training and fundraising, I was so psyched to cross the finish line of the Virginia Beach Rock 'n Roll Half-Marathon in 2:17:38. This was the first time Children's Hope Chest hosted a Run for One training team (www.runforone.org/jennifer). There were 25 runners and we raised $80k and the gifts aren't all in yet.
I ran on behalf of Yuri, a 16 year old boy I met on a trip to visit Children's Hope Chest's work in Russia in 2003. At mile 7, 9, and 11, I hit some mental walls, but I just kept thinking - this is nothing to what Yuri has gone through in his life. So I would lift him up in prayer. And then the mental walls would disappear. It was an awesome experience to cross that finish line. Every time I am with the team from Hope Chest, I leave more encouraged and motivated to make sure they succeed as an organization. I was able to meet with so many people from around the country who love these orphaned children (who will never be adopted) succeed as adults in their own country and I was continually humbled. Less than a tenth of a percent of the 143 million orphans in the world will be adopted. We have to find ways to provide the blessing of family for the other 99.9%.
Hope Chest's president, Tom Davis, just wrote a book that is receiving a lot of press - Red Letters: Living a Faith that Bleeds. (http://www.cthomasdavis.com/). We can't all run half-marathons or travel half-way across the world to reach out to an orphan, but Tom has written very practically about the day to day things we can do. I encourage you to check out his campaign for the Five things we can all do - http://www.fivefor50.com/.