27 Nov Measurable and Immeasurable Impact: Team World Vision Madison 2018
A Fruitful Year
This was another fruitful year for Team World Vision at the Madison Marathon and Half Marathon. Building on the momentum of the past three years, we set out at the start of this season with audacious goals. God called 112 people to commit to running or walking the half or full marathon with us this year. By the time official training began, 72 of those people had taken the next step and signed up for our team and our hope of achieving our God-sized fundraising goal remained strong.
Throughout the season, fear, life-circumstances, human nature, and a few injuries took their toll on our team. On November 11th we headed to the starting line with 42 dedicated participants. We praise God that everyone who began the race made it to the finish line. Our fastest half marathoner crossed the finish line in 1 hour, 48 minutes and our final full marathon finisher completed the race in 6 hours, 5 minutes. Together, we raised on average $1,130 per team member and a collective total of $47,498 to help fund a wide range of clean water projects in Africa. While most of these funds flowed through us from sources outside the church, we are extremely grateful for the prayerful and financial support given by the leaders and members of Good Shepherd.
Giving Thanks for What God Did
As we reflect on this season, we could lament that our team fell short of our fundraising potential. It would also be natural for us to question whether we misunderstood the divine whisper of the Spirit’s calling us to stride towards seemingly impossible original goals. While time spent in self-reflection on our effort and prayerful discernment of our calling are worthwhile, we need to give thanks for the remarkable things that God did in and through us this season.
The funds we raised will provide access to sources of clean water for 950 brothers and sisters in Christ. As a result of our efforts, children will be able to go to school instead of spending time fetching dirty water that will undoubtedly make them sick and may kill them. Women and girls in communities that gain access to clean water because we did not give up will be less exposed to human trafficking and other forms of exploitation. The health of entire communities will improve because we laced up our running shoes and stayed the course. In short, nearly 1,000 people have hope for the future in part because of our determination to move our feet for the poor.
Lives Changed Near and Far
We also need to appreciate the tangible and intangible ways team members were transformed over the course of this season. New friendships formed at our Saturday morning group runs. Participants lost weight and improved their health. Many team members overcame significant physical and emotional challenges and realized that they are capable of far more than they ever imagined was possible. We all learned about the life-changing impact that clean water has on people and communities and some teammates went the extra mile by starting a relationship with a family on the other side of the world through child sponsorship. Many teammates entered a deeper relationship with Jesus through prayerful reliance on Him throughout the season and during the race. As we strode to make a large impact in Africa, this ministry had an immeasurable impact on us too.
As we look ahead to next season and beyond, we see a bright future. As only He can do, God used the radio spots that aired on Christian radio, Life 102.5 FM at the beginning of the season to set us on a path to grow this ministry. Though our team was smaller than we hoped this year, about 20% of our members came from other churches in our area. Those fellow believers are planning to take this ministry to their congregations in 2019. We have faith that our team will be larger than ever next year and – in accordance with God’s perfect plan – we will achieve even greater things together in His name.
Captain, Team World Vision Madison