A message from Sergio about the Amazing Race. Thanks to all to who helped and participated – and it’s not too late to donate for cancer research. Go here to do so. Even though we didn’t reach our goal – God used us to really encourage Mike in his journey… he was so touched that he promised to carry a picture of us as he crossed the finish line! It’s a blessing to support one another as we find ways to live the love of Jesus in our world.
Post from Sergio below…
The catalyst for Haven’s 3rd Amazing Race was my co-worker Mike. For weeks, Mike had been sharing about his excitement and preparation in training for a grueling 26.2 miles marathon. He had ran a few others; and as a person who didn’t enjoy sustained running or had no concept of a runners high, I asked him why he was running. He shared a touching story about how one of his favorite professors lost his daughter to cancer, and how that motivated him to run marathons with Team in Training, a non-profit organization that raises money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
A few weeks passed after Mike shared his story with me, and I kept thinking about how Elton had been asking our house groups to find a way to serve and love our communities. It was then that I thought about holding a fundraising event for Mike, and the Amazing Race crossed my mind. Haven has done this before; the first one was organized by Ken and Irene Lau. I took the reigns and put together the second Amazing Race. Both times, the purpose was community building. But this time, it was more than a community event.
Mike and Jon working on one of the challenges…
Our house group invited Mike to share about his cause and I shared how we would try to help him reach his fundraising goal of $5000. For the next three months, we planned, we advertised, we recruited some very creative people to prepare marketing material, and as the event drew near, nobody signed up for the event. We prayed and prayed some more and no one signed up. And so we did what we knew, and that was to pray more.
The lack of interest was discouraging, but I tried to keep a positive spirit believing that what we were doing was right. We were tasked by our pastor to reach our community and help people – so we tried. Sure, Mike was only one person, but movements begin one person at a time. Besides, Mike had been running these races to help people, so we would be joining him in that effort.
Personally, cancer has affected parents of two very important people in Haven who I dearly loved. Knowing that God has all things in His hands, I remembered that God uses His people to move history, so I knew that I shouldn’t despair. I believed He would use our house group. In the final day of registration, a few teams signed up.
The morning of Sunday, September 13th was pleasant as we made our way over the Santa Cruz mountains towards the Pacific and an overcast sky met us on the coast. We prepared the challenges for the race, which consisted of finding coins in the sand, singing on a busy street, putting wet sponges on people’s heads, blindfolding contestants, giving them logic puzzles, and so forth. The race began with eight teams, and after three hours, several teams found themselves trying to spell out a phrase with a jumble of letters at the finish line. Although the phrase was difficult, a victor emerged by spelling out the phrase “Running Cancer into the Ground.” The winners were Dave and Rachel King, winners of the second Amazing Race!
Post race celebration…
We concluded the race with burgers and hot dogs and a birthday cake for Tina. People lay on the beach swapping Amazing Race experiences like soldiers sharing war stories. In the end, the 8 teams raised $525. Although it was only slightly over 10% of Mike’s goal, he was deeply touched by the generosity of the contestants and of our small group who put the race together. As Mike thanked us, he shook hands with Alan, our church elder who had earlier that morning attended a funeral where the deceased died of lymphoma.
So we are reminded that the early church helped the poor, the fatherless and widows, they proclaimed freedom, and healed the sick. If God calls us to heal the sick by praying for healing, we’ll do it. If He calls us to help an average man who’s running a marathon to raise money for cancer research, we’ll do it too.
Tuesday House Group led by Sergio