Monday, December 26, 2011

If could run/walk 5000 miles: A Top Twelve for 2012

Photo from
"May God break my heart so completely that the whole world falls in."
~ Mother Theresa

There is so much need. I was once told by a pastor that if I saw the need, then it was my 'call' to  be part of the fix. Crazy. My whole vision is covered with quilt moth eaten with the holes created by need. Even if I were a good seamstress, I couldn't repair this one. I'd want to scrap it and start from scratch. I cannot fix it all. I cannot fix even my own Top Ten (or twelve, hint hint).

That's right, if I had to sum it up to the Ten Most Important, even then, I cannot pare it down.

Ridiculous Confession Moment
At the end of the year, my husband and I get sucked into Top Ten, Top Five, Ten 100 lists. We start debating what our topic and themes will be. Books? Music? Movies? Memories?  This year, my top ten looks ahead, at non-profits that I want to support, and using my body toward a more selfless purpose. On Nativity Eve, out running alone, I cooked up this list. Posting it has been a struggle. Frankly, I'm afraid of failure. Once I commit to this, so many 'what-ifs' come to mind, so this 'fix' is a fright for me. As I post, I tremble. What if I don't run it all? What if I lose my job and have to commute, losing the time and freedom to run as much? What if I get hurt? What if the technology to hold me accountable breaks and I swear at it, causing me greater sin? Pray for me this year. And consider the following:

I will try to raise $1 dollar a mile for every mile I run or walk this year, if you will support me and/or encourage others to support me.  I was adding it up on my Nativity Eve run: 13 miles. At mile 10, I started thinking to myself, in January I was averaging 60-70 miles a week. Now I'm averaging 80-100, if I combine my miles on the treadmill and the pavement. I could do about 5000, if my trend holds. That's the scary part of this prediction, if my trend holds.

So here are the Top Twelve Organizations I will support, and how. All I ask of you? Read on...

1. January OCMC Missionary Christina Semon $350
Christina left the safe community of All Saints in Olyphant PA while we were up near here, doing seminary. She started as a missionary with a one-year commitment in Romania. She keeps going back. She has a gentle spirit and loved all the kids. I have a special place in my heart for her ministry. I've said I'd donate for a while, but so many other needs took over.
2. February Hogar Rafael Ayau and Friends of the Hogar $350
 We took a mission trip there last year and, if God wills, we hope  to return this year, maybe with our children. I've experienced such wonder and joy in the middle of Zona 1 of Guatemala City, and witnessed how the nuns are raising a lot of children in a place of safety. They are also growing the Church in Central America through their monastery and ministry.

3.March St. John's Camp Programs $400.
 I've been a counselor in summer and winter programs and it's life-changing for these kids. They've covered my room and board on a number of occasions, so I can be there to counsel. It's time to give back.
4. April Achaius Ranch  $400
I'm on the board of this new ministry outside of Crawfordsville IN. Board members are committed to time and money to support the ministry. This is just a start in very LOCAL ministry. The McCulloh's are called. This I believe. I recall when Elisha finished her social work degree, a working mom and became a licensed clinical therapist. She worked within our programs in Montgomery County with families and children. She knows the brokenness and holes. Her daughter, who uses an amazing training program with horses, will be bringing needful youth to needful horses in a way that God intended for His Creation.

5. May Hagia Sofia Classical Academy $400
My son and husband are there daily. The former as a student, the latter as teacher. Amazing. An Orthodox Christian Classical Academy whose staff and students sacrifice to come together for learning. Click for student body singing in Latin "Pater Nostre".

6. June  FOCUS North America, Indianapolis Chapter $400
This hub for ministries for the hungry, homeless and in poverty is just beginning in Indy. Though I usurped its place in the calendar year, in spite of supporting the local chapter, I believe it needs more support. I was amazed at the All-American Council, to learn how few people know about this nationwide ministry with localized programs.

7. July  Project Mexico/ St. Innocent Orphanage $400
 Layla and I built a house with Project Mexico last year. Volunteers are dropping off in this difficult time in the country's history, but need is greater. Furthermore, the orphanage provides a safe place for school boys who have been abandoned. Jenny Zimmerman is heading up volunteers this year and inspired me to go. Now I can't let go of supporting it.
8. August Ancient Faith Radio $400
You've heard the NPR and PRI pleas for support if you listen. Well, this internet based station posts talks, music and the daily readings to keep me going. I must listen to hours of its programming monthly. Fr. Andrew's Orthodoxy and Heterdoxy, Under the Grapevine. specials, readings. Hope you check it out for yourself.
9. September Friends of Indonesia $400 
Fr. Daniel Byantoro speaks in Crawfordsville annually and has been to St. Tikhon's talking about missionizing in Muslim Indonesia, about praying and evangelizing in your hometown, and about what true mission work looks like.
10. October Orthodox Peace Fellowship $400
Jim Forrest and his wife, as well as so many others, have sustained us with their writings about waging peace. Jim has a history of peacivism going back to the Civil Rights movement of the 60's. He and his wife have indirectly trained me on hospitality, and love, in Christian eyes.
11.November OCMC Missionary Kurt Bringerud $400
Kurt leaves for Mongolia soon. He nearly taught for Hagia Sofia Academy, but God had other plans. He is from St. John the Forerunner in Indianapolis and I've worked at St. John's Camp with him for a number of years. I am so excited about helping him reach the church so far away.
12. IOCC Missions North American Missions $400-500 in December
Fr. Joel and I didn't build houses with IOCC's Habitat for Humanity New Orleans partnership this year. Life in the parish is hard to schedule, but IOCC is building disaster relief teams for flooding, tornadoes, fires, hurricanes and more in the USA. I hope to continue building with Habitat and supporting Orthodox outreach around the country.

What am I asking of you?
Sponsor miles at $1 per mile. Sponsor whole or half weeks of the year (pick your favorite from the organizations at $35-4 per half week and $80-100 for a whole week. Make a statement and support a week of the year when I'm running for one of the charities that you select. Make your commitment in email (request through this blog), private message or post here in comments.

100% of all profits will go to the charities. I'm paying for shoes. I will find a back up for my GPS apps. I will ask for, vet and, hopefully get a volunteer, treasurer to verify funds and help with tax receipts.  

I will post pictures of my mileage, updates and email a newsletter if this gets enough traction. I'm going to run whether I raise the money or not, but I could make a difference with your help.

Will you help me with my top twelve list?


  1. So, I think I am getting this correctly....can I sponsor you for $35 right now for St. Johns camp and then later on in the year when I (hopefully) get a job, I can sponsor you again? I think we can swing a $35 donation right now and as you know how vital St. Johns is to our daughter's spiritual well being, I'd like it to go there. So, am I getting this right? And if so, I just send the check to you? Made out to you? or St. Johns? Love and admire you, dear friend! Diane

  2. Oh, wait...I see that St. Johns is March. Well, sign me up for a half week and if by then I can do a full week, I will. It will be in thanksgiving for my daughter's 15th birthday and our 22nd anniversary in March :)

  3. I'd like to help. Not sure what "weeks" are available, but can you sign Dana and I up for two weeks, and let us know? Extremely ambitious commitment, and for multiple great causes. You're making a big difference.