“…in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize.” 1Corinthians 9:24
In less than 30 days from now, I will climb aboard British Airways Flight 66 leaving from Philadelphia International Airport on a six hour flight to London, England for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. I join the likes of champion swimmers Michael Phelps and Katie Hoff; soccer pro Freddy Adu; and pro basketball superstar Carmelo Anthony in representing our Baltimore area roots (Baltimore, Towson and Potomac, Maryland). As the only non-Olympic athlete in the group, my journey to London has been markedly different from the rest of them. Like the song says, I truly have come this far by faith. In February, when I heard that a Christian group was organizing a mission trip to the Summer Olympic Games, I set out on a personal quest to go with them. The group, Lay Witnesses for Christ International (LWFCI), made it clear that our purpose in going was NOT for the games but for the gospel. There was yet another caveat. I had to raise my own support (funding) for the privilege. This meant starting from “zero” dollars to raising either $4,000 for the 10 day or $6,500 for the 21 day mission, all in 60 days.
I had no idea how I would do this or who would even give money to me for this purpose? Nevertheless, I said to myself, “You have authored this “Faith and Everyday Life” column for over a year. It’s time you put your own faith to the test.” Without any prior experience or training in fundraising, I set out on this faith walk believing (putting my faith in action) that if God wanted me to go, he would provide everything I need. But that didn’t mean I was to just sit around waiting for the money to drop out of the sky. The Bible declares that “faith without works is dead.” So, I worked it. Standing on corners, in front of supermarkets; blogging, tweeting, emailing. I wrote letters, made phone calls, gave speeches to people I didn’t even know. All the while, I prayed, and believed God for the outcome.
Today, I received a phone call from a donor with a donation that put me over the top. Every cent that I needed God has provided. Much of it coming from people who didn’t know me personally, but who know God. The journey up to now has been nothing short of amazing. I have so many wonderful people to thank for believing, encouraging, supporting and partnering with me in this endeavor to carry the gospel of Jesus Christ “across the Pond” to the millions who will converge on London this summer. The excitement is building among the more than 100 volunteers all over the U.S. who will be embarking with me on this mission trip. Our LWFCI teams, together with Olympic athletes, musicians and pastors will be ministering daily in over 25 local churches and on the streets of London from July 27 through August 14. See the video on this page for more details. And follow us in London at www.thegospeltogo-london.blogspot.com
I share my story with you because it illustrates in real time how when we exercise the power of faith in our everyday lives things happen. The Bible is loaded with scripture that encourages us to exercise faith in God through Jesus Christ for the things we need in life right now. What will you believe God for? Perhaps, you’ve never believed God for anything? In either case, it’s only your faith that stands in your way.