Sunday, December 30, 2012

Another Year...More Saved Lives

I've been struggling with how I wanted to thank you for your support...

I'm overwhelmed that so many have given so much to my cause this year...

As I reminisce on my races this year, I invariably end up thinking about our sponsored children in Katito, Kenya.  I think about how their faces showed the gratitude of our support for them, how their parents couldn't believe that they were loved from afar and how so many cared enough for them to help support the water projects that World Vision had undertaken.

Ultimately, I think about all of the children and adults we met that thanked us for helping improve their lives so significantly with something that we consider so insignificant - if we consider it at all - the availability of clean water.  (Click on the video below to see my message filmed after we commissioned a borehole in Kenya)



I wish I could have helped raise a million dollars, but I know without a doubt that even $5,700 can have a very significant impact on those we wish to help.

So, I say 'THANK YOU'.  Thank you to all of you who supported my fundraising this year.  YOU are the reason I get up to run.  YOU are the reason that I finished five half marathons this year.  YOU are the reason that people have clean water.  These people are families - real men, women, and children - many of whom I have met, laughed with, danced with, sung with, hugged and continue to love today.

Their lives have been changed for the better and you are the change agent.

Thank you for your support and go to bed tonight knowing that you have helped changed the world and have made it a better place for many.

Thank you and God Bless you.

[[[[ If you are looking to make more of a change with a year end tax deductible donation, click here ]]]

Thursday, November 15, 2012

...Not Done

I knew when I set at goal of raising $13,700 it would be a stretch...someone described it as "audacious"...I knew I wouldn't be able to achieve it without incredibly generous support from my friends, colleagues and family.

I've received amazing support, but I would like to make a final push to get closer to the amount.  Having been in Kenya and seeing the affect that these funds have on lives, I personally know that every additional dollar has a profound impact on people...I know that clean water saves lives.  I've met the people who's lives were immeasurably improved by a bore hole, rain catch system, and/or education.

So, I've been thinking about what I can do to justify my ask for more money.  My first decision is that I will add two more half marathons to this year's schedule.  I will run the SprintPCS Dallas Half Marathon in early December.  I am continuing my training to improve on my Personal Best time of 2:49.  My goal is under 2:45.  Additionally, I will run the Arctic Blast Virtual Marathon during the last week of December.  This is a less organized run where we sign up and run a half and provide proof of our run.  I will use my long run training path around Whiterock Lake as the course.

So, I've added two races to extend my fundraising time.  Additionally, I will continue my offer of a jersey to anyone who donates $25.  I have plenty left in most sizes.  This is the same jersey that I've been wearing during my training and during races (see picture above).  It's made of synthetic material and makes great training gear.  It would also make a great Christmas present to someone, so make a donation on their behalf and give them the jersey to show them how much you care.

Thank you for your support.
SL

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Done...

I'm finally getting to updating my blog regarding my last run.  I ran the Allstate 13.1 Half Marathon  in Dallas on October 27.  It was a beautiful and cold morning and conditions could not have been better.

Angie, Cassie and I visited with other runners and supporters at the Team World Vision tent before the run.  We were all cold, but my anxiousness of starting another half marathon was enough to keep me from worrying about the temperatures.  I also new that the cool weather would be a Godsend during the actual race.


Because of the intense training that I had done, and the fact that I ran 13.1 in 2:53 a couple of weeks prior, I had adjusted my personal goal to 2:50.  Since my previous official best was 3:07, I knew that this goal was a stretch goal.  Additionally, I never take these things for granted.  Given my extra weight, any long distance run is tough and I never assume I am going to have a good time, let alone finish.  But this time, I had a plan.  In the past, I have always bonked out near the end.  It's happened at mile 8, mile 9 or even later, but it has always happened...and the result is cramping and having to walk at the end.  During my training, I focused on extending my endurance and range and I had hopes that it would pay off during this race.
 
I also went into this race with a plan.  I wouldn't go full out in the beginning.  Instead, I planned on getting the first 9 miles done at a pace of 4.5 miles per hour, or maybe a little faster.  I knew that if I could finish the first 9 miles in less than two hours I would have some left in the tank for a faster finish.  I set my GPS to keep me informed of my pace and hit the start line.

At the start, it is very difficult to NOT go too fast.  My first mile was at 4.7 miles per hour.  This was a perfect pace.  As I was passed by other runners, I found myself having to tell myself to ignore them and run my own race.  It worked and I kept at a good 4.7 miles per hour.  I was at about 9.5 miles when I hit the two hour mark.  I also knew I had three minutes to spare, and the clock time was more than three minutes ahead of my actual time.

I as hit the 12th mile, I knew I was in good shape.  I felt pretty good and was still running almost four minutes of each of my five minute intervals.  I also knew that the last mile was uphill and that last year it really killed me.  I walked more of mile 13 than previous, but I knew I was still in good shape.  As I turned the last corner, I saw Angie, Cassie and my friends cheering us on.  I also saw the finish line and jogged to the end.  It is the first time I actually jogged at the finish.  I looked up and saw that the clock had not yet hit 2:53.  I had done it...I beat my goal of 2:50 with an official time of 2:49:22.  This time is a Personal Best (PR) for me, and was 16 minutes faster than Chicago.  Additionally, this time was more that 30 minutes faster than this same race a year ago...

I have completed my three halfs this year, but I'm not done...I haven't hit half of my fundraising goal, so there's more to do.  Perhaps more races?  Stay tuned...as the title says, I'm done...but not done.

SL

 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Finish Strong!

Training has been going well. I haven't spent enough time in the gym, and my success dieting is up and down, but my running has been going very well. A couple of weeks ago, I did a time-trial 13.1 around Whiterock Lake in 2:53, which is almost 15 full minutes off of my previous fastest half marathon. Because of that run, I have set a goal of 2:50 for my third of three halfs this year.


Unfortunately, my fundraising has not been as successful as my running. I am about $5,000 of a $13,700 goal. I have a ton of jerseys left, too.

Therefore I have decided to do two things. First, I will add a fourth half marathon and will run the Dallas PCS Half Marathon in December. This will add some fundraising time to the year to help get closer to my goal.

Second, I am offering a jersey to anyone who donates $25, or more, between now and the last half in December. While supplies last (I have about 50 remaining), I will send anyone who makes a $25 donation to my fundraising. I was offering these jerseys for each $100 donated, but you can get one for as little as $25 (which is only a few dollars more than what I paid for them). The jerseys are synthetic fibers, are great for runs, and will show your support for this effort and that you "Dug Deep" for clean water in Africa.

So, please click the link below right away and make a donation. I will try to accommodate your size and will fulfill this offer on a first come first served basis.

Click here to make a donation, safe a life, and get a jersey...

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Thank you!

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words.  I hope that means that video is worth even more.  Please watch this video that I shot while in Katito, Kenya...
 

This video was shot at the Kachan Primary School in Katito, Kenya.  While visiting the school, we saw some of the incredible work happening there through World Vision.  Water tanks, latrines, hand washing stations, and full scale education efforts around basic sanitation is having an amazing transformative effect on the community...

Clean water and basic sanitation is resulting in healthier children and families.  Since these kids are healthier, they miss less class and perform better in school.  Additionally, they spend less time obtaining water (usually polluted) from far away sources.

These basic changes are having an amazing effect on this and many other communities in Katito and it is because of your previous support that these efforts are being carried out.  Without your funding, none of this is possible.  Therefore, it is with the most heartfelt sincerity that I thank you for your support.

However, as much as there is amazing progress, there also remains incredible need.  It is for this reason that I am humbly asking you for more help.  Would you please consider another donation to this wonderful cause?  Any amount will help as we march toward funding another bore hole in Africa which will continue to transform the community and save lives.


Thank you and God bless you for your support.

Scott

Monday, July 30, 2012

Chicago Pain

Last Sunday I completed the second of three planned half marathons to raise money for World Vision to be used for clean water projects in Africa.

As you are already aware, I signed up to run a half marathon in New York (completed in March in 3:08:52) and now the Chicago half (in 3:07:12).  My last 13.1 will be here in Dallas in October with the rest of my Team World Vision running mates.  I am looking forward to running with friends in a sea of orange jerseys.

My Chicago half was not as easy as I had planned...or at least as easy as running and walking 13.1 miles can be.  My first attempt was aborted in June because of some severe back pain.  Since then, I trained very hard to be ready for this make-up raise.  Angie and I planned a very quick trip to Chicago to get in, pick up my packet, run the next day, recover, and come home the following day.

Every part of the plan worked as planned except for some trouble with my calf that started at about 8.5 miles, but I am getting ahead of myself.

Angie and I flew into Chicago and arrived in the early afternoon.  I had to pick up my packet at an expo, so we got a cab and stopped by the hotel to check in and drop off our bags.  We then headed over to the expo for packet pick up.  Everything worked out great and we even spent some time at the expo picking up my packet, t-shirt, and a bunch of free samples of stuff.  It was fun.

We knew we had to pack it early, as the race was scheduled for a 6:30am start.  I "yelped" for Italian restaurants and found one not too far away.  It was early, so there wasn't a lot of people there yet.  I carb loaded with pasta and drank a lot of water to hydrate.  We had a very nice meal and went to the hotel to relax and go to bed.

The next morning came way too quickly and I was up at 4:00am.  After stretching and dressing, we left for the race.  We arrived much more quickly than I expected, so we had about an hour to waste.  We walked around the tents for a while and headed off for my corral, number 29 - the last corral to start.  There were over 20,000 runners, so it took at least 30 minutes to reach the start line.  As crossed the line, I started my GPS tracker and intervals.  There were a lot of people bunched up at the start, so the going was pretty slow as we headed into the city.  Almost immediately, we went under a long stretch that was essentially underground.  At that point, my GPS lost signal and I wasn't getting my interval data, so I basically ran until I couldn't, then walked for a while, and ran some more.  My GPS finally reconnected, but it had added a mile to my distance.  Because of that, I had incorrect pace statistics and didn't have a clue how fast I had been going.  I think my first mile may have been around 11 minutes, which for me is way too fast.  That speed likely continued for a while, and since I hadn't looked at the clock when I passed the start line, I didn't know what I real time was.  Ultimately, the time on my GPS was right, but the distance was off, over 1.5 miles at the finish line.

Prior to 8.5 miles, I felt great.  It was a little warm and humid, but training in Texas helped prepare me for that.  At one point, I heard my name being called...I look up and saw the orange of Angie's World Vision jersey.  I had no clue, but she had moved to see me pass and to get some breakfast.  Seeing her was awesome, and really got me pumped, so I started running again.  No soon than passing her, my calf started to cramp.  Not too bad at first, but enough to know that it was going to give me a problem.  My right hamstring was tight, but I knew I could ignore that.  I wasn't so sure about the calf.  I walked/ran to the 9 mile clock and saw that I was a good couple of minutes in front of my goal to do the first nine in two hours.  I also knew that my calf was getting worse.  I tried running 1 minute intervals, but by the time I hit 10 miles I knew I was in trouble.  My right ankle starting hurting very badly...not the same pain that I've had, but a shooting pain in the front where the foot meets the leg.  I contemplated removing my ankle brace, but decided to leave it on.  I also decided that my run was over and that I would walk the remainder.
As the pain got worse (in calf and ankle) I started to think that I might not be able to finish.  The pain was excruciating.  I prayed and just focused on moving forward.  Each time I thought I would have to quit, the pain lessened and I thought about my friends in Kenya.  I continued past Soldier Field and was almost home.  I limped toward the end, found Angie waiting for me and finished.  I have no idea what the clock said, and didn't care...I finished.

But, I'm not finished trying to raise money for clean water...I'm not anywhere close to my goal.  I have one more race and I need your donations.  So, visit my fundraising page and make a donation today.  [[[ CLICK HERE TO VISIT MY FUNDRAISING PAGE ]]]

SL

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

My Journey To Kenya, and Beyond

The following is a letter that I sent to our senior pastor, Keith Stewart.  I decided to post the letter because it details the journey that I have been on that have culminated with my trip to Kenya and my ongoing fundraising for water projects in Africa.  I figured this is as good a time as any to share this as I have my second of three half-marathons coming this weekend.

My back has decided to act up again, keeping me relatively immobile during a recent trip to India.  Thankfully, I was able to work since all of my meetings were moved from the office to the hotel due to a strike that was occurring in Bangalore during our visit.  Since I have been home, the back is better, but I can tell something is still amiss.  After mowing the backyard today with little pain today, I've decided to continue with my plans to run this weekend in Chicago.  I would appreciate your support as I am still far from my goal of funding a deep water well (borehole) in Africa.  Since my visit to Kenya, I am more dedicated to this goal than ever, having seen the transformative effects of what clean water access can have on a community.

I would appreciate your support, regardless of the amount, to this effort.

[[[  Click here to visit my fundraising page and make a donation ]]]

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I am sitting in India, but I find my thoughts continually going back to Kenya.  Since I cannot attend the meeting with you this week, I thought I would put my thoughts to “paper”.  I wanted you to know the profound experience that World Vision, sponsorship, and the trip to Katito have been to me and my family.  I apologize, in advance, for the long read.

When you first started to discuss Katito, I was not moved.  My reaction was probably like that of many others…I questioned why Africa was becoming a priority when there was (is) so much need locally.  As you have since discussed, my initial feelings, or lack thereof, were just a cover-up for my own self-centeredness and malaise.  I asked, “Why Africa?  What are we doing here?”  The questions should have been, “What I am doing here?”  But, I wasn’t doing anything, so I never asked that question because I didn’t like the answer.

Even though my heart was not in Africa, Angie and I sponsored several children.  It was important to Angie and I have learned to follow her heart, as hers has always been directed towards others more than mine.  However, making monthly payments was the limit of my participation.  I fostered relationships with our sponsored children not directly, but through my children…encouraging them to write to our sponsored children, but never doing it myself.  Again, I relegated responsibility to others.

We then participated in “Step Into Africa” at the church.  God began to work in me, or more accurately, I was becoming amenable to allowing God to work in me.  My experience in the exhibit was profound.  Unfortunately, my self-centeredness was stronger.  Although moved by the experience, enough to sponsor another child (which really was a replacement for one of our children who moved out of the ADP), I continued to limit my participation to making monthly payments.

Then, Lorraine stood on stage and mentioned the run to help raise the final $68,000 to complete the water project.  She stood on stage and I remember what she said vividly – “any physical ability can participate”.  I thought about this, and decided to participate.  However, my motivation continued to be selfish.  I was going to run to see if God would change me…my body, that is. I know I am a man who requires goals, and I thought I found the perfect opportunity to lose weight and get into shape.  I signed up and started to diet and train.

God did change me, but not in ways I ever imagined.  He started to change my heart.  Yes, I’ve lost 60 pounds during this process, and have run several half marathons, but this change is minor compared to the love that I now feel for our family in Katito.  As I did my training, I kept thinking of what I was training for.  I would think about our sponsored children and the others that the water project would help.  This was an entirely cerebral exercise, as I had no clue to the real suffering, the real needs of these people – but I thought of them nonetheless. I started praying for them.  I started to love them, sight unseen.  I was also moved by the amazing generosity that I saw from the people that donated to my cause.  I raised over $3000 with last year’s run and am still amazed by that result.

My heart change resulted in me wanting to do even more.  This year, with the help of World Vision, I have signed up for three 13.1’s to try and raise $13,700 for a deep water well.  Although this well will not go to Katito, I am supremely confident that wherever it does go, it will be a tremendous blessing to the people that it serves.  To date, I have raised over $3,600.

Then, I got the call that I was being invited to go to Katito to celebrate the completion of the water project.  I cried when I got that call.  I am crying as I recall the call.  I blogged about my feelings then, so I won’t recount it here.  If you are interested, you can read it here:


Needless to say, your prayer that we get “wrecked” has been answered.  I have been so profoundly changed that I still cannot adequately process or communicate my feelings about the trip.  I do know one thing, that God wants more from me and that, for the first time in my life, my heart is amenable to that.  Josh led us in “lecto divinia” while in Katito, and God said to me (in a voice more sure than I have ever heard) that He “NEEDS” me “ALL IN”.  It was a most profound experience in a plethora of profound experiences.  I am still unsure as to what He meant, but I am open to the possibilities and am spending more time than ever with Him to figure it out.

I want to thank you for your teaching and guidance.  I am glad that your heart has been broken with the things that have broken His.  I am glad that you’ve so passionately and eloquently have shared what that means.  I have heard your message, His message, and the message of the wonderful people of Katito.

I will end with the words of a community health worker that we met in Katito.  Her name is Mary, but she is called “Adult” and I wouldn’t be surprised if you know her.  She is 76 years old, has an indomitable spirit, and cares for a woman with AIDS (also named Mary) with four small children.  She asked us to “never forget” what we saw that day…and I have not and will never forget.  I will forever remember the amazing love and grace that we saw that day and each and every day in Katito.   It energizes me.  But I also realize that there is so much more to do.  And, as I cultivate a relationship with Mary and her family (as Angie and I will be sponsoring one of the children of that family), it is my prayer that we can help that family know God’s grace as much as they’ve help me see it for myself.

Please let me know how I can help with the celebration weekend or sponsorship.  I want others to experience the life change that I have experience.  I want others to understand that when I am asked, I say I have nine children, four here at home, and five in Katito.

And, although I am unsure as to what it really means, I know that I am “all in”.

God Bless,

Scott

N.B. I have blogged about my experience with the runs and fundraising at:


And, have begun posting my journals from the Katito trip at:

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Days 6,7 and 8 - Kenya Journal

It was a difficult transition for us to go from Katito to the Mara.  In an instant we went from incredible poverty and need to oppulance.  The Maasai Mara Game Camp was a beautiful resort in the middle of the Mara.  We had incredible food, great accomodations, and everything we needed.  I know I wasn't the only one on the team to struggle with the transition, but it was explained to us that the Kenyan's really believed it important for us to see the beautiful side of their country.  Kenyan's are amazingly proud of the beauty and abundance of their country and wanted to make sure that we experienced the good with the bad.  And experience it we did.




Kenya journal - 11-13 May, 2012

Friday morning was our getaway day.  Some of us decided to return to the market before we left.  Peter drove us and we did some final shopping and returned to the hotel for checkout and to pick of the rest of the team.  Amazingly, the entire IPA team returned to see us off.  That was bittersweet, as we got to see them all again, but also had to say goodbye again.

We flew from Kisumu to Nairobi and saw off Justus and Tracy.  We then got into our vans and drove to the Sarova Hotel to take care of the safari charges.  This was the one part of the trip that I was concerned about our security.  We did not know our drivers (although transportation had been arranged prior).  When we arrived at the beautiful hotel, my concerns were eliminated, at least until we saw our plane.  After taking care of the charges, we drove to the small airport.  We waited a while for our Air Kenya flight.  Our plane had 11 seats.  Our weight allowance for baggage was 33 pounds per person...we were all way over and had to pay $360 total in baggage fees.  Our 45 minute flight to the Maasai Mara was incredible.  We stayed at 10,000 feet and saw Maasai villages and their Acacia tree rings that protect them from the animals.  We saw some game from the plane, including a couple of elephant near the airstrip.  We landed on the dirt runway at the Keekorok airstrip...it was terribly frightening and exciting.

We met our drivers, we given a refreshing towel and drink of juice and were whisked to our first game drive.  It was unbelievable.  I don't remember the names of all of the animals, but needless to say we saw everything over the course of the three days.  The only animals my car did not see were baboons, zebra, leopards, and crocodile.  We saw everything else: elephants, tipu, herdebeast, Grahame's gazelle, Thompson's gazelle, cheetahs, lions - including lions feeding on two cape buffalo, cape buffalo, antelope, rhino, giraffe, hippos, and many others.  After the first drive, we went to the hotel.  We checked in and went to our tents. They were awesome...very comfortable with a great shower / bathroom.

We ended up going on that drive on Friday, two on Saturday and another on Sunday.  The itinerary was to meet for coffee at 6:00am and leave the camp at 6:30am.  After about 3 hours of driving around, we would return to the hotel for breakfast.  Except on Saturday, where we had a bush breakfast scheduled.  We ate in the park with giraffes in the background.  It was amazing.  We had champagne, great food, and great company over amazing scenery and giraffes keeping a eye on us.

We returned to the hotel and several of us decided to fish in the pond.  Using rods with no reels (like fishing with cane poles), we caught a lot of fish: Nile carp, mudfish, and tilapia.  It was fun and very relaxing.  We then had lunch, tea, and went out to our evening game drive.

Sunday was the same, but we decided to go to the river to see the hippos.  We got out of the cars and saw the hippos in the water.  Because the water is high right now, there were no crocs where we were.  We learned that the river we were seeing feeds into Lake Victoria, which feeds the Nile river.

We returned to the hotel for breakfast, but I skipped thinking a shower was more important.  We checked out and stopped at the Maasai village.  They danced for us and we went into one of the dung homes.  The corralled us ito their market and gave us the hard sell.  Ultimately, I had had enough of that and decided to head back to the cars.  We did learn that the Maasai do hunt lions and are required to be part of a hunting party that kill a lion in order to get circumcised and married.

We then left for the airstrip and took our 11-seater to Nairobi, where our drivers were waiting for us to take us to the international airport.  We then waited several hours for our flight to London.  I'm on our flight to Dallas as I type this.  We have about 2 hours left and I am getting excited about getting home and seeing my girls.  I am also excited about continuing what God is doing in me, as well.

We have so many takeaways from this trip that it will take me a long time to process all of them.  I look forward to continuing this journal and "getting what they have!". Mambo sawa sawa...things are getting better, and so am I.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Day 5 - Kenya Journal

Today covers the water project celebration, but was only one aspect of another amazing day.  As I read what I wrote of that day, I note that I did a very poor job in capturing the joy, pride, and happiness that the team and I felt during the celebration.  It was so evident to us that the entire community was celebrating with us...you cannot imagine how it felt to be a part of that.  In my mind, I thought of all the people that raised money AND all of the people that donated to the effort to get it done.  I also thought about the transformed lives that access to clean water will provide.  I thought about the children who won't get sick and who will be able to attend school.  I thought about the women who have to walk for minutes instead of hours to get water.  I thought about the community united by the presence of the well.  I thought about the people who donated to my run last year.  And, I thought about my runs this year and the enduring need for other communities to be transformed with clean water.

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Katito journal - 10 May 2012

Our day started with devotional and worship led by Springcreek. Simon led worship. We quickly realized that our worship has a lot more musical accompaniment, so it was a little awkward - but still fun. Dylan led devotional and spoke about Ex 3:1-4...he talked about how when God is with us, we can do anything. He did a really good job. Several of the team members shared reflections for their week, as well.

We then left for our activities. The first was a child headed household. The father of this household had passed a while back, but the mom died recently. The house was led by the oldest child, a 13 year old girl who had 5 siblings, 3 of which lived in the house. Two had been removed to other family, but we were informed that typically aunts or uncles will take the children that are most able to work or otherwise provide somehow. The remaining children were very young and to make things even worse, they were responsible for their grandmother, who is elderly and cannot provide for herself. There is a sponsored child in the house, so we were pleased by that...or Angie and I were likely to have a sixth sponsored child. We heard about how WV helps the family and left a gift of food with them. I believe that this is the family that we gave some direct funds to as well, having collected 28,000 shillings from the team (8000 shillings is $100). We were informed that it takes about 5,000 shillings to feed the family for two weeks.

Next was a farming cooperative of 25, mostly older women. The cooperative had been helped by WV through the donation of the cattle and seeds. The cooperative, however, had much of their own skin in the game, as they had purchased the plow. Additionally, the government had trained the members on how to plant, etc. It is amazing to see how much of a community effort everything is in Katito. By organizing their resources, they are much more able to do things that they would not be able to do as individuals. We also learned that the women use some of their crops to donate to OVC's and others. The generosity of everyone we met in Katito was another of those amazing aspects of what we saw. We plowed their fields, and some of the team planted seeds, as well. We moved to another area and discussed the cooperative while enjoying,the shade of a tree and some cokes. The women, in their amazing generosity gave us the baskets that they make. We were all ready to purchase them and instead they gave them to us.  They were really remarkable women.

We then visited Kachan primary school and saw their water projects, and were entertained by a dramatic skit. The skit was very entertaining as the lead character, Area Chief Paulo Paulo learned the necessity of washing your hands after using the latrine or before and after eating. As we introduced ourselves, I introduced myself as Chief Paulo Paulo Mzunga, which got great laughs. We saw the 30 sq. meter rain catchment tank, the latrines, the hand washing stations, etc. We also learned that these water projects not only provide safe drinking water, they are directly responsible for increasing attendance rates in school which has led to higher test scores. Additionally, the water has unified the community.

We returned to the IPA office for late lunch, which was bittersweet as we realized that our time with the IPA was running short.

Then we headed off to the Magunga borehole for the celebration. There were two large tents arranged for the celebration and the community was all present. The area chief, the area counselor, the water commission, the secondary school principle and staff, the primary head teacher and staff, the villagers, and students from both schools, as well as WV from Katito, the sub-branch, and Nairobi, and of course, us. After dancing with the villagers and students, we commissioned the borehole as Josh cut the ribbon. Then we planted two trees near the borehole. We then returned to our seats and endured several speeches from dignitaries. The children did several performances (poems and some rapping). We introduced ourselves and Josh asked me to say a few words. My focus was that we were all working together and vital to the process, and without any one part (sponsors, WV, community, etc) it wouldn't work. We then wrapped up and did some more video in the area. We also played with the children while they were given candy.

After the celebration, we returned to the hotel with the World Vision staff, for a celebration and goodbye dinner...the dinner was a highlight of the trip. We shared stories from the week and thanked the staff for their hospitality and for their work. They gave us gifts and shared a little about each of us. One of the most moving parts was when Albert shared his story. Albert is the Katito IPA leader. He shared his story about how he was from Katito, AND he was a sponsored child. He had us all in tears. His message was to uplift us as an example of what sponsorship can accomplish. He didn't need to share His story to uplift us, as the entire visit had done that, but it was the perfect end to our trip. Josh led us in communion, we hung out for a little while (it was well after midnight) and said our tearful goodbyes. It was hard to leave them and I am surprised by the emotion I feel now as I type this several days later.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Day 4 - Kenya Journal

Although we saw tremendous suffering and need, the real takeaway from this day was the message of hope and healing.  The CIC group was one of the best examples of amazing adults investing in the future of children.  The health clinic was a real example of partnership.  It was amazing to see the teaching about things that we just seem to take for granted, like the health benefits of basic sanitation.  Visiting Mary and her family, and being invited into her home, was a life-changing experience.  Her hope, and the determination of "Adult" was awe inspiring, and I knew at the moment that Adult asked us to sponsor Mary's family why I was there.  Ouma Grace, Mary's youngest child, was registered in the system at our request and the process for us to sponsor her is moving forward.  Although it is easy to say that we will change their lives through sponsoring Grace, what is immediately evident to me is that our lives have also been changed by meeting her.

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Katito journal - 9 May 2012

We started our day with worship and devotional at the Katito IPA office. We learned Momba Sowa Sowa (Things Are Getting Better) and it was so fun. A visiting pastor took us through Acts 27:21-26 and 2 Kings 4:1-7. The common thread is that God is not restricted by man's limitations. In both cases, He provided extraordinarily for those who had faith.

We then went to another primary school to see the work of the Children In Christ (CIC) group. We joined the kids in singing and dancing and playing games. We played simon says, learned a bible verse and danced.  My partners were two little girls from the school. It was so much fun. The staff of the CIC was so awesome teaching the kids and I was really moved by the fact that the kids are learning about God and Jesus. In the school, I noted their motto: Together We Succeed! That very much sums up how I feel about this trip...the people in the field here...World Vision...and the resources that it takes...together, we can do God's work.
Next we went to a mobile health clinic for those who live too far away from the actual clinic building. We saw younger children (0-4 years) get weighed, measured, examined, etc. Additionally, we saw the mother's get educated on sanitation, nutrition, etc. Afterwards, we watched the villagers go through an exercise to help them come to awareness of the problem of OD (open defication). They mapped their village on the ground and showed the staff where they use the bathroom. The next step was for them to see the effects of not using a latrine and to understand the adverse health effects. The conversation was very graphic, but the key is that the villagers need to come to the understanding that it is a health issue on their own.

Our next stop was a community greenhouse. About 20 villagers, mostly older women, came together and built a 270 square foot greenhouse. The materials were obtained by them, except for anything that could not be supplied locally...the UVA plastic sheets and the screens. These were supplied by WV, as were the seeds. The women bought a rain catch cistern and hired the labor to put up the structure. Additionally, the government supplied the required training. A month ago they plated tomato seeds. In about a month, they will start to reap tomatoes and for 9 months, because of the green house, they will have tomatoes. What was so wonderful about these women, in addition to their hospitality, was that they donate much of their crop to OVCs and other needed areas. These women are the real Hands of God. I fact, I have been continually amazed by the generosity of those who appear to have so little.

We then returned to the the IPA for lunch. We have eaten very well on this trip.

We then visited Mary, a mostly single mother of four who is living with AIDS. We visited her in her home, which was a wonderful 2-room mud dwelling with a steel roof. She seemed to have suffered a stroke, as well. She and her caretaker Mary (aka: "Adult") shared her story of Mary becoming quiet ill and bedridden, and her husband leaving her because of that. We learned that world vision convinced her of her need to go to the hospital, where she learned that both her and her husband were HIV+. After learning of her infection, World Vision assigned caretakers to her who helped her get better. Two years later, she is doing better. Her beautiful four children are HIV negative, as well. Adult thanked us for her visit, but begged us to sponsor her children. I was very moved by this and realized that God was presenting me with an opportunity. I told Adult that we wouldn't forget about her, that she was in our hearts forever. I then asked Tracy Thurmond if there was anything we could do...Tracy inquired about her children's status and we discovered that they are not registered. However, with the help of the WV staff, one will be registered tomorrow, and will be immediately sponsored by Angie and I. I'm not even gone yet, but I cannot wait to return to see all of our sponsored children again.

From there, we left to go to an orphans and widows support group. We met about 15 widows (and two widowers) and 7 orphans. Additionally, we met a 17 year old boy (man) who was a head of household taking care of his younger brother and sister. This group, like so many others we've met were so wonderful. Having so little, their primary thought is for others. We were so amazed by their faith, their joy and their generosity. We heard how WV supports them as part of our visit. And, like our stop at the greenhouse, we were offered cokes to drink...I've had a lot of coke this trip, but I've also called in love with a strong ginger ale they have called Stoney Tanzaninga. We handed out lollipops to the children, and said our goodbyes.

We returned to the IPA for a late tea and then departed to the hotel, where we had even a later dinner. Simon led us in devotional and we discussed our concerns. The group is clearly concerned about how we can continue what we are doing and feeling when we return home...that we all want to live in the joy of faithfulness and love of God the way that the people that we've met here do,

NB - when I asked Angie if we could sponsor another child, she said of course. After I told her the story of Mary, she immediately replied with, "what about the other three?". That is why I love Angie...her heart for others is so amazing. However, WV rules stipulate that only one child per home can be sponsored...this is for several reasons, but I've learned this week that sponsorship has direct benefits for the entire family, as well as indirect and direct benefits for the entire community.

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Thank you Christy and Kevin Stone, as I've "borrowed" some of your pictures.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Day 3 - Kenya Journal



I remember having had zero expectations for this day.  Why?  Because I thought that meeting our sponsored children was the highlight of the week, and that everything else was going to be relatively unmoving.  How wrong I was.  In fact, I can't pick out any day that was more important, more moving, or more special than any other day. Yes, meeting the children was amazing and I have been thinking about that more than any other occurrence, but seeing the water projects and seeing the impact to the communities was also very significant.  Additionally, I continue to think about all of the people we met during these subsequent days and their wonderful spirits and generosity.  To my surprise every day was unbelievably life-changing.

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Katito journal - 8 May 2012

We started our day with devotional at the Katito WV office.  After some amazing worship, Wycliffe led us in the word.  He focused on how in the world we must work for our reward, but in Christ's church, we did not...that we were given grace and salvation without ever earning it.  He thanked us for giving to them without them ever earning it, as well.  It was a by good message.

We then left for the Kobeto borehole.  One of the trucks got stuck in the mud as we approached.  The borehole is located on the grounds of a primary school. It is 450 feet deep and serves 2,000 gallons per day.  Additionally, it will not dry up in the dry season AND it replaces the next closest water source which is a polluted river 4 KM away!!!  I pumped water from the hand pump AND carried a 20 liter jug to the hand washing station.  I can't believe that people do that for miles.  I interviewed Linda, an 8th grader about the well, and she told me that it is a blessing in so many ways, not least of which is the fact that they have clean, healthy water so close now.  The school kids celebrated with us and I was just about mobbed as we handed out lollipops and cookies, but it was great fun.

Our next stop was the Pawtenge primary school (grades 1-8).  The kids did memory verses, songs, and introduced themselves and told us what they wanted to be when they grew up.  Lawyers, doctors, nurses, judges and pilots were the most common.  When one child said he wanted to be a farmer, the other children snickered.  When it was time to introduce myself, I told them and Angie and I sponsored 4 children and that when I grew up I wanted to be a professional soccer player.  They laughed at the absurdity. I wish I would have thought to tell them I had 8 children, four at home and four in Katito.  Before we left, we learned a new song and sang and danced with the kids. 

Our next stop was in a three house village where we met with the members of the Hera Jima Self Help Group.  The group of about 25 members (mostly women) is a "table top" bank cooperative.  We observed their weekly meeting where funds were counted, dues were paid, loans were provided, shares were purchased, and loans were paid for (with interest).  Basically, World Vision taught this group how to run their cooperative, thus freeing them from the bondage of usury and equipping them for small business success.  We also learned that they helped support OVC's (orphans and vulnerable children).  I couldn't believe how generous these people were, having relatively little, but sharing any little excess that they had.

We then left for the Ndori primary school.  We sat in on a science class and learned about soil erosion.  We then had students do more memory verses, and then a group of girls came in to dance and sing.  Imagine my surprise when there drummer walked in and IT WAS OUR SPONSORED CHILD, NIKALAS!!!!  He sat in the corner with a drum stick and a 5 gallon pail and started to keep the beat.  The girls danced and sang and at one point they started spinning and high-fiving.  I had enough and asked Josh if he wanted to join in with me.  So Josh and I started spinning and high-fiving, too.  As you can imagine, the kids went nuts as the Mzunga danced.  We then joined the girls danced with them.  The more I shook my booty, the more they howled.  It was so much fun.  The girls marched off and Dylan and I gave Nikalas a hug.  It was so awesome...he remembered us and really welcomed us.  Dylan and I had a chance to visit with him for a second before we left...we told him that his drumming was awesome, and that Dylan played, too. We'll need to send him a picture of Dylan with his kit.  We then said our goodbyes and left for the IPA office for evening tea.

After changing (we were all completely covered in mud due to all the heavy rains), we met for dinner at the hotel.  At dinner Josh led us in a "lecto divinia" and meditated on John 17:13-18.  I really felt God telling me to stop being scared of people's responses ("the world hated them") and that He wants me to "GO ALL IN" for the Kingdom ("be a part of the world").  The team all shared what they got out of the exercise.  We are really becoming close. I've enjoyed getting to know them all better and sharing this experience with them.

I can't wait to see what tomorrow has in store for us.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Day 2 - Kenya Journal

This was the day that I had looked for with such an amazing, but nervous, anticipation.  I was uncertain of what the meeting with our sponsored children would be be like.  I was so scared that it would be awkward and not fun for them.  I previously did not cultivate a relationship with the children, rather I relied on our kids to write "their kids" in Katito.  Although I was nervous, I was so looking forward to meeting the kids that got us involved in Katito, especially Nikalas, who I really felt a connection towards as his picture is what hooked me into sponsoring him.  I saw his face in the pamphlet and new I was meant to sponsor him.  This was the day on which the whole trip focused, or so I thought at the time.

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Katito Journal - Monday, 7 May, 2012

Today started with breakfast at the hotel. Everyone slept well and was refreshed, except for Lluvia. After breakfast, we headed to The Lakes sub branch office in Kisumu.  This office is responsible for all of the IPA's in the area, including Katito.  Once there, We met the SB staff and had devotional and tea.  Devotional focused on Psalm 37 and we discussed how only after you know the Lord can you do good works.  We also touched on money, anger, and how God will always be their to provide for us...how we may stumble, but God will always pick us up.  We met Joseph who is the SB manager and his staff while we were there.

We then drove the to the IPA in Katito.  IPA stands for Integrated Program Area and is meant to convey that multiple programs (objectives) are likely occurring in parallel.  We met the staff upon our arrival.  Albert is the new IPA manager, and Alfred is his second.  They briefed us on the the area and the IPA.  They informed us that there are about 4,700 children registered for sponsorship, with approximately 4,200 sponsored by three different churches.  We also learned that sponsorship conveys many indirect benefits to the families of the sponsored and to the community as a whole. 

After this we were supposed to meet with a local politician.  Clearly this was to benefit the WV staff, but it was good to hear about the cooperation between the government and WV. We kissed his hiney as good as we could.  I told him that the WV staff had informed us how supportive his office was and I thanked him for that.

As we waited to go to the official's office, we met with Caroline, who is responsible for sponsorship.  She informed us about how the letter process works and how they have 60 days to reply to a letter from a sponsor.  We were all very interested in this process, as we love when we get letters from the children.  As we were about to help stuff the envelops of letters to their sponsors, we were instructed that it was time to leave.

After the visit to the government official, we returned to the IPA for lunch.  We all were excited that the moment was approaching.  We drove to another part of the IPA and had to get out of the trucks to cross a creek.  As we approached, the children, their parents and the staff started singing in Swahili.  It was a beautiful song and set the stage for our arrival.  Josh jumped right in and started introducing himself.  We all followed suit.

I saw and recognized Nikalas almost immediately.  Then I saw Sammy.  I couldn't find the girls until I recognized Dorine.  I asked her her name to verify.  Lastly, I found Eunice.  It was apparent that she was the most shy of all of the kids.  We introduced ourselves to our sponsored children and to everyone else there.  It was the most incredible experience ever.
The children were so shy and soft spoken...Kenyans appear to be a soft spoken people, and these children being in this situation just made them mute.  We walked over to a covered area and we were given seats of honor, as were the sponsored children.  The administrative staff introduced themselves and we were paired up with our kids.

As we relocated to an inside area, Dylan and I gave the kids their backpacks.  I went through the photo albums and the pictures of Angie, the kids, Higgins and my run.  I introduced Marissa's picture to Dorine and told her how much Marissa loved her.  I did the same to Eunice with Cassie's picture.  With the help of an interpreter, I think the kids really got what I was saying.  We then pumped up their soccer balls and went to play in the field.  Dylan and Sammy ran off almost immediately.  Sammy is Dylan's "child" and they have been corresponding for a long time.  I kicked with Dorine, Eunice and Nikalas.  Eunice was so timid, that I asked Josh and Tracy to help out a little.  Josh's sponsored child had not yet arrived and Tracy does not have a child in Katito.  After a while, I got Dylan and Sammy to join us and Dylan and I kicked with all four children.  It was so much fun.

Eventually, it was decided that we should play a match - Springcreek Church vs. The sponsored children.  We played running around for awhile...it was such amazing fun. Sammy is a good player...the kids scored and I taught all of them how to HIGH FIVE.  They smiled and laughed at the goofy Mzunga.  That really seem to loosen up the kids...but nothing loosened them up as me falling in the mud.  Josh threw in the ball, and I headed it...and then slipped in the mud and went down.  EVERYONE cheered at the header and then laughed at the fall.  It was so fun.  Dylan scored on my assist and we tied it up.  Sammy then scored to take it for the children.

We then went back to the chairs and I opened the kids pencils.  I sharpened one for each kid and wrote my name on a page in their tablet.  I asked them to do the same...and then I asked them to draw a picture.  I drew a giraffe (tinga) and they laughed at it.  Even the moms laughed at it.  I met Sammy's and Eunice's dads and Nikalas and Dorine's moms. The kids drew pictures and I asked if I could keep them.  I will share them with the kids at home.

At that point it was about time to say goodbye.  We took pictures and everyone sang us a beautiful song.  Two kids stood up and made statements, one was our Nikalas.  Among other things, he 'thanked Mr. Scott'.  It was awesome.  Our group then sang Jambo to everyone...and they joined in and it was magical.

I said good bye to each of the kids, told them I loved them, and thanked their parents.  As we walked out, Dorine and Nikalas came up to the car for one more good bye.  Dorine especially, stuck her hand in the car and wouldn't let go.  Frankly, I wouldn't let her go, either.  When we finally did, I cried hard.  I am already dreaming of the next time I see them.

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N.B. - Pictured from top to bottom:  1) Sweet and shy Eunice.  She didn't say much, but was so sweet.  It was hard to focus on her as Nikalas and Dorine were much more outgoing.  She drew an amazing bird as her picture. 2) Amazing Nikalas.  He was much more outgoing and his mother was a hoot, too.  I really enjoyed meeting him, and got to see him in school the next day.  3)  Sammy was very outgoing, but I did not spend a lot of time with him as Dylan and he ran off to play soccer.  He is a good ball player, and we learned that he likes to draw and play drums.  No wonder he and Dylan connected so well.  4)  Beautiful Dorine.  She was so easy to connect with and I fell instantly in love with her.  I still see her in my dreams.  I don't know if I ever cried as hard as I did when we drove off.  We both wouldn't let go of each other through the truck window.  It was a life changing experience.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Day 1 - Kenya Journal

I'll be posting my journal notes from our Kenya trip over the next couple of days.  These notes were compiled at the end of each day.  I tried to capture what we did, but did not write a lot about how I felt during the trip.  I am still processing through those complex emotions.  Instead, this journal was meant to capture the day to day activities to be used to jog my memory about the things that we did.  Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of pictures as I didn't take many...I was too busy trying to experience everything in real time, and less interested in worrying about getting the photo.

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Katito journal - 06 May 2012

We arrived in Kisumu today.  The flight from DFW to London was horrible as Josh accidentally moved his seat and we were jammed into a 767.  Ultimately, we arrived and I got a couple of hours of sleep.  We went into London to see parliament and Big Ben, but the underground was running very slow and we ended up only having 20 minutes in the city.  At least we had a good meal of fish and chips at the airport.  This, following our meal at Reata Grill makes me think that this team can really eat.  Our flight from London to Nairobi was much better, as it was a half filled triple-7.  I had an entire row to myself and was able to lie down and get a few hours sleep.

Nairobi was as expected, and we walked from the international terminal to the domestic, like how you have to in Delhi.  The domestic terminal was spartan, but we had a group of us, so our multi-hour layover went quickly.  We met Justus here, as well.

Our flight to Kisumu was fine...short.  Kisumu is beautiful.  It is green, mountainous, near Lake Victoria and just wonderful.  We had lunch at the hotel - a run down affair, not the guest house I had expected - and went shopping at the market.  After doing my version of the haggle, I had completed my souvenir shopping.  We also took a drive to a beach area near the lake.  Seeing the fishing boats and all of the kids stands out to me.  I love getting waved at with that big smile that the kids have.  The adults don't share their enthusiasm, but we are getting stared at, A LOT.  We even had at least on child announce 'Mzunga' (white man) as we drove past.

We had dinner at the hotel and our security briefing.  We also got our agendas for the trip.  We meet our sponsored children tomorrow..I am so enthusiastically nervous about that.  I hope it goes well and that the kids enjoy it.

I also learned that we would have an opportunity to experience hauling water, like many of the kids do...I am looking forward to that.  I pray that I get out of tomorrow what God wants me to get out of it, and that the same happens for everyone I come across tomorrow.

SL

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Laces and Shirts

I've been neglectful in posting another entry. There has been so much going on I had to schedule time to write this, but with so much going on there is so much to update.

First off, we are getting close to our trip to Katito, Kenya. Visas are complete, shopping has started and gifts are being purchased. The team has met several times to talk about the trip, design our logo and learn songs, but most importantly to get to know each other better. I am psyched about our team and what we are going to experience together. I can't wait to share those stories with everyone who has been following my journey of fundraising for clean water.

Second, the first race went amazingly well as I shared here. The second is all planned. Angie and I leave for Chicago the day before the race. It will be strange as it will be just us. I am nervous about this one...I haven't worked out since the last race, although I will start again today.

Lastly, I randomly selected a winner of the World Vision shoe laces. Our winner is Angie Moore, a colleague of mine from Raleigh. Thank you to everyone who donated for the first race, and congratulations to Angie. Hopefully you have a pair of running shoes that you can put the laces on, and know that your support has helped save lives.

For the second race I will give my World Vision "I Care. And So I Run." t-shirt. I received this shirt for raising $1310. Everyone who donates $25 between the first race and the next race (June 9) will be eligible to win it. I will select someone randomly and send the shirt to the winner.

Speaking of shirts, if you have made a donation of $100, you are eligible for one of my jerseys in your size (while supplies last). I will be in contact for your size and start sending them out or delivering.

If you have donated less than $100, now might be a great time to make another donation to get to that amount. If you total $100, I'll send you a jersey. So, if you've donated $50 already, think about another $50 donation. It will get you a race jersey and will enter you in the drawing for the World Vision tee.
[[[[ CLICK HERE TO VISIT MY FUNDRAISING PAGE AND TO MAKE A DONATION ]]]]

And, as always, thank you so much for your support.

SL

Friday, March 30, 2012

One Down

I've been slow to post about the race in NY last weekend, but hopefully this will correct that.

It was a beautiful day, cool and sunny. My aunt dropped my off at about 7:45 which gave me time to sit, think about the race, and pray for my success, those that donated to the cause, and for those in Africa who will be helped by a deep-water well. That seems to calm my nerves, as I was very nervous about the race.

I'm not sure why I was so nervous for this one. I trained harder for this one than any of the others and was as prepared as I could be, but I was still unsure if I was going to be able to finish.

As I stretched and waited for the start, the emcee announced that there were 800 World Vision runners who raised over a quarter of a million dollars for water in Africa. It felt wonderful to be a part of such an awesome effort and I knew at that point that I was going to have a good race.

The horn finally sounded and I inched my way to the start line behind several thousand other runners.

As I passed the start line, I started running. My plan was to walk the first minute, then run for four minutes and continue those intervals as long as possible. However, the adrenalin was pumping hard so I just ran. I didn't stop until I hit 10 minutes.

I noticed that my breathing was very hard...I was already short of breath. I'm not sure why, but I didn't catch my breath until mile eight...when my legs started getting tired.

The first mile was hard as my legs loosened up. But the next seven seemed to pass in a flash. I think I was more focused on my surroundings, taking in Flushing Meadow Park and all of the World's Fair buildings and monuments that are within it. I enjoyed the sites, the bands along the route, the other runners and the other World Vision runners who would encourage me as I ran. That was one of the really cool things...whenever someone noticed my orange jersey, they would cheer me on. That really helped, especially as I tired along the race.

As I passed mile ten, my adrenalin picked up again. I knew Cassie, my nephew and my aunt would be along the path soon. They spent the morning at the Science Museum which is along the route, so they planned on waiting for me to cheer me on. As I rounded a corner I saw them and became very emotional. I started running faster than at any point on the run. I passed them, waved, told them I loved them and felt great. About a minute later, I passed the 11 mile mark and the cramps set in.

My left calf let me know that it was tiring quickly. I continued my intervals, but they were now jog three minutes and walk two. That continued for mile eleven and twelve. I couldn't run too much at that point. However, as I rounded to small lake area near approaching the finish line, I pushed to run. They say that the thirteen miles are easy, that the last point one mile is hard...I don't know about the first thirteen being easy, but that last tenth is really killer. I cramped my way to the finish line. The announcer said my name and mentioned that I had come all the way from Texas to run. That was really cool, and helped my sprint through the finish, where I was handed my medal and then proceeded to cramp severely in both of my hamstrings.

I walked out my cramps and met up with some family that had come to see me finish.

It was an awesome day, made better by a family get together at my aunt's house after the race.

I am moved by all of the donations that I have received to this point...many donated Saturday while I was running. My family threw in a bunch of cash, too....so I came home with another $355 for the effort.

All told, it was a very enjoyable experience. I'm guessing that the next race won't be as fun as I won't be able to share it with a lot of family. But, I'm committed to running and still need your donations. I am only at 20% of my goal.

[[[ Click here to donate ]]]

Thanks for your support, and I will see you in Chicago in June.

SL

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Begging It Forward

In less than four days I will be standing at the back corral inching my way up to the start line of the NYC 13.1 half marathon. It will take about three minutes to get to the start line, but it will seem like an eternity. I am very nervous about the race and have no doubt that my nerves will continue to suffer until I cross that line...then my mind will clear and I will begin a three plus hour adventure.

Because I am close to my first race day, I have be increasing my communication trying to drum up donations. I am at 12% of my audacious goal of $13,700.00. I know that even if everyone who donated last year tripled their donations (basically repeating their donation from last year for every race this year) I would still be short $4,000.00.

However, something interesting has been happening in the last week...it started with my Aunt Carole who indicated she would donate $25 to my effort. Along with her donation, I received two $25 donations from people who's names were familiar to me, but of whom I couldn't honestly claim knowledge. I came to learn they are friends of my Aunt Carole. She had forwarded my fundraising e-mail to her friends and colleagues.

And, they responded in amazingly generous ways, to the tune of $260.00 in total donations.

Today, Angie and my sister Michele shared my link with personal requests for help.

It occurs to me that this is the only way I can reach my goal. Through your generosity, but also through your courage to forward my request to others for their help.

So, make your donation today by clicking the link below. And, when you are done, post my link to your Facebook page, e-mail it to colleagues, pick up the phone...whatever. Just beg it forward and let's help save lives by giving the gift of clean safe water.

[[[ Click here to donate now ]]]

Remember, for each $100 donated you are eligible for a custom made 2012 Jersey in World Vision orange in your size. And, every donation of $15, or more, until the race on Saturday enters you into a raffle to win a pair of World Vision orange shoe laces.

Thanks for your support and for your asking others to help, as well.

Scott

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Custom Jersey - Dig It! Get It?

The jerseys are almost here.

I've "borrowed" the Love design from last year's jersey and have made it my own by adding my "Digging Deep" design on the back. Although I think it's clever, it really shows that I have no future in marketing. What I lack in quality, however, I made up in quantity, as I've ordered 75 jerseys to help with my fundraising.


Besides being practical for a jersey (it's made from 100% polyester), it's a one-of-a-kind custom and you can get 'em for yourself.

For every $100 in donation that you give, I will get you one jersey.

If you make a $200 donation, you are entitled to two jerseys.

If you make a $50 donation, you get my very sincere thanks and peace of mind knowing that you helped provide water and save lives in Africa. If you make another, second donation, for $50 you get a jersey.

This, of course, is while supplies last. I would love to have to make a second order for jerseys. That would be a wonderful problem to have.

So, make a donation and tell me your size. I have everything from adult small to 4XL.

[[[ Click here to donate ]]]


And, wear your jersey and show your support to one of the races.

SL

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Time To Dig Deep - Race 1 Coming Up

In about a week, I run the first of three half-marathons this year to raise money for clean water in Africa.

As you may know, last year I ran my first 13.1 to complete a capital water project in our adopted town of Katito, Kenya. We needed to raise a final $60,000.00 to complete a water and sanitation project through World Vision. Through the generosity of many of you, I raised over $3000.00 and as a team, we raised over $100K and the project has since been completed. My time was three hours, twenty minutes, and forty two minutes.

Because of my participation with World Vision and this fundraising, I have been invited to attend the celebration of the completion of the water project, in Katito, in May. I am so honored and humbled to have been selected to participate and I cannot wait to see the good work that is being done with the funds that I helped raise. I will also have the opportunity to meet the children that we sponsor through World Vision. It is an amazing opportunity and I can't wait to go.

My expectation is that I will also see the incredible needs that remain there. I hope to bring that back so that I can share, with first-hand knowledge, the overwhelming hardship and need that remains. I hope this personal experience will give me the credibility to ask you for money as part of ongoing fundraising. If my expressing the need does not move you to give, perhaps my personal account will. If you've given in the past, perhaps my story will motivate you to give again and more generously.

Even before I knew I was going to Kenya, I decided that this year I would run three races in an attempt to raise $13,700.00 for clean water in Africa. This audacious amount was selected because it is the cost of a deep water well and hand pump that can provide clean safe water for hundreds for years. That's the enduring impact that I would like to make in this world. I would be honored if you helped me make that impact.

[[[ Click here to make a donation ]]]

All I can do is train and run. Without your donation, it is meaningless. Would you please consider and generous donation to my page that will help those who don't have the basic life giving substance of water? Would you donate to my page to help reduce death and disease caused by water borne illness? Would you help improve the quality of life to children and families by providing water?

In two months, I will be able to share the impact of your donation - through first hand experience. But that shouldn't be a reason to help now.

In a week, I'll be sweating, running, and enduring a grueling 13.1 miles in New York. I hope to be met by family and friends at the finish line. It will be a wonderful experience, made so much more meaningful by your generous support.

Remember, I have World Vision orange shoe laces which will be given to someone who donates $15, or more, before race day on March 24. These are new laces sent to my by World Vision as a Thank You for raising more than $500.

SL