Imagine running a marathon through a dry desert landscape halfway across the world, meeting persecuted Christians and visiting biblical sites.
One enthusiastic Open Doors supporter, Carlos, is about to experience just that and agreed to share with us why he has chosen to raise funds and travel with our team.
Carlos lives is Canberra with his wife, and on 26 May this year he will travel 36 hours to Israel, to meet up with other active Open Doors supporters and run a marathon. He only began long-distance running 7 months ago, when he committed to travelling with Open Doors.
Carlos has been involved with Open Doors for about 8 months after experiencing a somewhat ‘unsettled season’ when confronted with the topic of Christian persecution. He began to learn more about what his Christian family was going through and was incredibly impacted by the fact that he is able to live out his faith in freedom, while other believers were not. After much prayer, Carlos decided to connect with Open Doors and is now seeking to advocate and speak on behalf of Open Doors in his local area.
Compelled to do something practical, Carlos signed up for the upcoming Israel Trip. All travellers who go will participate in a marathon and raise sponsorship to go towards supporting persecuted Christians in the Middle East.
Open Doors has a range of trips throughout the year, with opportunities to pray, deliver Bibles and meet with local believers. We asked Carlos what prompted him to join a fundraising trip that also included running a marathon.
“I love the correlation between running and fundraising. I think it’s wonderful that people dedicate themselves to compete in support of a cause they feel passionate about. I have decided to go to Israel because the Marathon Trip exists to support Open Doors and seeks to fundraise for the work they do across the Middle East.”
Other than running a marathon in a part of the world richly connected to biblical history, all travellers will have the opportunity to meet with and encourage local believers.
Being his first trip with Open Doors, Carlos is keen to get out of his comfort zone and wants to learn what a life of true passion for Jesus looks like.
“I love that this trip will enable me to run across many of the places Jesus actually walked. I am excited to be blessed with an opportunity to spend time with persecuted Christians where I am and pray with them. They will have an incredible impact on my life and it is exciting to find out just how big that impact will be.”
Having completed his first marathon just a few weeks ago, Carlos responded with humility when asked about the progress of his training.
“I have so much gratitude to the Lord for enabling me to come so far in so little time. I spent the hot summer months running in order to train my body to adapt to the conditions I will face when running through the desert in Israel. The temperatures of early autumn in Canberra do not mirror the extremely hot conditions I will face in Israel, but I have confidence of where I am at physically and I trust in the Lord who has ordained my every breath and every step!”
In addition to the fundraising target of $10,000, Carlos has personally financed his trip. A common question we get asked is ‘Isn’t it better to just send my money to the field, rather than spending the money to visit myself?’ So we asked Carlos what value he sees in actually going.
“I don’t offer anything that others cannot. I felt that the decision to go was an easy one as there is such an element of obedience for me. I feel humbled by what I will learn and how this trip will impact my life as a Christian, and I hope to be able to be a blessing to everyone I come across. Yet it is also about impacting the lives of people in my community here at home. When anyone travels anywhere, three sets of people are affected: the person going, the people here at home, and the people receiving them. It feels like God has work to do in those three areas and that is something that sending money alone cannot accomplish.”
Carlos is incredibly thankful to all those that have supported him in his adventure, and is overwhelmed by the sponsorship he has raised so far. Two weeks out from the marathon event, Carlos has raised $12,800 AUD. He feels that it is important to keep going – “not only because so much more can be done with every dollar I fundraise, but because I feel a stirring passion around me, one that tells me people want opportunities to support the persecuted church.”
Want to support Carlos as he embarks on this adventure?
You can pray through the prayer points below, and also give to support Christians in the Middle East (please put ‘Carlos’ in the comments section).
- Please pray for Carlos as he joins his first Open Doors trip. Pray for strength, the ability to step out of his comfort zone and the energy to participate in the marathon.
- Pray also for Carlos’ wife and family back at home.
- Pray for the persecuted Christians that the travellers will meet during the trip, that they may be strengthened and encouraged by their visit.
The Israel Marathon Trip is just one of many trips available with Open Doors. If you have been inspired by Carlos’ story and are keen to find out more about travel, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on (02) 9451 2999.